UMD receives Sierra Magazine Special Achievement Award

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland is located in the city of College Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It is often referred to as UM, UMD or UMCP. Maryland University is the largest in the state and largest in the Washington Metropolitan area. With a fall 2010 enrollment it saw more than 37,000 students, over 100 undergraduate majors, and 120 graduate programs. The University is ranked 20th nationally among public universities and is also ranked 62nd in the 2015 U.S. news and World Report rankings of “National Universities” across the United States. In October, 2014 publication from Business Insider ranked the University of Maryland 39 in “Smartest Public Colleges in America”. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes athletically as a member of the Big Ten Conference.


Famous personalities who passed from this University are, President and CEO of CNN; Kevin Plank, The Muppets creator Jim Henson; The Wire creator David Simon, and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David. Prominent alumni in business include Ed Snider, Chairman of Comcast Spectacor and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers; Jim Walton (journalist).
The University of Maryland has been awarded a Special Achievement Award by Sierra Magazine as a part of its annual Cool School rankings for excellence in campus waste reduction efforts. The institutional diversion rate reflects all materials the university diverted from landfills. It also includes construction and demolition waste. The 89 percent institutional diversion rate was an all-time high for the university, increasing by more than 10 percent from 2003.
In 2014, UMD gained recognition for the strength of solid waste and recycling programs. It achieved 89 percent institutional waste diversion rate and a 56 percent individual recycling rate.
“The university’s continuous rise in diversion and recycling rates represent an enormous commitment by the entire campus community,” said Sandra Dykes, Associate Director of Building & Landscape Maintenance at UMD. “It also reflects well on our educational and outreach programs, since the members of the campus community change yearly, but our message and expectations must remain consistent. Everyone on campus should take great pride in this award.”


UMD coolest schoolsranked #2 out of 153 schools, with a score of 103.66 out of a total possible 105points for the Waste Reduction category. The achievements do not end here, UMD finished first out of Big Ten Schools who made the list, with Penn State University coming second in the Big Ten, and finishing at No. 35 overall.
“We are honored to be recognized as the top Big Ten school in sustainability and for our achievement in waste reduction,” said Scott Lupin, Director of the Office of Sustainability at UMD. “The university has maintained a sharp focus on expanding its solid waste recycling and landfill diversion efforts over the past many years. From event-wide recycling at home athletic events to compost collection in the dining halls, everyone on campus has taken part to realize this award.”
It is a reason of pride for UMD to be among 6 of 22 Teams Awarded University Research Initiative Grants by the Department of Defence.
“The University of Maryland deserves much praise for going above and beyond in its efforts to divert trash from landfills,” said Avital Andrews, Lifestyle Editor at Sierra Magazine. “If more institutions heldthemselves to such high standards, we would be living on a much cleaner planet.”
It’s an honor for UMD for developing a culture of sustainability in the campus-wide engagement of staff, students and faculty.

A Sustainability Progress Report is due in October which will display campus achievements from the past year.

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Maryland Students heading back to School

Students back to school

After the joys and zest of summer vacations here comes that part of the year that is both enthusiastic and jumpy for the parents as well as the children. The hustle and bustle of getting new school bag, books and accessories is somehow like preparation for a carnival.  Just like new resolutions even the commencement of a new academic year sees many resolutions and determinations both by the teachers, students and even parents. Teachers also pull up their socks for the new year and wave a good bye to the blissful days. There is much to do and so much to plan, amid all this frenzy one thought that keeps them going is the fact that after all teaching is the only profession where you get bulk of holidays in the form of summer and winter vacations.


Finally the day comes when some parents leave their children for school with little tears in their eyes while some are now more relaxed after insane and kooky vacations. Teachers and students are ready to establish new routines, new strategies and most importantly teacher-student relationship.

