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Dealing With Mental Disorders on Campus

Posted on Jan 13, 2011

Counseling Center Director Marcus Hotaling was recently featured in "Room for Debate," in which The New York Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues.

Hotaling, the mental health chair of the American College Health Association, discussed how to deal with mental disorders on campus in the wake of the shootings in Tuscon, Ariz. Hotaling joined Union in fall 2007.

To read his piece, click here.

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Healthy returns: Union’s VITA program honored for its contributions to community

Posted on Jan 13, 2011

Union’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which helps local families prepare their tax returns free of charge, was recently honored at a ceremony in Albany.

Mary O'Keeffe VITA Tonko

CA$H, a coalition of organizations led by United Way of the Greater Capital Region, presented its Volunteer Service Award, known as the “Wally Award, ” to Mary O’Keeffe, who teaches economics at Union and oversees the VITA program. The award is named in memory of Wallace G. Donnelly, a tireless volunteer in the region who died in December 2009.

In the past six years, Union students have helped secure millions in state and federal refunds for hundreds of low-income working families and senior citizens. Union’s site at the Kenney Community Center partners with the IRS, Schenectady County Department of Social Services, United Way of the Greater Capital Region and the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The program was launched by Therese McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Students in O’Keeffe’s service-learning class, “Income Tax Policy and Practice,” volunteer four nights a week for six weeks during prime tax season. They must complete IRS training and pass a certification exam before working with taxpayers. Students also help train volunteers at other sites in the city.

“The coalition truly appreciates the involvement in the training and providing of VITA tax prep services at Union College,” said Richard Zazycki, chair of the executive committee of CA$H (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope).

Last year, 16 students helped a record 200 families by volunteering more than 600 hours. Angela Tatem, director of the Kenney Community Center and her staff also participate.

This year, volunteers will be available Monday to Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Kenney Center from Jan. 20 to March 3. To schedule an appointment, call (518) 388-6652.

“It’s a great honor for our VITA program to be recognized,” said O’Keeffe. “Many of our alumni say that VITA is what they remember most about their college education.”

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Posted on Jan 12, 2011

Check out the central campus calendar at calendar.union.edu to learn about events and activities, and submit event requests to the Calendar if you want publicity. 

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Shades of black and white: Mandeville exhibit interprets the natural world

Posted on Jan 12, 2011

Louise Bourgeois Weeds & Wilderness

A new exhibit in the Mandeville Gallery, “Of Weeds and Wildness: Nature in Black & White,” opening today, Jan. 13, features 17 contemporary artists working in black and white to explore the natural world.

Their art encompasses a range of styles, approaches and mediums, including photographs, prints, drawings and digital works.

“The show reveals the richly expressive qualities of black and white and the unlimited power of this limited palette to evoke and express complex and multi-layered ideas about the human relationship with nature,” said Mandeville Gallery Director Rachel Seligman, who curated the show with Sally Apfelbaum, a photographer and educator from Bennington, Vt.

“Through their work, these artists have approached the natural world in nuanced, intriguing and sometimes disquieting ways.”

Among the artists is Desirée Alvarez, whose installation piece evoking a “nomadic” landscape explores the human relationship to the disappearing wilderness.

Harold Edgerton, “Weeds and Wilderness”

Harold Edgerton is a major figure in the development and application of stop motion photography. He spent time as an electrical engineer at General Electric in Schenectady before moving to Cambridge, Mass., to attend MIT, where he later taught and conducted research.

Hedya Klein’s quirky etchings and digital animation of biomorphic, organic forms are filled with exuberant energy and playfulness.

And Union’s own Charles Steckler, professor of theater, is a consummate draftsman whose extraordinary “doodles” evoke biological micro-landscapes.

Charles Steckler Untitled, Weeds and Wilderness

Other featured artists include: Robert Adams, the late Union artist-in-residence Arnold Bittleman, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, William Kentridge, Danny Lyon, Abelardo Morell, Margaret Moulton, Michelle Segre, James Siena, Kiki Smith and Kate Temple.

Seligman and Apfelbaum will host an informal lunchtime curators’ tour at the Nott on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Visitors can drop by any time between noon and 2 p.m.

In addition, Alvarez, Klein, Steckler and Temple will take part in an exhibition reception and gallery talk on Thursday, Feb. 10, 5-7 p.m.

The show runs through March 13.  

