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“Oh sugar pie, honey bunch, you know Supertonic loves you!” SCU’s oldest a cappella group, "Supertonic!," delivered singing grams to people across campus on Feb. 13 and 14, wishing all of SCU have a very happy Valentine’s Day. The group’s rounds included Campus Ministry, on-campus dorms, and even faculty offices.
“There may be a lot of blushing,” warned junior Sam McCarthy, Supertonic member.
Supertonic hopes the singing grams raise money for the SCU a cappella club, as well as generate publicity by providing some mood music around campus.
With TV shows like Glee and movies like Pitch Perfect gaining popularity, it is no wonder a cappella has taken SCU by storm. Supertonic was started in 2006, followed by three more a cappella groups, Vocalicious, Audio Sync, and Measure Up.
The SCU A Cappella student organization manages all four groups. Seniors Chloe Wilson and Elysia Chu are co-presidents of SCU A Cappella as well as members of Supertonic.
Students of all majors are involved in campus a cappella clubs. In fact, though Supertonic originally consisted entirely of music majors, today only two singers are music majors. Past Supertonic members have become musical theatre professionals and started their own post-collegiate a cappella groups.
“You become so close when you sing with someone,” said sophomore Anna Prestbo, Supertonic soloist. “You lose your boundaries and can make instant connections with a group of people.”
Supertonic is the only SCU a cappella group delivering Valentine’s Day singing grams this year. They are excited to start a new tradition at SCU.
“I hope people enjoy it and recognize that we are taking the time to make sure everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day,” said McCarthy.
Having fun and spreading the love is Supertonic’s hope with this project. Support Supertonic and keep your eyes and ears open Feb. 13 and 14 for love-filled serenades around campus.
On an overcast day in July, a dozen SCU faculty and students boarded a colorful flotilla of inflatable rafts for a 105-mile trip down the Nenana River in Alaska. The watery journey marked the first phase of a long-term partnership with Hero Projects—an organization that combines outdoor adventure with meaningful volunteerism.
“The rafting experience helped us to become acclimated to the Alaskan wilderness,” explained Bill Mains, Leavey School of Business leadership lecturer and primary coordinator for the excursion. “It gave us a better understanding and appreciation of the resources that were all around us.”
From the river, the SCU group embarked on the second leg of the trip—meeting Alaskans, including business leaders, university faculty, government officials, and environmentalists—to introduce the idea of bringing renewable energy to the state’s rural communities.
“Many Alaskans today are dependent on fossil fuels; much of their energy comes from burning wood and diesel fuel,” said Mains. “They might spend $8 to $12 a gallon on diesel, so there’s quite a bit of interest in creating sustainable energy sources.”
The SCU group included faculty and students from the Leavey School of Business and from the School of Engineering. Also co-sponsoring the 15-day immersion trip was the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Two film students from Hero Projects documented the trip.
Mains emphasized the importance of community building before asking people to make a change as significant as switching to a new form of energy. “Any small town is going to be a little suspicious of unknown people approaching them,” he noted, “but the local meetings we had helped to demonstrate our commitment.”
The outreach efforts eventually led to the town of Galena, population 600, and the site of a former Air Force base. In September, just two months after returning from Alaska, Mains traveled back to Galena to further discuss SCU’s role in bringing renewable energy to the town. Next summer, he’ll return with another group in hopes they can begin work on an actual installation. Within this group, engineering students could be involved in designing the project, he said, while business students could help the community understand the economics of it.
One engineering student, Theo Schapp, plans to be among those revisiting Alaska next year. He and another student, Elliott Martin, are working on a senior design project that could have implications for remote, off-grid areas. Their idea involves generating energy from hydrokinetics or the natural motion of water through waves, tidal streams or ocean and river currents.
Schapp acknowledges that bringing such a system anywhere in Alaska will involve many more trips and in-depth community involvement. “With any project, you can’t just go on one trip and expect to be implementing something the next year,” he said. “It takes time to build trust; we would work as a resource to help communities achieve their own goals.”
Shoba Krishnan, an associate professor of electrical engineering, is advising the two seniors and working with Mains on cultivating SCU’s alliance with Hero Projects. As the instructor of a course called Engineering Projects for the Community, she said the Alaska energy program is right up her alley. “I like projects that help local people continue their way of life without radically involving them in Westernized practices standards that could be unhealthy for them and their environment,” she explained.
Mains is equally well-suited to the Alaska project. As a co-leader of the business school’s CLASP (Contemplative Leadership and Sustainability) program, he arranges student activities and service trips related to sustainable development.
