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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

Graduates throwing graduation caps into the air.

May 2011

There are many special occasions at AU, but few capture the feeling of being a part of a sea of graduation robes, tassels, and caps. It’s a time that evokes a multitude of emotions whether you are a graduate, a parent in the audience, or a roommate or professor saying goodbye. AU Commencement activities begin Friday, May 6, with our University Honors Program Convocation, a Baccalaureate Service, and a toast to graduates. Our schools and colleges have their graduation ceremonies in Bender arena on May 7 and May 8 (Mother’s Day). We want to let our neighbors know that this is graduation weekend, as there are likely to be more people around the campus and the area these next few days.  Graduation for the Washington College of Law will be held later on Sunday, May 22.

After graduation, we settle into a quieter pace on campus. Our first summer sessions begin on May 9. It is a lovely time to walk the campus and enjoy our grounds and gardens, as many neighbors already do. There are still a number of things to do on campus, including our Farmers’ Market every Wednesday, and a Library Garden Party on May 20. We look forward to seeing you.

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Be a Voice For AU: Support AU’s 2011 Campus Plan

As the DC Zoning Commission hearings for the approval of American University's 2011 Campus Plan begin on June 9, it’s important to show that it has the support of the entire AU community.

The Campus Plan reflects the university’s desire to strengthen its impressive growth in academic prestige, be an asset to Washington, DC, and an educational, cultural, and aesthetic amenity to the surrounding community. To fulfill these exciting objectives, AU plans to:

  • enhance undergraduate housing to remain competitive in higher education
  • provide more recreation, dining, and activity space to give students an on-campus focus
  • create a new law school campus close to public transportation and a retail corridor
  • build additional offices to attract and keep top faculty
  • improve science and research facilities to sharpen our scholarly edge
  • add athletics facilities for fitness and campus wellness
  • establish an admissions welcome center for new students and their parents

Here are some ways you can show your support for the Campus Plan.

  • Write a letter to the Zoning Commission and other city officials. For more information, visit the Support the Campus Plan Web site.
  • Write an online letter of support to the Zoning Commission.
  • Tweet your support using the hash tag #AUCampusPlan.
  • Post the link to the online letter on Facebook (use the short url ).

To view the plan, visit the Campus Plan Web site.

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A Very Special Garden Party

It’s one of the prettiest times on campus and we hope you will join us under the tent on AU’s Friedheim Quadrangle for a special evening event, our Library Garden Party on Friday, May 20 from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Enjoy tours of the AU Library and Arboretum from 6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. After that, we’ll gather for heavy hors d’oeuvres and an expert-guided wine tasting with AU alum James Bogaty (CAS/BA ’76), owner of Veramar Vineyard, a 100-acre private estate in Berryville, VA, featuring a family-run winery and vineyard. Tickets for the event are $75 and $125 (includes your choice of a bottle of wine from Veramar Vineyard or an Arboretum planter). All proceeds from the event will benefit the Library and the AU Arboretum and Gardens. For more information, contact Elizabeth LaRocca at 202-885-3847 or by e-mail at You also may register online at

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Project Move-Out Community Sale

Tag sale in the Tavern

From TVs to shoes, the sale had something for everyone. Proceeds from the event and the remaining unsold items were donated to four local charities.

AU’s first Project Move-Out Community sale was a great success. “It was our first year and we were very pleased,” said Curtis Hoover, Director of Conferences and Residential Services in AU’s Housing and Dining Programs. More than 300 people came to the sale in the Tavern in Mary Graydon Center that featured gently-used items from students as they moved out of their residence halls, and contributions from faculty and staff. The sale raised $1,850. All proceeds, including clothing and household items at the end of the sale, plus donations of toiletries and food items were distributed to four charities: M.O.M.I.E.S, TLC (Mentors of Minorities in Education’s Total Learning Cis-Tem), the Capital Area Food Bank, Damien Ministries, and A Wider Circle. Project Move-Out supports AU’s Zero Waste Policy and commitment to sustainability.

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AU Recieves Award from Washington Home and Community Hospices

On April 28, American University was honored to receive the Community Partner Award from the Washington Home & Community Hospices. Tim Cox, CEO of the Washington Home, said the award reflected a partnership between his organization and AU that has spanned many decades. Last year, some 150 students, and faculty and staff volunteered their time at the Washington Home. More than a century after they were both founded, The Washington Home (1888) and American University (chartered by Congress in 1893) continue to work together in the community.

