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Fewer Americans Are Volunteering and Giving Than Any Time in the Last Two Decades

November 15, 2018
Contacts: 

Kaitlin Ahmad, 301-405-6360

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – While nonprofits have benefitted from record highs in volunteer hours and charitable fundraising totals, it’s a case of fewer people doing more, as the percentage of Americans who contribute time and money has fallen to its lowest point in two decades, according to a report released this week by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute.

In the first-of-its-kind analysis of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report, “Where Are America’s Volunteers?,” examined adult civic engagement with community organizations in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and 215 metropolitan areas.

From 2002 through 2015, community organizations saw record highs in volunteer hours served (topping out at 8.7 billion in 2014) and in charitable dollars given ($410.02 billion in 2017). But since 2005, the national volunteer rate declined from 28.8 percent to a 15-year low of 24.9 percent in 2015. Similarly, the percentage of Americans giving to nonprofits annually declined from 66.8 percent in 2000 to 55.5 percent in 2014.

“As a nation, we must commit resources and time to the challenging work of putting more Americans back to work improving and engaging with their communities,” said Robert Grimm, director of the Do Good Institute, housed in the School of Public Policy, who co-wrote the report with Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar in the institute.

“Continued declines in community participation will produce detrimental effects for everyone, including greater social isolation, less trust in each other, and poor physical and mental health,” Grimm said.

The report also found that throughout the country, 31 states experienced significant declines in volunteering between 2004 and 2015; none saw a significant increase. Surprisingly, this drop is more prevalent in states historically rich in social capital, meaning highly engaged in social and civic affairs.

The data also suggest that rural and suburban areas, which historically have higher levels of social capital than urban areas, saw the biggest downturns in volunteer rates in recent years. Between 2004 and 2015, they fell more than 5 percentage points in rural areas, and nearly 5 percentage points in suburban areas.

These trends help explain why significant changes in volunteer rate occurred less often in metropolitan areas than at the state level. Between 2004–06 and 2013–15, 57 metro areas experienced a significant decrease, 147 experienced no change, and only 11 produced a significant increase in volunteering.

The analysis also found that volunteer rates tended to decline in metropolitan areas with fewer places to volunteer, in places where people may be less likely to know their neighbors (like large cities with lower homeownership rates and a higher percentage of multi-unit housing), and in places where there is more economic distress (from high unemployment to high poverty rates).

The full report, which contains national, state, and metropolitan-level statistics on volunteeringand giving for adults is available for download here. And the full appendix can be found here.

 

University of Maryland Breaks Ground on E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory

November 14, 2018
Contacts: 

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4618

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland, state and local leaders gathered with donors and supporters yesterday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory. The latest addition to UMD’s innovation ecosystem, the IDEA Factory will incorporate open design to enable collaboration between diverse areas of engineering, business and science. Experts in robotics, quantum technology, rotorcraft and transportation will work alongside entrepreneurial students, faculty and partners to inspire creative thinking, new products and research breakthroughs.

“The road from idea to invention is filled with bumps, and this new building will pave the way for our innovators,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We will build it solely with funds from private donors. They are demonstrating the power of philanthropy to transform our research and education.”

“We have to combine our engineering specialties so that our knowledge evolves into products and services that help humanity,” said Emilio Fernandez ‘69 (electrical engineering), an entrepreneur and inventor whose vision for a space that “allows the mind to expand” inspired the IDEA Factory’s open, collaborative design.

The IDEA Factory will bring together students, faculty and staff from various majors and fields to conceive ideas, create designs, build prototypes, develop business plans and bring products to the market to spur economic development in the region, state and nation.

“The IDEA Factory will be like no other building on campus,” said Darryll J. Pines, Dean and Farvardin Professor of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. “It is a truly unique space where student design teams, faculty researchers, venture creators and industry experts will work side-by-side to meet the challenges of the 21st century by creating disruptive engineering breakthroughs.”

The 60,000-square-foot facility will be connected to the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. With five floors, the IDEA Factory will include open workspaces for students, dedicated areas for student competition teams and a new home for UMD’s student-run incubator, Startup Shell.

