Amherst Foreign Study Adviser William Hoffa Recognized for Work

August 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The NAFSA Association of International Educators, the leading professional organization for international education and foreign exchange, has presented the 2005 Homer Higbee Award to William Hoffa, the study abroad adviser at Amherst College.

The Homer Higbee Award is given annually to a member of NAFSA currently involved in associational activities with at least 10 years of distinguished service, who has been a mentor to colleagues in all aspects of the field. " Since the beginning of his distinguished career," NAFSA notes, "Bill Hoffa has been a tireless activist and advocate for international education at all levels, through his employed positions, his elected posts, his volunteer activities, his publications and his presentations. What distinguishes Bill Hoffa from many others is the fact that he has been a continuous source of information and wisdom for so many years to so many people."

Hoffa, who has served in numerous regional and national leadership positions within the association, is the editor and author of most of NAFSA's publications for education abroad. He has taught at several institutions including a year as a Fulbright lecturer in Finland, and he has been on the faculty at the School for International Training since 1998. In addition to his service since 2001 as study abroad adviser at Amherst College, Hoffa also has been a consultant on campus internationalization to over 25 colleges and universities.

NAFSA was founded in 1948 as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers to promote the professional development of American college and university officials responsible for assisting and advising the 25,000 foreign students who had come to study in the United States after World War II. Its members included admissions personnel, English-language specialists and community volunteers. In 1964 the association changed its name to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs. By 1990, as the number of foreign students in the United States approached the 400,000 mark, there were 6,400 NAFSA members on 1,800 campuses, and increasing numbers of U.S. students were studying abroad. That year the organization changed its name to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The acronym was retained to reflect NAFSA's proud past and broad name recognition.

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Mellon Foundation Awards Humanities and Social Science Grant to Amherst College

August 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York has awarded Amherst College a matching grant of $1.5 million to create an endowment to bring young scholars to campus as postdoctoral fellows in the humanities and social sciences. Under the terms of the Mellon grant, Amherst will have three years to raise an additional $1.5 million from individual donors.

The Mellon award comes after two previous grants from the foundation enabling Amherst to host 11 postdoctoral fellows in departments ranging from English to Anthropology and Sociology over the past seven years. An additional award from Mellon in 2004 allowed Amherst to bring one new fellow to campus this fall to participate in the Global Sound Project, an innovative interdisciplinary project originally established through support from the President's Initiative Fund.

The new endowment fund will create a permanent source of support for bringing talented young academics to Amherst's campus to help develop new courses, foster interdisciplinarity and introduce new pedagogies, while also providing the fellows with valuable teaching experience and time to complete and publish their research prior to seeking full-time jobs in academe. By matching Mellon 's grant, Amherst expects to ultimately support at least two postdoctoral fellows at the college each year.

In expressing his gratitude for this award, Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx noted: "If liberal arts colleges are to remain a vital force in American higher education, it is essential that the brightest scholars continue to join our learning communities. Mellon's postdoctoral fellowships program has successfully demonstrated that time spent on a college campus can help talented young scholars to forward their careers and more keenly appreciate the rewards of working directly and intensively with undergraduates as part of a liberal arts curriculum."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York is a private foundation, with assets of approximately $4 billion, which makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment and public affairs.

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Poet John Kinsella To Read at Amherst College Sept. 13

August 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Prolific poet John Kinsella will kick off the fall series of the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, reading from his work at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The Australian poet, whom Harold Bloom has described as "astonishingly fecund and inventive," is the author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose. Of his most recent, a reworking of the pastoral into The New Arcadia, J.D. McClatchy writes, "Kinsella takes it all in with a naturalist's eye, and his view brims with enormous sympathies and moral edge," while Brian Henry concludes, "The New Arcadia emerges as both protest and radical exaltation." Kinsella is an editor of the journal The Kenyon Review, and teaches at Kenyon College in Ohio.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. See the Center's website for more information.

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2005-06 Music at Amherst Series Opens Sept. 21 with Pianist Stephen Hough

August 27, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Music at Amherst opens its 28th season of world-class chamber music at Amherst College with the pianist Stephen Hough, in a program of fantasies by Mozart, Schumann and Liszt/Busoni, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. Tickets for series subscriptions are on sale until Thursday, Sept. 15. Five other programs are included in the series.

On Friday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m., violinist Leila Josefowicz and pianist John Novacek will perform a program of 20th- and 21st-century pieces, as well as Beethoven 's Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96.

On Friday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m., the Jupiter String Quartet will present a program featuring the works of Haydn, Beethoven and Dutilleux.

On Friday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m., the Brentano Quartet with guest violinist Hsin-Yun Huang will offer a program of Mozart viola quintets.

On Saturday, Mar. 11, at 8 p.m., The Gryphon Trio will perform works by Dvorak, Mozart and Beethoven.

On Tuesday, Apr. 11, at 8 p.m., pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher will return to Music at Amherst with a special program.

