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BU Chinese students run for Lu Lingzi

April 14, 2014 05:28 PM

By Chen Tong
Boston University News Service

Every day after class, Baiyun Yao, a doctoral student at Boston University, goes to the campus gym for a serious workout. She jogs on the indoor track or rides a stationary bike in preparation for her first marathon.

Yao has attended the Boston Marathon twice — as a volunteer and as part of the crowd. But this year she will attend as a runner in honor of Lu Lingzi, the Chinese student who died in the marathon bombing last April.

“I want to finish the journey Lingzi didn’t finish,” said Yao.

Yao has much in common with Lu. Like Lu, Yao is from China and came to BU in her 20s. She is passionate about sports. Even though Yao didn’t know Lu, she feels a connection to her slain classmate, so she decided to train for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Other Chinese students also plan honoring Lu at an April 14 memorial service at Marsh Chapel organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at BU (BUCSSA).

See video with this story.

Last April, Yao was on the sidelines, cheering on her friends as they ran by. Most finished the marathon in three hours, she said. So, when the two bombs exploded, they had already gone home.

“I felt so lucky… when I heard the news,” said Yao. Soon after the blast, emails and messages started arriving from her family and friends. It was not until two days later she learned a Chinese classmate had died in the bombing.

“It was such a sad story,” said Yao. “I was so shocked about Lingzi’s death.”

This February, right after the Chinese New Year, Yao learned that the Boston Athletic Association had given Lu’s family the option to choose seven athletes to run the race. The Lus decided to choose Boston University students. Yao thought about it for a few days, applied, and was chosen.

Yao said she relates to Lu because she knows what it is like to travel all the way from China to the United States.

“Chinese community at BU is like a big family. We will help Lingzi to finish her dream,” said Yao.

She also wants to send a message to the terrorists: “Whatever happened can only make us stronger than ever before. We are gonna fight this together.”

Yao is ready for the race, but she is not the only member of the Chinese community who wants to run for Lu. Among the seven runners, three are Chinese students.

Yue Wang is a junior who is pursuing a dual bachelor degree in economics and finance. Like Yao, this year will be Wang’s first marathon as a racer. Wang said Lingzi’s death has become her motivation to reach the finish line.

“Lingzi carries so many similar characteristics with all of us — international students coming all the way from China and nation builders when returning home,” said Wang.

Being the only child in the family, Wang’s parents are concerned about her ability to run more than 20 miles. “But they feel proud of me for taking on this honorary commitment,” said Wang.

The money raised by the seven runners will go to the Lu Lingzi Scholarship Fund, which was created by Boston University shortly after the bombing. The scholarship will provide support to outstanding graduate students from China who want to come to BU. The fund now exceeds $1 million and the donations are still coming, according to the university news service, BU Today.

The memorial ceremony at Marsh Chapel will feature a giant paper crane, a Chinese symbol of remembrance, said group spokesman Zhixiu Jin.

“We would like BU students to write down their notes on this giant paper,” said Jin. “Let it fly to the heaven and tell Lingzi how much we miss her.”

BUCSSA plans to put the paper crane in front of Marsh Chapel.

“We are one community,” said Jin. “We will make our promise to move on with her spirit.”

Urban honeybees' winter struggles and triumphs

April 1, 2014 03:54 PM

Beekeeping.jpg

Diana J. Campbell

Sadie Richards observes the vertical slats from her beehive. They are covered in honey, combs, and part of the dead colony of bees.

In February, Sadie Richards decided to inspect her hives for the first time since November. Standing in Jamaica Plain’s snow-covered Leland Street Herb Garden, Richards opened both of her hives to find blackened piles of dead bees. Nearby, her friend’s hives had also died.

The collapses weren’t caused by the cold. Bee clusters keep their hives between 80 to 90 degrees all winter by vibrating their wings. Instead, Richards sadly took samples as she explained that nosema, a common honeybee disease, probably killed the bees.

“This is the biggest trouble as new beekeepers,” said Waylon Brown, Richards’ husband. “Just establishing the new hive and getting them through the first year.”

Despite the difficulties of keeping healthy bee colonies, urban beekeeping is becoming popular from coast to coast. New York legalized urban beekeeping in 2010, and the Los Angeles City Council has considered lifting a ban on beekeeping.

Boston has no such ban, which has allowed apiaries to flourish around the city, including on the roofs of several major hotels, like Fairmont Copley Plaza and InterContinental Boston. The InterContinental uses the honey it harvests at its restaurant, for cocktails and at its spa.

Although Richards’ experience is an example of the many Boston beehives that struggle to survive over winter, urban bees generally have a higher winter survival rate than hives in the country, said Noah Wilson-Rich, of The Best Bees Company. And, they produce more honey on average than rural bees. Among numerous hypotheses for why this might be, most urban beekeepers, including Wilson-Rich, agree that a lack of pesticides and a more diverse range of flora in urban areas give city bees an edge over rural bees.

The Best Bees Company sets up and manages about 200 beehives at homes and businesses throughout New England. Most notably, the company manages seven beehives for InterContinental Boston, four at both Four Seasons Boston and The Taj Boston, three at both Fairmont Copley Plaza and Fairmont Battery Wharf, and one at The Liberty Hotel. Wilson-Rich said that many larger chains like InterContinental and Fairmont set blanket requirements to have bees in rooftop gardens as one way to promote sustainability.

Wilson-Rich said bees are important to society for three main reasons: robust agriculture, scientific research and economic stability. Bees contribute over $15 billion to the US economy annually through their role as pollinators to crops, he said. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that one-third of all food and drinks rely on pollination. As a result, the declining number of bees could cause price increases for 130 types of crops, Wilson-Rich said.

“Anyone who eats food, like fruits and veggies should find bees important,” said Wilson-Rich. “And anyone who doesn’t like fruits and veggies, but likes cattle needs to care about the alfalfa and the hay for that cattle.”

He says that people should help strengthen the honeybee population, particularly by developing it in urban areas where bees thrive more in winter. However, despite threats of viruses, pests, mysterious colony-collapse disorder, and drastic fits of cold, humans create urban bees’ greatest opposition.

“Honeybees have a bad public relations challenge,” said Wilson-Rich. “The benefits outweigh any costs from the very rare human systemic reaction … we need them for healthy and affordable food.”

Despite bees’ bad images, beekeeping is still becoming more popular in cities. So popular in fact, that although it is not on the market, Philips has even designed a glass pod indoor beehive as a “far-future design concept” that would allow beekeeping at home. The pod would have a tube that leads to the outdoors to allow bees to continue pollinating.

In addition to homes and hotels, apiaries are proliferating on urban campuses too. In Boston, both Harvard University and Boston University have formed beekeepers associations within the last three years.

“It’s a little sexy to keep bees,” said Brendan Hathaway, president of the Boston University Beekeepers Club.

The club set up its first hive three years ago on the banks of the Charles River, near the BU boathouse. They now have two hives and have proven that bee swarms could be tamed. At BU 2012’s graduation ceremony across the river on Nickerson Field, a swarm of honeybees covering a chair caused panic. The BU Beekeepers calmly moved the swarm into a box until the hive could be integrated with one of the two Charles River hives, where the colony still exists.

“I was initially scared of bees, but now I’m not all that terrified,” said Hathaway about his transformation since joining the BU Beekeepers four years ago. “I have a greater respect for life and how cool it is that this all happens.”

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Globe and Boston University.

Food truck owners say extension to midnight isn't late enough

April 1, 2014 01:53 PM

FOOD TRUCKS PHOTO.JPG

Ashley Delma

Boston University student Audrey Faln picks up some dinner from her favorite food truck, Bon Me. “I would love if they could stay out as late as the bars,” she said.

