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April 2010 Archives

Eastern Named a "Green College"

Written by Dwight Bachman


science bldg exterior.jpg Willimantic, CT  - Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the country's most environmentally-responsible colleges, according to the Princeton Review. The nationally-known education services company selected Eastern for inclusion in a unique resource it has created for college applicants - "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges."

Developed by the Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the "Guide to 286 Green Colleges" is the first, comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.

 "We are honored that Eastern was selected as a Green College by the Princeton Review," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "We have a campus-wide commitment to sustainability at Eastern, evidenced by campus conservation programs, the sustainable energy studies curriculum, and our outreach across Connecticut in support of local energy efficiency efforts. This recognition tells our students, faculty and staff that their hard work is being noticed."

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The guide - which is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide - profiles the nation's most environmentally-responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges" looks at an institution's commitment to building certification using USGBC's LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs; and much more.

The guide can be downloaded at and


energy-sustain- aerial of south residential villageDSC_1651.JPG"Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility," said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of the Princeton Review. "According to our recent College Hope & Worries Survey, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions like Eastern focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process."

Eastern joins the ranks of outstanding universities and colleges nationwide that are leading the "green" movement through their own special programs and initiatives.

Eastern's new Science Building was designed for LEED Silver Certification for its use of gray water to irrigate and its many other green features.  In addition, a geothermal system provides heat and air conditioning to a 62,973-square-foot residence hall, the largest geothermal-heated building in Connecticut. 

 energy sustain residence hall close up-DSC_5298.JPG

The campus also generates 6.2 kilowatts from photovoltaic solar panels to light bus shelters, trash disposal areas and building perimeter lighting. In addition, dual fuel burning capability in Eastern's heating plants allows the University to switch from gas to oil and vice versa based on prices and/or the requirements of its gas utility agreement.  Water saving features also exist on a number of showers, toilets and urinals.  Finally, an energy monitoring system analyzes energy usage for each building, and can automatically reduce electricity usage through pre-programmed initiatives, to reduce peak demand and energy costs.
            Eastern is exporting its commitment to energy conservation beyond its own campus eco-system through the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE). The institute is recognized and widely respected throughout New England as an invaluable resource for supporting sustainable energy conservation efforts in municipalities and public schools throughout Connecticut and the region. The ISE, founded in 2001, continues to provide leadership in a number of outreach projects and recently has been concentrating on workforce development in preparing certification training for green collar jobs. This effort involves ISE staff participation on the Connecticut Green Jobs Council, the Connecticut Energy Workforce Consortium as well as developing training programs with a number of Regional Workforce Development Investment Boards.  In addition, the Institute's director co-chaired the Legislative Fuel Diversity Task Force to develop an infrastructure for the production of bio-fuel in Connecticut and current serves on the Governor's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.

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Professor Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of Sustainable Energy Studies at Eastern, has worked with his colleagues in the Environmental Earth Science Department to develop an Energy Science track within the Bachelor of Science Environmental Earth Science (EES) major. The new track was offered for the first time in the spring 2010 semester. Students complete a core course in earth science as well as a sequence of courses that prepares them to understand energy-related environmental issues and policies and to design, analyze and monitor fossil fuel and renewable energy systems. 

The department also offers an interdisciplinary minor in the field.  This past March, Eastern EES students traveled to Jamaica on a study tour, accompanied by Loxsom and Political Science Professor Helma de Vries.  As part of the trip, they built a wind turbine for a local school. 

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How the Schools Were Chosen

The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the guide based on the "Green Rating" scores the schools received in summer 2009 when the Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. the Princeton Review's "Green Rating" is a numerical score from 60 - 99 that's based on several data points. In 2008, the Princeton Review began collaborating with USGBC to help make the Green Rating survey questions as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. Of 697 schools that The Princeton Review gave "Green Ratings" to in 2009, the 286 schools in the guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile. 


Eastern Percussion Ensemble to Perform

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Percussion Ensemble will perform a concert at 2:30 p.m. on May 8 in Shafer Auditorium. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Jeff Calissi, assistant professor of music, will conduct the concert. Pieces that will be performed include Chris Brooks' "Stick Schtick," which uses six-and-a-half foot poles played in the style of the off-Broadway group Stomp; and "Wood, Metal and Skin" by Josh Gottry, which utilizes materials of instruments rather than specific recommendations. The concert will also feature works by contemporary percussion ensemble composers such as Steve Reich and his minimalist piece, "Clapping Music," as well as "Suite for Drumset and Percussion Ensemble" by Dave Mancini, featuring current Eastern senior Chris Loveland  as the drumset performer.

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


Jazz Ensemble to Perform at Church Farm Concert

Written by Jack Meltzer

Willimantic, CT -  Eastern Connecticut State University will present "An Afternoon at the Farm" on May 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the Church Farm Center for the Arts and Sciences Center in Ashford.  Eastern's Jazz Ensemble, along with Eastern's Chamber Singers and Percussion Ensemble, will perform a variety of music ranging from jazz to madrigals. A reception with food and drinks will follow.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

David Belles, director of vocal studies and conductor of the Chambers Singers, will collaborate with Jeff Calissi, assistant professor of music and conductor of the Percussion Ensemble, to also present traditional African songs.  Joseph Tominelli, saxophone player for the Willimantic Amphibian Jazz Ensemble, will lead the Eastern Jazz Ensemble in renditions of standards such George Gershwin's classic "I Got Rhythm."

The main objective of "An Afternoon at the Farm" is to better connect community members and Eastern's faculty, staff and students. The Church Farm is an 80-acre historic farm that was donated to the Joshua's Tract Conservation and Historic Trust Inc. by Joseph and Dorothy Zaring in 1985, and then added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. A large portion of the historic Church Farm has been given to Eastern Connecticut State University to be managed as a research area, but the farm also contains trails and areas that are open to the public.

If you have any questions please contact Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, at (860) 465-5294 or


Eastern to Present "Wordplay 2010"

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre Department will perform "Wordplay 2010" at the Harry Hope Theatre, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of High and Valley Streets. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on May 6 through 9. A matinee will be presented at 11 a.m. on May 7. A final presentation will take place at 4 p.m. on May 9. The public is invited. Tickets are $5 for Eastern students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public.

The performances are adapted and based on five short stories by Ray Bradbury: "June 2001: And The Moon Be Still As Bright"; "The Rocket"; "The Square Pegs"; "A Little Journey"; and "April 2026: The Long Years." Each is directed by Ellen Faith Brodie, professor of theatre, with assistant directors Max Loignon '10, Adam Pender '10 and Luke Reinwald '10. The actors have taken the Reader's Theatre course at Eastern.

For reservations, call the Box Office at (860) 465-5123.


Habitat for Humanity's "Parade of Homes"

Written by Kate Harner 

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and the Windham Area Habitat for Humanity will present the "Parade of Homes" walkathon on May 8. The public is invited.

