Walking into the Kingian Nonviolence Training through the Nonviolence Legacy Project, I was rather unsure of what to expect. I had heard about the training through Advocates Coming Together (A.C.T.), a UA Residence Life group focused on social justice in its variety of forms.
I decided to sign-up.
One of the key selling points for Kingian Nonviolence is that a person can learn Martin Luther King, Jr.’s six principles and six steps of nonviolence, and also how to apply them to daily life. At the time, this was especially relevant because it was the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and many of us from A.C.T. were interested in learning about the figurehead that King represented throughout the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.
I chose the training in the hopes of it guiding me in my own peaceful protesting endeavors. Specifically, since I had transferred to the UA last fall, one feature of campus life that has repeatedly grabbed my attention was and still remain the preachings that take place on the hill outside of the Student Union Memorial Center.
Given that religion is an interest of mine, I would stop occasionally to listen to what exactly each speaker would scream out to the audience, often be surprised by the brashness of their words. I noticed how people of specific identities were targeted, whether for their supposed religious affiliation, sexual activity, sexual orientation, gender, or any other variety of reasons.
Based on my own interest in creating a communally beneficial response and what I gathered from the Kingian Nonviolence training, I have since been working on forming on a collaborative group called Love Louder.
Based on the concept of agape love, as detailed in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “On Agape Love,” the group aims to support diversity within the campus as a whole by withstanding intolerance on behalf of others.
Specifically, we want to create signs and shirts that have affirming messages, so as to visually represent a positive influence in a typically negatively charged area.
All the same, I recognize that such a group cannot operate based on one person’s vision and without support from others; in that sense, I have had the honor of working with the Angel.
Project, Harry Potter Alliance, Secular Student Alliance, and A.C.T. – just for starters – in order to collaborate on an inclusive group for next semester.
The Kingian Nonviolence training has been critical to my way of thinking, because instead of antagonizing anyone or wanting to control their actions, it teaches people how to live peaceably – actively and considerately.
The notion that you can only control your behavior and hope for it to inspire others is what makes peaceful protest both a supremely brave a daringly respectful form to respond to conflict. I hope to continue in this instruction as I pursue making Love Louder an official group. If you have any interest in participating or sharing your thoughts in the process, please visit the Facebook page “Love Louder” or e-mail me directly.
Thank you, and be sure to love louder.
An open meeting will be held at the UA April 28 at 2 p.m. in Room B315 of the Main Library. Students are invited to attend. Love Louder is a group that is dedicated toward presenting visual, positive messages in response to social injustice occurring on campus. It is not religiously or politically affiliated in any way nor does it aim to antagonize those performing unjust acts. Feel free to represent your own identit(ies) in support of diversity on campus.
Jen DiLallo is a double major studying speech, language and hearing sciences and also linguistics. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, DiLallo transferred to the UA from Washington University to pursue a career in bilingual speech-language pathology. Her organization, Love Louder, is scheduled to launch during the fall semester of 2013. For more information, visit Love Louder on Facebook or e-mail DiLallo at email@example.com.Social Sciences and EducationTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeEducationOutreachByline: Jen DiLalloUANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 24, 2013Feature on Front: No
A trove of information exists about Abraham Lincoln's funeral, which drew millions of mourners during a two-week railway procession across the Northern states.
But until now, the precise color of the president's railcar had been lost to history.
With the 2015 sesquicentennial of Lincoln's death approaching, interest in it is rising, and with new tools, researchers at the University of Arizona have turned their attention to one of the last remaining mysteries about what was "perhaps the largest traditional funeral in American history," says Wayne Wesolowski.
Wesolowski, a chemist and model train maker, was director of the Lincoln Train Project at Benedictine University near Chicago for 10 years. In 1995, he completed a years-long project of building a scale model of Lincoln's car, the locomotive and hearse and horses, all together measuring nearly 15 feet in length.
After 30 years as a chemistry professor at Benedictine, Wesolowski retired to Tucson, and continues to teach as a chemistry lecturer at the UA.
A Chicago group known as the Lincoln Funeral Car Project approached Wesolowski to consult on their efforts to build a full-size version of Lincoln's funeral car, intending to trace as closely as possible the funeral route for the 150th anniversary. An obvious question: what color to paint the new replica?
However, no color photographs, no color lithographs and no contemporary color paintings exist of Lincoln's private car, named "The United States." Newspaper accounts from the time describe the color as both "rich chocolate brown" and "claret red." But "chocolate" in 1865 was strictly a drink, very different from the milk chocolate we know today, so the two descriptions are compatible.
The car burned in a fire in 1911, having been sold at auction to Union Pacific after the funeral and passing through several private hands afterward. Just one artifact of exterior wood survived, and after years of searching, Wesolowski acquired a pencil sized piece of trim.
Using three separate labs at the UA – in chemistry/biochemistry (Brook Beam, Keck Imaging Center), art (Karen Zimmermann, Jack Sinclair Letterpress Studio) and the Arizona State Museum – Wesolowski set about investigating for the true color.
And with the help of Nancy Odegaard, conservator and head of the preservation division, comparing layers of microscopic paint chips from the original car to national color standards, Wesolowski at last found the true original color, which he describes as a dark maroon, darker, but not too far off of what he'd painted his model.
The effort at historical exactness reflects on how deeply the country mourned Lincoln's death. In early 1865, the United States Military Railroad delivered Lincoln a private railroad car for presidential use. But Lincoln never used the car alive. His presidential funeral procession left Washington on April 21, 1865, closely retracing the route Lincoln traveled as president-elect in 1861, bypassing cities with a large number of Southern sympathizers.
"It was a procession of mourning and without TV or radio, the only way to participate was to leave the farm, close the store and come trackside," Wesolowski says. "Just being there was so important. It was a colossal event."
Millions of Americans – an estimated one-third of the Northern population – came in person to see the funeral. In New York and Chicago, the crowds topped a half-million. In the countryside, people lined the tracks just to glimpse the train as it passed, similar to the Robert Kennedy funeral train.
