Global Land Art by Andrew Rogers

Through December 16, the Tufts Art Gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center is featuring an exhibit called “Global Land Art.” The exhibit showcases photographs of land art created by Australian sculptor Andrew Rogers.

For several years, Rogers has traveled the globe to create art in deserts, on glaciers, and in parks using a variety of natural materials, including rock, clay, granite, and sandstone, among other things. His large-scale art is then photographed from aerial perspectives for a stunning look at the vastness and scale of his impressive projects. Check out some of the photos below, and be sure to stop by the exhibit to see the entire collection!

"Ancient Language" in Chile's Atacama Desert is a two-headed llama made of rock and clay

"Labyrinth" in Nepal features the universal motif of a maze, made entirely of granite

"To Life" in Israel's Arava Desert uses sandstone to create the Hebrew word Chai ("life")

"Rhythms of Life," on the Dakshin Gangotri Glacier in Antartica, was constructed entirely of moraine gravel. The art was only visible for a few hours, as the ice melted quickly, and it stood to symbolize the transient nature of life.


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GDAE Brown Bag Lunches

It’s clear that Timothy Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts, is passionate about the global food crisis. At the first brown bag lunch of this semester, Timothy and  Research Assistant Elise Garvey presented their research on how US corn ethanol is contributing to record high global food prices and how this impacts developing countries.

The packed crowd listened intently while the pair showcased their research entitled, “Drought and the Food Crisis: The Costs of U.S. Ethanol Expansion to Developing Countries.”  The hour-long session ended with questions from the group.

The Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) is hosting a series of brown bag lunches this semester, all at 12:30pm at GDAE, 44 Teele Avenue:

  • Monday, October 1 – Neva Goodwin, Co-Director – “Work in the Post-Growth Economy”
  • Monday, October 29 – Jonathan Harris, Director, Theory and Education Program – “Population, Resources, and Energy in the Global Economy”
  • Tuesday, November 13 – Brian Roach, Senior Research Associate – “Is Protecting the Environment Bad for the Economy?”


Check their website for more upcoming events:


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TIE Talks: Mary Davis

Since its founding in 1998, the Tufts Institute of Environment (TIE) has created many opportunities to promote environmental issues. The TIE Talks are a lecture series designed to be a causal, comfortable setting for faculty, staff, students and alumni to learn and share.

On Mar. 7,  speaker Mary Davis, assistant professor in the department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, will present on her research involving the relationship between economics and public health. When asked about her inspiration for this connection, Davis responded:

“I started working on a large epidemiologic study at Harvard investigating the connection between exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer. Since cancer takes a long time to develop, we needed to understand what exposures looked like in the past before environmental monitoring data were available. So I started looking into filling in the gaps with economic data, with the hypothesis that greater levels of economic activity generate air pollution.”

The theme of this semesters TIE Talks is Environmental Justice. Davis offered her own perspective on this semesters theme:

“For me, the term environmental justice broadly encompasses any group that is disproportionately exposed to environmental harm, especially those without the political clout to effect change.”

Moreover, the TIE Talks create another arena for environment-related discussion. Davis commented on the significance of the TIE Talks:

“I think that the TIE Talks provide an excellent opportunity to bring visibility to environmental issues on campus.”

TIE was started as a result of a growing need for more environmental programs and activities at Tufts. Since then, it has supported numerous research projects and events.Today, TIE continues to build more awareness and attention for environmental research, teaching and leadership.

Mary Davis’ lecture will be held Wednesday Mar. 7, 4:30 to 6:30pm, TIE Conference Room, Miller Hall.

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On Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., the second annual Tufts Ideas Exchange (TEX) will take place at ASEAN Auditorium.

10 speakers chosen from amongst the students, faculty and alumni of Tufts University will each have 10 minutes to tell you about a brilliant idea that they’ve had. There are no limitations on subject or field.

You can watch student and faculty talks from last year’s inaugural event on YouTube.