Registration for the walkathon begins at 10 a.m. at Eastern's Foster Clock Tower. A minimum registration of $10 is required. Proceeds will support both chapters of Habitat for Humanity.

The "Parade of Homes" will take participants on a route ranging from three to four miles. Walkers will see the seven homes built by Habitat throughout the Windham community.

Participants can sign up as teams with a team leader. Fees can be paid on the day of the event, or checks can be made payable to Eastern Connecticut State University with Habitat for Humanity on the memo line.

To register with a team name, contact Eastern's Habitat for Humanity by emailing


Eastern Sets Day of Student Engagement

Written by Emily Bonoyer

Willimantic, CT - On April 29, the Division of Student Affairs at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a wide range of activities focused on student engagement, empowerment, development and growth. Topics include community, service, health and future employment.

            From 3-4 p.m. in the Student Center Theater, the University will present the Community Engagement Awards. Libuse Binder, author of "Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties," will be the keynote speaker.

Also, the Office of Wellness Promotion, in conjunction with the PASS group (Peer Advocates for Safe Students), will host Alcohol Awareness Day. Participants will learn about how to know when they've had enough to drink; learn tips on being safe and responsible; and receive free giveaways and prizes. The Eastern Police Department will also facilitate a BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) Challenge course for people to try their hand at simple, everyday tasks while wearing the BAC glasses ("Beer Goggles").

The Office of Career Services will host the Reverse Career Fair and Networking Picnic and Awards.  The reverse career fair will allow employers to meet candidates for internship, community service or employment opportunities by visiting displays created by more than 100 participating students.

Recruiters from several industries will be on hand, including Allied Community Resources; Carmax; Community Mental Health Affiliates; Community Prevention and Addiction Services, Inc; Disney College Program; First Investors Corp; Groton Public School; Hartford Public Schools; Kforce; Metropolititan District Commission; Paychex; Peace Corps; Primerica; Reliance House; Safe Roof Cleaning LLC; Schroth Systems Consulting; TechniArt Inc., and The Discovery Center. This event is sponsored by Eastern's Housing and Residential Life and the Office of Career Services, in partnership with the Center for Community Engagement.

Following the Community Engagement Awards Ceremony, a Service Expo will be held in the Student Center. Students who have participated in engaged learning through their coursework as well as students who have volunteered in the community will display posters and discussed their experiences.

Awards will be given at the Service Expo for exemplary projects in the following categories: strengthening communities, going green, leadership development, committed vision, progressive technology and best new program. Throughout the Service Expo, judges will interact with students to discuss their projects.

Guest judges for the Service Expo include Doreen Fuller, Windham Superintendent of Schools; Willimantic Mayor Ernie Eldridge; Neal Beets, Windham Town Manager; Roger Adams, executive director of the Windham Regions Chamber of Commerce; Mace McClain, Willimantic Weed and Seed Program; Bill Leahy, Director of Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy; and Jean DeSmet, Willimantic Renaissance member.

Keynote speaker Libuse Binder left an ambitious career in Hollywood to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. Through her experiences as a teacher, writer and environmental activist, she has grown to believe the next generation can change the world in revolutionary ways. Binders' book, "Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties" and her organization by the same name, offer tangible ideas to young adults who wish to be active in shaping the world in which we live.


Winners of Eastern's Latin American Service Award

Written by Jack Meltzer

Latin Awards Image.JPG

Winners of the 2010 Latin American Distinguished Service Awards, left to right, are Migdalia Salas, Jeanette Rivera, Eastern President Elsa Núñez, and Amelinda Vasquez.

Willimantic, CT -  An Eastern Connecticut State University student, a cultural worker and leader of the Latino community in New London and a member of the Eastern administration were named recipients of the University's 2010 Latin-American Distinguished Service Awards.  The award ceremony took place on April 21 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Honorees included community member Migdalia Salas of New London; Eastern student Amelinda Vazquez of East Hartford; and Jeanette Rivera of Windsor assistant to the director housing and residence life.

Vazquez, a senior from East Hartford majoring in business administration, was honored for demonstrating her commitment to service through her ongoing involvement in campus and community activities.  Vasquez is vice president of the Entrepreneurs Pursuing Business Excellence student club and the Organization of Latin Americans Students (OLAS). She is also an active member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Program (ODK).

Migdalia Salas, an Eastern alumnus, has dedicated her life to promoting numerous significant arts and educational initiatives throughout the state of Connecticut. For more than 15 years, Salas has provided organizational and fundraising leadership for many Latino social and cultural institutions and initiatives throughout Southeastern Connecticut.

Salas is currently working on Ajiaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul, an art exhibit curating by Eastern Professor of Art History Gail Gelburd. The exhibition had a very successful run in New London and is now being presented across America.

Salas also served on the founding board of directors of the Latin Network for the Visual Arts (LNVA) and works closely with the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut on fundraising and cultural programs. As director of development for the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC), she develops culturally based programs, raising funds and talking to legislators to bring high quality education to not only Latino middle-school students, but to all students of New London County.

            Jeanette Rivera has been a leader in residential and housing life at Eastern since 2005.  She works with contractors to set up and implement new facilities and improvements in various common areas in Noble Hall and implement new multipurpose rooms in Mead Hall. 

Rivera has served on more than 10 campus committees including institutional advancement, minority alumni and excellence in service to the University. Rivera served as co-chair at the Seventh Annual New England Latino Student Leadership Conference. The conference is designed to encourage connections between Latino student college leaders within the New England region.  Rivera also participated in implementing Eastern's Strategic Plan, where she worked with a team of university officials to examine how campus activities and programs are presented at Eastern.


Saeko Ichinohe Dance Co. to Perform at Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann

saeko dance troupe.JPGWillimantic, CT -- The Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company will perform some of their dance pieces at 3 p.m. on May 5 at Eastern Connecticut State University in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

The Saeko Ichinohe Dance Co. merges traditional Japanese movement, music and costumes with Modern Western movement.  The dance company has three goals: 1) incorporate rich, historical traditions into contemporary Western Dance; 2) to inspire mutual understanding between diverse peoples and cultures through dance; and 3) nourish the heart, mind and soul through superb dance programs which bring joy and wonder to audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.  

 The dance company has performed at numerous educational events in the U.S. and abroad.  The group has been featured on television shows such as "Good Day New York" and WPIX's "Best Talk."  The dancers also have reached out to the community by performing in projects such as Dance Responds to Aids, Fulbright International Youth Conference and the Memorial Performance of Sept. 11, 2001.   

Saeko Ichinohe, a native of Japan and a graduate of the Juilliard School, is the founder of the dance company.  She is the first Japanese choreographer to win a choreographic prize in the U.S. and to create works for American ballet companies. 


