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May 2017 - AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

AU Proposes Hall of Science Building

KAM2017-05-01 Science

American University has proposed to build a new Hall of Science that will be a three-story, 95,000 Gross Floor Area (GFA), state-of-the-art facility that relocates the university’s biology, environmental sciences, chemistry, and neuroscience departments to a modern, centralized location. By bringing together these programs, the project aims to foster collaboration across various disciplines through shared space and research laboratories. The proposed building already is on track to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, a benefit to the campus, neighborhood, and District of Columbia.

Science now is the fastest growing area of undergraduate study on campus and AU has seen a steady increase in interest from both students and faculty. The university’s current science building, Beeghly Hall, was built in 1968 and AU now wants to build facilities that better meet modern standards for science education and research. This has an impact on the quality of education AU is able to offer students, as well as the university’s ability to secure grants and other funding for important research.

The concept of a new science building was included as part of the university’s 2011 Campus Plan. The new building’s proposed location is the parking lot next to the Asbury building, internal to the main campus.

AU has shared preliminary plans with the university’s adjacent neighbors and will present them at the May 3 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in Elderdice Hall at Wesley Theological Seminary (4500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). Information on the project also will be shared at the June 5 meeting of the Community Liaison Committee. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Abramson Family Founder’s Room at AU’s School of International Service.

Neighbors are encouraged to attend these meetings to learn more about the proposed building.

For additional information on the proposed Hall of Science, including a list of FAQs, please click here.

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AU Commencement Slated for May 13, 14, and 21

KAM2017-05-01 Commencement

AU schools and colleges will hold their 2017 graduation ceremonies in Bender Arena on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. The Washington College of Law commencement will take place on Sunday, May 21, also in Bender Arena. The university anticipates increased activity around campus, as families and friends visit for the occasion.

All parking areas on campus will be open for commencement with extra shuttle buses added from the Tenleytown metro and Washington College of Law. All participants have been encouraged to use public transportation and reminded of AU’s Good Neighbor parking policy.

AU Public Safety will assist with traffic control at several key locations including the Katzen Arts Center garage, the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues, NW, and Ward Circle.

American University awarded its first degrees (two doctorates and one master’s degree) in 1916 at a commencement ceremony held in the university’s amphitheater. AU commencements have grown over the years as the university has become larger and more diverse. More than two thousand students from AU’s six schools and colleges participate in commencement ceremonies each year.

For additional information on AU’s 2017 commencement, visit

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  WAMU Community Council Meets May 10

KAM2017-05-01 WAMU

The WAMU Community Council will hold its next quarterly meeting May 10. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the community room at WAMU's Media Center, at 4401 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

The WAMU Community Council is the station’s community advisory board and serves as its "eyes and ears" in the greater D.C. area community. The Council meets four times a year to review the station's programming goals and significant decisions, as well as advise station management as to whether it is serving the needs of its listening audience. Community Council meetings are open to the public, and listeners are encouraged to attend.

The purpose of the Council is to represent the interests of the listening public in regular meetings with the staff and management of WAMU 88.5. The Community Council consists of up to 21 individuals living within the coverage area of the station who are contributing members and who wish to preserve, promote, and strengthen the public radio service provided by WAMU 88.5. The composition of the Council reflects the diversity of the community served by the station. The Council also provides assistance to station staff in carrying out community outreach activities. The role of the Community Council solely is advisory in nature.

For more information, please contact Madeleine Poore at 202-885-8874 or by e-mail at If you are a WAMU member and would like to be considered for membership on the Council, please submit your bio and a statement of interest to the above email address.

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Katzen Arts Center Offers Yoga in the Galleries

KAM2017-05-01 Yoga

Join certified Kripalu yoga instructor Eva Blutinger every Wednesday through July 26 for a reflective yoga practice in the Katzen Museum. Allow art and yoga to refresh, rejuvenate, and take you on a journey to your intuitive, creative, and authentic self. Yoga is about self-expression and, like the works in the gallery, a form of art that reaches the deepest levels of relaxation, tranquility, and stillness. The powerful meditative aspects of Kripalu yoga combine breath and movement that help you to slow down, be in the present moment, and appreciate the beauty and art that surrounds you. The museum is the perfect venue for such a healing and empowering experience.

Classes are $10 per session and $5 for museum members at the Family Level ($100) or below. The fee is waived for members at the Associate Level ($250) or above. For more information on membership levels, benefits, and to become a member, visit the membership page, call (202) 885-3656, or email

Cash and check are accepted prior to the class or pay online in advance by clicking here. RSVP required. For more information, visit the museum's homepage online. Metered parking is available underneath the Katzen Art Center for $2 per hour. 

It also is recommended that you bring thick mats, blocks, and blankets.