It will house the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, Robotics Realization Laboratory, Quantum Technology Center and the Maryland Transportation Institute.

The $50 million project is fully made possible by private philanthropy supporting Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland, UMD’s $1.5 billion fundraising campaign, and is expected to open in 2021.

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About the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

 

 

 

New Research Report Explores Lessons Learned From University of Missouri’s Racial Crisis

November 13, 2018
Contacts: 

Audrey Hill, 301-405-3468

COLLEGE PARK, MD-- A report released today by the American Council on Education (ACE) explores what led to the University of Missouri’s 2015-16 racial crisis and how the institution has since responded, offering recommendations to college and university leaders who strive to create and maintain a positive racial climate on campus. University of Maryland College of Education Professor Sharon Fries-Britt is a co-lead author of the report.

Mizzou student protest

The report, “Speaking Truth and Acting with Integrity: Confronting Challenges of Campus Racial Climate,” is a collaboration between the University of Missouri’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS), spearheaded by ACE’s Vice President for Research Lorelle Espinosa and the University of Missouri’s Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Kevin McDonald. Lead authors are Adrianna Kezar, of the University of Southern California, and Dr. Fries-Britt, of the University of Maryland, College Park.

The report and its findings are informed by 52 interviews conducted with University of Missouri students, staff, faculty, and other community members. The authors also considered previous research on diversity, inclusion, campus racial climate, crisis response, and institutional leadership. They describe longstanding racial tensions and overt incidents on Missouri’s flagship campus and in its surrounding communities, culminating in the now well-known unrest that took place in 2015-16 and resulting in the resignation of the president and chancellor.

The authors chronicle steps taken since this period, including by the university’s current leaders–President of Missouri System Mun Choi, University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, and McDonald–and their commitment to working steadily to provide a diverse and inclusive environment. Using the Missouri case as a jumping off point, the authors introduce a template for other campus leaders facing similar crises and explore best practices for addressing key emotions and trauma that may linger after such incidents.

“This research brings up important insights and actions on the issues of diversity and inclusion, core areas of ACE’s work to improve access, equity, and diversity on our college campuses,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “We appreciate the opportunity the University of Missouri has provided for reflection and learning. Such leadership is necessary in today’s higher education environment, not only to learn from the challenges of racism and other forms of discrimination, but also to use that learning to chart a purposeful path forward for the benefit of our communities and society.”

“Higher education institutions nationwide are grappling with racial incidents on campus,” Dr. Fries-Britt said. “We’re participating in a national classroom on diversity, as political leaders are keeping the topic in the public domain, leading to a heightened awareness of climate and bias in society. Universities are a small microcosm of our broader society. The interactions on campuses matter and offer an important opportunity to develop the ability to move past biases and work with people different from you.”

The authors lay out several key takeaways learned from their research and provide a framework for other campuses to build their own capacity to respond to racial crises. These takeaways include:

  • Campus context matters. Leaders are encouraged to enhance their own understanding and acknowledgement of the historical legacy of race and racism on campus and in the surrounding community. 
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion. Demonstrations of long-term commitment to issues of diversity and inclusion allow for resiliency following a racial crisis.
  • Acknowledge and respond to collective trauma. Following a racial crisis, leaders are right to acknowledge racism, hatred, microaggressions, and pain. This response will emphasize to the community that their institution stands up for anti-racist values and, in turn, supports them through the crisis.
  • Collective trauma recovery. Leaders should avoid immediately trying to “solve” the problem and instead engage in active listening, speak and connect with the community to recognize hurt and trauma, and build a strategy to move forward. 

“Building trust requires continuous learning around diversity issues. This research is designed to help people evaluate their own campuses and whether they have been ignoring signals of concern,” Dr. Fries-Britt said. “There is no recipe for addressing conflicts around racial issues. Leaders need to be willing to be vulnerable and wrong, as opposed to simply looking for an immediate solution to complex diversity issues and their related trauma.”

“Our students, faculty, and staff have risen to the occasion and have worked hard to ensure that all members of the university community feel welcomed and encouraged to share their unique perspectives and experiences. As a result, we are stronger and more united as a campus,” Cartwright said. “Identifying the best ways to support diversity, equity, and inclusion is a challenge at universities across the country. We know we will continue to have difficult conversations as we remain vigilant in our commitment to an environment of respect.”

