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March 2010 Archives

Eastern Celebrates Earth Semester

Written by Jack Meltzer

energy- semester residence hall-DSC_3187.JPG 

Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University's campus is observing Earth Semester beginning March 31. From March 31 through May 5 the University will host a series of events and lectures around campus that will raise public awareness of bio fuels, global warming and many other energy-related issues.  Admission is free and the public is invited to all events.

Eastern's Sustainable Energy Studies Program in the Department of Environmental Earth Science is seeking nominations for the 2010 Earth Semester Awards. Five awards will be given, recognizing faculty, students and staff for specific and exemplary contributions to Eastern's reputation as an environmental leader.

Nominations can be e-mailed to Norma Vivar-Orum at  as attachments or delivered by 4 p.m. on April 8 to Room 131B of the Science Building. Burkett Farquhar, owner of Eastern Mountain Sports in Waterford, will deliver the keynote address at an awards ceremony from 1 to 2 p.m. on April 21 in the Student Center Theatre.

 "Eastern holds social responsibility as a core value," said Norma Vivar-Orum, assistant to the chair of sustainable energy studies. "Earth Semester gives us an opportunity every spring to celebrate and renew our campus commitment to the environment. Some of our recurring events have grown in popularity and attendance by faculty, staff, students and members of the larger community. We hope Earth Semester 2010 events will build on our tradition and be enjoyed by record numbers of people."

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On March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, the Sustainable Energy Studies Program will host a workshop for homeowners, "Conservation and Solar Energy for Homeowners." Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of sustainable energy studies at Eastern, and Peter Governale, president of Tuscany Design Build, Inc., will lead the workshop. To register, call (860) 465-5729.

Also on March 31, from 3 to 6 p.m., students, faculty and staff will go on an educational hiking trip at Mansfield Hollow in Storrs. A van will leave the Clock Tower at 3 p.m. Persons interested in the trip can reserve a seat by emailing

On April 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building, Early Childhood Education Professor Theresa Bouley will lead a discussion of Colin Beavan's book, "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process."  The book chronicles Beavan's year-long effort to leave as little impact on the environment as possible.  During the year, Beavan relinquished motorized transportation, gave up many modern living accessories including electricity and even toilet paper, and began volunteering with environmental organizations.

On April 10, beginning at 10 a.m., the Fourth Annual Earth Day Three-Mile Trail Run and Earth Semester Challenge will take place at Mansfield Hollow State Park. Proceeds from the race will benefit the "No Student Left Inside" campaign initiated by the Eastern Outdoors Club. "We are encouraging everyone to attend and train to beat our target runners," said race organizer Vivar-Orum.


energy sustain- outside of science building-DSC_0786.JPGTarget runners are people whose sponsors agree to pay a fixed amount of money to "No Student Left Inside," an initiative of the Eastern Outdoors Club. The initiative was inspired by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy during her visit to Eastern in 2007. It encourages young people and families to get outside and enjoy state parks and the natural environment.

"For example, Rhona Free, vice president for academic affairs, is a target runner," said Vivar-Orum. "For every female student, staff or faculty member over 40 years old who beats Rhona in the Earth Day Three Mile Trail Race, a $50 donation will be made to the 'No Student Left Inside' initiative."

On April 21, a second workshop, "Geothermal Energy for Homeowners," also lead by Loxsom and Governale, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free, but registration is required.


energy-sustain- aerial of south residential villageDSC_1651.JPGThroughout the day on May 6 and 7 on the Webb Hall lawn, the Outdoors Club will host a No Student Left Inside Camp Out, distributing information on hiking; leading backpacking demonstrations; and sponsoring environmentally-related fun activities such as tie-dying, volleyball games, rock wall climbing and more. Farquhar will be on hand to discuss what camping equipment to buy before going camping, how to properly pack a back pack and more.

Also on May 7, from 10 a.m. to noon on the Science Building patio, the Department of Sustainable Energy Studies will present a variety of renewable energy demonstrations, including new technologies such as solar paneling fuels cells.

