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May 2014 Archives

Alumna Discusses Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Elementary Schools

 

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On April 24, anthropologist Hilda Lloréns '96, presented "Arrancando Mitos de Raíz: Guía para una Enseñanza Antirracista" en Puerto Rico (Pulling-up Myths from their Roots: A Guide for the Anti-Racist Teaching of Puerto Rico's African Heritage), published in 2013. The book's presentation, which was sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and the Intercultural Center, detailed the findings of the research project, "Beyond the Self: Towards an Integral Approach to an Anti-racist Pedagogy in Elementary Education."
This research project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and spearheaded by Isar Godreau from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey. The project sought to explore whether institutional racism was embedded in school curricula and whether black children were exposed to racism and discrimination in school.

The research team found that at the institutional level, in curricular materials and lessons, students were taught five recurrent and specific myths about Africa, the African heritage and blackness in Puerto Rico. These five myths are: 1) Africa is a poor, primitive place of little importance in the world; 2) slaves were passive victims of slavery; 3) all black persons in Puerto Rico were slaves prior the abolition of slavery; 4) the contributions of African heritage are limited to music, folklore and hard labor; 5) in Puerto Rico, the majority of black persons disappeared as a result of race mixing or "mestizaje." At the interpersonal level, racial discrimination among students included rejection, humiliation, mockery and even physical abuse of black children. Consequently, the research team found that students who are victims of racism experience emotional instability, anxiety and isolation. Students often begin to experience racism in elementary school and continue to encounter racism throughout the entirety of their schooling experience.

During the presentation, Lloréns explained the findings of the research, as well as the contents of "Pulling-up Myths by the Roots." The book offers a practical guide for teachers, social workers, education students and the community-at-large to understand the effects of racism and suggest ways in which they can begin to effect anti-racist change both at the institutional and interpersonal levels. Lloréns donated a copy of the book to the J. Eugene Smith Library.

Celebrating 125 Years of Service to the Community

Written by Ed Osborn

 

Eastern wrapped up its spring semester series of 125th Anniversary celebrations with Community Engagement Day on May 2. The day began with a luncheon and panel discussion featuring four alumni in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room. Anabelitza Lozada '11, Levar Mitchell '12, Matt Blocker-Glynn '03 and Victoria Nimirowski '87 discussed how they turned their community engagement experiences at Eastern into successful careers. The event was sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, the Center for Internships and Career Development, and the Office of Alumni Affairs.

Lozada graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Work. The following year, she completed her master's degree at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work. She currently is the social worker for the Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens program at Windham High School. Mitchell earned his Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Management with a minor in Sociology. He currently works as a sports, fitness and recreation director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford, and is the youngest sports director in Connecticut. Mitchell is pursuing his master's degree in Social Work at the University of Connecticut.

Blocker-Glynn graduated with a B.A. in History. He received his M.Ed. in Human Relations Counseling from Plymouth State University, and then came back to Connecticut to direct the University of Hartford's Center for Community Service six years ago. Nimirowski has been the executive director of the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) since 2005.

In the afternoon, the CCE sponsored the annual Service Expo, during which time student volunteers displayed posters and other visual manifestations of the various service projects that have taken place during the 2013-14 academic year. The annual Distinguished Service Awards ceremony took place in the Student Center Theatre following the Service Expo.

Kimberly DePaolis, a junior double-majoring in early childhood education and psychology, won the Student Community Engagement Award for her leadership, fundraising and volunteer work locally and abroad--in such countries as Jamaica and Ecuador--earned her this award.

Professor of Anthropology Ricardo Perez earned the Faculty Community Engagement Award for working with Eastern students in service projects with Willimantic schools in the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) program. The Community Partner Engagement Award was given to '09 alumnus Christopher Brechlin, who worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer with ACCESS Agency and is now the CEO of Blueprint for a Dream, a "social enterprise" that focuses on northeast Connecticut. Professor of Sociology Cara Bergstrom-Lynch won the Service Learning Award for her fundraising efforts and community organizing. Since 2007, more than 550 students in her senior seminar have organized more than 120 community projects. The Community Event Award was given to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). From January to April of this year, the 10 students involved in the program put forth more than 456 hours of tax assistance, filing approximately 9,500 returns for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.

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In the evening, "La Familia de Mucho Colores," a community cultural celebration in the Betty R. Tipton Room, concluded Community Engagement Day. Arnaldo Rivera and his band Vente-Tú played Latin Jazz and Salsa; children from the Puentes al Futuro ("Bridges to the Future") program danced to Mexican polkas, a Puerto Rican bomba and other Latin American music. Dancers fom the El Sagrado Corazón Catholic Church also joined in the festivities.

Eastern English Professor Wins Statewide Teaching Award

Written by Dwight Bachman

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Willimantic, Conn: - Barbara Little Liu, associate professor of English, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Board of Regents/Connecticut State Universities Teaching Award. Liu was recognized for her work in curriculum development in the English Department and for how well she teaches students to write. The award was presented to Liu, of South Windsor, at the April 17 meeting of the Board of Regents for Higher Education of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.
 
 Liu's peers and students consider her to be exemplary in the classroom. Alumnus Andrew Minikowski '12 said that while working on his Honors Thesis with Liu, she constantly encouraged him to push his writing and research further, and as a result, he produced a far better final paper. "Though her job is to teach writing, what she taught me was strength, confidence, and academic and professional integrity. Her influence has remained with me as a law student and is responsible for my success."

