You are here: American University Community Relations Newsletter January 2021 Neighborhood Newsletter

AU in the Neighborhood

January 2021

Message from Maria Barry, Director of Community Relations

Maria Barry

Dear Neighbors,

I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to all of us returning to a state of normalcy after a particularly challenging 2020.

As a first step towards a safe return to in-person, residential operations, American University will make available approximately 1,250 housing spaces for a two-month residential program that will begin on March 14 and end on May 5. Including students already approved for emergency housing, we intend to host approximately 1,500 students on campus during the second half of the semester. This program involves only housing and will not impact class modalities.

The university has consulted with the DC Department of Health and will follow their guidance. This residential opportunity will adhere to a rigorous protocol of COVID-19 testing and health and safety guidelines. The AU Forward Health and Safety Plan remains in effect, and all students will be required to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, follow health and safety measures and be tested twice a week.

While American University will continue dynamic virtual engagements in the months ahead, we look forward to this next phase of our return to campus.

Stay well, 

Maria Barry signatureMaria Barry
Director of Community Relations
American University

Spring Alumni & Community Audit Program Enrollment Period Ends January 13

American University’s Alumni and Community Audit Program will resume for the spring 2021 semester. The Community Audit program allows individuals ages 55 and older who live in the 20016, 20015, 20008, and 20007 Zip Codes to audit one course per semester for the nominal fee of $100 (plus course fees if applicable).  

To support local and university public health and safety guidelines, only fully online classes will be available to audit for the spring 2021 semester. This excludes courses facilitated by a third-party vendor and other courses as determined by each academic school. Enrollment will be limited to ensure that class sizes remain small.

The cost for the alumni and community audit programs is $100.  The entire fee will support the Alumni Association Scholarship, which is awarded each year to one first-year student whose parent or grandparent also attended American University.

The enrollment period will end on Wednesday, January 13. Completed applications will be processed in the order they are received.

Visit the Community Audit Program website to learn more about the program and to access the application. 

If you have any question, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations with any questions, Alumni Audit:

AU invites new parents to participate in a facial expression study

If you are the parent of a full-term newborn baby six weeks old or younger, American University’s Child Development Labs invites you to participate in the new “Baby See, Baby Do” pilot study. The purpose of the study is to help understand how infants can learn from their parents’ facial expressions.

Interested parents and their babies may participate in the 15-minutes long online study from the comfort of their homes. Click here to learn more about the study and register to participate. 

Families will receive a $15 Amazon gift card for their efforts.

To more about this and other lab-based study opportunities that your family may participate in, visit

School of Communication and Investigative Reporting Workshop host online talk Investigations and the Law: What Journalists Need to Know

Investigations and the Law, What Journalists Need to Know

February 9, 6 – 7 p.m. 

Join Barbara Wall and Thomas Curley in a conversation and Q&A about what to expect from your legal team; how to work with a lawyer during the reporting process as well as after it; and what to do if your news organization doesn't have a law firm on retainer. These two legal eagles have worked on many impactful editorial projects, including the Indianapolis Star's in-depth stories on years of abuse of girls and young women training in USA Gymnastics team. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. John Watson, professor of Journalism at American University’s School of Communication. RSVP:  

Help AU “Phil” Bender Arena This Basketball Season

AU and ESPN+

American University Athletics invites Eagles fans to purchase virtual tickets to help “sell out” each seat in Bender Arena for the upcoming men's and women's basketball seasons. The season-long initiative is presented by "TEAM AU" partner GEICO.

All ticket proceeds benefit student-athlete programming, equipment, training, travel, and academic support to provide our Eagles with everything they need to fulfill their goals on and off the court and fields of play during COVID-19.

"Although we won’t be in attendance to watch our Eagles take the floor in Bender, you can still support our student-athletes through your dedication and generosity by your participation in this program," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Billy Walker. "Let's show our Eagle pride and exceed our goal of 3,105 tickets this year to 'Phil' Bender Arena."

The "AU Founders" ticket price of $18.93 commemorates the year AU was founded. Fans may choose the number of tickets they would like to purchase and the option to donate any level of additional giving to a specific sport program during checkout. All contributions help towards this season and seasons to come.

The new season marks the start of competition for the AU Eagles after a semester without sports, and also is the start of a new era for AU's broadcasts. Games now will be telecast on ESPN+, as part of a multi-year agreement between ESPN and the Patriot League.

ESPN+ will be home to more than 800 annual events in the Patriot League, including AU competitions in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, field hockey, men's and women's soccer, wrestling and lacrosse.

The Patriot League will play league-only basketball schedules for the men’s and women’s programs. Teams will play primarily within a mini-conference, having one home game and one away game per weekend against the same opponent. You can view the complete men's basketball and women's basketball schedules online. 

You can find more information on the virtual tickets campaign on our website, as well as how to watch all games this season via the Patriot League on ESPN+.