The e-newsletter of Eastern Connecticut State University
On April 16, The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council named Eastern as one of the 322 most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada.
In releasing the fourth annual edition of "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges" on April 16, the two organizations chose schools selected for the guide based on a 50-question survey conducted in 2012 of hundreds of four-year colleges.
The 322 school profiles in the guide feature essential information for student applicants -- facts and statistics on school demographics, admission and financial aid -- plus write-ups on the schools' sustainability initiatives. A "Green Facts" sidebar reports on a wide range of topics from the school's use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.
In the guide's profile on Eastern, The Princeton Review highlighted Eastern's Climate Action Plan, detailing the University's commitment to achieving a zero carbon footprint by 2050. The guide cited Eastern's effort to create a campus-wide culture of sustainability through green operational initiatives; green-minded education for first-year students; and the University's Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability Energy Studies majors.
"We are honored that The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council recognize Eastern's campus-wide commitment to green education," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Our Green Campus Initiative commits the campus community to lowering energy use, reducing water waste, improving recycling and procuring environmentally safe materials."
Ten percent of the campus energy consumption is derived from renewable resources, including geothermal, solar power, biofuel and purchased electricity from renewable sources. The campus also boasts four LEED-certified buildings, including a LEED Silver Science Building, featuring daylight harvesting, a gray water system, recycled flooring, native plants and a bio-filter system to reduce rainwater runoff. Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) addresses energy issues in our region by supporting the development of sound public energy policy, providing K-12 energy education and professional development and solutions to community resource issues."
On April 12, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the selection of Eastern and six other colleges and universities across the nation to participate in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Campus Resilience Pilot Program (CR Pilot). The seven institutions will help develop and pilot an emergency preparedness and resilience planning program, facilitated by community engagement, local stakeholders, campus leadership and students.
"Eastern will serve as a valuable partner in our efforts to help colleges and universities prepare for, respond to and recover from crisis and emergency situations," said Secretary Napolitano. "Through its work with DHS, Eastern will help us further develop best practices, resources and tools needed to assist campus communities nationwide in their resilience and emergency planning processes."
"We are very pleased that our University was chosen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as one of only seven colleges and universities to be part of this national pilot program," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Emergency preparation is a major part of our commitment to campus safety. We are honored to help develop best practices for improving campus preparedness on a national scale."
"Eastern is committed to being prepared for any emergency or disaster," said Jeffrey Garewski, director of public safety. "Key university personnel have received Incident Command System/National Incident Management System training, and additional training will continue as required to keep the university compliant with federal regulations. Originally developed from our Influenza Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan, Eastern's Incident Management Team oversees the University's preparation to effectively sustain critical campus services in the event of a pandemic or other major emergency."
For more information on the Homeland Security announcement, visit www.dhs.gov.
Eastern recognized four people who have made exceptional contributions to the University, their local communities, the state of Connecticut and beyond, at the President's Leadership Awards Luncheon on April 4.
Anna (Stankewich) Alfiero '62 received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes the outstanding leadership and professional success of Eastern graduates. Alfiero had an exemplary 35-year career in the Waterford Public School system, and was named to the inaugural class of inductees into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1992 by President Bill Clinton.
Alfiero also serves as the organizer of the Willimantic State Teachers College Class of '62. Last year, she chaired the committee to celebrate their 50th Reunion, and she is leading the effort to create a permanent, endowed scholarship that will honor the legacy of her classmates. "There were 60 in our graduating class," she said, "and we were the first class of schoolteachers who were required to take graduate credits and get our master's degree. We were supported and encouraged by our teachers and fellow students, and we were committed to leaving the world a better place than we had found it. I cherish those times."
The Hermann Beckert Friends of the University Award was presented to Professor Emeritus Stephen Kenton. Following a teaching career at Eastern of 38 years, during which time he became known for creating an ever-expanding network of math and computer science alumni, Kenton helped start an endowed scholarship in his honor. Through his enthusiasm and hard work, the scholarship has raised $51,000 to support math and computer science students.
Steve Watts received the ECSU Foundation's Distinguished Donor Award. In 2010, Watts established the LeClaire B. Watts Endowed Scholarship in memory of his wife, Lee, who taught Spanish at Eastern for many years before she passed away in 2009.
Also receiving recognition was Sandy Roth, who is the recipient of the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award. In addition to receiving her master's degree at Eastern, Roth created a scholarship to support history majors in memory of her late husband, History Professor David Roth. She also serves on the ECSU Foundation Board of Directors as secretary.
Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences held its 13th annual Student Research and Exhibition Conference on April 13 in the Science Building. More than 100 students, supported by more than 50 faculty mentors, presented projects and presentations showcasing nine departments in the School of Arts and Sciences. The exhibits included digital art, prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures and books created by Eastern students. The projects ranged from presentations such as "Artificial Structures in Marine Environments: Do Materials Influence the Success of Invasive Species?" by biology major Sheona Douglas '14 of Bloomfield, to "CIRC DU TAROT: The symbolism of the Major Arcana through Circus Illustrations" by communication major Lindsey Ancel '13 of Milford. Eastern's Jazz Ensemble closed out the ceremony.