Maryland also saw a Monday when students bid farewell to summer holidays and got back to school. Maryland was named to honor the Queen Consort Henrietta Maria, the wife of Britain’s King Charles I. In 2009, the Maryland State Public Schools System was ranked #1 in the nation. Maryland is famous for a number of schools ranked in 2015 among U.S.News Best High Schools, including 20 with gold medals, 47 with silver medals and 15 with bronze medals. The top-ranked school in Maryland is Walt Whitman High School, near Washington, in the Montgomery County Public Schools, which is about 50 miles from both Baltimore and the state capital of Annapolis. Free education is provided to the deaf and hard hearing citizens of Maryland in The Maryland School of the deaf. Students will now be off on Thursday, March 24, 2016 (teacher work day) and Tuesday, April 26, 2016 (primary). Students will now have school on Monday, April 4, 2016 and Tuesday, April 5, 2016, which were initially days off for students. This year the spring break is shortened while more days are given to chilly snow days. Free breakfast for all students next week to celebrate the growth of the free breakfast program over the last five years by Charles County.

Loudoun County administrators will also open Riverside High School for the first time. On the other hand some elementary students in Prince William County will start the year in brand new school.

This is the time of the year when your child no matter if he is an old student or a new arrival in the school will have new teachers with few new rules and she will let the students know how she is going to measure their progress. Parents should also sit with their child and discuss about their new goals. Your child’s ideas and plans might not be as spiring as yours but that’s ok. After all too much high hopes and high goals will hinder in your child’s natural growth of learning by experiences and failures.

A new STEAM program is being introduced in the new school, located in in Bristow. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“The goal is for children to learn those 21st century skills such as collaboration communication critical thinking problem solving,” said Kathy Notyce, the principal of Chris Yung Elementary School.

In Montgomery County schools more than 156,000 students are expected to enroll which enjoys the position of one of the largest school system in the nation.

It was a busy weekend in Harford County also as teachers were busy in back to school preparations. Roughly a sixth of the population of Harford County is busy this week as teachers were preparing their classrooms for students to return on Thursday. Nearly a sixth of the population of Harford County is engaged in the teaching profession.

With schools coming back in session, reaching school bus or dropping children to school in case of own transport, is going to become a panic job. But harsh driving is definitely is not the answer. From a numbers perspective, putting one sixth of the population of the county on roadways in mornings when a lot of the other five sixths of the population are headed to work means there will be more traffic jams.

Students of Sherwood High School, Maryland also head towards their school with sharpened pencils and high enthusiasm. Sherwood’s program of interest is the international studies program, and is also known for its music and athletic programs.

Back to School Photos

Your children going back to school is also a photo opportunity you don’t want to miss.  It doesnt matter if  it’s their first day of Kindergarten, entering University or college or anything in between, the first day of school is special and you’ll want to have your camera ready to go to capture these unforgettable moments. Our tip: Posed school pictures are great, but candid shots are priceless! Step back, and capture the moments where your children engage with their peers or siblings.

Back to School Shopping

This year,  Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week is Sunday, August 9 to Saturday, August 15. According to the website of the Comptroller of Maryland, the exemption does not apply to:

  •  Accessory items, even if they are priced at $100 or less;
  • The first $100 of a more expensive single article or set (as in a suit) of clothing or footwear. For example, if a customer buys a pair of pants costing $110, sales tax is due on the entire $110;
  •  Any special clothing or footwear primarily designed for protective use or not intended for everyday use

Shop Maryland Tax-free Week is enjoyed every year on the second Sunday of August in Baltimore. It is the perfect time to shop for shoes, clothes and any other accessories because no sales tax will be applied. Many parents also stock up the school supplies.

Back to school brings so much excitement with high hopes from parents who want their little ones to be Einstein or a scholar but while we have the best intentions, the pressure can be mind boggling for both parent and child.


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UMD and JHU Build Computing Center

Computer Center

New Computer Center to Boost Data Analytics Research

Big data has a crucial role nowadays and its influence can be encountered in multiple industries, from biology to astronomy, geography or computing. All researchers that use such data need very powerful computers as well as a lot of storage space in order to bring everything to fruition. This is why two important universities in Maryland started to work together in order to develop a very large computing center.

This initiative is called the Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center and it has received no less than $30 million in funding.

