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Fly home before the new year

4:38 PM  Dec 28th, 2016
by Shannon Shelton Miller

Flyer Faithful can enjoy the final two days of 2016 with their favorite squads at UD Arena when the men’s and women’s basketball teams take the court for home games Dec. 30 and 31.

The men’s basketball team returns from its Christmas break to begin Atlantic 10 conference play with a 6 p.m. tipoff against La Salle, Friday, Dec. 30. The Flyers are 9-3 at the end of non-conference play, with their most recent victory coming Dec. 23 against VMI. Dayton has won seven of its last eight non-conference games.

The women’s basketball team will be returning from the Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va., where they were scheduled to face Liberty and Virginia Dec. 28 and 29. The Flyers will host Massachusetts 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, to start their A-10 Conference campaign. Dayton was 5-6 entering the Cavalier Classic, coming off a 2-0 performance in the Florida Sunshine Classic in Winter Park, Florida, shortly before Christmas. In that tournament, the Flyers beat Texas A&M and Old Dominion.

With both games taking place during a long holiday weekend, the teams’ brief return home to UD Arena provides a great opportunity for local fans to check in with the Flyers before they go back on the road. The men’s team opens 2017 by heading to Olean, N.Y., to face St. Bonaventure, Tuesday, Jan. 3, and the women’s team follows with a trip to St. Bonaventure Wednesday, Jan. 4.

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Marketing success

12:32 PM  Dec 27th, 2016
by Meagan Pant

Three University of Dayton students brought together people’s love for ice cream and Instagram to secure a place in a global marketing competition hosted by Unilever.

Seniors John Seals, Colleen Sullivan and Lauren Wolford won a spot among the top 10 U.S. teams, and will compete in the North American leg of the company’s Unigame, hosted in New Jersey this January.

The competition challenges college students to find creative solutions for how the multinational company can reach digital customers. See their entry video here.

The students’ idea centers on the Talenti brand of gelatos and sorbettos with a “Pints for a Purpose” campaign. It asks customers to reuse Talenti’s clear plastic jars in a new way, and then share their idea on social media.

“This contest has given us the opportunity to create an idea, bring it to life, and see it through all the way to the end,” said Sullivan, a native of Long Island, New York. “It was awesome to see what started as a small group assignment transform into something that a lot of people are noticing.”

The students said the competition gives them a chance to apply what they learned in the classroom. They could win $7,000 and travel to London to compete in the final round.

“The talent of our business school students is consistently reflected in their work,” said Irene Dickey, marketing lecturer and mentor to the students. “This competition was an optional activity and these team members successfully synchronized their skills, and through intense preparations delivered an amazing and strategic product to Unilever.”

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New Nativity mingles art, faith, science, symbolism

10:53 AM  Dec 20th, 2016
by Maureen Schlangen

In a new Nativity scene inside the main entrance of the 1700 South Patterson Building on the University of Dayton’s River Campus, a Dayton-area teacher and a UD Research Institute IT systems administrator blend faith, art, science and symbolism.

The “Tensegrity Nativity,” which the artists say was inspired by the Holy Spirit, features at its center the Holy Family, sculpted of cement around a constructed frame by Huber Heights elementary school teacher Andrew Brownfield ’96. Around it is an assembly of five 12-foot struts, all supported without touching in a network of knotted cords using a concept known as “tensegrity,” popularized in the 1950s by artist Kenneth Snelson and architect-inventor Buckminster Fuller.

Dan Hart of Centerville, who has worked at UDRI since 2014, designed the tensegrity component to represent the five pillars of the Marianist charism — faith, Mary, community, inclusivity and mission — all mutually supportive of one another just like the components of the structure.

The Nativity, Hart said, was a way to give thanks for a workplace where people are free to express their faith.

“My first day at UDRI was Dec. 1, 2014,” he said. “I walked in the front door, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s pretty neat. They have a Nativity scene.’ Then I walked into the next office, and there was another one, even more beautiful than the first.”