From Death Row to Freedom

Written by Sarah Swann

Steidl off Death Row.JPG 

Willimantic, CT -- Randy Steidl, an Illinois man who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986 for a murder he did not commit, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on May 3 at 2 p.m.  Steidl, who spent 17 years, 3 months and 21 days in prison before he was finally released, will discuss his journey from death row to freedom in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Steidl and a friend were accused of killing newlyweds Dyke and Karen Rhoads in 1986.  Since he did not know either of the victims he was shocked when he and Whitlock were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death within 90 days. 

Steidl spent 12 years on death row trying to prove his innocence.  Through the involvement of the Center for Wrongful Convictions, it was determined that perjury and police misconduct, among other factors, had lead to Steidl's wrongful conviction. 

On May 28, 2004, Steidl was released, becoming the 18th person to be freed because of a wrongful conviction after serving time on Illinois'death row.  Steidl has been adjusting to his new life, working to help abolish capital punishment in New Mexico.  He believes that, "One life lost by execution is not worth ten guilty persons being executed

Students Create Climate Change Solutions

Written by Dwight Bachman

 Willimantic, CT - On April 26, judges will examine the work of more than 200 students who are making big changes in 14 towns across Connecticut.  The annual Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge, a contest for students in grades 4 to12 involving teams creating climate change solutions for their towns and communities, takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. The program has been administered by Eastern Connecticut State University's Institute for Sustainable Energy

 (ISE) since 2007.

This year, 19 teams submitted plans for judging.  Students represent the towns of Avon, Coventry, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Lebanon, New Haven, New London, Northford, North Stonington, South Windsor, Storrs, Trumbull and Westport.  Prizes of $1,000 to $3,000 and totaling $10,000 will be awarded for teamwork, collaboration and best plans. Teams can use their prize money to further their projects.

Projects include recycling and energy efficiency actions in schools such as energy audits, thermostats and sensors, light replacements and energy saving behaviors. Others include replacing Styrofoam trays in lunchrooms, raising climate awareness with student and community TV messages, family forums, film festivals, energy fairs, and music events. Projects to purchase rainforest land and carbon sequestration, and support local farms and purchase solar and wind installations will also be presented.  Many teams have presented proposals to their board of education and town councils.

Keep Connecticut Cool was started in 2006 as the Cool It Challenge, hosted by Clean Air-Cool Planet and funded by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. The program changed names to Keep Connecticut Cool in 2008 and is now funded by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund. To date, 78 teams, involving more than 800 students, have worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their schools and communities.

Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy was established in 2001 to identify, develop and implement the means for achieving a sustainable energy future. The institute focuses on matters relating to energy education, energy policy, efficiency conservation and load management, renewable energy, distributed generation, protection of environmental resources, and the dissemination of useful information on energy alternatives and sustainability to users and providers of energy. The institute adds an unbiased focus on practical applications and dissemination of information about how to improve the energy profile and sustainability of Connecticut and the region.    

For more information about the Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge, visit


Eastern Faculty to Take Sabbatical Leave

Written by Amy Brenner-Fricke


Sabbatical NEW IMAGE.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Fourteen faculty members at Eastern Connecticut State University will take sabbatical leaves during the 2010-11 academic year to conduct research and enhance their teaching.

"It is no secret that the quality of a university's faculty directly supports the institution's reputation and effectiveness," said President Núñez during a reception honoring the 14 faculty. "When faculty members embrace activities that improve their teaching, the entire university benefits. If you accept the assumption that faculty quality reflects institutional quality, then faculty development activities at Eastern must be seen as essential to maintaining the University's standard of excellence."

          Business Administration Professor Elizabeth Scott will travel to China and Australia to extend professional competence by studying business ethics at an international level. Scott received a national Fulbright-Hays Award to support her trip to China. Business Administration Professor Jeffrey Schaller will conduct research on work flow processes and scheduling efficiencies.   

          English Professors Meredith James and Rita Malenczyk will work on individual research projects while also collaborating on a textbook that will enrich the "Introduction to English Studies" class at Eastern. Visual Arts Professor William Jones will develop new painting, drawings and etchings for an interdisciplinary visual arts and earth sciences collaboration titled "Art Rocks" that will be exhibited at the Spirol Gallery in Danielson. Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi will work to update knowledge of current advances in the recruitment and retention literature and extend current employee-retention models to student retention. Psychology Professor Carlos Escoto will conduct research on condom use and attitudes among college students that will be used in the creation of prevention programs on college campuses. 

          Environmental Earth Science Professor Peter Drzwiecki will partner with the Connecticut State Geological Survey to conduct research on rock samples. History Professor Anna Kirchman will write a book that analyzes readers' letters-to-the-editors of various Polish-language newspapers in the United States.   

          Physical Science Professor Darrell Koza will conduct research on plant extractions, that may have the potential to benefit people who develop infections from antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

          English Professor Jian-Zhong Lin will edit Young Wing's autobiography "My Life in China and America." Performing Arts Professor Chase Rozelle will update his knowledge in professional theatre production and new technology with a stint as a guest artist in a Connecticut-based upper-level regional theatre.

          Health and Physical Education Professor Neil Williams will work on a web-based book, to define and explain basic concepts, terms and ideas for K-12 physical education teachers in American schools. Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Bonsu Osei will work with data compiled at the Laser and Fiber Optics Center of the University of Cape Coast in Ghana to develop testable mathematical models that capture key biological processes involved with the flow of malaria cells.


Poet Harry Humes to Visit Eastern

Written by Kate Harner 


humespic.jpgWillimantic, CT -- Award-winning poet Harry Humes will hold a poetry reading at Eastern Connecticut State University at 7 p.m. on May 3 in Room 301 of the Science Building. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Humes is the author of six collections of poetry, including "Winter Weeds," winner of the Devins Award; "Ridge Music"; "Butterfly Effect," a National Poetry Series winner; "Ridge Music," an Associated Writing Programs Contest Finalist; "The Way Winter Works"; "The Bottomland"; and "August Evening with Trumpet."

Humes' work has appeared in literary publications such as "Poetry," "Gettysburg Review" and "The Nation," among others. "Poetry Northwest" awarded him its Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize for his poem "Calling in the Hawk." Poet James Tate selected Humes' poem, "Butterfly Effect," for "Best American Poetry 1997." He is a recipient of a National Endowment Poetry Fellowship and several poetry grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Humes' reading is being sponsored by Eastern's English Club.

For more information, contact Andrew Garaventa at, or Daniel Donaghy at


Eastern Students Honored at Statewide Assembly

Written by Kate Harner


Williams and Lappie.JPG

From left, Executive Vice President Michael Pernal, John Lappie, Chelsea Williams and President Elsa Núñez.

Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University students Chelsea Denise Williams '10 and John Peter Lappie III '10 were among eight Connecticut State University System students recognized for their outstanding academic achievement by the Connecticut State General Assembly. The ceremony took place on April 14 during College Academic Day at the State Capitol.

