Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Goliards

We are always thrilled when alumni send us their photos such as this one from Bob Shedlarz, ARTS '67, taken at the Heights Hall of Fame by the Associate Engineering Dean, Larry Hollander in the Spring of 1967. The Goliards were a subsidiary singing group formed from NYU Glee Club members, chosen by Associate Director E. Jon DeRevere, who later was professor of music at the Square. The vocalists took their name from a band of medieval students who roamed throughout Europe, composing and singing songs of a secular nature.

NYU's Goliards always had a heavy schedule of appearances for many campus and out-of-town performances, as well as radio and coast-to-coast TV. In 1962, they were invited by the Armed Forces Entertainment Bureau to tour Europe over the summer for seven weeks to entertain at the Armed Forces Bases.

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Personnel, back row, from the left: Steve Peiser, Bob Billig, Dick Zahnd, Bob Schneider, Stu Kauffman, Bruce Kanfer, Bill Philpot. Front row, kneeling, from the left: Stu Patchen, Bob Shedlarz.

If you have photos you'd like to send to us please email us at cas.alumni@nyu.edu. We would also like to remind you that all of the Heights yearbooks are now digitized and can be viewed at the Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center, 50 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Student Profile: Erin Schrode (CAS '13)

Erin Schrode, among (many) other things, is a junior studying in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Those "other" things include the co-founder and spokeswoman for "Teens Turning Green," the founder of "The Schoolbag" initiative, promoter of environmental education and global sustainability, actress, and model... And that's only on the weekdays.

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Erin has written for the Huffington Post, the elephant journal, Eco Age and Green Envy, to name a few. She has also been featured by NBC, ABC, BBC, CNN, MTV, FOX, E!, Discovery, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, The White House, AOL and BBC Radio (again, just to name a few). For her full portfolio and more, visit Erin's website at www.erinschrode.com.

Last week, we were lucky enough to catch Ms. Schrode between studying for finals and writing term papers, so we asked her a few questions about her experience at NYU and how it has tied into her life as an "ecoRenaissance" woman. Enjoy!

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What made you choose NYU for your undergraduate education? And what influenced you to focus your studies on social and cultural analysis?

I walked through the Washington Square campus when I was three years old – and that was it. I was hooked. From that moment on, I imagined myself at NYU. As a young actress, I originally thought Tisch was where I would end up, but as my interest in international relations and global studies grew, CAS emerged as the perfect fit. So, I applied and got accepted into the DEANS Scholars’ Program! Discovering the quantitative focus of our IR curriculum led me to look into other options, programs of study where I could delve into the cultural and humanistic side of international relations. I’m a people person and love seeing the diversity in experiences, communications, and approaches worldwide. While studying abroad in Ghana, someone suggested I take a look at the SCA track, where I could synthesize different areas of cultural studies… and that is precisely what I have been able to do through this department!


Since enrolling at NYU in Fall 2009, you’ve participated in the One Young World international youth conference in London, traveled to Haiti to help with disaster response, developed “The Schoolbag” initiative, traveled through the Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel, lived in Ghana, West Africa, and even shot with the renowned photographer, David Bailey, for Vanity Fair (just to name a few). How do you find time for your school work!?

How do I find time for school work – good question! Well, I don’t sleep. That’s the first thing. Otherwise, I have been incredibly fortunate to have teachers that support my work both inside and outside of the classroom. I have crafted schedules that allow for extended weekends, so I can travel to conferences or speak or shoot or whatnot. I have used the various abroad sites as international hubs – and my vacations and summers are always spent on the move as well!


How have your studies at NYU influenced your focus in environmental and/or social advocacy?

