Campus news in brief

Spike Lee attends screening of his latest film Chi-Raq in McConomy Auditorium

This Saturday, March 19, award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee attended the screening of his latest film, Chi-Raq in McConomy Auditorium. Prior to the screening, Lee also participated in a “Face to Face with Spike Lee” event and Q&A.

Chi-Raq is a satirical musical drama and modern-day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. The title is a combination of the city’s name and Iraq, meant to equate Chicago to a war zone. The film features a star-studded cast including Nick Cannon, Teyonah Paris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Basset, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, and Jennifer Hudson. It won the 2015 African-American Film Critics Association’s Best Independent Film Award. It is also part of the 2016 CMU International Film Festival “Faces of Conflict” lineup, which runs March 17 to April 3 at various locations in Pittsburgh.

Throughout the duration of his career, Lee has been nominated for two Academy Awards, won one Emmy, and is known for using his films to express political beliefs and examine race relations, the role of media, and urban crime.

“*Chi-Raq* and several of our other films point to the conflicts on our own turf,” stated Jolanta Lion, a director of the film festival and assistant director of the Humanities Center in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Having Spike address these issues in person is sure to empower our audience to be vehicles of change.”

Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation hosts Energy Week

March 14 through 18 marked Energy Week, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. The event was composed of over 100 renowned experts working to make more efficient, affordable, and sustainable energy. The event is first of its kind at Carnegie Mellon and was open to the public. Each day was themed. Monday’s theme was research, Tuesday’s was policy, Wednesday’s was innovation, Thursday’s was education, and Friday’s were field trips and the energy workforce.

Participants attended talks by top Carnegie Mellon researchers and other experts on the latest topics, participated in discussions and roundtables, and visited Carnegie Mellon labs and research centers to see Carnegie Mellon’s current efforts in energy. Various student competitions were also hosted.

The Scott Institute researches and develops new products in energy storage and distribution, nuclear and shale gas development, smart buildings and cities, electric energy systems, systems design optimization, and assessment in technology and policy. Launched in 2012 as a university-wide research initiative, the Scott Institute pulls together faculty from various departments and colleges in technology, policy, integrated systems, and behavioral science, as well as resources from external partners. It aims to facilitate real-world solutions for energy problems.

“That’s the whole idea of the Scott Institute,” said Andy Gellman, professor of chemical engineering and co-director of the Scott Institute. “We support deep research that leads to new products and new ways of doing things to improve energy and help Pittsburgh and the nation.”