Williams, a senior from Torrington, is a psychology major and sociology minor. She currently holds a 3.86 GPA; was named a recipient of the Who's Who Among College Students Award in 2009; and is a member of Psi Chi, the honor society for psychology majors. For the past three years, she has been a resident assistant in Occum Residence Hall and a peer mentor for Eastern's First Year Program. She was also a teaching assistant for two semesters. Throughout her college education, Williams has served as vice president of the student-run community service group, People Helping People; as vice president of the Psychology Club; as hall representative of the Resident Assistant Council; and as secretary for both the Freshman Leadership Council and Residence Hall Association.

Williams gives back to the community on a regular basis. She volunteers at the Windham No Freeze Shelter, the Covenant Soup Kitchen and St. Paul's Collegiate Church. She traveled to Panama in January 2009 and 2010 and to the Dominican Republic in July 2009 to carry out mission work with members of her church.

"Her work in all of my courses is always of high quality," said Melanie Evans, assistant professor of psychology. "It is not only her academic ability that makes Chelsea stand out, however. She is one of the most mature students I have ever worked with and one of the most giving, thoughtful and selfless individuals I have ever known."

Lappie, a senior from North Branford, is a political science major and a history minor. He currently holds a 3.91 GPA. He is a recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Scholarship and an active member of Eastern Conservatives and Eastern Republicans. Lappie also is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society; Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the National Leadership Honors Society; the ODK Student Leadership Development Program; and Eastern's Honors Program.

Lappie regularly volunteers at the North Branford Town Hall and assisted the town manager in writing the town's annual report. Other volunteer efforts include assisting local campaign efforts in North Branford and volunteering in the Special Olympics at Windham High School for four consecutive years.

"My experience with John in the classroom has shown him to be a gifted and serious student," said William Salka, associate professor of political science. "I can honestly say that John is among the best students I have worked with at Eastern. I have watched him work tirelessly to accumulate the skills and knowledge he will need to excel in graduate school."

Lappie has been accepted to the Ph.D program in political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, state lawmakers honor outstanding students from each of Connecticut's public and private colleges and universities. The students are selected by their respective schools, based on academic achievement and extra-curricular involvement.

The students received an official citation from the Connecticut General Assembly in recognition of their academic achievement. In addition, the students were formally introduced to the State Senate and House of Representatives and were joined by legislators during a State Capitol reception.


Willimantic Orchestra to Perform at Eastern

Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT - The Willimantic Orchestra will present a concert at 7 p.m. on April 24 in Shafer Auditorium at Eastern Connecticut State University. Admission is free; however, a donation is suggested.

The orchestra will perform Brahms' "Symphony No. 1 in C Minor," Gluck's "Overture to 'Iphigenia in Aulis'" and Saint-Saëns' "Concerto No. 1 for Violoncello and Orchestra in A Minor Op. 33."

The orchestra will perform with cello soloist David Olson, winner of the Windham Regional Arts Council's Young Artist Competition.

The Willimantic Orchestra is a nonprofit orchestra made up of local community members committed to authentic orchestral music. David Vaughan, adjunct professor of performing arts, conducts the ensemble. 

For more information, contact Fred Wengrzynek, president of the orchestra, at (860) 228-4008.


Petition-Signing at Eastern

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT - A task group of five social work juniors at Eastern Connecticut State University, in collaboration with the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and Office of Wellness Promotion, is conducting a petition-signing event on April 22. The event will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Student Center. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The petition calls for supporting the Comprehensive Problem Gambling Act of 2009 (H.R. 2906). The bill aims to increase federal funding for the research, prevention, public awareness and treatment of problem gambling.

The task group's efforts are timely in the wake of recent news that a former East Lyme, CT, school lunch program director will serve up to 16 months in prison for embezzling more than $335,000 from her employer to cover losses she incurred playing slot machines at the region's casinos. The theft also cost two other Chartwells Dining Services employees their jobs.

The Problem Gambling Awareness Task Group consists of Social Work students Amy Gorman, Sarah Jenkinson, Amon Gitau, Victor Harley and Deborah Smith.

For more information, contact Thomas Broffman, assistant professor of sociology and social work, at (860) 465-5127 or


Jamel Ostwald Will Discuss How to Wage War

Written by Sarah Swann


jamal.JPG            Willimantic, CT -  Jamel Ostwald,  assistant professor of history, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University at 3 p.m. on April 28 in Room 110 of Webb Hall.  The public is invited.  Admission is free. 

            Ostwald will discuss the 17th and 18th century debate over the proper way to wage war.  A western belief is that battles win wars.  This belief, says Ostwald, "is displayed in the downfall of Baghdad in 2003, when President George W. Bush subsequently declared 'Mission Accomplished.'"  The dominance of this approach to waging Western war has shaped the mindset of Western militaries and has had an enduring appeal in modern Western military culture. 

            Ostwald received his doctorate in history from Ohio State University.  His book, "Vauban Under Seige: Engineering Efficiency and Martial Vigor in the War of the Spanish Succession," received the 2009 Society for Military History's Distinguished Book for Non-American History. 


Eastern to Present Tenth Annual Excellence Expo

Written by Jack Meltzer

Willimantic, CT -- The School of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its tenth Excellence Expo at 2 p.m. on April 28.  Students from the Business Administration, Communication, Economics, Education and Health and Physical Education departments will present their projects at several locations around campus, including Charles R. Webb Hall and the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  The expo will include sections on research, posters and photography.  More than 80 students at the undergraduate and graduate level will participate.

The photography exhibit will take place in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room as well as in Charles R. Webb Hall on the first floor. The work featured in the exhibit was created by students in the digital photography class and photography I class taught by Martin Seymour, adjunct professor of photography. 

Some poster topics for the Excellence Expo include music therapy, television and movie ratings, subliminal messages in movies, and alcohol advertising and the First Amendment. 

Research presentations include electronic resources for teaching a high school lesson on cellular biology, the impact of player position on the NFL draft and supporting literacy through technology. 

All Expo sessions will be judged based on content, effectiveness, intelligibility, innovation and presentation.  An announcement of prizes will be made at the closing ceremony.

For more information regarding the Expo, contact Patricia Kucharski at (860) 465-5264 or email   


Science Building Wins Top Landscaping Award

Sarah Swann


science bldg exterior.jpgWillimantic, CT - The Science Building at Eastern Connecticut State University won the top award for 2009 from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CTASLA) on Dec. 10, 2009. The CTASLA conducts the Connecticut Design Awards each year to recognize excellence in landscape architectural design, planning and analysis, communication and research. 

The science building features a terraced bioswale and circular entry courtyard with faux bridge gateways that serve as a central hub to the campus's open space. Native and adaptive plants are placed all around the science building. The main entrance to the building is located at the southern end to draw pedestrians farther into the open space and the welcoming courtyard, which is used by students to socialize.    