NYU has given me the gift of a global perspective. I have had the chance to pursue and further my environmental and social efforts on a much larger scale, launching environmental education projects with students in Accra, Ghana and facilitating cross-cultural communication among Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli youth around common issues of environmental resources, degradation, and conservation. Would I EVER have the chance to do this without NYU? Nope! That is rather remarkable; the entire platform of global studies excites and inspires me. I have also had the great privilege to work with the Sustainability Task Force (for the time that I was actually at the campus on Washington Square Park!) around purchasing and food services. NYU has made great strides as a ‘green’ and environmentally-conscious campus, but there is much more to be done – and I look forward to collaborating with students and administration to further this work. We can and should be a model for universities worldwide!


At the ripe age of twenty years-old, you are the Co-founder of “Turning Green” and the Founder/CEO of “The Schoolbag.” Could you speak briefly about these two endeavors—and to what do you attribute such early successes?

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Active citizenry is in my blood. I am the daughter of a television producer-turned-grassroots activist! My mother has instilled in me the belief that one person truly can make a difference in the world – and that we cannot stand apathetically in the face of injustice or wrongdoings at any level. If we can live healthier, happier lives, why not do it?! We walk through life with open eyes and ears, get involved, lead by example, and have an absolute ball in the process! Optimism is our guiding principle. We stand for collaboration in all that we do, forging partnerships and uniting people across various sectors or from differing backgrounds. One such group that I am privileged to be a part of is One Young World, an international youth network comprised of the world’s most promising leaders under age 25 from more than 170 nations!

I co-founded Teens Turning Green in 2005. TTG is a student led movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities. TTG seeks to promote global sustainability by identifying and eliminating toxic exposures that permeate daily life, often unknowingly, yet threaten public and environmental health. What began in California in 2005 now has a presence at elementary, middle and high schools, universities, and student organizations across the United States, as well as a strong virtual platform and media presence. Chapters nationwide lead grassroots efforts that aim to raise awareness, encourage behavior change, and lobby for policy that will lessen local and global impact. We just hosted our largest and most robust initiative to date, Project Green Challenge, a 30-day eco lifestyle challenge that brought together thousands of high school and college students from across the country to transition from conventional to conscious through simple, fun, and high impact daily actions. The digital platform, interaction, and responses were phenomenal – and now we are preparing for the PGC Finals: Green University, a two-day eco summit in the Bay Area, California in December.

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After working in disaster response in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010, I founded The Schoolbag. The Schoolbag enables children to pursue an education by providing basic school supplies to young people in need, beginning with Haiti. Raising awareness about the lack of access to education around the world, each bag contains adequate materials for one student to learn for one year. The Schoolbag features environmentally sustainable and ethically produced tools and materials to initiate environmental education. Lack of access to, or availability of, satisfactory school supplies and materials prohibits many children from learning. Acquisition of knowledge is the first step on the path to global sustainability, prosperity, and world peace; innovation and progress stem from education, a universal right. The Schoolbag allows students to further their studies, particularly those living in disaster or conflict-stricken areas or chronic poverty. Our team of international and Haitian volunteers just returned from our back-to-school delivery (Sept – Oct 2011), reaching over 14,189 students with school supplies for this year! It was a truly phenomenal experience; to see the impact that a simple pencil and notebook can have on a student, a teacher, a community is beautiful. There is nowhere on earth that I love more than Haiti – and my work there will continue for years to come, I know.


What advice do you have for other young activists/entrepreneurs who might have passionate interests and creative ideas, but struggle to materialize their passion into a meaningful initiative or new venture?

Passion is the most vital ingredient. Once you find that, everything else will fall into line. Gather a group of like-minded friends or colleagues, educate yourself on the issue (you must know your facts and points of reference, particularly as a young person in an adult’s world), seek out partners – be it organizations, leaders, experts, corporations, media outlets – and get to work! Spread the word! Raise awareness about your platform via social and traditional media. Set clear goals, but arrive at them organically. You will be surprised at the unexpected opportunities that present themselves to you – seize those moments! Be innovative. Believe in yourself. Shoot for the impossible. My motto is: dream and do.


What kind of role do you see yourself taking after graduating from NYU? And where do you see yourself in twenty years from now?

