“Turn Down Tuesdays” at UMBC

“Turn Down Tuesdays” at UMBC

Eco-Ambassadors introduce weekly series to promote energy conservation

In its ongoing efforts to promote energy conservation on campus, UMBC has introduced a new awareness campaign, directed toward heating and cooling.

“Turn Down Tuesdays,” created by the UMBC Eco-Ambassadors and Climate Action Steering Committee, is an informative series centered on heating and cooling appliances around campus. The program is intended to encourage students to limit their use of electric heaters and coolers.

The series will feature facts and pieces of advice to students on how they can limit their use of heating and cooling, saving energy as a result. Kelsi Jameson, a UMBC  Eco-Ambassador and a junior biology major, said that they will take the form of discussion posts to the myUMBC website.

The weekly tips are meant to be a way of “reaching out to the student population in a quick and easily digestible manner to keep everyone conscientious throughout the semester and into the winter break,” Jameson said. “We may have videos, or just food-for-thought-esque posts.”

Kourtney Rutkowski, a fellow Eco-Ambassador and a sophomore mechanical engineering major and psychology minor, originally conceived the idea for Turn Down Tuesdays as a means of expanding the Eco-Ambassadors’ social media outreach.

“We wanted to do a weekly series of sorts and the idea just sort-of came to me,” Rutkowski said. “We divided weeks up to members of the work groups and from there started working on the first post, got it approved by the Sustainability Coordinator, and posted our first post of the series last week on myUMBC.”

“The series is meant to be part of our efforts to highlight energy-saving during the winter,” said Elise Rudt, a UMBC Eco-Ambassador and a junior global studies major. “It’s also part of our overarching campaign to promote three energy-saving initiatives: ‘Turn It Off,’ ‘Let It Rest,’ and ‘Dial It Down.’”

Those three initiatives highlight the three main energy-saving tactics that the Eco-Ambassadors are promoting. “Turn It Off” focuses on powering down unused electronic devices. “Let It Rest” encourages students to utilize sleep/hibernate modes for their computers, laptops and printers. “Dial It Down” challenges students to limit their heating so as to maintain their rooms’ temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter.

The Eco-Ambassadors are a group of UMBC students specially designated to work with campus sustainability programs and promote student-led sustainability. They work to raise environmental awareness and encourage sustainability practices in classes, among student organizations and at campus events.

The Climate Action Steering Committee was founded by President Freeman Hrabowski as the Climate Change Task Force in 2007. It has worked to advise Hrabowski on sustainability measures, engage the campus in emissions-reducing practices and promote education and research related to combating climate change. The committee consists of faculty, students and staff.

Facilities Management has also worked to promote electric energy conservation. Its website features energy-saving guidelines and advice for the campus buildings’ temperature controls and lights. It has also directly employed energy-efficient lighting and temperature-control systems around campus.

Rutkowski stated that for now, the series’s expansion would depend upon student response. “We would love to see it grow and develop into a bigger thing, however it all depends on what the students want,” she said. “We are hoping that by reading the posts, the students will remember the posts and implement them into their daily routine.”

“How many times must they hear a fellow student say, ‘Turn down for what?’” said Rutkowski. “It would be great if they start to remember our posts and and talk about them whenever something like that gets said.”


[Sources: http://my.umbc.edu/news/47994







Examining the History of Scientific Racism

Harvard Professor brings lecture to UMBC

Harvard Law professor and distinguished scholar Dr. Evelyn M. Hammonds gave a lecture on Wednesday, November 12th, discussing the history and current-day intersection of science, medicine, anthropology and sociopolitics in race in the United States.

   Dr. Evelynn Hammonds, Director of the Program for the Study of Race and Gender in Science and Medicine at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, took to the stage of the University Center ballroom on Wednesday night to give a lecture on W.E.B. Du Bois and the history of racism in scientific research.

Throughout the lecture, entitled “W.E.B. Du Bois and the Challenge to Scientific Racism,” Hammonds discussed the achievements of Du Bois and his influence on the world. This includes his involvement in the creation of the NAACP and civil rights activism.

Hammonds particularly focused on how Du Bois, whom she described as the “leading intellectual of African American history,” set out to gather significant amounts of data to combat widespread, pseudo-scientific notions of race.

Hammonds discussed Du Bois’s Eleventh Atlanta University Study, which served as the first significant approach to health problems and biological study of the “negro,” as well as the first example of African American intellectualism that challenged scientific racism.

According to Hammonds, the Eleventh Study dealt with the most difficult issues with scientific racism through the presentation of a large body of scientifically ascertained fact, instead of the “large mess of so-called ‘Negro problems.’”

Du Bois’s efforts unfortunately faltered due to unreadiness for the data and the hostility of white individuals toward his work. Thus, ultimately disillusioning his faith in science.

The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and co-sponsored by other organizations, including the Social Sciences Forum, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.

Dr. Tyson King-Meadows, chair of the Africana Studies department, provided opening and closing remarks for Hammonds’ lecture.

King-Meadows encouraged students to “power up” their studies and become involved in the Africana Studies department in order to make a difference.

