Friday, February 20, 2009

Washington Watchdogs: An Endangered Species?

While the government has doubled in size since 2001, Washington’s watchdog journalists have become a dying breed, according to Wendell Cochran, moderator of Tuesday night’s American Forum.

Four seasoned journalism professionals held a panel discussion from the campus of American University. “Washington Watchdogs: An Endangered Species?” was the latest installment of the School of Communication and WAMU radio’s American Forum. The discussion addressed many media issues, primarily focusing on the reasons for and consequences of the dissolving Washington press corps.

The forum comes one week after the Project for Excellence in Journalism released a special report on “The New Washington Press Corps.” Tyler Marshall, the author of the study and American Forum panelist, found that the staff levels of the mainstream media were declining sharply. However, the decline in mainstream press has been matched by the growing special interest and niche media. “The Washington press corps was not so much shrinking as it was transforming itself and changing its shape,” Marshall said. He also added that he was surprised to find a sharp increase in the number of foreign correspondents.

Broadcast live on C-SPAN and WAMU 88.5 FM, the event began at the stroke of 7 p.m. American University students and faculty filed into Mary Graydon Center, many ready with pressing questions on the state of Washington’s news media.

The nation’s capital city had lost half of its newspaper bureaus since 1985 and saw a sharp decrease in the amount of broadcast journalists, Cochran said. The panel discussed the effects that the cutbacks have had on the political process and American democracy. “You can’t let those people run around Washington without a chaperon,” Cochran said, quoting a friend concerned with the lack of coverage.

Also discussed at length was the concept of byline migration. Journalists used to begin their career in the niche market, hoping to one day make it to the mainstream media. This trend has reversed and many mainstream media reporters are now working at specialized niche publications, Marshall said. This troubled the panel because they feel that experienced and talented journalists are surpassing the mainstream media.

“I think you go where the paycheck is first,” Whitaker said. He gestures to Suzanne Struglinski, the senior editor of Provider health care magazine. “Many of those reporters have found very rewarding work.”

Panelists agreed that the recession has made a bad situation worse. Suzanne Struglinski experienced the firsthand effects of the cutbacks. Struglinski was the lone Washington correspondent for Deseret News in Salt Lake City when the newspaper closed its Washington bureau last summer. She is also the former president of the Regional Reporters Association. Struglinski said she is worried that without a regional voice, individual cities and towns “are not going to get the detailed information on their delegation.” The panel discussed the importance of regional Washington reporters as there are so many legislators and politicians to hold accountable.

Panelists expressed concerns with reporters attempting to cover Washington politics from a distance. “You can’t tell whether a representative is the same person in Washington as they are back home,” said Melinda Wittstock, founder and CEO of Capitol News Connection. Wittstock also stressed the importance of finding an efficient economic model to cover Washington politics “on the ground.”

“Mainstream media, as it’s traditionally defined, is under increasing financial pressure,” said Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker. Also the Senior Vice President for NBC News, Whitaker added that broadcast ratings were very strong despite the economic crisis. “I think it’s very bad in newspapers and newsmagazines, which is my former stomping ground,” Whitaker said.

“We’re in kind of uncharted territory in terms of how the economy is going to play out,” Wittstock said. Despite an uncertain future, Struglinski was confident that although the business model had changed, journalism is here to stay.

Sitting in the audience were many young, aspiring journalists looking for wisdom and advice from professionals. “What’s the hope here for our students?” Cochran asked. “Why should they get into this business?”

“Right now it beats Wall Street,” said Whitaker as the panel and audience chuckled.

“If you want to avoid boredom,” Wittstock added, “this is the best job in the world because every day is different."

American Forum on Washington Watchdogs

American Forum on Washington Watchdogs
Hannah Ford
Coverage of the Unite States government by Washington journalists has been cause for concern, say four prominent journalists Tuesday night.
This past Tuesday was another edition of WAMU 88.5 and American University School of Communication’s American Forum. The panel was made up of four of media’s top journalists, Suzanne Struglinski, Mark Whitaker, Melinda Wittstock, and Tyler Marshall. They all have experience covering Washington through multiple media. The panel was moderated by Wendell Cochran, the Associate Professor at AUSOC. They covered the effect of newspaper closures and the rising population of the “niche media.” The forum was named “Washington Watchdogs: An Endangered Species?”
Cochran set the scene when he opened the forum by citing a study that claims the number of newspapers with bureaus in Washington has declined by half since 1985. He also pointed out that it usually has fallen to Washington reporter to explain the workings of the government to the people, and lately government officials are accurately being taken to task by journalists. He says we need to examine the changes that are happening with the American people and our democracy because of this.
Marshall cited the major decrease of reporters working in the mainstream media, and a large increase of what he calls the “niche media” as possible causes of a lack of journalists covering Washington. Now, the mainstream media is mostly composed of niche writers, writers who are focus on one specific thing, not like the previous mainstream media journalists who could write unbiased about a wide variety of things.
Marshall says that this has severe implications for our democracy and that the movement of mainstream media writers to niche media writers “raises questions of how well our citizens are being informed.”
Whitaker second most of Marshall’s views, and commented on how it didn’t help to give people free access to news on the web because then there was no encouragement to buy an actual paper. There is no question that mainstream media is under much financial strain, he said. “It used to be that you need investigative reporters to go and hunt down documents, now if you really interested and you know what you’re doing you can do that yourself.”
This is cause for worry to Whitaker because there is a decrease of traditional experienced reporters, and much of the great investigative reporting that has been done over the last few decades has been done by a whistle blower who could trust a reporter and newspaper. But now, it’s different because a niche reporter stands on his own, and the whistle blower might not trust that as much as an entire news organization.
To Struglinski, this shows that the economy is controlling the media. The less money there is, the fewer reporters are being sent from their towns to cover what’s going on with their representative in Washington. Individuals, towns, cities won’t get their local political information because no one is talking to Congress for them.
The integrity of investigative reporting isn’t the only thing at stake right now, there’s also eyewitness journalism, says Wittstock. She believes it is nearly impossible to cover D.C. from “back home.” She said when you do not have anyone watching Congressmen, there’s no way to tell if they are being the same people they are away from Washington.
It seems as though many of the problems with the lessening of journalists in the mainstream media, and reshaping of the Press Corp. in general all stemmed from the economic situation and the internet.
“Getting news from the Internet is like drinking from a fire hose,” Whitaker said while he was discussing the Internet. “It’s a lot of water, but you can really be easily overwhelmed by it.”
Even though much of the discussion that evening was morose and focused on the many problems in journalism right now, viewers could tell the panelists still had a passion for their profession. When asked by Cochron why should students get into journalism, Wittstock responded, “Being a journalist is the best thing you could ever do. It’s a front seat to history.” Whittaker joked that it beats Wall Street right now. Marshall finished up by saying “my children asked me why I wanted to be a journalist and I told them because I never wanted to grow up. It’s probably the highest job satisfaction, it’s worth it.”

-end-

The American Forum: Is Faster Better?

