Category Archives: Events

Date Auction

Chris Curro (EE ‘15)

On Thursday, January 30th, the Cooper Union’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) held their third annual Charity Date Auction. This year NSBE partnered with Zeta Psi to host the auction; all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity, a long time partner of Zeta Psi.

This year the auction raised a grand total of $1,655. Forty students participated in the auction. The top three sales were Allison Tau (ChE ‘15) for $115, Yoon Shin (Arch ‘14) and Emily Adamo (Art, ‘17) for $75, and Josh Mayourian (ChE ‘14) for $70. Led by auctioneers Brian Wong (CE ‘16) and Kevin Kim (CE ‘16), the auction was running so successfully that by the intermission many more people volunteered to be auctioned. Wong and Kim provided just the proper combination of humor and seriousness to ensure the night was a success. The crowd favorite bidder was Sohan “Brohan” Mone (CE, ‘16), with each bid the whole the room erupted in cheers. Contrariwise some cringed at the revelations of successive amounts of skin, though sometimes the muscles were accompanied by screams of adulation.

Top 6 Things Heard at the Auction:

“Favorite Position: On my knees…praying.”

“One boob is bigger than the other. Bid to find out.”

“I am Mark Epstein.”

“What you look for in a date? Something with a hole.”

“What you look for in a date? An inflamed prostate.”

“I was conceived on my father’s birthday.”

Faculty-Student Senate Open Meeting

Joseph T. Colonel (EE ‘15)

The Faculty-Student Senate held an open meeting in the Great Hall on December 3, 2013 during club hours to discuss the proposed changes to the Student Code of Conduct. The Cooper Union Faculty-Student Senate, as ratified on April 12. 2011, “ is a representative body whose purpose is to advise the President and the Board of Trustees and update the faculty and students on issues pertaining to mission, use of resources and academic issues.” (http://cooper.edu/academics/faculty-student-senate/charter) The meeting was called to hold an open forum where the senate could gauge Cooper community response to the proposed revisions to the student code of conduct in order to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees by the December 4, 2013 deadline.

Chair of the Senate Mike Essl opened the meeting by reading a joint statement stating the reason for calling the meeting, informing the audience of the absence of Jamshed Bharucha and Theresa Dahlberg who were both “out of town […] and therefore unable to attend,” and outlining notable changes to the Code of Conduct. These changes included a clause widening the jurisdiction of the code to include off-campus behavior and a clause suggesting that “conduct not found in this Code may still be deemed unacceptable and may be basis for disciplinary charges.”

Once the floor was opened for discussion, faculty and students unanimously voiced their dissent towards the ambiguity in the language of the code, the process by which the suggested changes were drafted, and the powers the Board of Trustees invested in the Administration regarding breeches of the code. Raw notes taken by Sean Cusack can be found at http://on.fb.me/1hDVe5J .

Architecture students presented a resolution signed by 139 architecture students (out of 141 total) saying “[t]he proposal to alter The Student Code of Conduct is an explicit devaluing of The Student Body, and continues the oppressive and suppressive modes that the current administration has enacted against students. The undersigned students reject the proposed amendments to the Student Code of Conduct, and will consider any changes made without a majority vote of the Joint Student Council void.” Afterward a unanimously passed resolution by the Architecture Student Council was presented, rejecting the suggested changes to the Code of Conduct.

Art students presented a petition signed by 139 art students saying “we feel that only those amendments to the Code of Conduct which are initiated and voted on by the students are legitimate. We refuse to accept the changes as they are proposed and, with them, the intent of the Board of Trustees to circumvent the authority of the student body to impose and enforce their own standards for student conduct. […] Until the students are in control of the Code of Conduct once again, and may initiate, draft, and vote on amendments as they see fit, changes to the Code of Conduct are considered illegitimate.” Afterward a unanimously passed resolution by the Art Student Council was presented, stating “[i]n effect the proposed Code of Conduct takes away integral functions of shared and student governance within the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. We the students in the School of Art believe in and are committed to fostering the ideals of a self-determining governing process which encourages ‘good morals and good order throughout [our[ connection with this institution.’”

An engineering student (full disclosure: it was me) presented a petition signed by 123 engineering students; the petition was almost identical to the petition presented by the art students. At the time of the printing of this article, there are currently 149 signatures on the engineering petition. No statement was put forth by the Engineering Student Council.

The Senate adopted the following resolution: “The Senate rejects the proposed draft of the “Code of Conduct” received on November 18. 2013 as unacceptable in both process and content. We ask the Board of Trustees to postpone the vote scheduled for December 11, 2013 and to honor the current procedure whereby revisions to the Code of Conduct are approved by the Joint Student Council.”

Poetry Slam

Joseph T. Colonel (EE ‘15)

On Friday, November 8th, the Cooper Union Black Student’s Union hosted its first poetry slam. MC Osaze Udeagbala (BSE ’15) and Ciera Lowe (ChE ’14) ran the night. While perhaps not the typical characteristics of an MC for a poetry slam, Osaze’s eccentric stage presence and awkward post-poem interactions were too endearing to not appreciate the hustle.

