UA In the News — March 29

The Tahri That Binds: How A Sweet Rice Dish Connects A Woman To Her History
National Public Radio – March 28
I have always found it difficult to explain my family’s syncretic faith traditions to both white Americans and to other South Asians. We are Hindu Sindhis, originating from an area around the Indus River, in what is now modern southeast Pakistan. On our home altar, familiar Hindu idols — Lakshmi, Ganesh, Krishna — share space with images of the 10 Sikh gurus and Jhulelal. Jhulelal, a river deity, is not only the patron saint of Hindu Sindhis, but is also revered by Sufi Muslims. For many, my religion is an outlandish concoction of incompatible faiths. But one thing that brings it all together is our traditional foods. . . . Jhulelal is known by various names and worshiped in many forms; his shrine in Pakistan receives both Hindu and Muslim pilgrims. But this white-bearded saint who sits on fish and whose image is found in nearly all Sindhi homes was originally a marginal deity for a particular group of Sindhis who prayed to the Indus River, according to Steven Ramey, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama and author of Hindu, Sufi or Sikh: Contested Practices and Identifications of Sindhi Hindus in India and Beyond.

Germany Is Taking Away Kindergarteners’ Toys to Curb Future Addiction
The Atlantic – March 29
“Without any toys, children have the time to develop their own ideas,” said Elisabeth Seifert, the managing director of Aktion Jugendschutz, a Munich-based youth nonprofit that promotes this project. “In toy-free time, they don’t play with finished toys. They develop their own games. They play more together, so they can better develop psychosocial competencies.” . . . The project has not, however, made much headway in the U.S. In the 1990s, while toy-free time was gaining momentum in Germany, American drug abuse-prevention programs were still dominated by the “just say no” message first introduced by Nancy Reagan in 1986. One of the most popular programs was Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., which brings police officers into schools to educate students on the dangers of drugs. Yet, despite strong backing and widespread implementation, D.A.R.E. has produced no measurable impact on drug use. “There’s been a tremendous amount of research done on D.A.R.E. None of it has found positive effects, and some of it has found deleterious effects,” said Elizabeth Robertson, the professor and associate dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Alabama.

Noted percussionist to perform at UA
Tuscaloosa News – March 29
A world-renowned composer and percussionist will perform Saturday in the final concert of the University of Alabama’s Sonic Frontiers series. Gino Robair is described as one of the most multifaceted artists working today. “He’s a composer, percussionist, electronicist, conceptual artist, interdisciplinary collaborator and writer,” said Andrew Raffo Dewar, an associate professor of interdisciplinary arts in UA’s New College. “His body of work is unclassifiable and incredibly interesting and fun.”

UA students to compete in business competition
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – March 28
A group of students from The University of Alabama will compete in the Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Plan competition. They are creating a start up company called Biogram. They are developing a plan for a medical device for heart surgery. The competition takes place on Thursday. Last year the team won third place. This year’s winner will receive a $50,000 prize.

Alabama law school to honor first black graduates
Tuscaloosa News – March 29
The University of Alabama School of law is commemorating the 45th anniversary of its first black graduates with a symposium on Friday. In 1972, Michael Figures, Booker Forte, Jr. and Ronald E. Jackson made history by becoming the first black students to graduate from the University of Alabama School of Law. “Bending the Arc of History: African-Americans and The University of Alabama School of Law” will explore complex questions about diversity at the law school, highlight advancements and provide potential solutions to the challenges and obstacles that remain.

Period Musicians return to Pilgrimage Tour of Homes
Eufaula Tribune – March 29
Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Period Type Musicians will once again be at each of the 11 homes on tour at the 52nd annual Eufaula Pilgrimage. The Eufaula Heritage Association received the grant from the state art agency for the Eufaula Pilgrimage set for March 31, April 1-2. . . . Maggie Shorter, a Eufaula native, has given her talent many years to the Pilgrimage. She plays the flute. She began playing for the Pilgrimage when she was at Admiral Moorer Middle School. She is now a student at the University of Alabama and plays in the UA band.

Black Warrior Film Festival kicked off two-day event, announced winner of Holle Award
Crimson White – March 28
This past weekend, The University of Alabama hosted the fifth annual Black Warrior Film Festival. The festival provided student filmmakers and Tuscaloosa community members an opportunity to showcase both independent projects and student films in an environment like that of the Sundance Film Festival. The Black Warrior Film Festival aims to showcase student films through out the South with community-wide screenings, workshops, special events and industry professionals. The event celebrates the work created by student filmmakers and allows the Tuscaloosa community a chance to immerse themselves in the art of filmmaking.

Colleges – Various Honors
Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times – March 28
Oden Rosenberg, Carthage, was named to the fall semester dean’s list at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
The Enterprise (Lexington Park, MD) – March 28
The Kentucky Standard (Nelson County) – March 28
Middletown (Connecticut) Press – March 29
Impacts of school choice on segregation
Eureka Alert – March 29
Diversity in schools is important for students’ experiences and outcomes in schools and beyond, reducing prejudices and ensuring the likelihood of living and working in integrated environments as adults. Penn State researchers are exploring how school choice is affecting racial composition and segregation in Pennsylvania schools. According to lead researcher Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education and Population Research Institute associate at Penn State, this is one of the first studies to explore how charter schools could be affecting the racial composition of public schools. . . . Other researchers on the project were Stephen Kotok, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies, University of Texas at El Paso; Kai Schafft, associate professor of education, Penn State; and Bryan Mann, assistant professor of educational leadership, policy, and technology studies, University of Alabama.

Honda Alabama Expansion Project Launches With $85M First Phase – March 29
Honda’s Alabama assembly center employs more than 4,500 workers and has attracted a network of almost 30 Tier One suppliers that employ another 7,600 people. The plant has an estimated annual economic impact on the state of $6.8 billion, according to a University of Alabama analysis.
Why New Zealand is the perfect spring break or vacation destination
USA Today College – March 29
Mist rolls off the mountains in the distance. Water, baby blue mixed with emerald, sloshes against the stone shore. The grass is greener and brighter as if you stumbled across to that other side everyone is always talking about. . . . Matthew Wilson is a University of Alabama student and a USA TODAY College correspondent.

Student organizations advocate for the end of human trafficking
Crimson White – March 29
On Tuesday, students gathered to participate in an educational event to inform the public about the size and scope of the human trafficking business. Spreading the message that “No one is free until we are all free,” the group Shut Out Human Trafficking aimed to show how pervasive the problem is in 2017. According to End It Alabama, 79 percent of human trafficking cases in the state have been reported as sex trafficking, with 14 percent reported as labor trafficking.  Bailey Chandler, graduate student and an advisor of Impacting Teams, has noticed human trafficking as an issue while working closely with UNICEF and the Center for Service and Leadership.

Preview: ‘Don’t Shoot’ virtual reality demonstration
Crimson White – March 29
Following the developments out of Ferguson, Missouri, the issue of police brutality and alleged racial shootings have come to the forefront of national news. Incidents such as the Tamir Rice shooting of 2014, during which Tamir, a twelve-year-old boy, was shot dead by police officers in Cleveland, Ohio, after they mistook a toy gun for a real one in a city park, have caused many to ask what truly motivates police officers during such incidents.  Three University researchers have taken public questions and attempted to derive the answers of what motivates police shootings. Using electroencephalography and virtual reality technology, Rick Houser, Dan Fonseca and Ryan Cook have measured the brain activity of officers in high-threat situations. In their visit to the University, they will display a demo of the VR simulation used in their study and discussing its impact in future police training.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.