"It was a political event. It was a social event. It was a catharsis. The man who said in victory, 'Malice toward none,' was dead," Wesolowski says. "There is now a chance to re-create a little of that history."Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: Eric SwedlundByline: Eric SwedlundByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
In the UA lab, researchers used special daylight bulbs with the Munsell color book and a microscope to match tiny fragments of the original paint recovered from the inside edge of a fragment from the train's window frame. The Munsell system was the first to separate hue, value and chroma measurements and remains particularly useful to naming. Said UA conservator Nancy Odegaard: "Color matching is very important in museum conservation labs, and we were very happy to help out with this project."Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: With the 2015 sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's death approaching, interest in it is rising, and with new scientific tools, UA researchers have turned their attention to one of the last remaining mysteries about what reportedly was the largest traditional funeral in American history - they have determined the precise color of the president's funeral railcar.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Forget the stereotype of the long-winded professor.
At the University of Arizona, professors and instructors are embracing Twitter – with its famously brief 140-character posts – to connect with their students, engage them in discussions, foster new interactions and help them leverage social media for successful careers.
"I like my students to really understand various social networking platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest and Twitter, and how to make the most of them," said Sudha Ram, Anheuser-Busch Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management Information Systems in the UA's Eller College of Management, who teaches classes on Web and social media, analytics and business intelligence.
"I want to show them that even having just 140 characters to compose a tweet can be useful."
Ram is one of a growing number of UA professors and instructors exploring how Twitter can help them enhance their classroom teaching. In Ram's case, it seemed logical to incorporate them into her classes since her own research includes several social media platforms.
"If you want to understand the various social media platforms, the first thing you have to do is use them," she said.
Keeping Students' Attention
Ram observed that students like to use their smartphones and their tablets in class, sometimes texting each other instead of paying attention. By allowing them to use those devices for the class, she found they are less distracted.
"Using social media in the classroom is a win-win situation," Ram said. "It has greatly enhanced my teaching."
Ram's students start by setting up a Twitter account specifically for the class. They then create a hashtag for the class, which allows any Twitter user to follow posts pertaining to the topic tagged with that label.
"Anything my students tweet that is relevant to the class, I require them to use that hashtag," Ram said. "When I give a lecture, I ask them to tweet what they learn, and anything that stuck with them in particular. It's fun and keeps them awake."
Her classroom has two projection screens – one for the lecture, and one right next to it displaying real-time tweets using an app called Twitterfall, which shows the latest posts as they "fall" from the top of the page.
Ram found that monitoring the twitter feed while she lectures helps both her and her students.
"Some students are too shy to ask questions, so I encourage them to tweet a question instead. Or someone might have an interesting comment or thought, and I can pick up on that once it pops up on the screen."
Ram said reviewing live tweets in class or after class also gives her a better sense of whether her students are getting the points she was trying to make in her lecture, allowing her to clarify misunderstood points.
In addition to encouraging students to connect with each other and the instructor, Ram has them use Twitter as a resource for finding information and leaders in the field who share their research in blogs and articles. She also asks them to find interesting articles on specific topics and tweet about them along with the URL of the article to share them with the rest of the class.
Helping Students Find, Connect With Experts
Building networks with the movers and shakers in a field is one of the most important goals of integrating Twitter into the classroom, said David Moore, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
"I go in and out of Twitter many times a day," he said. "I use it to check the news in the morning, and I use it in a professional way to post news about academic topics, studies, science news, that kind of thing."
Moore has been exploring what Twitter can do in a classroom, not just to engage students with the lecture material and with each other, but more importantly with experts in the field.
"Some experts are on Twitter all the time and are very responsive to questions," he said. "It's a great opportunity for students to connect with leaders in their field that might otherwise not be accessible."
Phyllis Brodsky, who has helped develop curricula for courses in the College of Education, agreed. She said she was looking for an innovative way for her students to connect globally with their interests when she started using Twitter in her class.
"Rather than looking for a new way to connect with my students, I was looking for an innovative way for them to connect globally with their field of interest," Brodsky said. "Tweeting allows them to develop a network based on their specific interest areas and, by doing so, they gather information in real time as to what people are saying and doing in that area."
Turning Students Into 'Digital Citizens'
Having students use Twitter not only helps them find information that is meaningful to them but also develops "digital citizenship" skills, Brodsky said.
"Rather than just absorbing information, I really want them to think of how they are part of it all and contribute to the community. They may already have a personal Twitter network, but they have to develop a new one on a professional level. I tell them, 'You are responsible for what you put out there.'"
Because of Twitter's increasing importance in developing career connections, students need to be aware of and careful about their social media identity, Brodsky said.
In her classes, she employs a very systematic approach to tweeting. "It is important to be set up right from the beginning to make sure tweeting doesn't become too time-consuming," she said.
"I have students start by simply following other members in the Twitter community for a while before making their first tweet. By the end of the semester, each student has to follow at least a hundred others. The minute you develop a network, other people will follow you. But you have to be selective about who you're following."
Because Twitter goes hand in hand with other social media, instructors often incorporate innovative ways of presenting information in digital form.
Ram, for example, tasks her students with developing a resume in the form of an infographic, using images to highlight whatever they want about themselves. They post their infographic resumes online and tweet about them, too.
"Some students did a fantastic job, and some ended up getting interview invitations based on their online presence," Ram said.
Ram believes some ground rules are important to make Twitter successful in a classroom setting.
"When students present their assignments in class, I ask them to tweet their feedback to each other about the presentation. That gives them an incentive to log onto Twitter and see what the rest of the class is saying."
She also offered some tips on incorporating Twitter into classroom teaching.
"Ask your students to not tweet constantly and only use it to participate in the class. That way, they are not constantly making irrelevant tweets, but only when they feel they're ready to make a point," she advised. "Also, encourage them to interact with others via Twitter, by replying to each other, retweeting interesting comments from others, or modifying a tweet to share it further. This allows them to have 'conversations' on Twitter and build relationships."Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
The UA Office of Instruction and Assessment offers workshops to serve instructors who want to make the most of Twitter in the classroom.Header image: NoNo Image: Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
After a year of imagining and developing viable, comprehensive plans for new business ventures, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program class of 2013 will present their ideas at the fast-paced and exciting McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase.