The American Forum this past Tuesday stressed the fact that faster is not always better when it comes to the distribution of news in society today.
Melinda Wittstock, Founder and CEO of Capital News Connection, says, "You can be fast and correct and still miss the story, "in reference to the emerging forms of media, such as blogging and web casts.
The American Forum held at American University looked at the state of journalism in the world today as an, "Endangered Specie".  Consisting of multiple panelists, and moderated by Wendell Cochran, an Associate Professor at the School of Communication, the forum gave its perspective on the effects that newer forms of reporting have on American people and democracy.  While these new forms may be faster, they do not have the same values as traditional journalism, and they amount to a great expense as well.
Tyler Marshall, a Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist, gave his insight on what's happening in journalism today.  He depicted how mainstream media staff levels are declining as the media itself is transforming.  There has been a dramatic increase in the MISH (magazine, newsletters, and online communication) media, as well as a sharp increase in foreign correspondents, he says.
This new migration of reporters into MISH media has led to the ongoing question of just how well our citizen are informed.  Traditional print and broadcast reporters have trusted sources that were gained in their intense background of investigative reporting.  But some aspects of MISH media take advantage of the less experienced reporters, who lack these connection of sources.
Suzanne Struglinski, Senior Editor of Provider magazine, says in agreement with Tyler, "their not going to pay attention like a local newspaper's background.  Local news have sources and mainstream doesn't."
Mark Whitaker, the Senior Vice President for NBC News, gives his opinion to the wave of uncertainty among MISH journalists.  he says that a lot of their sources come from other journalists, saying, "We give away our content for free."
On the other hand, Melinda recently ventured into this new form of news.  Her company, Capital News connection, is an independent service that provides public radio station with localized coverage of Congress.
Melinda stresses the importance of being the eyes and ears of the news, but also thinking in a different way.  She understand that people today demand photos,  videos, and the writing.  And, her company aims to be apart of this.  But, most important, she says she wants to maintain the eyewitness journalism.
"We'll grab people coming out of the bathroom," she says in reference to the decreasing efforts made to gain trusted news.
Wendell recounted a statement that his friend once made.  "We can't let those people run around Washington without a chaperon."
Melinda agrees and says, "Citizens want this news.  Someone has to be the watchdog."
But this new form of news has other downsides as well, including its cost.  "There is a lot of intriguing stuff out there," says Melinda, "but someone has to pay for it."
While it costs a lot to simply produce the news into a web cast, the majority of the cost derives from being in that hot-and-heavy location of the news.  Melinda goes to say, "At the height of violence in Iraq, you need a news organization to keep you safe."  These MISH journalists need to be paired with a team of specialists to  keep everything in line, which many of these new branches lack.
Yet, on a more positive note, this new form of media is helping print journalists.  They call attention to their printed stories and offer them jobs in other areas of the media as well.  "The Internet is adding jobs," says Tyler.  "The only area of growth is web related."
Tyler goes on to say that journalists are going to go where the paycheck is.  He describes this transition of journalists from the print to the MISH media as a couple of magnets.
"At one point mainstream was very rich," he says.  "But the collapse was very swift and the magnet that drew reporters is gone.  Now those reporters because there are no jobs in print and broadcast move in the other direction."
Journalists today, therefore, must have as many multimedia skills possible to compete with the emergence of the MISH.  Yet, Suzanne says that the most basic skill is still the art of reporting.  "Whatever role, they will follow you," she says.  "Don't be discouraged.  Take a risk."
Perhaps the main issue with the emergence of MISH is not that new forms are developing, but the new forms of reporting are developing that do not require the strict standards they one had.  But, if the true journalists continue to do straight up news, people will begin to tell the difference between what is fact and what is fiction.
By the end of the forum, there is still one thing that all of these journalists agree on: reporting is till the best job in the world.  Whether you want a front seat to history, as Suzanne says she desires, or simply avoiding boredom like Melinda, reporting can give you a taste of everything.  And, as Mark says, "It beats Wall Street."

American Forum: Industry Experts Discuss Future of Journalism


By BRYAN KOENIG
Comm 320 Contributing Writer

Washington-News organizations need a new business model if they are to remain viable through the economic downturn and into the 21st century, a group of industry professionals said at American University Tuesday.

The pronunciation came out of an American Forum moderated panel titled “Washington Watchdogs: An Endangered Species?” broadcast in front of a live audience on WAMU 88.5 and C-Span. American University holds several such panels each semester, discussing various issues facing the media.

Moderated by AU School of Communication Associate Professor Wendell Cochran, the panel discussed the future of the news media’s function as Fourth Estate observer of and check on Washington, a role threatened by a decline in traditional news media much deeper than the economic downturn. According to the panelists, the last few years have seen vast changes in the news media and a significant downgrade of the mainstream press, including but not limited to a lessening in the way the press reports on Washington politics and policies as Americans have come to expect.

While Washington journalists have been accused of being a “pampered, isolated elite, out of touch with ordinary Americans,” Cochran said, it nevertheless “has fallen to Washington reporters to explain the workings of the federal government to the American people…traditionally, it was journalists who held politicians’ feet to the fire.” With tradition ebbing away, “today there just aren’t as many reporters to do that job.”

Panelist Tyler Marshall, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, identified three major trends facing Washington news media. First, in trying to remain economically viable, traditional news outlets have been cutting staff sharply, with fewer journalists expected to cover more and more news. Second, the overall press has been not so much shrinking but transforming in favor of a more niche oriented media with journalists working more and more for publications with specific focuses for specific audiences. Finally, according to Marshall, there has been a sharp increase in the number of foreign correspondents from other countries covering Washington, with 1,490 registered in the foreign press corps last year.

These changes stem from “increasing financial pressure,” being exerted on the mainstream media, said panelist Mark Whitaker, NBC News Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief.

For the panelists, the internet has had as much if not more of an impact on news media than the economic downturn. Like all private ventures, news media needs to be economically viable. Newspaper advertisements are no longer the great business conduit they once were and many people are turning from newspaper subscriptions to identical news content they can get much more quickly on the web completely free.

According to Whitaker, the wealth of information available on the internet has made reporting much easier and more convenient, but it also threatens to make investigative reporting redundant. He speculated that a reliance on web information means confidential sources are increasingly losing their prominence as staff reductions cause new, unconnected reporters to replace the more experienced press corps whose members spent years developing such contacts.

Pondering the end of the whistleblower, Whitaker explained that without trust, contacts may lose their confidence that a “newspaper will go to bat for you,” he said, should authorities attempt to compel a paper to release their identity.

Panelist Suzanne Struglinski, Senior Editor for “Provider” magazine, worried that with fewer Washington correspondents from newspapers around the country, Americans are losing the specific emphasis local papers place on their home representative or Senator. More and more, the limited media is focusing on big, countrywide issues and is losing track of how specific issues and decisions will affect specific people and areas. National coverage involves all 535 members of Congress, too many for a detailed analysis of individual members. “That’s a lot of members of Congress,” Struglinski said.

The news media has been forced to improve efficiency “while still maintaining that crucial eyewitness journalism that there can really be no replacement for…if you’re not there… you can’t possibly see the context with which events are unfolding,” panelist Melinda Wittstock said. Founder and CEO of radio based Capitol News Connection; Wittstock identified radio as well suited for the increased need for efficiency.

For years, radio correspondents have supplied local radio stations around the country “that aren’t rich” with news, Wittstock said. While less flexible forms of media have struggled to keep up, radio is already accustomed to doing a story in “ten different ways for ten different stations.”