Prior to the lecture, the UMBC Jubilee Singers and Gospel Choir performed renditions of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “God is Great,” both of which were very well received by the crowd.

James Wiggins, a 1975 UMBC alumnus, also attended to present the three student recipients of UMBC’s Second Generation Scholarship, meant to provide support for individuals who have shown commitment to the advancement of minorities.

Hammonds was formally introduced by Dr. Maleda Belilgne, Assistant Professor of the Africana Studies Department.

Hammonds recognized that, even now, there is still significant focus on racial structure and categories in health and medicine that has yet to dissipate.

However, Hammonds is still optimistic about the possibility of a post-racial world.

“We may still be mired in that set of racial notions today,” said Hammonds. “But I think we’ll reach a point where we’ll find another way.”

Hammonds’s lecture served as food for thought for many of the students and faculty in the audience.

“It’s difficult to believe that even though I go to a diverse university surrounded by so many open-minded contemporaries,” said junior political science major Molly Wilson, “there are still so many people conflating race with things like socioeconomic status and region.”

At the end of her lecture, Hammonds looked to the future and posed an important question: if we eliminate race, what will we replace it with?


Sources: http://artscalendar.umbc.edu/2011/06/15/w-e-b-du-bois-and-the-challenge-to-scientific-racism/

Pitch it to win it

The Shark Tank-inspired 2014 Idea Competition

Sponsored by the ABCE (Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship), this year’s Idea Competition was held on Nov. 12 in The Commons Sports Zone. Aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a panel of judges for prizes ranging from $250 to $750.  

Much like the popular show Shark Tank, but less demanding, UMBC students at the 2014 Idea Competition were expected to pitch their ideas in a professional manner within three minutes in the Sports Zone. It was then up to the judges and the audience to vote on who rightfully earned the winning title in each category.

The cash prizes were broken up into the following categories: Best Idea for $750, Second Place Idea for $500, Third Place Idea for $250 and Best Pitch for $250. Of course, it’s not enough to just have a good idea; judges paid close attention to how each idea was presented.

Vivian Armor, director of ABCE, said, “This is the fifth year of the Idea Competition. We narrowed it down to the top 10 picks. Unfortunately, the sixth student scheduled to go has an important chemistry exam tonight and can’t make it.” Then, the first five competitors took the stage one by one pitching their ideas.

Entrepreneurs and judges Mike Adelstein, Lily Bengfort and Peter Parker are all UMBC alumni. Their judging criteria were based on identification and definition of the problem/opportunity, originality of idea, value creation, feasibility of implementing the solution/Idea and impact of the solution/idea.

As anyone could imagine, it was no easy task squeezing a presentation into only three minutes. Some, of course, were cut off early. Still, Armor said, “I thought everyone presented outstanding ideas.” Each of them certainly demonstrated a strong passion for their idea and its potential.

After the first five presented, they were welcomed back to the stage for a series of questions from the judges. Then, the last four got their chance and the questioning process repeated. Before the ballots were accounted for and the winners were announced, students in the audience got an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.

Tied for the Best Idea was presenter of Electronic Triage Tags for Mass Casualty Incidents, Patrick Wheltle and the True Greens team of Andres Camacho, Tom Eliason, Samual Buettner and Sarah Miller. Each were awarded the first place cash prize of $750. Patrick Wheltle was also awarded the Best Pitch title, adding to the already exciting night. Finally, Nitin Sampathi earned the Third Place Idea with Indi – Exploration and Exercise.

“The 2015 Idea Competition is planned to come back around next November. Coming up in the spring [April 23, 2015], is the Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition,” said Armor. Back for its second year, the CBIC is a more drawn-out version of the Idea Competition and another great opportunity for any UMBC aspiring entrepreneurs to really get their foot in the door.


Compiled by the Retriever Weekly Features Staff

Virgo- On the bright side, you’ll no longer need to worry about burning your mouth after you spill your coffee all over your lap.

Libra- You may feel anxious and fearful this week, but luckily that is completely normal for you.

Scorpio- You won’t be able to recall if it’s no-shave November or no-shampoo November, so you should probably continue to participate in both.

Sagittarius- The hole that appeared beneath your roommate’s bed will continue to grow, as will your ambivalence toward the whole situation.

Capricorn- The map that fell out of that old library book can only lead to one thing: treasure. Well, maybe ruin also, but definitely treasure.

Aquarius- Your knowledge of early-90s sitcoms will be especially valuable this week.

Pisces- This time of year, it’s important to remember that there’s more to life than test scores. For example, internships, papers, presentations and grad school applications.

Aries- You’ll finally get to experience true love this week when your friend meets “the one” and tells you all about it.

Taurus- An unusual alignment of the stars means that this will be an especially hairy week, and not figuratively either.

Gemini- Strangely, all of the vowels popping off of your keyboard will actually improve your note-taking abilities.

Cancer- Without getting into details, you’re going be the one who makes Velcro shoes fashionable again.

Leo- It’s getting colder out. This week would be a good time to pull out your winter sleeveless tees.

