Upcoming FOCUS Events
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FOCUS Event Recaps
Experts at a recent panel discussion said the environmental impact on communities, diversity in hiring and other energy justice considerations must be considered in the development of fusion energy and sustainable construction.
That was the conclusion of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University speakers participating in a Jan. 24 panel discussion titled “Energy Justice and Sustainability” at Princeton University. The panel focused on the development of fusion energy as a clean and carbon-free way to generate electricity and on ways to make the concrete industry more sustainable.
Speakers included Arturo Dominguez, head of science education at PPPL; Claire White, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; and Andrew Zwicker, head of strategic relationships at PPPL.
The newest installment of the FOCUS speaker series featured a conversation between Judge Zahid Nisar Quraishi and Professor Udi Ofer of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). The event was hosted by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) in collaboration with SPIA and took place in Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall, at 4:30 pm on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
Zahid Nisar Quraishi is a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and a former United States magistrate judge of the same court. Upon being nominated by President Joe Biden and receiving his judicial commission in 2021, he became the first Muslim-American to serve on a federal district court as an Article III judge. Before becoming a judge, he previously served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office, and as a judge advocate in the US Army. Quraishi was an attorney at Riker Danzig LLP and was a partner at the firm from 2016–2019. Quraishi also taught courses on trial presentation at Rutgers Law School and Seton Hall Law School.
On Friday, Feb 24, 2023, ODUS hosted the first FOCUS speaker event of the academic year featuring writer, professor and speaker Dr. Chris Gilliard, in conversation with Professor Ruha Benjamin of the African American Studies Department. The program was co-sponsored by Campus Conversations on Identities. As students, faculty, and other members of the Princeton community filed into the iconic Chancellor Green Rotunda, rows of folding chairs quickly became full and the audience filled with anticipation.
Dr. Chris Gilliard is a Just Tech Fellow at the Social Science Research Council whose scholarship concentrates on digital privacy, surveillance, and the intersections of race, class, and technology. He advocates for critical and equity-focused approaches to tech in education and was recently profiled in the Washington Post. His works have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Ed, EDUCAUSE Review, Vice, Real Life Magazine, Wired, and The Atlantic.
Professor Benjamin specializes in the interdisciplinary study of science, medicine, and technology; race-ethnicity and gender; knowledge and power. She is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab and author of three books, Winner of the Stowe Prize, Viral Justice (2022), Race After Technology (2019), and People’s Science (2013), and editor of Captivating Technology (2019).
On September 21 2022, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students hosted a FOCUS Luncheon, featuring a small group of students, administrators, and faculty in discussion with Mario Moore h20. FOCUS is an interdisciplinary initiative sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students designed to bring anti-racist scholarship, thought, and action to every part of university life. The name and mission of FOCUS were inspired by the words of Toni Morrison, the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, and the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, one of Princeton’s most illustrious faculty members.
On Thursday, September 9, 2022 at 5:00 PM, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS), Princeton's Black Student Union (BSU), and the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality + Cultural Understanding (CAF) hosted B(l)ack Together, a networking event for Black undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Mitchel Charles '18, ODUS program coordinator, and Jes Norman h20, CAF education and outreach coordinator, welcomed attendees and thanked program supporters.
Princeton University is recommitting itself to combating systemic injustice. Of the steps it has taken, one of the most prominent is the FOCUS Speaker Series. FOCUS has brought some of the most prominent anti-racist speakers – including, to name just a few, Tracy K. Smith, Imani Perry, and Sarah Broom – to campus.
But alongside this flagship effort to bolster Princeton’s anti-racist education are dozens of behind-the-scenes changes designed to ensure that every no aspect of University life remains untouched.
At every FOCUS event, attendees are supplied with a free copy of the headliner’s book. It occurred to Manisha Chotalia, an office assistant in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, that the values of diversity and equity should be extended to the books offered to attendees as well as the authors who wrote them.
On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, ODUS, in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies (AAS) and the Council for the Humanities, hosted the first FOCUS Speaker Series event of the new year. The event featured author and journalist Sarah M. Broom in conversation with Professor Imani Perry of the AAS Department. This unique installment in the FOCUS Series took place in the Chancellor Green Rotunda with a limited in-person audience, and was broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.
Sarah Broom is the author of the bestselling memoir The Yellow House, which received the National Book Award and was named one of the New York Times 10 best books of 2019. Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. She has written six books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, which won the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction.
In the late afternoon of Tuesday, December 7th, students filed into the drawing room of Campus Club. The club’s drawing room was packed, the rows of folding chairs already full as people clustered at the back of the room and angled themselves so they could see.
The crowd – mostly composed of students, but which also included many other members of the Princeton community – was there for the first in-person event in ODUS’ FOCUS Lecture Series. After months of bringing fruitful discussions about race, identity, privilege, and progress to Princeton over Zoom, the FOCUS Lecture Series was finally brought to campus. The event featured Jordan Salama ’19, an author and journalist who has written for publications including The New York Times and National Geographic, in conversation with Professor Christina Lee of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Joe Rolón, Butler College Director of Student Life, provided a welcome on behalf of the Latino Princetonians, an Employee Resource Group sponsored by Princeton’s Office of Human Resources.
On Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 5:00 PM, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and Princeton's Black Student Union hosted B(l)ack Together, a networking event for Black undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. This year's event marked 20 years of Princeton's Black Student Union.
The final FOCUS Speaker Series event of the 2020-2021 academic year took place over Zoom on Tuesday, May 11th. ODUS was proud to host Professor Judith Weisenfeld and Pastor Eric Manning in a virtual conversation about race, religion, identity, and history in the United States.
Judith Weisenfeld is the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor and chair of Princeton’s Religion Department. Her most recent book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration, won the 2017 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions. Pastor Eric Manning served in US Army Intelligence before beginning his tenure as the reverend of Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. Mother Emanuel was the site of a tragic 2015 mass shooting in which nine members of the church were murdered because of their race.