Volume 17 • Issue 2

On Campus: News and Notes

SU Student Travels with ADL to Israel

Southwestern @ Georgetown

This January, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) took Christina Griffin ’06, 15 other college students and two congressional aides to Israel. ADL’s “Current and Future Leaders Study Mission to Israel” offered students an opportunity to get an up-close look at the issues surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to learn the history of the modern Jewish state. Griffin says, “It granted me the opportunity to see things for myself and, consequently, derive my own perspectives and analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Students also were given the opportunity to tour Israel and engage in a series of briefings with a broad spectrum of voices from Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. The group met with Israeli government officials and Palestinian representatives. “We spent the majority of our time in Jerusalem where we visited with various scholars-in-residence, students, journalists, police and military officials,” says Griffin. “We also went sightseeing, visiting the Separation Barrier, the Wailing Wall and the path that Jesus took on what came to be known as Palm Sunday.”

Griffin is a political science and history major at Southwestern and president of Southwestern’s College Republicans. She also is a state executive officer of the Texas Federation of College Republicans. Griffin was invitied to apply for the program, which was offered to students based on their leadership in student government organizations and their plans for careers in politics or public service.

ADL’s “Current and Future Leaders Study Mission to Israel” is funded by a grant from the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation.

Southwestern Students Aid Hurricane Relief

Since 1996, one way the Southwestern community has actively helped those in need through the University’s Destination: Service program, which provides students with the opportunity to travel during spring break to sites around the country and across the border to work with nonprofit and religious organizations.

This year, Southwestern students, in conjunction with the Episcopal and Lutheran churches of Mississippi, assisted in the hurricane relief effort for Long Beach, Miss.

This service opportunity was presented to University Chaplain Beverly Jones by alumnus Lee Livingston ’02. “It was great to hear from a former student who was aware of Southwestern’s commitment to volunteerism,” says Jones. “While volunteering in New Orleans, Lee saw firsthand the great need in the affected communities and knew his alma mater would be ready to lend a helping hand.”

Student volunteers worked beside community members whose lives were turned upside down by the hurricane, providing assistance with organizing and distributing supplies, volunteering at the medical clinic, helping with shelter construction, removing rubble from destroyed building sites, repairing homes and assisting with general clean-up.

Student co-leader Katelyn Jones ’07 enjoyed helping the citizens of Long Beach rebuild. “This was my third Destination: Service trip, but each one has been extremely different,” she says. “This trip was more of a community effort, and having the opportunity to work with this community—one not unlike our own—provided a better understanding of challenges most of us will never have to face.”

When the Levees Broke: Students Film Documentary on Katrina Aftermath and New Orleans’ Struggle to Rebuild

Southwestern @ Georgetown
Lauren Wolf ’06 documented some of Katrina’s devastation on a recent trip to New Orleans.
Southwestern @ Georgetown

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, Southwestern seniors Stacey Faulkner, Lauren Wolf and Ben Woods filmed a documentary that explores the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and its residents. “The idea for the project arose after Ben and I spent hours watching footage of the hurricane and the damage it caused. It seemed rather unbelievable—in an awful sense—that something like this was occurring so close to us,” says Faulkner. The students traveled to New Orleans for four days in February and collected footage for their documentary, which is a King Creativity-funded project.

The film focuses on the experiences of the individuals affected by the storm and on the process of rebuilding New Orleans. To compile their documentary, the group filmed the devastation still apparent in many parts of the city. Additionally, they interviewed New Orleans business owners, city officials, professors, musicians and artists to gather diverse perspectives on the rebuilding process. They also are incorporating news footage obtained from a New Orleans television station.

Ultimately, the group hopes that the documentary will provide hope and encouragement in the face of adversity. Woods comments, “We believe this documentary will inspire the Southwestern community to be active participants in the communities that surround them. Our hope for this film is to inspire students to dedicate themselves to the well-being of humanity through activism.”

Southwestern Students to Build Habitat House

Southwestern @ Georgetown

Since Habitat for Humanity came to Georgetown in 1999, many members of the Southwestern University community have volunteered with the organization on an individual basis.

This year, however, the campus community is taking its involvement to a new level by committing to finance and build a complete house for Habitat.

Last semester, President Jake B. Schrum ’68 led efforts to begin fundraising for the house. By the end of the semester, University officials had secured pledges for $45,000 of the $50,000 required for a house. An anonymous gift from a member of the Southwestern community and two leadership gifts from Southwestern friends in Georgetown contributed to the fundraising success. Students will raise the remainder this semester from the campus community.

