Discussing walls

By Mary Greenwell

Polisci student Mary Greenwell

Walking into my first meeting with many established members of the Political Science department was without a doubt very daunting as a young student beginning my experience with the program. And of course, with such a heavy topic it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under-prepared in the face of experts. We were fortunate enough to get an inside look at Dr. David Frye’s books Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, a historical account of one of modern politics most volatile topics. It’s no surprise that in a room of political thinkers the concept turned towards boarder walls and how they have played a role throughout history to shape cultures inside and outside. What was the most interesting, was Dr. Frye’s opinion on the political climate. After many questions from the audience and members of the department, he explained that he is purely a historian, he looks at facts to tell a story of the past rather than predict the future. Political Science often contains only the facts that people want to see, those who wanted a wall saw how the wall is beneficial, those who don’t saw how they failed. Dr. Frye’s book was manipulated and interpreted in many different directions, but at the end of the day it is purely just a historical account of when and where border walls have prospered. Even in such a heightened political climate it is important to remember the roots of the things we fight for, security and safety. That is why walls are built, and sometimes why walls are broken down. Although the conversation was about walls, I feel that this event was an eye opening and border breaking experience for myself becoming involved in the Political Science community at Eastern. I highly recommend anyone interested make an effort to attend a night of Pizza and Politics.

Dr. David Frye (left) and the student panel addressing the Pizza and Politics audience and discussing the effects on walls on history.

Governor-Elect’s Policy Summit Hosted at Eastern

Governor-elect Ned Lamont

By Michael Rouleau

Nearly 500 people convened on Eastern’s campus on Nov. 27 for Governor-elect Ned Lamont’s public policy summit. The gathering consisted of the incoming administration’s transition team as well as concerned citizens from a range of economic sectors and political affiliations. Fifteen policy committees met across campus with the goal of establishing a roadmap for the incoming governor.

President Elsa Núñez welcomed Lamont and gave the opening remarks. “’Public’ is the most important aspect of our mission,” she said to the Betty R. Tipton Room audience in the Student Center. “We at Eastern build a middle class for Connecticut; that’s really the business we’re in.”          

Núñez applauded Lamont’s emphasis on jobs, workforce and economic development, and cited Eastern’s partnership with Cigna — in which students work a paid on-campus internship that often leads to full-time employment — as a prime example of how higher education and industry can work together.    

Lt. Governor-elect Susan Bysiewicz

Speaking of the transition team, Lt. Governor-elect Susan Bysiewicz said, “We’ve brought together smart, competent, experienced people. You’re here to help us develop a roadmap to move our state forward.”

“This is a fresh start for Connecticut,” said Lamont. “I hope the outcome of today’s work is not just a nice report that gathers dust on a bookshelf.”

The policy committees concerned a range of issues, including transportation, energy, education, health care, human services, criminal justice, jobs/economy, women, environment, digital strategy, agriculture, shared services, arts/culture/tourism, housing and public safety.

The policy summit recommendations and transition memos from various commissioners in the current administration will be used by Lamont and his team to craft a plan of action in the coming weeks. “I’m looking like a laser beam at ways we can impact economic development in Connecticut,” Lamont said.

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Monte Frank visits ECSU

By Alyssa Wessner

Three weeks before the election, ECSU welcomed the third party candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Monte Frank. Eastern students were excited to hear the platform of this third party candidate. While most of the Connecticut voters chose to cast their ballots for the either the Democratic or Republican Party, this was a historic moment for third party candidates. Monte Frank raised awareness of the benefits of having more options for party affiliation. Students at ECSU will continue to welcome candidates with different party alignments.

Candidate for Lieutenant Government Monte Frank discusses the political platform of his independent party with polisci students Samuel Esteva (Freshman) and Ariana Perez (Sophomore).

This election demonstrated a turning point in Connecticut politics. It showed that third party candidates have the ability to gather a strong base of voters. However, from the start it was clear that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor offices were going to be awarded to one of the two major political parties. Regardless, the emergence of Oz Griebel and Monte Frank suggests a shift away from the traditional two party system.

It is important to keep in mind that this one midterm election is not entirely indicative of future elections in Connecticut. But it certainly inspires hope of a new type of political system in which there are more party options. In my opinion, a more diverse group of parties would make the government function more efficiently. The extreme bipartisanship among elected officials discourages any compromise whatsoever. I believe that with more party options for people to align with, it ensures a more diverse representation of the American public.

Candidate Monte Frank sharing the perils of political campaigning. 


Polisci students represent Eastern at prestigious policy competition at Yale University

By Alyssa Wessner

Last October, Eastern Connecticut State University was proud to sponsor a group of six Political Science majors to attend and compete in the Yale undergraduate International Policy Competition (Yale/IPC). The students who attended were Leigh Generous, Megan Hull, Nour Kalbouneh, Zoe Marien, Jacqueline Pillo, and Joahanna Vega lbarra. There were over 300 undergraduate students from a variety of universities and colleges at the event, including Yale, Harvard, Rhode Island College, Bard College, Bryant University, and West Point. The designated topic for this conference was the maritime crisis in the South China Sea and its implication on regional and global security.

Eastern students saw this experience as truly a transformative.  According to Leigh Generous (2019’) “…this event exposed me to what it might be like to work with future colleagues in the field of foreign policy, as well as both the challenges and rewards to such teamwork”. Leigh hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations and Security Studies so this event was extremely beneficial in helping her to gain some experience and work with experts in this field. For Zoe Marien (2019’), the event was a unique opportunity of policy application. Zoe highlighted the generosity of nearby coffee shops and restaurants near Yale which offered discounts to the students working on their proposals, which was a necessity for the extensive policy discussion among group members. Zoe kindly acknowledged Eastern’s sponsorship mentioning that  “…I would not have been able to attend had our Department not sponsored our team, and I am honored to have been selected to attend”. She plans to learn more about International Human Rights Law after she graduates from Eastern.

The inaugural meet at the Yale 2018 International Policy Competition (Source: Yale/IPC).

We are extremely proud of the work of our students at this event. They represented Eastern in a professional and intelligent way through their presentations and proposals, addressing issues relevant not only in the class room but beyond, like China’s growing domination in the South China Sea. Eastern will continue sponsoring events like this that allow our students to represent our school and gain invaluable practical experience.