The city of Boston on April 1 extended for one hour — until midnight — how long food trucks can serve food, but food trucks owners say that simply isn’t late enough.

Before April 1, food trucks were allowed to stay out as late as 11 p.m. But most ditch their parking spots around 8 p.m., when customer traffic slows down.

Ian So, 27, is the co-owner and Founder of The Chicken and Rice Guys food truck, which was created by a group of friends who got the idea from a famous food truck in New York, called Halal Guys.

In the past, food trucks like The Chicken and Rice Guys tried to stay out as late as 11 p.m. but found they drew fewer than five customers at night.

“People are not getting food at 11 or 12 p.m.,” said So. “They are normally still in bars, drinking.”

“For the extended hours to really work it needs to be pushed to two or three in the morning,” said So, which is how late the new MBTA service operates on weekends.

Though The Chicken and Rice Guys are happy that people say they like the new late hours, the demand “is just not enough,” said So.

Audrey Faln, 21, a student at Boston University whose favorite food truck is Bon Me said, “I would love if they could stay out as late as the bars.”

Bon Me, well-known Vietnamese food truck, will not be taking advantage of the extension of operating hours to midnight, said Jennifer Ngo, Bon Me’s marketing specialist.

“While the demand is reassuring” Ngo said, “it currently doesn’t make sense for us to stay open later.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Mobile Food Truck Committee could not be reached for comment.

The press release issued by the city announcing the extended hour called it a “pilot program” and said the locations were determined in consultation with the Boston Police Department. Three sites were chosen based on “area foot traffic and public safety.”

The Chicken and Rice Guys will try out the extra hour starting the week April 1, So said, but probably will not participate in the extra hour in the long run if there are not a lot of customers.

If you’re looking for food trucks participating in the extended hour come April 1st they’ll be parked outside of BU East, Northeastern University, and the Boston Public Library until midnight on Thursdays through Saturdays.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

First-ever New Balance High School Tennis Championship to be held at Harvard

March 26, 2014 01:35 PM

The following is a press release from New Balance:

Global athletic leader New Balance announced the creation of the inaugural New Balance High School Tennis Championship presented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), an event that will offer young tennis athletes a new, elite level of competition on the national stage. The tournament will be held at the Beren Tennis Center at Harvard University in Boston, July 21-25, 2014.

“New Balance believes the high school tennis player will be a tennis player for life, and we are proud to recognize the commitment these athletes have to the game,” said Bruce Schilling, General Manager of Tennis for New Balance. “We are also excited to build relationships with the high school state athletic associations through this new and exciting event and work with them to develop ongoing programs and services for individual players and coaches.”

New Balance developed the event with the goal of supporting and recognizing all high school tennis players and coaches and the dedication they bring to the game. New Balance sought the USTA’s support for this event because of the strong alignment of both organizations’ goals to promote and develop the sport of tennis, as well as the USTA’s extensive experience managing tennis events.

FULL ENTRY

Life and legacy of Tufts mascot Jumbo to be featured in upcoming exhibit

March 25, 2014 04:58 PM

JUMBO PHOTO 01.jpg

Courtesy of Andrew McClellan, Tufts University

Jumbo’s portrait, 1882. Jumbo depicted next to an unknown man. The caption reads, “Taken by his old friend E.C. Barnes, Esq.,” an amateur British artist who painted this in February 1882. Jumbo had been at the London Zoo since 1865 and was the only African Bush Elephant in Europe during that time.

The exceptional life of Jumbo the circus elephant, from whose enormity the English language gets the word “jumbo,” will be chronicled in an upcoming exhibition this September in the Tufts Art Gallery, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford.

The exhibition, titled “Jumbo: Marvel, Myth and Mascot,” will feature an array of pictures, circus posters, and advertisements showing the elephant’s ascension from a circus animal to a part of American culture and history.

See pictures of Jumbo from the exhibition here.

Jumbo, who lived from 1861 to 1885, was taken from Africa as a calf and spent his early years in zoos in Paris and London — giving rides to the likes of Queen Victoria’s children and Winston Churchill — until being purchased by P.T. Barnum for $10,000 in 1881. After weeks attempting to coax Jumbo onto a ship, Barnum finally succeeded and brought him to America, where he performed and traveled with the Barnum & Bailey Circus until he was killed in a train accident in Canada at the age of 24.

“Jumbo connects to a lot of things in American history,” said Tufts University Art History Prof. Andrew McClellan, who has spent the last eight years preparing the exhibition. “Everybody knew Jumbo when he was alive and this exhibition is to bring some of that history out; how popular and how famous he was.”

Barnum marketed Jumbo when he was alive as much as possible, perhaps most notably marching him across the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened to prove the bridge safe.

After his death, Jumbo was stuffed by Carl Akeley as one of the first and most famous examples of taxidermy.

From there, Barnum, a trustee at Tufts University, displayed Jumbo’s body in his circus for four years until giving the animal to the university to be featured in the newly built science building in 1889. Jumbo remained there for almost 100 years until a fire burned down the entire building in 1975.

Now, 125 years after Jumbo’s arrival on campus, McClellan said the exhibition will convey all the aspects of the tragic life of Jumbo as a captive animal.

“He spent his life amusing human beings,’ he said. “He really illustrates the plight of animals being subjected to the whims of human beings.”

McClellan will publish a book on Jumbo coinciding with the exhibition, which will run from Sept. 4 to Dec. 7.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

BC

3 ways for students to decorate with recyclables

March 7, 2014 06:26 PM

Here's how to turn things you have lying around the dorm room or apartment into stylish decor.

1. Wine Bottles
After a night with the girls, used wine bottles can serve as flower vases. The bottles can be painted, spray painted, encircled in yarn or left plain-and-simple. An assortment of flowers can be collected and placed within each vase. Flower vase prices range from $2.50 from Crate&Barrel to over $20 million collectables. This project will only cost a student a good time with friends and the use of their imagination to incorporate room décor that shows off their interior design style.
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Sample Project
Step 1: After finishing the bottle of wine, completely rinse out the bottle with water/
Step 2: Purchase artificial flowers from Walmart for $2.00 and arrange them in the empty bottle.
Step 3: Place the vase on the TV stand and enjoy the view.

2. Beer Bottles
Following game night, beer bottles do not have to end up in the trash can or recycling bin. They can also serve as vases or stacked up to provide a splash of color against a plain wall. Using glue, stickers or any other type of material, the bottles can either match furniture and appliances or stand out as art in a room.
beer.jpg
Sample Project:
Step 1: Enjoy the case of beer and rinse out the bottles with water.
Step 2: Purchase the Activity Bucket from CVS for $6.50.
Step 3: Tie one chenille stem around the neck of each bottle.
Step 4: For one bottle, use glitter to draw designs on the body.
Step 5: For another bottle, glue 4 foam pieces to the body.
Step 6: Allow pieces to dry for one hour.
Step 7: Glue colored craft sticks to the lips of the bottles.
Step 8: Align the three bottles against the back of a plain wall.

3. Cardboard Boxes
Cardboard boxes typically accumulate when students move into their dorm rooms. Instead of dumping them into recycling bins, small and medium-sized boxes can be used for storage, jewelry or keepsake boxes. Pencil box holders, for instance, can cost between $4.99 on eBay to over $40 in stores.
boxes.jpg
Sample Project:
Step 1: Obtain a small or medium-sized cardboard box.
Step 2: Obtain 28 sticks that are different colors or dye wooden sticks in preferred colors.
Step 3: Glue down and align 7 sticks on each side of the box.
Step 4: Allow the sticks to dry onto the box for one hour.
Step 5: Place pens and pencils into your new pencil holder.