The April 26 showcase will be held 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Eller College of Management's McClelland Hall.
The public is invited to get an early look at these innovations and meet the bright, young burgeoning entrepreneurs who developed them.
The McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase will feature 23 new ventures developed by 90 UA undergraduate and graduate students. Each team will present three-minute pitches before a judging panel of entrepreneurial elite as well as display and discuss their ideas during an interactive trade show.
Innovations include biomedical devices, fitness products, agricultural technology, ecommerce websites, social apps, children's educational products and much more. Full descriptions of each of the 23 teams and new ventures are available online.
The McGuire New Venture Competition and Showcase is free and open to the public. In fact, the audience is invited to participate by helping decide the People's Choice Award for best booth and presentation. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony, where more than $5,000 in prizes will be distributed to deserving teams.
A survey of the class of 2013 shows that 90 percent of students plan to start their own business after finishing the McGuire Program and almost half plan to launch their businesses in Tucson or Arizona.Business and LawTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: EllerStudentsResearchEducationByline: McGuire Center for EntrepreneurshipUANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, April 24, 2013Feature on Front: No
In the history of the University of Arizona Wildcat School of Art, only one other student has achieved what Brody Loeffler has: successfully completed 12 years in the arts education program.
And Loeffler, 17, is on track to complete a 13th year in the program that he credits with enhancing his love for and understanding of the expansive world of art.
"My experience has been nothing but enjoyable. It's been one of the really great things in my life," said Loeffler, a high school junior.
"It was really nice to be introduced to new art forms, and I really like that I was able to do some interesting things in class," he said.
Through the years, Loeffler has graduated from pencil drawings to practicing printmaking, screen printing, papier-mâché, 3-D collages and a range of other forms. All the while, his conceptions of art have evolved, which is one emphasis of the UA program.
"When you look at some pieces that are really complex they can be hard to understand, or they might just be artful," Loeffler said. "But if I see a piece of art, I am going to try to understand it."
Loeffler first learned about the program through his mother, Alicita Loeffler.
Alicita Loeffler tells the story that her son was quite adept at drawing from a very young age, preferring pencil drawings. Some of his works were so compelling that she chose to frame them, placing them in her office at work.
A co-worker who had seen the drawings encouraged the family to seek out Wildcat Art.
At that point, Loeffler had taken to drawing marine creatures and soon exhibited a deep creative imagination.
"He would draw different types of fish and sometimes sharks, but they were very different; they had a different movement in them," Loeffler said, "One of the things that really fascinated me about his drawing was that he would sign his name and put a shark's teeth in the 'y' or make the 'y' the tail of a fish."
In fact, his name is derived from police chief Martin Brody, a charater from the movie "Jaws." Literally. Interestingly, while Loeffler maintains a deep investment in the arts, he hopes to pursue studies in marine biology.
"My husband and I have always loved the movie and the book, and we would spent lots of time fishing off of the east of Long Island. I guess he took to it," Alicita Loeffler said. "Brody once told me that he sees art in everything; a world full of art. Wherever he goes, he has this artistic vision."
And that vision had to be cultivated. For Brody Loeffler, he found that intense training and mind-broadening experience in Wildcat Art.
Also interesting: No known Loeffler is an artist, said Alicita Loeffler. But, in addition to Brody Loeffler, his younger sister, 14-year-old Reid, has become involved in Wildcat Art.
"For the children, it's a mutually beneficial environment, and it is such a positive thing," said Alicita Loeffler. "We brag about the program. It's great."
In addition to support from the faculty and staff involved in Wildcat Art, Alicita Loeffler said she and her husband have been especially appreciative that the program engages students in creativity, critical thinking and mentoring.
"It's been great for us to expose our children to students who have goals in their lives," she said. "It's a very nurturing environment and one that helps people to delve into their passions. For them to have that opportunity is wonderful."
The experience at Wildcat Art is something they will take into their futures, Alicita Loeffler said.
That cultivation is at the core of the program, said Lynn Beudert, a UA professor in the Division of Art and Visual Culture Education, which runs Wildcat Art. This semester, the program was led by doctoral students Barbara Bergstrom and Darden Bradshaw.
"Parents and guardians really see the value of the Wildcat School," Beudert said, adding that the Loeffler's commitment – and the commitment of others – to the program speak volumes to the value of the program. Additionally, numerous other youth have attended the program for multiple years.
"This says a lot for the program, as well as the need to have visual arts programs that exist outside schools for children and youth," Beudert said, adding that the program offers scholarships out of its Appleton-Potter Endowment to cover the program's tuition.
In fact, the program offers art for K-12 students who have few or no opportunities for art education, or to study art in their schools, Beudert said.
"Part of the mission of the Division of Art and Visual Culture Education is to explore and contribute to the art education development of learners – young and old. I think we model this in our Wildcat program."
Though time is nearing for Loeffler to move beyond Wildcat Art, he is looking forward to his final year in the program before entering college.
"The UA will be my most obvious choice," said Loeffler, who also noted that he is a fan of the University's Mineral Museum and other art institutions. "It saddens me that I am getting to the end of the road with Wildcat Art, but I will try and explore art in other classes."Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsWhat: Wildcat Art ExhibitionWhere: Union Gallery, Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd. When: Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Extra Info:
The Wildcat School of Art curriculum includes experiences in movement and contemporary dance; narrative and storytelling; collographic printing; cyanotype photography; post-modern architecture; clay; stop-frame animation; and other art-making processes. Students in the program visit the Arizona State Museum and the Center for Creative Photography and are visited by local artists. The classes are structured to encourage students to explore ideas and issues through contemporary (digital media, installation, performance) and traditional art media and practices (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, design).Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Brody Loeffler has invested 12 years in the Wildcat School of Art, an art education program at the UA. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Museum docents hold a very special place in the effort to share social, cultural and political knowledge and history documented through the arts.