"The science building has a unique design appropriate for the landscape and for Eastern's green campus commitment," said Nancy Tinker, director of facilities management and planning. "The building is very efficient. The bioswale slows down the rainwater that runs off into the drain system, which is better for the environment. The landscape plans were developed with managed meadow areas, and native and adaptive plants that eliminate irrigation requirements and reduce maintenance considerations."

The facility meets U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) certification standards, which sponsors the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performances measures. To attain LEED silver certification for Eastern's Science Building, storm water design points were enhanced with the bioswale approach.


Science Building -dpw image.JPGEastern's 178,000-squarefoot, six-story science building opened in September 2008. All science and mathematics departments are located in the building. Prior to its construction, science and mathematics departments had been scattered across seven separate buildings on campus. In addition to classes, the science building also has a 150-seat lecture hall; sophisticated audio-visual systems; a state-of-the-art greenhouse; high tech laboratories; and a science library. 

S/L/A/M Collaborative of Glastonbury, which offers architectural design and master planning in house landscape architecture, served as architects of the science building. Kyle Slocum of Glastonbury was the project designer. Purcell Associates, also of Glastonbury, served as civil engineer and O & G Industries of Torrington was the general contractor. The planting and irrigation of the science building was done by Country Gardens in Bristol. The facilities stone was supplied by Windham Materials, LLC in Willimantic.    


Maria Aponte to Perform at Eastern

Written by Sarah Swann


maria aponte.JPGWillimantic, CT --  Maria Aponte, performance artist and playwright, will present her poetry, "Brown Hips, Red Lips, Hot Skins," at 3 p.m. on April 21 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University. The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Born and raised in New York City, Aponte studied acting with the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, the Actor's Playhouse and Henry Street Settlement. She has performed in several theatre productions and has been featured in two videos that deal with racial discrimination.

"Lagrimas de Mis Madres" is a biography of the women in her family that also deals with discrimination against women of color.  She has performed the show at numerous colleges across the country and has also written and performed her own monologue, "I Will Not Be Silenced," which is based on the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Mexico's first feminist poet and playwright. 

Chacho Ramirez, a percussionist who specializes in jazz and Latin music, will accompany Aponte during her presentation.  Ramirez performs throughout the New York metropolitan area, teaches in public schools and owns a studio where he teaches private percussion students.   


Professor to Present Stem Cell Research at Eastern

Written by Kate Harner


Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University's Biology Department will host a lecture on stem cell research by Ren-He Xu, associate professor of genetics and director of developmental biology at the University of Connecticut. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. on April 14 in Room 104 of the Science Building. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Xu's presentation, "Stem Cells - A Powerful Engine for Biomedical Discoveries," will focus on his research regarding human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Xu believes that because hESCs are self-renewing and have developmental potential, they are ideal sources to generate cells that can treat certain degenerative diseases. These cells are unique because they differ from other mammalian embryos and offer scientists the opportunity to study human development. Xu is interested in hESCs because of their interactions that control self-renewal and their ability to differentiate to various cell lineages.

For more information, contact Kim Renaud at (860) 465-4369 or

Students to Present Research and Exhibition

Written by Jack Meltzer 

Willimantic, CT - The School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its Ninth Annual Student Research and Exhibition Conference from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 17. The conference will take place in several locations across campus, including the Science Building, Webb Hall, Wood Support Services Center and the Student Center.

The conference opens in the Science Building Auditorium (Room 104) and will showcase 11 departments and 13 majors, with 105 projects by more than 95 students supported by 44 faculty mentors. Parents, friends, alumni, corporate representatives, as well as staff from graduate and professional schools are expected to attend this event.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

Some of the research topics include "Game Theory: An Introduction to Mathematical Economic Modeling" by Shawn Falbowski '10; "The Effects of Prolactin Supplementation on Osmoregulatory Gill Tissue during Atlantic Salmon Smoltification" by  Douglas Hackenyos '10; "Sustainable Development in Jamaica: Tourism and Energy" by Veronica Hooker '10; and "Longing" by Benjamin Donnell '11 and Elizabeth Swan '12.

Erin Baniak '10 will present "Child Labor in Willimantic from 1900 to 1930." This research, based on the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses and want ads from the Willimantic Chronicle, shows that 54 percent of children were working in 1910.

The research, presentations, performances and artistic exhibits reflect Eastern's liberal arts education mission. Kathryn Harner's research paper, "A Step Toward Equality: Educating Catherine in 'Northanger Abbey,'" deciphers the works of Jane Austen, specifically Austin's feelings about women's ignorance and their lack of education. Harner '12 digs deeper, and discusses Catherine Morland, the heroine in Austen's novel "Northanger Abbey." Wayland Leonard '10 will present his paper, "A Class Struggle and Revolution in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein.'"  Mary Shelley's classic novel "Frankenstein" is largely perceived as a work of science fiction or horror. Leonard explores the biographical information regarding Shelley's life and the political climate in which she lived, finding it far more likely that the narrative reflects the political landscape of nineteenth-century Europe.

For more information on the Research and Exhibition Conference, contact Carmen Cid at (860) 465-5295 or


Eastern Faculty Win CSUS Teaching and Research Awards

Written by Jack Meltzer

Thumbnail image for CSUS Faculty- Carter-Nunez-krapek etc.JPGSeated, Susannah Richards, associate professor of education and Daniel Donaghy, associate professor of English. Standing, left to right, John Doyle, chair of the CSUS Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee; Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez; CSUS Board of Trustees Chairman Karl Krapek; and CSUS Chancellor David G. Carter.

Willimantic, CT - Two professors have been named Eastern's recipients of the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) 2010 Teaching and Research Awards. Daniel Donaghy, associate professor of English, was presented the Norton Mezvinsky Trustees Research Award at the university level, while Susannah Richards, associate professor of education, was awarded the Trustees Teaching Award at the university level. The awards were presented by the CSUS Board of Trustees on April 8 at Southern Connecticut State University.   Eight faculty members throughout the CSUS were recognized.

Richards was recognized by the university community for her advocacy of students, her engaging style of teaching, and the incorporation of modern technology and concepts in the reading and elementary education curriculum. She is known for her ability to reinvigorate courses and create collaborations with colleagues in the improvement of curriculum.

Donaghy is a published poet and scholar in contemporary British and American poetry whose authenticity and clarity of poetry have earned him a prize at a top-ranked university press; finalist distinctions in a highly prestigious national poetry contest; and frequent publication in some of the most widely read literary publications in the country.

 "The CSUS Trustee Awards received by Drs. Richards and Donaghy reaffirm their stature on our campus," said Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez. "They both have national reputations in their fields -- Dr. Richards in the fields of reading education and innovative classroom technology, and Dr. Donaghy in the world of poetry -- but they are equally dedicated to their students. Through these much deserved awards, Suzannah and Dan have brought honor to themselves, their professions and their colleagues at Eastern."

"The caliber of teaching and research at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western is truly remarkable, and the level of scholarship by these faculty members is both inspiring and significant," said the Board of Trustees Chairman Karl Krapek. 

