Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Campus Takes Part in 9/11 Remembrance

A ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was presented at Hofstra on Monday, September 12, 2011. The commemoration was held at the Court of Courage on the South Campus, in front of C.V. Starr Hall. President Stuart Rabinowitz and others spoke to a crowd of students, faculty members and staff, as well as the family members of some of the victims of the 9/11 attacks who were part of the Hofstra community. 

“In the aftermath of 9/11 we mourned the loss of nearly 3,000 victims, and we especially grieved the loss of 27 members of the Hofstra family – 26 alumni and a student. And we will honestly never be the same,” said President Rabinowitz. “But along with the pain and the sorrow and the fear, let us continue to honor the memories of those we lost by living our lives as we did in the immediate aftermath of the tragedies. That is by caring about each other, caring for each other and by helping those who are in need.” 

Within the Court of Courage is the Hofstra Labyrinth and artist John Safer’s sculpture “Phoenix,” which was commissioned by the University and dedicated in 2003. The sculpture, a stainless steel flame, rests on a black granite base, adorned with a plaque that lists the names of the Hofstra community members who perished on 9/11. 

On the other side of California Avenue, in the quad in front of Calkins Hall, Hofstra’s Office of Student Leadership and Activities sponsored a Circle of Remembrance and invited passersby to plant a flag in commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary. The perimeter of the flags formed an outline in the shape of the United States. 

In addition to a number of other events, Hofstra University’s Department of Special Collections presented an exhibition of 18 photographs titled Hope and Healing at the Lowenfeld Conference and Exhibition Hall on the 10th floor of the Axinn Library. The display featured images of the devastation and destruction in New York City, as well as photos of memorials set up around Long Island and artistic and community projects done in response to the events of that day. 

The intended effect of the images was to not only have the viewer reflect on that day, but also propel him or her toward a more hopeful future. “While we shouldn’t lose sight of what happened, the exhibit reminds us how far we’ve come in 10 years and the important role that art has played in our healing process,” said Geri E. Solomon, Hofstra assistant dean of special collections and university archivist. 
The Axinn Library has an extensive collection of 9/11 materials that is available to the visiting public. An online exhibit of more than 500 photographs of 9/11 memorials set up all around Long Island can be viewed at hofstra.edu/911collection

Some Faculty Thoughts on 9/11 and Learning at Hofstra

Randy Hillebrand 
Coordinator of Facilities Training and Assistant Professor of Radio, Television, Film 

I remember I had a 9:30 a.m. class on 9/11, and of course by that time we knew something major was taking place. The students didn’t know how to handle it, and I wasn’t sure how to handle it, but I suggested that we hold class and try to work our way through the morning. By the time class ended around 11, we could see on the news and on peoples’ faces the magnitude of what was taking place. 

I think there was a part of my mind that was evaluating the coverage – the professor in me was interested in that. We were all looking at it from a critical point of view until such time as that became unimportant – which wasn’t too far in. This was a historic time for television. I think research will eventually come out that shows 9/11 was a defining moment for television news. It reminded everyone, even with the emergence of the Internet, that there still isn’t anything like television to bring communities together. 

What impact did this have long term? Certainly our journalism program has expanded tremendously this last decade. I don’t know if we can say that 9/11 is a root cause of this, but it certainly had to play some part. 
I don’t think we had an opportunity to see how students would react to another crisis situation until the Virginia Tech campus shootings happened. This time, the RTVF 164 Television Production students producing the Hofstra Television News & Views student newscast [led by Kenny Pelczar, now an Emmy Award-winning photojournalist] realized they had an opportunity to not just report the news, but provide viewers with perspective and context. They became more aware through 9/11 and Virginia Tech that they live in a world where bad things happen. As journalism students, they have the ability to respond proactively, productively and in a way that can help them and their viewers process critical information. 

Watch News & Views coverage of Virginia Tech at: www.htvinteractive.com/index.php/Archive/2007/News-Views.html 

Andrea Libresco 
Associate Professor of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership 

We certainly address how to approach the subject of teaching 9/11 in our Elementary Education Methods class. Teachers need to be ready to deal with children’s questions about 9/11. We talk about what young children might know – some children have an idea of what happened, but they may have questions, too. 

I think the most important thing we try to teach our students is that, when broaching the subject of 9/11, you have to come at it from where the kids are and not where you are – just because it’s foremost on your mind, doesn’t mean that it will register with your students in the same way. For those of us who lived through the day, it may be incredibly important. But today’s children were not alive 10 years ago. Unless their families were directly affected by the day, 9/11 may not be a big part of their lives. It may never mean as much to them as it does to us. 

The day after the 10th anniversary of September 11, I participated in a panel discussion, organized by Dr. Warren Frisina, titled “Changes in American Conversation Since 9/11.” The panel consisted of faculty from all different areas of the University. The best thing about the event was that the students carried on the discussion for more than an hour after the faculty finished speaking. Sometimes, students’ voices are not heard enough at university-wide discussion events. Of course, there was some back and forth, but the students spoke intelligently and thoughtfully. It was a remarkable conversation. 

Rosanna Perotti 
Professor of Political Science 

Prior to 9/11 I can remember my frustration that students weren’t more involved and engaged in what was happening around the world. After the attacks, there was definitely a surge in the number of students who wanted to major in political science and take classes in our department. Before 9/11 our department was focused heavily on American politics – for some time, we hadn’t had a full time faculty member available to teach about the Middle East. We have since brought in Dr. Stefanie Nanes, who has made a great contribution to bringing to the University a greater understanding of the politics of the Arab and Muslim worlds. We also have Dr. Paul Fritz, another full-time faculty member, who specializes in security issues and teaches the political ramifications of defense policies. 

Our curriculum changed, and interest in student clubs – such as Model UN and political party clubs – has increased. The energy of that time was definitely behind the drive and excitement to bring the 2008 presidential debate to our campus. 

At a recent alumni event I attended in the city, there was a group of graduates talking about 9/11, and some were finding parallels between that day and the assassination of President Kennedy. During both times, our department was in a place to help make sense out of what happened. It’s been a long, difficult road, but I think we’ve been able to shine a brighter light on the future. To work in a classroom environment where people are able to speak frankly and explore the important issues facing our world is a precious opportunity. 

Nancy White 

Associate Professor of Finance 

We were stunned on 9/11. Students were extremely upset – many of them had family and friends who were working at the World Trade Center. We had an adjunct faculty member working there who was able to make it out. 

The Zarb School’s Martin B. Greenberg Trading Room opened not long after 9/11, and initially we saw it as a place where people could work if there was another crisis in New York City’s financial district. Unfortunately, this would be impossible as regulatory requirements are so tremendous. However, 9/11 forced companies to start thinking about and planning for disaster. Before, we saw ourselves as invulnerable. The Zarb School curriculum shifted a little bit. Students are now interested in risk management – what happens when financial institutions shut down, how to restart business operations off-site. 

Our student body since 9/11 has become more international, more diverse. Students are concerned about the kinds of jobs they’re going to get after they graduate. They’re very career oriented, and our Career Center has become much more developed. Students are very interested in internships and networking. I don’t know if this is because of 9/11, but it has definitely been a trend since that time. 


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