Thursday, October 31, 2013

All about UDC's Architecture Program

DC's first LEED
Platinum home
before and after
All about architecture--well, all about the University of the District of Columbia’s premiere architecture program, which is part of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences.The Department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning exemplifies the University’s urban land-grant mission, providing a program that equips students with the essential skill set to effectively implement maximum sustainability in the design and planning of buildings, neighborhoods and communities.

The department offers both bachelor and masters degrees: 

This degree requires completion of an eight-semester curriculum for a total of 121 credits.

The Master of Architecture I degree program requires completion of a three-semester curriculum for a total of 37 credits. The Master of Architecture II degree program requires completion of a seven-semester curriculum, for a total of 86 credits.

Architectural Research Institute

The Architectural Research Institute (ARI) is the clinical arm of UDC’s architecture program, offering a research and community service based program that utilizes the university’s capital assets to support the District of Columbia’s mission to provide affordable and energy efficient shelter to its citizens. 

ARI offers programs in construction, architecture, and planning, providing students and faculty with opportunities for research and field work across disciplines in support of the CAUSES mission, “Healthy Cities – Healthy People.” 
Apartment building in
Northwest, DC,
before and after

ARI also serves the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development through its Homestead Program. To date, ARI has participated in the rehabilitation of over 525 homes and apartments, projects valued at more than $110 million.

The Building Rehabilitation Services program of ARI revitalizes abandoned properties throughout Washington, D.C., giving students first-hand insight into today’s discipline of architecture. This includes practice of architecture, including field documentation, specification writing, interaction with other professionals and client contact through project administration.  

The Building Systems and Envelope Assessment program provides technical assistance and training to building owners, managers, operators, and occupants. Have a question about energy efficient design or construction? The ARI team offers a variety of professionals include ENERGY STAR and LEED® experts. Meet them below!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Upcoming Events

We’ve got a host of events coming up in CAUSES, so please be sure to mark your calendars!

Keep reading for more information on:
  • Nursing Forum: Evolving Healthcare Leadership in the Era of ACA through Diversity & Inclusion (Nov. 7, 2013)
  • Farm Day at Muirkirk Farm (Nov. 9, 2013)
  • DC Eco Women Mentor Dinner (Nov. 12, 2013)
  • Hamburg Conference (Nov. 15, 2013) and Exhibit (Nov. 15 - Dec. 6)
  • Daffodils for Dad (Nov. 16, 2013)
  • Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit (February 28, 2014)
  • National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium (April 4, 2014)

CAUSES TV: Healthy Cities; Healthy People and Creating a Green and Sustainable Economy

CAUSES Dean, Dr. Sabine O’Hara, believes that it takes a healthy city to have healthy and thriving people. This episode of CAUSES TV on healthy cities and people champions that theme with Harriet Tregoning, Director of the D.C. Office of Planning, who happens to be one of the leaders in D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s development and implementation of the Sustainable DC plan joining Dean O'Hara. Director Tregoning is working to make DC a walkable, bikeable, eminently livable, globally competitive and sustainable city. Kathy Dixon, UDC Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning, also joins the conversation. Professor Dixon is the Principal at K. Dixon Architecture, a member of NOMA, and is LEED-certified.

Want more? You can watch another new episode of CAUSES TV on creating a green and sustainable economy after the jump!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nov. 9 is Farm Day at Muirkirk Farm!

We are pleased to announce Farm Day at Muirkirk “Firebird” Farm, Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event will include:

·         Panels on organic growing practices and building an eco-friendly business
·         Farm tours
·         Face Painting
·         Chef demonstrations
·         A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony

Click here to register.

The Event is sponsored by The Big Bad Woof, Blessed Coffee, 5 A DAY CSA, and the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES
of the University of the District of Columbia. 

The Muirkirk Research Farm is located at: 12001 Old Baltimore Pike, Beltsville, MD 20705. For more information, contact Vicki Reese at  

We hope to see you there!  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fiji at the Farm

Ambassador and Mrs. Thompson
CAUSES was pleased to welcome the Honorable Winston Thompson, Ambassador of Fiji, to our research farm in Beltsville, Maryland. The Ambassador was joined by his wife, Mrs. Queenie Thompson, and spent over two hours touring the farm, taking a special interest in our native, or "ethnic crops" program. 

Where is Fiji, you ask? The Fijian Islands--over 300 of them--are located in the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and north New Zealand.

In a diverse metropolitan area like D.C., specialty crops are in high demand. In fact, ethnic food products comprise more than 12% of all retail food sales and are seeing 5% growth annually. 

The Muirkirk "Firebird" Research Farm on a sunny fall day.
 This in part is why CAUSES began researching crop production for these ethnic crops. In making these products accessible and affordable, we are helping to connect consumers to new types of food. We are also giving both native born and or local immigrant populations a taste of home, right here in D.C.