 Writing from Malaysia, former student Yi Qian Lee agreed: "Never in my life as a student who has lived in different countries for the past 15 years, have I met a teacher like her. I am an international student and English as a Second Language Learner who always has troubles with writing. After a mere four months with Dr. Liu, today I am a writing tutor. I am no longer insecure with my own writing, and have even developed my own style of writing under her guidance. Dr. Liu is a teacher who every student deserves to have."

 Lisa Fraustino, chair of the English Department, said "Dr. Liu has always made teaching her top priority, and I cannot think of a single instructor at Eastern who has had a greater impact on student learning. Her students are lucky." 

 
Maureen McDonnell, associate professor of English and director of Eastern's Women and Gender Studies program, concurred. "I am impressed with Dr. Liu's knowledge, her familiarity with her students as thinkers and people, and her adeptness in facilitation the discussion. The student's consistent focus and the respect with which their ideas were received was a pleasure to see."

Rita Malenczyk, professor of English and director of the University Writing Program and Writing Center, also gives Liu high marks. "The impact that her College Writing Plus class has had on student learning has been huge. Dr. Liu's work extends beyond the individual classroom in a way unparalleled at Eastern, and will certainly have a lasting impact on writing instruction in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System as a whole."

The BOR/CSU Teaching Award is granted to faculty members who have "distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of a two-year track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments."

Eastern Named Green Campus for Fifth Year in a Row

Written by Dwight Bachman

 

Green Guide 2014 Cover.jpgWillimantic, Conn: -- For the fifth consecutive year, Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United State and Canada, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and The Princeton Review. Eastern is profiled in the fifth annual edition of the free downloadable guide, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges."
The Princeton Review chose the 332 schools in the guide based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure their commitment to the environment and sustainability.  The institutional survey included questions on the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.  

The 216-page guide is the only free comprehensive resource of its kind: it can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide. The Princeton Review created the "Guide to 332 Green Colleges" in partnership with the USGBC's Center for Green Schools (www.usgbc.org).

The 322 school profiles in the guide feature essential information for applicants -- facts and statistics on school demographics, admission and financial aid -- plus write-ups on the schools' sustainability initiatives.  A "Green Facts" sidebar reports on a wide range of topics from the school's use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.
 
The guide's profile on Eastern highlights the University's Green Campus Initiative, which commits the campus community to lowering energy use, reducing water waste and improving recycling. Currently, 10 percent of Eastern's energy consumption is derived from renewable resources, including geothermal, solar power, biofuel and purchased electricity from renewable sources. 

"The campus boasts four LEED-certified buildings including a LEED Silver Science Building, featuring day-light harvesting, a gray water system, recycled flooring, native plants and a biofilter system to reduce rainwater runoff," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) addresses energy issues in our region by engaging in the development of sound public energy policy, providing K-12 energy education and professional development, and supporting sustainability solutions in Connecticut's communities, colleges, and universities."

 "We are pleased to recommend Eastern to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices," said Rob Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. Franek noted that recent survey findings indicate significant interest among college applicants in attending "green" colleges. "Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' 61 percent said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he said.
 
Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, commented, "In collaborating with The Princeton Review on this annual guide, we have seen that sustainability on campuses continues to be an important deciding factor for today's four-year college bound students.  We are excited to once again provide prospective students and their parents with a resource to help them navigate this often daunting decision-making process."


Graduating Senior Art Exhibit at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

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Samantha McGeowan '14, winner of the Excellence in Painting and Drawing Award, standing in front of one of her works at the "To Be Determined" exhibit in Eastern's Akus Gallery

Willimantic, Conn. - "To Be Determined," Eastern Connecticut State University's concluding art exhibit of the 2014 academic year, was on display from May 2-16 at the Akus Gallery in Shafer Hall. The exhibition showcased the work of 44 graduating seniors in the Visual Arts Department--working in the mediums of graphic design, sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing.

"To Be Determined" commenced on May 2 with an awards ceremony which recognized four students: Chandler Fowles of Mystic, CT, earned the Excellence in Art History Award; Samantha McGeowan of Windham earned the Excellence in Painting and Drawing Award; Olivia Provey of Sandy Hook earned the Excellence in Printmaking Award; and David Bieniarz of Tolland earned the Excellence in Sculpture Award.

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History Majors Win Library Research Awards

Written by Michael Rouleau

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Willimantic, Conn. - The winners of the 2014 Library Research Awards at Eastern Connecticut State University have been announced. Emily Komornik, a sophomore from Shelton double-majoring in history and English, won the underclassman award for her research paper titled "Jonathan Edwards: Conversion through Fear." The upperclassman award was given to Shannon Williamson, a senior from Baltic majoring in history, for her research paper titled "Choosing an Ethnic Group to Target: The Case of the Jewish Minority in Interwar Poland."

Entries were judged by a panel of librarians and faculty. Evidence of research strategy, process, use of library resources and personal learning were taken into consideration. "If there are no deserving research projects in a given year, the awards may not be given," warned the panel prior to judging. In the end, the panel was impressed.

Komornik's paper, titled "Jonathan Edwards: Conversion through Fear," is about "The Great Awakening," a radical Christian movement of the 1700s. Led by Rev. Jonathan Edwards, The Great Awakening emerged to counter "The Enlightenment," a mindset focused on reason and logic rather than devotion to god.
 