The Nativity scenes he saw that day were part of the Marian Library’s annual At the Manger exhibit, which features different selections each year from its collection of more than 3,500 crèches. Hart and Marian Library curatorial assistant Michele Devitt, who helps coordinate At the Manger, started sharing ideas, and soon Hart brought Brownfield, a longtime friend, into the project.

“Andrew’s beautiful sculpture of the Holy Family can stand alone,” Hart said. “The pillars are actually cardboard tubes used for shipping carpet like you see on those big rolls at Home Depot. … They were the longest thing I could find that were light enough.”

The parachute cord connecting the tubes provides the tension and compression necessary for the structure to stand, he said.

Visitors can view “Tensegrity Nativity” through Dec. 29 during the 1700 South Patterson Building’s public hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding Dec. 23-26).

At the Manger is open at University of Dayton’s Roesch Library 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Jan. 8 (closed Dec. 23-26, Dec. 30-31, and Jan. 1-2). For information, see go.udayton.edu/manger.

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Marshmallow messes and Christmas buddies

3:52 PM  Dec 15th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

Editor’s note: Danielle Damon ’18 is a student writer for the University of Dayton Magazine. She participated in Christmas on Campus 2016 and partnered up with a buddy for the evening. The night had special meaning for all involved, and she writes here, her personal experience of the holiday event.

Inside a Humanities classroom, we found an empty corner desk. She dumped the contents of a brown paper bag, immediately eating the candy before remembering to build the gingerbread house first. Marshmallow fluff provided as adhesive covered more of her face and hands than the gingerbread itself. I cringed at the mess, but also didn’t mind. Because what I found in that classroom was not just a mess, but a reminder of the importance of the holiday spirit.

Delicate snowflakes fell that night. A red, sparkly face-painted nose guided me through UD’s campus, which was shimmering from the reflections bouncing off the new, white ground cover. How fitting it was that the sky chose that night— Dec. 8 — to create its first flurries of the season to provide a perfect Christmas on Campus.

Earlier in the night, before the buddies arrived, UD students gathered on KU Field. My friend Kelly Delisio and I, who shared a buddy, were among the crowd. We each held a gift, covered in red, white and green Christmas motifs, with eager anticipation.

I shivered from the cold and my hands shook with the excitement for my buddy to arrive. Our conversations were filled with questions of wonder. What would our buddy be like, would he or she like their gift and what if they didn’t show up?

A sigh of relief came over me when I saw my second-grade buddy hopping off the bus. Her name was Quamya Jackson and it was so early in the night, the Christmas tree was not yet lit.

She pretended to be quiet as we scurried to the Humanities building to take shelter from the effects of Mr. Jack Frost’s work that evening. She opened her present and immediately put on her new hat without even asking for help. Her gratitude for a simple gift was apparent.

She burst out giggling.

“I wish it would snow only when it was warm out,” Quamya told us, but she quickly conceded to battling the bitter frost, as long as it meant she could experience a night of spirited, holiday happiness.  We realized something special then. This was her night.

Quamya was sugar overloaded by 6 p.m. and had already met her favorite reindeer – Dasher – before overcoming her long-standing fear of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Providing me a lesson in confidence, she marched right up to get her picture taken with the famous Disney mice and quickly ran back to our sides, prepared as always for the next activity.

In Kennedy Union, as kids ran through a box maze over and over again, I talked with other UD students about their buddies. Each one took pride in the funny things their buddy said, while also practicing parenting skills by holding everything for their buddy, hot cocoa and all.

While reminiscing on the night’s memories, the buses began to warm. We walked Quamya to her bus where she confessed, “I don’t even know your names, because I can’t tell which one is which!”

A comment Kelly and I hear often, we provided one last reminder of our names before saying goodbye. But we didn’t mind, as we knew the memories we made would not be forgotten as she ran home to tell her family about her Christmas celebration. We know, because nothing but years stood between us and her, as we ran home to do the same.

