March 1, 2015

Willy-Nilly Chili Cook-Off plus Vendor Fair, March 4

THE Willy-Nilly Chili COOK-OFF sponsored by  Staff Advisory Council

March 4, 2015 from Noon to 2 p.m. in the UNDERGROUND @ LEE HALL


Go to and click on the GREEN Community box then click on the yellow sticky for signing up your chili

Be a Taster/Judge, get your taste buds in shape and be there between Noon and 1 p.m. to vote for the best all-around chili.

We look forward to seeing you! There will be plenty to do with several vendors for UMW with handouts and special treats.  Vendors include The Supply Room Company, Pepsi, and Campbells Vending.

Several of our own service providers will be there to pass on information about themselves including, UMW Copies, UMW Parking, Bookstore, EagleOne, Procurement Services, and the Post Office.

Come out and join us for some social time and good chili plus get to know more about services available on our campus.

Stafford Campus Blood Drive, March 25

The American Red Cross will be sponsoring a blood drive at the Stafford Campus on Wednesday, March 25. The drive will take place in University Hall from 1-5 p.m. All those who donate will automatically be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a Movie Treat Gift Basket including a Regal Entertainment gift card, as well as snacks you can take to the movies or enjoy at home watching a DVD. To make an appointment to donate, please contact Kevin Caffrey at or 540-286-8008.

Ensure Attendance at Your Next Event

Representation of attendance at your next event.

Representation of attendance at your next event.

For the 2015-2016 academic year Residence Life is interested in designating a series of events on campus as Signature Events of the Residential Curriculum. These Signature Events are events co-sponsored by other departments, offices, or organizations on campus and the Office of Residence Life. In order to be designated a Signature Event the event must support one or more of the goals of the Residential Curriculum.  Learn more about the curriculum goals at

As part of the partnership the Office of Residence Life would work with RAs to encourage students to attend the Signature Event, promote the event on our website and in any publications created for the Residential Curriculum. For these events RAs will be asked to attend along with their residents and then facilitate some form of discussion following the event.

Residence Life is currently accepting proposals for Signature Events. The proposal form requests the following information:

  • Name of event
  • Sponsoring Office, Academic Department, or Organization
  • Contact person name, phone, and email
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The goal of the curriculum that the event best supports
  • Brief description of how the event supports the goal selected.

Access and submit the proposal form in OrgSync at

The deadline for proposing a Signature Event is April 16.

Contact Bethany Friesner at or via phone at x1058 with questions.

UMW Leads National Two Dollar Challenge

Nearly half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. And this April, students at colleges and universities across the nation will too. For the ninth consecutive year, the University of Mary Washington will lead the national Two Dollar Challengeto raise awareness of global poverty April 6-10. The 5-day awareness program challenges college and high school students across the United States to live on just two dollars a day. Participants buy food, hygiene products and other necessities out of two dollars a day while following other rules designed to simulate obstacles faced by people living in poverty. Click to view slideshow. Founded at UMW in 2006, the Two Dollar Challenge is now a national educational movement in partnership with Oxfam America and Results. The challenge is run by eight UMW students and Professor of Economics Shawn Humphrey – all on $50 and volunteer support. At UMW, students will spend the week living and sleeping in make-shift shelters built from cardboard boxes and tarps as part of an experiential learning experience. “I do the challenge to pull myself out of my comfort zone,” said senior James Hutcheson, who will be participating this year for the fourth time. “It challenges the way I view the world and it’s given me an incredible amount of empathy and tolerance for humankind.” This year, even UMW President Richard Hurley is getting involved. “It’s an opportunity to get a glimpse of how many people throughout the world live from day to day,” said Hurley. “I’m not the least bit surprised that UMW is leading this campaign. We attract students and faculty who are socially conscious and act on their beliefs.” During the week, students also raise funds for La Ceiba, a microfinance institution founded by UMW students to provide economic, social and educational support to the El Progreso community in Honduras. Through its partnership with Oxfam America and Results, the challenge also will raise awareness and support for lifesaving, effective foreign aid. For the first time this year, students across the nation will be able to participate in the Two Dollar Challenge with the use of two apps: Two Dollar Challenge and Reacht. Developed by UMW students, the Two Dollar Challenge app will allow participants to track expenses and income, experience environmental and economic ‘shocks’ that impact their daily earnings, and record daily reflections. “The app will unify and streamline the two dollar challenge experience,” said junior Sepher Sobhani, lead developer for the app. “A single shock can affect participants from all parts of the country, creating a greater sense of community.” The organization also has created a “Two Dollar Challenge” group in Reacht, an app created by a Fredericksburg-based technology startup that engages users by pushing out questions. To sign up for the National Two Dollar Challenge, visit For more information, contact Director of Media and Public Relations Marty Morrison at Click here to view the embedded video.