At the University of Arizona Museum of Art & Archive of Visual Arts, the first docent program began in 1979. Today, a group of 45 people volunteer to serve as docents, facilitating tours and workshops both on and off campus about the body of work housed at the UAMA.
Ed Warner, who has served as a volunteer docent with the UAMA since 2006, said he is "still thrilled to be able to be this close to the art." Warner, notes that some visitors arrive with great disbelief at the authenticity and age of some of the museum's holding, said he takes great pleasure in "working with a great bunch of fellow docents and a wonderful group of staff members. They all make it fun to be at UAMA."
Katharina Phillips, who has been a UAMA docent for nearly three years, became involved with the museum after moving to Tucson.
"I was a docent before, and I have been an art lover all my life," Phillips said, adding that volunteers provide "essential services" that ensure the success of museums.
Warner and Phillips answered some of our questions about their service work as docents and what contributions the UA's museum is making in the lives of community members. This is the fourth feature in a six-part series exploring the history of the UA School of Art and UA Museum of Art.
Q: Why did you initially decide to serve as a UAMA docent, and what has been most meaningful to you in your time of service?
Warner: I was first taken to a docent meeting by Abby Root, who served as a docent for more than 20 years, and I wanted to have the opportunity to learn more about art and, then, share that knowledge with visitors to the museum. I watched as she would give tours to various groups and paid attention to how they learned and enjoyed their visit. I now give the tours, and it is extremely rewarding to see children, adults and college students get a better understanding of our paintings and how they fit into our history and even our contemporary lives.
Q: One initiative within UAMA has been to expand the level of outreach, particularly with more of an emphasis on offering programs in the community and with community needs incorporated. In your view as a community member and volunteer, why is such community-based programming so important?
Phillips: The residents and visitors of Tucson are known for their interest in the arts. But the community is diverse. There are many resident artists, there is a large school system, there are many retirees, part-time or year round. How to prioritize among these groups, and how to engage the University community in the process? The UA Museum itself has limited funds and limited exhibition space, but there is no other resource, including expertise in art history and treasures of art works like it, in the state of Arizona.
Q: Docents are revered for their contribution for preserving and advancing cultural and historic understandings. How would you describe the contribution you try to make in the lives of UAMA visitors? And based on your experiences, what impact does community-based art education have?
Warner: With the volume of media available today, it is no less important to see how we got here. Having discussions with visitors about painting made during the Renaissance or in 20th century America helps them connect to the past in a way that discussions alone cannot. I am a photographer by training and I have been involved with that my whole professional life. However, I have always had a passion for art and I found that being a docent is a great way to learn, renew and pass on that passion.
Phillips: There are many ways to demonstrate the impact of art in and on a community. Some will cite medical studies that show how the exercising of both sides of the brain benefits people at all stages in their lives. Others will talk about the eyes of a child lighting up when he or she suddenly experiences something new or recognizes something that matters a great deal in his or her own life. Adult learners often seek to enjoy art as one of the aspects of life on which they never had time to spend while they were still working. Yet others are interested in a deeper understanding of the various art periods, or in delving into the intricacies of different art media. Some like to fill the gaps between art experiences they had while traveling in the U.S. or abroad. In this context, it is important to remember that the impact of the arts is not restricted to formal art education. Indeed, the UAMA's outreach activities always try first and foremost to elicit individual response and to succeed in creating an arts experience, rather than offering lessons.
Q: What are some of your favorite pieces in the UAMA collection, and why?
Warner: Almost the whole Samuel H. Kress Collection. I am fascinated by our ability to be this close to the painters of the Renaissance and their connection to the Spanish world of Isabella and Ferdinand, the Catholic kings. We have an image of their daughter Juana in one of our paintings, and the Retablo was painted during their reign.
Phillips: When you become a docent, you start to look at art somewhat differently than before. There is still that personal affinity, that immediate response of delight in the craft, the theme and the execution of the piece you look at. As a docent, you also take delight in art that allows you to help others to enjoy the art you love. You seek out pieces that allow you to demonstrate the state of mind of artists at different time periods, and art works that show the intricacies of their craft as they explore different media. One gets fascinated by the emotion artists experience as they prepare their work and how they use composition and color to make their point. You understand the power of "ugly" paintings and the intrinsic value of understanding art that shows horror and pain to which we would otherwise close our eyes.
Interested in volunteering with the UAMA under the Docent Program? Visit the volunteer page for more information and to fill out the application, or call Olivia Miller, UAMA's curator of education, at 520-626-9899.Photo credit: Patrick McArdle/UANews
This is the fourth feature in a six-part series exploring the history of the UA School of Art and UA Museum of Art.
- An Expanding Vision for Arts Education, Outreach
- Photo Slideshow: Developing the Next Generation of Artists
- From Tucson to Tokyo, UAMA's Reach
Categories: Arts and HumanitiesTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: Q&AOutreachEducationThe ArtsByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesUANow Image: UANow Summary: Museum docents, like those at the UA Museum of Art, carry the important role of aiding in people's awareness and understanding of cultural artifacts. At the UAMA, dozens of people volunteer as docents, furthering the mission to provide and enhance educational opportunities for people on and off campus, and beyond. This is the fourth feature in a series about the UAMA and the UA School of Art.Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Tuesday, April 23, 2013Feature on Front: No
The University of Arizona was recognized this week by the Environmental Protection Agency for a proposed campus project to harvest rainwater and reduce storm water pollution.
The UA was awarded second prize among large institutions in the EPA's first-ever Campus RainWorks Challenge, a new design competition created to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce storm water pollution and support sustainable communities.
The UA is one of four winning schools. The Arizona team consisted of graduate students Micaela Machado and Rayka Robrecht in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, under the direction of faculty adviser Ron Stoltz, UA professor of landscape architecture.
The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation.