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Solidarity for Standing Rock

2:31 PM  
by Bridget Lally ’17

Editor’s note: On Dec. 4, 2016, the day before this event was scheduled, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to not grant easement on the Dakota Access Pipeline. The River Stewards decided to continue with the scheduled event to promote clean water and the right’s of Native American groups.

Under the black night sky and a crescent moon, University of Dayton students braved the 37 degree temperature on Monday Dec. 5 to camp outside overnight in solidarity for Standing Rock.  

Because of recent events surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, the River Stewards sponsored a campout to provide students the opportunity to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

The proposed 1,172 mile pipeline would begin in northwest North Dakota and run southeast to southern Illinois. Opponents are against the oil pipeline due to concerns over water contamination and intrusion into Sioux ancestral sites.

At Kennedy Union field, approximately 30 students camped out in tents and sleeping bags, both donated by the RecPlex and River Institute.

The Sustainability Club, Hanley Sustainability Institute, River Institute and Campus Ministry also contributed to the organization of this peaceful protest.  

Bundled up with hats, scarves and gloves, students participated with focused vigor to help the cause.

“These are passionate people who are happy to be surrounded by a community who feels the same,” said Meg Maloney, a River Steward and junior majoring in environmental biology, about those students who were participating. “We are here to stand in solidarity for the cause of clean water. People here realize we, as UD students, are privileged. Corporations should be more mindful. North Dakota protesters want to keep water clean and protect sacred land.”

Cody Ruffing, a junior majoring in international business management, attended the event with hopes of experiencing some of the basic difficulties that others go through.

“The point of this is experiencing discomfort with people,” said Ruffing. “We can experience discomfort for one day when they experienced so much discomfort in the protest. We can do the same for them.”


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Fair purchase

3:34 PM  Dec 13th, 2016
by Shannon Shelton Miller

Dayton’s civic and community leaders took about a century to figure it out, but on Monday, Dec. 12, the University of Dayton and Premier Health helped make good on one of John H. Patterson’s recommendations for Dayton’s future growth.

The University and Premier Health announced an agreement to purchase the 37-acre Montgomery County Fairgrounds from the county, the City of Dayton and the Montgomery County Agricultural Society. UD and Premier will jointly own the land and will work with community partners on redevelopment options.

“With the Fairgrounds in proximity across Stewart Street to campus, GE, Emerson and the Marriott, and just two blocks from Brown Street, it’s important to the University that future development here is compatible with the University’s strategies, supports our mission and complements the significant investments we’ve made with our progress in this region,” said UD President Eric F. Spina during Monday’s press conference.

Spina noted in a letter to the campus community that Premier Health had been interested in purchasing the Fairgrounds property for a number of years, and UD just entered the picture this fall. It proved to be the perfect pairing, as the UD-Premier proposal was approved this month after others had been rejected.

“Although the community has discussed the future of the Fairgrounds for many years, we (UD) had not sought involvement,” Spina said. “Our partnership with Premier on this project began in October when we were approached by Miller-Valentine to support its redevelopment proposal; the two institutions were mutually concerned with protecting our best interests as well as this community asset.”

Mark Shaker, president and chief executive officer of Miami Valley Hospital, celebrated the partnership at Monday’s press conference.

“This is an investment in the future of our community, the future of our partners in this project and, of course, the future of Premier and Miami Valley Hospital,” Shaker said. “We have a long tradition of working closely and successfully with University of Dayton and the other organizations involved in this project to create a safe and welcoming environment to attract and retain physicians, employees, patients and visitors to our campus. This provides an array of possibilities to continue that work in the future.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley mentioned that although the Fairgrounds sale had been under discussion among multiple entities for the past three years, the thought of using the land for development had been proposed years earlier — many years earlier.

“This conversation actually started before any of us were born when John Patterson announced that the Fairgrounds should move away from this site because it’s a key site for the future of the city of Dayton,” Whaley said. “So we can check this off the list as one more thing we’ve done that John Patterson said we should have done.”