For all the problems newspapers face, there are areas “where they can really do a better job,” Whitaker said. “Newspapers can’t afford to be all things to all people.” Instead, Whitaker suggested individual papers do what they do best and leave different kinds of papers to provide different kinds of coverage.

The panel was not entirely bleak in its assessment of Washington media. According to Whitaker, ratings have seen the first growth in recent memory. Whitaker attributed the improved ratings to an increased interest among audiences, owing in large part to Barack Obama’s election and inauguration to President as well as the economic downturn.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Washington Watchdogs Wandering Away

N ANDREW TOMLINSON
AMERICAN FORUM
2/19/09

The way the United States government is being covered by journalists in Washington is changing for the worse, according to four of the media’s own Tuesday night.

Tuesday night was another installment of WAMU 88.5 FM’s American Forum. The forum was made up of four members of today’s modern media. They explored the effects of newspaper closures on the American people and democracy in general.
The discussion was moderated by Wendell Cochran and featured journalists Mark Whitaker, Melinda Wittstock, Suzanne Struglinski and Tyler Marshall. All of them have experience covering the government and Congress in either print or broadcast. Along with their experience in Washington they also all have had their jobs affected by the struggling economy.

Marshall, who just finished a book on the declining media in Washington, was one of the experts on the panel. There were several trends he saw in the new Washington media. Those trends seemed to be focused around the changing Washington Press Corp, the rise of niche media and the increase in foreign correspondents.

“We found this has implications in the democratic process,” Marshall said. “If you accept the premise that talented journalists are a finite commodity, then this migration away from mainstream media… raises questions of how well our citizens are informed.”

Whitaker echoed much of Marshall’s thoughts when he remarked on the decline of local media. He remarked on how local media felt the government in Washington was not a local story back home. Rather he said they feel that if it is not in their backyard it doesn’t apply to where they are from.

Following Whitaker, Struglinski gave her opinion on how she believed the decline in Washington reporters was because of “lines on an accounting page.” To her it is another sign of how the economy is dictating the media. She stated that she believes it is not the news judgment people who are scaling back the Washington coverage, but rather people in charge of the money.
“It’s freighting when all of the sudden you are going to be watching a webcast of a committee hearing and that is what your Washington coverage will be,” Struglinski said of the declining local coverage. “Readers deserve better than that and journalists deserve better than that.”

The lack of local coverage is just one example of how the loss of Washington journalists is going to effect democracy. Everyone on the panel acknowledged that with no local reporters in Washington voters cannot get unbiased information on a member, instead they have to turn to the offices themselves.

Aside from the lack of local media, Whitaker stated that the decline in media presence means the decline in investigative reporting. He believes that confidential sources are less willing to come forward to a niche or Internet journalist. To him Whistle blowers are the only way scandal and wrongdoing will be uncovered.

“Anybody who knows how our business works, knows that in order for confidential sources to be willing to talk to you; one you need trust which is built up over time,“ Whitaker said when describing how important traditional media is to investigative reporting. “You also need some guarantee and expectation that a news organization will go to bat for you, in terms of protecting your confidentiality and that requires money and resources.”

Along with investigative reporting comes eyewitness news. Wittstock went on to describe how hard it is to cover Washington from afar. She said there is no way to know if a member of Congress acts differently there than back home. Wittstock made the profound statement that if a reporter or journalist is not there, then there is no way for them to see the context of events unfolding.

All of these different changes and losses to the mainstream media have led to the reshaping of the Washington press corp. Most if not the entire panel said part of the change could be credited to the growth of the Internet. While they said it could be used for good, currently it was an inefficient way for citizens to retrieve their news.

“Getting news from the Internet is like dinking from a fire hose,” Whitaker said when discussing the Internet. “It’s a lot of water, but you can really be easily overwhelmed by it.”

Overall the panel focused on the lack of unbiased news for voters. They said it was the quality of information that was important not necessarily the quantity. With the entire panel having experience at organizations such as the Los Angeles Times and NBC they all have had first hand experience covering Washington.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Transfer Student Brings Fashion Sense and More to American University

It has always Kathleen Holohan’s dream to be a part of the fashion industry. When she finally got there after getting into LIM, or the Laboratory Institute of Merchandizing, a fashion school in New York City, she decided it wasn’t for her. It was this realization that brought Kathleen to the campus of American University in Washington DC this spring semester, somewhere she never thought she would be.

“I was so scared to transfer at first because it was my first time away from home,” said the New Hyde Park New York native, “I thought that transferring as a mid-semester sophomore was going to mean everybody already had a group of friends and I was going to have no one.”

To the contrary, 19-year-old Holohan had no trouble meeting fellow transfer students her age, and she quickly found two best friends, bonded with a roommate, and decided to pledge the sorority Delta Gamma, which she says has been her favorite part of American University so far. Pledging Delta Gamma has allowed for Holohan to meet new people, people who she says are nice and fun and have made her transition here an easy one.

You can take the girl out of fashion, but you can’t take the fashion out of the girl. This new girl on campus has caught the eye of many of the students with her long blond hair and overall trendy look.

“She is always so well dressed and wearing the cutest clothes” said sophomore student from Denver Colorado, Tia Chang, who is friends with Holohan and admires her background in fashion.

Clothes and fashion are still a major part of Holohan’s life here at American University, even though American is not usually a campus known for its fashion. Holohan can always be seen wearing trendy scarves, ballet flats, and Gossip Girl inspired headbands while walking to her classes and chatting with friends along the way.

Roommate to Holohan, sophomore cheerleader Lisa Suda, says that living with her is fun and she likes her curiosity, saying that she always has many questions to ask and wants to know what is going on around campus.

“Her best quality is definitely her cleanliness and safety consciousness. Kathleen is overall a great roommate and she lets me share clothes with her, which is a plus” Suda said.

According to Danielle Rocchio, a current student at LIM and friend and co-worker to Holohan, she has worked in many areas of fashion, volunteering and the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion Show in New York City, as well as participating in charity fashion shows for the Americana of Manhasset, a New York shopping center famous for its frequent appearances by stars such as Ashanti and LL Cool J.

With all of this experience in an industry so different from the atmosphere at American, one might ask, why give it all up? The main reason Holohan made the decision to transfer to American University was Kogod School of Business, which she was greatly impressed with upon visiting the campus.

“I didn’t like LIM the way I thought I would. It was always my dream to commute into the city on a daily basis but I wanted the option of going into other areas of business other than fashion when I graduated and Kogod is one of the better business schools that I could apply to” Holohan said.

Besides being drawn to American University by the exceptional academic program, Holohan especially loves the part about being on her own for the first time. She is enjoying the DC area and has made frequent trips to movies, restaurants, the monuments, and the shopping areas, Georgetown being one of her favorite areas to visit on the weekends.
Holohan does not like to be stereotyped as a “party girl” but she does admit to going out often on the weekends as part of the college experience that she missed out on her freshmen year at LIM.

“Me and my two best friends like to go out to clubs and frat parties, which has really helped me to make a lot of new friends, but I try to balance my time between school and fun, and so far my classes have been going well with what I’ve been doing” Holohan said.

Maybe this new girl on campus will bring more than her fashion sense and outgoing personality to AU. Holohan feels that American is a great outlet to do the many things she is passionate about that she hasn’t had the opportunity to do.

