2000: CAMPUS NEWS (print version)
of C group builds new homes worldwide
> College students traded mental
toil for physical labor during winter and spring breaks, working for
Habitat for Humanity in the United States and Central America.
spring break, students cooped up in
dorms and classrooms throughout the Chicago winter head south. While
many look forward to simply getting a tan, others have something more
constructive in mind. During nine days in March, a group of 30 College
students rented vans and drove to Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina
to build affordable homes for needy families.
This is the seventh year the
University's Habitat for Humanity chapter has arranged for students to
help others through Habitat International's Collegiate Challenge program.
This year, the "alternative" spring-break trips were filled within a week.
Students who signed up expected
to do a range of construction work--from laying foundations to roofing
to putting up drywall--at sites in Albany, Georgia; Fairfield, Alabama;
or Morehead City, North Carolina. "It's about making a difference that
you can tangibly see," says volunteer coordinator Cynthia King, a third-year
Based in Americus, Georgia,
Habitat was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit, ecumenical ministry to provide
the working poor with decent and affordable housing. The organization
has built some 50,000 houses worldwide, working with more than 1,200
U.S. affiliates and 200 international ones.
One of 600 campus chapters
nationwide, the U of C group formed in 1989 as a loose affiliation of
students. Now a recognized student organization, it has a ten-student
board and more than 130 participants--a number it expects to double
next year. David Grainger, a campus minister and the director of the
United Protestant Campus Ministry at the U of C, serves as the group's
faculty adviser. "The students of the Habitat chapter respond to the
problem of affordable housing with efforts to bring some correction
to the problem and to learn more about the systemic reasons for the
problem," he says. "Their efforts take them into our neighborhoods and
allow them to become better neighbors. They dare to take their learning
to the streets."
In addition to the spring-break
trips, the chapter also organizes Saturday work projects on the South
Side. So far this academic year, more than 100 members of the University
community--mostly undergraduates--have spent some 600 hours on various
improvement efforts, gutting buildings with crowbars and scraping paint
Because Habitat does not
have a city affiliate serving the South Side, the U of C chapter has
developed its own relationships with community organizations. The group
has been helping the Matthew House social-service center rehab a building
that will provide transitional housing for 20 homeless men. This past
fall, the chapter began rehabbing the headquarters of the Midwest Workers
Association (MWA), which advocates on behalf of low-income workers.
U of C students have also worked on St. Luke's Place, a residential-service
facility for people with HIV or AIDS, and at projects led by Woodlawn
"It's important for students
to see the surrounding neighborhood and try to become a part of that
community even in a small way," says MWA project leader Nick Robinson,
a second-year concentrating in political science and Law, Letters, &
The U of C chapter has also
sought to take part in Habitat's global initiatives. Over this past
winter break, it organized its first international work trip, traveling
to Nicaragua. There, 13 College students and one medical student helped
construct ten homes in Diriamba, a small town southwest of Managua that
had been devastated by Hurricane Mitch in October 1998.
The students worked through
last summer and autumn to raise the $21,000 needed to pay for the trip,
holding a silent auction, soliciting grants, and contributing $500 from
personal resources. After being briefed in Chicago by a worker for Habitat's
Nicaragua chapter, Grainger and the students headed to Managua. They
met with local college students and attended orientation seminars on
the country's history and on sustainable development at the Augsburg
College-affiliated Center for Global Education.
In Diriamba, they mixed
concrete, transported 120-pound limestone quarry rocks, wrapped rebar,
and smoothed sand floors alongside families whose homes had been destroyed
by the hurricane. Four Spanish-speaking U of C students served as translators
on the ten-day trip. Away from the construction sites, the students
stayed in a local pension and attended community festivals and picnics.
One night they loaded up their vans with about 30 locals and drove some
20 kilometers to the Pacific coast for a swim and sing-a-long.
"The trip was more than
I hoped it would be," says trip leader and fourth-year geophysical-sciences
concentrator Scott Strawn. "We were greeted with such a feeling of friendliness,
and we had such a great opportunity to learn firsthand about the history
of the country and what the people have gone through." In the future,
King says, the chapter hopes to host talks by urban-policy experts,
add more local projects, and make the international work trip an annual
Campus hosts a revolutionary 40th revue
> The comedy troupe's 13th generation
keeps improv tradition alive.
its 40th quarterly revue, members of
the Off-Off Campus comedy troupe chronicled the adventures of a fictional
family rock band. Their improv antics in The Amazing Lipnicki Revolution
cracked up Blue Gargoyle audiences on Friday nights during the second
half of this past winter quarter.