This story was published as part of a collaboration between Boston College's Magazine Writing class and Your Campus.

BC

4 misconceptions about mentors

March 7, 2014 06:20 PM

Amid the hubbub of free coffee and cookies at Boston College’s weekly Dean’s Coffee, where business school undergraduates are able to interact with professors and deans outside of the classroom, sits Carroll School of Management Associate Professor of Information Systems John Gallaugher. Known for his commitment to inspiring and advising legions of student entrepreneurs, he’s always at Dean’s Coffee and students stop by each week to chat and share their latest ventures.

When asked about the importance of mentors in the success of entrepreneurs, he explained simply, “Entrepreneurs need mentoring.”

Using the success stories of former students building companies from the ground up as examples, he continued, “The task of building a business with a new product that addresses a new market is really unusual. ‘Is there a problem? Can you solve the problem? Can you make money?’ is easy to say, but hard to figure out.”

If everyone knows the benefits, then why doesn’t every entrepreneur, especially younger ones, have a supportive mentor they can turn to for advice? Entrepreneurs tend to have misconceptions of what a mentorship actually entails. As a result, they don’t take the time to seek a mentor or they form a stilted relationship with someone that isn’t as beneficial for both parties as it could be. Five young individuals in the entrepreneurial community debunk four of the most common misconceptions about mentors.

1. A mentor is a glorified Rolodex.
A mentorship isn’t always about networking. Current Boston College student and founder of Quabblejack, a curation of goods with integrity, Claudio Quintana offered, “I don’t think the relationship between a mentor and a mentee is as much of a utilitarian one as it is more of what you can share in terms of your experiences, advice, [and] problems.”

2. A mentor must be in your field of interest.
Boston College Venture Competition (BCVC) Chair Paul Hillen reflected, “When you have a mentor, you want someone who has been there before.” Individuals from other industries can offer a fresh perspective. Fellow member of the BCVC Executive Board Annie Weber facilitates the process of pairing student entrepreneurs with mentors and explained, “If students need law advice, we’ll match them with a lawyer. If they’re worried about scaling [their business], we’ll match them with someone who went from a team of five to fifty.”

3. A mentor is always superior to you.
Boston College student and Regional Director of Compass Fellowship, a social entrepreneurship program for students, Derek Switaj commented, “The best mentor is a friend to you, who doesn’t mind being critical, who you can open up to, and who is willing to give and take advice. That friendship is of the utmost importance. You need to have no barriers or walls between you and your mentor. A mentor has to be open to that relationship and you need to seek that. It’s a two way street.”

4. A mentor can’t know you’re not perfect.
Co-founder of phyre, an app development company currently responsible for mobile app Rally, and former student of Gallaugher, Patrick Allen commented, “Your mentor has to be someone you can be completely transparent with. If you can’t tell the whole truth, then there’s nothing you can get out of a feedback session.” A mentorship isn’t a job interview. Sharing your weaknesses can even be more beneficial to your conversation with your mentor than just focusing on your strengths.

This story was published as part of a collaboration between Boston College's Magazine Writing class and Your Campus.

BC

Boston College group encourages 'strong women, strong girls'

March 7, 2014 06:13 PM

To anyone standing outside the elaborately-decorated door, the sounds coming from the inside of Abbie and Caitlin’s dorm room would seem to indicate an average Sunday night. The listener would likely hear encouraging words, embarrassed giggling, and full-out laughter resonating from within—all the signs of typical end of the week procrastination. In reality, the eight girls inside, who represent the executive board of the Boston College chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls, are busy working on one of their most important projects of the year – a photography-based exhibit for O’Neill Library which will showcase the work their organization does on and off campus.

Female empowerment has been a hot topic on campus since last September, when USA Today published an article discussing a BC study which found female seniors left the university reporting lower levels of self-confidence than when they entered. Unsurprisingly, these findings have caused concern on campus, with students and administrators alike wondering about ways to reverse this trend.

While a follow-up study has indicated that this is not uniquely a BC phenomenon, many people have been quick to criticize the university, claiming the administration should increase the number of female empowerment organizations on campus. However, as many women who seek to get involved know, these criticisms ignore that many of these organizations already exist on campus and are fighting to make themselves known. SWSG is one of these groups, and its upcoming exhibit in O’Neill is its mentors’ attempt to broadcast its mission to BC’s community.

SWSG is a nonprofit organization that pairs college women with at-risk girls in grades 3-5 for an hour and a half each week. The mentors also participate in weekly meetings at their campuses and engage in other mentor bonding activities. Thus, while the focus is on the younger girls, SWSG aims to do more than mentor. It seeks to create cycles of mutual empowerment for women and girls, working to form communities of college mentors that help them to become confident role models for girls.

As one of BC’s mentors, Lydia Ducharme, explains, “I think if our goal is to raise the aspirations of our girls, then it’s not realistic to think we can go in and help our girls [without first] helping ourselves. If we’re not confident in who we are, then we can’t mentor for these girls. So, we [prepare] ourselves to do that. It’s an offshoot of what we do.”

One of BC’s chapter directors, Christina Johnsrud, has experienced the organization’s impact on her, saying her parents have noticed a change since she joined.

“They have noticed that I am a lot more outgoing, a lot more confident, a lot more outspoken,” she explains.

She attributes this change to her girls as well as the BC SWSG community, claiming, “I feel like our girls really mentor us and are teaching us so much… The bonds we form with them – us really believing in them and then they start believing in us –it’s just this whole cycle.”

SWSG’s exhibit will run from February 28th – March 28th on the first floor of O’Neill and will feature photos of mentors and girls testifying to their strengths by holding signs responding to the prompt, “I am strong because...”

The mentor designing the project, Abby Blaisdell, hopes BC women will attend. As she sees it, “People either like to highlight women who are very successful or, in the case of the article, women whose self-esteem is low. They never say what bridges the gap. And that makes us… and this exhibit important.”

This story was published as part of a collaboration between Boston College's Magazine Writing class and Your Campus.

Pocket-sized history on display at House of Seven Gables

March 3, 2014 05:47 PM
Some people think of The House of the Seven Gables as the home base for all things Nathaniel Hawthorne. Lucky patrons of the Gables—usually troops of elementary school students—may remember the historic house as a quaint destination where they climbed up the notable secret staircase. But this month, guests of the House of the Seven Gables will experience a different aspect of history: a Golden Age exhibit of high society and ornate handbags.  
 
The exhibit, run by Karen Barter, the Gables’ director of development, will stage a variety of handbags dating from the early 20th century throughout the historic home. It opens March 4 and runs until March 17.
 
“These bags are little treasures,” said Barter. “If you got one of these for Christmas, you knew your husband loved you.”
 
Because the bags come from various eras and countries, each bag is unique. Several will be staged with backgrounds, like a grand piano, alongside other historical pieces like clothing and opera glasses.
 
The pocketbook, for instance, used in the “wedding” stage is covered in pearls, created by iconic French designer Paul Poriet. Predating Poriet’s pouch-style bag are others, including one made entirely of metal mesh. These laboriously crafted mesh pocketbooks were posh during the 1930s.
 
The unique accessories are a combination of two collections, one owned by Mary Lou Ferriero, and the other by Marion Powers, an art teacher at Manchester-Essex Regional High School who owns about 100 such pocketbooks.
 