The stars of the evening, however, were the poets. First timers and weathered veterans alike poured their hearts out to a supportive audience and an imposing judging panel, whose scores were often met by a chorus of boos. The themes touched upon during the slam – social justice, finding inner peace, sexuality – were not earth-shattering, but the passion with which they were delivered had the power to bring New York to its knees.

Jimmy Espinoza’s touching letter to his little brother grappled with the struggle of reconciling childhood’s desires and adulthood’s responsibilities. Espinoza’s eager cadence and facial expressions gave the impression that he may have written his piece at the age of 12, but his world weary advice betrayed this notion. On the opposite end of the spectrum stood Kevin John (ME ’15), who delivered a poem focused on his reflection in the mirror with the furor and vigor of the Apostles on Pentecost.

Hindi Kornbluth (ChE ’14) and Steven Neuhaus (ChE ’15) were perhaps the most surprising performers of the night. Neuhaus’s meditation on grammar and love was simply incredible, picking up on the coy nuance of a hyphen found in a “call me” note or the tragedy found in the absent apostrophe in the phrase “were expecting.” Kornbluth delivered a poem detailing her effort to reconcile her Orthodox Jewish upbringing while on a blind date with a guy who questions her “revealing clothing.” She finished her performance with the most striking line of the night, explaining why she wears what she does: “I was always taught that my body was a loaded gun. Now I have the chance to prove them right.” ◊

Common Ground Fall 2013

Caroline Yu (EE ‘15)

On November 6th, the third Common Ground was held. The event began with students from each school delivering small speeches in Rose Auditorium. Afterward students headed out to the studios and labs of Cooper Union. These Common Ground events provide the students of the Cooper Union with a necessary reminder that each Cooper Union student has a unique story and body of work. As a result, this most recent Common Ground allowed for increased interdisciplinary collaboration between the three schools.

DeVonn Francis (Art ’15) describes the initialization and main purpose of Common Ground: “When Caleb Wang and I initially met to discuss Common Ground, we determined that the main purpose of the event should be to build an understanding and the relationships between the student body via intimate, interdisciplinary dialogues. The underlying strength of the student body, from our understanding, is that every student, regardless of the reason or means by which they were accepted, had a passion to be here and that the diversity of those reasons is what makes an atmosphere like this so rich.”

Each semester, many Cooper students carve out a space in the classrooms, labs, studios, and student areas that enable them to study, work, and create. Although Cooper Union is comprised of only a few buildings, there are many spaces unknown to the majority of the student body. Several dozen students toured 41 Cooper Square and the Foundation building – from the art studios on the 9th floor of 41CS to the room with historic scientific instruments from the 19th and 20th centuries on the 7th floor of 41CS to the art and architecture studios in the foundation building.

A highlight of these tours was the anechoic chamber in 41CS, where Christopher Curro (EE ‘15) says students were having “out of body experiences.” (To find out more about the Vibration and Acoustics Laboratory website at http://cooper.edu/engineering/facilities/vibration-and-acoustics.)

For those who missed the event, ask an artist to show you his/her work in the 2DD studio on the 6th floor of 41CS, or tour the architecture studios on the 3rd floor of the Foundation building, or sit with an engineer in Frankie’s. Although events like Common Ground help initiate collaboration and discussion between students from all three schools, we all know that each architect, artist, and engineer is more than willing to share the work they have put their time and effort into. It takes time to develop our own skills as an artist, architect, or engineer, but it’s also worth the effort to gain understanding from the unique students that make up the Cooper Union student body. ◊

Art at Cooper

Matt Ledwidge (ART ‘16)

Art is a Bucket

Or so proclaimed the Swiss born writer-philosopher Alain De Botton on the eighteenth of October in a lecture and book signing entitled “Art as Therapy” in the Great Hall. By this De Botton was expressing his belief that art is a container for the most important parts of human experience and that art is more important and relevant today than ever before. De Botton proceeded to explain the “things that art is about” because, as he says, nobody likes very much to talk about it in concrete terms for risk of ruining the ambiguity inherent to all art or becoming overly controlling. This, alongside the institutional framing of the work, hinders the ability of art to bring meaning into the lives of everyone as he believes it can.

De Botton aims to face this problem by repositioning the cultural framing around art in the public in order to make the public a more suitable place to explore anxiety, love, sadness and politics with dignity and seriousness. With wit and erudition he suggested the following to the audience: reorganizing the world’s museums by theme; looking as closely at ones partner as Manet looked at asparagus; reconsidering the things we value at different times; remaining curious; continuing to have sex; and using art as an enriching perspective-giving bucket of every aspect of our experiences. ◊

Image of the Studio

How does living and working in New York shape contemporary studio practice on the level of scale, geography, and day-to-day organization? What does graphic design in New York look like?

These were the questions that ‘Image of the Studio – A Portrait of New York City Graphic Design’ in the 41 Cooper Gallery curated by the Herb Lubalin Centre and the Athletics design studio sought to explore. The exhibition featured works of over 75 current graphic design firms in New York ranging from one-person studios to large firms, from those founded in the 1950’s to last year.
Each studio was invited to submit original work and creative portraits of the designers as well as a range of data documenting the structure, history and culture of the various studios. The data was then organized into visualizations and information graphics documenting the various relationships between the studios and their New York location.

