Tag Archives: Catholic U

Support The Met Branch Trail – Sign Up To Climb The “Big Stinky”!

McCormack Drive (a portion of Met Branch Trail along Catholic U).
McCormack Drive (a portion of Met Branch Trail along Catholic U).

Many of us are eager to have the Metropolitan Branch Trail finally completed. If you are one of them, consider signing up for the Big Stinky Hill Climb Challenge. So, what is exactly, is the Big Stinky? It is a hill on the section of  the Met Branch Trail at the intersection of John McCormack Road and Bates Drive NE (on the east side of Catholic U). It got the nickname Big Stinky due to the frequent aroma of garbage wafting over from nearby Fort Totten Transfer Station. According to Bicycle SPACE:

The hill is a symbol of the stalled progress in building the Metropolitan Branch Trail which when ultimately completed, will provide a smooth at-grade connection between Silver Spring and the National Mall.  With the Trail in place, instead of having to take on Big Stinky, cyclists and other users will be able to pass the transfer station alongside the Metro tracks on a level path.   And, the completed Trail will be able to connect with the Capital Crescent Trail to offer a 27 mile “bicycle beltway” encircling a large part of the District, thereby providing a hugely valuable recreational amenity and transportation link.

The hill climb challenge, taking place on Saturday, March 16th at 12 pm is hosted by The Assembly. There will be prizes for winners, riders and fans with the best costumes, not to mention the coveted trophy, the Golden Garbage Pail. They are hoping to draw a large crowd and are encouraging participants to create a party atmosphere complete with costumes, cheering, flag waving, cowbell ringing and the like.

Catholic University LGBTQ Student Group, CUAllies, Continues Fight For Official Recognition

I recently found out about a group, CUAllies, made up of Catholic University of America (CUA) students and supporters, who are working to make university life at CUA more welcoming for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) students. We recently caught up with Bob Shine, a 2012 alum from CUA, who is handling media relations for CUAllies, and asked him the following questions.

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Tell me a little bit about your organization and your purpose.

CUAllies is an unrecognized student organization aimed at fostering a safe, welcoming, and affirming campus at The Catholic University of America, particularly for those students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.

Working within the particular Catholic nature of the University, CUAllies affirms the harmony of spirituality and sexuality as each person is created in the image of God regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

CUAllies sustains a marginalized community of LGBTQ students and allies through peer support and on-campus programming. Previous events have included speakers, service projects, prayer vigils, and weekly support meetings.

CUA administrators recently declined to recognize CUAllies as a student organization. Because of this, what rights and privileges is CUAllies denied that other groups have?

 A successful CUAllies application in 2012 to become a student organization would have meant that leaders could reserve campus rooms for events, access student activities staff and funding, post announcements around campus. Presently, students are required to find empty rooms impromptu and struggle to promote events, while paying out of pocket.

Yet, the real right CUAllies is denied is a recognized place in the Catholic University community. Continued denial by the administration states, in effect, that LGBTQ students and their allies cannot positively contribute to the campus well-being, or at least contribute as who God create each of us to be. This message is spreading to the student body and it is in direct contradiction to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ request that all those with a homosexual orientation be welcomed into the community.

From what I understand, CUA administrators fear CUAllies will engage in LGBTQ “advocacy” if recognized. What does that mean, and is advocacy part of your activities?

In President Garvey’s denial based upon these fallacious “advocacy” claims, he demonstrated an unwillingness to truly listen to and respect all students at CUA. Nearly a year of dialogue on the present application with countless meetings and written exchanges was disregarded for the very reason of advocacy given as early as 2012.

In the ten months leading up to this December, CUAllies endeavored towards a compromise with supportive staff helping us navigate. We envisioned a student organization that openly addressed the administration’s advocacy concerns, while remaining true to the peer support mission we believed deeply in.

CUAllies has not engaged in advocacy of the “homosexual lifestyle” as the University so crassly described it. In accordance with the Catholic Church’s understanding that sexual orientation is morally neutral, we have only advocated on campus for the promotion of students’ safety and flourishing, without engaging any broader cultural issues surrounding the LGBTQ community.

What would you say to people who question why LGBTQ students would attend, or ask acceptance from, a University whose bedrock is a religion that by and large is opposed to the full expression of gay and lesbian lives and gay rights?

Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church most truly defined as the People of God, all of us, is not opposed to supporting the LGBTQ community. I currently minster at an LGBT-positive Catholic organization and daily witness Catholics affirming every person’s dignity, foundational teachings on social justice and non-discrimination, and living out the love stemming from Christ in and amongst every one of us.

LGBTQ students at Catholic University inspire me by their sacrificial love in service of others and their integration of faith and sexuality. The University’s persistent denial that these students offer anything falls gravely short of Christ’s witness of abundant love of all doctrine.

In short, LGBTQ students attend Catholic University because they empower the school and Catholic Church with far more love than University administrators or bishops have ever shown them. Every student attends CUA for personal reasons, but all acknowledge the true Catholic identity of the University, which is love, dignity, and justice that the present administration has strayed far from.

Tell me a little bit about the CUAllies petition.  Can anyone, even those of us not affiliated with CUA sign it? (Note: Petition link below)

Shortly after President John Garvey’s denial of CUAllies, student leaders began the petition with twofold purpose. LGBTQ students, allies, and those deeply invested in CUAllies were deeply rejected. All signs, like the months-long dialogue with administrators and a decision the day before at the University of Notre Dame to positively address LGBTQ issues, had us hopeful that Catholic University would step forward. The petition foremost became an expression by fellow students, alumni, family members, faculty and staff, local community members, Catholics, and those worldwide that you are loved and welcomed in our hearts. All are welcome to sign! Second, we aimed to show the administration that people understood CUAllies as peer support and not advocacy – and should be supported at a Catholic campus. Over 700 signatures so far gives us hope to keep struggling and, perhaps, caused President Garvey to rethink his decision.

Aside from the petition, how can those who want to support LGBTQ students at CUA help?

The rejection in December has caused a period of reflection among student leadership and supporters about the most positive way to proceed.  We are looking at how we can fulfill our mission to keep students safe and welcomed, even if just in our CUAllies community, in the face of an administration refusing to budge.

A campus culture of suppression, sometimes enacted personally against CUAllies leadership, has created a fear-based atmosphere, amplified so greatly by this rejection.

As we rebuild, supporters can aid in three ways. First, connect with us – on Facebook, Twitter, our mailing list and other social media – to get updates when we launch our next steps. Second, consider making your voice heard as community members in Brookland, by writing to President John Garvey. Third, spread the word to your family, friends, and networks, who can then inspire students by connecting and pressure the administration.

What are the various ways our readers can keep up with your group?

CUA Allies Facebook Page

CUA Allies Twitter Feed

Email this address to join their mailing list: cuallies(at)gmail(dot)com

CUA Allies Petition is located here

All photos courtesy of CUAllies Facebook page

Catholic University Drama Department Celebrates Its 75th Year With New Plays, Festivities And A Gala

Hartke Theatre. Photo courtesy of Goldstar.com
Hartke Theatre. Photo courtesy of Goldstar.com

The 2012-13 Hartke Theatre Season marks the 75th Anniversary of Catholic University’s Drama department. The season will culminate in April with a two-day event filled with performances, festivities, honors and a gala reception.  Now is a great time to check out the fantastic local talent we have right here in our neighborhood; and at amazingly low prices. Tickets prices are as follows: $15 adult/full price; $10 senior citizens, CUA Alumni, Faculty and staff; $5 Students. Purchase tickets here. Here is a rundown of shows remaining in the season:

Brutus (an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar). Directed and edited by Allison Fuentes. February 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 pm, February 23 and 24 at 2:00 pm. Great words and noble sentiments from a respected and honorable citizen, yet in most modern accounts Brutus lands on the wrong side of history, remembered best as Rome’s most notorious daggered assassin. This abridged version of Julius Caesar, refocuses the classic tale from Brutus’s viewpoint, revealing the path toward his ultimate “call to fate” and contemplating how thin the line can be between hero and villain

Spooky Action at a Distance,  A new play by Matthew Buckley Smith, Directed by Jerry Whiddon.  March 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 pm. March 23 and 24 at 2:00 pm. Love, War and Quantum Physics. In 1971, with the Vietnam War still grinding on, Simon Pirklowski plays it safe, studying physics at Berkeley to avoid the draft. But when he befriends a shady bartender with a nasty temper, and agrees to tutor his beautiful wife, Simon may learn just how exciting uncertainty can be.

