Monday, December 29, 2014

CAUSES TV: Local Food Security with Dreaming Out Loud

There is not much that is as important to our quality of life as our food. Food can make us feel good, and it can make us sick; it gives us energy and it can make us feel sluggish; it sustains life and it can be our livelihood. Yet not everyone has the kind of food that makes them feel good and full of energy. Some people don't even have the right kind of food, and some have simply not enough food. 

Chris Bradshaw joins Dean O'Hara on this episode of CAUSES TV. Chris is the CEO of Dreaming Out Loud, an organization here in the District of Columbia that fully embraces urban agriculture and social enterprise. The organization founded and manages Aya Community Markets, a network of farmers markets and mobile farm-stands that serve as a platform for improving community health, impacting youth, and furthering community economic development. Watch and learn more about their exciting initiatives!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

RN to BSN Nursing Students Hold Pinning Ceremony

Congratulations to the graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, who celebrated their achievement with a pinning ceremony. Dr. Pier Broadnax, director of Nursing, explains:

"In a traditional pinning ceremony, nursing students are "pinned" to signify the rite of passage from one level of preparation to the next. Whereas physicians have a white coat ceremony, nurses have a pinning ceremony. In the case of our students, they are graduating from being associate degree-prepared nurses to baccalaureate prepared nurses. 

BSN Nursing faculty
As faculty, we also see the psychological transition the students make; this is very important because they saw themselves in a different light. The ceremony is also an opportunity also for them to acknowledge they are no longer the same as when they first entered the program. Not only are they are prepared to meet the future of nursing, they know they are prepared and have the confidence to implement change--because we have provided them with the skills to do so. As professional nurses, it is critical for them to be change agents, implementing what is needed to meet the complex needs of the 21st century patient."

Student Opportunities

Copyright DCRA
DCRA Seeking to Fill Entry Level Positions
The Green Building and Sustainability Program of the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), is looking to immediately fill two contractor positions. The Green Building Program seeks to assist in the DCRA mission to protect the health, safety, economic interests and quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors in the District of Columbia. The Green Building Division is responsible for regulating construction that falls under the regulations of green codes including the Green Building Act, Green Construction Code and Energy Conservation Code. Recent graduates who are looking to enter the green building industry are encouraged to apply. Contact DCRA’s David Epley for more information. 

National Energy Education Summit Seeking Volunteers
The National Council on Science and the Environment is seeking volunteers for the 2015 National Energy Education Summit. The event will be hosted Jan. 26 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. The Summit provides an opportunity for energy, environmental and STEM educators to gather with leaders from business and industry, government and civil society to expand the impact effectiveness of energy education.  The Summit is designed to catalyze new initiatives and partnerships in energy education. The agenda will include issues at both the classroom (content, curriculum and pedagogy) and at the programmatic levels (degree and sub-degree programs). NCSE is looking for volunteers to assist with registration and room set-up.  If you choose to commit a minimum of 3 hours, you will receive a complimentary registration. Volunteers are needed for 2 shifts 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. & 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Please email and include your name, a contact number and the times you are available to volunteer. 


  • Tyrome "Chef T" Henson has started his holiday cooking classes at the Washington Parks & People Riverside Healthy Living Center, located in Ward 7. He reports that his first class was well attended and included Ward 7 ANC Gary Butler. The class covered: kitchen safety basics; food safety; equipment and daily nutrition. Participants worked together to prepare healthy fried rice. The class which is free for D.C. residents continues Dec. 20, with additional dates to be announced in early 2015.

  • In other chef-ly news, Chef Herb of the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health recently appeared twice in the Washington Informer. Check out his recipe  a healthy, nutrient-rich soup recipe. He makes another appearance in "Wellness Center Opens in Ward 8," commenting: "I encourage people to get out of the box and to explore more options in their diet – things like reading food labels, buying fresh fruit and vegetables and substituting some of the foods we normally eat with healthier ingredients are ways to improve your health. I conduct demonstrations all over the metro area and use foods that are in season so that folks understand that even with a limited budget, it’s possible to eat well and to eat healthier.” Read the full article.
  • Our friends at Bread for the City received a generous grant from the Washington Hebrew Congregation to build a covered gazebo at City Orchard, designed and built by Sandy Springs Builders. The gazebo will be used to support events and educational programming. City Orchard is based at Muirkirk Farm in Beltsville, Maryland. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Upcoming 2015 CAUSES Certification Courses

The CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) recently announced a number of certification courses, workshops and classes that will be offered in 2015. CSD provides relevant and innovative applied research and education to students, District residents and the world in the areas of sustainable infrastructure, sustainable spaces, urban economics and entrepreneurship and behavioral and social change:

Integrating Urban Agriculture & Urban Stormwater Management: For the first time in recorded history, in 2008, more people began living in urban areas than rural. Simultaneously, many studies show that the millennial generation and other consumers prefer to live in urban environments with access to local foods. This movement has created a dilemma where more people in urban areas rely on a declining farm population. It has also created an increased interest in urban agriculture. Associated with the rise in the popularity of urban agriculture stems a need to mitigate the impact of urban stormwater runoff. This workshop will highlight the University of the District of Columbia's Sustainability Program, which in part, aims to integrate urban agriculture and urban stormwater management. The workshop will highlight green infrastructure, low impact development, federal, state, non-profit and for profit partnerships, and a unique partnership with the DC Housing Authority. It will also include an evaluation of economics and social impacts. Participants will engage in a design charette for an integrated urban agriculture/urban storm water project in DC. The course will be offered Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and repeated on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The course will be held at the UDC Van Ness campus. There is a $50 fee. For more information, contact Dwane Jones, Ph.D., at or (202) 274-7182. 

Innovative Rainwater Harvesting Workshop: Rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems are extremely useful practices for supplementing and replacing potable water resources; however, if designed appropriately, these systems can also be used to meet stormwater management goals. This workshop describes the different types of RWH systems and presents innovative design modifications for increasing the stormwater management benefits of these systems. These modifications include passive and active release mechanisms, excess irrigation and water usage adjustments. The NCSU Rainwater Harvester Model will be demonstrated and participants will learn how to use the new version of the model to design systems and estimate stormwater management benefits. Held at the UDC Van Ness campus, the course will be offered Tuesday, March 3, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and has a fee of $150. Taught in conjunction with North Carolina State University. For more information, contact Dwane Jones, Ph.D., at or (202) 274-7182. 

4-H Update

What's new in 4-H?

Under the leadership of Jaime Brown, 4-H students at Bruce Monroe Elementary School at Park View raised quails as part of their Embryology STEM project. The quails were born in a classroom, but have since moved to the Hard Bargain Farm as the winter break approaches. Bruce Monroe was built in 1916 and has been recognized as a historic landmark. At core of their curriculum is a Dual Language Immersion Program that provides each student with daily rotations between English and Spanish instruction. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Donate to CAUSES!

You have the opportunity to support CAUSES during the end-of-year giving season. The City Council of the District of Columbia has issued to UDC a challenge of raising $1,000,000.00. The Council will match the donations up to $1,000,000.00, and CAUSES will receive 50% of the donated amount, with the rest going to the University.

To donate to CAUSES online, please select "a specific college or school" and then select CAUSES under the College field. Or, please make your check payable to the UDC Foundation and make a notation of the fund to receive your gift in the memo section. 

CAUSES has several funds in which your gift may be deposited:
  1. CAUSES  Master Initiative
  2. CAUSES  Friends of Architecture
  3. CAUSES  Institute of Gerontology
  4. CAUSES  Scholarship Fund. 
All donations are tax-deductible. Thank you to the DC government for this opportunity, and thank you for your support!

Info at a Glance: Institute of Gerontology

Are you or do you know a senior who resides in the District of Columbia? As we begin a new year, why not encourage them to participate in one of the offerings from the UDC Institute of Gerontology! Learn more about the: Senior Companion/Respite Aide, Bodywise and Senior Tuition programs.

THE SENIOR COMPANION PROGRAM touches the lives of adults who need extra assistance to live independently in their homes and communities. They serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities and those with terminal illness. Senior Companions assist their adult clients in basic, but essential ways: offering companionship and friendship to isolated older adults; assisting with simple chores; providing transportation; and adding richness to their clients’ lives. Senior Companions and Respite Aides are also have the opportunity to attend a monthly In-service training.   

