University of Vermont

Burack Lecture Series to Host Disaster Researcher, Climatologist and Playwright

Three upcoming events sponsored by the Burack President's Distinguished Lecture Series will explore topics ranging from the humanitarian logistics of natural disasters to tree rings and draught to drag performance on the American stage.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, José Holguín-Veras, the William H. Hart Chair Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will speak on "The Lessons from the Haiti and Japan Disasters for Humanitarian Logistics" at 3 p.m. in Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building.

Holguín-Veras is recognized internationally as a leading expert in humanitarian logistics, the study of logistics in organizing the delivery, warehousing and distribution of supplies during and after disasters or other emergencies to people in affected areas. He is in charge of one of the largest research groups on this subject that specializes in the fusion of social science and engineering research, and the integration of field work, characterization and mathematical modeling of the various aspects of the relief efforts. His team has studied the most prominent disasters of recent times, including hurricane Katrina, Port au Prince earthquake, Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Tropical Storm Irene disaster, among many others. As a Burack lecturer, Dr. Holguín-Veras will present a critical analysis of the lessons from the catastrophes of Haiti and Japan, complemented by his work on Irene.

Also on Nov. 14, Connie Woodhouse, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona, will speak on "Tree Rings, Drought and Water Resources" at 4 p.m. in Livak Ballroom, Davis Center.

Woodhouse, who also works in Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, is an internationally recognized scholar and expert in the fields of paleoclimatology and climatology with applications to water resource management in the western United States. Her work has included a longstanding engagement with the reconstruction and investigation of long time series of past temperature and hydrological conditions using tree rings, understanding the driving climatological forces of drought, and working with water managers to assist future water resource planning in western states based on paleohydrological data. Her work has been used to inform adaptation and sustainability strategies for local municipalities and government agencies in arid regions.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Charles Busch, award-winning performer and playwright, will give a lecture titled, "The Lady in Question is Charles Busch." Busch, the subject of a documentary of the same name, is an internationally recognized actor, screenwriter and female impersonator. His talk will take place at 5 p.m. in Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building.

Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright.

All events are free and open to the public.