Friday, February 18, 2011

Show us your alma mater

Today at Kelly's blog she's showing off her alma mater and asking others to do the same! 

I went to American University in Washington D.C.  I am convinced it is one of DC's best kept secrets.  When I would tell people I was going to be attending college at AU they would sorta pause and ask "where?" Well, AU rocks.  It is nestled in the upper northwest corner of DC.  It's a great area, it's in the district, but unlike Georgetown or GW it's in a more residential neighborhood.  Lots of the ambassadors live in the neighborhood behind campus and the Swedish Embassy and Homeland Security were right next door! One of the reasons AU appealed to me was the fact that I was in a city, but still had that smaller town feel I had grown up with - a win-win!

 AU was charted by an act of Congress, which means my diploma is endorsed and issued by Congress, now that is unique and only William and Mary and American University graduates can say that!
 AU is a small college, with around 5,000 or so undergraduates while I was there, but now I think it's closer to 6,000.  There are 5 "schools" within AU: College of Arts and Sciences, School of  Communications, Kogod School of Business, School of International Studies, and School of Political Affairs.  I was in the college of arts and sciences, but many people come to AU for the international and political studies programs.  AU is top in the nation for international studies, 3rd for political studies, and 4th for business! It was nice to be a psych major in a small program, only 32 people graduated with psych degrees in my class of around 1200!
 AU also has tons and tons of students from all over the world.  My first year there I lived on a floor with people from China, Japan, Korea, Senegal, Ethiopia, Brazil, Germany, and Bangladesh.  Throughout my classes at AU I met people from all over the world and learned all about their cultures - it was almost as if I studied abroad!
This is the Spiritual Life Center - AU is different than many colleges, instead of each religious group having it's own building or offices they all share one building on the campus.  The Jews (Hillel), Methodists (AU is a Methodist university according to it's charter), Catholics, Muslims, Sikhs, and Chi Alpha - meet and gather here.  I met people I never would have met had Hillel had it's own building on campus.  The sanctuary was a beautiful space that each group decorated for it's weekly service.  It really teaches tolerance and acceptance.  I found it amazing in my first year to be eating Shabbat dinner on Friday night as Muslim students went in and out of their prayer room - AU could teach the world a great deal about acceptance and tolerance, in my opinion!
The year before I started AU built an amazing arts building, it's stunning (this is just one small section of Katzen!).  I learned on my campus tour that if you lay the Washington Monument on it's side there is still room for half of another monument in the building! I also find it funny that I liked how AU wasn't under construction when I applied and decided to go there. Of course once I started there they were building new buildings and renovating all over!

This is a great bird's eye view of campus! It's not so huge - I could get from one side of campus to the other in a ten-ish minute walk! AU is also a national arboretum and the campus is gorgeous all year round, but in Spring there is nothing like seeing the campus full of tulips and daffodils and other beautiful flowers! Like I said, you forget you are in Washington DC!
Also AU isn't a huge sports school, we are division one NCAA and our men's basketball team and women's volleyball and lacrosse teams have been to the NCAA tournaments most years.  We have no football team, but I like to joke we're too academic for that! The picture above (please ignore my tush!) is the back of one of the "joke" shirts - on the front it says "American University Football" and the back "Still Undefeated!" - get it? It's a must get t-shirt at AU!

So that is AU! I loved spending 4 years there and having 4 years to explore DC.  I lived 1/2 a mile from the amazing National Cathedral, I frequented the Mall and all the Museums, I saw many a motorcade drive by, was in the city for the historic inauguration, and so much more!

5 thoughts on the matter:

Brittney said... {Reply}

LOVE the Football shirts! What a neat idea with the religous center too! I love that everyone can worship at the same place!

Amanda Money said... {Reply}

Love your post! Sounds like a great school. That is so cool that your diploma is endorsed by Congress!
Thanks for visiting my blog

Shoshanah said... {Reply}

I had a few good friends who went to American, but I have to say I had no idea it was so small.

And while I went to a different college, we didn't have a football team either, but we also sold undefeated football t-shirts! I still love wearing mine!

Katie@Yoga Gal said... {Reply}

How interesting! I absolutely love DC, it is one of my favorite places to visit. Thank you for visiting and commenting over at Yoga Gal yesterday! :D

AndreaLeigh said... {Reply}

thanks for sharing! i've actually never heard of AU but it sounds just lovely.