Professor Luna Njera Presents Military Research

Written by Anne Pappalardo

Luna's military researchLuna Njera , assistant professor of Spanish, presented “Surveillance and Early Modern Military Culture” during a recent faculty scholar’s forum on campus. Luna’s research examines 16th-century Spanish military handbooks, delving into how war literature sheds light on early modern surveillance practices. Through an examination of the deployment of mathematics and geometry in the literature, the study shows that the architectural design of military forts contributed to producing a culture of vigilance in which surveillance was fluid, decentered, interrelational and interactive. In addition to contributing to early modern studies of empire, subjectivity and military history, Luna’s research melds with current discussions related to contemporary surveillance studies concerning paradigms for understanding surveillance in the digital age.

According to Luna, “I believe that it is necessary to recognize everyday practices that support militarism in order to understand the militarization of a society. This involves thinking about how we organize our social spaces, how we design our cities, and how, through a reconfiguration of social space in everyday social practices, we disrupt cultures of conflict.”

‘Hamlet’ for Kids, a Drama Society Production

Written by Michael Rouleau

In this scene, Hamlet (Matthew Bessette ’19) learns from Horatio (Austin Washington ’20) that his father’s ghost has been spotted.

In this scene, Hamlet (Matthew Bessette ’19) learns from Horatio (Austin Washington ’20) that his father’s ghost has been spotted.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — The Drama Society at Eastern Connecticut State University presented a kid-friendly version of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” on March 25. Two performances of the children’s theatre production for all-ages audiences took place in the Delmonte Studio Theatre of Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center.

“Hamlet” (for kids) was directed by theatre and political science double-major Lucy Shea ’17, president of the Drama Society. The script was originally adapted by playwright Kyra Baldwin; the Drama Society chose it as a fitting show to introduce the local school-aged community to Shakespeare.

“One of my favorite memories as an Eastern student was when I was an acting apprentice with ‘Shakespeare on the Sound’ in Rowayton, CT,” said Shea. “The company and I devised a new, 40-minute children’s theatre version of ‘Hamlet,’ written with an updated vibe. It was my delight and privilege to present this show in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center, brought to audiences by the Drama Society.”

The production featured a cast and crew of 22 students who handled all aspects of the show, including costume management, lighting design and front of house tasks.

English and theatre double-major Matthew Bessette, who played Hamlet, said: “I loved playing Shakespeare’s best-known protagonist, but I loved even more playing an angsty teenage version of him. The Hamlet in this adaptation had all the gritty emotion and tragic motivation of the original, but with ripped jeans, a leather jacket, eyeliner and laughable amounts of sarcasm and sass. I truly feel that his attitude and tendency to rebel against all forms of authority made for an enjoyable character in many areas, including humor and entertainment. He also allowed the kids in the audience to relate and identify with him and his problems.”

“Firstly, I’m most proud of the cast,” concluded Shea. “Almost all of us were involved in other productions at the time, yet everyone came to rehearsals ready to work — they found the true joy of performing Shakespeare. Secondly, I’m proud of the show as a whole, as it was the Drama Society’s first-ever children’s theater production. And I’m so grateful to the Theatre Program for helping me and supporting me throughout the process!”

The Drama Society is a student-run club at Eastern that meets weekly to discuss all things theatre. The club is open to all students and creates a range of productions every year.

Eastern Pairs with Community to Create Resilience Plan

Written by Christina Rossomando

ISE 1

Willimantic, CT — On March 21, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) teamed up with officials from the Town of Windham and the environmental group Second Nature for a day-long workshop creating a community resilience plan. Resilience planning helps organizations and municipalities to be better prepared for emergencies.

Members who participated created a plan for Eastern as well as the outside community. “The workshop helped us understand some of Eastern and the town’s vulnerability areas,” said Laura Miller, energy technical specialist for education and training. “We were able to review old and current plans to see what needed to be changed or evolved.”