THE RESPITE AIDE PROGRAM provides in-home assistance to seniors living alone. The program also provides support to caregivers.  This service helps the individual and/or families deal with the challenges of living independently in older adulthood. Learn more about the Senior Companion and Respite Aide programs.

Recipes: Autumn Harvest Stew and Stir-fry

Chef Herb Holden of the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health provides an autumn harvest stew and stir-fry recipe, while we are in the midst of the holiday season. 

"Since we are at the end of the growing season in this region, all we have left are root vegetables. Here’s a wonderful and easy stew recipe using some of the vegetables that we've harvested over the fall season to enjoy now."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Washington Parks & People's Riverside Center Celebrates Reopening

CAUSES was on hand to help celebrate the reopening of the Washington Parks & People's Riverside Healthy Living Center on the evening of Dec. 8, 2014. Along with CAUSES, a host of other partners were on hand, as well as Mayor Vincent Gray, and dozens of community residents.

"This center can become a hub for this community," explained Executive Director Steve Coleman.  "We've come a long way. We've still got a little further to go, but we've got a lot to celebrate."

Site of the historic nightclub where Marvin Gaye first performed professionally, the newly restored Riverside Healthy Living Center is owned and operated by Washington Parks & People as a hub of park-based community revitalization, health, and peace. For the past 14 years, Parks & People has led the community partnership to transform Marvin Gaye Park as a model for the entire city, using the park to advance public and environmental health, urban forestry and agriculture, youth development, fitness, arts and culture, and job training.

"They said what's been done here could not be done!" said an enthusiastic Mayor Gray. "This is a focal point where people can come and celebrate what's happening around this neighborhood."

Class: Cooking for the Holidays

Friday, December 5, 2014

CAUSES TV: A.J. Cooper and Freedom Farms

We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of A.J. Cooper, who  unexpectedly passed away on Dec. 3, 2014. In addition to his political aspirations and commitment to his hometown of Washington, D.C., A.J. was also on the front line of the District's urban agriculture movement, and therefore, a frequent partner of CAUSES. As the owner of Freedom Farms, a socially and environmentally responsible business that views food production as a central element in improving the health, well-being, and economic condition of D.C. residents, he and Dr. O'Hara recently discussed the movement in detail on CAUSES TV. 

A.J. Cooper will be missed by many. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Muirkirk Farm Greens Donated to DC Central Kitchen

Prof. Pearson shows off his hoop sack.
In celebration of Thanksgiving,
CAUSES donated freshly grown produce to DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), to feed their clients during the Thanksgiving holiday. CAUSES donated kale grown on the UDC Research Farm and harvested by several volunteers, on Sat., November 22.

"This is a great opportunity for the University to give back to DC residents. This is their farm and their taxpaying dollars make this possible," said Center for Urban Agriculture Director, Che' Axum. "To give nutritious food back to the citizens is what should be done. It's service that counts, and we're glad to do it."

Food donation campaigns usually receive processed and pre-packaged goods, often lacking in nutrition. Kale is loaded with vitamins as well as calcium, iron and antioxidants. One cup of kale meets the daily requirement of vitamins A, C and K, and is good for the heart and eyes.

"This time of the year, we think about people who are less fortunate than we are. We hope that our fresh produce will enhance the Thanksgiving meals for many people," commented CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara.

UDC MANRRS Club represent!

UDC Farmers Market Closes for the Season

The time has come for the UDC farmers market to close for the season. Located in front of the David A. Clarke School of Law, the market has been open on Saturdays since May 17. The season ended on Nov. 22, to give patrons the opportunity to use the market as a resource for their Thanksgiving meal preparation. In addition to all of the vendors, special thanks to Kelli Webster,  and Andrea Herrera, who managed the market under the leadership of Dr. Wayne Curtis. And of course, thanks to the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health for the tastings and demonstrations provided by Chef T on a regular basis. Farmers market staff, customers and vendor reflect on the season:

Dr. Wayne Curtis, Project Specialist, CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development - This farmers market season was my first, and I learned a lot more about the sense of community and the sense of interaction beyond the purchase of goods and services. You got to know the community and the vendors better, and I think it's one of those traditions that should continue for a long time. Chef T's presence at the market allowed us to show people how to prepare the different produce being sold, and also gave people the chance to interact with us and talk about menus and food preparation. I think it added to the overall sense of community. 

