Recently in Intercultural Center Category
Written by Danielle Couture
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University is accepting nominations for the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award. Nominees may be a part of the university campus community or from the greater community. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 17.
The award recognizes members of the campus as well as the community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting King's ideals to further the goals of diversity and social equality. Three awards will be given: to a member of the community; a member of the Eastern faculty/staff; and to a member of the Eastern student body.
The awards recognize distinguished service in one or more of three categories: activities that represent a commitment to the goals of an integrated society, including activities beyond one's work obligations; leadership in a program serving the needs of a diverse community, with efforts reflecting an attempt to unify groups and or to increase sensitivity; and planning and implementation of programs to broaden representation of underrepresented groups as students and employees.
The awards will be presented at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. For more information regarding the ceremony or to request a nomination form, please call Kemesha Wilmot at (860) 465-4421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Danielle Couture
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Intercultural Center will present "Hair Matters: Unresolved Issues" as part of the University Hour Series in the Student Center Theatre from 3-4 p.m. on Nov. 20.
The program consists of a panel including staff members Kemesha Wilmot, coordinator of the Intercultural Center, and Julisa De Los Santos, hall director of Laurel Hall, as well as students Kaitlyn Jolley and Erica Byrd.
"Hair Matters" will discuss political, social and other aspects surrounding women of color and their hair. Attendees will learn about taking care of their own hair as well as learning about other people's hair in order to build bridges across ethnicities.
University Hour is free and open to the public.
Written by Akaya McElveen
Willimantic, Conn. - Bernard Lafayette Jr., a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, spoke on "Reaching Beyond Your Grasp" on Oct. 9 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University. His presentation was part of Eastern's University Hour Series.
More than 200 Eastern students, faculty and staff heard Lafayette say he was "glad" and "shocked" that he is still alive today, in response to a question asked by a student. Lafayette's life has been threatened on many occasions, including a night when white men came to his house to kill him.
More than 200 Eastern students, faculty and staff heard Lafayette describe how resolute the Freedom Riders were while facing terrifying mobs.
Being the target of many death threats, Lafayette had expected his life to have ended already. In fact, he said he that he and his peers, realizing the dangerous journey they were about to begin, created a will before taking part in the Freedom Riders, who were African American and white college students. "No one can take your life if you've already given it," said Lafayette. He said the Freedom Rides of the 1960s provided the momentum for the Civil Rights Movement, and provided an in-depth, personal look at what life was like for the Freedom Riders.
Left to right, Stacey Close, Eastern's associate vice president for equity and diversity; Prudence Allen, former administrative assistant to the late Coretta Scott King; Lafayette, Sociology Professors Dennis Canterbury and James Russell pose for a photograph.
Lafayette played a riveting clip from a documentary on the Freedom Rides, which showed scenes of white mobs as they burned and bombed the Freedom Riders' buses and beat them with crow bars, baseball bats and any other weapon they could pick up. Law enforcement and city officials had made a deal; the mob of people was given 15 minutes to do whatever it wanted to the Freedom Riders and they would not get punished for it. Once the 15 minutes were up, Lafayette said the officers announced, "Alright, you've had your fun," and told the mob, "Not one soul will ever be arrested."
Lafayette shakes hands with Akaya McElveen'14, an English major from Waterbury.
There was a moment in the film when a black woman went to a police officer to explain that her husband was being attacked, only to be knocked to the ground by that same officer.
Lafayette said media exposure of the mob violence and city officials' sanction of it played a leading role raising public awareness. News of the mob and police brutality was heard around the world, with America's European allies making it clear to President Kennedy that they were embarrassed by the violence.
Lafayette, left, with former vice president for equity and diversity at Eastern,and administrative assistants Carmen Diaz and Kathy Escobar.
The speaker also said there is a misconception that the Freedom Rides were about integrating the buses: "The demonstrations were really about bus stations and the right to be treated equally in them." Lafayette also talked about the importance of community engagement, saying that all colleges and universities should be involved in the community. "You've got to bring young people together and organize them. If you don't use your rights, you will lose your rights." As an example, he said students could initiate a voter registration drive by hosting a public birthday party for eighteen-year-olds, where the cost of admission would be showing their voter registration cards.
Lafayette with Hope Fitz, professor of philosophy and a scholar on nonviolence.
Lafayette said that he is genuinely interested in what the next generation will contribute to the Civil Rights Movement. "Maybe the movement never really stopped; it's continuous." He said young people should never surrender to violence and injustice. "If you do, the psychological wounds will run deep and may never end." He encouraged the audience to keep the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream alive, quoting the late Civil Rights leader, "We must live together as sisters and brothers or die separately as fools."
Lafayette ended his presentation by entertaining the audience with a country song about the struggle of poor white Americans.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will host GivingBackLife from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 16 in the Student Center Theatre.
Giving Back Life is an organization that works with and assists the underprivileged and orphaned children of China. Founder of the organization, Daniel Lui, will share his experiences working with the children of China and talk about the history and mission of GivingBackLife. The event will culminate with an activity that captures the essence and difficulties of being an orphan in rural China.