Participants broke into three groups and were asked to highlight vulnerabilities andISE 2 strengths of different aspects of the campus and community such as infrastructure, environment and social capacity. At the end, the three groups joined together to share their findings. “We got a lot done,” said Miller. “We are hoping to have another workshop in the future because it’s important to maintain a connection with the community.” Each group created a map as well as a key vulnerability sheet to share.

ISE interns and faculty members facilitated the sessions. “Town members expressed the need for continued contact with our campus, “said Miller. “When the event was over, they wanted to keep going. It was a very successful workshop.”

Eastern Students Teach Health and Happiness to Local School Kids

Written by Christina Rossomando

Eastern student volunteer Brooke helps students make home-made stress balls.

Eastern student volunteer Brooke helps students make home-made stress balls.

Willimantic, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) hosted “I Love Me,” an event for Windham Middle School students on March 22. Held in the Betty R. Tipton Room, the event featured eight stations for students to participate in different activities. The goal of the event was to educate the students on healthy, positive ways to relieve stress.

Each station had a CCE volunteer who helped the middle school students with the related activity. Stations were named “trust driving,” “I’ve got confidence how about you,” “healthy sleep habits,” “stress relief,” “dance it out,” “I am grateful,” “smart choices” and “treat yourself.”

Eastern volunteers teach Windham Middle School students the importance of exercise through dance moves

Eastern volunteers teach Windham Middle School students the importance of exercise through dance moves

Upon arrival students were given a paper bag to decorate that they would later fill with the crafts they made throughout the event. They made sleep masks, hand scrubs, worry dolls and stress balls, and danced with classmates, learned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and colored pictures. As students went from station to station, volunteers worked hard to keep everything functioning smoothly.

“‘I Love Me’ has been a big part of the reason I work so hard at the Center for Community Engagement,” said Carly Perron, Center for Community Engagement student leader. “Knowing that we have a program for the education and promotion of health, happiness and safety of Willimantic’s youth is a huge deal. I value ‘I Love Me’ so much because it brings light to the idea that middle school students are more like young adults than many people think.”

 

 

Betsy Wade Speaks at Eastern

Written by Casey Gagnon

On March 22, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted “Time with Betsy Wade: A legend in the Fight for Women’s Rights.”  Wade was the first woman to hold the job as a copy editor at The New York Times, where she worked for 45 years as a copy editor.

During her time at the newspaper, Wade served on the union contract-negotiating team and later serving as a trustee of the union-management pension fund, designing a plan that was without gender bias.  She was elected to two terms as the first woman to serve as president of the New York local of the Newspaper Guild, the largest in the nation and a named plaintiff in the landmark sex discrimination lawsuit against the New York Times.

During her talk Wade described her first day as copy editor, recalling a male coworker saying to her, “So now you want my job right?”  Her response was, “No I don’t want your job.  I want the one ahead of yours.”  Wade said she just wanted to be paid the same as her male coworkers, since she worked just as hard. Once she gathered enough women who felt the same, she decided to take the issue to court.

When asked by a student if there was any advice she could give to someone, she said, “Whatever you do, don’t go at it alone.  If you catch yourself out on a limb, you’re going to want someone to hold your hand and catch you before it breaks.”

Eastern Unity Wing Organizes Social Justice Week

Actors from GTC Dramatic Dialogues perform in “Strange Like Me,” a series of skits about gender, race and LGBTQ issues. The skits kicked off Social Justice Week festivities.

Actors from GTC Dramatic Dialogues perform in “Strange Like Me,” a series of skits about gender, race and LGBTQ issues. The skits kicked off Social Justice Week festivities.

Written by Jolene Potter

Willimantic, Conn. – Leaders and student ambassadors of the Intercultural Center, Pride Center and Women’s Center at Eastern Connecticut State University organized a series of events for Social Justice Week from March 6-10 to raise awareness and educate students about social issues that impact Eastern’s campus and society as a whole. Social Justice Week programs allowed students, faculty, and staff to embrace and learn about relevant themes such as diversity, inclusion, integrity and community responsibility.