The facility will provide a lot of digital processing power that will supply the two funding universities, and it’s already finished, since it’s fully functional starting with this July.
Here you can find no less than 19000 processors and an astounding storage capacity of 17 petabytes, which is truly impressive to say the least.
The Vice President for Research and Chief Research Officer Patrick O’Shea for the University of Maryland states that the creation of this new research center definitely manages to make things a lot easier for professionals as they do need to process large data sets and other information. The interesting thing here is that the campuses have fiber optic cable connections which means that they can easily access the info without leaving their offices. This means that all aces can be perform remotely with each university having the capability to easily centralize the computing power.

One of the main reasons that lead to the creation of this research center comes from the fact that the efficiency wasn’t the best for most scientists here and costs became higher and higher. This is a solution that lowers the cost and brings in a better productivity with the help of high performance computers. And since the central unit is shared, there won’t be the need to create one for each institution, which means smaller costs for networking, cooling and other factors.
As we all know, supercomputing is popular for the very fast processing speeds but the main issue that researchers have is the fata they need to process is presented in some unparalleled amounts. Some fields like climate sciences, language science, genomics and neuroscience are very dependent when it comes to fast processing power!

The research center manages to add a lot of power mainly due to the Deepthought 2 computer that was launched last year. This one can perform no less than 250 trillion operations or even more than that, but at the same time it provides a petabyte of storage and it’s also connected with the InfiniBand network.

University Research Professor of Mathematics and Physics James Yorke, which is known for the chaos research told that the new device could actually come in handy when it comes to process biological big data and, at the same time, it can be used for sequencing among many others.

Based on what Yorke said, then new project is bringing in necessary processing power for the universities and at the same time it provides some extraordinary economic benefits as well.
It’s a great investment and one that adds a lot of value for the research teams.

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Delta Chi fraternity lost its university recognition


Delta Chi fraternity lost its university recognition Monday, according to a letter obtained by The Diamondback, which was addressed to chapter President Jack Canavan and signed by Student Affairs Vice President Linda Clement.

Clement accepted the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life’s recommendation to remove the chapter’s recognition after “the unacceptable patterns of behavior the chapter has exhibited for the past two and a half years,” Clement wrote in the letter.

Canavan sent an email addressed to “Chapter Presidents” on Tuesday, June 16, asking members of Greek life to write a letter to DFSL or Clement supporting the chapter.
“Although our chapter has had no negative incidents this semester, has contributed positively to the Greek community and has improved greatly in many facets, DFSL believes we do not deserve to be a fraternity anymore,” Canavan wrote in the email.

The chapter held an “away weekend” in December at a hotel in Pennsylvania, leaving more than $20,000 in damage behind, Clement wrote in the letter.
Following this incident, the chapter was placed on probation on Feb. 3 until December 2015 and needed to comply with “a series of self-imposed and DFSL conditions,” but the chapter let several deadlines pass and completed certain requirements months later, Clement wrote in the letter.

DFSL’s recommendation to revoke the chapter’s recognition contradicts previous letters “that said our recognition status would be reviewed at the end of the Fall 2015 semester, has no basis based on our behavior this semester, and threatens to set a dangerous precedent,” Canavan wrote.

And Canavan said he felt like DFSL did not handle the situation properly.
“I feel like a lot of the stuff was done behind our backs,” Canavan said. “Actively keeping us out of the talks and circumventing us was a poor move on their part and not a professional thing to do.”
Corin Gioia Edwards, DFSL advising and programming associate director, sent an email about Delta Chi’s removal to the “UMD Greek community” Wednesday.
“I hope this decision will serve as a reminder to all chapters in our community that the University is serious about the expectations we put forth, and about the values we espouse,” Edwards wrote. “Failure to uphold our collective mission … will result in grave consequences.”

In Clement’s letter to Jack, she referred to a Delta Chi “satellite” house as “a source of neighborhood and community complaints reported to university and county police.” Clement wrote that neither Canavan nor Chapter Advisor Jose Rodas addressed this problem properly and instead, reported that a new group of members would be moving into the house next year.
But Canavan said all the members who lived in that house were removed following a chapter membership review at the start of the spring semester.
“All of the members of that house were removed in the membership review because they focused on social aspects and partying, which we were trying to distance ourselves from,” Canavan said. “The university still kind of inextricably linked that house to Delta Chi.”