On May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Science Building, Environment Earth Science Professor Alla Smirnova will lead a demonstration showcasing fuel cells, green jobs and sustainability.


Nicole Rousseau Will Speak at Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann


Rousseau photo 2.JPG            Willimantic, CT - Nicole Rousseau, assistant professor of sociology at Kent State University, will speak about her book "Black Woman's Burden: Commodifying Black Reproduction" at 3 p.m. on April 7 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

            "Black Woman's Burden: Commodifying Black Reproduction" focuses on the historical exploitation of Black Female sexuality and reproduction in the United States.   

            Rousseau's work on the structural and institutional roots of race, class and gender inequalities, has been cited in numerous publications in the United States and South America. 


Eastern Professor Prepares for Trip to China

Written by Ed Osborn 


scott profile.JPG            Willimantic, CT - Elizabeth Scott, professor of business administration at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been chosen to participate with other postsecondary educators in a month-long Fulbright-Hays Seminar this coming summer.  Scott will travel to China for the month of July to take part in "History, Culture and Economic Development in China" along with approximately 15 other college professors, administrators and curriculum resource specialists.

             "I am pleased and excited to have been selected for this program," said Scott. "I am looking forward to visiting China to learn about its culture and social institutions.  I hope to use my experiences to create a course on Chinese Business Ethics at Eastern."

            Scott's trip to China is one of eight Fulbright-Hays seminars sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education this year; the other destination for postsecondary educators is the United Arab Emirates/Qatar/Kuwait. 

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            "Being selected to participate in this international program is a significant honor for Professor Scott and Eastern Connecticut State University," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "The Fulbright-Hays Seminar program is highly competitive and her participation will support her research and scholarly work during her upcoming sabbatical.  We look forward to Professor Scott sharing her experiences with the campus community when she returns."

            As China continues to transform into a worldwide economic power, U.S. educators are seeking to understand the world's most populated country so that they can share that knowledge with their students.  The seminar will examine China's history, culture, society and rapid economic growth. Lectures during the four-week seminar will provide opportunities to understand better both the country's fascinating past as well as its current social, economic and political challenges. Visits to Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and other locations will offer both historical and contemporary perspectives.

            The National Committee on United States-China Relations and the China Education Association for International Exchange are administering the seminar on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.


Eastern Inducts New Class of Alumni Fellows

Written by Ed Osborn

fellows with Nunez.JPG Eastern Alumni Fellow Inductees, left to right, Jeffrey Brown '79, chief administrative officer for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation; and Kathleen Weidman '79, CEO and president of Bright Systems, Inc. in Reno, NV; and Brett Harnett  '84, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery and associate director of the Center for Surgical Innovation at the University of Cincinnati, with Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez.


Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University inducted its second class of Alumni Fellows on March 18 in the Paul E. Johnson Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  Inductees included Jeffrey Brown '79, chief administrative officer for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation; Brett Harnett  '84, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery and associate director of the Center for Surgical Innovation at the University of Cincinnati; and Kathleen Weidman '79, CEO and president of Bright Systems, Inc. in Reno, NV.


DSC_3402.jpgBrown '79 earned his B.A. in public policy and government at Eastern and went on to receive an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is now the chief administrative officer for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation.  His responsibilities include overseeing the bank's operations, strategic planning, communications, public affairs, human resources and information technology functions. 

Thumbnail image for DSC_4926.jpg Harnett '84 earned his B.S. in Business Administration at Eastern and completed his M.S. in Information Systems at the University of Cincinnati.  He spent time in real estate and publishing before "falling in love with technology."    After a stint as a programmer at Yale, he moved to Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 to work on a NASA project, traveling the world to places like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Russia.  Today he works in the field of medical robotics and related technology at the University of Cincinnati. 