Associate Dean William Hare Participates in United Nations Forum

On Friday, Nov. 21, CAUSES Associate Dean of Programs, William Hare, participated in a United Nations panel discussion as part of the symposium: Education as an Imperative for a Transformative Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda in observance of Universal Children’s Day 2014. The theme comes 25 years after Rights of the Child were adopted as part of the Millennium Development Goals. 

“I recommend that more investment be placed in universities. Public-private partnerships using universities as unbiased monitors of projects will ensure a seamless, sustainable system of continuous improvement so that our children—the future generation-- will have the opportunity to a great college education,” Associate Dean Hare said before the audience of high-level policy makers.

He continued: "If you look at the current system, it omits the role of the university in the sustainable change that's supposed to take place; and that's a flaw because all of the funds have been going to NGOs, which are only as sustainable as their funding timeframe. Our model that we use in CAUSES continuously improves upon itself. It's transformational because it takes time and partnerships are built at the local, regional and international levels to ensure the continuity of progress."

CAUSES Hosts Caribbean Summit Roundtable

At a recent session of the Caribbean Symposium, CAUSES hosted a roundtable Research and Education Partnerships for Agribusiness Value Chain. The goal of the academic session was to provide an overview of current research interests and priorities up to the year 2020. Participating institutions outlined prospects for establishing and extending partnerships. Caribbean institutions shared emerging issues and challenges, and opportunities as related to Caribbean agribusiness value chain and economic development. 

Most of the participating colleges and universities were from island nations. D.C. is not an island, but with our unique location and governance, it often feels as though we are an island unto ourselves.The roundtable featured representatives from American universities, as well as many Caribbean nations, including: the University of the West Indies, University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of Suriname, University of Nicaragua, University of Maryland - Eastern Shore, Medgar Evers College, Morgan State, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 

A common them among the Caribbean participants was the future of the industry. Today, students are electing to pursue management degrees, but not necessarily on the agribusiness side. This increases the perception that the industry is not viable. "We are in the process of redefining agribusiness and the value chain in a constant intersection with people," explained Dean Sabine O'Hara.


Gossie Nworu Joins CAUSES
Gossie Nworu recently joined the CAUSES as the Administrative Specialist for Data Management and Assessment, where she will be working with program directors/chairs and staff to assist with the assessment needs for our academic and landgrant programs. Mrs. Nworu comes from an analytical background with a combined eight years of experience in performance assessment, assessment tool development, statistical reporting, and data analysis. She received a Masters of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Bachelor’s in Science in Psychology from the University of North Florida. Welcome Gossie!  

UDC Matching Funds Donation
The District of Columbia City Council has issued a challenge to the University to raise $1,000,000.00.  The Council will match the donations up to $1,000,000.00. To donate to CAUSES online, please select "a specific college or school" and then select CAUSES under the College field. Or, please make your check payable to the UDC Foundation and make a notation of the funds to receive your gifts in the memo section. CAUSES has several funds in which the gifts may be deposited: 1) CAUSES  Master Initiative; 2) CAUSES  Friends of Architecture; 3) CAUSES  Institute of Gerontology; 4) CAUSES  Scholarship Fund. If you desire to make donations to several colleges, please notate each college on the memo line, such as:  CAUSES/CAS/SBPA. 

Institute of Gerontology Hosts Legal Clinic
On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, the Institute of Gerontology hosted a Free Legal Clinic for DC Seniors. The Project Director, Ms. Claudia John reported that there were eight attorneys from AARP at the University of the District of Columbia providing free legal services to seniors and 64 seniors attended the in-service workshop. In addition, IOG hosted a Thanksgiving luncheon for the seniors. Contact for more information.