“AU has been great to me so far and hopefully I’ll stop being called ‘New Girl’ soon” Holohan said.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Video for double-barrier system article

video

New Kogod Building Open for Business




Kogod Business School’s new $14 million dollar building is now open to students and faculty.

The 20,000-square-foot building features three student lounge areas, three break-out rooms, and seven classrooms. The school’s expansion also reveals the state-of-the-art Financial Services and IT lab equipped with cutting-edge Dell XPS desktop computers and a behavior lab. Furthermore, the Kogod Career Service Center is in the final stage of completion.

The new building is the first structure on American University’s campus to be funded entirely with philanthropic money. The structure was partially subsidized by Robert and Arlene Kogod, for whom AU’s business school is named.

The project has already benefited students in many different ways. For one, the supplementary classes facilitate business students with their already hectic schedules. Over 800 business students are now able to take all of their required classes in Kogod.

“The classrooms certainly reduce the stress for scheduling courses,” said Lara Kline, Kogod Director of Marketing and Communication.

Kogod students have in the past had to register for courses in such buildings as Ward, the School of Public Administration’s main building. Now, they have the advantage of working within the school. And they feel a lot better about it.

“I think the additional classes help make the school feel more cohesive,” said Evan Fedeli, a junior in Kogod..

What’s more is the software that is included in all of the classroom’s computers. In a significant way, Thomson Financial group, now fused with Reuters, graciously outfitted the school’s computers with a special Thomson financial program. The group has dedicated its financial services to many organizations and was one of the world’s largest information companies.

According to Kline, the program offers students a virtual wall-street trading floor experience without filter and no adaptation of data. The Thomson program also exponentially increases the amount of data available to students.

When asked about the computing experiences, most Kogod business students are pleased.

“I think most of us, including myself, find the computers to be very fast and able to run programs like Vista easily,” Fedeli said. “They have all the software business students need. Oh and the Dell XPS computers in the IT lab are awesome too.”

Each classroom is furnished with big desk spaces, room for computing, and two projectors for professors to use when presenting material. Out of all the classrooms, the lecture classes are the most popular and appealing.

“I have taken classes in almost all of the buildings on AU’s campus,” Fedeli said. “I can say without a doubt that the two new lecture rooms are the best on campus.”

While the classes have garnered a lot of attention from business students, it is the new behavior lab that has attracted non-business teachers and students. Located at the lower level of the building, the behavior lab performs research studies pertaining to psychology and marketing.

“The lab consists of 12 carols that divide the students who decide to participate,” Kline said. “It’s a great lab to study different behaviors of students. It is always interesting to see what approaches they take.”

The behavior lab is open to different school’s professors or students to use. In the past, many schools have been known to keep their rooms separate.” It’s a shame when colleges hold on tightly to their own resources,” Fedeli said.

There is one section in Kogod that does hold onto its resources though. It is the new Center for Career Development facilities. The center is designed to solely assist business students with their future careers. According to the website, the center helps students transition to a new career or find talented candidates for an organization.

During construction, the workers made an effort to work with the original resources. Green steps were taken with the building. “The old theatre that used to stand in place of Kogod was not completely demolished,” Kline said. “The construction workers continued to use the general framework while recycling stone, wood, and pavement.”

And now Kogod stands twice as large as the early Kogod school. The college continues to provide business education as one of the top 50 business schools in the US according to the Wall Street Journal. It hopes to keep on engaging students in hands-on real world projects, exchange and study abroad opportunities, clubs, and more

The new school is slated for a grand opening this April.


http://kogod.american.edu/ArtPage.cfm?ItemID=221&AudienceID=8

Lara Kline
Director of Marketing and Communications
kline@american.edu
202-885-1891

AU Didn’t Have to Stretch to Find the Right Guy for the Job

Gabriel Naspinski, American University’s new assistant strength and conditioning coach, puts his emphasis on preventing injuries, something he learned at his last job when his athletes suffered many shoulder and knee wounds.

            Before AU, Naspinski interned at the University of Pittsburgh where there was no injury prevention training for athletes.  After working with football players who had histories of shoulder problems such as severe internal rotation, labum tears, and “ACL or MCL issues that were never addressed through preventative measures,” Naspinski said he knew that injury prevention would need to be a main focus for him at his next job.

            Naspinski brought his experience to work at AU, and Cameron Petty is one of the beneficiaries. 

Petty, a junior CLEG major and a member of the Men’s soccer team said, “I pulled my groin last season after not lifting for a full two months… because I stopped lifting, it may have caused my muscles to weaken.  Gabe has mentioned that he is going to create a small work out that I can do this spring to specifically work on building and restrengthening groin muscles and adjacent muscles.”

Naspinski went to West Virginia University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees.  He studied physical education, teacher education as an undergraduate and studied community health promotion and athletic coaching education as a graduate student.  He graduated in 2007.  Naspinski grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and lived there most of his life. 

            His first internship was at Robert Morris University for strength and conditioning.  He interned next at the University of Pittsburgh and his first job was at Parisi Speed School in New Jersey until about October of 2008. 

Then he started looking for a new job.  His position at AU is “a lot better than the last job which was more about business… that’s not my thing,” said Naspinski. 

Naspinski found the job at AU because it was advertised online on the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaching Association (CSCCA) website.  With some clutch connections to the head strength and conditioning coach at AU, Naspinski was hired.

            Jason Riddell, the head strength and conditioning coach knew two people Naspinski used to work with.  The two men who worked with Naspinski were elites in the field of strength and conditioning.  They told Riddell, “That’s the guy I would hire.”  Riddell’s response was, “[When it is] someone I respect saying that, that’s a big thing,” said Riddell.   

            Naspinski and Riddell have their differences.  Naspinski begins his training with several injury prevention exercises while Riddell ends his training with just a few injury prevention exercises.  As a result of his prior experience, Naspinski thinks there is not enough injury prevention done and he knows certain sports are more prone to injury.  However, “you can’t stop everything,” said Naspinski.           

            As well as their differences as far as specific lifting techniques, Naspinski is less outspoken than Riddell.  “He’s more lenient, but still looking out for you,” said Brit Ferguson, a sophomore in the KOGOD School of Business and a member of the Women’s lacrosse team at AU.

            Naspinski trains the Men’s and Women’s soccer teams, Women’s lacrosse, and swimming and diving.  Riddell covers Women’s field hockey, Men’s and Women’s basketball, and Women’s volleyball. 

            Most of the teams lift three times during their off season and twice in season.  The trainers do not help train the teams during their regular sport practices.  Teams lift with the strength and conditioning coaches and teams often do extra conditioning with Riddell and Naspinski.   

            Athletes spend about a third of their practice time in the weight room depending on whether the team is in or out of season, more time if they are in season.  Therefore, it is nice to have a coach who cares about the team.  “He’s done a really good job learning names and I think he will break in and be more comfortable once he’s here longer,” said Ferguson.   

             Besides their differences, the head and assistant trainer share similar goals and wishes for the athletic department and their athletes.  Both of the trainers use Olympic based lifts so that their athletes learn how to become explosive.  “By performing [the lifts] fast, it allows the body to lean how to move fast… you need this stuff to excel at every sport,” said Riddell. 