Weidman '79 received her B.A. in Economics and Business Administration at Eastern before earning her MBA from Babson College.  She is currently president of Bright Systems, Inc. in Reno, NV, a company specializing in the preservation and retrieval of large-scale electronic files in the media recording technology field.  Previously she ran a consulting firm for more than a decade. As the focus of that business, she became the temporary CEO of 10 different businesses, helping them through the challenges of transition, growth, and acquisition. DSC_3455.jpg

The Eastern Fellows program was established in 2008 to recognize and engage distinguished Eastern alumni in the life of the University.  This program is a means of enriching the educational experience of current Eastern undergraduates by exposing them to alumni who are able to share their work experiences with students.  "The Eastern Fellows program is an exciting and stimulating way to optimize the knowledge of accomplished alumni with Eastern's students and faculty," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Bringing these outstanding alumni back to campus to serve as positive role models will have a lasting impact on our students' lives and careers."

The first class of Eastern Fellows was recognized in October 2008 and included Adam Baldinger '88; Dr. Wendy Ernst '93, DVM; Fred Johnson '78; and Eric Lazo-Wasem '79. 

During the day on March 18, the three 2010 Eastern Fellows inductees visited classes; enjoyed lunch with President Elsa Núñez and other administrators; toured the campus; and capped off the day with a panel discussion shared with a packed audience of students and faculty.

            All three alumni said Eastern was instrumental to their success.  "My career started here," said Brown, remarking that his visit back to campus was "surreal."  The library site was the soccer field when he went to school at Eastern, and Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Bedini was Brown's resident assistant in the dorms in the late 1970s.  Weidman said that recently retired professors John Lombard and Ken Paryzch were "instrumental in my life, motivating me and understanding my potential."  She also found the progress being made on campus to be impressive: "Eastern's growth is amazing.  I am impressed by the quality of the teachers, their passion and their commitment to students."


The three Eastern Fellows provided the same counsel to students looking to enter the labor market:  "Demonstrate your passion."  As Brown noted, "You must be open to opportunities and you must make people want to hire you.  You should be in 'sell' mode."  Harnett concurred by saying he tells his own teenage son to always give "110 percent."

"Network, network, network," said Weidman. She indicated she does not use job boards or recruiters to hire people--"It's all about human contact."  




Renewable Energy Workshops for Homeowners

Written by Dwight Bachman

green campus loxsom with sutdents.jpg

Willimantic, CT. - The Sustainable Energy Studies Program in the Department of Environmental Earth Science at Eastern Connecticut State University will host two workshops for homeowners. The first workshop, "Conservation and Solar Energy for Homeowners," will be held at 7 p.m. on March 31 in the Student Center Theatre.  The second workshop, "Geothermal Energy for Homeowners," will take place on April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free, but registration is required.

            Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of sustainable energy studies at Eastern, and Peter Governale, president of Tuscany Design Build, Inc., will lead both workshops. The workshops are being presented as part of Earth Semester at Eastern.  To register for the workshops, call (860) 465-5729.

Eastern to Graduate Emergency Response Team

Written by Jack Meltzer


Thumbnail image for CERT-Pam Starr tries on helmet.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - On March 23, 16 students, faculty and staff will graduate from emergency response training they received at Eastern Connecticut State University over the past two months. The ceremony takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. in Room 223 of the Student Center at Eastern. Graduates will be sworn in by Windham Fire Marshall and Emergency Coordinator Mike Licata. Eastern President Elsa M. Nuñez will offer remarks at the ceremony.

Beginning Jan. 26, Eastern's Office of Environmental Health and Safety hosted a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which provides special training for individuals to prepare for, respond to and recover from a major emergency or disaster situation until other assistance arrives. Eastern is the first university in the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) to host the program, which was first developed by the Department of Homeland Security and is currently being used throughout the United States.

"CERT is about readiness, people helping people, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number," said environmental health and safety coordinator Eric Germain. "In the event of a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not always be able to meet all the demands for services,"

CERT- Lourdes Ardel tries on gloves.JPG 

During the ceremony, participants will simulate what they have learned in class. They will practice the skills used to rescue people who are trapped under debris.  During this simulation, a mannequin will be placed under debris and participants will lift the materials through the techniques they learned.