Monica Wiggins Inducted into Honor Society
CAUSES own Monica Wiggins, Grants and Purchasing Specialist for Landgrant Activities, is being inducted into the UDC Epsilon Sigma Chapter of the International Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta. She is one of 35 invited business students from a class of 500 being inducted. The invitation is extented to UDC junior and senior Business Administration majors who are in the top 20% of their respective classes, hold a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and have completed at least 24 credit hours at UDC. Congrats, Monica! 

4-H update

Hopkins 4-H  Club Spells Success! 

Abena Disroe will now be leading a 4-H Club in Ward 6 of the District of Columbia. Ms. Disroe has numerous leadership development, conflict resolution and asset mapping awards and certificates. She is also an accomplished poet, playwright, and storyteller who has recently become a certified 4-H Leader, Abena will be guiding 4-H youth into becoming speakers, leaders, and writers; along with sharing knowledge about conflict resolution solutions.

She writes:                                                       

My  4-H Club recently met for the first time. They named themselves "The 4-H Amazing Kids Club." During our initial meeting, a representative from the University of the District of Columbia Center for 4-H and Youth Development came to greet everyone. Each youth was given the 4-H Pledge and Motto to memorize, and each spoke on how to become a more effective speaker.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Student Opportunities

The National Capital Region Exotic Plant Management Team has announced seasonal positions, which are expected to begin in late February or early March through October. Learn more about  crew member and squad leader positions. For more information, contact Mark Frey, the Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison at (202) 339-8317.

iL.E.A.D. Success Tutoring and Mentoring Services is seeking volunteer tutors and mentors for the Spring semester. iL.E.A.D. Success is dedicated to cultivating community leaders by providing tutoring and mentoring services to youth. ​Their services are designed to stimulate a positive attitude toward science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) literacy, which fosters interdisciplinary inquiry and understanding. The organization currently operates out of the Hyattsville Branch Library on Mondays from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Interested students should contact 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recipes: Tomato Basil Soup, Sweet Potato-Kale Soup, Kale Salad

Here are more recipes for you to enjoy courtesy of the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. Your holiday meals can still be healthy and delicious!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cooking for the Holidays with Chef T

CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health Tyrome “Chef T” Henson will be offering Cooking Healthy for the Holidays at the Washington Parks & People's Riverside Healthy Living Center, located at 5200 Foote St., NE, Washington, DC 20019. In addition to cooking demonstrations, the course will cover sanitation, knife skills, food safety and healthy menu planning. Open to Ward 7 residents, the free class will be offered December 13 and December 20. To register, email Chef T at or call (202) 274-5757. The class is open to ages 18 and over.

The Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH), a landgrant center within the University of the District of Columbia's College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve the quality of life and economic opportunity of people and communities in the District of Columbia. CNDH combines education and outreach to educate D.C. residents on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Using these methods, CNDH helps to improve consumer awareness and health sustaining behaviors among District residents through education projects related to food, nutrition and health.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Urban Agriculture Certificate Program Concludes

By Arielle Gerstein

The pilot program of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate wrapped up this month. Over thirty participants from the Washington Metropolitan area ranging from students to professionals participated in one of three certificate tracks: general, food & agribusiness, and sustainable design. 

Overall the participants found the courses engaging, interactive and full of new information about sustainable urban agriculture. Participants ranged in interest from wanting to start their own business like a food stand or truck to just trying to learn more about a favorite hobby. Some participants currently work in the environmental field while others are gardeners, beekeepers, or small-scale farmers recreationally. 

What make these classes so unique is the experiential learning like understanding the technical functions of hydroponics and aquaponics at the Muirkirk Research Farm, testing soil quality in the lab, and touring a local school garden. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the level of technical and business information they received. These classes appealed to all ranges of experience from learning about basic agriculture principles to more advanced information about designing an urban agriculture site and how to grow nutrient-rich crops. 

Here are a few testimonials from workshop participants:

Monday, November 17, 2014

CAUSES TV: Global Food Security

On this episode, CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara is joined by Dr. Claire Nelson to discuss the topic of food security, which refers to having a steady and dependable supply of food that is healthy and nutritious. Food security is a global issue, with the population expected to grow by two billion in the next 30 years, to nine billion people. 