The Great Awakening presented a radical change in preaching styles among New England ministers. In an effort to scare people into compliance or conversion, "Sermons became threatening and involved horrifying messages of eternal damnation for those who did not believe in the Christian God," Komornik wrote.

Williamson's paper, titled "Choosing an Ethnic Group to Target: The Case of the Jewish Minority in Interwar Poland," addresses why the Jews of Interwar Poland (early 1900s), a country full of ethnic minorities, were the most persecuted. "I was intrigued about why certain groups were targeted over other ethnic groups," Williamson said.

The 26-page paper delves into the numerous reasons why Jews were at odds with the Poles and other minority groups of Interwar Poland--Belarusians, Ukrainians and Germans. Among the reasons, Williamson suggests, were the Jews' lack of support from an established "mother country," their economic tendency to work in urban areas rather than live a peasant lifestyle, and their following of Judaism instead of Christianity.
 
Students were also judged on a reflection essay that went behind the scenes of their research. "Before this project, I had never utilized the J. Eugene Smith Library in such an extensive way," said Komornik. "Of course I've taken out books before, but never had I used the library's online databases, which enabled me to easily find enough resources for my research."

Williamson also spoke highly of the library. "The library was incredibly beneficial in my quest to create my research paper," she said. "In addition to using the databases, a trick I learned is to browse the bibliographies of effective books to find more related books."

Both research papers and reflection essays can be viewed at: http://easternct.libguides.com/content.php?pid=62741&sid=4892904

Eastern Graduates 1,227 at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

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Willimantic, Conn. - More than 12,000 family members and friends filled the XL Center in Hartford on Tuesday, May 13, to cheer on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,162 undergraduates and 65 graduate students received their diplomas at Eastern Connecticut State University's 124th Commencement exercises.

Nicholas Lawson, director of field human resources for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa during the Commencement Exercises, and offered remarks following presentation of his honorary degree.

commencement 2014-Lawson-IMG_7905.JPG                                       Commencement Speaker Nicholas Lawson
Lawson has worked with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) for the past 17 years, a group he proudly describes as the "preeminent emergency medical humanitarian organization in the world." As Director of Field Human Resources for MSF since 2007, Lawson is responsible for the oversight of 35,000 staff across the globe, and leads the development and implementation of MSF's vision as a member of the MSF Executive Management team. Over the years, he has traveled to and coordinated humanitarian and medical relief efforts in Uganda, Pakistan, Burundi, East Timor, South Sudan and Afghanistan.

Lawson spoke of the organization's core principles of service, independence, impartiality, neutrality, ethics and engagement, and described his early years with MSF, when he faced the challenge of bringing medical supplies to civilians in Afghanistan caught in the crossfire of that nation's civil war.  In the end, he said MSF's focus was simple: to "alleviate the suffering of vulnerable people in crisis."

His charge to Eastern's 2014 graduating class was equally simple:  "What place does service and engagement in the public realm have in the careers we dream for ourselves? Is that activism? Is it volunteerism? Is it civics? Will it be a lifelong professional choice? . . . You will be richer than you can possibly imagine if you do actually make that choice."

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                                             Eastern President Elsa Nunez

Other speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Nunez; Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, who represented the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Senior Class President Zachary Yeager; and Brittany Lane '14, who delivered the Senior Class Address. Other members of the platform party included Gregory Gray, president of the Board of Regents; Willimantic Mayor Ernie Eldridge; and other Eastern officials.

Nunez gave her traditional charge to the graduates, telling them, "I hope you look forward to the next chapter in your lives with optimism and expectation, knowing that the faculty and staff on our campus have done their utmost to prepare you for this day."
 
Nunez cited examples of applied learning experiences ranging from internships at ESPN and Cigna to study abroad trips to Costa Rica and Switzerland, to undergraduate research into genetics and emotional health among senior citizens, to working in South Carolina on anti-hunger efforts, as examples of the hands-on experiences that Eastern students receive in applying their liberal arts education.

 "Never be satisfied with a half-hearted effort, never assume that the way things have been done is the way we should do things in the future. Intellectual curiosity and a moral commitment to a better life for all people are hallmarks of a liberal arts university in our democracy. The best way to honor Eastern and our faculty is to remain true to what you have learned here."

 Nunez closed her remarks with a quote from the 19th-century Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda:  "Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life -- think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success."

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor's degree. As Connecticut's only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 164 of the state's 169 towns. Approximately 90 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Zachary Yeager presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez--an annual Class of 2014 scholarship--and said, "College has been the time to make mistakes and learn from them, a time to challenge ourselves, and a time to step out of our comfort zone . . . We will carry the memories that we have made in the past few years at Eastern with us for a lifetime."

Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, offered remarks on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education.  "I want you to know how deeply moved and excited we are about the great work you have done to earn your degree tonight," said Smith. "This is a significant milestone, and you should be very proud. The journey isn't easy, and there are no shortcuts to earning an undergraduate degree, but the benefits are enormous. Eastern has prepared you well for all the challenges you will face as the 21st century-economy continues to change. Pursue your career with the same dedication that has brought you to this fabulous day."
 