The show's seven cast members
relied on audience feedback, character development, and pre-plotted
story lines as they improvised their way through scenes pitting the
Lipnickis against evil villains trying to thwart the band's musical
message of peace and love.
One night, for example,
the five Lipnickis confronted a thumbless cyborg and his henchman; on
another they faced a half-squid, half-human bad guy and his evil sidekick.
Not surprisingly, all the shows--except for one where the band temporarily
broke up--had the happy endings expected of a sitcom-like performance.
The Revolution featured
the "13th generation" of Off-Off Campus: second-years Maya Ganguly,
Robert Kennedy, Melanie MacBride, and Chandrika Rajan; third-years Avram
Klein and Justin Seidner; and grad student Joachim Riesthuis. Cast at
the end of the 1998 autumn quarter, they spent the following quarter
in training before performing a different flagship revue in each quarter
since. The first generation of Off-Off Campus dates back to 1986, when
Second City co-founder Bernard G. Sahlins, AB'43, challenged students
in his improv comedy course to revive the tradition on campus.
The Lipnickis were dreamed
up over a summer break by fourth-year anthropology concentrator Megan
Biddinger, who directed the show with fourth-year biology concentrator
Beth Adams. Heavily influenced by Nick at Nite reruns of the
Partridge Family and Beatles movies like Yellow Submarine
and Help!, the Revolution revue was picked by troupe members
to follow autumn quarter's Last Things First, a show about the
drama and humor in daily life.
Biddinger points out that
Revolution is not a "revue" in the traditional sense of a performance
grounded in loosely connected, scripted scenes. Rather, she describes
it as an improv piece based on the commedia dell'arte tradition,
relying on plot skeletons, or scenarios, presented to actors in outline
form only. The scenarios typically revolve around the familiar narrative
devices of star-crossed lovers, mistaken identities, or sibling rivalry.
For each performance, Revolution
cast members traded off the roles of the same stock characters: a widower,
a heartthrob brother, his idealistic sister, their crafty younger brother
and innocent younger sister, a bus-driving manager, a villain and his
henchman, and a character free to change his or her role based on the
action. (Two cast members played double roles.) The troupe worked in
rehearsal to develop characters "so rich and like an actual person that
you would know what drives them instinctively," says Biddinger.
Audience suggestions made
in response to questions like "What's my favorite food?" kept the story
moving. And in a new twist added this year, a live band provided accompaniment.
Though the band had prepared music, the songs sung by the cast members--like
one about yoga--were based on what the audience threw out.
This spring, the torch passes
to the 14th generation, who plan to perform a more traditional, scripted
revue poking fun at society's manners and mores.--C.S.
> These campus dance groups keep
College students on their toes:
Tap. "We once were the Tip Top Tappers, but felt a name change was overdue
after tapping in the basement of Cobb Hall for the past couple of years,"
quips Alex Jacoby, '00. "We see ourselves as a rather social group,
and this year we've got quite a mix: faculty, students, and Hyde Parkers
who just like to tap."
20 years ago, UC Dancers continue to meet regularly to dance, discuss
works-in-progress, and choreograph and rehearse for the group's annual
spring concert, held at Mandel Hall.
Swing Dance Society
Swing. "Our goal
is to promote and spread the joy of social swing dancing as a cross-cultural,
cross-generational pastime," says Young-Jin Kim, AB'97. "Our instructors
are known nationally, are regarded as some of the best instructors in
the Midwest, and have taught more than 2,500 people how to swing dance."
Middle Eastern. "The dancers
specialize in Turkish, Egyptian, Lebanese, Persian, and Moroccan styles,"
says director Johanna Krynytzky. "Middle Eastern dance is an expression
of the individual, an expression of joy that is then related to the
audience. This dance originates from within, and is accessible to any
age, gender, skill level, or physical condition."
U of C Fusion
Modern. Produced by artistic
director Douglas Wood, a senior research scientist in molecular genetics
& cell biology, the group's spring performance, FUSION 2000, will feature
dances influenced by other fields, including playwriting, painting,
music, and molecular biology.
