Town Pride Town Wide

By: Talene Balian

Volunteering at the Town Pride Town Wide on April 30th was an experience I will never forget! At 8:30 in the morning, we gathered at the Clock Tower by halls, clubs, teams, etc. I was in lowrise group. We had to go around Willimantic and pick up any trash that we saw on sight.

At first, everyone was tired because of the time of day (and because it was a Saturday) but as the day went on, everyone started to have a good time and walk around everywhere in Willimantic. We all made jokes and got to know each other better! The event went on until noon and the Center for Community Engagement provided everyone with lunch.

I would tell anyone who goes to Eastern to sign up for this event because it was a fun time and you can do it with your friends and make new ones too! Come sign up Town Pride Town Wide at the Center for Community Engagement and have an experience you will never forget!

Day of Giving

By: Christina Sinclair

I have always wanted to help others, but I questioned why I should volunteer my time; and, as a college student, I wondered how I could possibly help others in need. However, with Thanksgiving approaching, I started thinking about the many people that won’t be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner; and then, I decided to go the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) to see what volunteer programs they had. The one that stood out to me the most was the Day of Giving Food Drive, so I signed up, and within a day I had an email with the day and time I was volunteering. I was so excited!

On the day of the food drive, we went to the Willimantic Co-op and asked people to donate money and/or food for the Covenant Soup Kitchen. We set up by getting carts and boxes to put the donations in, making signs to hold up, and making flyers to hand out to the customers that walked by. We talked to the customers before they went in to the store, and they were more likely to bring out a canned good or box of food to us for donation than those that ignored us. Almost everyone tried to donate at least one food product, and, in fact, most people donated more than one item! When the day was finished, we had money that was donated, as well as a cart and a huge box filled with food products!

Not only was I able to help people in need, but I also got to talk to people from the Willimantic community. Most people would stop to talk to us, and would listen when we told them about the fire truck that goes around town to alert people when it is time for lunch or dinner, and then we told them how helpful their donations would be. They would tell us that we were doing a good deed, and then would express interest in signing up to volunteer at the Covenant Soup Kitchen. Before this event, I used to think that people did not care about others and just did what was best for them, but everyone in Willimantic showed caring for one another. It made me realize that there are good-hearted people who want the best for their community and the people that live in it.

I recommend that people volunteer for the Day of Giving and any other programs that the CCE has to offer, because it makes you feel better about yourself and helps hundreds of people in need. The food that is donated from the Day of Giving food drives helps people from the Windham community. UntitledIt is cooked and served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the people in the community that are in need of a good meal.

To look at photos of this event, check out our Flickr account! Day of Giving


Arts & Culture Day 2016

By Michael Rouleau

The Betty R. Tipton Room at Eastern Connecticut State University was transformed into a frenzy of Irish culture on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, as more than 250 schoolchildren from Willimantic converged on the university for the annual Arts and Culture Day, hosted by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE).

Traditional Irish music played in the background as children enjoyed Irish step dancing, leprechaun arts and crafts and other educational activities, such as learning about energy sustainability in Ireland. United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut donated age-appropriate books about Ireland to all the children, and Eastern’s food service provider Chartwells provided Irish soda bread.

“It’s important for the kids to learn about different cultures because we’re such a culturally diverse town,” said Rebecca Russell, a student leader with the CCE who helped organize the event. “I love having them here on campus, they have so much fun.”

Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) hosted a display and crossword puzzle activity about peat and sustainability in Ireland. Peat briquettes, which are composed of compressed decayed vegetation, are a common heating source in Ireland and other wetland regions.

“It’s exciting to be involved with the youth, letting them know about different countries and how they use energy,” said Laura Miller, energy technical specialist with the ISE. Miller has family in Ireland and explained that the country also utilizes a lot of wind energy.

The children also learned about the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the New Testament that was produced in Ireland, Scotland and England. With markers and crayons, children drew their own illuminated manuscripts.

Arts and Culture Days in the past have focused on Russia, Puerto Rico, Africa and India. “The kids get to learn about something totally new and foreign to them,” said Emily Cameron ’15, Eastern alumna and current AmeriCorps VISTA with the CCE. “It’s a lot of fun!”

To look at photos for this event, check out our Flickr account! Arts and Culture Day

“Donate your blood for a reason, let the reason be life!”