In her Senior Class Address, Brittany Lane urged the graduates to "pack your bags" and get ready for a new journey. She listed five items to include on the trip. First on the list: a belief that "every day is a great day to be alive," something she learned from one of her professors, Dan Switchenko. Second on her list was a commitment to helping others. "Volunteer; give back to your community; give back to your school. It is far more rewarding than a paycheck." 

  The third item on her list was to live life with kindness. "You never know the impact that your kind words could have on someone's day or even their life. Make your mark." Lane told her peers to also "remember to take the memories you have made at Eastern with you . . .  These are the moments that stand the test of time."

 Finally, Lane reminded her classmates that "there is no place like home. For your duration of time spent here at Eastern, it has become a second home . . . a close community of students from different walks of life coming together to live and learn in harmony . . . No matter where your journey takes you after today, no matter how many bumps in the road you may hit, always remember that we all have a place here at Eastern. You are all important. You will all accomplish incredible things; and our journey starts today." 
 
From the Governor's Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick's Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet, this year's graduation ceremonies again reflected the University's Commencement traditions of dignity and grace. University Senate President Gregory Kane presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Emily Chuber, Rachel Jung and Emma Kuehnle sang "America the Beautiful"; Senior Mame Fatou Diop gave the invocation; and History Professor Anna Kirchmann was recognized as the 2014 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

 

Eastern Freshman Wins Chemistry Award

Written by Michael Rouleau

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          Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn and Chemistry Award Winner Njeri Dodson

Willimantic, Conn. - Njeri Dodson, a freshman from Bridgeport majoring in biology, is Eastern Connecticut State University's 2014 CRC (Chemical Rubber Company) Press Chemistry Achievement Award winner. The award is given annually at more than 2,000 universities, colleges and high schools worldwide, and recognizes one student per institution for their outstanding academic achievement in chemistry.

 The award is given to young people embarking on a career in science, and is intended to inspire the upcoming scientists of tomorrow. Dodson was selected for having the highest total test score of all students taking general chemistry in the 2013-14 academic year at Eastern.

Dodson admits to not having a solid background in chemistry after leaving high school. "I feel surprised and proud to have received this award!" she said. "It never crossed my mind that I would achieve an honor this great just by trying to catch up to the rest."

Professor of Chemistry Charles Wynn, general chemistry coordinator at Eastern, made the determination and announced the award. Dodson also received a commemorative scroll and copy of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.


Dodson plans to enroll in medical school in preparation for a career as a physician. "I want to be a doctor--not sure which kind yet--but chemistry definitely fits into my career goals," concluded Dodson.

Eastern Joins Initiative to Increase Latino Graduation Rates

Written by Ed Osborn

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Willimantic, Conn. -Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, is one of 17 college and university presidents across the nation and the only one in New England, to join "Presidents for Latino Student Success" (PLSS), a group of higher education leaders throughout the country who are committed to making America stronger by increasing degree attainment for Latino students and all students.

"I am proud to be part of this new initiative to increase the number of Latino students graduating from college," said Núñez.  "From my own personal experience and my professional observations during more than 40 years in higher education, a college degree can uniquely transform someone's life. Latino students have historically attended and graduated from college at lower rates than white and African Americans.  While there are a number of reasons for this disparity, only by bringing dedicated educational leaders together and actively implementing effective strategies will we be able to change this paradigm."

The PLSS initiative is being spearheaded by Excelencia in Education, which is marking its 10 years of service.  "Excelencia in Education has become an invaluable resource for higher education leaders who understand that the success of America's Latino students is critical to our nation's future," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, president of Long Beach City College and an inaugural member of Presidents for Latino Student Success.

"Excelencia's analysis makes clear that for the United States to regain the top ranking in the world for college degree attainment, Latinos will need to earn 5.5 million more degrees by 2020," continued Oakley. "Every higher educational institution in America could benefit from Excelencia's research, evidence-based practices and proven ability to bring together key stakeholders to move our nation toward that goal."

"We are gratified this distinguished group of higher education leaders have committed to building the national momentum to achieve our collective goal of making this country stronger with the talents, skills and contributions of greater numbers of Latino college graduates," said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. "These leaders come from a diversity of institutions and locations yet share proven capacities to advance student success and the acumen to reach and serve Latino students."

In addition to Núñez and Oakley, the following college and university presidents have also joined Presidents for Latino Student Success: Ricardo Fernandez, CUNY-Lehman College; Mildred Garcia, California State University, Fullerton; Willie Hagan, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Ray Keck, Texas A&M International University; Flavius Killebrew, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi;
Felix Matos Rodriguez, CUNY- Hostos Community College; Gail Mellow, CUNY-LaGuardia Community College; Tomas Morales, California State University, San Bernardino; Diana Natalicio, University of Texas at El Paso; Antonio Perez, CUNY- Borough of Manhattan Community College; Anne Prisco, Felician College, The Franciscan College of New Jersey; William Powers Jr., the University of Texas at Austin; Shirley Reed, South Texas College;Mark Rosenberg, Florida International University; and William Serrata, El Paso Community College.

 Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. For more information, visit www.EdExcelencia.org

Eastern Responds to Latest News on Climate Science

Written by Ed Osborn

               First Connecticut Institution to Join Alliance for Resilient Campuses

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Willimantic, Conn. - In response to the White House's release of the Third National Climate Assessment, Eastern Connecticut State University signed a commitment this week to prepare for the impact of climate change and increase the University's resilience.  Eastern's President Elsa Núñez became the first college president in Connecticut, and one of only 30 presidents nationwide, to become a signatory to the newly formed Alliance for Resilient Campuses. 