The classes included 23 hours of hands-on training in disaster survival and rescue skills. Participants learned home and work safety, cribbing, search and rescue, basic fire suppression, disaster psychology and more.

In addition, students learned disaster preparedness, which addressed hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community; disaster fire suppression, which covered chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies; disaster medical operations, where participants practiced diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques; and disaster medical operations, where students evaluated patients by doing a head-to-toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment and performing first aid.

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 Students also were taught light and rescue operations, where participants learned about search and rescue planning, rescue techniques, and rescue safety; and disaster psychology and team organization, which covered signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker.


Eastern's Tutoring Center Director Receives Grant

Written by Jack Meltzer


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Glenn Cassis, left, executive director of Connecticut's African American Affairs Commission, presents a $5,000 award to Margaret Hebert, acting director of Eastern's Tutoring Center, and  Frederick Hornung, tutoring assistant.


Willimantic, CT -- Margaret Hebert, acting director of Eastern Connecticut State University's Tutoring Center, has been named the recipient of a $5,000 grant presented by the KnowHow2GoConnecticut Network Re-Granting Award Program. The awards program is administered by Connecticut's African-American Affairs Commission, which announced the awards at a press conference Feb. 4 in Hartford.

KnowHow2Go is a multimedia campaign that provides high school students with basic steps to actively guide their preparation for a college education. The campaign reaches out to young people, their parents and family members and their mentors through television, radio and outdoor public service advertising, and an interactive website.


Eastern's Gallery to Present Iranian Women Artists

Written by Jakc Meltzer



Willimantic, CT. - Beginning March 25 and running through May 6, the Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present "Chahar Ghesmat," which means "four parts" in Farsi.  The exhibit will show the work of four female Iranian and Iranian- American artists working in a variety of media (film, photography, painting, collage) to portray women in Iranian culture. The artists include Taravat Talepasand, Afarin Rahmanifar, Mina Momeni and Farideh Shahsavarani.

There will be several events during April to celebrate this exhibition.  An opening reception takes place on April 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the gallery. A screening of the movie "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud takes place on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. For more information on the "Persepolis" screening, visit A gallery talk by Iranian-born artist Samira Abbassy takes place on April 22 at 2:30 p.m. in the gallery. For more information on the Samira Abbassy gallery talk,  visit  For all events, the public is invited and admission is free.

American-born Talepasand is the youngest of the four artists in this exhibit.   She studied Persian miniature painting in Iran and uses ancient, traditional techniques to create thought-provoking and politically-charged imagery. Talepasand says, "Growing up Iranian in America had been arduous and awkward.  American individualism and Iranian deference to tradition were irreconcilable."  She self-describes her work as realism and renaissance painting.  Talepasand is represented by the Marx and Zavattero Gallery in San Francisco, CA.  Her art work can be viewed at

RAHMANIFAR - RECESS 1 1 HIGH RES.JPGRahmanifar, born in Iran, immigrated to America after the Iranian revolution more than 30 years ago.  She now lives and works in Connecticut  and is an a part-time professor of Visual Arts at Eastern.  Rahmanifar creates collage and paintings with American consumer imagery juxtaposed with imagery from Iranian culture, such as the story of the legendary queen of Persia, Scheherazade, juxtaposed with Mattel's Barbie doll.  Her work can be viewed at Rahmanifar says, "Motivation for creating these hybrid personalities relates to how I see myself in the American society and the ongoing need to reconcile these two cultures that reflect both my past and present."

Momeni, born in Iran, now lives and works in Canada.  Her photographs are expressive and contemporary, but also circumspect and mindful of what is considered traditional, both culturally and politically. Like Rahmanifar, Momeni plays with the duality of myths about women as the "goddess of goodness" and also references traditions and stories such as that of Scheherazade.