This schedule is subject to change; latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website, or by calling the Concert Office at 413/542-2195. Season subscriptions are available until Thursday, Sept. 15, for $100-$125 ($85-$110 for seniors, and $30-$50 for students.) For more information and brochures call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195.

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Amherst College Community Service Orientation Program Aug. 31 to Sept. 3

August 23, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—At Amherst College, first-year students have been taking part in three-day community outreach program orientation trips for more than a decade. This fall, according to Scott Laidlaw, the director of community outreach, 39 first-year students, 10 student trip leaders, and two trip coordinators will be participating in an intense three-day, three-night trip, staying in a community center in the heart of Holyoke, where they will participate in service activities, listen to presentations and take part in interactive workshops that raise awareness about community empowerment, poverty and institutional racism. These trips are the first chance that students have to begin building relationships with non-profit organizations, community organizers and activists and educators in the Pioneer Valley. The trips, which take place from Wednesday, Aug. 31 through Saturday, Sept. 3, bring students to sites from rural Hadley to urban Holyoke, Mass.

Each afternoon, small groups of students will head to a variety of sites in the Holyoke area - such as the YMCA, the Food Bank Farms, Soldiers' Home, Habitat for Humanity, Girls Inc., Providence Ministries, Arise for Social Justice and Nuestras Raices-to learn about the organization and do service work in the community. For example, among other work, they will be building houses, painting murals, harvesting vegetables, sorting through donations at a food pantry, doing arts and crafts with underprivileged children and hosting an ice cream social for war veterans.

Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, has said, " If the great colleges and universities are to provide leaders for society, then we must inculcate service and connect it to the curriculum from the very start and build those connections throughout. Our students must be committed to serving and must learn from service about how to assess and resolve our pressing problems."

On Friday, Sept. 2, all 53 trip leaders and participants, with Amherst College Outreach Office staff Scott Laidlaw, Karen Lee-Roberts and Lisa Pistorio '07, the student trip coordinator, will work on a farm run by Nuestras Raices, an organization dedicated to community development in Holyoke, through projects relating to food, agriculture and the environment. Neustras Raices founded the farm to use the land for growing food and flowers, for local children to play and learn, and to share this land with the community so they could pass on a connection with their heritage in a space reminiscent of the fields in Puerto Rico in which they grew up-the fields where they played and learned from their parents how to plant and harvest bananas, coffee, cilantro and many more fruits, herbs and vegetables.

In addition to the work, community members and student leaders will facilitate interactive discussions, workshops and panels on such subjects such as equality in education, youth empowerment and the cycle of poverty.

Students will have a chance to talk with social entrepreneur Rosanne Haggerty, who has improved the lot of many homeless citizens of New York City since her graduation from Amherst in 1982. She is the executive director of Common Ground, an organization that restores hotels and other residences in New York and makes them available to low-income and homeless people. She will speak to first-year students at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, in Johnson Chapel. (Her talk is not open to the public. The media are invited; call 413/542-8417 for reservations.)

Does first-year service orientation work? More than a third of last year's participants applied to be trip leaders this year. Trip participants remain involved in community work, according to surveys and anecdotal quotes from evaluations and workshops. Amherst's community partners gain immediate help and access to new recruits while they strengthen partnerships with the college.

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Social Entrepreneur Roseanne Haggerty To Speak to First-Year Students at Amherst College

August 23, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Do college students want to change the world? If they do, do they know how? When they arrive at Amherst College later this month for orientation, all 430 first-year students will have read extensively in How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas (2003), by David Bornstein. They then will have a chance to talk with social entrepreneur Rosanne Haggerty, who chose the readings. Haggerty has improved the lot of many homeless citizens of New York City since her graduation from Amherst in 1982. Recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Haggerty is the executive director of Common Ground, an organization that restores hotels and other residences in New York and makes them available to low-income and homeless people. She will speak to first-year students on at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug.29, in Johnson Chapel. (Her talk is not open to the public. The media are invited; call 413/542-8417 for reservations.)

The chance to hear Haggerty speak and ask her questions is part of the common intellectual experience with which Amherst students start their college careers. The first-year students at Amherst share a "common reading," which they received this summer. It's not required reading for any course. Allen Hart, the dean of first-year students, says his "expectation is that virtually everybody will have taken a look at it-hopefully most will have read it fairly thoroughly." Behind the suggestion that all first-year students share a "common reading" is a goal that they'll share a "common intellectual experience."

Haggerty is a champion of supportive housing, which provides carefully selected tenants with job training, medical care and social services where they live. According to a report in The New York Times in 2003, Haggerty " formed Common Ground in 1991 to bring her idea to fruition-and she conceded that, with a 3-year-old son, braces on her teeth and the same clothes she had worn since graduating from Amherst College in 1982, she must have made an unlikely champion for such an ambitious undertaking. But Ms. Haggerty said she felt called to the project; since completing her senior thesis on the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, she had considered her 'education an obligation, not a possession.' "Haggerty has been called "the Mother Theresa of Affordable Housing," according to The Hartford Courant, which also reported that she said "poor or homeless people and families need not only a safe place to live, but also intensive and individualized support services for a substantial period of time. 'There has to be a plan,' she said. 'Communities require an overall strategy for housing.'"

