STEP/CAP Students Perform Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls”

Lefto to right,Tatiana Stokes, Tyanna Soto, Jackie Verian, Myrdline Nourrissant, Liddy Siggia, Tajmarnie Appolon, & Norine Andrade

Eastern Connecticut State University STEP/CAP students performed a staged reading of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls” on Aug. 9 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center’s Proscenium Theater. The Summer Transition at Eastern Program and Contract Admissions Program (STEP/CAP) was designed to help prospective Eastern students prepare for the rigors of college coursework the summer prior to beginning college.

Center, Jackie Verian; left to right:. Tajmarnie Appolon, Tatiana Stokes, Myrdline Nourrissant, Norine Andrade, Liddy Siggia, & Tyanna Soto

Students in the STEP/CAP program worked with Eastern’s performing arts staff for four weeks to rehearse pieces from Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.”

Left to right, Chasidy Eubanks Perry, Brooklyn Ortiz, Jahney Dudley, Myrdline Nourrissant, & Tatiana Stokes

“For Colored Girls” is a choreopoem made up of a series of poetic monologues that follow the stories of seven women who have faced oppression in a racist and sexist society. The series of poems address issues such as rape, abusive relationships and racism.  Some of the poems that students performed included “Dark Phrases”, “No Assistance”, “I’m A Poet Who”, “Latent Rapists’”, “Somebody Almost Walked off Wid Alla My Stuff”, “Sorry”, “A Nite with Beau Willie Brown” and “A Laying on of Hands.”

The final show highlighted African and Hip Hop dance performances choreographed by senior, Jaqueline Verian ‘20.  Professor DeRon S. Williams, who directed

Left, Tatiana Stokes and Myrdline Nourrissant

and also choreographed pieces, expressed how instrumental Verian was in the process. “Initially Jaqueline was merely providing an outlet for students to free themselves from the stresses of the STEP/CAP program, but Professor Morgan and I thought I thought it would be a robbery to not showcase Jackie’s outstanding work, leadership and passion.”

The students rehearsed several days a week for four weeks prior to the performance. Rehearsals consisted of learning choreography, stage directions, designing lighting and projections for the performance. One of the challenges students faced was getting the right pronunciation for the poems, but they practiced on their own time and helped each other get the pronunciations down in time for the performance.

Professor Kristen Morgan, who helped design the performance, noted that the students involved grew immensely in a short period of time. “They accepted the challenge of working with a script that was new to all of them and it was rewarding to see their confidence improve,” she said. “Their relationships with each other also grew, and their creative sparks were ignited.”

Williams, also commented on the changes students experienced by the end of the four weeks. “From day one, the students were a bit shy and reserved, but throughout the process, I witnessed their growth as individuals and the development of their confidence,” he said.

Students also commented on how performing the pieces allowed them to grow and feel more empowered. Liddy Siggia ’22 said, “Performing these pieces felt empowering and it was also a good way to spread the message to everyone, both men and women, that these are common struggles that women face every day.”

Tyanna Soto

Tatiana Stokes ‘22, who was also a part of the performance commented on the experience. “The play itself was something that stood out to me because I had never heard about it before, but by the end of it, it had affected me in an enlightening way that left me surprised.”

Jaqueline Verian ’20, who took part in several pieces commented on how the pieces allowed her to connect with other women’s experiences. “I appreciate the fact that these poems realigned my understanding of abusive relationships,” she said. “They also showed me how manipulative and misconceiving abusive relationships can be to an outsider’s eye.”

Verian said that by the end of the experience she felt more empowered and prepared to start the new school year. “Since I am a new actor, being involved in these strong and very powerful pieces helped influence me to push myself,” she said. “These performances became both learning experiences and releases of emotions. I wish I could personally thank Ntozake Shange for her work.”

Written by Vania Galicia

Tip-A-Cop Raises $1,650 for Special Olympics

Left to right: Eastern Police Sergeant Lisa Hamilton; Angelo Simoni of the Board of Regents; Eastern Buildings and Grounds Officer Corrina Thompson; Tip-A-Cop supporter Nathan Botting; and Eastern Police Sergeant Lawrence Botting.

