Collegiate Round Up
New Honors Complex Hopes to Turn Heads at Amherst
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 23:10
In an effort to bring the state’s most talented minds to campus, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has debuted a new residential complex for the Commonwealth Honors College. The Honors Residential Community, which opened at the start of the Fall 2013 semester, gathers faculty, students, and staff of the Honors College in the new $192 million, seven-building complex. The Honors Program at UMass Amherst encompasses approximately the top 13 percent of the student body, or around 3,000 students. The residential housing within the new complex offers dormitory style rooms (singles, doubles, or triples) in two different freshman halls, as well as 900 spots in suite or apartment-style housing for upperclassmen. Approximately half the students in the Honors College have the opportunity to live in the new residential community. In addition to the residences, the complex includes nine classrooms, two faculty apartments, administrative offices, event spaces, and a round-the-clock cafe.
The new complex has created buzz around the UMass campus and its surrounding cities. Although the program has been in place at Amherst since 1999, the establishment of a complex within the school’s campus has created a new identity for the Commonwealth Honors College. “Previously we were a set of academic requirements,” history professor Daniel Gordon, who is serving as acting dean of the honors college since the recent death of longtime dean Priscilla Clarkson, told The Boston Globe “Now we are a place, a community in space.” Those in the honors college compare their education with that of Boston University and Northeastern—Gordon says they hope to create an environment conducive to competing with even higher caliber universities in the surrounding area.
As the Harvard community enjoyed a Monday without classes this week, multiple student groups on campus used the national holiday to draw awareness to what they believe is an injustice in celebrating Christopher Columbus. Four student groups—Native Americans at Harvard College (NAHC), Fuerza Latina, Harvard Organization for Latin America, and Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan—hosted an event with the mission of changing the name “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous People’s Day.” The event featured both Native American and Latin-American style foods and drew a crowd of approximately 50 students in a lounge on campus. NAHC President Shannon Carlson, Harvard ’14, told The Crimson, “Columbus represents the point in history that began the downfall of many indigenous cultures.” Harvard is currently the only Ivy-League University that continues to recognize Columbus Day as a university holiday. Neither Harvard deans nor administrators have indicated any awareness of a movement to change the name of the holiday.
MIT has developed yet another breakthrough in line with its highly esteemed work in the fields of science and technology. This time, however, MIT has entered superpower territory: researchers have developed motion sensors to detect subjects through walls. The system works much like Microsoft’s Kinect motion-tracking accessory, in that it doesn’t require its human subject to hold a transmitter in order to track it across a room. While the Kinect currently employs more sophisticated technology than MIT’s new system—it can read lips and track multiple targets at once—the Kinect cannot figuratively see through walls. MIT Ph.D candidate, Fadel Adib, explained to IT World, “What we’re doing here is localization through a wall without requiring you to hold any transmitter or receiver [and] simply by using reflections off a human body. What is impressive is that our accuracy is higher than even state of the art Wi-Fi localization.” The research team believes its system could one day be sold as a commercial product.
On the six-month anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings, Northeastern University hosted an exhibit featuring photos, videos, and stories from its digital archive titled Our Marathon. According to Boston Innovation, Our Marathon is a “comprehensive, crowd-sourced digital archive” that chronicles more than 3,000 stories from April 15, 2013, including un-televised news footage from WCVB, get-well gifts sent to those recovering at Boston Children’s Hospital, and eyewitness accounts. The event, which took place Tuesday at Northeastern’s Snell Library, was free and open to the public. Attendees had the ability to tell their own story either on paper or through spoken word, as well as view the memorial previously set up in Copley Square, donated for viewing by the Boston City Archives. Spearheading the Our Marathon archive is assistant professor Ryan Cordell. “We’re six months out, and there’s a lot that still needs to be captured,” Cordell said. “There’s no story too small.”