Posted by Jendiya Williams
April 8, 2015

I always wanted to donate blood to the American Red Cross but my extremely irrational fear of needles has hindered me from achieving that. So I thought to myself, how could I somehow contribute to a blood drive without having to give blood? Well it was obvious to look into some volunteer opportunities. So I did. I decided that I was going to get involved in the Red Cross blood drives that where being held here at ECSU. It was such a gratifying experience and I absolutely want to thank them for having me as a volunteer and granting me such a humbling experience.

I would definitely recommend becoming a volunteer for the Red Cross if you would like to contribute to the organization. Otherwise, donating blood is an awesome idea! Here is a little information about the donating process for those of you who may be interested.

Blood donations help millions of patients in need. To make the journey from “arm to arm,” every unit goes through so many steps and tests to ensure that it is as safe as can be. After finding a blood donation opportunity and going through a short health history questionnaire and mini-physical, the Red Cross collects about 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes from each donor. The donation is stored in an iced cooler and then transported to a Red Cross manufacturing center, where it is then scanned into a computer database and sent off.

The blood is received in one of three Red Cross National Testing Laboratories where a dozen tests are performed on each unit of donated blood – to establish the blood type and test for infectious diseases. Within 24 hours, the test results are transferred electronically to the manufacturing facility and units that are suitable for transmission are labeled and stored in refrigerators. This is the blood that is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To look at photos of the Blood Drive, check out our Flickr account! Blood Drive

Day of Giving


Eastern Connecticut State University held it’s eighth annual Day of Giving at Hurley Hall dinner. Hurley was filled with hungry people and volunteers to help with the dinner before the day of Thanksgiving. Transportation was provided by the Center of Community Engagement (CCE).

“This is our eighth Day of Giving. It is a community meal that is a great collaboration between many partners at Eastern,” Kimberly Silcox, Director of the Center of Community Engagement.

Student volunteers who were traveling far from the holiday were asked to opt out of volunteering this year so they won’t have to drive home in the snow, though students who live locally were welcomed to stay. “This year is a little different because of the weather. We had to move it up and we sent all of the students home last night so they won’t have to drive in bad weather,” Silcox said. Usually, 50-60 students and 300 to 400 community members come to participate each year. Despite the weather, the people who helped stayed strong.

“I think it’s a really great cause and I see a lot of people from the community who get to come out here and enjoy it together” Kaitlyn Murphy, Eastern Student.

Student musicians play live music each year. This year was student duo, Max Robinson and Eva Alfonso.

There were also fresh pairs of socks available for anybody who wanted them, from Chartwell’s Safety Shoe Program.

“We put all of the socks together and we’re giving them away to people who want fresh, warm socks,” Jason Coombs, Director of Chartwells Dining Services.

Community members who sat down for their Thanksgiving meal said they had a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. “This is my first time,” said Leonard Maxwell as he sat with a group of friends. Maxwell said he was thankful for “all of us being together.” Andy Eggen said he was thankful for his mom, dad and “living good,” while April Waite, who was with her two children as well as a friend, said she was thankful for her family and job. Waite’s daughter, Symarie Edwards, said she was thankful for her family and her home.

To look at photos at this event, check out our Flickr account! Day of Giving

Relay for Life


The Windham Community participated in a rally for cancer awareness called “Relay for Life.” Relay for Life is an annual event the American Cancer Society holds through out the United States. The event is about cancer survivors and volunteers rallying for cancer awareness, and that cancer is a treatable and preventable disease.

The Center of Community Engagement had over fifty students from Eastern Connecticut State University to volunteer, and participate in the rally.

The event took place on the baseball field at the Mansfield Sports Complex. The Willimantic Community raised $4,639, while the whole Windham Community raised $65,764.69.

Ellen Gillette who works at Eastern’s IT Department, was a cancer survivor. Gillette has never done a relay before, but her son and daughter had. Eight and a half years ago, Gillette was diagnosed with lymphoma. When she was diagnosed, she had chemotherapy and surgery, which got rid of her cancer, and her lymphoma has not returned ever since. Gillette is still feeling strong and healthy today. She joined Relay for Life with the staff from ECSU as survivors. She planned to be more involved to fight cancer.

“It takes a village to fight cancer” – Ellen Gillette

Student Activities and Community Service Fair


On Monday, September 8th, The Center of Community Engagement was part of the Student Activities and Community Service Fair. The Fair, was to promote clubs across the campus, in order to gain new members. Four hundred and three students signed up at the CCE table.

“It was nice to see people joining CCE and getting involved in the community.” – Lily Egan

There was another table that was with the CCE. Program coordinator, Alyson Iannicelli, started a new program in the CCE called, Jumpstart. Jumpstart is an AmeriCorps program serving low-income preschools working on language, and literacy development. Jumpstart had over ninety students signed up at the Student Activities Fair.