Among those students who went on the first immersion trip to Alaska, Mains said their feedback was heartening. “For many of them, it was an eye-opening experience. They have a better understanding of what it means to develop a sustainable product.”
Schapp noted similarities between the SCU travelers and the people they met. “Nobody is on the outside when we’re all pushing for the health of the environment,” he said. As for rafting down the Nenana River, “It showed me what Alaska is really like, how strong and vast a force nature truly is. It helped me realize that I am just one person in this world of many, and that in order for me to make a difference, I have to push harder than I thought.”
Santa Clara University joins the world of open online education with the premiere of a business ethics course exploring the common and difficult decisions that confront professionals. This course will explore such daily dilemmas as pressure from management to falsify reports, resume white lies, and bullying rivals to get ahead.
Partnering with the new Instructure open online platform Canvas Network, Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at SCU, will teach Business Ethics for the Real World. The network is another outlet for the growing popularity of massive open online courses or MOOCs. The idea is anyone with Internet access can enroll in courses taught by some of the brightest minds in the world.
“We look forward to pioneering the MOOC concept both for Santa Clara and for the topic of business ethics,” says Hanson. “We can give the public a feel for the quality of education Santa Clara University students receive every day. We’re also thrilled the ethical framework we developed at the Markkula Center will be highlighted.”
While MOOCs have primarily focused on math and science, Business Ethics for the Real World will explore the role of ethics in business and offer practical advice on making decisions in the work place.
“This course is more than a standard lesson in business. It is driven by what we have learned from tackling real ethical issues with Silicon Valley companies. Anyone from San Jose to Shanghai can participate in the ethical dialogue taking place in Silicon Valley,” says Hanson.
While the course includes some ethical theory, it is designed to be approachable by anyone from the seasoned manager to someone just beginning a career. The course is the first of several being planned at Santa Clara. Future MOOC’s will address areas of SCU’s special expertise, including social entrepreneurship.
Enrollment will be limited to 500 people for the pilot course running Feb. 25 to March 25, 2013. The University and Instructure are hoping to launch classes with unlimited enrollment after the pilot. Ten other schools, including Brown University, are participating in the initial course offerings. Enrollment is open now on Canvas.net.
On Thursday, Nov. 1, Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale spoke to campus in a program sponsored by the Unity RLC, Provost’s Office, Igwebuike, and the Office for Mulitcultural Learning. Check out a video of the speech and a wrap-up of his comments by Santa Clara Magazine.
Watching men wearing knee-high leather boots and throwing swords across the room feels like stepping into the days of Louis XIII. But this is just a typical day in Stage Combat, a special course that takes students back to a time when conflict was dealt with by nothing but a face-to-face test of skill and swords.
Kit Wilder ’89 is currently teaching the Stage Combat class in SCU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, helping prepare actors for roles in the upcoming production of The Three Musketeers and encouraging some non-majors to channel their inner 8-year-old while learning the intricacies of stage fighting.
Wilder held his first sword in a 1982 community theater production of Romeo and Juliet and it was love at first parry. Wilder is now the associate artistic director of City Lights Theater Company in San Jose and makes his living acting, directing, and teaching stage combat to students across the Bay Area.
“When I first held a sword it was like my hand belonged to it and it belonged to my hand,” said Wilder.
Wilder personally owns about 50 swords and 18 from his collection are being used in The Three Musketeers which opens this Friday, Nov. 2. The swords are real but are made specifically for actors and do not have sharp blades or points. That doesn’t mean there aren’t elements of danger. Even in practice the students do not wear protective eyewear like fencers, though they are taught various safety guidelines.
Wilder’s students are essentially getting a year’s worth of stage combat training in eight weeks.
“The best way to learn sword fighting is by doing it, experience is the best teacher,” explained Wilder.
To successfully execute a stage fight everything is choreographed, almost like a dance. Wilder explained that the key to stage fighting is that it unfolds in reverse. For example, students are instructed to wait for a partner to dodge before swinging. Precautionary techniques are what make combat safe, yet convincing, on stage.
“That’s the challenging part; we have to remember that it’s not real, we are not actually trying to run someone through,” said James Hill ’13, a senior communication major.
The class was open to both theater majors and non-majors, and there is a good representation of both in the class. Students not majoring in theater arts gain a good party trick. For actors participating in the many fight scenes in The Three Musketeers, this class provides familiarity with the play’s weaponry and choreography. Stage Combat also teaches techniques that won’t be featured in the show but are great for an actor’s resume.
