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January 2012 Archives

Unfiltered V: Vito Bonanno Riding with the Train Girls Exhibition

Written by Ed Osborn

Unfiltered art 2 -VITOBONANNO NEONLUIS.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - The Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University presents "Unfiltered V: Vito Bonanno Riding with the Train Girls" on view from Jan. 19 through Mar. 1, 2012.  An Interactive Mural project, which is a Dean's Cup event, takes place Thursday, Feb. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. in the Akus Gallery, bottom floor of Shafer Hall.  Students, staff, faculty and members of the community are invited to join Bonanno in creating the mural.  A reception with the artist will be held on Thursday Feb 2 from 5- 7 p.m. in Akus Gallery.

Vito Bonanno's art contains the essence of his life, feelings, thoughts and dreams, centered around objects or topics that "get stuck in his head," including traffic lights, grids, ceiling fans and graffiti. His work is image and concept driven and may incorporate any media which will fuel this expression. Using spray paints, gouache, India inks, oils, acrylics and other media, Bonanno works on paper, canvas or whatever support may suit. Most of the characters or topics he draws are important to his life and embedded in his personal philosophy. His work has been described as raw, unfiltered, unedited, truthful, comedic, irresistible, bold, playful and charming, much like the man himself. "He has found a way to tap into the intensity of focus and insight afforded him through Autism Spectrum Disorder to unleash a formidable creative power and vision," explains Elizabeth Peterson, director of the Akus Gallery.


 "Unfiltered V: Vito Bonanno Riding with the Train Girls" offers an unabashed glimpse into the inner workings of the artist's complex and creative mind. Shrine-like installations and an unconventional, quirky accompaniment of objects bring both alarming and charmingly comedic elements to the table but simultaneously deliver Bonanno's messages into sharp focus. A distinct dialogue is present between the physical objects, all directly referenced in the artist's work, and the vast range of media used in the artwork.

The Interactive Mural project of "Unfiltered V" is a Dean's Cup Event at Eastern. The Dean's Cup competition is an academic and service-related event that promotes spirit and collaboration among students living in the residence halls on campus. The competition's purpose is to see which residence hall can get the most students to attend special events on campus while simultaneously encouraging students to become well seasoned in a variety of experiences; conducive to Eastern's liberal arts mission.

The Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer 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. The public is invited.  Admission is free. For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit on the web at

Continuing Education Receives Grant for REACH Program

Written by Trevor May

reach 2.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - This month, the Regional Education and Career Change Scholarship (REACH) received a $5,000 grant from the Eastern Connecticut Community Foundation to establish a pool of financial aid funds for adult students from towns in eastern Connecticut which the Community Foundation serves.

REACH offers $500 scholarships to returning adult students who qualify through an application process demonstrating financial need. The funds are awarded to individuals interested in completing a baccalaureate degree at Eastern Connecticut State University. Applicants are currently experiencing being unemployed, being underemployed, being a single parent or suffering from a serious illness.

reach 3.jpgThese scholarships are for individuals who believe they need a bachelor's degree to get ahead in the job market but who cannot afford to pay for their education without needing loans. The goal was to increase access to a four-year degree to a professional credential, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certificate or a green certificate, which will make these students more employable in the emerging workplace. 
Though $5,000 was granted, the REACH program allotted $3,000 of that grant to the fall 2011 semester and the $2,000 left will be distributed for the spring 2012 semester.

For the future, Eastern has again approached the foundation with ideas to expand the outreach to graduates of Three Rivers Community College. Events will be planned to make graduates of Three Rivers aware of how easy transferring to Eastern can be to complete a four-year degree. During these events, Eastern will encourage graduates by using individualized "degree-mapping" and personal testimony of recent Three Rivers and Eastern graduates who can talk about their success at Eastern.

One grateful recipient of a scholarship was asked, "If you had not received the REACH Scholarship, would you have been able to take the same number of credits this semester?" Their reply: "I may have, but being on a fixed income with two of us taking college courses and a third one working and paying off student loans, the REACH Scholarship is a big help."

Volunteers Needed for Special Olympics

Written by Chris Herman

special olympics-1.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Volunteers are needed for the 33rd Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet, which will be held on March 10, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Windham High School on High Street in Willimantic.
       Approximately 350 volunteers are needed to continue to make this event the largest and most successful Special Olympics Swim Meet in Connecticut.  The greatest need is for one-to-one partners.  Participants are paired with their own special partner for the day.  Partners make sure athletes get to their registered events, cheer them on, and get them involved in activities when they are not swimming.  Volunteers are also needed in areas such as sports clinics, food service and water safety.           
All volunteers will be provided with lunch from McDonalds and a souvenir Windham Special Olympics t-shirt.  Volunteer registration forms can be picked up in Goddard 114 on the Eastern campus. This activity is approved for community service credit.  Additional information as well as Volunteer Registration forms, is available at Charles Wynn, a professor of chemistry at Eastern, has been the meet director for the past 18 years.

The Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. According to a study conducted at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and at home the longer they participate in the program. The study found that the Special Olympics have a direct and positive effect on their self-image and ability to function in a social setting. They acquire skills that help them gain employment, maintain relationships, function independently and contribute to community life.

For more information, contact Charles Wynn at (860) 465-5258 or

Study Abroad in Jamaica

Written by Chris Herman


        Eastern students and faculty will return to Hanover Parish in Jamaica in March.

Willimantic, Conn. - The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Eastern Connecticut State University is conducting a three-credit Tier II Cultural Perspective course titled "Global Education Field Experience in Jamaica" from March 17 to March 24.

Students will serve as teaching aides at an infant, primary, junior high and/or high school in Hanover or St. James parishes in Jamaica. Eastern students will also have the opportunity to study ecotourism; interact with Jamaican teachers and students; and experience Jamaican culture and history.

Students participating in the excursion will stay at the Global Villa in Lucea. Students will have the opportunity to swim with dolphins in Lucea and Bull's Beach near Global Villa. Assignments and activities for the course will include visiting a family court, orphanage, a pre-school, a high school sex education class and conducting a community survey in rural Jamaica.   Highlights of the trip will include sightseeing locations at Rick's CafĂ© and Bloody Bay in Negril and the Hip Strip in Montego Bay.

For more information on the class trip, contact David Stoloff at or (860) 465-5501.


Student Achievements Receive Special Attention

Written by Gabrielle Little

Willimantic, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University is one of only four colleges and universities in a national Honors Program pilot sponsored by, a news distribution company in Albany, NY. The pilot focuses on "," a web-based program that promotes students' educational status and achievements.
Eastern uses software to publicize student achievements and activities on campus.   Such stories as studying abroad, making the dean's list, or winning a scholarship are turned into personalized stories, published online at and sent to hometown newspapers. The software makes sure students receive appropriate credit for the good work they do on campus, which helps qualify them for summer jobs, internships, and even job interviews and references after school.


          Kate Harner '12 is president of Eastern's chapter of People Helping  People.   

 In a recent U.S. News and World Report article, Eastern student Kate Harner '12 explained how presents students in a professional light.  "I think this is a great way to organize all the information that I personally would like my future employers to know about me."

According to readMedia, 75 percent of companies research applicants online, and 70 percent have rejected applicants based on what they found about them. Those are statistics of great concern for students seeking to start their careers on a positive note. A profile can create a positive online identity for post-graduation success.



      Clifford Marrett, interim director of career services. left, helps student career planning.

"In today's economy, our students are finding stiff competition for jobs and internships," said Clifford Marrett, interim director of career services. "Having an online repository where student accomplishments and achievements are archived will give Eastern students a competitive edge and provide them with an easy way to share their achievements with potential employers, as well as family and friends."
 "Using social media to market Eastern and to share news about our students and faculty is an increasingly important component of our overall brand communications efforts at Eastern," said Ed Osborn, director of university relations. " and the readMedia platform represent a significant growth opportunity for getting the word out about Eastern. Since this August, we have posted more than 2,500 student profiles to  And in the past 12 months, through the distribution of our news stories to hometown newspapers, online publications and social media, we have sent out 72 stories about 5,889 individual student accomplishments ranging from the dean's list to honors society inductions and graduation announcements.  These have been sent to 641 media outlets and emailed to 6,400 student and parent emails, viewed online 12,600 times, and posted 610 times to various social media."

Students can claim their personal profiles by visiting "Students should log in to to manage their profiles," said Chris Herman, a student writer in the Office of University Relations who is serving as coordinator of Eastern's initiatives. "Just go to, log in using Facebook Connect, and find your personalized profile. In addition to the stories generated about you through our office, you can add a photograph and include other elements of your resume." also allows students to share their profiles and achievement stories with their social networks via sharing functions on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Bachiochi Named "Humanitarian of the Year"

Written by Christopher Herman

bachiochi.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - On Jan. 7, Peter Bachiochi, professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University, was named the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the International Foundation Willimantic Lions Club. Bachiochi was presented the award at the Groton Inn and Suites.