"It was very eye-opening for us to see so many familiar food crops though different cultivars growing in DC," Ambassador Thompson said.

For those of you who are not trained agrologists like Ambassador Thompson, a cultivar is defined as a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding.
Queenie Thompson samples Sawa Sawa.
Throughout the tour, the Ambassador and his wife sampled many of the ripe crops that were growing--directly off the vine (our farm does not use pesticides or other agents, so active sampling is encouraged). Mrs. Thompson, an avid sampler, delightfully told stories of her homeland, and how she prepared certain crops. She was particularly a fan of the Sawa Sawa or the "sour leaf" plant.

"The passion and enthusiasm CAUSES has for this program is infectious and I’m sure you will have the whole of DC converted to growing and relishing these exotic food crops in a short time. Its applicability to our developing countries as they continue to urbanize is clear and we must find a way to expose some of our thought leaders to what is being demonstrated at Muirkirk Farm," stated the Ambassador.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

4-H Operation Military Kids Ready, Set, Go! Training Nov. 22, 2013

It's National 4-H week and earlier, we learned about the Environmentors Program. Another 4-H program, Operation: Military Kids (OMK) is the U.S. Army's collaborative effort with America's communities to support children and youth impacted by deployment. Regardless of whether Families are experiencing deployment for the first time, the second time or another in a series of multiple deployments, OMK’s goal is to connect military children and youth with local resources in order to achieve a sense of community support and enhance their well-being.
Watch this slideshow to see the type of fun activities available to our Operation Military Kids! 

Through OMK, Military Youth:
  • Meet other youth who are also experiencing deployment
  • Participate in a range of recreational, social & educational programs
  • Gain leadership, organizational, and technical skills by participating in the Speak Out for Military Kids program or Mobile Technology Lab programs
  • Receive assistance with school issues by connecting with Army Child, Youth & School Services School Liaisons -- More on School Transition Support
  • Attend single day, weekend or even longer residential camps
Ready, Set, Go! community trainings are designed to increase non-military youth workers, educators, counselors and other community members understanding of:
  • the unique issues facing military youth
  • military culture
  • the deployment cycle
  • fostering resilience in youth and to engage them in building State and Local community networks to provide support for military children and youth.
The University of the District of Columbia will be hosting a training on Nov. 22, 2013 and are looking for volunteers. For more information on the Ready, Set, Go! training visit or contact Rebecca Bankhead, Director & State Program Leader 4-H & the Center for Youth Development at UDC, at or FeiFei Sun, Operation Military Kids Extension Agent, at

4-H: Environmentors Program

Did you know that Oct. 9 is 4-H Youth Science Day? 4-H students from across the nation have gathered at the 4-H national headquarters, which just happens to be up the street from the University of Columbia in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The Center for 4-H and Youth Development develops innovative programs that emphasize experiential learning opportunities for young people and their families. Through "hands-on" interactive programming, participants develop life skills, leadership abilities, and an ethic of civic stewardship. As the home of the District of Columbia's 4-H program, we are excited to share more about our programs in the Center of 4-H and Youth Development:

  • 4-H Clubs 
  • 4-H Living Interactive Family Education (LIFE) 
  • Common Measures 
  • 4-H International Network 
  • 4-H STEM 
  • 4-H Summer Camp 
  • EnvironMentors 
  • LifeSmarts Consumer Education for Teenagers 
  • Operation Military Kids 
  • Health Rocks Program

Friday, October 4, 2013

Che Axum discusses sustainable farming techniques

Taught by Dr. Elgloria Harrison, Associate Dean for CAUSES, students of her UDC capstone course have been encouraged to step outside the classroom and to experience the world around them. 

In this series of YouTube videos from Michelle Wingley, watch Che Axum,  Muirkirk "Firebird" farm manager, talk about his sustainable operation. Dr. Elgloria Harrison interviews Che onsite at the farm. He also discusses composting and soil quality

Stay tuned for more student videos!

CAUSES, DC Central Kitchen collaborate for school's African Food Day

CAUSES recently had the opportunity to participate in African Food Day at Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. A program of DC Central Kitchen, the demonstration was led by Yao Afantchao, UDC’s Ethnic Crop Development Specialist.

The 5th – 8th grade students were eager to try samples, although a few proceeded cautiously at first. General consensus was that the event—and the food--were both a success. 

Programs such as this allow students—many who have never been out of the country—to expand their pallet by sampling fare from around the world. As several students discovered, several of food and vegetables were familiar to them, they were just prepared differently.

“The Students were very encouraging in their willingness to try new foods, which is not an easy thing for anyone,” said Mr. Afantchao. “We believe too that through education it will become easier for people to adapt to new tastes.”