“Participating in this project fits perfectly with Southwestern’s core purpose of encouraging activism,” Schrum says. “It also fits a key objective of our Strategic Plan for 2010, which is to develop comprehensive local community initiatives.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Southwestern’s Habitat House was held in January, and, afterward, students began construction of a shed that will go with the house. Construction of the house itself will begin in the fall and is expected to take about five months. The house will be built on property that was donated to Habitat for Humanity and is near the intersection of Leander and 17th streets. The organization plans to build a total of 20 houses on this property during the next three to five years.

More than 100 students have signed up to help with the project. Those interested in contributing to the project may make checks payable to Southwestern University and mail them to the Institutional Advancement Office, Southwestern University, P.O. Box 770, Georgetown, TX 78627-0770. Please note on the checks that they are for the SU Habitat House. Donations to the house will count toward Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign.

Southwestern University Library Receives the Gift of Music

Stephen Aechternacht, formerly a host for KMFA radio in Austin, has donated his CD collection to Southwestern University’s A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center. The collection consists of approximately 12,000 CDs that will, over a span of years, more than triple the library’s recordings collection.

“Currently, we have about 3,000 recordings on compact disc,” says Dana Hendrix, coordinator, collection development and acquisition for the Smith Library Center. “We estimate that Mr. Aechternacht’s donation will provide us about 10,000 additional recordings, including multiple recordings of individual works, which are valuable for comparison and study.”

A psychologist by training, Aechternacht is now an executive with a large healthcare organization. He has been involved with classical radio for 35 years, most of which has been on a volunteer basis.

“I ‘discovered’ classical music at age 13, and have been an ardent follower of the genre since then,” he says. Aechternacht also loves film music, jazz and electronica, and holds a healthy appreciation for rock, pop and country music. Until recently, he served on KMFA’s Board of Trustees, and produced two programs for them: “Symphony @ Seven” and “Film Score Focus.” He has retired from those activities, but “Film Score Focus” is continuing with a new producer and host (see www.kmfa.org for more information on the program).

Aechternacht was prompted to make his donation for several very personal reasons, but it was his brother-in-law, Wes Marshall ’74, who suggested he donate the collection to Southwestern. “I knew that Southwestern University had a small CD library, and the purpose of my gift is to greatly expand that collection,” Aechternacht says.

Hendrix believes that Southwestern is very fortunate to have been chosen as the recipient of Aechternacht’s gift. “Because of his expertise as a music collector and his interest in varied genres, the collection is a rare gift,” she says.

The recordings being donated are mostly classical music, including some emphasis on modern composers that will fill a gap for the Smith Library Center. The collection also will include a significant number of film soundtracks.

“The collection will help meet the Music Department’s curriculum-related needs and will also provide leisure listening for a broad range of music aficionados on campus,” Hendrix says.

Aechternacht is bringing groups of recordings from his collection to Southwestern as his time allows. Thus far, the Smith Library Center has received the first 60 CDs. The CDs will be available on the second floor of the library center in the Media Library and, as with other CDs, may be checked out for a week at a time. Listening equipment also is provided in the Media Library and the library’s study alcoves.

Hendrix believes that students taking many different music courses will find themselves using these recordings in their academic work in the coming years. “Time-lapse photography of our Media Library over the next several years would be fun to watch­—there will be quite a complete transformation in there,” she says.

Second Georgetown Festival of the Arts to be held June 1-4

Planning is under way for Georgetown’s second annual “Festival of the Arts,” June 1-4. The festival reflects the talent and cooperation of Southwestern faculty and numerous local arts community activists. The festival attracts performing artists from around the world and is gaining a reputation as a premier cultural event.

Ellsworth Peterson ’55, professor emeritus of music and until 2002, holder of the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts at Southwestern, is the festival’s artistic director. Professors emeriti Bob Horick and Florence Gould serve on the planning committee and manage logistics and publicity.

The music portion of this year’s festival celebrates the music of Franz Joseph Haydn. Kenneth Sheppard, professor of music, will conduct the chorus, orchestra and soloists, including Bruce Cain, associate professor of music, in Haydn’s “The Creation,” with a pre-concert lecture by Farley Snell, professor emeritus of religion and philosophy. Music Department faculty Kiyoshi Tamagawa, Eri Lee Lam and Hai Zheng will present Haydn trios. The Austin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Bay; Van Cliburn piano finalist Jan Jiracek from Vienna; the Shanghai Quartet and other outstanding artists will join Southwestern musicians on the four-day program.

Paul Gaffney, dean of The Sarofim School of Fine Arts, is supportive of the festival and pleased Southwestern will provide performance space. Two concerts will be held in the Lois Perkins Chapel and a symposium will be held in the Fine Arts Gallery. Other musical events will be held in venues around Georgetown. Visual arts activities include a two-day juried artist and artisans show and sale in San Gabriel Park, followed by an evening concert and fireworks extravaganza on Saturday, June 3.

Sound intriguing? For information on events, tickets and donations consult www.georgetowntexassymphony.org.