Wilder has directed fights in other SCU productions, including Macbeth in 2010. Wilder also attended SCU with The Three Musketeers director Jeffrey Bracco ’89. They first collaborated—and even shared a fight scene—as students in a 1988 campus production of Romeo and Juliet with Wilder as Mercutio and Bracco playing Romeo. Now, they are working together to choreograph fights and prepare actors for The Three Musketeers.
“To see Kit and Jeff come back together and work on the same show is great because it really shows the power of Santa Clara’s alumni network,” said Alec Brown ’13, a theater arts major and actor in The Three Musketeers.
The Stage Combat course is offered this quarter to complement The Three Musketeers performance, but the theater department is considering offering the training more often. While some consider it a resume-builder, many see it as a creative outlet and childhood fantasy fulfillment.
“It essentially allows you to get in touch with another time which innately brings out a sense of romance and danger, which both audiences and actors secretly love,” said Wilder.
The Three Musketeers runs Nov. 2 through Nov. 10. Tickets are on sale on scupresents.org.
More than 200 years ago, Native Americans grew crops by cultivating the land at Mission Santa Clara de Asis. This summer, a dozen students worked the same soil in hopes of a different harvest.
Led by Lee Panich, SCU associate professor of anthropology, the students knelt in the dirt and used hand tools to unearth the historic evidence of earlier inhabitants. Their excavation site was on a section of University-owned property across Franklin Street near the Santa Clara Woman’s Club adobe meeting room.
Panich said the old adobe, built in 1792, was once part of an eight-room complex used to house Native Americans who lived and worked at the mission. “The Women’s Center area is kind of ground zero, but the whole campus is a giant archaeological site,” he said. “The mission was rebuilt several times and moved around a lot, so just about anywhere you go around here you can find ruins.”
The instructor and his students homed in on a patch of ground that had been a 20th century resident’s backyard and is now a parking area. His spring-quarter class had already scoped out the site using ground-penetrating radar equipment borrowed from Panich’s friends at UC Berkeley. “We had a good idea that something was there before we started digging,” he said.
Working with other SCU departments, Panich arranged for a section of pavement to be removed and for fencing to be installed around the 430-square-foot excavation site. Then, the students in his summer field class got to work. “It was a lot more fun than it sounds,” said Helga Afaghani, a senior. “Getting up early to spend eight hours in a dirt hole doesn't sound very exciting, but I really enjoyed it.”
Not surprisingly, the best part, according to both Panich and Afaghani, was finding relics from the past. The group’s early diggings turned up items from the last 100 years, “toys, marbles, bottles, nothing very old,” said Panich. But about 2 feet down, there were more interesting discoveries. “The first thing we found that keyed us into the fact that we were getting close was obsidian—volcanic glass used for making tools. Then we found shards of locally made pottery and animal bones that related to everyday life on the mission.”
For Afaghani, pay dirt came a little later. “Getting to the stone foundations of the building was great,” she said. “Experiencing this stuff firsthand is so exciting; it’s way better than just reading about it.”
As is often the case on archaeological digs, Panich said the most intriguing find came on the last day of the class. “At the very end, we found a pit with hundreds of shell beads in it, and ash, charcoal, and pottery.” Similar pits have been found on campus, he noted, but it isn’t clear what they were used for. “It’s kind of mysterious, but I think it must be some sort of fire pit,” he said. “We’ll need to analyze the material we took out of it and see what we come up with.”
Panich’s research specialty is the interaction between Native Americans and European colonists. His own recent archaeological experiences include excavating a Spanish mission site in Baja California and digs at the San Francisco Presidio and at Fort Ross.
Artifacts recovered from the SCU excavation site are stored on campus at the Archaeological Research Laboratory in Ricard Observatory, where other interesting remains – mostly found during construction projects – are housed.
Panich said SCU hasn’t offered many archaeological field classes in the past, but he hopes to “keep the momentum going” by teaching one every year or so.
“Field classes have always served as a kind of rite of passage for students who think they might want to pursue archaeology,” he explained. “They get experience in manual labor and find out if they’re really cut out for the work.”
The finale of the class was somewhat bittersweet for teacher and students, as university work crews paved over the hole they had painstakingly dug and returned the spot to a parking area. “It was a little tough to watch, but I think we got everything out of there,” said Panich.
“I felt kind of deflated,” said Afaghani. “I had spent six weeks sweating and bleeding and bruising to get it uncovered, and all that work could be undone in an afternoon.”