            The two coaches would like to see athletics at AU have their own facilities.  “I’de like to see athletics have a weight room we didn’t have to share,” said Naspinski, better facilities, more room, not have to lock things up, Naspinski said. 

            Petty’s team shares their practice field with intramural sports as well as all teams share the varsity weight room with students.  “Allowing non DI (Division I) sports to practice on our field allows the program to lose a sense of professionalism.  Otherwise I like the interaction between students and athletes.  However, I do like having our closed lifting area when it’s serious training time in the morning,” said Petty.  

            Naspinski’s favorite part of the day is “when I get to see people do more than they’ve done,” the other day men’s soccer was lifting more weight for squats than they had done before, “I like seeing athletes do well,” said Naspinski. 

AU Students Organize Summer Trip to Holy Land

Lauren Barr and Ryan DuBois are donating their first two weeks of summer to an ambitious cause – peace in the Middle East – as part of American University’s first Alternative Summer Break to Israel and Palestine.

Barr, a 20-year old student from Ellicott City, Md., teamed up with DuBois, a 19-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., to organize the logistics of the program. The trip, Grassroots Peace Activism in Israeli and Palestinian Societies, will take students on a two-week trek across Israel and the West Bank in hopes of gaining an in-depth perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From May 10 to 24, students will visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth in Israel as well as Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah in the West Bank. They hope this will give them an equal and well-rounded perspective.

Last winter, Barr and DuBois participated in an Alternative Break to the Thai/Burma border. “I was just really eager to get out and see the world,” DuBois said.


Barr and DuBois returned home full of excitement, ready to lead a trip of their own. That’s when Shoshanna Sumka, AU’s Coordinator of Global and Community-Based Learning, suggested a trip to Israel and Palestine. “Of course, I jumped at the chance,” said Barr, the president of AU’s OneVoice movement. OneVoice promotes peace and dialogue in Israel and Palestine.


Barr and DuBois believe that “top down” negotiation by powerful political figures has failed and that an active and involved society can achieve peace. They are also concerned with American and international policy towards the conflict.


“I think this trip is really unique because it’s specifically focusing on the peace movement and working on the grassroots level,” Sumka said.


Barr and DuBois got to work on the project, turning in an extensive 25-page, single spaced application. The hours of hard work are evident by their close and developing friendship. However, the two sophomores still remained skeptical that a trip to Israel and Palestine would be possible. “I thought that it would be too controversial, too dangerous,” DuBois said.


Security issues posed because of the constant conflict in the region caused the Barr and DuBois to remain somewhat apprehensive. “We put a lot of love into this application,” said Barr, “but the whole time we were writing it, we thought ‘this isn’t going to happen.’”


A question-and-answer session with the Alternative Break board proved Barr and DuBois wrong. The committee initially expressed mixed reactions to the proposal but thought it was important for students to be involved in the peace process, according to Sumka. Many were excited but some had safety concerns, and others were concerned with the trip’s balance between Israel and Palestine. The committee approved the project and Barr, DuBois and Sumka began meticulously planning the details.


Sumka linked Barr and DuBois with some of the contacts she gained after having spent some time in the region herself. She travelled to Israel as a volunteer after high school. “I’ve been back a few times recently in the past two or three years because my family lives there,” she said.


Sumka’s sister works for peace organizations in Israel, while her father works with international development in the West Bank and Gaza. It was her family that helped partner them with some of the local organizations.


Barr and DuBois plan to learn about grassroots peace activism by working alongside professionals in the field. They will spend approximately half the time with the Jerusalem Peacemakers, an independent, interfaith organization focused on reconciliation. Their website states that their mission is to “support people in Israel and Palestine who have taken it upon themselves to work for reconciliation and peace.”


The rest of the time will be spent with Holy Land Trust, a non-profit, nonviolent awareness organization that “seeks to deepen international awareness and advocacy.”The trip leaders have been in constant contact with the organizations. “We feel very comfortable with them,” Barr said.


The recent turmoil in the Gaza Strip has caused the duo to be even more enthusiastic about their cause. “We’ve heard from people on the ground over there that the peace movement is feeling really isolated,” DuBois said. They are hopeful that the grassroots movement can help change the course of the conflict. “It’s imperative for us to get over there, to show support for the peace work being done.”

video

Whats New with Greek Life


Renee Arnold, was hired in August 2008 by Campus life as the new Greek Life Coordinator and head of the Honor Societies at American University, in Washington DC.

            “I love my job,” said Renee, “people are jealous because I love coming to work everyday.” Renee started working at American University during the fall 2008 semester. Replacing Danny Kelley, she hopes to bring a new light upon Greek Life.

            Born in Ohio and raised in California, Renee attended undergrad at California State San Bernardino.  Receiving her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and mastered in African American Studies at Temple University’s graduated program.  

            Graduating from Temple University in spring of 2005 Renee original planned on becoming a professor of African American Literature to college students. She is shocked when she reflects on where she is today. “I never thought I’d be here but I’m thankful.”

            Renee Arnold is more then what meets the eye. Being German and African American, Renee finds it entertaining when people try to guess her ethnicity. She prides herself on her warm, bubbly personality and believes it’s what keeps her so optimistic.

            Coming from a supportive family, Renee has a half brother, two half sisters, one full sister and a stepbrother. “People are pretty entertained when they find out my father has been married eight times, which includes the two times to my mother.” Yet Renee finds herself very lucky because her parents are till good friends through it all, which definitely makes life easier.

            Growing up, Renee Arnold always had a passion for new experiences. “I love to learn and try new things, but I also love the comfort of things I already know.”  As a child, Renee had a passion for softball. She played the sport for 12 years, but gave it up for the flag team during her sophomore year of high school.

            Her greatest memories of her childhood were her yearly visits to Germany. “As a child it was like a fairy tale,” said Renee, “we would ride our bikes through the green forest to a lake, where we would feed the ducks.” It was a feeling of complete peace and joy for her.

            Another experience Rene keeps close to her heart was a summer internship in Germany, where she lived with her uncle and cousins. In Germany she interned at “Hotel Kempinski, where she served breakfast, provided daily catering and did some office work. Here she really was able to grow as a young woman. Yes she might have traveled to Germany every summer in the past, but she was never on her own. “It’s one thing to go out on your own, but to totally adjust to another culture is complexly different.” It really tested her character and her ability to adapt, but Renee had an advantage, she was fluent in German. “My favorite thing was definitely all of the shopping, eating and sight seeing I did,” Rene said with a big grin on her face. 

Renee Arnold ended up in the District of Columbia as her boyfriend received a job as a region manager for AT&T. Being an “army brat,” Renee was used to moving around and adapting to new environments. This came in handy as her and her boyfriend had two weeks to find somewhere to live in DC from California. A couple years back Renee and her boyfriend visited a psychic, who told them they’d end up in the east coast. “It is kind of freaky how things turned out and somebody knew it before we did.”

Renee always had an interest in student affairs and applied to multiple jobs at American University but after an extensive interview period AU told her that they had a better position for her in Greek Life. There they felt she would suit better and Renee couldn’t agree more. Renee was more then grateful for the position as she had applied to 240 jobs between April and August of 2008

American University felt that Renee was more then qualified for the position, her resume showed excellence in programs associated with Greek Life, as she was part of Alpha Delta Phi, which was the first female secrete society founded on May 15th, 1851. Renee had also been apart of the honor role of her university and had multiple e-board positions through her education.