"The Alliance for Resilient Campuses will help Eastern and other colleges and universities assess our vulnerability to climate change, implement measures to increase our resiliency, prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, and share successful strategies for adapting to a changing climate," said President Núñez.
The Third National Climate Assessment is yet another sobering confirmation that climate change is impacting every region of the United States.  The Northeast, in particular, has experienced a 70 percent increase in precipitation during heavy storm events, the greatest increase in any region of the country.  More intense storm events, flooding, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels are already presenting significant risks to public health, roads, bridges, airports, waste water treatment plants, food production, communications systems, power plants and energy distribution. 


In Connecticut, local communities, campuses and state government have been at the forefront in addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2007, Eastern pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050 by signing the American Colleges and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. 

The University has reduced emissions through energy retrofits, geothermal and solar energy, a fuel cell and the construction of "LEED" buildings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification from the U.S. Green Building Council).
Extreme storms and power outages over the past few years in Connecticut have increased the attention being given to resiliency and the need to adapt to an already-changing climate.  By participating in the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, Eastern and other institutions around the country are dedicated to partnering with local communities to identify local risks and initiating steps to anticipate, avoid and manage disruptions.


The Alliance for Resilience Campuses was launched by Second Nature, a national nonprofit organization that works to create a healthy, just and sustainable society by transforming higher education.

Sociology Honor Society at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

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Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's sixth annual induction ceremony of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society, occurred on May 2 in the Student Center Theatre. This year eight students were inducted--each of them juniors and seniors majoring in sociology with cumulative grade point averages of 3.3 or above.

 Before the induction, Sociology Professor Cara Bergstrom-Lynch described the value of a sociology degree. "You have learned to conduct research, analyze data, present information and think critically, and you've gained a global perspective," she said. "Many of my students have gone on to successful careers in education, nonprofit and business. Also, you might find it interesting to know that Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Ronald Reagan and Michelle Obama were all sociology majors."

 The event's keynote speaker, Sociology Professor William Lugo, spoke of the role of activism in society. "Activism isn't about participating in a protest or being a part of some group," he said. "It's about how you live your life in general, and doing the right thing."  

 This year's inductees include Heather Demers of Oxford, MA; Kyle Donovan of Manchester; Lindsay Emblidge of Waterford; Amy Gutgsell of Old Lyme; Samantha Marsh of Plainfield; Olivia Muscarella of Oakdale; Anne Stolpe of Mystic; and Brianna Sullivan of Wethersfield.

"ALANA" Students Recognized for Academic Excellence

Written by Michael Rouleau

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Recipients of the Diversity Scholars and Inclusive Excellence Awards. Back row, left to right, are Shaleah Richards, Gregory Riley, Njeri Dodson, Destiny Hartmann, Amilcah Gomes, Briana Tucker, Tyler Hernandez, Kayla Enwerem. Front row, left to right, are Jonathan Correa, James Chadic.


Willimantic, Conn. - The 2014 Inclusive Excellence Student Awards Ceremony was held May 2 at Eastern Connecticut State University. The event, sponsored by the Advising Center, celebrated the academic achievements of Eastern's "ALANA" students--African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American students. A total of 143 students were recognized.

            "Across the country, minority students are underrepresented on college campuses and graduate at lower rates," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Here at Eastern we are committed to reversing that trend by fostering a community of inclusion, diversity awareness and academic excellence."

            The event's keynote speaker, Carmen Cid, a Latina from Cuba with nearly 30 years' experience as a college professor and administrator, and a distinguished scientist in the field of ecology, spoke on the topic of "finding your inner voice."

            "You have diverse backgrounds and broad educations; you can do more than one thing," said Cid, currently the interim president of Quinebaug Valley Community College and long-time dean of Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences. "Finding your inner voice takes time and practice." She also spoke of the benefits of diversity: "In ecology, the more diverse an ecosystem, the healthier it is. This is true for a college campus, too, and for society."

            Among the 143 students recognized were the Diversity Scholars Award recipients: Jonathan Correa, a sophomore biology major from Trumbull; Njeri Dodson, a freshman biology major from Bridgeport; Destiny Hartmann, a freshman accounting major from Stonington; Tyler Hernandez, a sophomore education major from Waterbury; Kayla Enwerem, a freshman from Waterbury; and Briana Tucker, a freshman social work major from Glastonbury.

Also notable were the recipients of the Inclusive Excellence Awards: James Chadic, a senior mathematics major from Norwich; Vanessa Cioe, a senior sports and leisure management major from Fall River, MA; Shaleah Richards, a senior psychology major from Hartford; and Gregory Riley, a junior biology major from West Haven.

Annual Athletic Awards Banquet Honors Student-Athletes

Written by Akaya McElveen

 

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Willimantic, Conn. -More than 100 student athletes, coaching staff and administrators gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room on May 3 for Eastern Connecticut State University's annual athletic awards banquet. Greg DeVito, head coach for the men's soccer team, was the master of ceremonies with Interim Director of Athletics Cynthia Washburne and Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Bedini giving the welcoming remarks. The event was sponsored by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Intramurals and Recreation.