With the announcement, Spina, who became the University’s 19th president in July, continues the work of recent presidents Daniel J. Curran and Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M., in taking action to transform the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus, creating a footprint that extends across the southern edge of the city.

“The University of Dayton is an anchor institution, and we are proud to be an anchor institution and proud of our relationships in this community,” Spina said. “We believe that our involvement in the Fairgrounds development is another way to contribute to the revitalization and growth of our community.”

And, as Whaley added, “Congratulations to everyone who’s been working on this for the past 100 years.”

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53 years of Christmas on Campus

2:09 PM  Dec 12th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

Inside Kennedy Union, child-sized trains led by bear conductors were perfectly adorned with fake snow — until a “snowball” fight broke out. The UD students stood watch as children tossed about handfuls of fluff, with some students clutching hot cocoa that their buddies insisted was still too hot to drink. Once the kids finished, UD students carefully picked the white cotton out of their giggling buddy’s hair.

Each year on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the UD campus transforms into a child’s — and college student’s — winter wonderland. A 30-foot Christmas tree stands in Humanities Plaza waiting for Christmas on Campus — a tradition spanning 53 years — to commence with the lighting of the rainbow string lights.

About 1,000 children from the Dayton area are bused to campus and paired with a UD buddy for the special night. The event also is open to the public and, each year, faculty, staff and alumni bring their families to celebrate Christmas a little early, together.

This year’s theme was “where all roads lead home,” and thanks to a 25-member student committee and the help from UD students and organizations, the event continues to be a success.

“It is so special for us to see the difference we make in the community,” said Megan Ellis, two-time Christmas on Campus committee member. “For some kids, it’s the only Christmas they get, and knowing we made that happen is so rewarding.”

Each classroom in Humanities overflowed with guests and piles of puffy coats, hats and gloves scattered by warming children. In one classroom, Habitat for Humanity hosted gingerbread house making, using marshmallow fluff as edible glue. Some students practiced their parenting skills, telling their buddies not to eat the gummy adhesive. Regardless, sticky fingers spread the paste everywhere, and in the end, the kids did more eating than building.

Outside, though the line to climb into Santa’s horse-driven carriage spanned from Kennedy Union into Humanities Plaza, the children continued waiting to tell Santa Claus their Christmas wishes.

“We start working on the event right when we get back on campus in September,” said Grace Imhoff, another committee veteran. “Seeing the kids’ faces when they get off the buses, and again when they go home at the end of the night, makes it all worth it.”

See more photos from the 53rd Christmas on Campus on Facebook.

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Dayton celebrates Christmas off Campus

1:30 PM  Dec 9th, 2016
by Bridget Lally '17

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and many other spirited Christmas songs could be heard throughout the rooms of Top of the Market on Dec. 1, as the University of Dayton Alumni Association sponsored a Homefull Christmas event at the banquet center.

This was the second time the UD Alumni Association sponsored a Christmas Off Campus event locally in Dayton. Since the University presents Christmas On Campus each year, Dayton does not have an off campus event that other UD alumni communities across the country usually hold.

But two years ago, Kelly Davis ’11, a member of the event’s planning committee, along with several other UD alumni decided they wanted to change that.

“We realized we wanted to support a local organization through this event. We couldn’t exactly do that at Christmas On Campus. We felt that getting involved with a local organization would be more fulfilling, and additionally we could have more alumni volunteers at the event, which would also make it more rewarding,”   Davis said.

The alumni association has sponsored Homefull for both years it has held the event. Homefull, a nonprofit,  provides shelter for the homeless in Dayton, through their family living center. The organization states on their website that they serve 600 people daily.

During the event, children and parents travelled to the banquet center for an evening of holiday fun, where about 120 guests attended and about 25 UD alumni volunteered.   

Loud chatter filled the rooms as kids enjoyed coloring and crafting, decorating Christmas cards and cookies, playing cornhole, watching the movie Elf on comfortable couches or eating dinner.

The Marriott Hotel donated food, and Liftoff Entertainment provided free photos with Santa, enacted by A.J. Wagner, who is also the man in the red suit at the annual Christmas On Campus event, which took place on Dec. 8.  



