Hunter College

The Vikings’ Green Initiatives

December 14, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center, Hunter College

How will today’s green initiatives to combat worldwide climate change alter the world for future generations? For an answer, Thomas McGovern, anthropology professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, has spent more than a decade studying how Viking settlers in Greenland managed to avoid destroying the land for centuries. “In Greenland they [the Vikings] got it right, but the environment changed on them again,” says McGovern in his lecture, “Sustainability and Collapse: Lessons from the Vikings,” part of the CUNY Science Cafe lecture series. “Their robustness to deal with one problem made them vulnerable to another.”

Cows and Sleeping Sickness

November 8, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Each year an estimated 30,000 people in 36 sub-Saharan countries are infected by a tsetse fly-borne disease — Human African trypanosomiasis, also know as sleeping sickness — that hosts in cattle and, if left untreated, is fatal. “Cows are used by women to help plow fields,” said Jayne Raper, professor of biological sciences at Hunter College, explaining the integral part the animals have in the daily life. “They eat grass, don’t drink a lot of water, and the manure is used in the fields and as fire bricks,” Raper said in her CUNY Science Cafe lecture, “Saying ‘Good Night’ to Sleeping Sickness.” Raper recently received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to use for the development of a trypanosome-resistant breed of cattle.

Evolving Vision for Student Affairs

October 17, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Like the private sector, public universities are facing major budget constraints, and student services, among other departments, are forced to do more with a lot less. “Student affairs and student service systems must be designed to enhance the quality but also the relevancy of today’s college degree,” said Frank D. Sanchez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in a lecture, “An Evolving Vision for Student Affairs at CUNY,” at Hunter College. Sanchez, who joined CUNY eight months ago, also discussed the challenges ahead. “We have to become much more entrepreneurial and nimble to be responsive to the needs of our nation.”
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Pete Hamill: To Write, Read

October 7, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Journalist Pete Hamill believes that the craft of writing is an act of self-discovery. “By the time I went to the New York Post, I actually knew more about writing than any formal education had taught me,” says Hamill, whose prominent career as a newspaperman spans five decades. “You educate yourself by reading the greatest books ever written.” Hamill, the author of 11 novels including his latest, “Tabloid City,” was speaking at the Tina Santi Flaherty Irish Voices Literary Series, sponsored by the Writing Center at Hunter College, about his early life in Brooklyn and how his local library played such a vital role. “The library is where I began my life — it promised magic and delivered it.”
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500 Pedestrians Injured in City Bike Accidents Annually

September 21, 2011 | Hunter College, Newsmakers

A report by two Hunter College professors, William Milczarski and Peter Tuckel, found that 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized every year after colliding with bicyclists statewide – and more than 500 of those injured are in New York City. “We were surprised just by the sheer number,” said Milczarski, who discussed the study and its potential impact on the bike-share program which is scheduled to launch next summer. “More bike lanes are going to continue to happen and the bike-sharing plan is going to happen because more people want to bike,” added Milczarski, “But what we need is more education on how to cycle safely.”
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Finding Your Own Life’s Story

May 17, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

“Memoir is the most radical act anyone can undertake because you are refusing to be silent,” says Louise DeSalvo, author of the critically acclaimed 2002 work, “Vertigo,” a candid account of growing up in a dysfunctional, Italian-American immigrant family in Hoboken after World War II. In a City College Center for Worker Education Book Lecture Series talk, “Finding Our Life’s Story,” DeSalvo, who teaches memoir in Hunter College’s MFA Creative Writing program as the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar, encouraged her audience to write their own memoirs, “It’s not about what happened,” DeSalvo says, “it’s about what we remember and how we remember it.”
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A Sunny Day You’ll Be Happy to Miss

May 4, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

When the sun runs out of hydrogen — about 5 billion years from now — it will become a planetary nebulae, an expanding shell of thin, ionized gas. “It’s going to be pretty for a distant observer, says Kelle Cruz, professor of physics and astronomy at Hunter College, “but the outcome will not be pretty for us.” In a Serving Science Cafe Series lecture, “Using the Solar Neighborhood as a Petri Dish for the Universe,” Cruz describes how the sun will puff out its outer layers and expand, exposing its hot stellar core and, as a result, the Earth will most likely evaporate. “One of the reasons I study the solar neighborhood,” says Cruz, “is because the sun is going to shine for another 5 billion years, but at its end we’re going to need to go some place else.”
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New Model for the Urban Classroom

March 22, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Reform at both the local level and system-wide is needed for New York City public schools to succeed, according to Pamela Mills of the Math and Science Partnership in New York City. “We believe the urban classroom is too complicated to expect a single person to solve the problems,” says Mills, principal investigator for the partnership, which studies student performance in grades K through 12, and is funded by the National Science Foundation. In her lecture, “Be Bold, Be Brave: Changing the Educational Landscape,” part of the Serving Science Cafe Series, Mills emphasizes learning through partnerships by adopting a new model called the Peer-Enabled Restructured Classroom, or PERC, where students help other students, while teachers teach, to build a community of learning.
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On the Internet Road to Revolution

March 22, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, William Macaulay Honors College at CUNY

A junior at Macaulay Honors College at Hunter and eyewitness to the massive demonstrations in Egypt, watched firsthand as social media platforms like Facebook were used to help mobilize the political protests. “People who normally would use the Internet as a distraction, now used it as a tool to organize,” says Alex Schindler, who was studying Arabic at the American University in Cairo during the weeks-long uprising. Schindler and Norhan Basuni, a senior at the CUNY Baccalaureate program at John Jay College, who was also in Cairo, shared their experiences at the CUNY Study Abroad Re-entry Conference at the Graduate Center. “The day after the government started messing with the Internet, Tahrir Square went from a few thousand protesters to 100,000 people,” says Schindler.
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Louisa May Alcott’s Tenacity

February 15, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

For a writer talent is essential, but often it’s determination that wins the day, says Susan Cheever. Speaking at the Best-Selling Author Series, sponsored by the Writing Center at Hunter College, Cheever referred to the subject of her latest book, a biography of Louisa May Alcott. A prominent publisher of the time, James T. Fields, had told Alcott to “stick to your teaching. You can’t write,” recalls Cheever, after she had turned in her first manuscript. It was the moment, says Cheever, that Alcott, author of “Little Women,” became a writer. “The desire to show people that they’re wrong is a more powerful engine than ambition.”
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