Teams of undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty advisers to develop innovative green infrastructure designs for a site on their campus, showing how managing storm water at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.
The UA team's design plan proposed redevelopment of the 70,000-square-foot parking lot near the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, or CAPLA.
The proposed design would replace the lot with a campus common area featuring two rings of retention basins to infiltrate storm water runoff, five underground cisterns to harvest runoff and heating and air conditioning condensate from the adjacent buildings, and a translucent shade structure with an ephemeral water feature. Water collected in the underground cisterns would be used to irrigate the landscape, reducing potable water use from 700,000 to 90,000 gallons a year.
The project, which is explained in detail in an online video, draws on the five guiding principles of CAPLA's award-winning Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory, a campus green space focused on water sustainability, mitigating the urban heating effect, reducing urban flooding, reconnecting with nature and creating an interpretive oasis.
While the parking lot project is only in the proposal phase, Stoltz expects it could be implemented in the future.
"These students are outstanding, and they did a truly integrated project that brought together science and design," Stoltz said. "This would be a really attractive location and would be iconic on campus. It is consistent with the direction many University projects are going."
For winning second place, the UA was awarded $8,000 to be used for green infrastructure research. That money will go toward a creating a "green roof" on top of the CAPLA building – a space for desert plants to grow that will provide building insulation, help reduce urban flooding and create a habitat for birds and insects. The students also will split a $1,500 cash prize.
Storm water is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of storm water pollute the nation's streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.
Yet, in the dry Arizona desert, storm water can also play an important role, which the UA team took into consideration in its proposal, Stoltz notes.
"Storm water in many places is considered a hazard; we consider it an opportunity. We approached it as an asset, not a liability," he said. "Storm water and condensate are the new urban aquifers for us, and we need to utilize that water in a responsible way."
The Campus Rainworks Challenge received submissions from 218 teams, which were reviewed by more than 30 expert judges from EPA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of the submissions proposed transformative additions to the campus landscape that would reduce storm water impacts while educating students about the movement of water through the urban environment.
The winning teams were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning, preservation or restoration of natural features, integrated water management, soil and vegetation management, value to campus, and likelihood of implementation.
Other challenge winners were the University of Florida, Gainesville (first prize, large institution), the Illinois Institute of Technology (first prize, small institution) and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (second prize, small institution). Teams from Kansas State University, Columbia University, California State Polytechnic University and University of Texas-Arlington were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries.Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: Alexis BlueByline: University CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA has been honored in the EPA's first-ever Campus Rainworks Challenge, a new design competition intended to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce storm water pollution and support sustainable communities.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
When I was younger, I was an avid reader. In particular, I especially took to poetry and spent many summer days memorizing line after line of Pablo Neruda, George Santayana, W. B. Yeats and others. I and would recite them aloud as I walked through the grassy fields of a nearby park.
Of all the thousands of poems I sifted through, there is one passage that has always stuck with me. It came from the great American poet Robert Frost: "'Men work together,’ I told him from the heart, 'Whether they work together or apart.’"
In two simple lines, those words encompass everything that I wanted the Moving Mural Project to be, and everything that it has become.
For this project, the murals traveled across campus with stop at UA's African American Student Affairs, Asian Pacific Student Affairs, Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, Native American Student Affairs, the Disability Resource Center, the LGBTQ Pride Alliance, the Women’s Resource Center and the V.E.T.S. Center – a very diverse set of participants.
What I saw happen during this project was not diversity, but similarity. You see, even though everyone wanted to paint their own unique square, I often noticed similar patterns or designs across the murals. Less salient than the paint on the mural was the similarity of the people that chose to participate.
Despite differences in race, culture, gender, sexual orientation or anything else, the people who came together to make this project work all had a common trait: a willingness to be open. What I heard was encouragement and compliments between the students, faculty and staff who came to work on the project.
One reason the project is so valuable is that it allowed people to open themselves up; to not be afraid. Once that happened and the paint began the dry, the murals begun to take shape.
In the end, the murals came to represent those old lines by Robert Frost because they showed people in those centers and around the campus that there are people just like them; people who struggle to fight, to persevere, to fit-in, to continue each and every day. And like themselves, those people fight for a better tomorrow; an equal tomorrow.
Knowing that there are so many people out there just like you is something that the students who view these murals and the students that participated in these murals will always be able to take solace in. The next step is to ensure that the dialogue between these centers remains active so that we can continue to work together.
One last note, a special, special thanks to UA art professor Alfred J. Quiroz for making this happen. Words cannot describe my gratitude and appreciation for that man.
Photo credit: Beatriz Verdugo/UANews
Vince Redhouse (Navajo) transferred to the UA from Pima Community College to pursue a degree in the Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law with a minor in Spanish. With help from UA art professor Alfred J. Quiroz, Redhouse launched the campus-wide Moving Mural Project Feb. 4 at the African American Student Affairs.Arts and HumanitiesCampus NewsTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeThe ArtsThe Wildcat WayByline: Vince RedhouseUANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Tuesday, April 23, 2013Feature on Front: No
About this time every year, the UA community, along with others across the nation, celebrate the contributions of teachers, professors and other educators.