"GivingBackLife may be young, but we are going to carry with us a fresh outlook on making a difference in the world in which we live," said Liu, when describing the mission statement of his organization. "We are ambitious, we are passionate, we care dearly about people, and we realize that big things cannot be accomplished alone; however, if we can collectively do small things with great love, as Mother Teresa once said, there is no reason why we can't change the world."
For more information on the event, contact the Intercultural Center at (860) 465-5749 or email@example.com.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Campus Activity Board (CAB), the Intercultural Center, the Office of Housing and Residential Life and the Women's Center recently co-sponsored "We Are Blended," a social change initiative that encourages immigrants and U.S.-born residents to reach out to each other. The Eastern departments worked with the Chinese and American Cultural and Assistance Corporation and Adam Bowles, the owner of Not With Ink, a Connecticut-based multimedia company that raises awareness of select topics on a project-by-project basis. The two organizations have sponsored and showcased the program across Connecticut.
"My vision and passion is to spread the message of 'speak kindly' and 'take notice' to as many communities and schools as possible," said Bowles. "This message is found in the book of Ruth in the Bible. I want to challenge people to "speak kindly" to one another in order to put immigrants at ease and to "take notice" of immigrant students by recognizing them as more than just another face in the crowd. It's a small part to play in the spectrum of all things immigration. But it's the part I feel called to play."
The keynote speaker, Carlos Castro, founder of Todos Supermarket, talked to Eastern students about pursuing the dream of having a life of freedom and success. Today, Castro is a self-made immigrant millionaire who has been featured nationally, including in the Washington Post, for his amazing rise from cleaning toilets to owning a supermarket chain in Virginia. Castro talked about the importance of staying focused and determined. He lectured Eastern students on the importance of being kind and taking notice of each other as a community.
Eastern has more than 50 international students from various countries including Senegal, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan. These students speak more than 40 languages, including French, Spanish, Swedish, Wolof, Urdu, Pidgin, Portuguese, Creole, Dutch, German, Italian, Hindi, Turkish, Japanese, Akan, Norwegian, Arabic and Farsi.
For more information on upcoming events in the Intercultural and Women's Center, visit Cultural Celebrations or contact Starsheemar Byrum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Danielle Couture
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre Program and Drama Society will present "Dancing At Lughnasa" written by Ireland's renowned playwright Brian Friel, in the Harry Hope Theatre in Shafer Hall.
The play, directed by assistant professor of theatre J.J. Cobb, will run Oct. 10-13 and Oct. 15-16 (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.) with a 4 p.m. matinee on Oct. 13. The public is invited. Admission is $5 for students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public.
The play is "set in County Donegal in 1936, and explores five sisters at a crossroads in their lives," says Performing Arts Department chair David Pellegrini. "Through humor, colorful dialogue and beautifully-drawn characterizations, this Tony Award-winning play delves into the bonds of sisterhood, faith, social change in Ireland between the two world wars."
Reflecting upon the script, Cobb says, "This is one of my favorite plays of all time. I've had a true affection for this story since seeing the original production more than 20 years ago. I've waited to direct it until the moment when I could gather the right ensemble, to be led primarily by a core of strong, open and passionate women. Now is that moment."
An opening night gala for ticket holders will be held at 6 p.m. in the Akus Gallery in Shafer Hall. Featuring Irish music, the event is being co-sponsored by the Performing Arts Department, the Women's Center and the Intercultural Center.
For more information on "Dancing At Lughnasa," call the University Box Office at (860) 465-5123 or email Ellen Brodie at email@example.com.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn -- Eastern President Elsa Núñez, along with more than 100 students, faculty and staff, greeted Connecticut State Universities and Colleges (ConnSCU) Board of Regents President Gregory Gray to campus on Sept. 18. The new president of Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Educatonis in the midst of touring the 17 schools that make up the state's public higher education system. Gray took over as president on July . He oversees the Board of Regents, which governs 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak College, the state's on-line institution.
Nunez praised Gray for his vision; his goal of restoring integrity to the system and for finding opportunities for more collaboration between community colleges and the four-year universities.
Gray, noting that Eastern students were already fortunate to have a beautiful, physical setting, said, "Pristine is all around you here. Knowing that you were so dedicated to having such a beautiful campus tells me this same dedication must be taking place in the classroom as well." He said his primary goal is to improve the learning environment on campuses, "making it go from very good to great."
Gray said he believes that by working together with faculty members who have a deep-rooted passion for excellence, ConnSCU will become a world-class system of higher education. To achieve this long-range goal, Gray wants to (1) restore trust and integrity to the system; (2) make the system more efficient and productive; (3) develop a plan to benefit current and future students.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we have to get it right. I want to develop a plan that will positively impact student 25 years from now." He said online education courses; a unified calendar for all system colleges and universities; and seamless transfer of credits will better serve students. "Saving money is important, but that is not the primary goal. We want to provide access and focus on what we should focus on a student's purpose for being here, which is to learn. We then, want tell the world about it."