But, she consoled herself by thinking ahead. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in the lab; excavation is a big part of archaeology, but analysis of whatever gets dug up is probably just as important.”
As the 2012 election approaches, Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education is holding a series of lectures titled Sacred Texts in the Public Sphere. Speakers will discuss the ways in which sacred texts such as the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures shape the hottest debates of our times: immigration, the economy, gay marriage, war, democracy, and the presidency.
“The U.S. Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, and rightly so,” said Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., director of the Ignatian Center, which seeks to advance the University’s commitment to integrate faith, justice, and the intellectual life. “And yet the United States is a remarkably religious country. For generations our public life has been deeply influenced by teachings and writings derived from religious traditions. When citizens apply their convictions with understanding, tolerance, sensitivity, and intelligence, we are a stronger nation for it, even when we may disagree profoundly on principles and policies.”
Throughout history, sacred texts have been used, and sometimes misused, by those seeking to assert authority in even the most secular corners of the public sphere:
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan cited biblical principles to defend his budget proposal, while its severe cuts to social services were labeled un-Christian by opposing critics.
President Obama cited scripture in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Swearing on the Bible has been a binding pledge for presidents, court witnesses, and judges for decades and more.
The Sacred Texts in the Public Sphere lectures began on Oct. 2 and continue to Election Day on Nov. 6. The lectures are offered through the Center’s Bannan Institute, which hosts yearlong thematic programs to engage Santa Clara University and the larger community around issues of contemporary religious, cultural and theological debate. A full list of events and speakers is available at www.scu.edu/ignatiancenter.
HOMOSEXUALITY: Jeffrey Siker, professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, “Scriptural Politics of Family and Homosexuality: Textual Orientations.” Issues will include the presidential candidates’ views on same-sex marriage, and the scriptural or moral backings each cites for his position. (Oct. 23, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE: David DeCosse, professor of ethics at Santa Clara University, “Catholicism, Politics, and the Primacy of Conscience: Reflections on Newman’s ‘Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.’” Issues include 19th Century English theologian John Henry Newman’s view of Catholic conscience. (Oct. 24, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
ECONOMY: Catherine Murphy, religious studies professor at Santa Clara University, “Scriptural Politics of the Economy: Bringing the Gospel to Bear on Our Economic Debates.” Issues include the controversy over the Ryan budget and scripture as a resource for economic decision-making. (Oct. 30, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
PRESIDENTS: James Bennett, professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, “Scriptural Politics of the American Presidency: Religion in the 2012 Presidential Election.” Issues include the role of religion in presidential races, and the fact that this year’s ballot contains the most diversity in religious affiliations ever offered to voters. (Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the St. Clare Room of the Library and Learning Commons.)
The first presidential debate watch party was standing-room only in the lower level of the Santa Clara University Library on October 3. Organizers are hoping to keep up the enthusiasm for the long list of events before the November 6 election. Political Science Assistant Professor James Cottrill estimates about 200 students came to the first watch party, a dramatic increase from 2008.
“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the strong student response to the election so far,” said Cottrill. “I was afraid student enthusiasm would drop after 2008, but it appears to be undiminished.”
In addition to the debate parties, the Markkula Center hosted a talk about Transparency, Trust, and Campaign Finance, Professor Robert Senkewicz spoke about the history and evolution of elections, and MoveOn.org organizer Patrick Kane was featured in an event.
Congressional Candidate Evelyn Li also spoke on campus. She’s challenging incumbent Rep. Mike Honda who’s speaking on Friday, October 18 at 4 p.m. in the Daley Science Center, room 207.
“We appreciate those instructors who have involved their classes in attending the viewings. Students here have a lot on their plate and the fact that there were plenty of faculty and staff at the first viewing shows to students that it’s important to attend and get educated about the issues,” said SCU Director of Forensics Melan Jaich, who helped organize the events.
The SCU Debate team, coached by Jaich, has also been featured in a series of articles in the Mercury News. Crews from KGO and KTVU visited campus for the vice presidential debate watch party on October 11. Telemundo also covered the second presidential debate October 16.
Instruction and Reference Librarian Paul Neuhus, who has spearheaded the organization of the events, is hoping everyone in the SCU community makes an effort to come out for one of the events.
“We’re hoping the biggest event will be election night and it would be great to see a lot of faculty and staff there and mixing with the students,” says Neuhaus.
Thursday, October 18, Rep. Mike Honda, Member of Congress
Moderator Jim Cottrill, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Daley Science Center Room 207, 4 p.m.