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Momeni's use of color and symbol is dramatic, however--mirrors, geraniums, pomegranates, flashes of colors and expressions often reference both traditional Iranian literature as well as contemporary lifestyle. Momeni says, "It is too simplistic to think that it is possible to put a veil on Iranian Woman's thought forcefully, and steal the light of this modern age's intellect from her eyes." Her work can be viewed at


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Shahsavarani lives in and works in Tehran and frequently spends time in Illinois. She is a filmmaker, photographer and a professor at the Islamic Azad University in Tehran.  Like many Iranian filmmakers, Shahsavarani's work is political, confrontational and pushes at the boundaries of circumscription.  She touches on the topics of gender roles for women in Iranian culture. Shahsavarani began working more intently with film in order to "communicate more directly with the audience and to express her search for the light, the soul, the hidden meaning of life and the source of a new day."  Her work can be viewed at  

"These artists were selected based on their differing national and generational views and how their different experiences strongly influence their work and imagery," says Elizabeth Peterson, coordinator of the Akus Gallery. "Despite these differences, all create work with an opulence and richness which is very Persian. Of course, the increasingly charged political climate between Iran and the United States and a desire to shed a more thoughtful and human light on the subject, was the impetus for our developing this show."  

The Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information call (860) 465-4659 or visit   


FBI Correspondent to Speak at Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann


dinatempleraston.jpgWillimantic, CT -- Dina Temple-Raston, award-winning author and FBI correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) will address America's war on terrorism at 3 p.m. on March 31 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Temple-Raston will also speak about her latest books, "In Defense of Our America" and "The Jihad Next Door," the latter of which is about six Yemeni-American friends who were convinced by a recruiter that they should be good Muslims and go to Afghanistan to prepare for holy war. Upon returning to America, they were arrested and charged with supporting terrorism.  In "The Jihad Next Door," Temple-Raston explains the steps that led up to the men's imprisonment. 

Prior to working for NPR, Temple-Raston served as a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Asia, where she opened offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong for Bloomberg's financial wire and radio operations.  She also served as White House correspondent for Bloomberg News during the Clinton Administration. 

Temple-Raston won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for "A Death in Texas," which is the account of a grisly murder of an African American man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in the summer of 1998.  The book was also selected as one of the Washington Post's Best Books of 2002.  "Justice on the Grass," published in 2005, was a Foreign Affairs magazine bestseller. 

Temple-Raston earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University.  She also has a master's degree from the Columbia University's School of Journalism.  


Author Gail Carson Levine to Visit Eastern

Written by Kate Harner


GailCarsonLevine.JPGWillimantic, CT -- The Visiting Writers Series and Eastern Connecticut State University's English Department will present a reading by Gail Carson Levine at 5:30 p.m. on March 15 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library. A book signing will follow the reading. Refreshments provided by Eastern's Women's Studies program will be served. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Levine's first book for children, "Ella Enchanted," won the 1998 Newbery Honor Medal. Her book, "Dave at Night," is an American Library Association's Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults. Levine's other works include "The Two Princesses of Bamarre," "The Wish," "Fairest," "Ever" and the six Princess Tales books. Many of her works focus on traditional fairytales with a twist. She is also the author of the nonfiction book, "Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly," and the picture book, "Betsy Who Cried Wolf," illustrated by Scott Nash.

            For more information, contact Miranda Lau at (860) 465-4570 or


Eastern Student Wins Chemistry Achievement Award

Written by Emily Bonoyer



          Laura Hilton '12 and Charles Wynn, professor of chemistry


Willimantic, CT. - Laura Hilton, a sophomore Biology major from West Haven, has been named the recipient of the 2010 CRC (Chemical Rubber Company) Press Chemistry Achievement Award. The award is sponsored by the CRC Press; it includes a commemorative scroll and a copy of the "CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics."

Hilton is in the Honors Program at Eastern. Her career goal is to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.