Since 2015, the University of Missouri has undergone an institutional transformation that includes the hiring of the university’s first chief diversity officer and the creation of a university-wide plan to improve compositional diversity and the learning, living, and working environment. A new required course introduces all new students to the values and culture at the university, and underrepresented minority faculty grew by more than 14 percent. In 2018, the freshman class rose by 13 percent from the year prior, showing a return of students from throughout the state, from both urban and rural areas.

“This work required leadership from our students, faculty, staff, supporters, and alumni,” Choi said. “We invited this review in partnership with ACE because it was important to have an outside view of our progress. We don’t want to take anything for granted and we must continually evaluate our development and commit to doing better. We remain committed to providing leadership that is engaged and transparent in order to become a national model for inclusion and free speech.”

Click here to see the full report.

ACE invites you to register to attend, either virtually or at ACE’s offices in Washington, DC, a discussion on Nov. 29 to learn more about the report and its findings, and to engage in dialogue with Chancellor Cartwright, Fries-Britt, and McDonald. For additional information about this event and to register, click here.


Photo: Mizzou students of color protesting. Credit: Sarah Bell/Missourian via AP. 

 

 

UMD Research Finds Congo Basin Native Forests Vanishing at Alarming Rate

November 9, 2018
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin, 301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- New research from the Department of Geographical Sciences finds that tropical forests in the Congo Basin are being cleared at an increasingly fast pace, and if the trend continues, its native forests could vanish by the end of this century.   

Using time-series satellite data, researchers analyzed the extent and immediate causes of forest loss in this region of sub-Saharan Africa, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest, from 2000 to 2014. Their results, published yesterday in Science Advances, demonstrate that 84% of forest disturbance in the region was due to small-scale, predominantly manual clearing for agriculture, and that the annual rate of this type of clearing almost doubled in this period.

The findings are particularly alarming amid the United Nations’ predictions that the number of people living in the Congo Basin will increase fivefold by 2100, with the population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone reaching 400 million, said Alexandra Tyukavina, a postdoctoral associate and one of the lead authors of the study. “People in this region rely on the natural resources in primary forests to survive, but the forests won’t be able to keep pace with demand for long.”

This is the second in a series of detailed studies by the Department of Geographical Sciences on the causes of forest loss across the three major tropical forest regions. The first, published in 2017, focused on the Brazilian Legal Amazon. A future study will examine factors driving forest loss in Indonesia.

“Topical forests play a crucial role in climate regulation and provide critical ecosystem services,” said Professor Matthew Hanson, the study’s other lead author. “Our research seeks to assess and quantify the factors impacting forest loss across large regions in a methodologically consistent manner so we can figure out ways to slow or stop the process before it’s too late.”

Funding for the study was provided by the United States Agency for International Development, through its Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

 

UMD Releases First of Seven New Apples Bred for Maryland Growers

November 7, 2018
Contacts: 

Samantha Watters 301-405-2434 

 

COLLEGE PARK,Md. – Researchers in the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are releasing the university’s first ever patented apple variety, Antietam Blush. This and the six more varieties of sturdy, disease-resistant dwarf apple trees are a culmination of 27 years of research and crossbreeding.

 

Christopher Walsh, professor in the department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, said these new apples are part of his Maryland Apple Tree Architecture Project, launched to create apple varieties tailored for growers in Maryland, and the Appalachian region and intended to replace older varieties of apples, such as Red and Golden Delicious, which have lessened in popularity among consumers. The new Maryland apple variety is named Antietam Blush based on its color and on the Civil War battlefield Antietam that is just north of the Western Maryland Research & Education Center where the variety was bred.

 

Walsh said these new types of apple trees are resistant to disease, shorter (aka dwarf) with stronger tree architecture for easier maintenance and harvesting. They are more cost effective because more trees can be planted in a small area and because the sturdiness and low height of these trees makes them ideal for pick- your-own farm operations . These advances create potential for broad adoption and use, while improving orchard and farm viability and potentially strengthening the state and regional apple industry, according to Walsh.