Eva Blutinger has been dedicated to the practice of yoga for more than 20 years. She is a certified yoga instructor with accreditation for 500 hours from The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized yoga training institute. She works with wounded warriors and veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, teaches students at the American University, and is a faculty member at the Sheridan School with a focus on stress management.

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Community Audit Program Opens for Summer

KAM2017-05-01 Audit

Before you know it, summer will be upon us, so now is a great time for our neighbors to consider enrolling in a class during the summer semester as part of AU’s Community Audit program.

Modeled after the Alumni Audit Program, the Community Audit Program is coordinated by the Office of Alumni Relations in conjunction with the Office of Community Relations. The program offers adults ages 60 and older, who live in the 20016 Zip Code, the opportunity to attend university courses on a noncredit basis for a modest fee. Auditors may listen to the same lectures and work from the same texts as enrolled students.

For just $100, $75 of which serves as a donation to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, neighbors are offered a rewarding way to enhance professional skills, take class with popular professors, or delve into a new hobby and pursue a commitment to lifelong learning. Enrolling is easier than ever, as the Office of Alumni Relations has streamlined the registration process for auditing courses to improve the user experience for neighbors.

“The community audit program is another great benefit for those who live close to the university,” said Andrew Huff, AU’s Director of Community Relations. “Our neighbors have some very interesting experiences and life stories, so I believe our students and professors will learn just as much from the neighbors as our neighbors will learn from the class.”

Registration for the summer semester is open now. For additional information, visit or call 202-885-5962.

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Welcome AU’s New Interim Vice President of Campus Life

KAM2017-05-01 Campus Life

American University's Fanta Aw, Ph.D was named recently as Interim Vice President of Campus Life after Dr. Gail Hanson announced that she would be retiring.  

Aw said, "When I was offered by Dr. Kerwin this amazing opportunity to serve AU, my alma mater, it was a hard one to turn down. AU has been the place where I found my intellectual and professional home. It has been the place where I earnestly feel I have found my purpose, which is to be an educator."

Further encouragement came from the hundreds of emails, calls, and texts Aw received from the university community. She said it reaffirmed for her the fact that while she came to AU to build a career, during that time, she had managed to contribute her talents both to the students as well as the institution.

A self-described "roll-up–your-sleeves person" and a "people person," one of Aw's first priorities in her new role is to spend a lot of time listening and observing. She said she believes in the power of people coming together in common interest and wanting to do collective work.

To achieve that goal, Aw said, "I want to know what is working well and what we can do as students, faculty, and staff to really improve the day-to-day experience at AU. That will help me identify some priority areas. I will have an open door, and students are critical to that open door. I need to keep close to the pulse of the students."

She also is intent to help students find purpose and meaning during their collegiate years.

"This is something that is near and dear to my heart. We have to work with and empower students to know how they can shape their community. I want to help students to see themselves in leadership roles as students, educators, and as members of our community who want to invest in that community."

As the university looks forward to welcoming Sylvia Burwell as its new president, Aw said that she is excited to work closely with her.  

"I look forward to introducing her (Burwell) to the AU story – and the AU story is through the lens of the students. In Campus Life, we are in a unique position to provide that. I want her in front of students having candid conversations on their experience here at AU, the good and the bad. I always see those as opportunities for us to grow and be better."

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Alternative Views: MFA Thesis Exhibition

May 2 – May 28, 11 a.m.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

AU’s Department of Art presents the work of current first- and second-year MFA candidates in a two-part exhibition. The multidisciplinary Studio Art program showcases an exciting range of emerging artists’ work in painting, sculpture, collage and material studies, photography, and new media. The exhibition features works by Zarina Z., Sarah O'Donoghue, Sarah Norman, Jen Noone, Yaroslav Koporulin, Aaron Eckstein, and Mills Brown.

Yoga in the Galleries

May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 10 a.m.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Led by certified Kripalu Yoga teacher Eva Blutinger, this yoga class provides mental clarity and relaxation in the peaceful surroundings of our art galleries. Please bring a mat. Cost is $10 for non-members, $5 for museum members, and free for members at the Associates level and above.

American University Commencement Ceremonies

American University's 133rd commencement ceremonies will feature the commencement address, remarks by President Kerwin, recognition of university and student achievement awardees, and the conferral of degrees.

College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremony

May 13, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Bender Arena

Kogod School of Business Commencement Ceremony

May 14, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Bender Arena

School of International Service Commencement Ceremony

May 14, 2:30 – 5 p.m.

Bender Arena

Washington College of Law

May 21, 1 p.m.

Bender Arena

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How to Contact Us

Office of Community Relations
(202) 885-2167

Public Safety
non-emergency: (202) 885-2527
emergency: (202) 885-3636
Community Incident Reporting Form

Dean of Students
(202) 885-3300

Parking & Traffic Office
(202) 885-3111