Renee Arnold’s biggest challenge with taking over this position is learning the new system and minor details, but she’s very appreciative. She believes that she’ll be able to make this program very successful because once her name is on something she only delivers perfection. Additionally, she loves to see students reach their potential and succeed.  In the future Renee plans on staying with American University for a couple of years and hopefully moving on to become Vice President of student affairs. “I’ll travel where ever the future leads, just as I did to end me up here.”

 

Renee Arnold

rarnold@american.edu

202-885-3301

Something New: Kogod School of Business

This semester started off a little nicer for Kogod students since the new 20,000 square foot is open for business. Now, overcrowding and poor scheduling are a thing of the past. With a new façade as well, it could be claimed to be the prettiest building on campus (as well as the most expensive) - - and here, that’s saying a lot.
“The new facilities are really nice and it makes for a better classroom experience,” said Kogod student Ben Corson. Corson’s opinion of the new building seems to be the overall feeling for most of the students and professors.
“It is wonderful,” said accounting Professor Ajay Adhikari. “It really helps us out. Now we have a lot more space and class rooms.” The new expansion gave Kogod seven new classrooms, new Center for Career Development facilities, Kogod Computer Lab, a Financial Services and Information Technology Lab, a Behavioral Lab, three break-out rooms, and three new student lounge areas. Not everything has been opened to the students yet, like the Behavioral Lab. But on January 12th, the seven classrooms were ready to be used for the spring semester.
The school of Kogod is the first structure on the American University campus to be built entirely with philanthropic dollars. The whole building was paid for entirely by Robert and Arlene Kogod, and when the building officially opens in April, they will present a considerable gift. The bill for everything totaled up was $14 million dollars. That’s worth an estimated 318 students’ tuition at AU.
Professor Adhikari went on to explain that before the expansion it was very difficult to schedule any extra classes or sections, and if it was necessary to schedule an extra class it would have to be on a Saturday, adding more problems. There wasn’t enough room to properly hold as many students as there are, but now things are a lot better for everyone involved in the community.
And the new look should be a big help in drawing more students to the business program at AU. With a huge class of 2011, Kogod will be looking to take in as many undecided freshmen as they can get.
However, not everyone was overjoyed by the new construction. Slater Nelson, an International Relations Major and resident of Hughes Hall has not been a big fan of all the noise. “Sometimes the construction will wake me up really early in the morning, and it’s been going on for a while now.” Not a fan of being disturbed, Nelson has what she calls ‘the sleep schedule of an infant baby,’ so any commotion is a big problem.
Kogod boasts the claim of being the first business school in Washington, D.C. It was first started in 1955 as the School of Business Administration, and was originally held within the McKinely Building. The school is named after Robert Kogod, a chief real estate developer. In 1979, he made a large enough donation to change the name of the school to the Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod College of Business Administration.
It was 1999 when the school shifted buildings from McKinely to its current home, formerly known as the John Sherman Meyer Building. The named changed to Kogod School of Business at the same time, once its first big renovation was completed.
However, the new school is not without problems seeing as house the two of the main bathrooms are already out of commission.

Sources:
Ajay Adhikari
Phone – 202 885 1993
Email – aadhikari@american.edu
Ben Corson
Phone – 2069725244
Shantal Nelson
Phone – 3472297684
References:
www.kogod.american.edu

video

Alternative Breaks to go to Middle East for First Time

American University’s Alternative Breaks will go to the Middle East for the first time in the program’s 11-year history.

Group leaders Lauren Barr and Ryan Dubois have planned a two-week trip to Israel and the West Bank for AU students. The trip’s focus will be grassroots peace activism.

“The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most pressing and has so much historical context,” said Dubois. When issues concerning Israel and the West Bank are discussed they are usually in the context of power politics, Barr and Dubois said. The goal of this trip is to see the roles individuals and organizations are playing in resolving the conflict.

While in Israel and the West Bank students will look at strategies that Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in to resolve their conflict and create peace. The group will meet with peace activists and government officials to learn how societies are creating peace and connecting with each other.

Barr and Dubois are the first students to ever propose a trip to the Middle East through Alternative Breaks. Both Barr and Dubois thought their trip would not make it passed the proposal because it would be considered too risky for students to lead a trip to a conflict zone.

“We wrote a 25 page single spaced proposal and we really thought it wasn’t going to happen,” said Barr. Since the trip has been approved, Barr and Dubois said they have only gotten positive reactions, although many people express surprise at first. “The reaction is shock and awe,” said Dubois. The American University Administration and faculty have been very receptive and have been very open to working with Barr and Dubois on the trip.

The group’s Faculty Advisor and Coordinator of the Alternative Breaks program Shoshanna Sumka said that this is the first time there has been a student led trip to the Middle East because no student has ever shown interest in going to the region before.  Although Alternative Breaks has existed for the last 11 years, student proposed and led trips have only existed for four years. Prior to that the Community Service Center organized trips.

Barr and Dubois are planning to have the group of about 10 to 15 students spend time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nazareth, the Galilee and Tel Aviv.  The trip will take place from May 10 to 24.

The trip is partnering with two organizations in Israel and the West Bank. One of the organizations is Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian non-profit organization based in Bethlehem. The other organization is Jerusalem Peacemakers, which is a network of peace-builders from different faiths that have the common goal of achieving understanding and peace in Israel.

While in Israel and the West Bank students will meet with various groups, including advocacy, community, human rights and policy groups. In addition to learning about peace strategies, trip participants will have the opportunity to visit historical sites and markets. The group leaders and the Alternative Break program are taking every measure to ensure that students are safe when in Israel and the West Bank.

“The groups we partner with are our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Sumka.  The Alternative Breaks program receives daily reports on the situation in Israel and reserves the right to cancel any trip if it’s deemed unsafe.

Students will participate in homestays for part of the trip. “We were looking to immerse our participants into the culture and get them to make as many personal connections with people as possible and homestays seemed like the most effective option,” said Barr. Alternative Breaks has done homestays in the past and Barr said they have always been a highlight for students.

“Hopefully we will foster friendships that will last beyond the trip,” said Barr.  After returning from the trip, Barr and Dubois hope students will keep in contact with those that they met on the trip. They also hope that students will remain active in peace efforts in Israel and the West Bank. Barr and Dubois are thinking about creating a trip report of stories and student reflections.

The trip will cost between $2,800 and $3,000. The cost includes airfare, lodging, food, transportation and all activities. Barr and Dubois said they will avoid taking public transportation while in Israel and the West Bank, so all transportation will be private to ensure the safety of participants.

Alternative breaks have gone to countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, and North America. Past trips have looked at issues concerning women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, the environment and the rights of indigenous communities.

 By: Lindsey Reese

Sources:

Lauren Barr     lb1985a@american.edu

Ryan Dubois    rd7584a@american.edu

Shoshanna Sumka    sumka@american.edu


Link to Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpsvapA_pDU

American University’s Alternative Breaks will go to the Middle East for the first time in the program’s 11-year history.

Group leaders Lauren Barr and Ryan Dubois have planned a two-week trip to Israel and the West Bank for AU students. The trip’s focus will be grassroots peace activism.