“With Jumpstart as a new program, I was excited to see all of the students interested in joining the community, but also impressed about how they are committed in finding a service program.” -Alyson Iannicelli

The American Red Cross comes to Eastern!

The American Red Cross is known for may things, and the number of blood drives across the nation makes them the largest blood collection organization in the country.

The blood that the Red Cross collects is delivered to a Red Cross blood component lab where it is processed into red blood cells, plasma, platelets and/or cryoprecipitate. That meas that your blood donation can help up to 3 people!

The basic criteria for donating blood are as followed: you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

At Eastern’s blood drive last year, students, faculty and staff donated 87 productive pints the first day of the drive, surpassing Eastern’s goal, set by the American Red Cross, by 8 pints. On the second day of the drive, 98 pints were donated, surpassing the goal by 4 pints.

Today is the final day for Eastern’s blood drive. It is taking place from 10:30am-4pm in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Help save a life, consider donating blood.

To find out more information about donating blood visit
To find out more information about the American Red Cross visit

To look at photos of the Blood Drive, check out our Flickr account! Blood Drive

Thank you!

What is Relay for Life?

By: Chelsea Haddad
Thursday, October 3, 2013

(You can find all of this information on the Relay for Life website:

Relay for Life is a twenty-four hour walk put on by the American Cancer Society. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness and money for all different forms of cancer.

“Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths” (

Relay for Life emphasizes community and hope, as everyone, from young children to college students to grandparents, join together to fight against a disease that is impacting millions of lives.

Where do the donations go?

  • Cancer Research
  • Hope Lodge: “provides a free and comfortable place for patients and their caregivers to stay, so they can focus on getting well”
  • Providing the transportation cancer patients need to get to and from their treatment.
  • As well as other programs that support patients as they go through their treatment and post-treatment

Relay For Life has become a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.
Is there a Relay for Life event near Eastern Connecticut State University?
Chelsea Haddad, a senior at Eastern, is the liaison between ECSU and Windham’s Relay for Life Chapter. Below is her message to anyone who may be interested in being a part of Windham’s Relay for Life:

Thank you for your interest in Relay for Life!

Our Next relay is October 18-19th, 2014 at Eastern’s Ball Field!

We would love it if you would be involved. You could start or join a team, join the planning committee, or volunteer the day of the event. We are always looking for new teams and it is great to get your team signed up early and to have plenty of time to raise money! The planning committee is always looking for more people to help us put on this event. If you wanted to volunteer day of event and help out we would appreciate that too!

I am a team captain and planning committee member and have been doing Relay for Life for 6 years. I would love to answer any questions you may have about Relay for Life or helping out.

You can email me at if you are interested or if you have any questions!

Thank You.


Hi Everyone!

My name is Nicolle and I am interning at the Center for Community Engagement this semester!

The photo/quote above was something that I saw when I was scrolling through Pinterest. I love Pinterest. It always amazes me how many great ideas people have. Not only that, but I have gotten some great recipes off of Pinterest! There are also days when I go on Pinterest and I feel so encouraged by quotes, such as the one above, and the stories that people are able to share just by “pinning” something on their “board.”

Yesterday, I felt so inspired, and it was not because of something I saw on Pinterest or another social media site. I felt inspired because of what I saw at the Service Fair that took place alongside Eastern’s Activity Fair. There was table after table exhibiting all the amazing community programs; alternative break opportunities and special events taking place this academic year. Student leaders sat next to community members conversing about their projects and why they were important to them. Posters, flyers, stickers, sunglasses and candy made the tables look so interesting and engaging.

As I watched Eastern students, from freshmen to seniors, walk up to these tables, I saw faces light up with passion as genuine conversations took place on what issues interested them. Pages and pages were filled on student interest sheets with names, phone numbers and e-mails of those interested in reaching out to the community through volunteering.

There were tables featuring the CCE, the Food Justice Committee, the Alternative Break Program, The Access Agency, WAIM, Relay for Life, afterschool programs, The Journey House, tutoring programs and so many more!

I just wanted to thank everyone who came to run a table and everyone who supported the Service Fair. I love that I do not have to just read the quotes on Pinterest, or just hear about great things happening around the world on the news to be inspired. By seeing how many people were interested in signing up and wanted to find out more information about all the community service opportunities happening this year, I know that there is going to be some amazing, encouraging and inspiring things happening right here in Willimantic, Connecticut!

The Service Fair was only the beginning; Let’s get started Eastern Connecticut State University Student Volunteers!