Best of the East Dance Competition at Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann

  Thumbnail image for dance-PhunkPhenomenon.JPG                                   Phunk   Phenomenon                                                      

 Willimantic, CT - Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend the Third Annual Best of

the East Dance Competition on March 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Francis E. Geissler

Gymnasium at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The public is invited.  Admission is

free for Eastern students. Outside guests will be charged $10. 

            The dance competition, hosted by Eastern's Men Achieving Leadership Excellence and Success (M.A.L.E.S.) student group, will feature nearly a dozen of the best hip-hop dance crews from New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The winning dance team will receive $2,000 in cash and $100,000 in scholarships from the Hip Hop Dance Conservatory in New York City.

All of the teams have appeared on television programs such as "Live at the Apollo" and "MTV's America's Best Dance Crew." Eastern's dance team, The New Element, and another dance group, YNot, will also perform.

            WZMX's (Hot 93.7) G-Monday the Prince, host of a morning talk show at the station, will emcee the dance competition.  He will be accompanied by WZMX's DJ Bigg Mann. 

            "This will be one of the biggest events to ever appear on campus," said Omar Rodriguez, M.A.L.E.S. public relations officer. "Not only will this be a fun-filled night with exciting performances; all donations go toward a good cause - the M.A.L.E.S. Endowed Scholarship Fund, which benefits a Windham High School student. What better way to spend a dollar than to give back to an unfortunate student in the Willimantic area?"  

Friday after Dark, a Housing Office committee, is co-sponsoring the event with M.A.L.E.S.


Schools to Enjoy the Sound of Eastern's Music

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- The Chamber Singers and Percussion Ensemble of Eastern Connecticut State University will perform at E.O. Smith High School, Norwich Free Academy (NFA) and Windham High School. The concert at E.O. Smith will be held at 10:30 a.m. on March 16. The concerts at NFA and Windham will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., respectively, on March 19. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The high school performances precede the ensembles' tour of Boston, MA; Middlebury, VT; and the Capital District near Albany, NY. The Chamber Singers, conducted by David Belles, Eastern's director of vocal studies, will perform a variety of a cappella works from various genres of choral literature. The Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Jeff Calissi, assistant professor of music, will perform numerous "mobile" types of pieces that utilize basic percussion instruments. The pieces use only the musicians' hands, sticks, small drums and, in one instance, six-foot poles and drumsticks reminiscent of the Broadway group Stomp.

The ensembles will combine at the end of the program to present two African songs for choir and percussion. After the performance at E.O. Smith, the groups will present a concert at noon for preschool children at the Community Children's Center in Mansfield.

For more information, contact Lana Raymond at (860) 465-5325 or


Poet Patrick Rosal to Visit Eastern

Written by Kate Harner


PatrickRosal.JPGWillimantic, CT -- The Visiting Writers Series and Eastern Connecticut State University's English Department will present a poetry reading by Patrick Rosal at 7:30 p.m. on March 11 in the Student Center Theater. A book signing will follow the reading. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Rosal has written two full-length poetry collections: "Uprock Headspin Scramble and Drive," which received the Members' Choice Award from Asian American Writers' Workshop, and "My American Kundiman," which received the Association of Asian American Studies 2006 Book Award in Poetry and the 2007 Global Filipino Literary Award.

Rosal was awarded a Fulbright grant as a U.S. Scholar to the Philippines in 2009. His poems and essays have been published in journals such as the American Poetry Review, the Harvard Review and Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, among others. Rosal has received numerous awards, including the Allen Ginsberg Award, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Arts and Letters Prize and Best of the Net. His chapbook "Uncommon Denominators" received the Palanquin Poetry Series Award from the University of South Carolina. He has taught at various colleges, has conducted workshops in Alabama prisons through Auburn University and has written the documentary film "Camp Roxas," directed by Alex Munoz. He is the son of immigrants from the Ilocos region of the Philippines and is a New Jersey native.