Bedini presented the senior awards to 55 graduating student athletes, recognizing the end of their athletic eligibility to compete in Division III competition in their given sport at Eastern. Next were the Scholar Athletes and Outstanding Scholar Athletes Awards, presented by Provost Rhona Free, as well as the Team Faculty Athletic Representative Award for Academic Achievement given to the women's volleyball team. "The women's volleyball team has been very successful in the classroom with a cumulative GPA average of 3.47 after the fall 2013 semester," said DeVito.
            The Morrell Service Award, named after the Morrell brothers who attended Eastern and served as members of the Athletic department staff, was awarded to JenTamindzija. Tamindzija has been employed by the Athletic Department for three years and as an Event Staff Supervisor for two years. "Throughout her career, Jen has proven to be a conscious leader in every sense of the word," said DeVito.
Next were the Rookie of the Year Awards given to a male and female student-athlete in their first year of eligibility and based primarily on the individual's athletic performance.          

The men's award went to Greg Walton of the men's soccer team. Walton became the only third freshman goalkeeper in the 25-year history of the Little East Conference (LEC) to gain first-team honors at that position. In seven LEC regular season matches, Walton led the conference in goals against average and was third in save percentage.
 

DeVito speaking (2).JPG                                Head Men's Soccer coach Gregory DeVito


The female Rookie of the Year Award went to Adrianna Mihalek of the women's 

volleyball team. "Last fall, Adrianna became the volleyball program's first Little East

Conference Rookie-of-the-Year and first "First-Team" freshman in 10 years," said

DeVito. "In seven Little East regular season matches, she was second in the conference in

kills and tied for seventh in points per match."

Track and Field athlete Natalie Bowens was awarded the Individual Sport Rookie of the Year Award. "Natalie needed only five meets to merit this award," said DeVito. A competitor during the outdoor track and field season in the sprints and jumps, Bowens broke the program triple jump record in only her third collegiate meet.
Male Athlete of the Year Awards was given to lacrosse player Mike Devine and basketball player Mike Garrow. In his career, Devine has scored at least one goal in all but five games, and had 23 straight games with a goal during his sophomore and junior seasons still an Eastern record. Garrow was named the first NABC Division III men's basketball All-American in Eastern history, and was also the program's first LEC Player-of-the-Year.

The Female Athlete of the Year Award was given to softball player Mattie Brett. "During the regular season, her 14-game hitting streak was the longest by a player this season," said DeVito. "Mattie has never missed a game in her three-year Eastern Career." The Individual Sport Athlete of the Year Award was given to Katie King of the women's swim team. King went undefeated in dual-meet competition in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events.

The Bonnie J. Edmondson Sportswoman of the Year Award, named after Bonnie Edmondson, a four-year member of Eastern's track program who was an Olympic qualifier as an alternate in the hammer, was awarded to volleyball player Erynn Miller. Miller was the first person named team captain by Head Coach Peter Maneggia in his 15 years of coaching. Maneggia describes Miller as "a leader on and off the court who was vested in the 'team first' mentality."

Lastly, the Francis E. Geissler Sportsman of the Year Award, named after former athletic director and men's basketball and baseball coach, Francis Geisler, was awarded to Carl Stensland of the men's soccer team. During Stensland's three seasons as a student-athlete, DeVito characterized him as "one of the most reliable and responsible student-athletes that I have ever coached."
            Closing remarks were made by DeVito, with a special thanks to Janice Patry, assistant director of athletics, for her role in organizing the evening's event.

Kane Publishes New Book on Leadership in Sport Management

Written by Michael Rouleau

kane's new book sport leadership book cover.jpg


Willimantic, Conn. - Gregory Kane, health and physical education professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, has co-authored his first book, "Sport Leadership in the 21st Century." Co-authored by John F. Borland of Springfield College and Laura J. Burton of the University of Connecticut, it is among the first comprehensive textbooks on the market focusing on leadership in the field of sport management.

Several years ago, Kane was searching for a new book to add to his sport management courses. "I couldn't find anything that emphasized leadership in the field," said Kane. "When I asked colleagues, they responded, 'when you find something let us know.'"

Thereafter, Kane, Borland and Burton--all three friends, alumni of UConn and experts in sport leadership theory--set out to produce "Sport Leadership in the 21st Century."

The book also features two other faculty members of Eastern, Professors of Psychology Peter Bachiochi and Wendi Everton, who contributed by co-writing chapter 11, "Team Leadership and Group Dynamics."

Through case studies, interviews with leaders in the field, critical thinking questions and ample content, the book delves into leadership theories and strategies, skillsets and communication tactics, conflict management and a number of other leadership issues in the field of sport.

"Sport is much more than kicking a ball around; it is very multifaceted," said Kane. "There is a whole business side that encompasses a variety of professions, and having effective leaders is essential for the future of the field."
When discussing the need for the book, Kane said: "Many students and young people live such structured lives; their schedules and superiors tell them what to do. This creates barriers to developing creative leadership skills within themselves. My hope is this book will promote leadership and initiative among students heading into the field of sport management," continued Kane.

 "The field of sport management is constantly changing," concluded Kane. "'Sport Management in the 21st Century' will not be a one-time, static publication. It will have updates and new editions as the field evolves."