Monday, October 22, Third Presidential Debate
Comments by Chris Bacon, environmental studies, and Farid Senzai, political science, Co-Sponsored by Modern Perspectives RLC, Dunne Hall Basement Lounge, 6 to 7:30pm
Tuesday, October 23, Student Debate
College Democrats versus College Republicans, Weigand Room, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Monday, October 29, Ethics at Noon: Proposition 34 and the Ethics of Capital Punishment
Hosted by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Wiegand Room, Noon to 1 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6, Election Night in the Learning Commons
Lower Level and First Floor Library, 3 p.m. to Midnight (or as needed)
The SCU Media Relations team would like to thank the faculty and staff who are flexible with their time to help us meet the requests of reporters. A strong relationship with the media propels our reputation as a world-class university with articulate and respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters at SCUmedia@scu.edu.
Political Science Associate Professor Jim Cottrill gave political analysis of the vice presidential debate on NBC Bay Area.
Santa Clara University’s Grand Reunion welcomes back alumni from Oct. 11 to 14. All classes are invited, making the reunion the second largest event of the year, after graduation.
Every Grand Reunion features a core group of classes. This year’s event highlights those Broncos who graduated in years ending with 2 or 7. It includes the class of 2012 as well as the class of 1952, which will celebrate its 60th reunion. The 50th anniversary class, 1962, includes the first woman to graduate from the University.
Events for attendees include a golf tournament, career coaching, an estate planning seminar, and a tour of the new Patricia A. and Stephen C. Schott Admissions and Enrollment Services building. There will also be a 5K walk/run, alumni games for men’s and women’s lacrosse, and a session on how to use social media to enhance a career.
Alumni also can tour the University’s 2009 Solar Decathlon house with members of the 2013 team on hand to answer questions about the international competition. In the coming weeks, the team will reveal the first hints of the 2013 house design and prepare to begin construction in March.
Learn more about the Grand Reunion, see a complete schedule of reunion events, and visit the Solar Decathlon team’s official site.
After years of dodging potholes, practicing in the dark, and slipping on soggy grass, the women athletes now have a first-rate home field complete with lights and an efficient drainage system.
“It’s a first in the program’s history,” said Lisa Mize, head softball coach. “It’ll be great to have our student body and fans see us play on a Division 1-caliber field. It’s such a relief from a safety aspect, and our outfielders will especially appreciate the new grass; everyone will be training much more aggressively.”
In the past, the team played its home games at various city parks and at other schools, Mize explained. “We were never able to get comfortable as a team with a home-field advantage, and practices were pretty tough because of the old field’s poor conditions,” she said.
The new field is designated exclusively for SCU’s softball program. It’s the first step in a master plan to construct a $3 million stadium facility. That capital project will continue moving forward as funding becomes available.
The new, regulation-sized site opened for play at the end of September. Getting it ready involved tearing up the old ground, re-grading, installing irrigation, and re-sodding the area, according to Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of University Operations. The new drainage system will come in handy, as it will allow players to take to the field quickly following a heavy rainfall.
Located at the northeast end of Bellomy Field, near Accolti Way and El Camino Real, the natural-grass site has been reoriented to minimize the chance of balls going out into the street, as they did frequently in the past. “Now we’ve got lights, a real fence and netting to make things safer,” said Sugg. “In fact, the field is at the same quality level as Buck Shaw Stadium.”
Coach Mize sees the team’s new playing ground as “a tremendous step in the right direction for SCU softball.” She said the field brings significant benefits to both the University and its students. “As we train and get ready for the season, we’ll have better, more efficient practices, leading to more program recognition for SCU,” she said. “And, most importantly, we’ll have happier student-athletes because now they can train on a proper field.”
To support the role of Catholic women religious in China, India, and Vietnam, the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a four-year grant of $375,000 to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.
The grant will fund a pilot program enabling a small group of Catholic nuns to pursue advanced theological degrees at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. Graduates also will receive support from the worldwide network of Jesuit institutions and missions when they return to their home countries.
“We are extremely grateful to receive this grant, which allows us to establish relationships and build the infrastructure for a most promising initiative,” said Thomas Massaro, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology. “Our faculty are especially enthusiastic about building up the worldwide Church by expanding opportunities for excellent theological education to religious sisters in underserved communities in Asia, where the potential for supporting positive social change is extraordinarily high.”