Food security is also a top priority for the United States. According to the annual Household Food Security Survey, the District of Columbia has one of the highest rates of food insecurity among children in the U.S.:
  • 13% of D.C. households are food insecure
  • 19% experience food hardship
  • 37% are unable to afford enough food

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recipes: Pumpkin Soup, Quinoa and Kale Salad

Enjoy these healthy recipes, courtesy of Chef Herb Holden of the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. Just in time for the holidays!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CAUSES Hosts D.C.'s First Urban Agriculture Symposium

CAUSES is pleased to have hosted a successful Urban Agriculture Symposium on Oct. 24-25. This is a first for the District, but surely not the last given the momentum of the urban ag movement. As a landgrant, the University of the District of Columbia like its fellow landgrant institutions, is charged by the USDA to research solutions for agricultural concerns. And what greater concern is there today than addressing how to feed the world's growing population, estimated to exceed nine billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations. A worthwhile goal, but there are people right here in D.C. who are food insecure, struggling to provide daily meals for their families. Oftentimes, those meals are unhealthy, lacking the nutrients to fight rising urban health concerns like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. 

As a landgrant, UDC must provide research-based education both on campus and in the community. Being an urban landgrant institution makes UDC different from other landgrant colleges, because unlike them, the residents we serve live in cities and do not have large amounts of arable land upon which to farm. D.C.'s landgrant programs are housed under CAUSES. Popular offerings include farming and gardening programs for urban residents, many of which are taught at the Muirkirk Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland. Our nutrition programs are taught in every Ward of the city, in schools, community centers, and places of worship among them.

UDC and Aruba Collaborate to Promote Food and Water Security

CAUSES and the Island Nation of Aruba have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, entering an agreement to collaborate on capacity-building skills and knowledge in support of food and water security. The MOU, which was signed Friday, Oct. 3, marks the latest international collaboration for the University.

“This agreement signifies our joint commitment to a sustainable future; to a future of food security, of water security and of innovative ways to enhance economic productivity by utilizing the tremendous capacity of nature,” stated Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., Interim President of UDC.

Dr. O’Hara and Prime Minister Eman 

The Prime Minister of Aruba, The Honorable Michiel Godfried Eman, joined President Lyons and CAUSES Dean Dr. Sabine O’Hara for the MOU signing which took place at UDC’s Van Ness campus. Prime Minister Eman also holds the title of Minister of Science, Innovation and Sustainable Development.

“Science, Innovation, and Sustainable Development are precisely what we teach, research and offer through our five landgrant centers to the residents of the District of Columbia,” explained Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean of CAUSES and Director of Landgrant Programs at UDC. “We also seek to collaborate with likeminded partners around the world who share our vision of a sustainable future.”  

CAUSES TV: Prime Minister Michiel G. Eman of Aruba

This episode of CAUSES TV explores the University’s latest international collaboration. We were honored to be joined by the Honorable Michiel Godfried Eman, the Prime Minister of the Nation of Aruba and also the leader of the Christian Democratic party of Aruba.  Mr. Eman is not only the Prime Minister, but he also holds the title of Minister of Science, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Dean Sabine O'Hara spoke with the Prime Minister following the signing of an MOA on food and water security. 

"As a member of the world community, we also collaborate with nations and institutions throughout the globe," explains Dean O'Hara. 

Architecture Prof. Kathy Dixon Discusses Historic Home of Madam C.J. Walker

UDC Assistant Professor of Architecture and Community Planning, Kathy Dixon, recently spoke with PreservationNation Blog from the National Trust for Historical Preservation about the historic residence of Madam C.J. Walker. Born in Louisiana in 1867, Walker was a pioneer known for her hair care and cosmetics products developed especially for African American women, training 23,000 employees in the process. She is America's first self-made female millionaire, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Located in Irvington, New York, Villa Lewaro, "embodies the optimism and perseverance of the American entrepreneurial spirit," according to PreservationNation. The home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its architectural significance. Kathy Dixon, a licensed architect and also the president of the National Organization of Minority Architects, discusses Villa Lewaro with PreservationNation:

PN: Madam Walker said that “Villa Lewaro was not merely her home, but a Negro institution that only Negro money bought.” She had built the house, she said, to “convince members of [my] race of the wealth of business possibilities within the race, to point to young Negroes what a lone woman accomplished and to inspire them to do big things.” 
What does this quote -- and her vision -- mean to you in a modern context? What about Madam Walker’s original intent still stands, and what perhaps has changed?