Clement wrote that she found it “disturbing” that those who entered the spring semester program had a combined 3.26 grade point average, which dropped to 2.61 by the end of the semester.
“While this drop in academic performance may not be attributed solely to membership in Delta Chi, it raises serious questions about the possible negative impact of membership,” Clement wrote.
The chapter’s recognition will be withheld for four years, or until all current active undergraduate members graduate, Clement wrote.

“I remained profoundly concerned that the issues outlined in this letter are reflective of a deeper problem in the chapter and have not been adequately addressed,” Clement wrote.
However, Canavan said the chapter had been trying to make a positive change with philanthropy events such as Delta Chi Movers, Bowling for Soup and Delta Chi Day all of which “raised quite a lot of money and quite a lot of food to help a lot of people.”

“The decision to remove us shouldn’t reflect poorly on the character of all of our members,” Canavan said. “Get to know us for who we really were and the good things we truly did rather than focus on this decision that has been made.”

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University of Maryland honors five women for career accomplishments


This President of the university’s Commission on Women Issues gives awards at Celebration of Women
While women still struggle to get leadership positions in many professions, the university recognized and honoured several women yesterday who excel in their fields and work also to assist too in the field.
This President of the university’s Commission on Women Issues recognized and honoured five women yesterday for excellence in serving as leaders and advocates for all women in the university community.

The annual Celebration of Women is aimed at “honoring women in the university who seek to change the structure and working climate for female gender (girls and women),” as stated by Ellin Scholnick, commission chairwoman. The commission has distributed these awards for more than 40 years, but Scholnick said women on the campus still face challenges in achieving success.
“People think that the issues related to women have been solved, but they haven’t ,” she said.
The University President Wallace Loh said that while progress has been made with the roles of women in academia, he does not think full participation and equality will be achieved during his time.
“Although enormous progress has been accomplished here and elsewhere in academia about the role of women as students, as faculty, as staff and in terms of the progression into leadership roles eventually, this is a journey, it’s not a destination,” Loh said.

Krishna Bhagat, a doctoral candidate in the behavioral and community health department, received the award for Outstanding Graduate Student. Bhagat works with the College Park Scholars Global Public Health program, Public Health Without Borders and the Half the Sky Movement to raise awareness of women’s health issues, female empowerment and gender equality.
Bhagat stated several personal experiences she had, from teaching classes to navigating her own role as a wife, daughter, sister and friend, all connect to the powerful role of women.
“The least I can do is to challenge myself and every other student out there who has hopes of making a difference in the world, to continue to actively and meaningfully draw parallels between everything we do and the larger sociocultural context,” Bhagat said, “which inevitably includes women’s issues whether it’s labeled as such or not.”
Carol Bonkosky, recipient of the Outstanding Non-exempt Staff award, became an HVAC apprentice at this university in 2005 after being laid off from her previous photo-finishing job of 31 years. She has since become a mechanic.

“This wasn’t an easy starting over kind of thing to do when I was that far past ‘girl,’” Bonkosky said. “Those who helped me helped me succeed, and I hope to be able to help other people succeed in the future.”
University Police Maj. Carolyn Consoli received the award for Outstanding Staff member. Consoli began her career as a police aide more than 20 years ago and said she faced many challenges as she elevated through the ranks of a male-dominated field.

The department of 104 sworn officers has 16 women, Consoli said, and they often rely on one another for support.
The commission named Nina Harris, public policy school assistant dean, Outstanding Woman of Color for her efforts to promote diversity and leadership. Harris leads the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program and the Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program, and she strives to develop students into the “next generation of leaders.”
“Humans are capable of creating a world full of justice, equity and peace where race, gender and orientation do not define us but unite us, where responsible and ethical decisions are the norm,” Harris said.

Brooke Lecky Supple, the Division of Student Affairs Work-Life Initiative chairwoman, received the award for Outstanding Woman of the Year. Supple said she decided to study work-life balance after she got married and had a baby and found it difficult to combine childcare and work.
The Work-Life Initiative has worked for six years to create more opportunities for employees and has attempted to change the culture of this university, she said.
Loh said it is imperative to always celebrate individuals who contribute immensively to this progress and promote women’s engagement and leadership.
“To effect change is not just changing individuals, is changing the culture of organizations,” Loh said.

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