Eastern Students Win Statewide Storytelling Contest

Storytellers-wolf,mama, craggett and Solomon.jpg

(left to right: Chion Wolf, Raouf Mama, Jonah Craggett, and Daniel Solomon)

Two Eastern Connecticut State University students walked off with the two top prizes in the Fourth Annual 2014 Connecticut Campus Slammer Finals, a statewide storytelling contest that took place at Connecticut College on April 26.  Jonah Craggett, a junior from New Haven majoring in English with a minor in Anthropology, won top honors.  Daniel Solomon, a junior from Woodstock majoring in History with a minor in Asian Studies, was the runners-up.
The 2014 Connecticut Campus Slammer Finals is held in conjunction with the Connecticut Storytelling Festival. The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Storytelling Center.

"This is amazing," said English Professor and Master Storyteller Raouf Mama. "This is the first time that two students from the same university have won first and second place."
The contest requires that students craft a five-minute personal story and tell it in a spoken-word competition scored on creativity, relation to theme and delivery. No props, notes or instruments are allowed. The competition is timed, which helps train students to hone their words and delivery to avoid penalty points given for exceeding the time limit.

Craggett and Solomon had competed previously on Eastern's campus in a local contest and then moved forward to the state finals. Campus Slammer is the "Final Four" for wordsmiths. Both Craggett and Solomon are students in Mama's storytelling class.

Writers, business people, storytellers, public speakers and performers constituted the five-judge panel. Chion Wolf, voice actress, producer and photographer for NPR Radio and host of "The MOUTH Story Slam" at the Mark Twain House, served as Master of Ceremonies for the contest.

Participating colleges included Eastern, the University of Connecticut, Manchester Community College, Connecticut College and Middlesex Community College. In past years, finalists have also come from the University of Hartford, Western Connecticut State University and Wesleyan University.

For more information on the contest, visit csc@conncoll.edu or www.connstorycenter.org

Chibeau Works to be Presented in Windsor

Written by Dwight Bachman

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Willimantic, Conn: -- The Windsor Art Center will present the performance writings of Edmond Chibeau, professor of communication at Eastern Connecticut State University, from May 10 to June 21. The exhibition, "Edmond Chibeau, Performance Scripts: The Babbletive & Scribbletive Arts," can be viewed on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; and Sundays from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free.

At Eastern, Chibeau teaches "Scriptwriting" and "History of Communication." As a performance writer, Chibeau does not write novels or short stories, but writes for others to perform.  He writes performance art, which has been presented in art galleries, museums, on stage, on screen and clubs. The show at the Windsor Art Center will have videos, concrete performance written in different media such wood, stone and glass, and performance objects as script and a form of graphic script called "Wordworks."  A series of performances will accompany the show.
 chibeau1postcards 5.jpg
 "Edmond writes about solitude, loneliness, mystical ecstasy," said Amanda Pawlik, director of the Windsor Art Center. "His work is very concerned with interpretation, with performing a written text and the problems of communicating. His video comes from his writing.  It is more about structure than narrative, more process than product, more about intent than result. His work is often abstract.  He believes we are Microchip Aboriginals, living in the Ur Civilization of the Digital Age."

"The quantum space between the zeros and ones of the binary number system creates a new system of communication," Pawlik continued. "In other words, the phonetic alphabet texts us. He says that he is interested in creating what nature creates, not describing what nature has created. As a result, the story is sometimes confusing, but he claims the purpose of his writing is to create world peace."
Chibeau says he is fascinated with the idea that someone else might perform his writing rather than read it quietly in their head.  He enlists the reader not merely to appreciate, but to enact what he writes.  "In my writing for performance, the narrative is often elusive, the structure recombinant.  Since I touch very sensitive places, I try to touch them very gently."
   
Chibeau has been associated with the Rivington Street School and the Fluxus movement through his work with Alison Knowles and John Cage.  His work has been performed at RealArtWays, Lincoln Center in Bruno Walter Hall, The Alternative Museum, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, The Knitting Factory, NoSeNo and The Ear Inn.  He has worked with Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, and Charles Bernstein among others.

The Windsor Art Center is located at 40 Mechanic St. in Windsor. For more information on the exhibition, call (860) 688-2528 or contact  Edmund Chibeau at chibeaue@easternct.edu or Pawlik at amanda@windsorartcenter.org.

Toddlers Participate in the "Fun Mudder" at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

 

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Willimantic, Conn. - On April 28, the normally tidy playground of Eastern Connecticut State University's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) was transformed into a muddy obstacle course for the "Fun Mudder"--a preschool version of "Tough Mudder," a military-style mud run.

The event hosted groups of children ages three to five who are enrolled in the CFDRC's preschool classroom. The two groups, each with approximately 25 children, were allowed one hour of play in the Fun Mudder course.

"The goal was simply to complete the course; not to win or get a fast time," said Darren Robert, health and physical education professor. "We want the kids to try things they normally wouldn't; to get out of their comfort zone a bit."

Some of the mud-ridden obstacles included a crawl through wet leaves under a bridge; a walk through kiddie pools filled with ice water; a slip and slide into a puddle; a balance beam; and more. The children were chaperoned and cheered on by parents, students and staff--many of whom also participated in the muddy mess to encourage the toddlers.

"This event was the culmination of the last few months of physical education work," said CFDRC Director Niloufar Rezai. "Today's obstacles required motor skills such as climbing, balancing, jumping and crawling."

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The CFDRC is an early childhood development center that encourages faculty and student participation from various university departments in its events. "I wish I had this when I was a kid," said Mitchell Nysor, a junior majoring in physical education. "It's a blast; the kids have so much fun."