“I have always loved art and history,” said Powers. “I see the pocketbooks as beautiful works of art, like small sculptures.”
 
Barter saw the pocketbook exhibit as a great opportunity to build on the Gables two-fold mission that began over a hundred years ago. Since 1910, Caroline Emmerton, then the owner of the Gables, opened the house as a transitional house for newly immigrated families where they could live and learn useful skills such as English.  Ever since, it has been serving Salem’s immigrant population.
 
“Most people remember us as the place with the hidden staircase,” said Barter, who sees historical education and preservation as an instrumental part of the Gables. “Our other mission (has always been) to serve immigrant kids and families.”
 
 
Today, their service to immigrant families continues most notably through their Caribbean Connection program. Funded through a grant held by the Essex National Heritage Foundation and sponsored by PBS documentarian Ken Burns, Caribbean Connection helps kids of Caribbean descent discover how their ancestors helped contribute to Salem today.
 
In the Caribbean Connection, children do their own research, attend classes at the Gables and go on field trips. Kids learn about how the trade triangle of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in which all types of goods were exchanged between the Caribbean, Salem and England, makes them a part of Salem’s history.
 
“Two different immigrant mothers told me that they didn’t feel connected with Salem. They didn’t even want to go to parent-teacher conferences,” said Barter. “But this program is a fabulous connection for those families. It builds self-esteem.”
 
That mission is also part of the reason Powers decided to bring her collection of handbags to Hawthorne’s house.
 
“Aside from the beauty of the buildings, and its history, I appreciate what the Gables stands for,” Powers said.
 
And like the Caribbean Connection, Powers believes these pocketbooks also build bridges between the past and the present. In fact, as she prepared for the exhibit, Powers brought pocketbooks into the classroom for her students to draw. Even though the bags are from the time of their great, great-grandparents, she wants young people to experience their legacy and understand how such symbols can transcend cultures.
 
“I see these historical artifacts as inspiration for new creations,” said Powers.
 
The Antique Pocketbook Exhibit will be on display from March 4-17, 2014. The Gables is open from 10 AM to 5PM, excepting Wednesdays thru April 9. Admission for Gables’ Members is free. Non-Member price is $7 per adult and $3 per child (under 12).

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Gordon College News Service.

Pocket-sized history on display at House of Seven Gables

March 3, 2014 05:47 PM
Some people think of The House of the Seven Gables as the home base for all things Nathaniel Hawthorne. Lucky patrons of the Gables—usually troops of elementary school students—may remember the historic house as a quaint destination where they climbed up the notable secret staircase. But this month, guests of the House of the Seven Gables will experience a different aspect of history: a Golden Age exhibit of high society and ornate handbags.  
 
The exhibit, run by Karen Barter, the Gables’ director of development, will stage a variety of handbags dating from the early 20th century throughout the historic home. It opens March 4 and runs until March 17.
 
“These bags are little treasures,” said Barter. “If you got one of these for Christmas, you knew your husband loved you.”
 
Because the bags come from various eras and countries, each bag is unique. Several will be staged with backgrounds, like a grand piano, alongside other historical pieces like clothing and opera glasses.
 
The pocketbook, for instance, used in the “wedding” stage is covered in pearls, created by iconic French designer Paul Poriet. Predating Poriet’s pouch-style bag are others, including one made entirely of metal mesh. These laboriously crafted mesh pocketbooks were posh during the 1930s.
 
The unique accessories are a combination of two collections, one owned by Mary Lou Ferriero, and the other by Marion Powers, an art teacher at Manchester-Essex Regional High School who owns about 100 such pocketbooks.
 
“I have always loved art and history,” said Powers. “I see the pocketbooks as beautiful works of art, like small sculptures.”
 
Barter saw the pocketbook exhibit as a great opportunity to build on the Gables two-fold mission that began over a hundred years ago. Since 1910, Caroline Emmerton, then the owner of the Gables, opened the house as a transitional house for newly immigrated families where they could live and learn useful skills such as English.  Ever since, it has been serving Salem’s immigrant population.
 
“Most people remember us as the place with the hidden staircase,” said Barter, who sees historical education and preservation as an instrumental part of the Gables. “Our other mission (has always been) to serve immigrant kids and families.”
 
 
Today, their service to immigrant families continues most notably through their Caribbean Connection program. Funded through a grant held by the Essex National Heritage Foundation and sponsored by PBS documentarian Ken Burns, Caribbean Connection helps kids of Caribbean descent discover how their ancestors helped contribute to Salem today.
 
In the Caribbean Connection, children do their own research, attend classes at the Gables and go on field trips. Kids learn about how the trade triangle of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in which all types of goods were exchanged between the Caribbean, Salem and England, makes them a part of Salem’s history.
 
“Two different immigrant mothers told me that they didn’t feel connected with Salem. They didn’t even want to go to parent-teacher conferences,” said Barter. “But this program is a fabulous connection for those families. It builds self-esteem.”
 
That mission is also part of the reason Powers decided to bring her collection of handbags to Hawthorne’s house.
 
“Aside from the beauty of the buildings, and its history, I appreciate what the Gables stands for,” Powers said.
 
And like the Caribbean Connection, Powers believes these pocketbooks also build bridges between the past and the present. In fact, as she prepared for the exhibit, Powers brought pocketbooks into the classroom for her students to draw. Even though the bags are from the time of their great, great-grandparents, she wants young people to experience their legacy and understand how such symbols can transcend cultures.
 
“I see these historical artifacts as inspiration for new creations,” said Powers.
 
The Antique Pocketbook Exhibit will be on display from March 4-17, 2014. The Gables is open from 10 AM to 5PM, excepting Wednesdays thru April 9. Admission for Gables’ Members is free. Non-Member price is $7 per adult and $3 per child (under 12).

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Gordon College News Service.

Harvard dedicates new ceramics studio in Allston

February 28, 2014 01:32 PM

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(Rose Lincoln / Harvard Staff Photographer)

The following is a report originally published by Harvard University's official newspaper the Harvard Gazette, a publication of the university's Public Affairs & Communications office.

The Office for the Arts’ 15,010-square-foot ceramics studio was dedicated on Wednesday, with Harvard President Drew Faust addressing a large crowd at the Allston facility.

“This new home for the ceramics program provides cross-University learning and teaching opportunities open to all, including the Allston and Cambridge communities,” Faust told the crowd in the gallery at 224 Western Ave. “It is truly a place of discovery and creativity.”

The space offers classrooms for wheel-thrown, hand-built, and sculptural ceramics, as well as clay and glaze chemistry labs, plaster and mold-making design areas, and a large kiln room with gas reduction, soda, electric, and raku- and saggar-firing options.

“This is an extraordinary time for Harvard arts under the leadership of President Faust,” said Office for the Arts Director Jack Megan when the studio first opened its doors last fall. “This new, state-of-the-art studio is a signifier of her commitment and the University’s commitment to fostering arts practice. The Office for the Arts’ ceramics program has long been a creative intersection for Harvard students, faculty, administrators, and the community from across Greater Boston. This studio will enhance that connectedness and enrich the lives of artists and scholars for many years to come.”

The facility, designed by Cambridge-based Galante Architecture Studio, boasts a public gallery fronting the street. Click here to view a photo slideshow of the studio.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

BU to explore ways to boost cybersecurity following Internet scam that stole employee paychecks

February 28, 2014 01:06 PM

Boston University announced Friday it is exploring ways to increase cybersecurity measures in the wake of a recent Internet scam that stole paychecks from university employees.