“The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most pressing and has so much historical context,” said Dubois. When issues concerning Israel and the West Bank are discussed they are usually in the context of power politics, Barr and Dubois said. The goal of this trip is to see the roles individuals and organizations are playing in resolving the conflict.

While in Israel and the West Bank students will look at strategies that Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in to resolve their conflict and create peace. The group will meet with peace activists and government officials to learn how societies are creating peace and connecting with each other.

Barr and Dubois are the first students to ever propose a trip to the Middle East through Alternative Breaks. Both Barr and Dubois thought their trip would not make it passed the proposal because it would be considered too risky for students to lead a trip to a conflict zone.

“We wrote a 25 page single spaced proposal and we really thought it wasn’t going to happen,” said Barr. Since the trip has been approved, Barr and Dubois said they have only gotten positive reactions, although many people express surprise at first. “The reaction is shock and awe,” said Dubois. The American University Administration and faculty have been very receptive and have been very open to working with Barr and Dubois on the trip.

The group’s Faculty Advisor and Coordinator of the Alternative Breaks program Shoshanna Sumka said that this is the first time there has been a student led trip to the Middle East because no student has ever shown interest in going to the region before.  Although Alternative Breaks has existed for the last 11 years, student proposed and led trips have only existed for four years. Prior to that the Community Service Center organized trips.

Barr and Dubois are planning to have the group of about 10 to 15 students spend time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nazareth, the Galilee and Tel Aviv.  The trip will take place from May 10 to 24.

The trip is partnering with two organizations in Israel and the West Bank. One of the organizations is Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian non-profit organization based in Bethlehem. The other organization is Jerusalem Peacemakers, which is a network of peace-builders from different faiths that have the common goal of achieving understanding and peace in Israel.

While in Israel and the West Bank students will meet with various groups, including advocacy, community, human rights and policy groups. In addition to learning about peace strategies, trip participants will have the opportunity to visit historical sites and markets. The group leaders and the Alternative Break program are taking every measure to ensure that students are safe when in Israel and the West Bank.

“The groups we partner with are our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Sumka.  The Alternative Breaks program receives daily reports on the situation in Israel and reserves the right to cancel any trip if it’s deemed unsafe.

Students will participate in homestays for part of the trip. “We were looking to immerse our participants into the culture and get them to make as many personal connections with people as possible and homestays seemed like the most effective option,” said Barr. Alternative Breaks has done homestays in the past and Barr said they have always been a highlight for students.

“Hopefully we will foster friendships that will last beyond the trip,” said Barr.  After returning from the trip, Barr and Dubois hope students will keep in contact with those that they met on the trip. They also hope that students will remain active in peace efforts in Israel and the West Bank. Barr and Dubois are thinking about creating a trip report of stories and student reflections.

The trip will cost between $2,800 and $3,000. The cost includes airfare, lodging, food, transportation and all activities. Barr and Dubois said they will avoid taking public transportation while in Israel and the West Bank, so all transportation will be private to ensure the safety of participants.

Alternative breaks have gone to countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, and North America. Past trips have looked at issues concerning women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, the environment and the rights of indigenous communities.

 

Sources:

Lauren Barr     lb1985a@american.edu

Ryan Dubois    rd7584a@american.edu

Shoshanna Sumka    sumka@american.edu

Starting from Scratch : The Field Hockey Club


“It’s awesome to look around the room and know that people are there because of something that you did,” says Nicole Davies, founder of the Field Hockey Club at AU.
Nicole is only a sophomore, but along with Rebecca Prowler, has accomplished more than many seniors can say they have. As founders and presidents, the two girls put together the club as a way for students to enjoy their favorite activity without the stress of a Division I sport.
“It was a slow process, and we were creamed the first time. But we have improved so much,” says Nicole.
The club was founded in the fall of 2007, but it was just this past year that it has become officially recognized by AU. Since then, they have competed in their first season, ending on a good note as they won their last game against George Washington University.
And the coach, Heidi Hershberger, has without a doubt contributed to the improvement. Named Patriot League Woman of the Year at AU during her hockey days, Hershberger has a lot of insight to bring that neither Nicole or Rebecca could offer. As a volunteer helping with practices and games, the arrival of Hershberger has helped make the club a little more legitimate, says Nicole.
But the road to become recognized as a club sport by AU was not an easy one. The girls needed to obtain eleven members, enough players to compete in a game of field hockey. From there dues needed to be collected and papers needed to be signed. Lastly, a website and a constitution had to be created.
“There were many times I really did not think this was going to happen. To come to a meeting and only see one other person there really made you re-think things,” says Nicole.
But with enough effort, promoting events through Facebook and hanging up countless flyers, the club was able to get some sort of recognition. And with that came a tremendous relief to Rebecca and Nicole, who now can receive the appropriate funding needed to support their club.
“We can have jerseys now and not be so ghetto fabulous with our numbers taped on to t-shirts,” says Nicole.
The girls have definitely come a long way, but there still is a lot left to be accomplished. Although there are 33 players, there is always going to be issues of them not coming to practice or wishing to go abroad. But, Nicole and Rebecca are working at it. And, they have even created an E-board this past year to make things a little sturdier.
Welcoming players that have played their whole life, or are sincere beginners, the Field Hockey Club is work in progress. Things take time, but in the midst of working at it, there is still the love of the game.

Reference: Nicole Davies
Cell: 978- 821-0773






Jon Bateman
Comm-320
13 February 2009
Povich

The Kogod School of Business officially opened the doors of its expansion building the first day of spring classes on January 12th, 2009.

Plans to grow had been in the works since 2006. Construction crews started pulling down the existing structure and ground on the new building broke in the spring of 2007.

Expansion efforts are part a way to alleviate the strains on the growing student population as well as to open a career center in Kogod independent of AU’s career center.

“The building was built to give additional classroom space to Kogod because we didn’t have enough to really meet the demands of the student population,” said Sarah Mykson, Alumni and Donor Relations Coordinator. “Also a goal was to increase the space of the career center. Kogod this semester moved the undergraduate career services into our own Kogod offices as opposed to working with the full AU career center.”

Seven new classrooms as well a career services center and breakout rooms for students were added to Kogod. “There are five new classrooms on the terrace level in the expansion and then two tiered classes on the second floor,” said Rene Kauder, the Administrative Services Manager of Kogod. “So that allows almost all of the Kogod classes that take place to happen here in the building.”

Cutting edge technology is incorporated into the building and classroom experience to enhance student learning. The new Financial Services Lab simulates a real trading floor giving students firsthand experience of the speed at which business is conducted.

“There is State of the art technology being integrated throughout the classrooms,” said Kauder. “The tiered classes 233 and 234 have quite a bit of technology woven into them.”

Expansion was the initiative of Dean Richard Durand and was completely funded by contributions of private donors. “It’s a project of the dean working closely with my boss, the Director of Development to kind of do the fundraising,” said Mykson. “The extension was totally funded by private donations. No budget from the school. It’s the only building on campus like that.”

Kogod plans to give back to its generous benefactors with plaques and dedication of classrooms. “We’re putting up plaque signage for all the donors who have made a donation and named a room, named a bench, some of the entrances,” said Mykson.