The Eastern Connecticut State University police department joined the Willimantic and Middletown police departments for the sixth annual Tip-A-Cop on July 25 at Amici Italian Grill in Middletown. All tips earned at the fundraising event went to the Special Olympics of Connecticut, the designated charity of law enforcement in the state.

Public safety officers traded in their uniforms for aprons and waited tables at the restaurant. All tips went to the fundraiser in addition to Amici donating 10 percent of all sales that day, contributing to a grand total of $1,650 for the Special Olympics of Connecticut.

Angelo Simoni, executive director of student relations and compliance for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System and a Tip-A-Cop event organizer, said, “The Special Olympics is a great organization that does a lot of great work for the people of Connecticut. More than 13,000 people benefit across the state from this partnership!” Tip-A-Cop has raised more than $15,000 over the last six years, according to Simoni.

Eastern’s police department is a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics of Connecticut. Another annual fundraiser is Jail-N-Bail, in which officers ‘arrest’ members of Eastern’s campus community who are then ‘bailed’ out of a fake jail. All proceeds go to the Connecticut Special Olympics. Eastern police also participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which kicks off the local Special Olympics games every year.

Written by Vania Galicia

‘College Consensus’ Ranks Eastern Among Best Colleges

College Consensus, a college review aggregator that combines the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with actual reviews of college students, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University for the second year in a row. Eastern has been ranked among the “Best Colleges and Universities in Connecticut for 2019” and the “Best Regional Universities in the North for 2019.”

“Congratulations on making the Best Regional Universities in the North for 2019 and Best Colleges and Universities in Connecticut for 2019,” said Carole Taylor, marketing director for the College Consensus. “Your inclusion in the lists shows that you are making an impact on students that will have a transformative effect on their lives and the lives of others.”

Eastern began in 1889 as a normal school preparing teachers for careers in Connecticut’s elementary schools. Today it is known as Connecticut’s public liberal arts university. Eastern is home to 5,200 students, with more than 90 percent of them coming from Connecticut.

To identify standout colleges, College Consensus averages the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report, along with student reviews to produce a unique rating for each school. Read more about the organization’s methodology at: https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

To see Eastern’s College Consensus profile, visit https://www.collegeconsensus.com/school/eastern-connecticut-state-university.

Written by Vania Galicia

Eastern Art Gallery to Present Beatrice Modisett’s ‘Consistency of the Temporal’

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Consistency of the Temporal” from Aug. 27-Oct. 10 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center. The exhibition features local mixed-media artist Beatrice Modisett. The opening reception will occur on Sept. 5 from 4-6 p.m. Modisett will give a talk prior to the reception from 3-4 p.m. in the Art Gallery.

Modisett’s works are inspired by geological formations, personal histories and the systems that humans create in an attempt to navigate and control the landscape. Erosion as a means of creation is another theme of her art.

Modisett’s most recent work is inspired by her recent immersion in Brescia, Italy, a city that was built on the foundations of its own ruins. She has also pulled inspirations from her late grandparents’ farm and home in eastern Connecticut. Her paintings, works on paper and pit-fired ceramics weave together her geological and auto-biographical histories.

Residents of Brescia often unearth subterranean artifacts and objects the city’s past. In her exhibition at Eastern, Modisett presents objects that she has extracted from the earth, in a gesture of homage to her own heritage. The large-scale paintings in the exhibition were formed through the accrual and erosion of layers of thinned oil paint. The ceramic and mixed-media sculptures present as objects that could have been pulled from the geological events that the paintings depict, and serve as windows through which to view those events.

The Art Gallery is located in room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center on Eastern’s campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. Parking is available in Cervantes Garage and in the Student Center parking lot. For more information, call (860) 465-4659 or visit http://www.easternct.edu/artgallery.

Written by Vania Galicia

Students Learn How to Budget and Manage Their Money

Jason Kahn, director of campus relations for SOFI Company, explains the importance of budgeting and managing credit to 91 STEPCAP students.

