http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jesus-christ-superstar/whats-the-buzz-strange-things-mystifying.html (one lyric leading to other lyrics...search What's the buzz lryics jesus christ superstar)
One source of that phrase (or should I say, those phrases) is the Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice Broadway (and road) rock opera musical production, Jesus Christ Superstar (ca, 1973) in which the repeating lyric, "What's the buzz, tell me what's happening," recurred repeatedly (much in style of scene and theme setting Chorus ala Greek tragedy) as an accompaniment to the soloist lyric in several settings and songs. As such, the phrasing served to some varying degree as an antagonistsic vehicle for revealing the protagonist Jesus' inner thoughts and frustations, soon resolved in a tragic recognition by Jesus of the apparent hopelessness of his cause.
To have best appreciation of both that source and the topic you raise, hearing the soundtrack of that play is a most worthwhile endeavor. Or film video although the musically & lyrically poignent opera, in this writer's opinion, translated best to audio.
Now, the time frame of that production is such that the performance and sound track release of Jesus Christ Superstar was almost certainly contemporaneous, more or less, with the academic years of the principals mentioned in your referenced report, or their parents(essentially, the senior leadership in Washington) . (If not seeing the stage production on major university campuses, a most likely majority of students and faculty owned or heard the 4-side, vinyl LP original soundtrack recording. The lyrics and the "What's the buzz passages" would have been familiar to the majority of college students and faculty, nationwide, during the 1970s. It is quite likely, to a virtually certainty, that the opera was the source most instrumental in bringing that phrase (in limited measure) into the common vernacular today. Before that time, at least within any living remembrance, it was a not-before-heard expression.