John Doyle, chair of the Board's Academic Affairs Committee, added, "These awards provide a means of recognizing the exemplary work of the highest promise being done by our up-and-coming faculty.  They are all demonstrating an impact on their academic fields, our students and our state."

The Trustees Teaching Award is given to faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum two-year track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments.  The Trustees Research Award is granted to faculty who are conducting "research work of exceptional promise." Each of the recipients' universities will receive an award of $1,000, with the system-level recipient receiving an additional $1,000 award for their university.


225 Connecticut Students "Keep Connecticut Cool"

Jack Meltzer


Willimantic, Conn. - For the past six months, more than 225 Connecticut students in grades 4 through 12 submitted research and development plans for climate change solutions. The plans are part of the "Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge," a contest for students to create climate change solutions for their towns and communities. 

On April 26, the students will gather at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, and have their works evaluated by a panel of judges.

  Projects will be on display throughout the Science Center.  Prizes will be awarded totaling $10,000, with awards in separate categories for teamwork, collaboration and best overall plans. 

 In the past, project plans for raising climate awareness in schools have included conducting energy audits, installing thermostats and sensors, replacing lights and promoting energy-saving behaviors. Student plans have also incorporated the replacement of  styrofoam trays in lunchrooms; raising climate awareness among students and community through TV messages; family forums; film festivals; energy fairs; and projects to purchase rainforest land and carbon sequestration.

Towns represented in the challenge include Avon, Bridgeport, Bristol, Burlington, Coventry, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Lebanon, Mansfield, New Haven, New London, North Stonington, Northford, Norwalk, South Windsor, Storrs, Trumbull, Waterford and Westport.

The "Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge" is administered by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, and funded through the Connecticut Energy Efficiency fund.


Achievement First "Scholars" Visit Huge Success

Written by Sarah Swann


First Achievement l-sarah.JPG

Sarah Swann demonstrates how to hula hoop for Achievement First students. 

Willimantic, CT --Nineteen fifth- and sixth-grade students from Achievement First

School in Hartford visited Eastern Connecticut State University on March 18 to interact

with Eastern students in Health and Physical Education Professor Darren Robert's

Elementary Games and Activities class.  

First Achievement - jumping.JPG

 Matt Cooney and Adam Baber jump with Achievement First students.

The First Achievement students are taught by Eastern alum Scott Trepanier. The gathering took place in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. It was designed to provide a practice teaching session for Eastern students who plan careers in teaching, and provide some enjoyment and insight into Eastern for the Hartford students as well. 

            The Achievement First students demonstrated their athletic ability to Eastern students.  Both groups then switched roles, with Eastern students teaching the Achievement First students hula hooping, scooting, and basketball skills to music.  

            Thumbnail image for First Achievement group shot.JPG 

          The day was a huge success "The Eastern students and faculty referred to the Achievement first students as 'scholars.'  They left a lasting impression on our physical education teacher certification candidates," said Robert.  "Our candidates will most often earn their first teaching position in an urban area and this visit by these young scholars will help them become better teachers. They realize that children can be hard working, and want to have fun participating in physical activity! The scholars got a glimpse of Eastern's campus as well, and got to talk to college students.  They realized that someday they will be the ones attending Eastern and other wonderful colleges and universities."


National Database Website Design Champions

Written by Dwight Bachman


bis winners WebChampions-StLouis.JPG

The Eastern Connecticut State University AITP Student Chapter Web Database Project Team, along with faculty advisor, Business Information Systems Professor Alex Citurs, right, receiving the national first place award from AITP President Beth Pirrie for the Web Database Project Team Competition National Championship.

Willimantic, CT -- On March 27 in St. Louis, MO, the Eastern Connecticut State University Student Chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) won first place in the national championship of the Database Driven-Web Application Project Team Contest sponsored by the Institute of Certified Computer Professionals (ICCP).  The students were honored at the AITP's 15th Annual National Collegiate Conference.

The Association of Information Technology Professionals is the largest association of information systems and technology management professionals in North America.  More than100 universities and colleges of all sizes from across the United States and Canada participate in the annual conference. 

The Web database contest is a year-long project with student teams submitting multiple project documents and designs to the national judging panel. Each university or college is allowed to have multiple student teams competing in the competition with only the top 10 national teams being selected to present at the national conference.  The rules of the contest require that the student teams design and build a database-driven website for a non-profit organization (501.c.3). 


bis winners with nunez and paul doyle.JPG

Front row, left to right, are Paul Doyle, director of Willimantic's Covenant Soup Kitchen, Stephen Welch, Lynn Bartmess, Kacy Shafiee, Gloria Rivera, and Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez President. Back row, left to right, are Roberto Vasquez, Matt Thibeault, Ethan Harris, and Zach Flight.

Eastern's student AITP Chapter designed, built and enhanced a dynamic database website for the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic.  The Student AITP Chapter first became involved with the soup kitchen when it established a pie-baking fundraiser for the nonprofit and other local Willimantic charities in February 2007.  The students maintained an ongoing relationship with soup kitchen, supporting their free meals, food pantry and other programs.

The Covenant Soup Kitchen website allows its director Paul Doyle and other staff members and volunteers to update information through an  administrator's database driven interface.   Features of the website include photo galleries, upcoming events, past news items, printable newsletters, volunteer activities, requests for food items in short supply in the pantry, affiliated non-profit organization contact information, as well as multiple methods to make donations; all that can be dynamically updated. 

Over the past two years, AITP students who are enrolled in the Organizational Website and Database Management course of Eastern's Business Information Systems Program have also designed projects to address Covenant Soup Kitchen's needs for food and supply inventory management, volunteer coordination, coordination of community service hours and tracking of services provided to members of the local community.   Other AITP student teams in the Organizational Website and Database Management course have also worked with and designed systems for other eastern Connecticut non-profit organizations as well.

Members of Eastern's student team include Ethan Harris, team captain from Ledyard, CT; Lynn Bartmess, Fairfield, CT; Zach Flight, Griswold, CT; Gloria Rivera, Willimantic, CT; Kacy T. Shafiee, Ridgefield, CT; Matthew Thibeault, Stafford Springs, CT; Roberto Vasquez, New York City; and Stephen Welch, Hauppauge, NY. Alex Citurs, professor of Business Information Systems (BIS) in the Department of Business Administration, serves as the the team's advisor. 

Flight, a BIS major, finished second behind representatives of the University of Iowa in a field of more than 250 national contestants in the Microsoft Corporation-sponsored Microsoft Office Solution Contest. Students in the AITP Chapter consist of Business Information Systems majors and minors with related majors and minors in various concentrations in Business Administration, Computer Science and other related academic programs. 