Aware of the challenges of paying for college that students frequently experience, the Office of Financial Aid presented “Budgeting & Managing Your Credit” on July 24, 2019, in the Student Center Theatre. The presentation to 91 STEP/CAP students was part of the office’s Summer Project. It targeted STEP/CAP students but was open to the campus community; it was designed to help students become more effective at managing student loan debt and finances. Students listened attentively as Jason Kahn, director of campus relations with SOFI Company (Social Finance), led the presentation.

June Dunn, assistant dean of the Office of University Opportunity Programs, shares her personal experience with budgeting and managing credit with STEP/CAP audience.

Eastern’s Summer Transition at Eastern/Contract Admissions Program (STEP/CAP) combines an intensive, six-week summer bridge program with year-round counseling and academic support. The residential summer program includes academic courses in mathematics, public speaking and time management skills; cultural activities; and other support. STEP/CAP students passing the summer program enroll at Eastern in the fall.  

“Understanding how to budget and manage one’s credit should be very high on one’s list of priorities, as good credit leads to a successful experience,” said Neville Brown, assistant director of financial aid.  Due to lack of experience, many students are often vulnerable to credit pitfalls. “Our students learned that if used effectively, a budget could be a very useful tool to avoid unnecessary debt and improve credit. It can help one to discover ways to find money and plan for the future.”

Earlier on July 10, the Office of Financial Aid presented a session, “Student Loan Information Session,” exclusively for Eastern professional colleagues, to enhance their awareness of the invaluable contribution they can make in assisting students with managing their college careers.

Brown said the Office of Financial Aid will present the sessions again later this fall in response to positive feedback and popular demand.

Written by Dwight Bachman

Faculty Cut Textbook Expenses with ‘Open Education Resources’

Math Professor Kim Ward

Three Eastern Connecticut State University professors will help their students save a significant amount of money on textbooks this fall due to CSCU-funded grant project. Nicolas Simon, assistant professor of sociology, Associate Professor of English Daniel Donaghy and Associate Professor of Mathematics Kim Ward will receive CSCU grants to develop and support Open Education Resources (OER) strategies in their classrooms that will reduce the overall cost of textbooks.

OER makes learning a collaborative effort by tailoring existing resources to the specific content of a professor’s course. OER materials include digital learning materials, modules, lectures, games, simulations, course syllabi, homework assignments and quizzes. Studies show that professors use these open resources in a similar manner to traditional textbooks.

English Professor Daniel Donaghy

According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the price of college textbooks has soared, increasing by 73 percent—four times the rate of inflation— over the past decade. Many textbooks cost more than $200, some as high as $400. The PIRG says nearly 5.2 million undergraduate students spend $3 billion of financial aid on textbooks each year.  One in three students used more than $300 a semester in financial aid to pay for their textbooks. At $12/hour, a student would have to work 20 hours on campus to cover the cost of a single $250 textbook.

When Reference and Instruction Librarian Angela Walker and her colleagues hosted an outreach event to promote the use of OER on campus, student Ailyn Dilone from Eastern’s Student Government Association (SGA) revealed the results of research she had conducted. It showed that “students either do no purchase the textbook at all, which negatively affects their learning, or drop classes altogether because they cannot afford the required materials. Free or affordable textbooks would allow students to do their reading, come prepared to class and do their homework. If students spend less hours working to pay for textbooks, they have more time to study. The use of OER supports student retention and shows that we care.”

“In the spirit of knowledge sharing, the quantity of valuable resources is steadily growing,” said Walker, who works with grantees. “OER are learning resources in the public domain and can, with permission, be used freely by any teacher.”

Math Professor Ward began exploring OER in 2008 as the coordinator of Eastern’s Math Foundations Program, employing OER materials in her Algebra and Precalculus Mathematics and Calculus Technology classes to provide students with significant cost reductions on textbooks. This fall, she will adopt her class “Differential Equations” to an OER strategy. She notes that the sequential nature of math, coupled with its own vocabulary, need for persistent studying and the speed at which math is taught creates major problems for students. She says the addition of expensive math textbooks is a “recipe for failure.”