For more information, please contact Maureen McDonnell at


Eastern Seeks Nominations for Latino Award

Written by Jack Meltzer


Latin American Month Image for Web.JPGWillimantic, CT. -  Eastern Connecticut State University is accepting nominations for its annual Latin American Distinguished Service Award program.  Nominations are due by March 26 and should be sent to

The Awards are given to three individuals: an Eastern Student, a faculty member and a member of the community-at-large.  The awards recognize distinguished service in one or more of the three categories: activities that represent a commitment to Latino youth development, leadership in a program serving the needs of a Latino community, with efforts reflecting an attempt to unify groups and or to increase sensitivity; and planning and implementation of programs to promote educational opportunities and advancement for members of Latino groups.

The Latin American Distinguished Service Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 21, at 6 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. For more information, call Milton Jackson at (860) 465-4421.

Artist Reanae McNeal to Visit Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann

reanaemcNeal.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Reanae McNeal, award-winning playwright, international performing artist and cultural/social activist, will speak at 3 p.m. on March 17 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.  

McNeal, who plays more than 15 different African instruments, is a prominent storyteller and self-taught musician.  She incorporates blues, jazz, spirituals and the sound of African instruments into her stories. 

She has written several plays, including "Black Women in Transition," "Where Have All The Black Men Gone?," "Blues Women Don't Wear No Shoes," "My Soul Got A Bruise On It" and "Who Holds The Mirror."  McNeal's plays focus on many issues facing women such as domestic violence, low self-esteem, sexual abuse, discrimination, AIDS, sexism, racism and breast cancer. 

Her poetry has been published in journals and has received numerous awards.   "A Word" was a national finalist in the 1994 Iowa Woman Poetry Competition.  "Brown vs. The Board of Education" won the regional 1994 Texas History Drama Competition, and "Slave Shout" won the 1995 Texas History Drama Competition.  Other awards include the Afro-Heart Award; Women of a Stolen Legacy Award; the National Woman of Achievement Award from Sisters United; The prestigious Delta Sigma Theta Ele' Award for Artistic Contributions; Overcoming Faith Award; and The Hope Award for artistic contributions in making women aware of breast cancer.  

McNeal encourages her audiences to "be all they are destined to be."  She has been described as "the woman who transforms lives." She says, "I have learned in my life to realize traumatic things happen that are really hurtful and painful but even in trauma, hurt and pain, beauty can be birthed."


Eastern Celebrates Women's History Month

 Written by Sarah Swann 


women's history month image.JPGWillimantic, CT. -   The Women's Center at Eastern Connecticut State University will present numerous events in March in honor of Women's History Month.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.  

            On March 8 from 9 a.m. to 5p.m., the Women's Center will present an exhibit in the front lobby of the Student Center that will document 44 years of achievements of the National Organization for Women, the largest organization of feminist activism in the United States              

            At 1 p.m. on March 12, a "listening party" will be held in the Women's Center, located in the Arthur L. Johnson Wing of the Student Center. The event will focus on "Speak!", a media collective CD featuring songs, poetry and spoken word about the struggles of women of color, including Black Amazon and Little Light.  Refreshments will be served.         


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Levine Image.PNG             At 5:30 p.m. on March 15, Gail Carson Levine, author of children's and young adult literature, will read and talk about her body of work in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library. Levine is the author of "Ella Enchanted," a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Some of Levine's other books include "Fairest"; "Dave at Night," an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; "The Wish: The Two Princesses of Bamarre"; and the six "Princess Tales" books.  This event is sponsored by the Visiting Writers Series of the English Department.  A book signing and refreshments will follow.   


            At 3 p.m. on March 17, Eastern's student organizations M.A.L.E.S. and F.E.M.A.L.E.S. will discuss the continued degradation of women in mainstream music lyrics and in video in Room 110 of Webb Hall.  The talk will address the idea of women's bodies as commodities and the intersection of gender, culture, economics and privilege.  The presentation will ask, "How can students proactively address tolerance towards misogyny?"

