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4/17/15

By Sissi Cao/The Diamondback

Environmentalism might sound like science to some, but Terry Tempest Williams said it takes a humanitarian perspective to fully understand it.
Williams, an award-winning nature writer, came to speak at the arts and humanities college’s Dean’s Lecture Series at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on Thursday night to talk about the humanities, her writing and the environment.
About 50 people attended the event featuring the environmental humanitarian, who is known for her books Finding Beauty In A Broken World and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. She currently teaches at Dartmouth College.
“I grew up with the value that community comes before individuals. I believe community is the vehicle for social change and the vehicle for empathy,” Williams said.
The writer was born in 1955 and grew up in a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah. She called herself “a free spirit in a conservative religion,” recounting events in her early life that led her to the path of writing and supporting environmental activism.

 

To read more, click here.

3/9/15

 

By Jeremy Snow, The Diamondback

 

After 10 years of saving money, two years of planning and nine months of renovation, the Old Greenbelt Theatre is ready for showtime.

The more-than-75-year-old single-screen movie theater near Crescent Road in Greenbelt will reopen to the public as a nonprofit theater later this month. Caitlin McGrath, a university English professor who is now the theater’s executive director, said the theater could offer special events and screenings as well as internships for students.

Though it had long been underperforming and had been closed for the last nine months, McGrath said she thought that with enough support, the location could become a community staple.

“It felt like a really good fit where I could use my strengths as a film academic and connections in that world, and also with the community on this campus to breathe new life into the theater,” she said.

The theater will continue to screen mainstream movies at night, but it will now hold events, film series and special screenings for the first time, McGrath said. For example, she hopes to start by showing Oscar-nominated movies and other notable films from the nine months during which the theater was closed for renovation.

McGrath said she hopes the theater becomes a cinematic hub for the university, as students can easily reach it via the 130 Greenbelt Shuttle-UM route.

 

3/6/15

College Park was officially chartered along Route 1 70 years ago. And as University of Maryland president Wallace Loh says, “When the city prospers, the university prospers, too.”

But Loh says the city hasn’t exactly been prospering of late. And much of that has to do with the development — or lack thereof — on Route 1.

“This university has grown dramatically over the past 25 years to become a Top 20 public research university,” he explains. “Its future growth, to the extent that it’s constrained, is not by internal factors but by the surrounding community.”

Whereas a generation ago, 30-35 percent of faculty, staff and students live in College Park, Loh points out that now it’s down to three percent. “Most commute to Montgomery County, Howard County, and D.C.,” he says.

He adds that “if you look at all the top ranked public research universities, they’re also in top ranked university towns. There is a synergy between the two. Therefore we can no longer think of the continuing rise of the University of Maryland independently of the community of which it is a part.”

To read more, click here.

10/14/14

College Park residents and students at the city’s University of Maryland gathered Saturday to brainstorm a more pedestrian-friendly U.S. Route 1 – with music-filled gazebos, tree lined-sidewalks and a grocery store.

The Think-A-Thon meeting at the College Park Community Center yielded outlines, sketches, lists and a lot of notes as about 60 people — among them university staff and elected officials — sat down to find creative solutions to the challenges of Route 1.

In their discussions, attendees tried to address challenges such as too much traffic and a lack of independently-owned businesses, and tried to reimagine Route 1 as a space with more aesthetically-pleasing architecture, spaces for people to linger, art and music.

The event, organized by the Center for Synergy at the university’s college of Arts & Humanities, is modeled on previous Think-A-Thons held in Baltimore.

Read more here.

10/13/14

Members of this university and city community came together Saturday to offer ideas for the cultural and artistic redesign of Route 1 as part of a collaborative effort that aims to turn the city into a top-20 college town by 2020.

A group of about 40 people, consisting of university administrators, city officials, local artists, residents and students, gathered at the College Park Community Center for the afternoon to brainstorm ways the arts can be used to improve the city’s aesthetic appeal.

Popular ideas included open galleries and spaces for artists to display visual and verbal art, performance spaces and theaters, more parks and greenery and designated paths for bikers and pedestrians.

“We want to make life better for people who live here and work here and play here,” Mayor Andy Fellows said. ”In doing that, we’ll end up attracting people from different places, because with any cool community that has things to do, people from outside are going to want to come.”

To read more, please click here.

10/9/14

by Jordan Branch, The Writer's Bloc

University and College Park community members will participate in an open discussion this Saturday titled Think-A-Thon, an event to promote infusion of the arts and culture into the planning process for revitalizing Baltimore Avenue.