In Asia, vocations to religious life are flourishing, but due to poverty or politics there are few venues for advanced theological training or spiritual leadership development. With the education that will be funded by the Luce grant, some nuns or sisters will be able to become educators in their own countries, such as at a new theology center for women in Pune, India.
Other graduates will be better prepared to support important changes to their modernizing societies. Historically in the U.S. and developed nations, women religious have been at the forefront of social change, serving as teachers, nurses, or social workers and building schools, hospitals, shelters, and other enduring institutions long before women in general had broad rights.
“We are delighted to be supporting this initiative, which addresses the theology program’s interests in fostering links between scholars and religious leaders in Asia and the United States, and in preparing women for ministry,” said Lynn Szwaja, program director for theology at the Henry Luce Foundation.
“This is a great contemporary example of the positive multiplier effect that Jesuits have always pursued in our educational ministries,” added Massaro.
Could waste in landfills be reduced by 95 percent? Santa Clara University is working toward that goal and every employee is contributing starting with those bins under every employee’s desk.
The University’s new bin-within-a-bin system, which began in 2009, has changed habits as well as reduced the amount of trash the University’s sends to the landfill. Almost all employees now have those blue recycling bins with much-smaller black waste bins at their desks. Those in the Alumni Science Building are the only exception and they’ll make the switch by the end of 2012. Custodians empty the recycling bins, which accept paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. No is sorting involved as was required under the old system. Employees empty their own landfill waste bins.
Santa Clara also added composting containers in break areas near kitchens. The compostable waste goes to a commercial composting facility. To further reduce waste, liners in trashcans got the boot. The liners, it turned out, accounted for a large percentage of SCU’s trash.
The effort was designed to make recycling less of a choice for employees, and more of a way of office life. “For sustainability-related decisions at SCU, we need to make sure that the standard practice is a sustainable practice, not the exception,” says Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, director of the Office of Sustainability.
The system “makes every employee think about the amount of waste they produce on a daily basis,” Kalkbrenner says.
Employees have largely warmed to the effort, after a bit of resistance at the start. “Most people really enjoy actually being engaged in Santa Clara’s sustainability initiatives,” Kalkbrenner says.
The initiative certainly appears to be making a difference. Waste per campus user has dropped to 332 pounds per year in 2011 from 404 pounds per year in 2006. The percent of the University’s waste that is recycled or composted has gone up to almost 24 percent in 2011 from about 16 percent in 2009.
Now that all employees have the new bins, 2012 is on track to be even better.
The Santa Clara University community will get an expert perspective on some of the most pressing problems of our time—the Middle East and the obesity epidemic—from visiting speakers this year. They will also be taken inside the writing life by novelist Amy Tan.
The seventh annual President’s Speaker Series will feature talks by Tan, writer Reza Aslan ’95, and David A. Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration. The theme of this year’s series is “Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart, and Body.”
All events will be held in the Louis B. Mayer Theatre. General admission tickets are $25 each or $40 for the series.
In a talk called “The Promise and Perils of the Arab Spring,” Santa Clara alum Aslan will discuss how the Arab Spring has shaped the Middle East—from the fall of dictators to the most recent protests.
Aslan, who was born in Tehran and raised in San Jose, is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam. He is a writer, scholar of religions, media entrepreneur, and a political commentator on Islamic issues.
As Tan prepares for the debut of her seventh novel, The Valley of Amazement, she will reflect on the nature of creativity and the events that made her a writer in a talk entitled “The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life.”
Since Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was published in 1989, her work has been adapted for film, television, and even opera. Tan’s other books include The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.
As the United States battles an epidemic of obesity and the health problems that come with it, Dr. David Kessler, a longtime public health advocate, will address the question of what we should eat in a talk entitled, “The End of Overeating.”
As commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Kessler introduced the Nutrition Facts food labels that are so familiar today. He also led the FDA’s investigation of the tobacco industry.
The latest entry in SCU’s green parade is Graham Hall—where freshmen and sophomores co-exist with the bright promise of sustainability.
Following demolition of the old Graham buildings and 12 months of construction, the new residence hall opened its doors this fall. For students who now call it home, Graham Hall offers exceptional living conditions and a host of amenities, many of which also benefit the environment.
From its roomy mini-suites to its automatic light switches, “nothing is lacking in this building,” said Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of University Operations.
Located across from the Learning Commons, at the corner of Market Street and The Alameda, Graham Hall encompasses about 125,000 square feet. Inside, are 96 mini-suites designed for four students each, who share two standard double rooms and a connecting bathroom. There are also lounges, full kitchens, and laundry facilities for every eight-room “neighborhood.” In addition, the residence hall has two classrooms, a small theater, outdoor barbecue and picnic areas and a large courtyard at the heart of the building.