“We must strengthen our technological means to help protect our information in order to forestall these kinds of attacks and limit exposure if they succeed,” university President Robert A. Brown wrote in a letter to the campus community, according to the university-run news website BU Today.

“We have focused on sound policy, user education, and detective controls to secure information,” Brown wrote. “While this approach has supported creativity and productivity, it now increasingly places us at risk—particularly in comparison to less open organizations. Cyber-criminals choose softer targets, as we have just experienced.”

A team of university experts will search for ways to “strengthen technical protections against exposure, theft, or loss of personal information,” Brown said.

The group, which has already begun discussions, expects to report its first set of recommendations back to Brown this spring. The university’s administrative council and deans council will review that feedback before implementation.

In December, an internet scammer or scammers allegedly stole monthly paychecks from 10 BU employees by somehow obtaining the workers’ usernames and passwords and changing their direct deposit information.

Another 68 university employees had work-related accounts accessed by an outside device using suspicious Internet protocol addresses, but officials have said they do not believe sensitive information was accessed from those workers.

Campus officials have said the FBI was investigating the case along with similar cases reported recently at several other universities.

Authorities said they believe the BU employees’ private log-in information was stolen through phishing, a common scamming technique in which people are lured in by fraudulent, but real- and trustworthy-looking emails, links or websites and then unsuspectingly give up personal information.

Tracy Schroeder, BU’s vice president for information services and technology and one of the experts tasked with finding ways to improve the school’s cybersecurity, said an investigation of the December incident has revealed that the university needs to create more secure ways for access to BUworks, a portal used to manage payroll and other administrative tasks.

“We know from industry best practices that you can’t change your banking information now without a second factor [such as a phone or computer] for authentication,” Schroeder told BU Today.

Such a system would ask employees for not only their password, but also for information about a second device, if they were trying to log in from a phone or computer that they don’t normally use.

For example, an employee trying to access their account from a computer or phone they haven’t used before, might be asked to verify their identity by having a special code sent to their phone or email.

Schroeder said having a two-step verification process to log in is “the best way that we can protect folks’ personal information and not be basically just protecting against the last exploit that we got hit with.”

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Muslims, non-Muslims weigh challenges of Millennial Generation

February 28, 2014 12:06 PM

In a brightly lit room, a group of about 80 people from Northeastern University and the surrounding Fenway neighborhood listened attentively to three young Muslim professionals talk about their personal struggles and failures during an event hosted by the Islamic Society of Northeastern University.

The panel discussion was titled Refugee Camps, Typewriters, and Make-Up: The Millennial Muslim. It featured Wajahat Ali, a television host/anchor in Al Jazeera’s The Stream, a show devoted to community and civic journalism. Dr. Sarah Kureshi, a physician and human rights advocate for refugee and minority groups focusing on public health issues, and Haroon Moghul, a columnist and writer for various online publications including Al Arabiya News, an Arab news site, also joined the discussion.

“We wanted to bring in speakers that people could relate to,” said Tala Alghusain, co-president of the Islamic Society of Northeastern. “Whether they were human rights activists or whether they were working with Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya, we just wanted people who did represent Islam, but also that represented politics in the Middle East.”

The 2 ½ hour meeting directed itself toward identifying the millennial Muslim and the challenges this generation must deal with in defining their identity as individuals and as Muslims.

“I think they really helped us understand that we can open up to each other,” said Alghusain.

Wajahat Ali, the first speaker, set the mood by revealing his personal struggles after graduating from college. He talked about how he had to embrace failure to find his passion in writing.

Ali talked about how his childhood as an oddball and sick child set him up for the challenges in his late 20s. Ali spoke how at 26, he found himself with a failed law career, five dollars in his pocket, and a family to care for as his parents had gone bankrupt. He stressed the internal conflict he faced at defying the prescribed guidelines of success – which included becoming a doctor and finding a wife by age 30- that had been passed down generation after generation in his family in order to do what he wanted to do.

“Had it not been for my acceptance that I was a failure, and that I would have to chart my own path,” said Ali, “I don’t think I would have embraced my definition of success.”

Ali’s main point was to encourage the millennial generation to figure out their own definitions of success, and to stray from the idea that success is defined by the occupation, wealth or culture you come from.

Dr. Sarah Kureshi followed, focusing on how she became involved with refugee camps and human rights. Kureshi talked about how she chose medicine as her career because it served as the perfect medium to combine her skills and passions, rather than to become a doctor for the name or respect it would bring. Kureshi said that as a teenager in a small town in Florida, she faced discrimination from professors, and was only treated with respect when they realized she was the daughter of a well-known doctor. She said that those experiences disgusted her, and made her want to break free of labels.

¨I wasn´t interested in any of those labels,¨ said Kureshi. ¨I wanted to do thing I wanted to do because I was passionate it about them and not because it pleased other people.¨

Kureshi told about how her first experience with refugees in Burma gave her a purpose, and she discovered her path through public health and community service. Kureshi´s main message was to urge the millennial generation to explore their skills and then to apply them to help the community.

Haroon Moghul continued the conversation by talking about his biggest fear and the importance of understanding your fears. Moghul told how his first girlfriend made him realize that his greatest fear was how unstable life was. However, Moghul said that his love for writing and his career as a writer made him overcome this fear.

As the discussion proceeded, the concept of a professional Muslim - which refers to a trend in Muslims who grew up during 9/11 to create an identity as advocates for the positive and human side of Islam - was popular. Moghul stated that in the process of becoming a professional Muslim many people in this generation had lost track of themselves as individuals.

¨We have lost sight of the human being,¨ said Moghul,¨ and we are forced by our communities to be a cardboard perfect cut-out of a Muslim.¨

Ali and Kureshi said that the millennial generation had to move away from this idea of presenting themselves as perfect. Instead, they encouraged them to accept the imperfections in their culture, attitudes, and to some extent religious ideas.

¨I think the next phase of being a professional Muslim is for our generation to push things forward, ¨ said Ali, ¨and really addressing the human component of being an individual who happens to be a Muslim.¨

Some of the other topics discussed during the meeting included:


  • The role of women in Islam

  • The concept of atheism

  • The flexibility of the Qur'an

  • Political conflicts in Egypt and Turkey

Some who attended the talk said they found it enlightening and different from the usual Muslim-oriented events, which according to Anika Alam are often formal and serious. Alam, a pharmacy student at Northeastern, said she had looked forward to the talk because it featured Muslim professionals who had faced the challenge of balancing their religion, culture and profession.

¨They promote the human experience," said Alam about the talk. ¨They show us that whatever religion we are, whether Muslim, Catholic, Jewish or Buddhist, we are all human, we all struggle together.¨

Joshua Frank, who was one of the few non-Muslim attendees and is Jewish, agreed with Alam. Frank said that he enjoyed the humanity and connectivity that the speakers displayed.

¨I think they just enable people to understand that communities are very similar,¨ said Frank, ¨and that is a beautiful thing.¨

The event, organized by the Islamic Society of Northeastern University, is part of a larger series called Islam 360° that aims to cover Islam from different angles outside religion.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Boston University News Service.

Billie Jean King named Simmons College commencement speaker

February 27, 2014 02:46 PM

Billie Jean King, the former tennis star and gender equality advocate, will speak at Simmons College’s commencement this spring, campus officials announced Thursday.

billiejeankingsimmons1.jpg
She will also be awarded an honorary doctoral degree during the 109th commencement ceremony for the all-women’s undergraduate college, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, May 9, at the Bank of America Pavilion in South Boston.

King broke tennis records en route to winning 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles and earning a spot in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In the famous 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match, she defeated Bobby Riggs, the world’s former top-ranking tennis player.