Bachiochi has been faculty advisor of Eastern's Habitat for Humanity student organization for more than 10 years.  In addition to advising this group, Bachiochi serves as a role model by sleeping in a cardboard box on Habitat for Humanity Shackathon Day and taking students on a weeklong Habitat project each year during Spring Break, including a visit to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Of special significance to the Lions, Bachiochi has co-coordinated several Partnership for Humanity projects in which Lions Club members and Habitat for Humanity student organization members work together, painting the homes of needy Willimantic residents.


Bachiochi-inspired Shackathon.jpg"Our club wanted to recognize a non-Lion whose efforts on behalf of humanity were outstanding," said David Oyanadel, chairman of the Willimantic Lions Club Humanitarian Award Committee and technical support specialist at Eastern. "We had no difficulty selecting Peter Bachiochi as that person."

Lions Clubs International has 1.35 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 206 countries and geographical areas around the world.  Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.

For information about the Willimantic Lions Club, visit or contact Club President Bob Barron at (860) 303-7375.  For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit


Nanette Tummers Authors Stress Management Book

Written by Gabrielle Little

Tummers book.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Health and Physical Education Professor Nanette Tummers of Eastern Connecticut State University has authored a new book on how to relieve stress titled, "Teaching Stress Management." The book presents current evidence-based research, with practical applications supplying teachers with 199 low- to no-cost activities that reinforce the curricular concepts. 

"Teaching Stress Management" equips students to deal proactively with stress and helps teachers apply various aspects of the positive psychology movement, including optimism, social support, resiliency, right-brain engagement, mindfulness-based stress reduction, responsive classroom techniques, and emotional and social intelligence.

"Teaching students the skills of stress management can have a positive impact on schools' social climate--reducing conflict, bullying and violence," said Tummers. In addition, Teaching Stress Management helps teachers meet the National Health Education Standards with an overall focus on Standard 7, in which students practice health-enhancing behaviors.


Eastern to Host "Job-Ready" Summit

Written by Chris Herman

Windham, Conn. - The Nonprofit Alliance of Northeast Connecticut (NANC), the Greater Windham Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and Eastern Connecticut State University will be hosting a summit called "Sustaining a Job-Ready Community" in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center at Eastern's Willimantic campus on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss strategies for fostering economic stability in the region.

State Sen. Donald E. Williams Jr. will introduce the essential elements of a job-ready community during his morning presentation. Scott Harris Jr., a Hamden town councilman and a graduate student at Columbia University, will be the keynote speaker, sharing his story of how hardship defined his childhood and the factors that contributed to his emergence from poverty.

Community members from all sectors -- business, service provider, nonprofits, education, healthcare, municipalities, etc. -- are invited to attend this event.  Registration is $10, payable at the door. A continental breakfast and a networking luncheon will be provided. To register, please contact Christopher Brechlin at the Access Community Action Agency at or at (860) 450-7400, extension 7459.

U.S. Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band Visits Eastern

Written by Dwight Bachman

Dixieland Band.jpg

Willimantic, Conn:  On Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium, the U.S. Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band brings its special brand of jazz, blues and New Orleans ragtime to Shafer Auditorium at Eastern Connecticut State University as part of the University's 11th Annual Arts and Lecture Series.

The United States Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band was organized in 1970 to perform classic jazz, blues and rags with a New Orleans flavor. The ensemble has entertained audiences across America, in the former Soviet Union, Japan, Taiwan and England. Notable venues include the open-air theater in Disney World; the Boardwalk in Atlantic City; the Galaxy Jazz Festival in Milwaukee; the Embarcadero in San Francisco; and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Free admission, but seating is limited. Reserve your seat by calling (860) 465-0036 or emailing

Professor Fraustino Featured in New York Times

Written by Christopher Herman

faustino.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Lisa Rowe Fraustino, professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University, was featured in the New York Times' "Room For Debate Series." In "Room for Debate," the Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues. This particular discussion focused on what books authors love to receive and give.


faustino book hole_in_the_wall.jpgFraustino explained that her passion for reading and writing stems from her grandmother's frequent retelling of the story "Pippi Longstocking" during her youth. "What girl growing up in the 1960s would not want to be like Pippi, living without adult supervision at Villa Villekulla, strong enough to lift a whole horse, to defy police, ringmasters and silly teachers of pluttifikation, to walk backwards down the street with one foot on the sidewalk and the other in the gutter? Who would not itch to learn reading and writing after hearing that rollicking story?"  

Fraustino is the author of the award-winning "The Hole in Wall," which follows a pair of 11-year-old twins and their investigation of a mining operation that has severely affected the area of their home. In March, "Booklist" named "The Hole in the Wall" to its Top 10 Books on the Environment for Youth: 2011.  "The Hole in the Wall" was received with positive reviews and won the Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature.        
To learn more about Faustino and her work, visit her website at  

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