“It’s a terrific place for students to live and learn and collaborate,” said Sugg. “And, it will provide them with an education in sustainability, as well.”
Breaking Ground and Striking Gold
Before the first bulldozer bit into the ground, SCU officials registered the new residence facility with the U.S. Green Building Council. That agency administers LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognized rating system that measures a building’s sustainability. The LEED program has four certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. With Graham Hall, the University is aiming for gold certification.
Sugg explained that LEED evaluators rate such categories as water and energy conservation, resource management, and air quality. He has no doubt that Graham Hall will ace these and all other sustainability tests conducted by LEED.
“As one example,” he said, “our building uses about 40 percent less energy than the strictest standard in California.” He also noted other eco-friendly features of the new residence hall, including low-flow faucets, an irrigation system that captures storm water, and returns it into the ground, low-powered, high-intensity lights throughout the building, an insulated green roof to reflect heat, and carbon dioxide sensors that can be adjusted to maintain good air quality in the two classrooms.
Also impressive is the fact that about 90 percent of the demolition waste, including most of the concrete and all roof tiles from the old Graham site, was recycled or reused.
Many of the green practices and materials that went into constructing the new building will go unnoticed by those living in Graham Hall. Other elements, however, will be hard to miss. When a student wanting a breath of fresh air opens one of the building’s operable windows, for instance, a micro-switch on that window will shut off the air conditioning. If a student flips a light switch and the room is already bathed in natural light, the electric light will dim. And, who can overlook the recycling and composting stations in each of the hall’s 12 kitchens?
"We hope to divert a lot of food waste through composting,” said Sugg. “It’s easy to do, but it will probably take some cultural adjustment on the part of the students.”
For those who wish to delve further into the eco-friendly personality of Graham Hall, there are opportunities. According to Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, director of the University’s Office of Sustainability, special signs are posted along the first-floor hallways, explaining the green features of the building.
“People will read a brief description, and they can scan a code to go to a website with more information,” she noted. Visitors can also check out the new residence hall while on SCU’s Self-Guided Sustainability Tour. Participants follow the mapped route to 16 sustainable campus buildings and areas. Graham Hall is stop 14 along the way.
By the time the Department of Commerce announced in early July that the city of San Jose would be home to a new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) bureau, numerous people at Santa Clara University had spent months behind the scenes, lobbying intensely for this honor.
Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J., was at the forefront of the local effort. He joined with other members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to help rally the support of the Silicon Valley community—including engineering and law schools, high tech businesses, and patent law firms—for San Jose’s bid for a patent office.
After all, Silicon Valley is arguably the patent capital of the U.S., producing 12 percent of patents registered nationwide and the most patent registrations in 2009. Having one of the four planned satellite bureaus here would ease the USPTO’s backlog of patent applications, and put officials in closer proximity to the cutting-edge talent and trends generating patents.
In January, the application process heated up, and the SCU School of Law High Tech Law Institute’s (HTLI) assistant director, Joy Peacock, was tapped to support the effort. She contacted local law schools, companies, startups, and others in the HTLI’s network to encourage them to write letters in support of San Jose’s application. She also compiled data on the level of engineering and law-student talent in the area, and attended meetings and focus groups on how to maximize the office and reform patent procedures.
Face Time Saves Time
At the same time, SCU intellectual-property law professor Colleen Chien worked with a special committee of patent experts and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom ’89 to prepare California’s official bid. “Fast-growing startups most urgently need their patents, and having an office close by can greatly speed the process,” said Chien.
She explained that often during patent prosecution, the parties “miss” each other by arguing on paper. An in-person interview can cut years off the time it takes to get a patent. And having patent officials nearby for visits means less interference in the real business of innovation—making and selling great products.
Clearly, the effort has paid off. Shortly after the news was announced, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank visited San Jose to start working out the details. She said the USPTO is prioritizing the San Jose office, with the goal of opening in 12 to 18 months.
Santa Clara University anticipates building a strong working relationship with the USPTO by providing qualified law and engineering candidates for USPTO jobs. SCU would also like to develop student internship programs with the office, which could help the USPTO reach its goal of shorter training times for new patent examiners, as well as providing help for their heavy caseload.
“We see the opening of the office in metro San Jose as a huge win for Santa Clara Law students, and yet another way we can leverage our Silicon Valley location to better prepare our students as patent lawyers,” said Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute. “We will continue to work closely with the USPTO and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to provide whatever support we can to help the local patent office flourish.”