The School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division held its 13th Annual Excellence Expo on April 24 in the Student Center. More than 150 students, supported by 11 faculty mentors, presented research projects and posters showcasing the five departments in the School of Education/Professional Studies. Presentations covered Communication Marketing and Advertising Campaigns; final projects from the Economics Senior Seminar; and a photography exhibit of framed prints and color slides. Poster research projects included topics on Communication Law and Ethics; Sport and Leisure Management; Early Childhood Education; Technologies, Societies and Communities; and Systems Analysis. Conference organizer Pat Kucharski said, "The research and creative work presented by students at this year's Expo was impressive. In fact, several judges commented on just how impressed they were. One judge in particular said that this was the best group he had ever seen. He was especially impressed with the independent research that students had conducted for their presentations."
Photography instructor Martin Seymour discussed student projects with Eastern President Elsa Núñez.
Jaime Gomez, dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Graduate Program, listens as Ashlie Alleyne explains her research poster, "Will Food be Your Friend or Foe?"
Kaolina Burchardt presents her senior economic seminar, "Application of Behavioral Economics in the Prevention of Human Trafficking."
Eastern students demonstrated their commitment to the community at several events in April. On April 27, Eastern's Center for Community Engagement (CCE) collaborated with the Town of Windham and the Windham Chamber of Commerce on its annual "Town Pride, Town Wide" event. One hundred and seventy Eastern students and six students from the University of Connecticut worked alongside community partners Diane Nadeau from the Windham Chamber of Commerce; Matt Vertefeuille, director of code enforcement for the Town of Windham; Thread City Development volunteers Lynn Duval, Karen Gilbransen and Andrew Gutt; Jean DeSmet, former First Selectman of the Town of Windham; and other community volunteers to beautify the local community.
Students and community partners worked together to sweep sidewalks along Main Street, plant trees and flowers in local parks and around town signs; paint the gazebo in Jillson Square; assist the Holy Family Home and Shelter with cleaning its attic; and many more projects. Jacqui DeCormier, volunteer coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA with the CCE, coordinated the student volunteers. Nadeau coordinated donations and community sites and Vertefeuille arranged assistance and support from the Town of Windham to make the event a success. Local business sponsors included Prides Corner Farm, Fred's Brick Oven Pizza, Hosmer Mountain Soda, Chris the Gutter Guy, C & T Home Improvement, O.L. Willard Co., Majestic Masonry, Positive Energy, Connecticut Country Store, Walmart, Home Depot, Subway and Stop and Shop.
On April 19, several community service programs won top honors at Eastern's Community Service Expo. Guest judges from the Willimantic community, as well as Eastern faculty and staff, awarded prizes in six categories, including Broadening Horizons, Putting Liberal Arts into Action, Going Green, Leadership Development, Strengthening Communities and Best New Program.
"The Service Expo is an opportunity for our students to share their experiences in the community, to reflect on their contributions and to articulate how the experience relates to their liberal arts education," said Kim Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement. "Eastern faculty and our community partners judge the projects in each category, and tell us how impressed they are with the dedication of the students."
The Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) middle school and high school afterschool programs won first prize in the Best New Program, Broadening Horizons and Leadership Development categories. The program also won runner-up in the Putting Liberal Arts into Action category. The Education Club's "Science Extravaganza" were runners-up in the Best New Program category, while the Social Work Club's WAIM "Adopt-a-Family" and "No-Freeze Shelter Toiletry Drive" was runner-up in the Broadening Horizons category.
The first-prize winner in the Putting Liberal Arts into Action category was the VITA Tax Assistance program. The Going Green category award-winner was "Alternative Spring Break: Generous Gardens," a community service effort that took place in South Carolina. The Strengthening Communities category first-prize winner was the People Helping People club's "Weekly Pen Pals Program with Natchaug" effort. Runner-up in the same category was the "Brooklyn Correctional Institute's GED Tutoring Program."
Eastern's Turkish American Student Association hosted its Fifth Annual Friendship and Unity Dinner on April 30 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Library. This year's dinner honored the 26 innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown on Dec. 14. Contributions made at the dinner will be donated to the Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund to support of Eastern students with financial needs who are studying to be teachers.
Sociology Professor Peter Bachiochi, who also serves as adviser to the Eastern Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, extended a big thank you to everyone who helped make this year's annual Jail & Bail fundraiser on April 17 a huge success. The event raised more than $8,000 for Windham Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics of Connecticut.
Bachiochi thanked the judges, everyone who was arrested and to others for their patience as he works to improve the event rules for next year. "For instance," he said, "next year we'll be sure to lay down the law and make sure that students don't think they can arrest their professors 10 minutes before class, and that our arresting officers know that too!"
Facilities management and planning staff who built the jail cell even got arrested. Media Services broadcast the "arrest" live on Channel 22, allowing the public to see people handcuffed and placed in the back of police cars. It was all in good fun though, as everyone involved enjoyed the day.
Bachiochi said what is most gratifying about Jail & Bail is that it "makes a difference in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities and for those in need of affordable housing." Jail & Bail is also part of the Dean's Cup competition.