Originally from West Hartford, Conn., Haggerty majored in American studies at Amherst and was the editor of The Amherst Student. After Amherst she studied at Columbia University's Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. She went to work at Covenant House, a Catholic relief agency in New York, and Brooklyn Catholic Charities. In 1990, learning that a decayed and abandoned hotel in Times Square had failed to sell at auction, Haggerty founded the Common Ground Community, which has grown from a single building to a city-wide organization that manages 1,300 housing units and employs 167 people, many of them residents. In 2001 she received a "genius award" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

In their new student orientation, the first-year students at Amherst will enjoy a full week of activities from Sunday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 5, which will introduce them, in addition to the intellectual experience, to the social life at the college and in the Amherst community. This fall 39 first-year students will participate in an orientation trip, from Wednesday, Aug. 31 through Saturday, Sept. 3, staying in a community center in the heart of Holyoke, where they will participate in service activities, listen to presentations and take part in interactive workshops that raise awareness about community empowerment, poverty and institutional racism. These trips are the first chance that students have to begin building relationships with non-profit organizations, community organizers and activists and educators in the Pioneer Valley.

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Sustainability Matters at Amherst College

August 23, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—When your annual utility bill approaches $4 million, you can save a lot of money by focusing on energy conservation-and lighten the load on the environment, too. That's the situation at Amherst College, which has committed itself to the practice of sustainability: meeting its needs for energy while preserving the ecological, social and economic systems which we all rely upon. The rules are simple, but the rewards are great: reduce both the amount of energy consumed and the impact on the environment.

Amherst is working to burn fewer fossil fuels in college vehicles and to reduce carbon emissions. Two hybrid vehicles, which combine a gasoline-powered engine with an electric motor to enhance gas mileage and lower emissions, are in use. The college's hybrid Honda Civic gets up to 48 miles per gallon while its hybrid Ford Escape SUV gets up to 36 mpg. In the rest of its vehicle pool, Amherst has replaced all the large passenger vans with mini-vans that use less gas and are easier to drive. The college's heavy equipment has been converted to diesel-already an improvement in efficiency over gasoline-and a year ago the switch was made to "bio-diesel," a clean-burning fuel derived from agricultural products.

Surveying the construction site that is the Amherst campus in summer, a visitor might question the college's commitment to minimizing environmental impact. But even before building begins, Amherst is thinking about sustainability. A basic tenet is: reuse and preserve existing buildings. Whenever possible-as last summer when some of the oldest campus structures, North and South College, needed extensive modernization-existing structures are preserved and rebuilt from the inside out. Also being preserved are Morris Pratt and Morrow Dormitories, Appleton and Williston Hall and Charles Pratt, the geology building which is being converted to a dormitory.

This summer James and Stearns Halls, two dormitories built in the '50s where renovation was not feasible due to code issues, were deconstructed-not demolished. Every piece of the old buildings that could be reused was recycled. Although it's slightly more expensive to deconstruct, the value of the recycled materials actually offsets the additional costs.

All new and renovated buildings are designed to maximize energy efficiency by use of sophisticated computer automation to control the temperature. In public buildings that enjoy lots of sunshine, automated controls adjust lighting intensity to minimize energy use. Four years ago, Amherst built a central air conditioning plant that produces 1,500 tons of cooling at double the efficiency of the old systems. The college is in the process of designing and constructing a cogeneration plant that will generate all of its electricity while converting the "waste" heat of the exhaust system to usable thermal energy in the form of steam. Not only will this high-efficiency plant save the college in excess of $500,000 per year, it will reduce greenhouse gas carbon emissions by more than half, to levels far less than the Kyoto protocol thresholds.

The solid waste recycling program at Amherst has been in place for years, and it now more than pays for itself. The custodial and grounds crews collect and process mixed paper, cardboard, newsprint, glossy paper, all bottles and cans, used motor oil, scrap metal, leaves and used laser cartridges. Recycling works in some unexpected ways, too. For instance, new carpet installed at Amherst College is made from recycled materials.

Another small efficiency that matters is that computers on campus are programmed to go into a "sleep" mode when not being used. Vending machines have been optimized to cycle according to usage patterns as detected by automated sensors. Last year in the college dining hall, the amount of waste was reduced simply by moving the dispensers for paper napkins from the serving areas to the tables, where students take only as many napkins as they need.

Sustainability is a painstaking job. Last fall, Todd Holland, the recently appointed "energy manager" at Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, began assisting Amherst in identifying and implementing energy conservation initiatives. Holland 's shared position, created by Five Colleges, Inc., represents a two-year pilot effort funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encourage collaborative models in administration. Energy management was labeled a top priority by physical plant directors in a Five College study that recommended the establishment of a shared position, similar to two other Five College positions in risk management and recycling, to assist the schools in administering the purchase of utilities and in developing and implementing a self-sustaining energy conservation program.

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