An advocate for women’s rights and gender equality, King founded the Women’s Tennis Association, the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women’s Sports magazine. She also co-founded World Team Tennis.

In 2009, she receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and has been named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by LIFE magazine.

King, who is openly gay, recently traveled as a member of the U.S. Presidential delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a country that was criticized during the games for having some political and cultural discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Simmons’ campus, located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, enrolls about 1,900 undergraduate women and more than 3,000 women and men who are graduate students.

The college’s graduate schools will have a separate ceremony at 2 p.m. featuring keynote speaker David Weinberger, an expert on the intersection of technology and human interaction who currently co-directs Harvard University’s Library and Innovation Lab and is a senior researcher at the Ivy League school’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society.

Weinberger will also be awarded an honorary doctoral degree by Simmons College.
The college said it will also present honorary doctoral degrees to Dr. Madeleine M. Joullié and Ruth Ellen Fitch.

Joullié is a Simmons alumna and “an internationally recognized champion of women in chemistry.” Campus officials said Joullié “holds the distinction of being one of the first female professors to earn tenure in chemistry at an Ivy League institution … and currently serves on the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.”

Fitch is “a former president and chief executive officer at The Dimock Center, former partner at a top Boston law firm, educator, and champion for the underserved,” the college said. She “blazed a path for future generations of young lawyers of color to follow, having been named Boston's first black female law firm partner while with Palmer & Dodge LLP.”

College officials said they will send updates from the commencement ceremonies live on Twitter from the school’s @SimmonsCollege account using #Sims14.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

MIT

MIT awards first-ever 'Collier Medal' to volunteer, student-run ambulance service

February 27, 2014 01:37 PM

colliermedal1.jpg

(Dominick Reuter / MIT)

MIT’s volunteer, student-run ambulance service was awarded this week the first-ever “Collier Medal” – an annual honor given in memory of Sean A. Collier, the 26-year-old campus officer allegedly killed by the two accused Boston Marathon bombers.

Administrators presented the award at a ceremony Tuesday to the 56 volunteers, mostly students, who operate MIT Emergency Medical Services, campus officials said.

Many members of the ambulance service were close friends of Collier, MIT officials said, and some transported him to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, after he was allegedly shot by the accused Marathon bombers while sitting in his cruiser on April 18.

“Last year, through circumstances none of us will ever forget, Officer Collier gave his life protecting our community,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. “So that his spirit will live on at MIT, this is a fresh opportunity to express our gratitude that he lived and worked among us.”

He said MIT EMS exemplifies “a distinct MIT blend of leadership and problem-solving. The time, energy and expertise they make available goes far beyond what is expected of a student group.”

Just months before his death, Collier had written a letter praising the ambulance service, Reif said.

“It is with full hearts and the deepest appreciation that the members of MIT EMS are receiving the recognition they deserve,” he said.

MIT announced it was establishing the Collier Medal in November saying the annual award would be given to a person or group who embodies the character and qualities of Collier. Members of MIT and its "extended community" are eligible for the award.

The medal is backed by a fund MIT established to raise money to memorialize Collier through the award and scholarships in his name.

It will also pay for MIT’s plans to build a permanent memorial to Collier on its campus, officials have said. Work on that project is scheduled to break ground on the anniversary of his death.

The school will have a team of runners compete in the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for the Collier Fund.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

colliermedal2.jpg

(Dominick Reuter / MIT)

Cost to study, live at College of the Holy Cross to rise 3.2 percent to $58k for 2014-15

February 27, 2014 01:28 PM

The average annual cost to study and live at the College of the Holy Cross will rise by about 3.2 percent to $58,042 next fall, campus officials said.

That figure includes $45,080 for full-time undergraduate tuition and $12,350 a year on average for room and board, which are about 3.2 percent higher than the current rates. The figure also includes $612 in mandatory fees, the same as the current fees.

The figure does not include additional costs, such as to pay for books, supplies, health insurance, transportation or other personal expenses.

“While our nation’s economic outlook shows signs of improvement, we are very aware that even a minimal increase in fees will have an impact on our students and their families,” campus president Rev. Philip L. Boroughs wrote in a letter to families this month. “In our budgeting and planning process, our [trustee] board and senior leadership take into account the pressures and challenges that face families and businesses today.”

“Much of next year’s fee increase was necessitated by the same increases in energy, health care, and similar costs that are affecting you and so many others,” he continued. “These realities factor into setting the fee schedule—just as we factor in our commitment to support, continue, and enhance our exceptional academic experiences, our Catholic and Jesuit identity, and the many diverse learning and leadership opportunities that attracted your family to Holy Cross in the first place.”

He said families who need help affording a Holy Cross education should take advantage of resources at the college’s financial aid office.

Few other area colleges and universities have released their pricing for the 2014-15 academic year. Most will announce their rates over the next few months.

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricy schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Brandeis, Waltham announce plans to improve safety of crosswalk where 3 students were struck

February 26, 2014 04:03 PM

Brandeis University and Waltham city officials have announced plans to try to improve the safety of a busy crosswalk on South Street where three students were hit by a car earlier this month.

Measures will include installing “rapid-flash beacons” that resemble police strobe lights at the crosswalk, a motion detection system to activate warning lights at the crosswalk that will eliminate the need for pedestrians to push a button, and spotlights above the crosswalk.

Officials said steps will also be taken to brighten existing street lighting in the area around the crosswalk.

“These enhancements will be made as quickly as possible in compliance with city policies and procedures and with regard to weather conditions and the possible need for temporary street closures,” the university said in an announcement this week.

Until the motion detection system is installed, larger signs will be hung at the crosswalk telling pedestrians to push the crosswalk light activation button.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, at about 6:25 p.m., three undergraduates were walking east in the crosswalk when they were struck by a car traveling north and driven by a 42-year-old man from Belmont, authorities have said.

The students were hospitalized with serious injuries, but were listed in stable condition later that night. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office said this week that the matter remains under investigation.

A day after the incident, police and students told the Globe that the crosswalk, located on a city-controlled roadway that cuts through Brandeis’ campus, presents dangers for both pedestrians and drivers.

Neon yellow signs warn drivers in either direction to be cautious when approaching crosswalk, and pedestrians can push a button to activate flashing yellow lights before they cross.

But the crosswalk sits at the crest of a hill, and the street bends several times as it cuts through the university campus, reducing sight lines and reaction times for drivers and pedestrians.

Students can cross over South Street by using a pedestrian bridge a short distance away. But some students said the bridge can be inconvenient and a bit out of the way, depending on where they are coming from and going to on campus.

“The safety of our community is paramount, and Brandeis immediately took steps to reach out to the City of Waltham to address safety issues in the area,” the university said in a statement this week.

“We are grateful to the Waltham Police Department for their stepped-up enforcement of vehicle speed limits and crosswalk safety in the area, particularly around dusk, which have been very helpful in reinforcing to drivers and the Brandeis community that there is a need to exercise extreme caution in the area,” the statement added.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

UMass system says it will save $226m through operational efficiency, effectiveness improvements

February 26, 2014 02:46 PM

The University of Massachusetts five-campus system says it will save a total of $226 million through an aggressive program that has improved operational efficiency and effectiveness in the three years since it launched.

"Every dollar we save is a dollar that can be re-invested in scholarships and in our academic core,” UMass president Robert L. Caret said in a statement. “Every dollar saved is a dollar that doesn't have to come from students and their families.”

"This is a great accomplishment and whets our appetite for more,” he added.

Most of the cost savings, about $143.6 million, have come from one of three major initiatives: energy and sustainability improvements, new procurement practices and streamlined information technology services, officials said.