Eastern's Women's Center coordinated a one-mile march on April 9 to address issues of gender violence. The march was designed to promote gender equality by critically examining cultural ideals of gender and gender relations. Students, faculty and members of the public participated and helped to address issues of how gender is shaped by social class, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation and geographic location.
According to the National Association for Women (NOW), one woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. NOW also reports that three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husband, ex-husband or male lover. Above, Jahaira Camacho '14 leads 40 students, faculty, staff and area residents in the march.
Five Eastern undergraduates, faculty and staff partnered with 13 students from Windham High School (WHS) on April 4 to coordinate a biodiversity expedition to Eastern's Arboretum, as part of the Eastern/WHS Science Mentoring Program.
The purpose of the expedition was to give high school sophomores taking Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses a chance to experience biology in action, reinforce their desire for STEM careers and welcome them to the Eastern campus.
At the Arboretum, students used the scientific method to measure tree dimensions, find invasive species and identify living organisms such as flying bugs, aquatic bugs and tadpoles. Their observations turned into solid questions and testable hypotheses. The students were surprised by the diversity in the arboretum pond.
Eastern students involved in the program included senior Jonathan Corbett, a biology major and program coordinator; sophomore Kim DePaolis, an education major; and senior geography major Max Goto. The expedition was led by Terry Haverkost, assistant professor of biology at Eastern. Brittani Mango, science teacher at Windham High School, supervised the high school students. Dorothy Potter, headmaster of WHS's STEM Academy and Luis Rodríguez, assistant director of Eastern's Center of Community Engagement (CCE), coordinated the project.
"The activity went much better than I could have ever hoped," said Corbett. "The students were engaged in the activity and seemed to be enjoying themselves the entire time. I was glad the students were able to see our facilities at Eastern, and I hope it encourages them to consider biology as a major. I am really looking forward to collaborating with Windham High School again to keep this program moving."
During the spring 2013 semester, students in Visual Arts Professor Nancy Wynn's class, Art 334: Exhibition, Documentation and Publicity Design worked to design and produce the visual identities for three art exhibitions. The first exhibition was "From Motherhood to Mother Goddess," shown at the Akus Gallery from March 14-April 25, 2013. During the process, students collaborated with each other and worked individually to visually interpret their concepts of the Mother Goddess. Students created a logo design, a color palette, graphic elements and a postcard design for the exhibition. As they created these visual elements, they were asked to think about how to reinterpret the elements into a design system. The system could then be reinterpreted for all collateral pieces that were needed. This approach ensured that the overall identity of the design remained consistent, thereby reinforcing the brand of the exhibition.
The students orally presented to a committee led by Nehru-Fulbright Scholar Neeta Omprakash, curator of the exhibition; Gail Gelburd, chair of the Visual Arts Department; Leigh Balducci, associate design and publications officer in the Office of University Relations; and Roxanne Deojay, collections manager for the Akus Gallery.
The students followed the same process in designing an identity for the exhibition "Chitraganda: Connecting the Polarities," which took place at the Provenance Center in New London from May 4-May 10, and a similar visual identity for the Visual Arts Senior Exhibition 2013 at the Akus Gallery from May 3-May 13. The students formulated a concept that would represent all the seniors that will be included in the exhibition--the concept of the individual within the whole emerged as the chosen concept.
Four members of the Eastern Math Club, along with Peter Johnson, associate professor of mathematics, attended the eighth annual Spuyten Duyvil Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Manhattan College in New York City on April 6. At the conference, students presented and discussed mathematical topics with other undergraduate students in a professional setting. Kyle Courtemanche, a senior from North Providence, RI, presented his honors thesis, "An Application of Markov Chains to Cross and Circle Games," which is a mathematical model on the game "Sorry." This was the first time an Eastern student has presented at the conference. "Presenting my thesis at the conference was an excellent opportunity for me to share my research with the math community," says Courtemanche. "My presentation was very well received and I am proud of this accomplishment, as it was the culmination of two years of work. I feel it has helped prepare me for a career in mathematics." Other students who attended the trip included Ricky Magner, James Chadic and Joe Nolet.
For two reasons April 20 was a special day in the lives of many people at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. That day, the Eastern soccer program raised $2,000 for the national "Be the Match Marrow Donor Program through a Goal-A-Thon Event, and also welcomed Tyler Belfleur as a permanent member of the program, in conjunction with the Team IMPACT! program. Members of the team solicited sponsorship for the Goal-A-Thon from family, friends and members of the Eastern and surrounding communities. Members and former members of the program were divided into teams of four to six players, and the teams played small-sided games until a combined total of 100 goals were scored.
Prior to the event, team members were introduced at mid-field, along with the 15-year-old Belfleur, who earlier in the day was "drafted" as the newest member of the program. A native of Canterbury, Belfleur continues his recovery from a brain injury sustained in an ATV accident last June. In recent months, he has progressed from being wheelchair-bound to using a walker and then a crutch. When meeting the team for the first time on April 20, Belfleur was able to walk on his own. Accompanying Belfleur were his parents, Steve Ball and Danielle Laguerre. (For more news on Eastern athletics, visit www.easternct.edu/athletics.)