UMW Hosts Education Representatives

The University of Mary Washington hosted a delegation of high-level ministry and higher education representatives from eight countries on Feb. 23.

The representatives, who came to the U.S. from Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Vietnam, and the Philippines, visited as part of the EducationUSA Leadership Institute. The EducationUSA Leadership Institute was sponsored by the State Department and the Institute for International Education.

The delegation stayed in the U.S. from Feb. 16 to 24.

The goal of EducationUSA is to bring participants from select countries and world regions to the U.S. to increase their understanding of U.S. higher education, develop the tools necessary to build capacity within their own systems, and engage with the U.S. higher education in effective, sustained ways.

Women’s History Month Celebrations

Women’s History Month Kick-Off Exhibit
Monday, March 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 412, Lee Hall

Body Confidence: Loving you, Living Well
Tuesday, March 10, 6 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 412

Undergraduate Research Forum on Women’s Studies
Wednesday, March 11, 4 – 6 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

Film and Discussion: Half the Sky
Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

Leading Ladies: Celebrating Women in Theater
Friday, March 13, 7 p.m., duPont Hall, Room 115

Privilege Workshop
Saturday, March 14, 7 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

UMW to Host Pianist Michael Feinstein, March 14

Legendary crooner and pianist Michael Feinstein will perform for the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s annual Celebrity Concert Series on Saturday, March 14 in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Tickets are still on sale.   Michael-Feinstein-1 A multiplatinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer, Feinstein is one of the premier interpreters of American standards. Performing more than 200 shows a year, his most notable concerts have included Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Buckingham Palace. The Celebrity Series was established in 2002 as a vehicle for attracting major artists to UMW to perform with the orchestra. Past artists in the series have included Marvin Hamlisch, Kenny Rogers, Sir James Galway, and Itzhak Perlman. The Philharmonic will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday with Feinstein by performing a Sinatra show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 540-654-1324.

25th Anniversary of the Multicultural Fair

The James Farmer Multicultural Center is gearing up for its 25th Annual Multicultural Fair on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at UMW’s Fredericksburg Campus.

The Multicultural Fair is one of the University of Mary Washington’s long-standing, community-wide events and the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s signature cultural event. The Multicultural Fair celebrates cultural diversity by featuring craft and food vendors and performers who represent a broad range of cultural groups and cultural traditions. The Multicultural Fair also features children’s performances, activities, and attractions. Annually, the Multicultural Fair attracts thousands (between 5,000 and 6,000) of UMW student and staff members and community members from surrounding counties and regions.

This year will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Multicultural Fair, which began in 1990. There will be an excellent line-up of over 40 multicultural performances and over 50 vendors selling a wide range of cultural items including jewelry, accessories, t-shirts, tapestries, art, personal care items and more.

For more information about the 25th Annual Multicultural Fair, go to the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s website at, or call the Multicultural Center at 540-654-1044. Follow the Multicultural Fair on social media at #UMWMultiFair.