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Fares Lecture Q&A


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Ten Years Since Sept. 11

Tufts is marking the ten-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a few poignant ways.

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Issue as Muse 2011

This year’s Issue as Muse event takes place March 12, with a non-profit fair (including Not for Sale, Groundwork Somerville, Strong Women Strong Girls Boston, Jobs with Justice, and more) and food at the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room at 6:30 p.m. and the performance showcase across the street at Cohen Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. Performers include Spirit of Color, Tufts Kiniwe, B.E.A.T.S., Tufts Tamasha, Anchord, Envy, S-Factor, Tufts Belly Dance and more.

Here is some information about the event, provided by the organizers:

Issue as Muse is an annual, performance-based event that serves to raise awareness about issues of social justice around the world, introduce the Tufts community to different non-profits that are addressing these issues in the Greater Boston Area, and fundraise for the participating nonprofit organizations. Prior to the performance, there is a non-profit fair to allow students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members to network with local non-profit organizations for future collaboration, volunteer, internship, and job opportunities, as well as to learn more about the organizations and the social justice issues they address.

The event is coordinated by Tufts Social Justice Arts Initiative, which works to incorporate and use the creative arts as a vehicle to advocate for, raise awareness and educate about, and empower those who suffer from social inequities, inequalities, and systemic, institutional, & interpersonal oppression.

Find out about raffle prizes, co-sponsors and more on the Facebook event page.

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Engineering Week 2011

Want to find out how high you can duct tape your friend to a wall using the least amount of tape? So do we! Yes, that’s right, Tuesday marked the beginning of Engineering Week, a chance for engineering departments to go head-to-head in numerous events to earn points, while testing their engineering knowledge in a lighthearted way.

‘E-Week’ is a national celebration that supports the education of engineers, and the values of engineering ethics. This year at Tufts, there are six different groups composed of specific engineering majors (mechanical, chemical, etc.) and at each event, ten points will be distributed to the winners of the competition, or the group with the highest attendance at a lecture or movie.

Engineering Week

According to Engineering Student Council president, Maren Frisell, E12, an environmental engineering major, at the end of the week, “the winning group will be awarded the ‘E-Week’ trophy and will pick a charity to receive money collected during ‘coin wars,’ one of our favorite events.”

In past years, some events have attracted over 50 students, with many noting that it’s a great chance for engineering students from different years to interact with one another. The student-run week began Tuesday with opening ceremonies in Anderson, and runs through Friday night, with a closing ceremony in Hotung Cafe.

The 13 events are coordinated by various School of Engineering student groups such as BME, EWB, ASCE, NSBE, and more. The events this year include everything from a lecture on Chilean earthquakes to a chili taste-off, and even a few returning favorites like the Lego building or clown car competition. Is there anyone who doesn’t wish that they could have a Lego building competition? (Check out photos from the competition from the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach.)

For Tufts, this is the third annual Engineering week. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, Matt Van Lieshout participated in ‘E-Week’, and in 2009 as a mechanical engineering graduate student at Tufts, he proposed the idea to Dean Abriola’s office. Although the idea was introduced only a few weeks prior to the official start date, student groups rallied quickly and were able to make the event a huge success.

As a part of the tribute to engineering week, the National Engineers Week Foundation is recognizing the exciting and unique work of young engineers who are working to solve issues on a global scale. Among the New Faces of Engineering is Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan, a recent Tufts graduate, who in December of 2008 launched the Information System on Human and Health Services, the first online database in India to collect information on people with disabilities. Veeraraghavan was nominated by IEEE/IEEE-USA after receiving the Achievement Award from the Member Geographic Activities (MGA), the Outstanding Student Humanitarian Prize, and even the People’s Choice Prize, which recognizes students who use engineering, science, computing, and leadership skills to develop solutions to real world problems.
‘E-Week’ coordinators hope that Veeraraghavan’s story will inspire others to make a connection between engineering and benefiting humanity. Engineering Week kicked off Tuesday at noon in the Anderson Lobby.