The real "Tough Mudder" has a charitable component to support the Armed Forces. Veteran and Eastern alumnus Brandon Strout '09, a physical education teacher at Windham Tech who helped out at the event, said, "The Fun Mudder is good because it shows the kids that fitness can be applicable to every day play. Plus, they don't often get to play in the mud."

The CFDRC would like to thank students of Windham Tech who built signs for the obstacles; all those who helped build and chaperone the course; and the late Nancy Tinker, whose work as director of the offices of Facilities Management and Planning was instrumental in the construction of the CFDRC.

English Department Hosted Annual "English Night"

Written by Akaya Mcelveen

English Night  Major Award Recipients (2).JPGLeft to right, Associate English Department Chair Barbara Liu, Angela Dilella, Brooke Baldwin, Meaghan Eales, Akaya McElveen, English Department Chair Lisa Fraustino.
Willimantic, Conn. -Eastern Connecticut State University's English Department hosted its spring 2014 English Night in the Betty R. Tipton Room on April 28.
The event began with a warm welcome from Lisa Fraustino, chair of the English Department. The English major awards ceremony followed. Brooke Baldwin and Akaya McElveen were the recipients of Service to the Department Awards which are awarded to students who have helped with departmental projects, coordinated events or organized student clubs that have connections to literature or writing.

The Award for Lifetime Learning was awarded to Meaghan Eales. This award is usually granted to a returning or continuing education student who has shown a steady love of literature, writing and the pursuit of knowledge. Eales was also awarded the Commitment to Teaching award for her demonstration of commitment in teaching.

Angelia Dilella also was awarded in two areas: the first being the Contributions to the Cultural Life of the Campus Award, which is awarded to students who have been actively involved as a writer or editor in literary publications. Secondly, Dilella was awarded the Award for Academic Excellence for her demonstration of superior ability and dedication to reading literature and interpreting it well in class discussions and in written work.
 Enlish Night-Fraustino Akaya and Barbara Liu (2).JPGLeft to right, English Department Chair Lisa Fraustino, Akaya McElveen and  Associate English Department Chair Barbara Liu

Next were the first-year writing awards which were presented to Danielle Campitelli and Emilio Estrella. The first-year writing awards are given to students in College Writing and College Writing Plus whose writing is innovative, creative, well researched or uniquely articulated. Campitelli's research paper, "Faking it Until I Make It," written for Professor Mika Taylor's first-year writing class, exemplified those qualities. Estrella's innovative and creative writing paper titled "Music and Society: Cause and Effect," also showed those qualities.

Lastly were the senior seminar presentations from Professor Reginald Flood's "Writing Poems/ Reading Culture" seminar, Fraustino's "Adaptation and Ideology" seminar and Maureen McDonnell's "Monstrous Women" seminar. Presenting for Flood's seminar were Kaitlyn Kennedy on "Pledging Allegiance to Progressiveness: An Examination of an Expatriate's Experience Abroad," and Sarah DeConti on "Narrowing the Definition of Cultural Studies."
 
From Fraustino's seminar were Ashley Parker on "The Icon and the Ideologist: Dr. Seuss and the (Mis)Uses of Political Messages by Audiences of Horton Hears a Who and the Lorax," Dilella on "There was a hole here, But it's Gone Now: The Adaptations and Ideology of 'Silent Hill'" and Michelle Wnuk on "Quarter Quell: Haymich's Hunger Games."

Lastly, from McDonnell's seminar, Carolyn Knowles presented on "Sara Baartman and Human Zoos: Society's Exploitation and Creation of Designer Monsters." Allen Browning presented on "The Young Vampire and Freudian Sexuality" and Emily Story presented on "Monsters: Validating Women Characters within Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea."

Eastern Presents Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards

Written by Dwight Bachman

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Left to right, Robinson Camacho, Kimberly Silcox, Todd Aviles and Eastern President Elsa Nunez


Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University presented its Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards on April 26 to Todd Aviles, a senior majoring in Sociology; Robinson Camacho, a family liaison working for Windham Public Schools; and Kimberly Armstrong Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement. The program recognizes members of the campus and local community whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting educational opportunities and/or advancement for members of Latino groups and acts that represent a commitment to positive Latino youth development.

Aviles has been fully engaged at Eastern since he arrived on campus. He served as the president for the MALES organization for the past two years. A native of Hartford and a strong advocate who believes heavily in giving back to his community, Aviles currently works for the Center for Internships and Career Development as a peer counselor. He also worked in the Center for Community Engagement and the Office of Student Orientation. In his spare time, Aviles likes to read and write poetry.

In addition to serving as a family liaison for Windham Public School, Camacho is also coordinator for the high school Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future after-school program.  The program meets twice a week at Windham High School and Eastern.

'I am Latino' is a series of classes that Camacho developed, which focuses on motivating, encouraging and opening the eyes of the youth through visual media and interactive lectures. The class is direct and to the point, and its purpose is to make young people think about where they are and where they are going. Young people hear about successful Latinos in history and today, as Camacho goes over statistics on Latino dropout rates, low college attendance rates and the importance of education, by telling his story about dropping out of college and then realizing he needed to finish his college education.
 
Silcox is director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, which opened in 2009. She serves on many nonprofit boards and committees and has received numerous awards for service to the community. She is an advocate for students, faculty and communities, working to build and facilitate meaningful partnerships in the Windham community.

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