KD: Madam Walker’s quote about building a home for the Negro culture is a profound statement which is still relevant today. It reflects what must have been a strong conscious effort on her part to make a positive impact in the lives of “Negros” around the country.

Water Resources Research Institute Request for Proposals by Nov. 15

The Water Resources Research Institute at the University of the District of Columbia (DCWRRI) is accepting proposals under the Water Resources Research Act, Section 104(b), for research or information transfer that explores new ideas to address water problems in the District of Columbia, and expands understanding of innovative ways of managing urban waterways. Partly funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, the mission of the DCWRRI is to provide the District of Columbia with interdisciplinary research support to identify DC water resource problems and contribute to their solutions. The deadline is 5:00 p.m., Friday, November 14, 2014.

Submission Eligibility: Eligible proposals must have a Principal Investigator who is a faculty member or researcher affiliated with any DC area university, including any of the schools within the DC University Consortium, including American, Catholic, George Washington, Georgetown, Howard, and UDC. Principal Investigators from any other universities should contact DCWRRI regarding eligibility.


Here's what's been happening around CAUSES!
  • Muirkirk Farm Produce Donated Toward Church Compassion Fund
  • Water Symposium Abstracts due Dec. 6
  • 2015 Architecture Trip to Barcelona, Southern France & Italy
  • Linnean Stream Restoration

Muirkirk Farm Ethnic Produce Donated Donated Toward Church Compassion Fund
Ms. Edith Affi Aleke is a frequent Muirkirk Farm volunteer who recently donated a selection of ethnic and specialty crops to the International Chapel in Maryland. The donation was then auctioned off for $100, which according to Pastor Kamasse Sidibe, went toward the church's compassion ministry in support of orphans and those in need in Africa and around the world. Pastor Kamasse is a native of Togo and was pleased to learn about the farm's Ethnic and Specialty Crops Program, spearheaded by Mr. Yao Afantchao of the CAUSES Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education. "On behalf of the International Chapel, I would like to thank you very much and please, be assured that we will pray for such initiative to be a blessing to many. I will one day come and visit your farm. Once again thank you very much," the Pastor wrote to Afantchao. You're most welcome Pastor Kamasse, and thanks to Ms. Aleke for her efforts! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

4-H Update

Bully Prevention Summit

The CAUSES Center for 4-H and Youth Development hosted the 2014 4-H Bully Prevention Summit on Oct. 17, to engage nearly 200 D.C. students in finding better ways to communicate and support each other. Taking place on the flagship campus' Dennard Plaza, the Summit featured a program full of youth-oriented events, activities, musical performances and a fashion show that was sponsored by Sports Zone Elite. Students were also given the opportunity to share their stories and discuss mitigation techniques addressing bullying behavior, enjoy health and wellness activities, and to watch commercials created by their peers in the DC 4-H program. 

"The youth participants had a positive experience and a great time. More importantly we will keep building on the success of the day for the purpose of changing the bullying behavior that they can become involved in without these kinds of program interventions," stated Rebecca Bankhead, director, Center for 4-H and Youth Development.

UDC/NC State Stormwater BMP Inspection & Maintenance Workshop Certifies 34

By Andrea Herrera

CAUSES recently held a “Stormwater and BMP (Best Management Practices) Inspection and Maintenance Certification” program on Oct. 22-23. The pilot course offered a comprehensive program for stormwater-related professionals. In collaboration with UDC, a total of 34 registrants with vocational expertise spanning the spectrum of engineering, landscape architecture, stormwater management, public works, commercial landscaping, and the greater “Green Industry,”
attended and received a certification awarded by NC State University Cooperative Extension, housed in NC State's the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department.