Award-winning poet and political activist Denise Frohman discussed with students her journey of self-exploration and self-identity through the power of poetry in an event title “Poetry Knows Me.”

Award-winning poet and political activist Denise Frohman discussed with students her journey of self-exploration and self-identity in an event titled “Poetry Knows Me.”

“The ultimate goal of Social Justice Week is for students to understand and challenge their own role when social injustices occur, placing an emphasis on how the Eastern community can support marginalized groups that are present on campus,” said Unity Wing Coordinator Starsheemar Bryum. The Unity Wing is composed of the Intercultural Center, Women’s Center and Pride Center. “The Unity Wing embraces all identities and uses intersectionality as a tool for cooperative effort that promotes social togetherness while creating an environment of social responsibility.”

On March 7 students attended “Reel Talk,” an event sponsored by the Women’s Center. The event involved the viewing of the documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.” The documentary tells stories of the personal struggles that women have faced over time and their connection to broader social constructs and concepts such as race, class and sexuality, with the goal to inspire men and women to advocate for gender equality and human rights.

At a poetry slam in the Student Center Café, students volunteered to perform their work, then shared a photo op with Denise Frohman.

At a poetry slam in the Student Center Café, students volunteered to perform their work, then shared a photo op with Denise Frohman.

Social Justice Week continued with a two-part poetry event on March 8 during a University Hour, professional poet Denise Frohman discussed the process of finding herself through the power of poetry. Frohman uses her poetry as a platform for identity expression and explores issues of race, sexuality and social change. “Poetry is a powerful tool to address social issues and create change,” said Frohman. “Poetry is about discovery and learning. Poetry keeps me honest and accountable and I like to believe that I try to do that in my personal life as well.”

Frohman also addressed how she has used poetry to express her experience as a woman of color. “I left high school with the perception that Latino and Latina writers didn’t write anything special because I didn’t see myself reflected in poetry and literature that I learned throughout my public education,” said Frohman. “Poetry has helped me explore my identity and raise my political and social consciousness.”

The second part of the poetry event included a performance of poems by Frohman as well as an opportunity for student poets to share their work at an open night. The poetry slam was centered on the themes of identity expression and social justice.

 Art Munin, dean of students at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, gave a talk titled “Color by Number” that delved into the facets of institutional racism.

Art Munin, dean of students at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, gave a talk titled “Color by Number” that delved into the facets of institutional racism.

Social Justice Week also provided students with the opportunity to participate in a self-defense program. The event, titled “Impact Personal Safety,” taught students tools and skills to defend themselves against verbal, physical and sexual violence. The 20-minute session focused on teaching students interpersonal skills and strategies to prevent assault and showing them how to recognize and confront oppression.

A conversation of bystander intervention followed the personal safety training. “Students Fight Back: Your Response Matters” focused on learning to trust your intuition when it comes to personal safety.

Social Justice Week provided a new and unique approach to discussing and advocating for gender, racial and LGBT equality, providing students with an inclusive environment to learn about what they can do to encourage social change and explore their own identities.

 

Dining Hall Institutes Programs to Eliminate Food Waste

dining hall shotWith the cooperation of students, faculty and staff, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Hurley Dining Hall has taken steps to help eliminate waste by cutting back on the trash that the dining hall produces each day.

The first step was the elimination of trays. In the past, students grabbed a tray and loaded as much food on as many plates as they wanted. Over the past two years trays have been removed, forcing students to take only the food they can carry. “This was a good move for us,” said Jeffrey Kwolek, senior director of dining services. “Students were wasting full plates of food because they thought they were that hungry. Now not as much food is wasted.”

The second step the dining services took was the “Food Recovery Program,” which repurposes leftover food. “I don’t like to see food thrown away,” said Kwolek. “We have a leftover rack that at the end of the day would just get tossed, so I thought why not let someone else eat it.”