 

The new Maryland apple variety is named Antietam Blush based on its color and on the Civil War battlefield Antietam that is just north of the Western Maryland Research & Education Center where the variety was bred.

 

“In Maryland, we have a very good climate for apple production, but we also have a couple of limitations because of our hot summers and rainy weather,” he said. “One day they're green. The next day they fall on the ground. We needed [varieties] that were heat tolerant. We also needed things that fit into the climate and didn't require spraying for a particularly bad bacterial disease called fire blight. "

 

“The primary goal [of these new apples] is for eating fresh, not cooking or cider. The return to the grower is greater for fresh fruit than fruit that is grown for processing,” Walsh said.

 

Julia Harshman, a former student of Walsh’s and a co-creator of the new apples said: “The mid-atlantic apple region has a need for new varieties. It's a fairly large region, and most apple varieties do not fit well for several reasons. It's my hope that our work here can fill that void."

 

“We targeted the mid-October harvest season for Antietam blush because that's when the pick your own markets are really popular. That's when people want to take their kids to the farm, pick pumpkins , drink cider, have that full farm experience. And that includes apples,” said Harshman.

 

Bob Black, owner of Catoctin Mountain Orchard, has been unofficially growing Antietam Blush for a few seasons for grower taste testing. “[Antietam Blush] will be very important, especially in October because the regular Pink Lady most times is not quite ready - it’s an advantage for this apple to be ready when lots of folks are picking apples and pumpkins.”

 

Walsh notes that this apple program came about naturally and without initial external funding. “It was serendipity I guess you’d call it,” he said. “No one else was doing it, and it just needed to be done. So Western Maryland Research & Education Center] gave me the land and the support, and we just started following a dream.”

 

However, the growth of the Maryland Apple Tree Architecture Project really took off in 2007 when Harshman came into the picture. She met Walsh in the Plant Sciences building. That chance interaction led to a change in direction: from undergraduate biochemistry work to enrollment in the horticulture program and involvement in the apple project.

 

The apple program is now seeing the fruits of its labors with multiple apple patents. And growers have said they are very excited by the new varieties, and love the taste of Antietam Blush. “Consumers like it,” said Walsh. “When Bob Black brings them to the winter horticulture society meetings, he gives away 10 or 20 bushels one apple at a time. The growers eat them. So that tells us that this is a good one. We expect to have a commercial nursery selling trees for commercial growers in two years.”

 

“[Antietam Blush] was developed here,” said Black, “and I think it's going to go a long ways for a lot of folks. It just puts Maryland on a map as one of the states to watch and see what's next, because I know Chris has some other apples in the pipeline, and that's what it's all about - producing an apple that'll do well here in this region.”

 

According to Walsh both traditional and organic apple growers can benefit from the new varieties. Organic apple production is very difficult in the eastern US, because the heat and rainfall in the summer make it difficult for organic farmers to keep diseases in check. “These [varieties] would help sustainability as the resistance to fire blight reduces problems with that disease, which damages and frequently kills many apple trees.”

 

President and CEO of The Education Trust John B. King Jr. to Address University of Maryland’s 2018 Winter Graduates

November 1, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announces today that President and CEO of The Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will deliver the university's winter commencement address on Dec. 18, 2018 at the XFINITY Center. 

Headshot of John King“Throughout his career, John King has fought on the front lines of education reform to make the system more equitable and help all students succeed,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “As one of our visiting professors, Dr. King is inspiring a new generation of leaders, and will similarly inspire our graduates and their families.”

“It is an honor for me to deliver the Winter 2018 commencement address at the University of Maryland, and to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the graduates, as well as their families, who supported them on their journey,” stated John B. King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust. “Speaking at this graduation ceremony on this campus carries special significance for me as an educator teaching at the University of Maryland, and as a member of this diverse and vibrant learning community.”

John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.

Before becoming education secretary, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.

King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.

King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.

King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Education and is a member of several boards, including those for The Century Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation, and Teach Plus. He also serves on several advisory boards, including Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, the Rework America Task Force, the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council, and the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at the University of California.

King lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife, a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher, and his two daughters, who attend local public schools.

John King with student

John King with student

 

University of Maryland Releases Fall 2018 Enrollment Data

October 31, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland today releases data from the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment regarding the university's fall 2018 enrollment figures. This fall, the university welcomed an incoming freshman class of 4,714 students from 39 different states and 16 foreign countries.

The university is reporting a decline in the number of new African-American students who chose to enroll this year. Last fall, 12 percent of UMD’s new students--freshmen and transfers--were African-American. This year, that percentage dropped to 10 percent and the decrease was greatest among new freshmen.

“The University of Maryland is deeply committed to providing the best education possible for our students. The outstanding diversity of our student body is essential to achieving that goal,” said UMD’s Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We are proud to be a leader in the Big Ten in African-American enrollment and graduation rates, but more work is needed to ensure that our educational programs continue to be strengthened by a diverse and talented student body.”

The university will implement many new actions and initiatives to enhance student financial support and address issues of campus climate aimed at reversing this trend. As a first step, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh will appoint an Enrollment Action Council made up of administrative and student leaders from across campus to ensure that all eligible Maryland students can access the extraordinary educational resources available to them at their flagship university.  

In addition, the university is hiring a Coordinator of Admission and Diversity Initiatives to enhance the robust recruitment and application support efforts already underway; and the university continues its comprehensive efforts to positively impact our campus climate, including a national search for a new Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.  

Addressing financial aid is a centerpiece of Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland, the university's $1.5 billion fundraising campaign. Thanks to a generous matching gift from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, UMD is has created The Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise, which will establish a $100 million endowment that will provide need-based scholarships to undergraduate students from underserved populations in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

There are several factors and challenges the university and Enrollment Action Council will take into consideration during this important work. First being to consider how heavily recruited our state’s many academically talented students of color are by out-of-state private and public institutions who can offer tailored financial incentives; as well as how the university competes with many strong HBCUs in our area and the option of free community college for Baltimore city students. 

“We would be naïve to think that the tragic incidents of the last two years on our campus have not contributed to our African-American student enrollment decline this year. We must address the concerns about campus climate and hate-bias incidents that UMD and many of our peers are facing,” said Provost Rankin.

To see the full enrollment data report for Fall 2018, visit https://irpa.umd.edu/

 

UMD to Co-Lead First-of-its-Kind FEMA Study Of Health Effects on Wildland Firefighters

October 29, 2018
Contacts: 

Melissa Andreychek, 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland (UMD) Associate Professor Michael Gollner will co-lead a first-of-its-kind research effort to quantify the pulmonary and cardiovascular health consequences to firefighters exposed to wildland fire smoke. the research is supported  by a $1.5 million award from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a Department of Homeland Security agency.

Photo of Dr. Michael GollnerThe smoke of wildland fires—such as California's Mendocino Complex Fire, which burned 459,123 acres, destroyed 280 structures (including 157 residences), and killed a firefighter during the 2018 wildfire season—contains particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic carbon compounds, and other toxic hazards that could put firefighters at risk for chronic illnesses such as ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis).

But unlike structural firefighters who have relatively well-defined respiratory personal protective equipment standards for fighting fires in and near buildings, wildland firefighters have no standards or requirements for prescriptive respiratory protection. And because wildland firefighters are often deployed to a fire for weeks at a time with sometimes repeated deployments for several months over a summer, they experience an exposure pattern with unknown health risks.

“We put wildland firefighters in harm’s way to protect the natural environment, homes and property, and lives. The focus on firefighter safety has largely been about physical injuries such as burns—but as you can imagine, these firefighters are also exposed to a great deal of smoke,” explains Gollner, a fire protection engineer in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. “We know there can be health consequences to this, but we have no data on the long-term effect of wildland fire emissions on the heart, blood vessels, and lungs of front-line wildfire responders, because it’s incredibly difficult to study.”

The FEMA-funded research will look at different smoke exposures that mimic both smaller prescribed fires (i.e., planned fires that are used to meet management objectives and that consider the safety of the public, weather, and probability of meeting burn objectives) and larger wildfires—as well as the benefit provided by different types of simple respiratory personal protective equipment.