The main goal of the course was to train professionals in methods and strategies for conducting routine and thorough inspections of stormwater management practices. In order to achieve this, technical elements of stormwater management practice function and performance were described and specific maintenance tasks that are required to ensure the functionality of these installed practices were instructed. The various Stormwater BMPs that were covered thought the workshop included: (1) Water Sheds and Water Quality Problems, (2) Stormwater Regulations, (3) wetlands and wetponds, (4) Elements of BMP maintenance, (5) Retention pond maintenance, (6) Wetland maintenance, (7) Bioretention maintenance, (8) parking lot BMPs, and (9) Other Green BMPs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

D.C. Students Enjoy Agroecology Day at the UDC Farm

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) hosted “Agroecology Day” at Muirkirk Research Farm on Thursday, October 16, 2014.  The event was offered to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors attending schools in Washington, D.C.  A total of 50 students from Woodson High School, McKinley Technology High School and IDEA Public Charter School attended the event, focusing on the link between sustainable food systems and environmental systems. In the tradition of agricultural fairs with an emphasis on experiential learning, students visited education stations on: nutrition, soil and composting, hydroponics and aquaponics, and water quality at four locations around the farm.

“Some of my students were looking for ideas for an environmental engineering project. I thought this event would be good exposure because this is not the kind of thing they normaally see,” explained Kenneth Lesley, Director, NAF Academy of Engineering at McKinley. “For them, this is eye opening.”

“I learned about how we can make our own compost without spending money,” explained one student, while another enjoyed learning about aquaponics and the process of cleaning the tanks. 

Several students voiced their surprise when comparing popular bottled drinks and learning how much sugar some of the “healthy” drinks actually contain.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CAUSES: Where the Community is our Classroom

By Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean of CAUSES and Director of Landgrant Programs 

CAUSES has grown with tremendous speed over the past three years. Key to our success has been our mission: to offer research based academic and community outreach programs that improve the quality of life and economic opportunity of D.C. residents. This worthwhile mission calls for the integration of our academic and landgrant programs. Landgrant universities have always sought to be relevant to the needs of their communities by focusing on research that makes a difference in the lives of local people and by offering education both on their campuses and in local neighborhoods. We receive direction for our work through the USDA that sets broad goals for the nation's Landgrant Universities, while fostering creativity, teamwork and innovation. 

Our current goals address challenging issues like improving food security, food and water safety, mitigating climate change, alternative energy, and combating childhood obesity and other food related health problems. Finding solutions to these big challenges requires collaboration across academic disciplines, hands on work, and perseverance. For us here at UDC it also requires a very unique focus, namely on urban food security, urban food and water safety, urban food related health problems etc. After all, our own community is exclusively urban. The District of Columbia does not have any wide expanses of farm land, and our forests extend to Rock Creek Park. This urban focus sets us apart from all the other landgrant universities in the United States. And what a great focus it is! It links people and the environment, and creates unusual alliances like urban agriculture, and urban sustainability.   

But why would urban agriculture and urban sustainability be such a great focus for our work? Are they really relevant to the District of Columbia? The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines Food Security as "Access by all people at all times to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life.” Low food security refers to a diet of reduced quality, variety or desirability for some populations. To achieve food security, food must be (1) readily available at all times to all people, and (2) be high in nutritional value so that it can sustain health, wellness and energy. Our food system is vulnerable on both scores.

UDC Pilots “Flicking CO2” Wall Sticker Campaign

That's not just a cool design, it's a wall sticker that will be installed above UDC light switches. The sticker will serve as a reminder to turn off the lights before leaving an empty room.

In partnership with the CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development, the “Flicking CO2” Wall Sticker Campaign is a campus initiative created by Green Impact Campaign and Hu2 Design, focused on encouraging UDC students and faculty to turn the lights off through a highly-viral and visual behavior change program. During the course of the pilot, 250-350 light switch wall stickers will be placed in pre-approved buildings and locations determined by UDC staff. Expected to be included are residence halls, academic buildings, administrative offices and other campus facilities.

"This campaign is in line with our pledge to Sustainable DC Plan," explained Dr. Kamran Zendehdel, assistant director of CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development. "It will not only help UDC reduce our energy consumption and CO2 emissions, we hope it leads people to also changing their behavior at home."