Among the UA faculty are those who have helped us to find our life's path, who encouraged us to think bigger and better, who have supported and encouraged us through challenges and crises and who helped to remind us of our humanity. When was the last time you gave thanks to your UA faculty member, or any educator? Take the time now. (Photo credit: FJ Gaylor)
In advance of the third annual Teacher Day at UA on April 27 and National Teacher Day on May 7, we asked members of the UA community to share stories of some of their favorite faculty members at the UA. Some of the responses are below:
"My favorite professor was JoAnne Behling (English) because she is about fostering a students passion for writing. Her sternness and compassion with her students helps them to succeed and grow. She helped to rejuvenate my love of writing. Her work with the southern Arizona writing project has also inspired me to give back to communities who need it. In large part due to her influence, I will be working as a Teach for America corps member. Thank you for helping me find my way." -Paige K. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Dr. Kathy G. Short (right, teaching, learning and sociocultural studies) because she has challenged me to think critically about children's literature and teaching practice as a teacher educator. Also, she has stood by me as a lifelong mentor." -Jeanne F. via the UA's official Facebook page"Dr. Bruce Bayly (mathematics) is surely a professor who has had a very positive impact on me, younger generations – middle school and high school students – and organizations. He is currently my differential equations professor and teaches with such passion and dedication to each student. Aside from teaching Dr. Bayly focuses in many outreach events for middle school and high school students as well as college students from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He is a role model to me and many others!" -Erick Leon Gastelum, a UA junior studying systems engineering and executive vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
"Don McCarthy (astronomy) because he is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He widened my perspective of the universe. Every time I look up into the night sky, I think of all the things I learned in his class. Best. Professor. Ever." -David H. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Suzanne Eanes (left) from the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies! She's extremely passionate about her field and was a big part of the reason I switched my major to Russian Studies." -Joseph S. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Favorite professor by far is Prof. Gerald J. Swanson!! His 8am Econ 101 class was the reason i majored in it! even at that ungodly hour he was amazing, funny, intriguing, motivating and incredible. thank you SWANSON!!!" -Hilary K. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Susan Quinn Williams (dance), she inspired me to be better than I thought I could be. She was a mentor and inspiration and instilled a passion and confidence in me about dancing and just who I am that I had never experienced before. She changed my life." -Kristin P. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Cody Patterson (mathematics) because he challenged us to think critically. We really learned the material instead of memorizing it. I can apply what we learned to my other classes easily. He made vector calculus my favorite class, if you can believe that. Thank you, Dr. P." -Becca Levy, a UA student studying astronomy and physics
"Thank you Dr. Kathleen Wells (UA South, family studies and human development)... by graduation I was fully prepared to take on the dynamic role of high needs case manager for kids and families with intense needs." -Markie C. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Cindi Gilliland (right, management), because she actively participated in the refugee community in Tucson, and inspired her students to do likewise. She was truly an inspirational teacher." -Jayne T. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Professor Steven Reff doesn't just teach economics at the UA. In his class, you basically become enrolled in Reff University: he always has life lessons and open ears available for everyone. I know I'm not the only whose college experience has been greatly improved having had Steven Reff as a professor." -Kelley Carson, a political science sophomore with a concentration in international relations
"@UofA definitely Dr. David Gibbs (left) in the history department. Only class I ever wanted to write down every single word the prof said." -Nick B. via the UA's official Twitter page
"I hate science, but the great Prof. Steven Leavitt (Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research) has made his class so fun and interesting that I'm always excited to go to his lectures. Mr. Leavitt is by far one of the best science professors I have had at the U of A; he is smart, considerate, and super fun. He is the reason why I love that global change class so much." -Graciela Morales, a UA sophomore majoring in elementary education.
"Paul Ivey in Art History! So passionate and engaging and knowledgeable. I took all of his classes every semester. He made some of the deepest concepts totally accessible." -Suzanne S. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Dr. Steve Wright (right, physiology) has been an outstanding teacher to me in the classroom and as my research mentor. I have been an undergraduate research assistant in his lab for two years and I am so grateful that he entrusted me with my own research project and helped me analyze and articulate my results, which we published and presented at multiple big conferences. His faith in undergraduates to step up and be scientists themselves has been foundational in my growth as a professional throughout college. Dr. Wright has taught me more about physiology and the scientific process than I ever could have imagined and I am grateful he is here at the UA teaching our future doctors and researchers. I am graduating in May and going on to medical school, and I know my research experience with Dr. Wright was a huge part of getting me there." -Jaclyn Harper, a UA Honors College senior majoring in physiology and political science
"Professor Deborah Hughes-Hallett (left, mathematics) because she not only taught the class but stayed late in her office to help her students succeed." -Janelle C. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Patti Harada (right, psychology). She was an amazing teacher. She taught so many life skills that were so valuable. She always had a waiting list to get into her class and after having her I knew why. She completely changed my view of death and how to deal with it. (Psychology of death and loss)." -Melissa H. via the UA's official Facebook page
"I LOVED Professor John W. Olsen (anthropology)!!! He always held true to his office hours and was willing to accommodate students if their schedules did not match up with his available times. I met him a few times for a critique of my papers for the class and his feedback was genuine, analytical and always provided useful and meaningful suggestions. His passion for Anthropology helped me to determine that Anthropology would be minor and I have loved it!!" -Katy B. via the UA's official Facebook page
"Henry Perkins from the AME department and Miklos Szilagyi from the ECE dept. They would make class both attainable and enjoyable. In addition, they would spend some time talking about issues/topics not related to class which would be a nice break from the lecture and also add personality and liveliness." -Michael D. via the UA's official Facebook page
The UA is hosting, along with Tucson Values Teachers, its third annual Teacher Day at UA on April 27 to coincide with National Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations. The luncheon is full, but other events are open to all educators at no cost and will include networking opportunities, professional development opportunities centered on the Common Core State Standards and an expo offering information on UA programs and resources. The day of events begins at 8:30 a.m. at the UA College of Education and the Flandrau Science Center.Categories: Social Sciences and EducationTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: EducationFacultyStudentsByline: La Monica Everett-Haynes and Jessica CarlsonUANow Image: UANow Summary: In advance of the third annual Teacher Day at UA and National Teacher Day, current and former students share their stories of UA faculty members who have had the greatest impact on their lives. For some, the great educators encouraged deeper thoughts and important actions. For others, they were helpful in times of great challenge.Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Monday, April 22, 2013Feature on Front: No
Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or CPP, has helped launch a phase-III clinical trial to test the efficacy of a combination drug that has shown promise of preventing colon cancer. CPP was founded in 2008 to apply decades' worth of systematic, basic research led by University of Arizona professor emeritus Eugene Gerner and former UA researcher Frank Meyskens to improve clinical practice.During the trial, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute, 1,340 colon cancer survivors will receive daily treatment for three years to prevent the occurrence of colorectal cancer or high-risk polyps and compare the effects to a placebo group. "Our long-term vision is to change the status quo from treating and managing cancer to intervening before cancer manifests and prevent it altogether," said Jeffrey Jacob, founding CEO of Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals. "The idea is just like in the approach to heart disease: Instead of waiting for heart attack or stroke to happen, we give patients cholesterol-lowering or blood pressure-lowering medicine to prevent those events from happening in the first place." In addition to colorectal cancer, the same treatment approach has shown promise in preventing prostate, skin and possibly other cancers as well. Colorectal cancer affects about 1 million people in the U.S., Jacob said. "Our two-drug-combination targets different pathways that are important in cancer development," explained CPP co-founder Eugene Gerner, who retired from the department of cellular and molecular medicine in the UA College of Medicine last year. "Over years of research using cell cultures and mouse models in the lab, we have been able to systematically elucidate the molecular pathways underlying cancer formation and how to target them with those drugs." This work then was successfully translated to the clinic with the help of the NCI and various research partners. One, Sulindac, belongs to of the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, with aspirin being a notable member. Sulindac targets the inflammatory pathway. The other, called Eflornithine, homes in on the polyamine pathway. Driven by growth factors, this pathway is essential in stimulating growth and development in most living organisms. In his research, which has been continuously funded by the NCI since 1975, Gerner collaborated closely with Meyskens, who was a professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine before he moved to University of California, Irvine. Both were members of the Arizona Cancer Center. Even as professor emeritus, Gerner still does research in his lab at the UA and is an active member of the UA's BIO5 Institute. Gerner said his group focused on colon cancer in the 1980s because it was the one frequent type of human cancer for which a substantial amount of genetic information became available, especially with the Human Genome Project. "Our approach strictly focuses on the biological mechanisms and the genetics," Gerner said. "I came to the UA in 1974 and initially worked in cancer therapeutics. By the mid 1980s, I was discouraged by the lack of progress that was being made at the time. So we set out to understand the underlying processes that lead to cancer, such as the roles of various growth factors and cancer-promoting genes. According to Jacob, the company's current focus is on intervening with patients facing elevated risk, including cancer survivors or individuals with a genetic predisposition, with the ultimate goal of expand the same approach to other forms of cancer and the general at-risk population. Gerner said that many experts estimate at least 70 percent of colorectal cancer are associated with risk factors such as weight gain and a diet high in fat and beef but low in fiber. "However, there are a substantial number of individuals who eat perfect diets and exercise, but still face a risk from mutations that arise spontaneously or they inherited," he said. "Our drugs are targeting growth and inflammatory pathways leading to the synthesis of polyamines, but diets contain polyamines also. Our company is looking at ways to manage overall risk, including diet, genetic factors and exercise." In other clinical trials, CPP is also testing the therapy on people with known genetic predispositions to colorectal cancer such as patients with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, a genetic disease that comes with a nearly 100 percent risk of developing colon cancer before age 40. "The only option for most people with FAP is to remove the entire colon in their late teens or early twenties," Gerner said, "and they still face a lifetime of surgeries to control the condition." Neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer and the second leading killer of children with cancer, according to Jacob, is another avenue the company is pursuing in a clinical trial. In addition to drug therapies, CPP is considering partnerships with food companies to develop certain types of "functional foods" or "medical foods" that would exploit the same science to reduce cancer risk in certain demographics. The company is also developing new diagnostic approaches to identify people who are at higher risk for cancer who could ultimately benefit from specific therapies or medical foods. "Part of our ability to reduce risk is having means to assess that risk and evaluate the effectiveness of drugs we are using," Gerner added. "For example, some drugs work better in some people than in others. The goal is to develop diagnostics that tell us about an individual's susceptibility." David Alberts, director of the UA's Arizona Cancer Center, said: "Gene Gerner and Frank Meyskens, both absolutely brilliant scientists, have transformed exciting laboratory research findings into medications that have the great potential of saving hundreds of thousands of lives. We are very proud that the University of Arizona Cancer Center served as the incubator for this powerful, new chemoprevention technology for colorectal cancer and treatment for recurrent neuroblastoma." Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
Colon and rectal cancer patients interested in enrolling in the clinical trial, Preventing Adenomas of the Colon with Eflonithine and Sulindac (PACES), can ask their physicians about enrolling in the study, which is available at 145 locations nationwide.
Tech Launch Arizona, a technology commercialization center at the UA, celebrated its grand opening and new strategic plan during an event on April 1. A presidential cabinet-level unit with oversight of the University's Office of Technology Transfer, Office of Corporate and Business Relations and the Office of University Research Parks, Tech Launch Arizona was created to help consolidate and amplify the University's efforts to move knowledge and inventions developed by UA researchers to market.Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: From treating cancer to preventing cancer - this is the vision of Tucson-based company Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, co-founded by former UA professor Eugene Gerner.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
When hundreds of youth convene at the University of Arizona on April 27, they will be vying for the rare opportunity to represent Arizona in a new, national competition in prosthetic arm design.
As part of the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement, or MESA, program, the middle and high school students will participate in a range of competitions, largely to help them to cultivate deep, critical thinking and a client-centered perspective.
"In short, we aim to nurture conscientious STEM professionals because that's what the world needs," said Reed Dickson, a coordinator at the UA's Office of Early Academic Outreach.
On MESA Day, more than 650 students from 38 schools across Arizona will present designs of prosthetic arms, miniature roller coasters, self-cooling hats, rainwater harvesting models, water transportation systems and air-drop rockets. They also will participate in a new solar car challenge sponsored by Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technology.
The event will close with an awards ceremony in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
The introduction of the prosthetic arm competition is a first for MESA students across the nation, and it is designed to not only inform students about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM fields, but also to engage them in critical consciousness development.
The students were given a scenario: A college-bound student and a tennis player asked MESA students to design a new kind of prosthetic arm that she could then use. The teams are asked to consider the hypothetical character's life and experiences, and then begin the process of designing a prosthetic arm that can meet those needs.
