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“The Vagina Monologues” honors 10th anniversary of V-Day

Posted on Jan 31, 2008

Eve Ensler, performing “The Vagina Monologues”

Students will help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the international V-Day movement with two performances of “The Vagina Monologues” Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Reamer Campus Center Auditorium.

The performances are open to the public, with tickets $5 in advance and $7 at the door.

Following the Saturday performance, Golub House will sponsor a reception at 4 p.m. with a lecture by Emily Trotter, case manager at Family of Woodstock domestic violence shelter, and sister of cast member Genevieve St. Hilaire ’10.

V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls, has raised more than $50 million through benefit productions of playwright Eve Ensler’s award-winning play—a perfect fit for the Women’s Union club, which raises awareness of women’s issues and revived the campus production six years ago.

“The play draws a mixed crowd and is meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek,” said Kaitlin Canty ’08, co-producer, who returns for her third season in the play. “But we also address serious issues and things about the female anatomy that aren’t typically talked about.”

The 2007 cast of the “Vagina Monologues” Top row: Kelsey Allen-Dicker ’07, Keegan Peters ’08, Rachel Curtis ’08, Sami Zayas ’07, Julie Lichtblau ’10, Marcela Oliva ’09, Ariel Sincoff-Yedid ’09, Carley Jacobson ’10 and Meagan Keenan ’09 Bottom row: Kiki

Students pull together the 90-minute production in five weeks with only two rehearsals. V-Day guidelines dictate the number of performances allowed, and prohibit memorizing the script in an effort to recruit activists to the production instead of theatrical performers.

Director Keegan Peters ’08, a Theater and Philosophy major, is the only student with formal acting training. Meagan Keenan ’09 is co-producing with Canty and also serves as this year’s organizer. All three women are also acting in the production.

The remaining members of the cast include: Christina M. Cerqueira ’10, Deanna A. Cox ’10, Elizabeth C. Culp ’10, Rachel R. Curtis ’08, Colleen M. Easton ’09, Katherine Friedman ’10, Dana R. Goldsmith ’10, Ewodaghe Harrell ’10, Genevieve St. Hilaire ’10, Eyleen L. Iraola ’11, Emma S. Labrot ’09, Jamie B. Luguri ’10, Victoria A. Mathieu ’11, Tehtena B. Tenaw ’09, Aria D. Walfrand ’11 and Samantha L. Zayas ’10.

2008 “Vagina Monologues” Organizer and Co-producer Meagan Keenan ’09 with Co-producer Kaitlin A. Canty ‘08.

Tickets will be on sale, along with hand-made chocolate lollipops, domestic violence awareness bracelets and T-shirts, from Monday, Feb. 11 through Friday, Feb. 15 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Reamer. On Valentine’s Day, students can use their declining balances to make a donation in $5 increments.

The play is sponsored by the Women’s Union, Union’s Women’s Commission and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Ninety-percent of proceeds from the show and merchandise sales will benefit the Schenectady YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter. The remaining 10 percent is donated to the national V-Day chapter’s charity of choice this year: women in New Orleans affected by the hurricanes.

For more information, visit http://www.vday.org.

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Veteran journalist to discuss Middle East reporting

Posted on Jan 31, 2008

Ramzy Baroud, veteran Palestinian-American journalist, former Al-Jazeera producer, and founder and editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle, comes to campus Wednesday, Feb. 6 for a series of classroom and public events.

He will address issues of language manipulation in media reporting on Palestine and Israel 4:45-6:30 p.m. in Reamer Campus Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

His itinerary also includes a dinner with faculty; dinner with students at Green House, focusing on the Annapolis conference and its potential for success; and lunch with members of Campus Action. In Political Science Prof. Michele Angrist’s class on Middle East Politics, he will focus on the history of the Hamas movement; its evolution from a social movement to a political power player; and the roots of the clashes between Hamas and Fatah.

Baroud’s work has been published in hundreds of newspapers and journals around the world, including The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Seattle Times, Miami Herald, Japan Times and Al-Ahram Weekly. He has been a guest on numerous television programs, including CNN International, BBC, ABC Australia, NPR and Al-Jazeera.

Baroud’s 2002 book, “Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion,” received widespread international recognition. “The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of People’s Struggle” was published in 2006 by Pluto Press, also to critical acclaim. A guest speaker at top universities around the world, he has taught mass communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology.  

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Ethics and robots: Leading AI researcher to speak Tuesday

Posted on Jan 31, 2008

“Robot Minds and Human Ethics,” a lecture and discussion with Wendell Wallach, educator, artificial intelligence researcher and author of the forthcoming book, “Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong,” will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m., in Social Sciences 016. A reception will begin at 5.

The event is sponsored by the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum, Computer Science, Engineering and the Dean of Studies Office.

Among the questions Wallach will explore are whether it is possible to design software agents and robots capable of making moral judgments (Artificial Moral Agents, or AMAs); and whether it is possible to implement moral theories such as utilitarianism, Kant’s s categorical imperative, Aristotle’s virtues and the Golden Rule for robots in computational systems.

“Designing artificial systems sensitive to moral considerations forces us to think deeply about human decision making and ethics, and the ways in which we humans may differ from the artificial entities we will create,” Wallach says.

The ethics initiative is also sponsoring “On Prostituting the Work We Love:

A Workshop on Teaching Research Integrity,” Thursday, Feb. 14, 12:30 to 1:40 p.m. in Everest Lounge with Robert Baker, the William D. Williams Professor
of Philosophy and program director and professor of Bioethics of the Bioethics Program at Union Graduate College.

For more information about Ethics Across the Curriculum, visit http://ethics.union.edu.

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Catholic community slates events, speakers

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

The Catholic Chaplaincy and the Catholic Student Association (CSA) have scheduled a number of events in the coming weeks, including a visit by Albany Roman Catholic Bishop Howard J. Hubbard and Ash Wednesday services.

Lucrecia Oliva, CSA guest speaker

The Ash Wednesday Catholic liturgy with distribution of ashes is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. Guest speaker is human rights activist and facilitator Lucrecia Oliva of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Guatemala, who leads the organization’s work in addressing migration, human trafficking and human-rights abuses. Oliva’s visit is part of a U.S. tour to promote Operation Rice Bowl, an annual Lenten initiative that raises millions to support food-security projects in 40 countries. 

Lenten simple suppers are scheduled for five Fridays: Feb. 15, 22 and 29, and March 7, and 14, 6-7 p.m. in Hale House at Everest Lounge. Students will have a meatless soup and salad supper and discuss religious and spiritual topics of interest, including why Christians fast during Lent, what Catholic thinking can contribute to greater environmental responsibility and recent Union student participation in the New Orleans community service mini-term. 

“Students who come to the dinners are invited to sacrifice the meal swipe for their regular Friday night dinner and donate it to the work of Catholic Relief Services,” said Catholic Chaplain and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies Thomas P. Boland Jr.

Bishop Hubbard, who has led the Albany diocese since 1977, comes to campus Sunday, Feb. 17, for a dinner and discussion with students, faculty, staff and guests.  Afterward, he will preside and preach at the 7:30 p.m. liturgy at St. John the Evangelist Church on Union Street before joining the CSA for its regular post-liturgy social hour in the Breazzano House seminar room.

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