The venue is a “think and do type of event,” using the arts and culture to look for solutions to Route 1 obstacles, said Nicky Everette, the marketing and communications director for the College of Arts and Humanities.

The discussion is hosted by the College of Arts and Humanities’ Center for Synergy at this university and will be held from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the College Park Community Center and Youth Soccer Complex.

For the past two years Think-A-Thons have occurred in Baltimore City to discuss the city’s challenges.

However, this year Sheri Parks, research, interdisciplinary, scholarship and programming associate dean for the College of Arts and Humanities, said it was time to start a discussion in College Park about the future of Baltimore Avenue’s development.

To read more, please click here.

9/15/14

Students and staff members discussed improving Route 1 at the arts and humanities college’s Center for Synergy Thinkathon on Friday afternoon. 

Organizers hosted the Thinkathon at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center as part of the 2014 NextNOW Fest in hopes of learning what students want to experience while attending this university.

“We’ve invited them to come and weigh in on arts and culture and how they feel arts and culture could transform Route 1,” said Monique Everette, director of marketing and communications at the arts and humanities college.

About 20 students, in majors from music and studio art to computer science and engineering, attended the Thinkathon to voice their opinions, recommending an enhanced downtown area and increased green space in the city.

“They didn’t say, ‘We want a traditional college town,’ but that’s what they described,” said Sheri Parks, associate dean for research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming at the college’s Center for Synergy. “They want to be able to do things on Route 1 besides drink and eat pizza.”

To read more, click here.

3/17/14

By John Kelly, The Washington Post.

About 30 years ago, an Italian friend of ours visited. After a few days doing the tourist thing, he exclaimed: “I love Washington! It’s like a Rome where everything works.”

I don’t know what Adriano would think of D.C. today, when Metro breaks down routinely and Congress seems proud of its dysfunction. But I understood his point: With its classically inspired public architecture, Washington is reminiscent of the Eternal City.

Many Americans might not make the connection. The classics department at the University of Maryland hopes to rectify that. Last month, it beat out two dozen U.S. and Italian universities and landed a $500,000 grant from the National Italian American Foundation to study the Roman influence on American identity.

“If we can call people’s attention to the way in which, particularly during the founding era, the nation, particularly Washington, looked to Rome as a model, I think that would be valuable,” said Greg Staley, professor of classics and director of honors humanities at Maryland.

To read more, click here.

3/5/14

By Umberto Mucci, We the Italians.

This week our interview tells a story of beauty. Four different beautiful things, actually. The first beauty is the donation of 500,000 $ by the late Italian American Ernest L. Pellegri, one of NIAF's donors. Mr. Pellegri passed away in April 2012 at age 83. He wanted to give back, and – as many other Italian Americans did and do – chose NIAF to be the channel of his generosity. The second beauty is NIAF: which since day one has been effective and proficient in delivering programs, scholarships, grants to help and promote in several different ways Italy and the Italians in the US. The third beauty is made by the numerous programs organized by many American Universities (represented this time by the University of Maryland), that have been describing and teaching for a long time to thousands of American students the magnificent heritage of Italian art, culture, studies. The fourth beauty, these days more than ever we can call it The Great Beauty, is Italian patrimony of splendor: a pride for every Italian, all over the world.

We asked Mrs. Anita Bevacqua McBride, NIAF Chair of the Education and Scholarship Committee, to talk with us about these beauties. It is also, for those here in Italy who will want to learn from it, an extraordinary description of how wonderfully works in America the model of private involvement in the education system. As lovers of Italy, the United States and their special relationship, we are grateful to each of the subjects involved in this fantastic project.

Read the full interview in English or Italian.

by Karen Shih '09, Between The Columns

From writing to directing to acting, women are underrepresented in every area of theater production. A new initiative from the Big Ten Theatre Chairs aims to change that by commissioning, producing and publicizing up to five new women-written plays over the next five years.

“This is a very unique initiative. It’s about raising consciousness in order to represent the student population as well as the audience, both of which are mostly female,” says Leigh Wilson Smiley, director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and a new member of the theatre chairs group. “We need to start to get the female voice 
out there.” 

The plays will not only be written by women but also feature substantial female roles. Naomi Iizuka of the University of San Diego, known for works reflecting her multicultural background, has been commissioned to write the first one. It will be ready for the 2014–15 season, and each Big Ten university will have the opportunity to perform it on a 
main stage or do a staged reading. It’s one way Maryland’s Big Ten membership is helping 
areas beyond athletics.

 “I’ll have partners across the country,” Smiley says. “This is a chance to influence the national conversation.”   

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