"For example, we ask students to learn about their clients starting with anyone they know, and then anyone local, including local prosthetists and people who use prostheses. The idea here is that students design not for clients, but with clients," Reed said.
"While focusing on the challenge at hand, MESA also aims to help students think beyond the immediate client – toward the long-term social and environmental impacts of their design," Reed said.
He offered, as an example, MESA's disaster response design competition, in which students must design a container to transport water in the event of an earthquake in Nogales.
"While students are asked to consider the nuances of public need," Dickson said, "they are also scored on their ability to honestly present the pros and cons of their design – their conscientiousness, in other words."
The aim is to teach students to be conscious and authentic in their practice and, in some cases, around issues facing individuals with disabilities.
"When you see disability represented in curricula or the media, it often is one-dimensional and very othering," said Amanda Kraus, assistant director for disability resources at the UA's Disability Resource Center.
"If the design is limiting, or if you are excluded by design, then you will be made disabled, you will be othered and you will be separated," Kraus said.
Kraus, who served as a competition consultant through the invitation of Dickson, said the competition offers an important opportunity for young students to engage in those critical and necessary conversations about disability and access.
She also hopes the educators will begin to rethink concepts about disability and work to reframe thinking around disability.
"With this example of the prosthetic arm, there is a lot of education and training that can get you to a place where you could be engineering and designing in this way," Kraus said, adding that the competition is designed to underscore the need for improved awareness and importance of disability studies and universal design.
"We all have the opportunities to design, whether we are working on an event or a syllabus," she said. "We didn't want students to lose that opportunity to think differently and to try new things while incorporating more human dimensions in what they are doing. Now, they have this great opportunity to really think about what disability means."
UA alumnus David Hill has long engaged his students in MESA competitions, finding that the creative problem-solving aspects are encouraging and necessary for students.
"They must do research, design and testing to come up with their own original solution to the problems. This is not a memorize-and-recall-facts process," said Hill, a two-time UA graduate who has been involved with the Peoria MESA program for 20 years. "Students must be creative, think outside the box and work cooperatively as a team."
Hill, a MESA adviser, also said the program complements what students are learning in their schools, which helps to reinforce skills, enabling the students to also apply what they learn, whether it be in mathematics, communication, vocabulary or scientific methods.
"The activities in MESA have students working just like scientists and engineers solving original problems," Hill said. "I like to think that students' other classes teach them basic skills and concepts. MESA has the students put it all together. It has given them a reason to learn the skills and concepts as they must draw upon all of them to meet the challenges they are given."Editor: Jennifer FitzenbergerWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsWhat: MESA Day Where: UA Student Union Memorial Center, Arizona State Museum lawn and the Women’s Plaza of HonorWhen: Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Hundreds of middle and high school students from across Arizona will convene at the UA on April 27 to participate in MESA Day, a day full of competitions that promote learning and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Training UA School of Art students in a broad range of mediums, the University also supports students as they show their work locally and nationally and work with clients who represent businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. In effect, the UA is helping to create the next generation of visual artists. This is the second feature in a six-part series exploring the history of the UA School of Art and UA Museum of Art.Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Arts and HumanitiesTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video: Photo Slideshow: Growing the Next Generation of ArtistsFeature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The UA School of Art offers a broad level of training for undergraduate and graduate students, with many of the students regularly exhibiting their work, collaborating with clients and engaging in community-based outreach. Long Summary: The UA School of Art trains students in a broad range of mediums, including painting, photography, design, illustration, sculpture, mixed media and other forms. With UA students persistently showing their work locally and nationally, the University is helping to create the next generation of visual artists. This is the second feature in a six-part series exploring the history of the UA School of Art and UA Museum of Art.UANow Image: Include in Olympic coverage: noInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Monday, April 22, 2013
The most common response you’ll get when you say the phrase “Harry Potter Alliance” is a giggle, followed shortly by an “Oh, you’re serious.”
Oh yes, we are.
The Harry Potter Alliance is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive social change through the lens of the Harry Potter book series. For many Harry Potter fans, the end of the series marked not a close, but a renewed desire to continue to celebrate the characters and the world we’d come to love.
As it turns out, the wizarding world isn’t so different from ours: as muggleborns are discriminated against for their identity, so are countless identities in our own world; as dementors suck the happiness from their victims, so does the real-life dementor of depression; and just as Harry and his friends felt compelled to make their world better, so do the fans of the series we all grew up in.
I was certainly one of those fans, and as both a card-carrying nerd and a social change advocate, the Harry Potter Alliance seemed to be the perfect union.
Since September 2011, the UA Harry Potter Alliance has grown to become one of the largest and most active chapters in the country. Every semester we begin with a Sorting Ceremony – yes, there is a hat – for members to select the House they’ll be working with that semester.
Each of our Houses works on one of our four areas of social change: Gryffindors for equality, Ravenclaws for literacy, Slytherins for sustainability, and Hufflepuffs for self-esteem. Our projects have ranged from planting trees in community gardens to paying for tux rentals for homeless high school students so that they could attend their prom.
The month of April marks our first time participating in the Harry Potter Alliance’s annual book drive: Accio Books (“accio” is a spell to summon things). It’s a campaign that’s near and dear to our hearts – after all, where would I be now if I’d never gotten the opportunity to read a book in the Harry Potter series? Sometimes things that look like plain old books are actually tickets to the Hogwarts Express, and no one should miss out on that.
So here’s what comes after the “Oh, you’re serious" comment: “That’s awesome!”
What the Harry Potter Alliance has taught me more than anything is that we really don’t need magic to transform our world, just a whole lot of love – and maybe a little boy with glasses and a lightning shaped scar to remind us to be brave.
Photos courtesy of Brittani PhillipsArts and HumanitiesTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeEducationOutreachThe Wildcat WayGuest PostByline: Brittani PhillipsUANow Image: Editor: La Monica Everett-HaynesInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Monday, April 22, 2013Feature on Front: No