Eastern has a strong partnership with the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic; students, faculty, sports teams and other Eastern community members volunteer their time to help those in need at the kitchen. Now, Hurley Hall has partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) to arrange for the leftover food to be repurposed and sent to the soup kitchen twice a week. “More than 400 portions of food are sent every week,” said Kwolek. “This has definitely made a positive impact. Our wasted food isn’t going into the trash anymore; it’s going to people who can use it.”

The last program Hurley is participating in is a “Compositing Program.” This program is used to turn the waste that Hurley generates into energy and fuel. Instead of the trash being sent to waste management systems it is being sent to the Bio Power Plant in Southington CT.

“It’s important we do as much as we can to become a good partner with the community,” said Kwolek. “The programs we are trying are good ways to support that.”

 

Eastern’s CECE Wins Sixth “Telly” Award

Written by Anne Pappalardo

Willimantic, CT – Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) was recently notified that they have been awarded a bronze “Telly” Award for their promotional video, “Welcome to the Center for Early Childhood Education.” This is the sixth time the CECE has been awarded a Telly.

The video won under the “Educational Institution” category for digital/streaming videos. It was created by employees Sean Leser and Ken Measimer to serve as the CECE’s “trailer” for its YouTube channel. Leser penned the script and assisted with voiceover duties, while both Leser and Measimer applied their video editing skills to the effort.

The Telly Awards recognize excellence in the technical aspects of video production. The Telly is “the premier award honoring the best in TV and cable, digital and streaming and non-broadcast productions.”  More than 13,000 entries are submitted annually.

Telly Awards honor excellence in film and video productions; groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films; and outstanding local, regional, cable television commercials and other programs. A Telly Award is one of the awards most valued by industry leaders, and entrants range from local production companies and advertising agencies to large international firms. This year’s award is the CECE’s sixth Telly. They also won awards for video projects submitted in 2010, 2011, 2013 (2) and 2016.

The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/EarlyChildhoodVideos.

Windham Project will Transform Downtown into Public Art Space

windham proj

frogThe Windham Project, a six-week public art showcase, will fill the streets of Willimantic from April 15 to May 25, 2017. The project features 22 artists who will transform historic downtown Willimantic into an alternative art space.

A “progressive” opening reception will occur on April 20 from 5-8 p.m. The reception will feature more than 10 local restaurants and stores. Guests can snack, visit the art and get information while meeting the artists that evening on the streets of downtown Willimantic.

During the reception and throughout the event, Kerri Gallery (861 Main Street) will be the central hub where guests can find information on the artists, project proposals, exhibition maps and brochures, and can then visit various locations and art installations along Main Street from Town Hall to Jilson Square. Maps can also be found at Town Hall, stores and restaurants along Main Street, as well as at www.WindhamProject.org.

Gail Gelburd’s mannequin installation, which blends photography with sculpture, will personify the rivers and waterways of the world—a commentary on environmental issues.

Gail Gelburd’s mannequin installation, which blends photography with sculpture, will personify the rivers and waterways of the world—a commentary on environmental issues.

The Windham Project was founded in 2015 by Gail Gelburd, professor of art at Eastern Connecticut State University, as a way for the university and town to work together to highlight the thriving art scene and serve as a boost to the local economy. In the Windham Project’s inaugural event in 2015, artists transformed downtown Willimantic into a living, public art space that drew more than 2,000 people to town to view the art.

This time around, the project will feature a new set of artists, with projects ranging from large-scale installations to a 16-foot sculpture, a mural, sound and kinetic art, a projection, performances and an interactive live feed. The Windham Project will feature Connecticut artists, as well as faculty and alumni artists from Eastern Connecticut State University. More than 60 artists applied to the call for this project and 22 were selected by a curatorial committee, based on the merit of the art and feasibility of bringing it to fruition.