New Office, New Jobs
The satellite office is expected to employ more than 125 patent examiners, administrative law judges, and others as part of “the biggest modernization of the patent office we've ever seen,” said Blank.
In October, the law school and SCU Career Services will put on a program called “Careers in Law for Scientists and Engineers,” and hopes to have USPTO officials on a panel.
The other cities chosen to house new patent offices were Denver, Dallas, and Detroit.
For the Santa Clara University 2013 Solar Decathlon team, the challenge of building a solar house is testing more than just design and engineering skills. The U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial competition is putting the students in many roles they have never explored.
“We really are like a startup company,” says Project Manager Jake Gallau, ’13. “Everyone has to wear many hats on this team. The person in charge of our plumbing is an economics major and our public relations team mostly consists of engineers. We’re all learning skills completely out of our realm."
For the first time, the team is also getting help from SCU business students through several classes. Marketing Professor of Practice Charles Byers is having students in two of his classes create comprehensive marketing plans for the team.
“I think it's very insightful that the DOE sees marketing as an important component in the discussion of solar energy and put a marketing component in the competition,” says Byers. “This will give students a real-world experience by treating the team as a client and creating marketing plans that will see the light of day. The goal is to give the team some great ideas to pick and choose from in addition to a platform to recruit a fresh batch of volunteers.”
Students in any course of study can work on SCU’s solar house project. More than 200 students are involved right now. This summer, a core group refined their construction skills by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. The students also met with members of the 2007 and 2009 teams and have strong support from Bronco alumni who participated in the Solar Decathlon.
“A lesson we have learned is that having an outside space that is a part of the house is a big plus,” says Jay Dubashi, ’15. “The back deck in the 2009 house was a hit, and for 2013 we are going to try and go even further with that and really integrate the outside spaces.”
The nearly finalized design plans are due to the Department of Energy in October. The students plan to release the house name in the weeks to come, but are keeping much of their design plan under wrap. They do share that this year the focus is on affordability and accessibility. It may be the experience and skills gained outside their areas of expertise that will prove to be the real payoff.
“We have people to cover every aspect of the competition, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” says Gallau. “I encourage anyone motivated to try something new and gain leadership skills in the process to join the team.”
Santa Clara University School of Law welcomed its newest class of first-year students on Aug. 13.
The 202 full-time and 41 part-time students come from 21 states and 14 foreign countries including Korea, Canada, India, Russia, and Taiwan.
“We are pleased to welcome our newest class of Santa Clara Law students,” said Donald Polden, dean of the school that celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2011. “Our new class is highly diverse, has demonstrated academic excellence at undergraduate and graduate institutions, and includes community leaders. Their education at Santa Clara Law will build on these competencies and values and will help shape them into outstanding lawyers.”
The class is 54 percent male and 46 percent female, with 47 percent identifying as ethnic minorities. Of those students, 59 percent are Asian, 32 percent are Hispanic, and 7 percent are African American.
They attended 98 different undergraduate institutions, with Santa Clara University, University of California Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz comprising the top undergraduate alma maters.
Eleven percent of incoming students have advanced degrees, including one Ph.D., 13 M.S., eight M.A., two MBA, one MPAcc, and one LL.M. in international law. Among those expressing an interest in obtaining certificates in the school’s areas of specialty, 29 percent are seeking certificates in high-tech law, 28 percent in public-interest law, and 26 percent in international law.
About 3,200 people applied for spots in this year’s class. The class has a median age of 24.
After 66 years at Santa Clara University, beloved professor Victor Vari will be retiring this year at the age of 92. On May 12, the University held a farewell celebration at the San Jose Fairmont that included former students, colleagues, and even a pair of opera singers among the well-wishers.
“[Y]ou have facilitated for us the sophistication of culture, the maturity of mind that discerns well the good, the true, the beautiful,” said SCU Chancellor William Rewak. “Thank you for being a part of us, you have helped make the idea of the University flesh and blood.”
Professor Francisco Jiménez ’66 was both a student and a teacher alongside Vari. “I recall that his classroom had the atmosphere of a friendly gathering presided over by a loving and masterful teacher. He addressed each of us in class by name with affection and needed individual words of encouragement, inquiry, or kindly admonition,” Jiménez said. “He taught what he cared about, and what he cared about taught us a lot about him—that he was and is an extraordinary, passionate, caring, and loving teacher, and the question of human value was always in the foreground of his thought.”