The Covenant Soup Kitchen's website can be found at:


Eastern Professor to Discuss Development in Africa

Written by Sarah Swann


canterbury.JPG            Willimantic, CT - Dennis Canterbury, associate professor of sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University, will analyze relevant theoretical issues and socio-economic matters in Africa. The lecture will be held at 3 p.m. on April 14 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of Eastern's Student Center.  The public is invited.  Admission is free. 

            Canterbury's presentation will focus on his research on development in Africa, which includes failed development theories and practices in the continent since its conquest by Europeans.  Canterbury will offer workable alternatives he believes will positively change the socioeconomic and political conditions in Africa.

            His publications include "Neoliberal Democratization and New Authoritarianism" and "European Bloc Imperialism." His work has been published in several professional journals including "Critical Sociology," "Canadian Journal of Development Studies" "Review of Radical Political Economics," "Journal of Peasant Studies" and "Labor, Capital and Society."            

            Canterbury has won numerous awards including Eastern's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award and the Men Achieving Leadership Excellence Success (M.A.L.E.S.) Advisor Award.   He also is the recipient of the Connecticut State University System is 2009 System-Level Trustees Research Award.

            Canterbury was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana.  He earned a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Guyana; a master's degree in economic development from University of West Indies; and a second master's degree in international development studies at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He also has a doctorate in sociology, with a specialization in development and labor studies from Binghamton University.  


Commissioner Meotti is Commencement Speaker

Written by Ed Osborn


Michael_Meotti.JPGWillimantic, CT - Michael P. Meotti, commissioner of higher education for the State of Connecticut, will deliver the commencement address at Eastern Connecticut State University's 120th commencement exercises on May 23 at the XL Center in Hartford.

Mr. Meotti was appointed commissioner of higher education in March 2008 by the Board of Governors for Higher Education.  His department develops higher education policy, conducts research and analysis, provides licensing and accrediting oversight, regulates private occupational schools, and makes recommendations regarding public college and university budgets and tuitions and fees. Meotti's office also directs the alternate route to teacher certification and manages several student financial aid and college-preparatory programs.

As an ex-officio member of the Connecticut State Board of Education, Mr. Meotti works closely with policy-makers and education officials on P-20 issues such as high school reform and teacher certification. He is also a member of the New England Board of Higher Education.

Commissioner Meotti has served as the president of United Way of Connecticut and the Connecticut Policy and Economic Council. He also served eight years in the state senate as assistant majority leader and vice chair of the education committee.


Mr. Meotti earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and his juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center.  He lives in West Hartford with his wife, Pamela, and two daughters.


Eastern to Host a Candidates Forum

Written by Sarah Swann 

            Willimantic, CT -  Nearly two dozen candidates running for offices in November will participate in a Candidates Forum on April 14 at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The candidates, which include individuals running for U.S Senate, U.S. Congress, Connecticut Governor, Connecticut Attorney General and Connecticut Secretary of State, will present their platforms and tell why they are running for office from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  The public is invited.  Admission is free. 

            Candidates include Jerry Farrell Jr. and Corey Bringson, running for Secretary of State; Martha Dean running for Attorney General; Michael Fedele, Duffy Acevedo, Larry DeNardis, Tom Marsh and Dr. Scott Merrell, running for Governor of Connecticut; and Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons, Vinny Foras and John Mertens, running for U.S. Senate.           

"The Eastern Conservatives Club, a student organization at Eastern, is sponsoring the forum to promote more political awareness at the university," said club president Stephen Lyon.  "By setting up a candidate meet-and-greet forum, we hope to increase the participation of the student body in the public arena. Decisions being made today will affect them today and in the future as they build their lives and careers.  Apathy is one of the biggest issues facing those that are often referred to as the 'next generation.'  One way to change this is to emphasize that they (students) are not the 'next generation,' but the current generation.  They're not the voters of tomorrow; they're the voters of today!"

Lyon said he started the club after meeting students who shared his conservative political philosophy. "The idea came to me after I worked with the Arlington, VA.-based Leadership Institute to start conservative clubs at colleges in the Buffalo region of New York State.  I, along with the other club members, felt that we could successfully start a conservative movement on the campus in a constructive, educational manner."   

            The Conservatives Club was founded this past fall. Officers include Stephen Lyon, president; Zackary April, vice president; David Green, treasurer; and George Barr, secretary. Other members include Mike Laporte, Evan Perry, Joseph Serino, Kyle Puzacke.  Political Science Professor Christopher Vasillopulos serves as the club's advisor. 

Eastern Professor's Blog Wins Award

Written by Kate Harner

            Willimantic, CT - Sharon Butler, digital art and design professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently was awarded with a 2010 Mindshare Award by for her blog, "Two Coats of Paint."

            Butler's blog won third place in the Visual Arts category. The eLearners Mindshare Awards recognize innovative websites that support life-long learning, creativity, professional skills and social responsibility.

Butler started "Two Coats of Paint" because she wanted to find and share art criticism from different regions. Butler also considers her blog to be a community for painters and writers of art. Blog posts consist of excerpts from articles about painting and related topics.

            "I'm honored that 'Two Coats of Paint' has been selected for a Mindshare Award," said Butler. "I hope the awards help increase awareness among academics that the best blogs and online journals make terrific additions to traditional course materials, as well as providing respectable publishing alternatives for research and scholarly articles."

The eLearners site connects prospective students with higher education programs that fit their needs, and has earned a reputation for championing the causes of adult learners and higher education students, sponsoring nationwide initiatives like Project Working Mom and the Career Stimulus Package scholarship plan.

For more information, visit "Two Coats of Paint" at


Poet Natasha Trethewey to Visit Eastern

Written by Kate Harner


Willimantic, CT -- Award-winning poet Natasha Trethewey will hold a poetry reading at Eastern Connecticut State University at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 in Room 104 of the Science Building. The event is being sponsored by Eastern's English Club. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Trethewey's first book of poetry, "Domestic Work," won the 1999 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American; the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize; and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her collection of poems, "Native Guard," received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She has also published "Bellocq's Ophelia," which received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. On April 15, Ms. Trethewey will also hold a question and answer session at 11 a.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building. That event is also free and open to the public.

Trethewey has received fellowships from the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Trethewey is now a professor of English at Emory University, where she holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry.

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


Social Work Students Brighten Futures at Natchaug

Written by Ed Osborn


Social Work Students.JPGWillimantic, CT - Six social work students from Eastern Connecticut State University are working with the faculty and staff at Natchaug School to host a "Let Your Inner Star Shine Far" educational career fair on Thursday, April 15, 2010, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Jessica Bachand, Erica Holloway, Lisa Johnson, Jonathan Myette, Samantha Sorensen and Heather Wheeler want to provide third- and fourth-grade students at Natchaug School with valuable information to get them thinking about their futures and to encourage pathways to higher education and sustainable careers. In the midst of a recession and a struggling community, Eastern students are reaching out to the local youth to empower them and put them on a path for success.

