Community News, Vol. 8 Iss. 48

Virtual architecture center receives grant

BUFFALO, NY–A team of faculty members in the School of Architecture and Planning have been awarded a $553,045 research grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to develop educational materials that use advanced media to teach important building principles to architecture students, reported the University of Buffalo Reporter

The funded project, “Building Literacy: The Integration of Building Technology and Design in Architectural Education,” will focus in particular on the development of a new interactive, multidimensional software program to help students develop a better understanding of building systems integration.

The project team will be headed by Shahin Vassigh, an architect and civil engineer with an international reputation in the field of computer-assisted architectural pedagogy. Vassigh is an associate professor of architecture in the school and co-director of its Center for Visual Architecture (CVA).

Co-principal investigators include Omar Khan, assistant professor of architecture and co-director of the CVA, whose practice spans architecture, installation/performance and digital media, and Kenneth S. MacKay, assistant professor of architecture, whose scholarly work involves natural and artificial light, building-systems integration and the role that each of these play in generating form and space.

Students named National AP Scholars

NORMAN, OK–More than 50 Norman North High School students earned distinction as they recently were named as College Board Advance Placement Scholars.

The board’s advanced placement program offers students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses while still in high school. Based on their performance on AP exams, those students could earn college credit, advanced placement or both. About 18 percent of the more than 1.3 million students scored well enough on the exams in May to merit a recognition as a National AP Scholar; an AP Scholar with Distinction; AP Scholar with Honor; and AP Scholar.

Anum Syed became an AP Scholar with Honors with an average higher than 3.25 on all AP exams taken.

Negin Allamehzadeh was named as the AP scholar for completing three or more AP exams with grades 3 or higher.

Alia Syed commended in the 2007 National Merit Competition

OAKLAND HILLS, CA– Twenty-three students from the class of 2007 have been named semifinalists and 33 as commended students in the 2007 National Merit Scholarship Competition, said Murray Cohen, head of the College Preparatory School in the Oakland hills. Alia Syed was among the students who were commended for National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955.

National Merit-commended students are recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their finishing in the top 5 percent of all the students taking the exam. They will not, however, continue in the competition for scholarships.

Kalamazoo Gazette writer honored for interfaith reporting by MSA

KALAMAZOO, MI–The Muslim Student Association at Western Michigan University gave the Kalamazoo Gazette’s Faith section editor Chris Meehan its “Making the Connection Award’’ at the association’s biannual banquet Thursday night at WMU’s Bernhard Center.

Meehan was given the award for the contributions he has made “promoting positive interfaith dialogue and discourse among members of the local community,’’ according to a press release.

The MSA says it was especially appreciative of Meehan’s “objective and unbiased coverage of Islam and Muslims; and in particular, your continuous coverage of the Muslim Student Association events for the past several years.’’

Muslim-Jewish duo create waves on campus

HARTFORD, CT–Nathan Kirschbaum is Jewish and Rashid Ismael is Muslim and they both make a terrific team at Tunxis Community College. As president and vice-president respectively of the student body the two have become reluctant celebrities on campus, reports the Hartford Courant.

The two say religion never entered their minds when they teamed up to run for office. Both had planned to run individually but, after getting to know each other, decided to form a ticket.

“I thought it would be better to go about this with someone,” said Kirschbaum, whose brush-cut hair, starched shirt and tie call to mind the lawyer he dreams of becoming. “We got together, took a couple of pictures and made some posters. Our bottom line was just get out there, talk to people and tell people what we wanted to do.”

“He’s a cool person and I work well with him and we get along,” added Ismail, an aspiring pharmacist from New Britain. “He’s Jewish and I’m Muslim, but we don’t really pay attention to that.”

Ismail, 21, describes himself as the people person, while Kirschbaum handles the organizational end of things. For the two weeks leading up to the election this fall they walked around campus introducing themselves to fellow students and, on election day, stood out in the hall encouraging them to vote.

They won in a landslide and immediately got to work planning trips, events and other activities.

“They are dynamic, the best student leaders I’ve seen since joining the faculty at Tunxis in 1994,” said Colleen Keyes, dean of academic affairs at the school. “They seem to be infusing new life into the college.”

Watsonville honors beautiful places

WATSONVILLE, CA– Jennifer Khan won the city Beautification Committee’s House and Garden award for November for the landscaping at 301 Stanford. The monthly award honors those houses and gardens which are artistically designed and well maintained.

Trouble continues to hound Trenton Halal Plant

TRENTON, NJ–Neighbours continue to complain about noise and irregular killing hours at the Trenton Halal Packing Co even after a recent ordinance passed by the city council to regulate the same. One complain read that “”Noise!!! Foul language (English, and others), shouted in high volume,” disturbs their peace.

“Noise! From sheep, goats and bulls being killed. Noise of machines. All this tumult and stench renders our backyard absolutely useless and unpleasant.”

City Health Inspector Martin Moore said that in April, after numerous complaints about the slaughterhouse which is grandfathered into a residential area, City Council unanimously amended Chapter 237 of the city code to:

– Limit the hours of slaughtering in a residential zone to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays;
– Force trucks delivering animals to slaughterhouses in residential zones to complete deliveries within 30 minutes of arrival;
– Make slaughterhouses limit discharges of “blood, hair and fleshing, or entrails into any storm sewer or sanitary sewer.”
– Cut all noise “that is likely to annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others,” including “noise that is clearly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the building.”

The City Council is reportedly working with the owners of the plant to resolve the issue.

Muslims, Christians exchange notes

HICKORY, NC–First Presbyterian Church in Hickory held an interfaith worship service last Sunday with members of First Presbyterian and the Islamic Center of Morganton participating, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The participants shared similarities and differences in the Christian and Muslim faiths. The goal of the dialogue was to broaden each group’s understanding of the other. The group listened to a recording of the Azan, the call to prayer in the Muslim tradition, and watched images of churches and mosques, steeples and minarets.

The group prayed together and listened to readings from the Quran and the Bible. The Christian group introduced the sacrament of Christian baptism to the Muslim group.

A covered-dish supper followed the service. First Presbyterian and the Islamic Center have had several interfaith exchanges in recent years.


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