What do I want to be when I grow up, eh? Yikes! To tell you the truth, I haven’t a clue. I am waiting for something to present itself to me. My life has not followed any sort of linear or predictable path – and I treasure that. I have such a rich and diverse background, filled with experiences that have prepared me for just about anything… so I am seeking an outlet in which I can fuse all that I love and do good for others and the world. Youth, education, environment – these are my passions. Food and travel too! So, we shall see. In twenty years, I imagine myself with a family – somewhere on this glorious planet. And that is about all I can say. For now, I will keep on go-go-going, learning and loving each step of the way.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Anne Green: PR Queen

Anne Green (GSAS, '01) is an accomplished musician, literary scholar, and President and Chief Executive Officer of CooperKatz, an award-winning public relations firm. She helped build CooperKatz from the ground up, was named to PR Week’s annual list of "40 Under 40" rising stars in communications, and serves as a guest lecturer in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies—all while jamming out with her husband, the drummer, in their basement in Queens!

This morning, we were fortunate enough to visit with Ms. Green at her office in Midtown. Below, you’ll find an abridged version of our conversation. For the full interview, please click here.

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In the early 2000's, after approximately a decade of working in the field of public relations, you entered into the American Literature PhD program at NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science. Now, as a PR professional with over twenty years of experience, can you talk a little about your interest in English and how that education has tied into your profession?

It’s funny. When I was in graduate school, I was at the same time still working in public relations and helping Andy and Ralph build the company [CooperKatz]. This was a start-up, so I’ve been with them, really, fifteen years, but that was contiguous so there were times where I was part-time here at the office. But I was really focusing on graduate school as well. So I had a foot both in the professional world and in academia.

I think that one thing that was interesting from my perspective in graduate school and being in that program was the heavy duty theoretical orientation, the amount of information you’re trying to absorb, and trying to learn new things very quickly (say, a new theorist, a new work, or a new perspective). I always said that that kind of training was so well-suited for the agency and professional services life that I was also living in. Because, here, we are a generalist firm; we work across many industry centers. So I’m working in technology, health care, higher education—and within a day, I have fifteen or sixteen different subject matters. And the ability to ramp up that information and to quickly speak in that language is what you need to do when you’re in graduate school in the humanities. So I always used to tell my friends [at NYU], “hey if anyone wants to be in this field, in communications, you would be well-suited for that.” And I know a few people who have made that transition. The critical thinking, the ability to absorb so much information, and to see the connections between things—there’s so many connections now between industries—that’s what really what brings value to our clients. Someone who has a broad perspective and oversight, who can make connections and can give them higher-level counsel.


As a leader in the field of organizational communications, what personal or professional qualities do you find most valuable in your role?

Definitely intellectual curiosity—and I say that when I interview people all the time. We’ve talked about this for a long time, so everyone here really knows this, but we look for renaissance people. It sounds funny to say, but the types of people who truly do have interests in many different kinds of things: can ramp up different types of information, can get excited about it (that’s the curiosity piece), and can stretch themselves in various ways. Not everybody is perfectly good at everything. And some people that work in this field are better suited working with consumer clients than, say, technology or business-to-business. We want our people to be able to work in many fields.

We have a lot of people, here, who are coming from a liberal arts background, and some of them are coming from a bachelor’s where they studied public relations. But in terms of what we’re looking for intellectually, it’s still that broad, liberal arts orientation.


Have you seen social media change the field of public relations throughout your career?

Yes, massively. It’s seismic. I think the field of PR is exactly the same [as the field of social media] in that we have to connect to the different audiences of our clients in meaningful ways, in authentic ways, that are relevant to them—and hopefully influence thinking. So digital channels are completely an organic extension of that, right? So I think that for PR, since we’ve always been very good at reaching out to different constituencies with the message that’s right for them, it’s really adaptable to social media. You have to understand who you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them. You have to be able to listen to them.