Gray said he wants board meetings to focus on student presentations about their achievements, and to see more scholarship celebrated on campus through academic fairs showcasing faculty books and student-published articles. He believes his plan will identify areas of efficiency, producing a more clearly-defined niche for each university.
During a question and answer period, Gray told students who want to be assured their voices are heard to "speak up, but get your facts straight. I assure you I will do all I can to support the integration of teaching, learning and service to our students. I say let's improve the overall efficiency of the system; improve the learning environment; give the governor and the legislature a good plan; and get it funded."
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn: -- Charles Tuggle, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, will present his documentary, "Las Abuelas De la Plaza de Mayo" (The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. Tuggle's presentation is part of Eastern's popular University Hour series, and is sponsored by the Communications Department, Intercultural Center, OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students), School of Education and Professional Studies, and Eastern's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.
Tuggle's documentary film premiered on Jan. 17 on the UNC campus, and is now being viewed at universities across the country. The film tells the story of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, an Argentinian human rights organization of grandmothers committed to finding their lost grandchildren, who they believe were stolen by their country's government some 30 years ago.
At least 10,000 -- some estimate as many as 30,000 -- dissidents of the military dictatorship were kidnapped, tortured and killed during Argentina's Dirty War from 1976-1983. Those kidnapped became known as "Los Desaparecidos" or "The Disappeared." Some of the women were pregnant or new mothers when captured, and infants ended up in homes of people sympathetic to the regime. The babies' names, birth dates and other identifiers were changed.
"This isn't something that happened years ago and has no relevance now," said Tuggle. "The grandmothers continue to find missing grandchildren. This is an ongoing injustice. Ordinary women who continue to find missing grandchildren are fighting this battle and serving as an example to all of us that we can make a difference." Las Abuelas has located more than 100 missing grandchildren, many who had no knowledge of their true identities.
Tuggle's daughters Brynne Tuggle Miller and Bethany Tuggle Parker, both graduates of UNC, served as coordinating producer and writer/editor, respectively, for the documentary. "Working on this documentary has been a labor of love," said Miller. "But it's also been such a rewarding experience to work on telling a story that my family is so passionate about and, in the process, complete a work that we are so proud of." Dylan Field, a television director and producer at UNC, served as the film's audio editor and videographer.
For more information, visit searchforidentitydocumentary.com or call Charles Tuggle at (919) 962-5694, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn: Eastern Connecticut State University has been included in the latest edition of the "Public Colleges of Distinction" guidebook. Eastern is the only public college from Connecticut listed in the guidebook. The guide says the colleges and universities listed excel in four distinctions --Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Communities and Successful Outcomes.
"Engaged students" learn the skills they need to succeed in life -- the ability to think flexibly and address problems hands-on -- not just being able to memorize facts and follow orders. Instead, Eastern students learn to communicate, think critically, and solve problems as they explore the world through study abroad, internships, community service projects and undergraduate research.
"Great teaching" occurs in an atmosphere where feedback and encouragement are the norm. Faculty interaction is crucial to learning. "Colleges of distinction" encourage an atmosphere of exciting thought and action, led by professors who care about helping students learn to think for themselves. Academic innovation goes hand-in-hand with personalized learning.
"Vibrant communities" are campus communities that offer activities and events that help students learn even after the books are closed, creating social opportunities for students to develop friendships, and providing students a wide range of intellectually, thought-provoking speakers, seminars, unique films and artistic events.
"Successful outcomes" describes schools that produce students who can think, write, speak and reason, get a job, and most importantly, are also good citizens who can work together with diverse groups of people.
Colleges of Distinction are considered "hidden gems" of higher education, according to the panel of academicians, guidance counselors and parents that made the selection, officials said.
The guidebook describes a College of Distinction as being:
• nationally recognized by education professionals and honored for the excellence of its programs;
• strongly focused on teaching undergraduates, where students are taught by real professors, not by graduate students or teaching assistants, in vibrant classrooms where the faculty keep their students challenged and interested;
• home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences, from study abroad and scientific research to service learning and internships;
• an active campus with many opportunities for personal development. Whatever their passion, students find plenty of encouragement to help them pursue it; and
• highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation.
The Public Colleges of Distinction are currently featured on the newly redesigned Colleges of Distinction website and will be featured in the Public Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook available this fall.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - For the fifth year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University has been named as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, released yesterday in The Chronicle's sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 45,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities.
In all, only 97 institutions achieved "Great College to Work For" recognition for specific best practices and policies. Eastern won honors in three categories this year: "Collaborative Governance;" "Compensation and Benefits;" "Facilities, Workspaces and Security."
Eastern was one of only three Connecticut institutions to make the list and the only public university among the three; Quinnipiac University and Middlesex Community College were the other two.
"We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For'," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition once again from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, especially given our high ranking in three important areas of campus operations. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the state of Connecticut."
The Chronicle is one of the nation's most important sources of news about colleges and universities. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition is employee feedback.
To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThinkLLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous "Best Places to Work" programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.
For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle's web site at Meet 2013's Great Colleges to Work For.