For a schedule of events taking place, visit the Engineering Student Council website.
To read more about Veeraraghavan, read last year’s feature story on his work. Or for more information on E-week, nationally, visit

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Tufts Opera Ensemble’s The Threepenny Opera

On the weekend of Feb. 18-19, Tufts Opera Ensemble will present Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera in Distler Music Hall at the Granoff Music Center. The show, which has been described as a “brutal, scandalous, perverted, humorous and hummable crowd pleaser,” will feature cameo appearances by President and Mrs. Bacow (on the 18th and 20th), as well as by Professor of Drama Barbara Wallace Grossman and her husband Steven Grossman, Massachusetts State Treasurer (on the 19th).

Mary-Elizabeth Murray, a staff assistant in the music department in the School of Arts and Sciences, contributed her theatrical background to the show in her role as costume designer. She recently spoke about the experience.

Can you tell us a little bit about how your job as staff assistant resulted in your role as costume designer of The Threepenny Opera?

Here at Tufts, I work closely with Carol Mastrodomenico, the head of the opera ensemble. In December, she was having trouble figuring out what to do with the costumes in the show and she came into my office and offered me involvement in the opera. It was really a serendipitous merging of hidden talent.

How did you first get interested in costume design?

I’ve actually been doing costume design since high school, and I had my college work-study job working in a costume shop. The first show I ever costumed was The Diary of Anne Frank.

Which costume in the show was most challenging to put together?

I would have to say that the biggest costume challenge in general has been making the costumes visually interesting without using much color. Carol was very specific about the show’s aesthetic as being primarily black, white and grey. She wanted a lot of the color to come from the lights. The show is mixed period, meaning that I’m pulling from influences from a couple of different historical contexts. The main two of these are Victorian and a 1920s cabaret style. A lot of the music is very reminiscent of old German cabarets, where the lights provided the majority of the color.

How do students usually react when given their costumes for the first time?

They’ve been really excited, and it has been really sort of piecemeal coming in and putting each of the costumes together. This job is different from a lot of costuming I’ve done because I’m not building any pieces myself; I am borrowing from what we have and purchasing. It’s been a big gathering mission. I fit almost everyone and when they get a look at it they say, “Yeah, this makes sense!” In many cases, seeing their costume helps students to get into contact with a different aspect of their character that they haven’t been thinking about yet.

What kind of role do you think costumes play in an operatic production like The Threepenny Opera?

For this show, they really set the tone for the atmospheric aesthetic of the play. The set is very sparse. It’s just moving platforms and some furniture pieces that move on and off. There are no sets that let you know where you are in time and space. The lights do bring color, but are more about highlighting the singing. The costumes really bring the characters to the audience, and are a way for the audience to relate to the characters in the setting of the play without needing a big set or explicit lights.

How do you think opera is received by the Tufts community?

I think that one thing that sort of piques everyone’s interest is the way that the opera program makes opera accessible in a way that it isn’t out in the bigger world. Opera in popular culture is seen as a way of showing off elite social status, and it’s always expensive to see. The kids who get involved in opera here usually come from musical theater or choral backgrounds. For a lot of them, involvement with opera awakens an appreciation for a new musical style and kind of singing. Also, Carol and everyone involved really tries to make the program accessible to the community at large.

What is your favorite memory from this year’s rehearsal process?

I went to the Salvation Army last weekend to find a whole bunch of things that I hadn’t found yet. We have this one woman in the show who plays a classic Victorian police officer and I just didn’t know how I was going to find the right thing. Finally, at Salvation Army, I came across a simple structured blue blazer and wondered if I could make it work. We put it on her the other day and realized that if we just popped the collar, it looked perfectly Victorian. It only cost us $8. And now everyone in the audience will know our secret!

Admission is $5 with a student ID (Tufts or other) and $10 for non-students. Curtains will open at 8PM on Feb. 18-19 and at 3PM on Feb. 20.

Read past coverage of the 2009 Tufts Opera Ensemble production of Our Town

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