The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 8, 1999
November 8, 1999
VOL. 29, NO. 11


In Brief

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Students pen worship guide for new Interfaith Center

The Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center at Homewood was built in part upon the belief that we should embrace and understand other religions, not succumb to ignorance and fear of them. In that same spirit of understanding, a group of 11 undergraduate students, representing 10 religious groups, have contributed to a worship guide that offers brief descriptions of all the distinct services and rituals that take place at the new center.

According to Sharon M. Kugler, university chaplain, the booklet is intended to demystify the various services by describing them "through the eyes of a stranger."

"We thought it would be a wonderful idea to put something together, in the students' own voices, on what one should expect when he or she comes to worship here," Kugler says. "But these are not scholarly descriptions; they are from the heart. I left it up to the students to be as creative as they wanted to be."

The booklets--available in the building's glass-enclosed vestibule and multiuse space--also contain a warm introduction by Kugler and some short statements from various students about their hopes for the center. One student describes the facility as "a place where barriers disappear and our souls understand each other."

The Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center officially opened on May 2. An up-to-date list of service times and a religious events calendar is available at

APL to build sled test facility as part of NHTSA contract

As part of a five-year $2.7 million contract with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Applied Physics Laboratory will build an on-campus Transportation Safety and Biomechanics Research Center, including a deceleration sled test system, to help gain a better understanding of injury-causing mechanisms in highway vehicle crashes.

"Along with sled tests that simulate the dynamics of vehicle collisions, we'll be using advanced computer modeling and laboratory testing to help NHTSA develop improved injury criteria and better safety regulations," says Dennis Kershner, APL director for transportation. Mike Kleinberger, Jack Roberts and Matt Bevan will be the leads in this new research area.

APL's mechanical and biomechanical expertise will be supplemented through collaboration with the schools of Medicine, Engineering and Public Health. Other research team members include the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and the National Study Center for Trauma and Emergency Medical Service.

In addition to biomechanical research, APL also will be working with NHTSA to design and test next-generation crash test dummies and advanced instrumentation.

"I anticipate that this core injury research program will lead to associated work from other customers, including the Federal Railroad Administration, the Department of Justice and members of the automotive industry," Kershner says.

Performance will celebrate Native American heritage

Reuben Fast Horse will give a performance titled Celebrating Native American Heritage: Native American Dance and Music at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 17, in Homewood's Shriver Hall.

Born on the Standing Rock Sioux (Lakota) Reservation, Fast Horse now resides on the reservation at Fort Yates, N.D., and is certified by the Lakota tribe and the North Dakota State Board of Education as an "eminent scholar." A singer, dancer, flutist, drummer, craftsman, storyteller and educator, he performs traditional songs in the Lakota, Ojibway, Dine and Blackfoot languages and shares with the audience his knowledge and First Nation perspective. Included will be rarely performed buffalo and eagle dances from the Lakota culture.

This performance is part of the Wednesday Noon Series, presented by the Office of Special Events, and is co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

World's nonprofit sector quantified in new IPS book

Researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies have published the first comprehensive country-by-country breakdown of the size, scope and structure of the world's nonprofit sector.

Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector is a 511-page volume and the result of years of study by nearly 150 researchers in 22 countries.

"While some of this data has previously been made available through smaller reports, this is the first collected volume of our work," said Lester M. Salamon, a professor and director of the institute's Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project. "It provides an analysis of the nonprofit sector around the world using systematic comparative data."

The work describes and quantifies the nonprofit sector in countries such as the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany as well as in Japan, Israel and Australia. Eastern European nations such as Poland, Hungary and Romania are included, as well as Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

This book demonstrates that the nonprofit sector is a far more significant economic force than commonly understood and that substantial differences exist in both the overall size and composition of this sector in the various countries studied.

In addition, the work shows that the nonprofit sector is growing and that volunteers play an important role, even though private philanthropy has much less of an impact in financing this sector than does government or fees for service.