Some of the exhibits include Robert Greene’s “Survivor,” a large-scale human figure constructed with laurel and grape vines; Jerry Montoya’s “Section 8,” a bold commentary on the American Dream and poverty; and Gail Gelburd’s mannequin installation, which blends photography with sculpture as it personifies the rivers and waterways of the world—a commentary on environmental issues.

Robert Greene will construct “Survivor,” a large-scale human figure made of laurel and grape vines.

Robert Greene will construct “Survivor,” a large-scale human figure made of laurel and grape vines.

Sean Langlais’ solar-powered sound sculpture will contrast with Amelia Ingraham’s large images of people from town, which will adorn the front of the Nathan Hale Building, while Mark McKee of Ledyard will share his interactive painting on a door by the Burton Levitt Theater. Brennan Yau’s hoola hoop performance will delight the audience at the opening reception while Rosary Solimanto’s iron boots will bring awareness of those with disabilities in Jilson Square.The works are unusual and engaging, open to all, and will run throughout the program’s six weeks, at no charge to the public.

The Windham Project is sponsored and supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, the Connecticut Office of Economic Development Office of the Arts, Eastern Connecticut State University, the Town of Windham, Willimantic Waste, Meehan and Daughters and Meyburd Real Estate.

For more information, visit www.windhamproject.org; contact Eastern’s Department of Art and Art History at 860-465-0197; or email contact@windhamproject.org, artimages@my.easternct.edu or gelburdg@easternct.edu.

‘Iroko, the Tree of Life’ Opens in Connecticut

IROKO Eye of the Ceiba, reed woven sculpture, created by Imna Arroyo, 2017

IROKO Eye of the Ceiba, reed woven sculpture, created by Imna Arroyo, 2017

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — “Iroko, the Tree of Life,” an arts project featuring Eastern Connecticut State University faculty members Imna Arroyo, Tao Chen and Jaime Gomez, opens this spring in three Connecticut art spaces.

The Clare Gallery and Charter Oak Cultural Center, both in Hartford, as well as MS17 Art Project Gallery in New London, are the spring 2017 exhibition hosts. Each installation focuses on distinct interpretations of “Iroko–the Tree of Life” as home of the ancestors, humanity and the gods.

The project includes three art exhibitions, a short film and a book that will serve as the catalog for the traveling art exhibition. “Iroko” is inspired by the sacred “Tree of Life,” known as “Iroko” to the Yoruba people of West Africa and those of the African Diaspora, “Yaxché” to the Maya, “Kapok” in Southeast Asia, “Silk-Cotton Tree” to Indigenous North Americans and “La Ceiba” in the Caribbean, and in Central and South America.

The tree is of great symbolic, spiritual, mythological, medicinal, magical, commercial,

“From Puerto Rico to Taiwan”: This photographic composition depicts the Iroko trees from Puerto Rico known as La Ceiba and Kapok in Southeast Asia by Tao Chen and Jaime Gomez. Image composed by Tao Chen. The original source photos are from a picture Jaime Gomez took in Puerto Rico and another taken by Tao Chen in Taiwan.

“From Puerto Rico to Taiwan”: This photographic composition depicts the Iroko trees from Puerto Rico known as La Ceiba and Kapok in Southeast Asia by Tao Chen and Jaime Gomez. Image composed by Tao Chen. The original source photos are from a picture Jaime Gomez took in Puerto Rico and another taken by Tao Chen in Taiwan.

ecologicaland aestheticimport. Through the exploration of materials old and new as well as traditional and innovative technologies, this multi-media installation focuses on the mysteries of nature using Iroko as an anchor to express the power, continuity and resiliency of nature, which hold the promise for a sustainable future if nurtured and honored.

Humberto Figueroa from Puerto Rico and Migdalia Salas of MS17 Art Project Gallery are the curators of the traveling exhibition. Art installations are by Imna Arroyo and include drawings on Amate paper, etchings, rief sculptural prints created with handmade paper and encaustic, reed fiber-woven sculptures, s well as a multimedia video.