Alternative Breaks to go to Middle East for First Time

Some Students Think New Alcohol Policy Goes To Far

N NEW ALCOHOL POLICY

ANDREW TOMLINSON

2/12/09

American University’s new alcohol policy, enacted this year, now makes it against student code to be in the presence of alcohol.

American University has been a dry campus for over a decade. The alcohol policy remained unchanged through much of that time but this year restrictions hav

e been increased. Now it is a Judicial Affairs Mediation Services (JAMS) violation to be in the presence of alcohol.

According the Student Handbook it is against residence hall policy to, “Knowingly and voluntarily be in the presence of alcohol in the residence halls.”

This new policy is much stricter than previous years. Before this year, the student conduct code was only broken if a student was caught consuming alcohol. This new rule was put into pla

ce to discourage other students who weren’t drinking from encouraging alcohol use and contributing to hall noise.

Students on campus are in an uproar over the new policy. They feel it is going a little bit to far in order to stop underage drinking. There was no word of the policy switch from the administration until the initial floor meetings during the fall semester. While, they think it is excessive some do understand why

the administration have made the change.

“I think it’s kind of over the top,” senior Mike Lock said. “But, at the same time the administration wants AU to be a dry campus, from a policy stand point I understand it.”

Lock is in the minority however, as many students expressed the concern for sober students caught in rooms with alcohol present. Students often times feel peer pressured to be around alco

hol even if they don’t drink. The policy creates an awkward situation socially for some, as they have to decide whether to report their roommate and friends or get in trouble themselves.

“It’s a problem especially since I feel like most roommates do not want to seem like they are uptight,” sophomore Jessica Rybka said.

JAMS has attempted to justify the policy all year by doing in-services on hall floors. There they answer

all of the student’s questions about that policy and other regulations. While, they give the student’s their reasoning, residents don’t seem satisfied with the justification.

“I think its stupid,”(name removed at request of source) a freshman living in Anderson Hall said. “If you’re not drinking you shouldn’t be in trouble.”

JAMS and American University Housing and Dining have said repeatedly that the reason is to decrease noise. The administ

ration believes that just by being in the presence of alcohol you are more apt to add to the noise. While, the noise policy is valid several believe students who are sober and loud should be documented for that not alcohol.

“I don’t think noise always has to do with drinking,” Freshman Chelsea Glovis said. “It could be two people and music that causes the noise not necessarily that their intoxicated.”

All students who are reported for the violation have to face punishment and an alcohol violation is much more serious than a noise complaint. Alcohol classes are required for all first time offenders of the drinking policy. For ma

ny AU students though, the punishment doesn’t out weigh the benefits of drinking on campus.

“The only punishment is classes,” Glovis said. “No one really cares about the classes as they don’t take up to much time.”

Resident Assistants end up conflicted on whether or not to enforce the policy. It is hard for some to report students who were just caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. Even with their sympathy however most believe it is a necessary policy to keep the halls safe.

“The new policy helps students have a clear idea of the universities position on alcohol,” Resident Assistant Jesse Fiorito said.

“It encourages them to make safer and healthier decisions.”

With the increased number of students on campus this year the administration has made stricter policies all the way around. With a large incoming class university officials are just simply looking out for safety. Safety is important to students but when it begins to encroach on their rights many would rather be on their own.

American University is not the only college in the United States that institutes a dry campus policy. Harvard University reports that one in three college campuses are dry. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving 44 percent of college students reported binge drinking in a survey. As result many universities have chosen to be dry in an effort to stymie the students desire to drink.

AU in Motion Plans Dancing Workshops



By BRYAN KOENIG
Comm 320 Contributing Writer
Washington-Later this semester, American University students can learn a new way to move with AU in Motion’s brand new dance workshops.

Entirely student run, AU in Motion holds semi-annual team based dance performances. Student choreographers audition at the start of each semester and those selected then audition students for the group dances that constitute the performances.

The brainchild of AU in Motion dancer and e-board member Alina Sabadish, a junior, the workshops will probably begin the last week of March or the first week of April. Sabadish hopes to have two to three workshops before the semester ends, each one teaching a different type of dance, such as Salsa, Modern, Ballet or Hip-Hop.

With a $5 suggested donation to AU in Motion, the workshops will function as a fundraiser and a way to let others participate in AU in Motion, drawing attention and new members to the group.

According to Sabadish, approximately 100 people try out every semester for the competitive dance teams for AU in Motion’s performances and only about half are accepted. The workshops offer a chance for those who didn’t make the cut and for those with a general interest in dance to participate in AU in Motion.

Each class will probably have a single AU in Motion dancer teaching it. Sabadish is also hoping to bring in guest choreographers and dance professors for master’s sessions. Ordinarily costing $50 to $100 or more, with a $5 suggested donation, the sessions are a “really good deal,” Sabadish said.

Sophomore Keshia-Lee Martin will teach a class in Hip-Hop. “There’s so many beats,” Martin said of Hip-Hop’s appeal, beats that can be choreographed to in many different ways. The difference means dancers are encouraged to improvise. “It never looks exactly the same.”

Finding out about the workshops upon walking into practice, Ph.D candidate Ramaris German found herself summarily drafted as a workshop teacher. Hoping to teach Salsa, as a member of a professional Salsa group in D.C., German thought it was “cool to introduce the AU community to some Latin flavor,” she said. “I don’t see a lot of Salsa at AU.”

Ramaris described Salsa as one of the few remaining ‘social dances,’ one that people still perform in clubs but that remains a formal way to connect with a partner to a specific set of rules.

Fully dedicated to her craft, German spent the entire interview flexing her legs in various dance poses, ‘working on pointing,’ as she explained it, ingraining the motions into her muscle memory.

The AU in Motion dancers will also be taking the workshops in addition to teaching them. Freshman Vicky Botvin is looking forward to classes in Ballet, Modern and Latin dancing. A dancer all her life, Botvin wanted to take classes in addition to continued practice because lessons are “how you get better,” she said.

“All the dancers that would be teaching them are outstanding dancers and you have something to learn from each and every one of them,” sophomore dancer Kerry Toole said. AU in Motion hopes that the end result of the workshops will be “people leaving more confident in themselves.”

The dancers were interviewed as they prepared for this semester’s performance. Sabadish, Martin, German, Botvin and Freshman Mollie Garber will be dancing with and under the choreography of Toole. They will be performing a dance from the Broadway and Hollywood musical Chicago, specifically Cell Block Tango, the dance where the female inmates describe why they are in prison.

“I think it’s going to be a really good piece, because it’s very, it’s very catchy and it’s very sexy…it’s almost dangerously risqué,” Toole said, describing the dance.

Sabadish came up with the idea for the workshops last semester but didn’t have time to implement it until now. Funds raised will primarily go to renting the Greenberg Theater for the dance show AU in Motion holds once every semester. At $4,866 per booking, AU in Motion can only afford to hold the dance in Greenberg once a year, utilizing the Black Box Theater in Katzen Arts Center for the other performance. While much cheaper, Sabadish prefers the Greenberg Theater, especially for its greater size. Sabadish is hoping the workshops will raise $400 to $500. “I’d be happy with anything really,” Sabadish said.

All groups will perform at the Black Box on March 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets will probably cost $7. Those interested in AU in Motion can look up their Facebook group, keep an eye out on Today@AU listings or send an email to auinmotion@gmail.com.


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