In addition to brightening Natchaug students' futures, "Let Your Inner Star Shine Far" also provides Eastern students with real-life experience to aid them in their common goal of becoming social workers and making the world a better place.

For more information, contact Jessica Bachand, group liaison, at

(860) 886-3868 or



Eastern Professor to Present Outdoor Exhibit

Written by Jack Meltzer

Willimantic, CT - June Bisantz, professor of visual arts at Eastern Connecticut State University, will present her new interactive art and literature project, "Turning Pages," from April 5-9, and again April 12-16. Show time is 8 p.m. to midnight. The exhibit will be held outside the Willimantic Public Library on Main Street in Willimantic.  The public is invited. Admission is free.

The "Turning Pages" exhibit was designed especially for the Willimantic Public Library and will coincide with National Library Week, April 11 - 17.  Bisantz will use the library's facade as a canvas by using the projected light from a video projector as paint.  The video will present the pages of an open book turning idly to reveal text and images from her favorite books.  The image of the book will float above the library's entrance, welcoming readers into the building.  To view the exhibition, visit

"Reading has saved my life many times," said Bisantz. "A book offers escape, and great adventure. My exhibit is about the excitement and anticipation of reading a new story. As the first public project of its kind in Eastern Connecticut, 'Turning Pages' will break new ground in municipal revitalization efforts, serving as a model for new kinds of artistic expression, community outreach and civic collaboration."

"Turning Pages" is the result of a collaborative effort, with EastConn's Arts at the Capitol Theatre providing technical and logistical support, along with the projector for the piece. Additional support came from the Windham-based Windham Reads, an annual literary campaign, and Thread City Development Inc., a group of local residents and merchants dedicated to the revitalization of Willimantic.

            Bisantz received her master's degree in painting from Claremont Graduate University in California. Her work as a commercial artist and illustrator has appeared in Esquire and Vanity Fair magazines, and her paintings, collages and multimedia pieces have been shown in galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, the Benton Museum and the University of Connecticut. Bisantz is also a musician and jazz vocalist.  Her recent release, "Let's Fall in Love," has received international airplay.


Eastern Names Winners of Ella T. Grasso Award

Written by Emily Bonoyer


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Winners of the 2010 Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award. Left to Right:  Executive Vice President Michael Pernal; Alice Pritchard, Soncheray Hall '11, Carol Williams, and keynote speaker Professor Marcia McGowan.


            Willimantic, CT - On March 31, Soncheray Hall '11, a Social Work major from East Hartford; Alice Pritchard, executive director of the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF); and Carol Williams, associate dean of continuing education, were named recipients of Eastern Connecticut State University's annual Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Awards. The recipients were honored during a reception in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of Eastern's J. Eugene Smith Library.

The award program recognizes individuals who have made contributions towards advancing women's rights; provided leadership in programs serving the needs of women by organizing or empowering women; advocated on behalf of women's rights or outreach to women in need of supportive services; and initiated and implemented programs to broaden the representation of women in society.

Marcia McGowan, recipient of the first Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and distinguished professor of English at Eastern, delivered the keynote address.

Hall, a student leader and an aspiring women's activist won the student award.  She has served as a student ambassador in the Office of Admissions, leading tours for prospective students and their parents.  She also has served as assistant program coordinator in the Women's Center.

            Hall has worked closely with the Women's Center coordinator on numerous programs and activities, leading group discussions; working closely with Willimantic-based Perceptions and AIDS Project Hartford to secure speakers and collect information on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women globally; and working to help establish a chapter of National Organization for Women (NOW) at Eastern. 

Hall also is a member of Females Excelling Maturing to Achieve Leadership Excellence and Success (F.E.M.A.L.E.S.), and has served as vice president of the organization.  In June, Hall will attend the American Association of University Women's (AAUW) National Conference for Women Student Leaders (NCWSL) at the University of Maryland in College Park Maryland. At NCWSL, she will work with young women from across the nation to help develop a voice for young women's leadership in higher education.

Williams was named the recipient of the faculty/staff award. She has been an advocate for non-traditional students, many who are returning after years as mothers, homemakers or women returning to college to upgrade skills and seek economic advancement.

Williams also has played an important role in the establishment of a cooperative program in Jamaica that allows teachers on the island to improve their credentials through courses taught by Eastern faculty that lead to an Eastern BA degree in sociology. Her support for gender equity in education is reflected in her presentations and publications on such topics as "The Classroom Climate for Women in Higher Education" and "Career Paths: Choice and Chances for Women in Higher Education."

From 1980 to 2005, Williams was the primary organizer of "Day for Women," a day-long conference serving women in the Willimantic area. She has served on the production board and regularly hosted "What About Women," a public affairs television show on WVIT-TV/NBC, which highlights women's issues and the advancement of women's rights.

Williams has been active in the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and was awarded the AAUW's State Woman of the Year Award in 1997. She has received the Athena Award for Service to Business and Professional Women from the Windham Chamber of Commerce, along with Eastern's Excellence in Service Award.

Pritchard, executive director of the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), was named the recipient of the community award. CWEALF is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women, girls and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives. 

For more than two decades, Pritchard has conducted research, advocacy, training and technical assistance on issues related to education and workforce development.  She oversees CWEALF's activities related to girl's education in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as promoting model programs for women's career advancement in technology, health care and early childhood education fields.  

Since the early 1990s, Pritchard has been the main organizer of women and girls' support services to ensure equity in treatment and opportunities for women in Connecticut. Since 2004, she has assisted the Governor's Office of Workforce Competitiveness to develop the Connecticut Career Ladder Initiative, which promotes model programs for career advancement in technology, health care, and early child care and education fields. Pritchard has coordinated the Allied Health Workforce Policy Board since 2005. The board was created to document shortages in nursing and allied health professions and to provide strategies for recruitment and retention of these workers throughout Connecticut.



Eastern to Perform "The Distance from Here"

Written by Kate Harner


            Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University's Visual Arts Department will present Neil LaBute's play, "The Distance from Here," at 7:30 p.m. April 6 - 10 at the Harry Hope Theatre, located in Shafer Hall on the corner of High and Valley Streets in Willimantic. A final presentation will take place at 4 p.m. on April 11. The public is invited. Tickets are $5 for Eastern students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public.

The performance is directed by J.J. Cobb, Eastern's assistant professor of theatre and acting. The contemporary play centers around Darrell and Tim, two youths trapped in a society that refuses to give them a chance at the American dream. Darrell's dysfunctional family does not help his angst. His young mother, Cammie, neglects Darrell and lives with her Gulf War veteran boyfriend, Rich. The audience learns that Rich has sexual relations with both Cammie and her stepdaughter Shari, a young mother of a baby who constantly cries for attention that he is never given.

"'The Distance From Here' is an exciting and contemporary piece," says Amy Dias '12, the show's stage manager. "It will definitely open audience members' eyes to a world full of an absence of love."

For reservations, call the Box Office at (860) 465-5123.


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