The video was created in collaboration with graphic and digital media artist Tao Chen and video producer Jaime Gomez. It includes visuals of Indigenous people from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia by Gomez and videographer Julio Charris as well as traditional Yoruba Orisha songs sung by Amma McKen, Iya Ola and Swahili Henry and a new dance performed by Eastern student Sinque Tavares and choreographer Alycia Bright-Holland, assistant professor of theatre at Eastern.

IROKO FILM. Ima3.IROKO FILM. Image from “Iroko Tree of Life,” a film produced and directed by Imna Arroyo, Tao Chen and Jaime Gomez editing and special effects by Tao Chen. Featuring traditional Yoruba Orisha songs singers by Amma McKen, Denise Ola DeJean and Swahili Henry with dance performance by Sinque Tavares and choreographer Alycia Bright-Holland. In addition to photos, graphics and video footage by Imna Arroyo, Jaime Gomez and Tao Chen.

IROKO FILM. Ima3. IROKO FILM. Image from “Iroko Tree of Life,” a film produced and directed by Imna Arroyo, Tao Chen and Jaime Gomez editing and special effects by Tao Chen. Featuring traditional Yoruba Orisha songs singers by Amma McKen, Denise Ola DeJean and Swahili Henry with dance performance by Sinque Tavares and choreographer Alycia Bright-Holland. In addition to photos, graphics and video footage by Imna Arroyo, Jaime Gomez and Tao Chen.

Iroko also includes a book designed by Tao Chen featuring essay contributions by ecologist Carmen Cid, art historian Maline Werness-Rude, and writers Isis Rakia Mattei, María Vázquez, Esperanza Cáseres Santa Cruz, Jaime Gómez, Migdalia Salas and Humberto Figueroa. To view a video trailer for the project, visit https://youtu.be/tz_OqlnsVrQ.  Exhibition dates are listed below.

“The Tree of Life/Árbol de Vida,” an exhibition of mixed-media works by Arroyo representing personal interpretations of the tree of life opened on March 16 in the Clare Gallery at the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry, 285 Church St. in Hartford, and will run through May 21, 2017. The artist will conduct a workshop on April 8 from 4–5 p.m. as part of Slow Art Day. A reception and the Iroko Tree of Life film viewing will follow from 5-7 p.m.

The “Iroko: Home of the Ancestors/La Casa de los Ancestros” exhibit and Tree of Life film will also be presented at the Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave. in Hartford, from March 23-May 6, 2017. The exhibit features Amate paper drawings and wood cut tapestries by Arroyo exploring the Ceiba tree as the home of the ancestors. An opening reception and film showing will take place on March 30 at 5:30 p.m.

IROKO BOOK. Image from Iroko Tree of Life, book page essay by Jaime Gomez, “Ancient Practices Rooted in Indigenous Wisdom,” designed by Tao Chen and sacred lagoon photographed from the Sierra of Santa Marta photograph courtesy of the Golkushe Tayrona Wiwa organization from Colombia, South America.

IROKO BOOK. Image from Iroko Tree of Life, book page essay by Jaime Gomez, “Ancient Practices Rooted in Indigenous Wisdom,” designed by Tao Chen and sacred lagoon photographed from the Sierra of Santa Marta photograph courtesy of the Golkushe Tayrona Wiwa organization from Colombia, South America.

ROKO: Home of the Gods/La Casa de las Orichas” comes to the MS17 Art Project Gallery at 165 State St., New London, from April 22-July 1, 2017. This multidisciplinary exhibition is dedicated to the Ceiba as the Tree of Life and focuses on the dialog of the environment, spirituality and art. The exhibit includes the Iroko Tree of Life short film produced and directed by Arroyo, Chen and Gómez. An opening artists’ reception takes place on April 22, 2017 from 5–7 p.m.