AY 2020-21, Issue XXV | April 2, 2021
Sports and COVID-19 Graphic
Jacob Fishman/The Eagle
This is the latest edition of our newsletter covering our work from March 26 to April 1. To read any of these stories and more, check out our main website or our coronavirus website, which covers news related to the pandemic. 

The Eagle is proud to present our Spring 2021 digital print edition.

By: Isabel Wolff (iwolff@theeagleonline.com)
The Eagle Explains: The other face of volunteer trips
By: Isabela Linares Uscher, Opinion & El Águila Writer (ilanares@theeagleonline.com)

For El Águila, I decided to write about the reality of mission or volunteer trips. When I was in high school, my dream was to go on one of these trips, but I later realized that I only wanted the romanticized and picturesque version of one. These trips have been so romanticized that people started seeing them as something to celebrate and normalize; however, I wanted to show the other side of the coin in my article. 
Before I began writing, I had to go back to the research that I did about the trips when I wanted to participate in one. But mostly my reference point was a conversation that I had with my parents. They were the first ones to make me think differently toward this topic, and for me, it became the backbone of the article’s thesis. They told me that if I wanted to really make an impact I should start by looking at my own community, after all, it is the place I know and understand the most. From this starting point, I began to read about the impact that the volunteer trips have in the communities where they take place. At this point, I was able to understand how these trips often lack cultural education, and in fact, might have a negative impact on the community they are trying to serve in the first place. 

The more I read about mission trips, the more I was able to see how mission trips are probably better as an idea than in practice, even when these trips produce something tangible for the community they are helping. For this reason, I decided to search about the mission trips that build houses for those who need them. Sadly, I learned that even if houses are built on this trip, the help often isn’t optimal. The key example that I found was the one of Honduras; if people simply donated the money that they invest on going on the trip, local communities would be able to build twice as many houses. This information really opened my eyes and allowed me to establish a solid argument for the piece.
This article by no means seeks to put on the spot all those who participated in these trips; the purpose is to bring awareness to the harm of mission trips, in order to improve the way we act. I find it incredibly important we hold conversations about these types of issues in order to disrupt the status quo, and change how we think about certain things.

Versión en Español: La otra cara de los viajes misioneros

Para la versión en español de El Águila decidí escribir sobre la realidad de los viajes misioneros más conocidos como voluntariados. Cuando estaba en el colegio soñaba con hacer uno de estos viajes, pero después de un tiempo me di cuenta de que era más la imagen externa que el viaje en sí. Han sido tan romantizados que la gente los empezó a ver como algo para celebrar y normalizar. La idea del artículo es mostrar la otra cara de la moneda.
Para empezar a escribir tuve que devolverme a la investigación que había hecho sobre estos viajes cuando quería participar en uno. Pero más que todo me puse a pensar en una conversación que tuve con mis papas. Ellos fueron los primeros en hacerme pensar diferente sobre este tema; consecuentemente se podría decir que esta conversación se volvió el pilar de mi tesis. Me dijeron que si quería hacer un cambio real, más que algo para mostrar, por qué no mejor me concentraba en mi comunidad. Siguiendo esta idea empecé a leer sobre el impacto que tienen los voluntariados en las comunidades en las cuales se llevan a cabo. En este punto pude entender como para poder ayudar de verdad tiene que haber un entendimiento cultural el cual no hace parte de los voluntariados y el impacto negativo que puede llegar a generar. 
Entre más leía más podía ver como la intención de ayudar a las personas se quedaba en ideas más que algo tangible. Por esta razón tomé la decisión de buscar sobre los voluntariados que ayudan a construir casas para las personas que lo necesitan. Lastimosamente, me di cuenta de que por muy tangibles que sean las casas, esos voluntariados no están creando un impacto efectivo. El ejemplo que encontré fue el de Honduras; en este caso si las personas en vez de ir al viaje donaran el dinero, las comunidades locales podrían construir el doble de casas. Encontrar esta información fue lo que más me abrió los ojos a la realidad y así establecer un argumento sólido.   
El artículo en ningún momento busca poner contra la pared a las personas que han hecho estos viajes. El propósito es generar consciencia para poder actuar mejor. Me parece increíblemente importante poder generar una conversación y romper con la información que tomamos por sentado muchas veces.
COVID-19 Update:
  • On March 29, 18 COVID-19 cases were reported by the University for the week of March 22. There have been a total of 127 cases reported for the spring semester. Nine of the previous week’s cases were reported from students living off-campus, and four cases were from faculty and staff. Five cases were reported among students living on campus. There have been more than 17,100 tests completed so far this semester, and over 2,700 tests were done last week. 
  • “It took people getting killed for people to start paying attention and that’s what is really frustrating to me.” Students and faculty sound off on AU’s commitment to the Asian community, from AU’s response to anti-Asian violence to institutional struggles. 

  • From Print: At the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic, students reflect on the emotional and economic struggles they've faced throughout the year. 

  • AU students employed as essential workers during the pandemic faced the hardships of balancing school, work and staying safe. 

  • The AU Board of Trustees met March 3 through 5 via Zoom to discuss matters including next year's budget and Black Affinity Housing. The meeting came amid backlash over a new board appointee

  • Democratic politician Beto O’Rourke will speak at a virtual event for students on April 6. The event will be hosted by KPU and co-hosted by the School of Public Affairs and AU College Democrats.  

  • From Print: The American University Summer Transition Enrichment Program (STEP) aims to prepare students who have not yet lived on campus for the in-person fall semester. 

  • Kogod School of Business Senator Zoë Washington was unanimously elected Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate on Sunday after former Speaker Ishita Jamar's resignation on March 21. Washington is the first Black woman to serve in the role since its founding in 2005.

  • From Print: Seniors in the Department of Performing Arts reflect on four years of shows, performing virtually and plans for the future. 

  • From Print: “'It’s a real collaboration between the teachers and students.'” With individual music lessons moving online due to the pandemic, students and instructors have found ways to adapt while still maintaining some sense of normalcy.

  • American University's classic works theater troupe AU Rude Mechanicals performed "Macbeth" via Zoom. Read cast and crew discussions on the limitations and successes of crafting the classic tragedy in virtual format.

  • Jamir Harris will play his last two eligible years of college basketball at Seton Hall. His younger brother also recently committed to the college, which is in their home state of New Jersey.

  • AU Swim & Dive is back this season with an additional 24 freshmen on the team. The large recruitment class should help build competition for both the men's and women's team. 

  • From Print: Junior forward for men's basketball Josh Alexander came into this season with a lot of uncertainty as to who would step up and fill the voids left by the graduated seniors. This turned out to be his breakout year.

  • In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the federal law barring sports betting; D.C. and 25 states have legalized the process. However, gambling on college sports poses moral and ethical dilemmas that teams may face in the future.

  • With the help of AU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the newly-created position of Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Well-Being, members of the AU athletics community have found support amid the uncertainty of COVID-19.

  • Despite a strong offense that forced the game into double overtime, AU field hockey lost to Bucknell 2-1 on Sunday.


  • From Print: "I want you to ask yourself: What does America mean? And what does it mean to be an American? Because as simple and common as it may appear to you, there is a problem that comes with it."

  • From Print: "I haven't undergone these things for myself, and I don't feel a part of the 'AU experience.' Instead, I feel left behind."

  • Opinion: “People who are running for AUSG should be prepared to do the job without getting thousands of dollars in compensation.”