But it’s challenged the field too. There are a lot of folks in this industry who want to push out the information and want to control it. So it’s been hard for this industry to understand that we’re not controlling the message; we need to work with and understand the fact that we’re getting talked back to—people are talking back to us. annegreen2.jpg


And another challenge is that there are a lot of types of marketing. There’s advertising, there’s interactive agencies, so there’s a sense of “who owns social media?” which is a weird, interesting question.

It’s interesting, and I’ll tell you one thing—keeping up with technology is a full-time job. And, you know, there’s a lot of firms that have a social media specialist. But I really feel strongly that everyone in our whole firm has to stay up-to-date with it and we have to educate each other. So whatever level we’re at, we all really have to stay connected. We all have to be sharing knowledge.

And the hard thing too is that, you know, no one had any cognitive dissonance about using an excel spreadsheet to record data, right? But with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, they’re personal tools too. So it all kind of gets wound up in how you feel, personally, as a human being, about using those tools, and how exposed you want to feel. So people sometimes have a lot more angst about these channels. Everyone has a lot of different feelings about privacy and about access, so when these things are also business tools, it gets a lot more messy. And we used to talk in academia about the personal versus the public, and I really see that now in the business world. So that’s another way that my academic background informs me.



To read more about Anne Green, her perspective of a graduate education, the role of music in her life, and even a brief opinion about the recent Penn State crisis, be sure to read her entire interview.


Friday, November 11, 2011

A World of Chocolate

If you are in New York City this weekend and enjoy sampling chocolate from around the world, be sure to check out the NY Chocolate Show which will run from November 10-13, 2011 at Metropolitan Pavilion NYC, 125 West 18th Street.

On Thursday night, alumna Maricel Presilla (GSAS '89) gave an enthusiastic talk about Ecuadorian chocolate. Martin Christy of seventypercent.com led the audience through the proper way of tasting chocolate, slowly bringing it to the mouth so that you see and smell it first then slowly letting it melt on your tongue. We were then treated to numerous samples of Ecuadorian chocolate and learned the history and geography of Ecuador and nacional cacao.

Here's our interview with Maricel, filmed at the chocolate show.




Maricel Presilla is a culinary historian specializing in the foods of Latin America and Spain. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and has received formal training in cultural anthropology.

Dr. Presilla has done considerable research on Latin American agriculture – with special emphasis on tropical crops, cacao and vanilla agriculture, and chocolate production. She is the president of Gran Cacao Company a Latin American food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America. Her latest book is The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2001). Maricel

She has completed a comprehensive Latin American cookbook for W.W. Norton and has contributed articles for Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, and Gourmet.

She writes a weekly food column for the Miami Herald and is as comfortable sailing down the Orinoco to collect recipes in the field as she is cooking at Zafra and Cucharamama, her pan-Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. Last year she opened Ultramarinos, a Latin American store and cooking atelier, also in Hoboken, NJ, where she sells Latin ingredients, prepared foods, premium chocolates and Blue Cacao, her own line of truffles with Latin flavors.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Professor Sophia Kalantzakos Speaks on FOX about Greece

Sophia Kalantzakos is a Global Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies for NYU Arts and Science. She was recently featured on FOXNEWS, speaking about the Greek economic crisis.



Sophia Kalantzakos was born in Athens. After graduating from Yale and Columbia, she became a Member of the Hellenic Parliament in 2000, the first woman to be elected from the State of Messinia. As a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, she was responsible for Greek-US relations. She was also a member of the European Affairs Committee, the Committee for Education, and served as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection. During her tenure at the Ministry, the government passed far reaching pension reforms and she was especially concerned to promote the creation of green jobs through EU structural funds and to help environmental NGOs create new job openings. Currently active in designing and implementing innovative green projects throughout Greece, Sophia Kalantzakos writes widely on economic, labor, and environmental issues in the press and has published a series of educational books on historical and environmental issues.

To find out more about Professor Kalantzakos' books, speaking engagements and media appearances, and to read her blog, visit sophiakalantzakos.com.