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A World of Color at the AU Museum Shop

“I can’t believe I haven’t known about this shop before,” a neighbor remarked recently. The American University Museum shop in the Katzen Arts Center is a perfect place to find gifts for Mother’s Day, graduation, birthdays, and other occasions. You’ll find a constantly changing array of handcrafted, artist-inspired, and eco-friendly merchandise. And lots of color. Be sure to check out the frames made from magazines, good-looking handbags made from recycled tires, jewelry made by local artists, along with exhibition catalogues and art books. If you need some suggestions, shop manager Ann Miller-Lee will be happy to assist you. Give her a call at 202-885-3656.

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Rhubarb Anyone?

Bunches of Rhubarb for sale at the AU Farmer's Market

The warm weather means lots more goodies at the AU Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on the quad in front of Ward Building. You can even check with Agora Farms ahead of time at to see what they will be bringing for sale. All of their produce is organic and pesticide free. Right now, you’ll find spring delights including organic rhubarb, spring veggies, Amish yogurt and sharp cheese, Gideon Fisher’s mustard, and the popular homemade Whoopie pies. Also, Upper Crust Bakery has some of the best breads, cookies, and scones around. So bring your shopping bag and join us.

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State-of-the-Art Audio Tech Studio Opens

Audio tech's 70 students will begin working in the state-of-the-art lab in January. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

We’ve opened a new audio tech studio in the Kreeger building on campus. The new state-of-the-art space includes three recording rooms, mixing and post-production suites, and a digital audio room. It’s a much welcomed change from the early days of the program when it was housed in a physics lab in the basement of McKinley building. It also comes at just the right time with a surge of interest in audio tech that has resulted in a 15 percent increase in enrollment over each of the past two years. “We’re very proud to give a first-rate program a first-rate home,” AU President Neil Kerwin said at the studio’s recent dedication, adding that “students and faculty have a facility that’s worth their talent.”

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Leading the Way with More Green Energy

The installment of the largest solar photovoltaic system in Washington, DC at American University.

The installment of the largest solar photovoltaic system in Washington, DC at American University.

AU celebrated Earth Week with a groundbreaking ceremony for our installation of the largest solar power system in DC, and the largest urban solar hot water system on the east coast. By July, AU will have 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels installed on six of its buildings. Simultaneously, 174 solar thermal energy panels will be installed on four campus buildings. This solar thermal system will convert sunlight into thermal energy which is sent to a tank to provide hot water for our dining hall as well as for showers for more than 2,000 students living on campus. These new solar systems are part of AU’s commitment to reduce energy consumption and to become a carbon-neutral campus by 2020. AU already is using wind power for 100 percent of its purchased electricity, and we’re planning to create renewable energy on campus with a number of other projects including the installation of a wind turbine designed by an AU professor. Stay tuned for more green news.

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May Events

Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. Curators Klaus Preilipper and Lee Newman discuss Robert D’Arista’s current exhibition at the AU Museum. Free and open to the public. At the American University Museum in the Katzen Arts Center, free parking under the Katzen building.

Wednesday, May 11 at 7:15 p.m. Alumni author series features Jamaican native Pearl Rance-Reardon to talk about her first book Little Black Room. Her short stories explore subjects from divorce and online romance to race and class issues. Reception with author ($15) at 7:15 p.m. Free book talk at 8 p.m. AU Library, Mudbox Coffee Shop. For information, call 202-885-5902.

Friday, May 20 at 6 p.m. A very special evening garden party on AU’s quad with hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting with AU alum James Bogaty, owner of Veramar Vineyard in Virginia.  Pre-party tours of the AU Library and the Arboretum and Gardens. Tickets $75 and $125. Sponsored by the Friends of the AU Library and AU Arboretum and Gardens. For more information and tickets, call 202-885-3847. Friedheim Quadrangle on Campus. Free parking.

Tuesday, May 31 at 10 a.m. Samuel Oram and Shou Ping Liu will play Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 in D Minor with second piano, followed by a discussion. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at AU. Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center. Parking available at Katzen. For information, call 202-895-4860.

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For event details and a full list of all upcoming events, see the University Events Calendar.