> Gerald Rosenberg gets down to
the day-to-day of law
In examining the nexus of courts, law, and society, Gerald N. Rosenberg,
an associate professor of political science and a 1993 Quantrell Award
winner, emphasizes the practical realities of law rather than official
reading list for Rosenberg's Political Science 225: Law and Society,
taught this past winter quarter, included the professor's own offering,
The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? (University
of Chicago Press). In it, Rosenberg discusses the monumental decisions
Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade, theorizing
that only with political backing and public support can the court system
effect real change. Lani Guinier, Michelle Fine, and Jane Balin's Becoming
Gentlemen: Women, Law School, and Institutional Change (Beacon)
explores the attitudes toward women in law school and the gender gap
in grades, achievement, and careers at the country's elite schools.
Gerald Stern's Buffalo Creek Disaster (Vintage) examines a case
in which a large settlement was procured for residents of Buffalo Creek,
Virginia, after a mine collapsed, killing workers and damaging houses.
Taken together, Rosenberg's readings are meant to show that law--as
practiced in society--differs greatly from law as preached in schools,
appellate cases, and textbooks.
pervades all aspects of society in the United States," explains Rosenberg.
"There is, of course, the formal legal system of laws and lawyers, judges
and courts. But how does law work in practice? This seminar explores
the informal, unofficial elements of the law that surround, supplement,
supplant, and complement the official, formal elements. In exploring
issues such as legal consciousness, judicial biases, and legal education
in the legal profession, students develop a more sophisticated and subtle
understanding of the place of law in U.S. society."--B.B.
This spring, students can
sign up for their fall 2000 classes on-line. The new College registration
system relies on a special algorithm giving weight to both class year
and the order in which a student submits course choices--a feature the
College hopes will result in more students getting their first-choice
classes. Students will also be able to note their course preferences
for winter and spring quarters via the Internet, allowing the College
to better assess and plan for demand. Previously, students handled registration
logistics through their College advisers, who are now expected to have
more time to spend on other student concerns.
Nearly 200 U of C students and alumni gathered at Chicago's Palmer House
Hilton February 4-6 for the 12th annual Model United Nations of the
University of Chicago (MUNUC). The conference is intended to educate
high-school students about the mechanics of the United Nations and about
contemporary world affairs. This year's conference attracted some 2,153
students from across the continent, including two schools from Canada
and two from Mexico.
to dine on
First-years have Orientation,
third-years Taking the Next Step, and fourth-years Senior Week. Now
second-years have a program of their own: the new Second Year Dinner
Series. Every second-year will be invited to attend a dinner with College
administrators during the 11-week run of the series. Held in Harper
conference rooms, the College-sponsored dinners host no more than 50
students on a given night and are intended to give second-years a chance
to share opinions about their experiences at the U of C.
The men's basketball team
made it to the NCAA Division III championship sectionals, ending its
run with a 63-49 loss on March 10 to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point. The Maroons earned a bye in the first round of playoff action
and advanced to the national round of 16 after a 75-68 win over Ripon
College. The team clinched its third UAA title in four years, finishing
23-4 overall and 15-0 in the UAA. Named the 2000 UAA player of the year,
first-year Derek M. Reich broke Chicago's scoring record.
b-ball shoots for All-UAA
Four women's basketball team members, fourth-years Kate Hemker and Amy
Gleisner, third-year Dana Allison, and first-year Rachel Thompson, were
chosen to the 2000 All-UAA team. Chicago wrapped up the season with
a loss to Washington University on February 26, posting an overall record
of 14-11 and a 9-6 mark in UAA play.
stroke to UAA honors
third-year Karen Chuang and second-year Jeremy Lankford earned All-UAA
recognition at the 2000 UAA swimming championships, held at Emory University
in February. Chuang, a second-time All-UAA honoree, placed third in
the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:15.96, and Lankford placed second
in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of :52.51.
take down opponents
Chicago wrestlers won UAA titles at the 2000 UAA wrestling championship,
hosted by Johns Hopkins University. Third-years Anthony Calcagno, Steve
Mlynarczyk, and J. R. Moore captured conference titles at heavyweight,
133 pounds, and 141 pounds, respectively. As a team, Chicago placed
third of fourth, behind New York University and Case Western Reserve
coach to serve last round
Simms, head coach of the men's and women's tennis teams since 1979,
will retire at the end of the 2000 season. He began his Chicago career
in 1967 as a gymnastics coach.