The university is also saving money through enhanced borrowing strategies by the system’s building authority, efforts to increase general academic efficiency and effectiveness, strategies to reduce building costs, and campus-sponsored initiatives, officials said.

Some of the $226 million in budget savings has already been achieved and the rest will be realized over the life of existing contracts.

The university said it is currently implementing 147 efficiency projects, which is 28 more than last year.

UMass also said it plans to release the inaugural edition of an annual short-form performance report early next month.

The report titled “UMass Performance: Accountable and On the Move,” will use data-based rating to show “a clear and concise assessment,” of the university’s ability to reach its main goals, officials said.

"Our performance report represents an attempt to convey our story of priorities and progress in a way that is accessible to citizens across the Commonwealth,” Caret said. “Additionally, this report is intended to spur performance by establishing clear goals and priorities – goals that we believe are important for our university and for the Commonwealth.”

"We believe that we have a clear duty to provide this information to the taxpayers who help to fund UMass, to parents who look to UMass for affordable, high-quality education for their sons and daughters, to our partners in government and business, to our graduates, students, faculty and staff – in short to anyone who has a stake and interest in the University of Massachusetts," he added.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Hollywood stars to help Emerson College celebrate opening of Los Angeles campus

February 26, 2014 07:00 AM

Exterior Shot at Dusk from West Sunset Blvd - Without ELA Sign.jpg

(Iwan Baan)

Larry David, Sofía Vergara, Maria Menounos and a host of other TV and movie celebrities will help Emerson College celebrate the grand opening of its new satellite campus in Hollywood.

The stars are scheduled to attend a ticketed celebratory gala on March 8 to kick-off a week-long series of events marking the unveiling of Emerson Los Angeles, an $85-million, 10-story, 100,000-plus square-foot building at 5960 West Sunset Boulevard featuring classrooms, offices, 217 dormitory beds and parking.

Many of the big name guests set to appear at the gala are Emerson alumni: including Menounos, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Mutchnick, Denis Leary, Ann Leary, Henry Winkler, Vin Di Bona, Norman Lear, and Doug Herzog.

Others expected to show include: Tom Bergeron, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, and Emerson trustees and administrators.

“Emerson LA will provide our students with an unparalleled hands-on experience that only living in this great city can offer,” said a statement from college president M. Lee Pelton.

Check out photos of the new Emerson LA campus here.

“The opening of this magnificent building on Sunset Boulevard makes a statement that Emerson is committed to the City of Los Angeles and to the entertainment and communication industries for the long term," he added. "The work we do here will solidify Emerson College’s reputation as the world’s leading institution of higher learning in communication and the arts.”

The facility, designed by LA-based architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, opened to students at the start of the current semester. It is home for an internship program the college launched 27 years ago that has students study in the city known as the heart of the entertainment industry.

The program previously ran out of rented office building space in Burbank, and many students lived in a nearby apartment complex.

The new environmentally-sustainable building will seek LEED Gold certification and features wired classrooms, an open-air screening and live-performance space, a Dolby Surround 7.1 audio post-production suite, a 4K screening room, computer labs, mixing suites, a planned green screen motion capture stage and other amenities.

The project broke ground two years ago after it was delayed when a recording studio across the street sued over concerns about construction noise disrupting their business.

“In addition to expanding our existing undergraduate program, we will also be offering workshops, lectures, and other events to Emerson alumni and the community at large,” said a statement from Emerson LA founding director Kevin Bright, who was the executive producer of the hit TV show “Friends.”

“We intend to be fully engaged with the City of Los Angeles and specifically the Hollywood community. Community service will be a big part of the new ELA,” he added.

Students will participate in at least two community service days each semester, campus officials said.

The college said it is also plans for Emerson LA to house academic offerings beyond just the internship, including arts and communication school, post-graduate, certificate and professional study programs.

The college said a series of free events open to alumni, parents and friends will be held in the days after the gala. For more information, visit www.emerson.edu/ela.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Cost to study, live at Suffolk University to rise 2 percent for 2014-15; price ranges from $46k to $49k

February 25, 2014 10:00 AM

The annual cost to study and live at Suffolk University will rise by about 2 percent next fall, campus officials said.

Students will pay a total of between $46,742 and $49,392 to cover tuition, fees and room and board next year, depending on which meal plan and dorm room type they have.

Those figures include $32,530 for full-time undergraduate tuition, which is up by about 3 percent from the current $31,592. The figures also include a $130-per-year undergraduate activity fee; student housing costs, which range from $11,582 a year to $13,632 – the same rates the university has charged for the last five years; and dining plans, which range from about $2,500 to $3,100 – rates that are nearly 4 percent higher than current options.

The figure does not include additional costs, such as to pay for books, supplies, health insurance, transportation or other personal expenses.

In a message to the campus community, Suffolk president James McCarthy said undergraduate tuition rate increase is the smallest percentage increase in 39 years at the university.

“The undergraduate increase is built upon a base Suffolk University tuition that remains among the lowest of comparable New England institutions,” he wrote.

“Providing an empowering education at a reasonable cost is one of the university's core values,” said McCarthy. “We are constantly working to manage resources and operations effectively and prudently, with the goal of keeping a Suffolk education affordable for our students and their families.

“We recognize that tuition costs remain an ongoing challenge for students, and we remain committed to controlling costs while strategically investing to strengthen programs and the university,” he added.

Few other area colleges and universities have released their pricing for the 2014-15 academic year. Most will announce their rates over the next few months.

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricey schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Cost to study, live at Berklee College of Music to rise 3.5 percent to $56k for 2014-15

February 25, 2014 10:00 AM

The annual cost to study and live at Berklee College of Music will rise by about 3.5 percent to $56,370 next fall, campus officials said.

That figure includes $37,800 for full-time undergraduate tuition, which is about 3.5 percent higher than the current $36,514. The figure also includes the college’s mandatory fee of $1,110 per year, which is 3.5 percent higher than the current fee, and $17,460 a year for housing and a meal plan, which is about 1.5 percent higher than the current room and board rate.

The figure does not include estimated additional costs, which the college estimates will run students another $9,000 a year to pay for health insurance, a laptop, books, transportation, loan fees and other personal expenses.

Mark Campbell, vice president for enrollment at Berklee, said that while the school’s sticker price is rising, the actual cost will not increase for many students who are eligible for financial aid.

“The increase in aid has risen faster than the increase in tuition costs for about 5 years in a row now,” he said. “We’ve made a really conscious decision over several years to increase aid.”

“Like everybody else, we’re really cognizant of college costs and our process has been trying to find what is the least cost we can pass on while still balancing out budget,” said Campbell. “Our focus is on the families and students and keeping their education as affordable as possible.”

He said the college has also increased some funding toward need-based scholarship and grant programs, particularly for juniors and seniors who find themselves in a financial bind just shy of graduation.

Few other area colleges and universities have released their pricing for the 2014-15 academic year. Most will announce their rates over the next few months.

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricy schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Cost to study, live at Babson College to rise 3.4 percent to $59k for 2014-15

February 25, 2014 10:00 AM

The annual cost to study and live at Babson College will rise by about 3.4 percent to $59,614 next fall, campus officials said.

That figure includes $45,120 for full-time undergraduate tuition, which is about 3.7 percent higher than the current $43,520. The figure also includes $9,354 a year on average for housing and $5,140 for a meal plan, which are each about 2.5 percent higher than the current rates for room and board.

The figure does not include estimated additional costs, which the college estimates will run students another $4,200 a year to pay for health insurance, books, supplies, loan fees and other personal expenses.