UMW Launches Robust First-Year Program

The University of Mary Washington will launch a comprehensive new program for the freshman class beginning in fall 2015.   class 08 (1)The program will feature residential clustering for first-year seminars, comprehensive advising and the university’s second-ever common book. Incoming students will be able to choose a required first-year seminar and housing assignments once deposits are paid. Residential clustering will allow students to live with their peers in their first-year seminars, creating a community that combines living and learning to enhance their academic experience. UMW will offer more than 60 first-year seminars on topics ranging from game theory to Jane Austen. “First-year seminars are proven to engage students” said Tim O’Donnell, associate provost for academic engagement and student success. “Our studies show that students who participate in a first-year seminar have higher GPA’s at the end of their first year and are more likely to return for a second year at Mary Washington.” More than the proven results, the new program enhances the overall student experience during the first year. “It brings together the best of both worlds at Mary Washington,” said Douglas Searcy, vice president for student affairs. “Combining the out-of-class experience and the in-class experience is proven to increase student learning and will simply help first-year students have a better, seamless learning experience.” The comprehensive advising program will provides a support network that consists of the student’s first year seminar faculty, a professional advisor and a peer mentor. In addition, each student will receive a copy of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times Bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with a reading and writing assignment to prepare for August orientation programming and discussions. The following semester, Skloot will visit the university as a guest speaker for the 2016 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. For the full list of first-year seminars, visit

Putting UMW On The Map: Goals, Results, and Challenges

It is no secret that UMW is growing. Each year, campus finds itself with exciting new buildings, innovative new programs, and in many cases, a combination of both. In order to keep up with the times, we must track these changes. There is no better platform in the current technological atmosphere than Google Maps; it is accessible, spatially accurate, and verified by active, current users on open-source software. With the integration of a Geographic Information System and the Google Map Editor Interface, UMW’s Office of Digital Communications, with the help of the Geography Department, has updated and restored UMW’s presence on Google Maps. This makes it easier and more accessible for students, parents, and faculty to get basic and necessary information about campus.

Goals & Results

We’ve all been there at one point or another—wandering blindly as we search for an elusive academic department, or trying to give mom and dad good walking directions from the Parking Deck to Seacobeck. This information hasn’t always been easy to find in the past, but times are changing. By more heavily integrating an updated Google Map database into UMW’s web system, problems like these will be more easily solved than ever before.

At the beginning of the 2015 spring semester, the Google map of UMW was missing several key features, from new buildings to footpaths to landmarks. It was devoid of detail and not easily navigable within campus due to lack of detail. Google’s Map Editor program allows missing features like these to be updated by drawing points, lines, or polygons with Google satellite imagery as a reference.

Since the start of the project, more than 100 edits have been made to the UMW Google Map. Staple landmarks such as The Amphitheater, Jefferson Square, the James Farmer memorial, Ball Circle and more have been added. In addition, new buildings like the Anderson Center and the ITCC have been drawn. With the aid of the Geography Department’s campus topology dataset, there is now an accurate network of walking paths that will allow users to actually plug in walking directions from, say, the Bell Tower to DuPont Hall, and get the fastest walking route through campus.

We intend to integrate this new map into the main UMW website. Its purpose is to replace the old interactive map and generate a useful set of sub-maps to help with anything from labeled parking lots to learning more about what’s inside Lee Hall. With these updates, users—from both a mobile and desktop setting—will find information about UMW infinitely more accessible.


The project thus far has had its fair share of hurdles. As a student learning the interface for the first time, I will note two main challenges that I encountered and had to solve.

First, as with any new program, there is a learning curve to the Google Map Editor. That learning curve goes beyond simply how to draw the polygons—it includes issues of naming conventions and proper protocol in updating Google Maps. Google Maps is a sort of cartographic Wikipedia that anybody with a Google account can edit. Therefore, it has a strict set of rules that must be followed and are enforced by administrators. Many of these administrators will deny your edits, even if they are correct, because they don’t conform to Google guidelines. Learning the guidelines involves reading and posting questions in the Google Forum pages, and realistically, getting a few denials before you understand what it is you’re doing.

A second challenge was the imperfect satellite imagery. The satellite imagery is ca. 2013, which is a bit outdated and inaccurate considering UMW has embarked on various construction projects since then. It was also taken in the spring, which meant that foliage covers up buildings and paths in some parts of campus. Getting around these issues required some guesswork and the overlay of KML data from the Geography department’s topology of UMW.

These challenges were an easy fix. The next step is the fun part—personalizing the map and getting it ready for specialized uses.