President Pasquerella.JPG           

        At 12:30 p.m. on March 18, Lynn Pasquerella, incoming president of Mount Holyoke College, will speak on Women's Leadership in the Student Center Theatre.  Pasquerella will share her story of growing up in Killingly, CT, in a single-parent household; attending Quinebaug Valley Community College; and her road to academic achievement despite the odds.  Pasquerella earned her doctorate in philosophy from Brown University in 1985.  Her current work focuses on women's leadership in the U.S. and globally.  Projects include women's land rights in Kenya; the role of non-violent civil disobedience in Columbia; and women's challenges as patients and providers in an era of health care reform.  


           At 3 p.m. on March 31 in the Student Center Theatre, Dina Temple-Raston, National Security and FBI correspondent for National Public Radio, will address America's fight on terrorism.  Temple-Raston is the author of "In Defense of Our America" and "The Jihad Next Door."  The lecture is part of Eastern's University Hour series. 

            At 6 p.m. on March 31 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library, recipients of the Second Annual Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award will be honored for their efforts to advance the rights of women and gender inequality.

For more information please contact Raja Staggers-Hakim, coordinator of Eastern's Women Center by calling (860) 465-4313 or emailing


Eastern to Perform Phoenix New Play Series

Written by Kate Harner

            Willimantic, CT - Students from Eastern Connecticut State University's Performing Arts Department will perform the Phoenix New Play Series on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            This year's New Play is "Quyne Paterson," written by Charlie Cheng and directed by Shane Kegler '10. The play takes place in a diner on Dec. 1, 1941 in Bakersfield, CA. Quyne Paterson speaks with his father for the first time in 12 years an hour before he is deployed to Japan. The cast includes Kara Williams '10, Luke Reinwald '10, Gia Kilbrith '11, Ben Donnel '11, Shannon Delahanty '12 and Corey Welden '13.

            Cheng, who attended Eastern for several years and graduated from the Academy of Arts University in 2002, drew inspiration from his own life while writing the play. "I hadn't seen my father in more than a decade, but I knew that if I called him, I would not get that great Hollywood ending that I wanted," said Cheng. "However, it is important to remember that life goes on and people will change. If you don't forgive them, you're stuck in limbo."

            Delahanty, who stars as Paterson's mother, agrees with Cheng's perspective. "This play is powerful and heartfelt," she said. "It teaches us all a valuable lesson - since you cannot change your past, you must learn to accept it and move forward with your life."

            The Phoenix New Play Series are rehearsed readings of new plays. Ellen Brodie, professor/director of theatre, has organized this year's series with the help of Kegler, president of Eastern's Drama Society.

            For more information, contact Lana Raymond at (860) 465-5325 or


Eastern's Makes President's Honor Roll

Written by Ed Osborn


Presidents Honor Roll 2009.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Eastern joined such other Connecticut institutions as Wesleyan University, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University and the University of Connecticut on the honor roll.  Eastern also earned the designation in 2008.

Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

"We are honored to earn a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll," said Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez.  "We thank the Corporation for National and Community Service for recognizing the many contributions our faculty and students are making in our local and state communities.  Social responsibility and engagement are two of our University's core values and we continue to seek ways to expand student opportunities for engagement in the community."

 This past fall, Eastern opened its new Center for Community Engagement, which links students and faculty to community needs and provides improved coordination of volunteer and service learning projects.  More than 4,000 hours were contributed to the local community in the fall, doubling the service hours from the previous year.  Projects ranged from developing a website for the Covenant Soup Kitchen to writing business plans for local Latino-owned businesses to tutoring children in local after-school programs. 

Agencies assisted include the No Freeze Shelter, the Joshua Trust land conservancy, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and Big Brother/Big Sister, among others.  Among the more unusual projects: a class of Eastern freshmen created a short civics course for third- and fourth-grade students at Sweeney Elementary School in Willimantic, and a group of Environmental Earth Science majors will be building a wind/solar energy system for a high school in Lucea, Jamaica during Spring Break 2010.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.   

"Congratulations to Eastern and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."

College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.

The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.


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