The research team, led by principal investigators and bioengineers Jessica Oakes and Chiara Bellini of Northeastern University, hopes the three-year project will inform which fire scenarios are the most dangerous with greatest risk to firefighters’ pulmonary and cardiovascular health—and perhaps most importantly, lead to recommendations for respiratory personal protective equipment that is easily implemented in the field and/or possible changes in tactics to mitigate exposure, with the goal of preserving firefighters’ long-term health.

“Unlike structural firefighters, who will put on an air-purifying respirator or a self-contained breathing apparatus when they enter a building, wildland firefighters typically cover their face with only a simple bandana,” says Gollner. “Bandanas are a common tactic because they don’t add an additional burden of weight to firefighters’ already strenuous activity. However, it is unknown if, or to what extent, this provides health benefits.”

The research team will combine their expertise to solve this challenging problem: Gollner will contribute novel expertise in firefighting practices and fire generation, while Oakes and Bellini will offer interdisciplinary bioengineering expertise that’s critical to understanding this complex health problem. They will also work with the International Association of Fire Fighters and National Fire Protection Association to facilitate input from stakeholder partners including firefighters from several departments across the country, fire organization representatives, health researchers, governmental agencies, and members of technical committees overseeing personal protective equipment standards.

To learn more about Gollner's research:

 

Nature + Art + Climate + Change: International Forum in Washington

October 22, 2018
Contacts: 

Hayley Barton, 202-387-2151 x235

WASHINGTON—Academic and artistic partners The Phillips Collection and the University of Maryland (UMD) will present the International Forum in Washington on Saturday, November 10, 2018, 2–5 pm.

Phillips Collection International ForumThe Phillips Collection’s annual International Forum is rooted in the institution’s aim to contribute to the global conversation through the language of modern and contemporary art. A joint presentation with the University of Maryland, this year’s afternoon of dialogue will bring together leaders across disciplines to discuss the implications and meaning of "Nature + Art + Climate + Change."

The program will include presentations by Meg Webster, Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass (founders of Random International and creators of Rain Room), and a presentation by Henry Elkus (CEO of Helena) about Helena’s support of Factory in the Sky, the first commercial direct-air carbon capture machine, located in Switzerland. The presentations by Random International and Henry Elkus will be followed by one-on-one conversations with UMD scholars, including Dr. Hester Baer (Associate Professor and Head of the German Department) and Dr. Robert Orr (Dean of the School of Public Policy and former Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, United Nations). Conversations will explore shared perspectives on the increasingly significant role artists are playing in discourse about the environment.

“Our position as an arts institution in the nation’s capital provides us with a unique platform to discuss pressing contemporary and global issues. The Phillips Collection is pleased to host this discussion surrounding the intersections of art, nature, and climate, which will be informed by some of the most important artists and visionaries addressing these topics,” said Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski.

“The University of Maryland's partnership with The Phillips Collection is rooted in the idea that scholarship and the arts work hand-in-hand to advance dialogue on important, global issues. We are pleased that our scholars will be contributing to these important conversations on art, nature, and climate alongside key thought leaders, and look forward to the discussions that unfold,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin.

Admission for the event is $12; free for students and Phillips members. Tickets for the event can be purchased at http://www.phillipscollection.org/events/2018-11-10-international-forum

ABOUT MEG WEBSTER
Meg Webster is a San Francisco-born, New York-based artist recognized for her work in sculpture and installation that evoke a connection between the Earth’s environment and elements of existence. For 40 years, Webster has utilized spaces with totemic qualities and natural materials like stone, soil, ash, beeswax, and spices to continue the conversation about social relations to the environment. Her large-scale installations and precise structures inspired by the 1970’s Land Art Movement often reflect basic forms and minimalism. 

ABOUT HANNES KOCH AND FLORIAN ORTKRASS
Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass founded Random International in 2005, an art collective and collaborative studio for experimental practice. Combining Koch’s and Ortkrass’s passion for art and science, the collective’s work encourages and welcomes active participation in questioning aspects of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age. The studio is based in London and continues to grow a talented and diverse team. 