Ken Ludwig’s Shakespeare in Hollywood (Winner 2004 Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play) Directed by Jay Brock. April 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 pm, April 20 and 21 at 2:00 pm. Lights, Camera, Shakespeare! It’s 1934 and Shakespeare’s most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, magically materialize on the Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Immediately smitten by the glitz and glamour of showbiz the two fairies get their big break on the silver screen playing (who else?) themselves. With a little help from blonde bombshells, movie moguls and arrogant “asses” the mischievous magic of old Hollywood sparkles in this hilarious romp. Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. New York City. More information about the playwright here
75th Anniversary Events:
Shakespeare in Hollywood – special performance and pre-show party April 26 at 8pm
75th Anniversary Event and gala reception April 27 at 7:00 pm

Town And Gown Chorus Brings Brooklanders and Catholic U Commuity Together In Song

Town and Gown Chorus, Photo Courtesy of CUA School of Music
Town and Gown Chorus, Photo Courtesy of CUA School of Music

Did you know that Brookland has a community choir? The Town and Gown Singers are CUA’s community chorus, which is open to Brookland residents, CUA students, faculty, staff,  and alumni and basically anyone who wants to sing. The chorus presents two major concerts each year, in addition to performing at various city events. Their winter concert is today, Friday, January 18th at 7:30. The concert will take place at the St. Vincent Paul Chapel on Catholic U’s campus.  The chorus will perform the cantata St. Nicholas by Benjamin Britten with a small orchestra and soloists from the CUA music school. The event is free and will last about 45 minutes.

For those interested in a experiencing choral music of many styles and getting free vocal instruction, joining the choir is a great opportunity. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 6:35 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. during the school year at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music Building (Ward Hall) on CUA’s campus and no auditions are required. For more information about the group or to find out how to join , please contact the director, Kevin O’Brien at  obrienk(at)cua(dot)edu or Brookland resident Hayden Wetzel at haydenwetzel(at)hotmail(dot)com or (202) 526-5986.

Arts Flex – The Awesome, Little Known Part Of The Catholic U Development

When I talk to people about the Catholic University development, the topic of retail and restaurants always comes to the forefront of the conversation. But there is more than that in store for our neighborhood.  One development that most people are unaware of is my favorite. It’s call the Arts Flex building and it will house approximately 3,000 square feet of open, flexible interior space for performances, community meeting space, and exhibits. There will also be a small catering kitchen and an exterior plaza. We were told at a meeting with a representative from one of the CUA developers, Abdo, that the Arts Flex building will be delivered by summer 2013. As someone who attends a lot of community meetings, I can attest that it is always difficult to find meeting space, so this is definitely welcome. Also, having a vibrant art-filled location will add value and quality of life to our neighborhood. I view it as yet another cornerstone of the arts district our neighborhood is turning into. Here is a rendering of where the Arts Flex will be located:

Catholic Development Monroe St. Market Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering Courtesy of Bozzuto Development Company, Abdo Development, LLC

One of the great things about this location is that it is such a turn-around from what has been at this locations for years – nothing – but random garbage like discarded tires. Here are some renderings of the Arts Flex building. The rendering below is how the building will look when you are standing on Monroe and 8th St. NE looking east towards the bridge that goes over the Metro tracks.

Catholic u Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering courtesy of Maurice Walters Architect, Inc.

The rendering below shows how the building will look with your back to the Metro tracks, looking west at the Arts Flex.

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering courtesy of Maurice Walters Architect, Inc.

I checked in on the progress being made on this development the other day – here are some pics. Check back for updates on the Arts Flex as the months go by!

Catholic U Development Brookland NE Washington DC

Halloween Events For The Kiddies In Brookland

Halloween Brookland NE Washington DCThose of you with little ghosts and goblins might be interested in the following Brookland area events for kids:

  • Catholic University’s Annual “Halloween on Campus” on Thursday, October 25th 6 – 8 pm at Curley Court, on Catholic University’s Campus. CUA invites Brookland community families to join them for a fun Halloween night! Kids can enjoy a wide variety of treats, crafts, and activities including trick or treating. The event is run by CUA student volunteers, who make the night a safe and enjoyable evening for community guests. The event is FREE! To register for the event please go to the CUA service website.
  • Brookland Kids Halloween Parade on Sunday October 28th at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Ave NE, beginning at 3:00 pm
  • Halloween “Astro Treats” If the weather is clear on Halloween, Wednesday October 31st,  long-time Brooklander Guy Brandenburg will set up one of  his home-made telescopes on the 1300 block of Randolph so all the little princesses, fairies, goblins, ghouls and ghosts (and their parents) can look at some spooky, out-of-this-world marvels.