The exhibition filled the walls of the space with large panels of creative design solutions, inside jokes, interesting quotes, and information of how the studios view themselves. The information graphics are divided in such categories as “Passion & Mantras”, “Influences”, “Studio Culture”, and “Do’s and Don’ts,” with the diverse panels telling different elements of the larger story of what might be happening in graphic design in New York City today.

For more information you can visit the accompanying website at http://imageofthestudio.com. The exhibition closed Saturday, October 26th and a panel discussion in the Rose Auditorium Monday October 28th, 6:30-8:30pm concluded the exhibit. ◊

Dean Dahlberg Presentation and Q&A Session

Allison Tau (ChE ‘15)

Last Monday, October 14th, Dean Dahlberg was invited by the Engineering Student Council to give a presentation to the students about her vision for the School of Engineering followed by a Q&A session. She had given the same presentation to the faculty a week prior.

Her plan includes eight key initiatives—some to be added or removed—but at least a set of initiatives revolving around the ideas of 21st century engineering in a global context, leadership, and adaptability in the field. Overall, she plans to work toward increasing the rankings of the engineering school, from #7 to #1, while maintaining a rigorous curriculum, promoting leadership, and improving interdisciplinary work between art, architecture, engineering, and the humanities. Dean Dahlberg’s overarching goal for the School of Engineering is to “preserve and enhance academic excellence while moving towards financial stability”.

The first point of her vision is academic excellence, which refers to advertising that this school about being more than just free. Particularly, she talked about how Cooper Union students have a tendency to overload on courses and do graduate-level work as undergraduates. She also hopes to move toward a focus on more faculty research, including a greater number of opportunities for undergraduate involvement in research with professors. The second point refers to the implementation and expansion of fee-based graduate programs, of which there would be two tracks: a theses track focused on research and a non-thesis track focused on students with plans to go into industry, that she claims would hopefully attract fee-paying students to the Cooper Union. In addition to a fee-based masters programs, the third point of Dean’s Dahlberg’s key initiatives for the engineering school is the introduction a fee-based pre-college program in engineering to attract gifted college students. While fee-based, the program would provide grants for “underserved” students. The program is what Dean Dahlberg refers to as the “STEM pipeline”, an initiative to increase the number of K-12 students going into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based fields.

The final five points Dean Dahlberg only briefly touched upon before ending her presentation, but they are: improve student recruitment and retention, improve communications and ranking, build community, reinvent the C.V. Starr Research Foundation, and implement professional development across all faculty, staff, and administration.

Following the presentation of Dean Dahlberg’s eight key initiatives for the School of Engineering, the floor was opened to the students for a question and answer session. Questions from the students were mostly concerned with her ideas about undergraduate research, graduate programs, and certificates/minors. However, Dean Dahlberg decided to end the session early once the students began asking about her stance on undergraduate tuition, since she stated that she had not been invited to speak about that particular issue. ◊

Freedom Concert

Chae Jeong (ChE ‘16)

On October 10, over a hundred Cooper students joined in on a fight for justice through the Freedom Concert. The Freedom Concert was the last of a chain of events that identified a campaign called “Price of Life” during the first two weeks of October.

Price of Life is a faith-inspired but not faith-required campaign that happened within several campuses throughout New York City in hopes of raising awareness and fundraising to fight human trafficking. From chain tattoos to scandalous posters that read “Sex Slaves for Sale” to t-shirts that were stamped “Abolitionist”, members of the student body worked to spread the word about modern-day slavery in the very city that they lived in.

The Cooper community was encouraged to come to events such as the screening of a film about sex and money, a talk about how pornography effects the human brain, a culture night where a trafficked victim shared her story, and, of course, a concert to celebrate hope and the coming of freedom.

The Freedom Concert consisted of acts from nearly all of the performing groups within Cooper –Ballroom Dance Club, Coopernova, Coopertones, CU Breakdance, Chinese Yo-Yo, Poco a Poco, and CU Gospel Choir –and several individual acts from students and staff –instrumental and vocal duets as well as a piano performance by Professor Daniel Lepek. In addition, Janie Chu, a musician who composes music to abolish modern-day slavery, played several pieces and Greg Jao, the director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the New York and New Jersey, spoke about the Price of Life campaign.

In addition to the acts, other groups of students involved in SWE, Zeta Psi, ESC, Culinary Club, Confetti, and Origami Club contributed to the concert as well. From performing to ushering to making crafts to sell, the whole Cooper community contributed to this citywide campaign.

As the two-week campaign drew to a close, Price of Life held a citywide event called the Freedom Festival, where churches, campuses, and other organizations came together for a final push to fight human-trafficking.

All money raised during the campaign will be donated to the Humanitas Fund, where the money will be distributed to World Vision, Nomi Network, and Restore NYC, which are all organizations that work to fight human-trafficking. The Cooper community is encouraged to continue to work towards freedom by looking into buying fair-trade items and food, and by being aware of its surroundings.

NB: I was involved as the Publicity Chair/Social-Media Owner and head of the fundraising team.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Espinoza