Their most recent work is the permanent installation Rain Room—a large-scale environment of responsive rainfall. Using digital technology, Rain Room offers visitors the experience of controlling rainfall, creating a unique choreographed downpour and encouraging visitors to interact in a unexpected space and atmosphere. Rain Room is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent collection but has also been exhibited at the YUZ Museum in Shanghai (2015), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), and London's Barbican (2012). 

ABOUT HENRY ELKUS
Founder and CEO of the Helena Group Foundation Henry Elkus is passionate about creating systems that can be leveraged to enact global, scalable, and systemic change. The Helena Group Foundation consists of leaders across the globe and each member represents a specific field. Members include General Stanley McChrystal, actress Chloe Grace Moretz, Nobel Laureate Myron Scholes, and producer Brian Grazer, along with Fortune 500 executives, technologists, and acclaimed activists. The group develops and implements strategies that can produce positive change for the world. Outside of running Helena, Elkus is also a social entrepreneur resident at the Boston Consulting Group, holds an advisory role at the Berggruen Institute, and serves as a Special Advisor to the forthcoming Avatar Technology Xprize. 

ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of Modern art, presents one of the world’s most distinguished Impressionist and American Modern art collections. Including paintings by Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O'Keeffe, van Gogh, Diebenkorn, Daumier and Lawrence, among others, the museum continues to actively collect new acquisitions, many by contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Laib, Whitfield Lovell, Zilia Sánchez, and Leo Villareal. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its highly distinguished special exhibitions, programs, and events that catalyze dialogue surrounding the continuity between art of the past and the present. Among the Phillips’s esteemed programs are its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; well-established Phillips Music series; and sell-out Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to the art conversation on a global scale with events like Conversations with Artists and the International Forum. The Phillips Collection values its community partnerships with the University of Maryland—the museum’s nexus for academic work, scholarly exchange, and interdisciplinary collaborations—and THEARC—the museum’s new campus serving the Southeast DC community. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations. 

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 47 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget and secures $550 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit www.umd.edu.  

 

Hornbake Library explores American Dream in Occupied Japan

October 11, 2018
Contacts: 

Eric Bartheld, 301-314-0964

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- Featuring materials from the University of Maryland's renowned Gordon W. Prange Collection of publications issued during the Allied occupation of Japan, a new exhibit opening on October 19, Crossing the Divide, focuses on residents of communities built for U.S. military and civilians following the end of World War II. After Japan surrendered unconditionally to the United States and Allied Powers in August 1945, thousands of service members moved to Japan to oversee its rehabilitation.  

These U.S. transplants created self-contained communities, or “Little America” enclaves, where they enjoyed an American middle-class lifestyle in contrast to the poverty of the war-torn city.

“Crossing the Divide” explores how Japanese people participated in building an American Dream for the occupying military personnel and how through this experience the Japanese began to rebuild their lives and construct a new nation.

Japanese architects, designers, and engineers, for example, helped shape the communities by creating single-family households that fused Western and Eastern design sensibilities. These households, in turn, provided opportunities for young Japanese women to learn Western ways, often as domestic maids.

“Lots of women’s magazines published reports of these domestic maids and what they learned,” says Yukako Tatsumi, curator of the Prange collection and librarian for East Asian Studies. “How to cook, how to make the bed, how to make a table setting. That kind of modern expertise is something Japanese women longed for.”

Complex dynamics developed in the household relationships, Tatsumi says, but at their foundation was a desire of the women to learn English and household-management skills, and to earn income or materials goods to help support their families. “Japanese young women, highly educated, had the opportunity to gain firsthand experience of modern American household life,” Tatsumi says.

“This exhibit highlights the relevance of the Prange Collection beyond just those interested in Japan Studies,” says Tatsumi. “By showing the American influence, we’re showing the relevance to local audiences.”

The Gordon W. Prange Collection is the most comprehensive archive of publications issued in Japan during the first four years of the Allied Occupation (1945-1949).

Since the early 1990s, the UMD Libraries have partnered with the National Diet Library of Japan  to preserve and provide access to the materials in the collection, which fill a gap in the Diet Library’s historical record. Digitization of the 71,000 books in the collection began in 2005.   

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