Matthews 1600

Matthew’s 1600: Catonsville’s homestyle dining experience

A local restaurant review

Matthew’s 1600 is a great option for students who want a place to go out with friends or a date. The prices, menu and atmosphere make for a great experience, especially during the holiday season.

Resembling a classic-style home with a wrap around porch and shuttered windows, Matthew’s 1600 Restaurant & Bar looks more like someone’s house than a restaurant. Stepping inside reveals an area comprised of two distinct rooms. One with a more casual, two leveled space surrounded by a relatively large bar, and a more elegant and formal room, closed off dining area with tablecloths and candles.

A larger “party” room sits below, where many receptions, parties and group events are held. The overall atmosphere of the place is warm and inviting, with its blonde wood, impressive sized bar and numerous booths.

One of the main reasons why people love coming to this restaurant is the casual atmosphere. Even though many formal events occur here on a regular basis, it still appears to be a family-friendly place. The menu is never unfavorable, featuring unfamiliar dishes at fairly reasonable prices.

Martha Joans, a frequent guest of the restaurant, said, “The prices here are great and they offer several happy hour appetizers as well as their regular menu.”

Owners Al and Lori Parson, along with their three sons, Russell, Matthew and Daniel, have been in this business since 2003. The sign outside the restaurant is always announcing its next event and buffet. Holidays are one of their prime times.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, employees are setting up for another buffet style event to celebrate the holiday weekend. Like most buffets, the assortment of cooking is presented on long tables around the main floor of the restaurant. Guests line up, plate in hand, eager to take as much food as possible, some even returning for seconds and thirds.

For those families who either dislike cooking or are looking for a break from hosting yet another holiday event, Matthew’s 1600 is a great alternative. Not only does the restaurant give off a family-friendly vibe, but it also includes classic holiday meals.

This year’s menu will include three main entrees: a turkey breast, prime rib and glazed ham. Along with this, there will be steamed shrimp, cranberry glazed meatballs, mashed potatoes, corn pudding and, of course, the traditional Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin pie.

When its not the holiday season, and during regular hours, Matthew’s 1600 is known for their Baltimore-style crab dip served with a huge soft pretzel and topped with cheddar and jack cheese. Their prices are relatively reasonable, especially for college students, with full, classic meals just under $15. One of the customers, Lindsey Michaels, said, “Matthew’s 1600 is a great restaurant! I will definitely be coming back for the crab dip.”

With its friendly service, reasonable prices, fresh food and close proximity to campus, Matthew’s 1600 is a great option for a night out with friends or a date. It’s a way to dine out with a bit of ambiance without breaking the bank.


Get to Know a Retriever

Young woman gives back and sustains her culture

What is your name, major, and year?

My name is Farrah Daham. I am a senior who is double-majoring in physics and mathematics.


Where are you from (city, county, state)?

I am of Lebanese descent, but I am originally from Washington, D.C. My family and I later moved to Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County.


Who do you admire and why?

I know that it is a cliché, but I really admire my parents. Their decision to leave their respective families to study in the U.S. was a bold one that not many people have the opportunity to choose. They did a fantastic job integrating my sisters and I into American culture while making sure that we kept Arab traditions and principles close to our hearts. They are my superheroes, and they encourage me to strive for excellence and achieve my full potential!


What is your career goal?

I am currently doing research in the Atmospheric Physics Department, and plan on getting my Ph.D. and continuing research in that field.


If you could change one thing around the world, what would it be?

If I could change one thing around the world, it would be the access that people have to basic public goods and services such as education, clean drinking water and healthy food. It is an environmental issue that is deep to my heart.


What do you like most about UMBC?


I really like the small size of the campus. I always see the same people, even if I have never met them before; the familiarity creates a comfortable learning environment for me.


What activities do you participate in on campus?

I used to be part of the Astronomy Club during my freshman year, but now I am only focused on school and my internship.


Who is the celebrity you would like to meet; what would you do with him/her?

I have always been a huge fan of Bill Clinton! I would like to spend the whole day with him asking for advice, learning more about his personal life and discussing his continued interest in politics, particularly humanitarian outreach efforts for various international causes.


What is/are your favorite thing(s) to do outside of UMBC?

Besides school and my internship, I have a little side business where I sell clothes and accessories that I do not really wear or no longer want on eBay. It is a great way to make extra money every month.


Where do you want to spend your next vacation?

My next vacation spot is Mexico! It is a beautiful place culturally and geographically.


What is your favorite genre of television (comedy, competition, reality, etc.) and why?

My favorite shows are Desperate Housewives, American Horror Story, The Office, Lost and The Walking Dead, in that order. I like shows that offer comedic relief, but I am more into mystery.


What kind of music do you like?

I really only listen to Beyoncé, and honestly she is all I need! Her voice reigns supreme.


If you met Dr. Hrabowski (UMBC President), what would you say to him?

I have already met Dr. Hrabowski a few times, but we only discussed school. I guess I would ask him about his favorite foods or something personal like that. It humanizes him in a way that makes him more approachable as a university president.