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Food and genetics: Inside the controversy

Posted on Jan 12, 2011

Jeffrey Smith, leading non-GMO consumer advocate, will kick off Union’s 2011 Environmental

Science, Policy and Engineering Winter Seminar Series Thursday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Nott Memorial with a talk titled, “The Dirty Secrets Behind the Genetically Modified Foods You’re Eating.”

All four speakers in this year’s series will address the theme, “Inside the Controversy on Genetically Modified Food.”

Smith’s talk will focus on “fired and gagged scientists, rigged research, corrupted regulators and harmful foods, and how to protect yourself and take action.

“You’ve probably heard the spin on GMOs (genetically modified organisms), about being a safe FDA-approved technology that will increase yields, reduce Ag chemicals and feed the world. Don’t believe it,” Smith says.

According to Smith, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine cites so many disorders in animal studies associated with GMOs, “they urge all physicians to prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone.”

Smith’s book, “Seeds of Deception,” is one of the top-selling books on GMOs. His more recent “Genetic Roulette” documents 65 health risks of the genetically modified foods we eat every day. He has spoken in 32 countries. Through his Institute for Responsible Technology, Smith is pioneering a campaign to create a tipping point of consumer rejection – to force GMOs out of the market.

The speaker series continues with the following:

Wednesday, Feb. 2: “Global Rifts over Biotechnology: Science, Politics and Political Science” with Ronald Herring of Cornell University

Wednesday, Feb. 16: “Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals: Answers to Questions They Don’t Want Asked (Science, Regulation, Environmental and Human Health Impacts)” with Michael Hansen of Consumer Union

Tuesday, Feb. 22: “Environmental Considerations in the Use of Transgenic Crops” with Dr. Janice Thies of Cornell University

All talks are at 7 p.m. in the Nott Memorial. They are free and open to the public.

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MLK celebrations to feature music, drama, discussions

Posted on Jan 12, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The College’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Series, kicking off Monday, Jan. 17, features a variety of activities, from the “Hajabi Monologues” to a seminar that challenges participants’ powers of observation.

“This year’s holiday observance is connected to the celebration of the 40th anniversary of co-education at Union,” said Director of Multicultural Affairs Karen Ferrer-Muñiz. “We are devoting three events to educational lectures with speakers and workshops. Dr. King’s focus on social justice included women’s rights.”

The schedule:

Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir

Monday, Jan. 17, 8:30-11:30 a.m. / Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Event: New York State Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Memorial Observance, featuring Union College Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir. This non-denominational ensemble promotes self-expression through the singing of contemporary and traditional religious songs, performing for the College and the local community.
Contact: Gretchel Hathaway, hathawag@union.edu

Hijabo Monologues for MLK celebrations

Monday, Jan. 17, 5:30 p.m. / Nott Memorial
Event: “Hijabi Monologues: The Women Under the Head Scarves,” a play that examines a simple piece of clothing and the complex reactions to it in the U.S. This powerful storytelling experience is designed to create a space for American Muslim women to share experiences, use their voices and connect with others.
Sponsors: Campus Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Africana Studies, Multifaith Council, Muslim Students Association, Black Students Union, Women’s Union, Shakti, UNITAS
Contact: Viki Brooks, brooksv@union.edu

Thursday, Jan. 20, 6-7 p.m.
/ Reamer Campus Center Auditorium
Event: “The Art of Perception” with facilitator Amy Herman, a seminar designed to enhance observation and communication skills. Since 2000, this program has educated thousands of individuals from a broad range of fields. Participants analyze works of art and present their observations to their peers, to discern distinctions between perception and inference.
Sponsors: Campus Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Africana Studies, Dean of Students Office, Student Activities Office, Residential Life, Women’s and Gender Studies, UNITAS
Contact: Krista Anderson, residence director, College Park Hall, andersk2@union.edu
More information: http://artfulperception.com/

Friday, Jan. 28, 12:55-1:45 p.m.
/ Sadock Women’s and Gender Studies Lounge, Reamer Campus Center 301
Event: “Freeing the Secret: Feminism and the Politics of Confession,” Valerie J. Hoffman ’75 2010-11 Lecture Series, featuring Jillian Locke, associate professor and chair, Department of Political Science at Gustavus Adolphus College, and co-editor of “Feminist Interpretations of Alexis de Tocqueville” (Penn State University Press, 2009)
Contact: Lori Marso, marsol@union.edu

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