“We remain committed to keeping Babson affordable by providing financial aid to as many students as possible,” said Babson spokesman Michael Chmura. “Next year, we will award nearly $32 million in undergraduate grants and scholarships, with a significant majority of these funds allocated to students with demonstrated financial need. We also are continuing our policy of permitting students in many circumstances to enroll in up to 20 credits while paying the same flat-rate tuition.”

“A Babson degree has never been more valuable,” he added, pointing out that the college, known as a leading institution for entrepreneurship, ranked 5th for midcareer earnings and 25th for 30-year return on investment, according to a survey this year of more than 1,000 schools nationwide.

Few other area colleges and universities have released their pricing for the 2014-15 academic year. Most will announce their rates over the next few months.

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricy schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Cost to study, live at Tufts University expected to rise 4 percent to $61k for 2014-15

February 25, 2014 10:00 AM

The annual cost to study and live at Tufts University is expected to rise by nearly 4 percent to $61,100 next fall.

If approved by the school’s trustee board later this spring, the proposed increase would make Tufts the first higher education institution in the Boston-area and the second statewide to charge students more than $60,000 in tuition, room, board and mandatory fees.

However, few other schools have announced what students will be charged in the next academic year, and it is likely that the $60,000-and-up club will grow as other local institutions unveil their 2014-15 rates.

“While these figures are preliminary and could change between now and May, when the board of trustees finalizes them, we think it makes sense for students and parents to have this information now,” said campus spokeswoman Kimberly Thurler.

“We expect undergraduate financial aid will increase by a significant amount in the coming year. Tufts commits to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of every undergraduate we accept for all four years at Tufts,” she added. “All our undergraduate aid is based on financial need, which assures that our aid goes to needy students who would otherwise not have access to a Tufts education. Last year the average grant for first-year students was almost $36,000.”

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Estimated personal and travel expenses can bring the total cost for Amherst above $65,000, according to the school’s website.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricy schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The proposed cost for the 2014-15 year at Tufts, which campus officials said could change before the university finalizes the figure in the spring, would be a 3.95 percent increase from the current price tag of $58,780.

Next year’s proposed total price tag would include $47,444 for full-time undergraduate tuition, $6,892 a year for housing, $5,720 for a meal plan, $736 for a mandatory health services fee and $308 for a student activity fee.

The figure does not include additional costs, such as to pay for books, supplies, health insurance, transportation or other personal expenses.

Most other area colleges and universities will announce their rates over the next few months.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

edX, Facebook to partner to create free social education mobile app for students in Rwanda

February 24, 2014 02:39 PM

Cambridge-based online education nonprofit edX is partnering with Facebook, other companies and the government of Rwanda to launch SocialEDU, a pilot initiative that will give students in the African country free access to a social learning platform via Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Facebook and edX will work together to create a SocialEDU mobile app optimized for a low-bandwidth environment, and the government of Rwanda will work to adapt course materials for local students.

"With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, U.C. Berkeley, TU Delft, Australian National University and ETH Zurich," Facebook said in an announcement Monday.

"Our platform will allow students to ask questions, engage with other students, interact with teachers, and participate in group discussions," the social media company said. "We are bringing the classroom to them and providing locally-relevant content, while transforming the educational experience to provide collaborative, social and sustainable learning."

Telecom company Ericsson will help test that the app can work in a 2G environment, while another telecom company, Airtel, will provide free data to everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year

Device manufacturer Nokia will provide affordable smartphones, and the government Rwandan will reduce costs further through various financing mechanisms.

The government will also expand an existing program that provides free Wi-Fi access on campuses throughout the country.

The initiative is a part of the Internet.org project, an effort led by Facebook and six mobile technology companies that are working together to bring the Internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have access.

"We know we have a long way to go to provide access to the two-thirds of the world that doesn’t have it today," Facebook said. "Rwanda is our first test of this approach, and our hope is that this will serve as a blueprint for other partnerships to follow. Through committed partnerships like SocialEDU, we move one step closer to bringing everyone in the global community online."

Founded in the spring of 2012 by Harvard University and MIT, edX is comprised of 32 institutions worldwide, or the xConsortium. EdX.org, which features nearly 150 courses, boasts about 2 million unique users from nearly 200 countries.

"Improving global access to high-quality education has been a key edX goal from day one," said a statement from edX president Anant Agarwal. "Nearly half of our 2 million students come from developing countries, with 10 percent from Africa. In partnering with Facebook on this innovative pilot, we hope to learn how we can take this concept to the world."

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

Lesley University adjuncts vote to unionize

February 24, 2014 01:37 PM

Part-time faculty at Lesley University have voted to form a union, becoming the second local group of adjuncts to unionize in an effort to improve their pay, benefits, and other working conditions.

Adjuncts from the Cambridge-based university voted 359 to 67 to join the Adjunct Action union, according to an announcement from the Service Employees International Union, which is backing the movement.

Union officials said the results were unveiled after the National Labor Relations Board counted the vote’s mail-in ballots Monday.

“With part-time faculty making up the majority of faculty, our working conditions are directly related to student success and that’s why I’m excited about forming our union today,” said a statement from Matthew White, who graduated from Lesley and now teaches graphic design there. “Our union will help Lesley University provide students a richer experience and better education.”

The vote is part of an effort to unionize adjunct faculty at Boston-area schools as well as colleges in Los Angeles, Washington, and Seattle. Supporters hope that by forming unions they will be able to push for better working conditions, benefits, and wages.

Last spring, the SEIU said it met with part-time professors from more than 20 local colleges to discuss their interest and efforts to unionize.

In September, adjuncts from Tufts University, which has campuses in Medford, Somerville, Boston and Grafton, became the first local group to unionize in recent years when they voted to join Adjunct Action. Tufts adjuncts are negotiating with university officials to draft their first contract, union officials said.

A month after the Tufts adjuncts unionized, a vote to unionize Bentley University adjuncts fell just two votes shy of passing.

Part-time and non-tenure track faculty represent the majority of faculty at universities in the United States, and their numbers continue to rise, according to the SEIU.

In 2011, part-time faculty held 50 percent of teaching jobs at colleges, up from 34 percent in 1987 and 22 percent in 1970, the SEIU said. Adjuncts on average earn about $3,000 per three-credit course. About 80 percent of adjuncts do not get health insurance from their college, and about 86 percent do not receive retirement benefits, according to the SEIU.

Among private, nonprofit universities in the Boston-area, 66.8 percent of faculty are non-tenure track and 42 percent are part-time, the SEIU has said.

“Being a university professor, once the quintessential middle class job, has become a low wage one where instructors face low pay and no benefits or job security,” said a statement from the SEIU, which has unionized more than 18,000 adjunct faculty nationwide. “Many do not even have access to basic facilities like office space, making it increasingly difficult for adjuncts to do their best for their students.”

Lesley adjunct Norah Dooley said teaching one course a semester at the university does not cover the cost of health insurance for her and her family.

"Lesley is exceptional in the way it cares for its students as human beings. As an alumna of Lesley, I love my alma mater yet I wish Lesley was equally as exceptional in its treatment of its adjunct faculty,” she said in a statement.

“While the crisis in higher education is complex, it is not intractable,” added Dooley. “Our overwhelming "yes" vote to form our union with SEIU/Adjunct Action is a great start on a solution. Adjuncts are raising standards not just for adjuncts and not just for Lesley. I truly believe we are raising the bar for all in higher education. Alumni like me want to see Lesley University take a leadership role in this movement.”

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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