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New group with international goals

10:30 AM  Dec 7th, 2016
by Courtney Mocklow '17

The Akumanyi Foundation (TAF), the University’s newest service organization, promises to not just involve students on campus in charitable work, but to also engage them in international philanthropy.

TAF, which began at The Ohio State University, is a service group dedicated to improving the lives of women and children living in poverty worldwide. By building collaborative relationships and brainstorming ideas with those interested in their cause, the foundation raises funds to implement sustainable, effective solutions to help those in need. TAF also offers summer trips to Ghana, so participants can see the sites of TAF’s current projects and learn more about the country and its culture.

“With the start of TAF at UD, we will primarily be focusing on funding the construction of an eight-room classroom school in Senya, Ghana,” said Erin Peiffer, senior mechanical engineering major who founded the UD TAF chapter this fall.

These new classrooms will serve more than 400 students, all of whom currently attend Becky’s School at Becky’s Children’s Home, founded by Seth and Vivian Aseidu, in Senya. The current school building suffers from poor infrastructure and stands on rented property, prompting the vision for the new classrooms.

“The new school building will provide a safe learning environment for the students,” Peiffer said. “In past years, there were times that students were unable to attend school because of severe storms, and missed out on valuable school days and lessons.”

The students’ current school building is not built to withstand the severity of such storms. However, the new classrooms will be constructed to endure harsh weather, ensuring that the students do not miss school during Ghana’s rainy season.

To fundraise for the classrooms, TAF members plan on selling Pura Vida bracelets, which are handmade bracelets from Costa Rica. The members are also thinking about restaurant takeovers on Brown Street and holding bake sales around campus.

“I thought that UD would be the perfect place to start a group of this sort that focuses on global empowerment through sustainable initiatives,” Peiffer said. “Fundraising for the classrooms will be a great way to initially get UD students involved with TAF and the great work that it’s doing.”

If interested in joining The Akumanyi Foundation, please contact Erin Peiffer at epeiffer1@udayton.edu.

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Little libraries in Dayton

4:00 PM  Dec 5th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

There are deserts in Ohio. And Karlos Marshall plans on putting an end to them.

In 2015, the academic development coordinator for ArtStreet and Institute for Arts Nexus founded the non-profit The Conscious Connect, Inc. with hopes of ending book deserts in Ohio.

The Conscious Connect’s website defines a book desert, as “a geographical area that lacks the access and/or resources to high-quality, affordable, and culturally relevant and responsive print books.”

With this definition in mind and a goal to end book deserts in area neighborhoods, the grassroots’ first initiative, “The Root,” placed culturally relevant books in 20 urban Ohio barbershops and beauty salons where children could read while they waited.

Marshall said that a staple of the program is making sure the books are culturally relevant, having either a black or brown main character, or by being written by a black or brown author. He emphasized: “Children are already being exposed to characters that do not look like them and people have a preconceived notion that the black or brown children can’t read or don’t want to, but in reality, they don’t have books or characters they can relate to.”

And soon, Marshall’s goal grew.

“We want to make literature available at every corner of the community,” Marshall said.

Now, The Conscious Connect is holding a drive for 15,000 books to pilot its next initiative – “Little Libraries” in west Dayton neighborhoods. Holding about 20-30 books in unlikely places, the libraries come disguised as bird houses.

Partnered with The University Libraries Diversity & Inclusion Committee, donations are flooding in, while student engineers-in-training work on designing the “bird house” styled library structures in professor Beth Hart’s Engineering Innovation classes.

“I would love for my students to figure out how engineering isn’t just about technical things,” Hart said. “It’s about solving a problem that can make a big difference on many many levels.”

The libraries are projected to be implemented in spring or summer 2017, and afterward, there are endless opportunities for what is next for The Conscious Connect.

“In the West we think of education as a brick and mortar structure,” Marshall said. “But all around the world education is happening outside of the classroom . . . We are redefining what is education and where you can access it.”