Today, thanks to Ward’s use of a free textbook and supplemental practice materials for her course in Blackboard, students have unlimited attempts  to completing problems; access to online textbooks, videos and worksheets; flexibility of deadline dates; and easy submission of assignments. During the 2018-19 academic year, 705 students of Ward’s students had no textbook or software expenses, up from 126 during the 2014-15 academic year. “This is important to me. I may not be able to reduce tuition, but using and promoting the use of EOR is a viable way to help as a faculty member, as it has provided students with much needed financial relief.” 

Sociology Professor Nicholas Simon

English Professor Donaghy will be breaking new ground in his English 233 course this fall, as there are currently no OER materials available for a literature course in contemporary poetry. He said he will begin by reviewing available resources and then research other online resources for materials. He wants to make sure his course is “culturally relevant, with a reading list that includes the widest range of voices that I can find.”

Donaghy says, “I will use the open textbook ‘Naming the Unnamable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations’ by Michelle Bonczek as a starting point for my OER project.” Donaghy expects to save money on textbooks for 25 students. “I hope to keep the total cost of textbooks below $40.”

Simon surveyed students before submitting his application. He will use OER in two sections of his Introduction to Sociology courses this fall. He also created supplemental materials with his application—Powerpoints, discussion topics on current events and happenings in the community, learning exercises, and course and student outlines—which he hopes his colleagues in the 17 CSCU institution will use to relieve their students from financial constraints as well.

Simon previously used “Society: The Basics” by Macionis which cost about $100. Using OER, his students can download his adopted textbook—“Introduction to Sociology, Second Edition”— for free. Students who prefer a paper version can rent it for about $15 or buy their own copy for $20-$30. Based on Simon’s research, “If students buy or rent my OER materials, I anticipate a savings of $5,190 for my 40 students this fall. If only 10 more instructors select this textbook in the CSCU system, the savings for students can be more than $50,000.”

Walker said the attempt to make education affordable to all is a growing movement worldwide. She said she and her colleagues, along with the staff from the Center for Instructional Technology, are available to help professors with technical help in integrating OER into Blackboard in their classrooms.

Written by Dwight Bachman

‘Andrej 5K’ Fun Run in Honor of Late RHAM High School Teacher

The second annual “Andrej 5K” will occur on Sept. 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Mansfield Hollow State Park. The fun run/walk is in honor of Andrej Cavarkapa, an avid runner and high school teacher who passed away in January 2017 while jogging near his home in West Hartford. The event was created to keep Andrej’s spirit alive, as well as to raise funds for his memorial endowed scholarship at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Cavarkapa was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzcegovina, in 1987, the son of Branko and Aleksandra Cavarkapa. He was four years old when his family moved to the United States. He graduated from Eastern in 2009 with degrees in biology and biochemistry, and also received his master’s degree in secondary education from Eastern in 2012.

Cavarkapa was a science teacher at RHAM High School where he was known as “Mr. C.” He was passionate about his job and worked to make physics and chemistry accessible to all students. His interest included art, music, environmental activism and running.

The Andrej Cavarkapa Memorial Endowed Scholarship honors Andrej’s passion for running and education by assisting biology majors with financial need, with a preference for RHAM graduates.

Last year, 190 people ran or walked in the inaugural Andrej 5K. All are welcome to run or walk the trail – including dogs – although the terrain is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.

Those unable to attend are encouraged to run or walk in solidarity. People from as far as Hawaii and Idaho participated in solidarity last year.

Entrants can register for the run online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-andrej5k-runwalk-tickets-53841399074. All proceeds will go to Andrej’s memorial endowed scholarship. You can also be a sponsor of the event and donate directly to the scholarship by filling out the Andrej Cavarkapa Memorial Endowed Scholarship sponsorship form, found at https://ecsufoundation.com/andrej5k-sponsorship/.

An after party will follow the run. Follow the event’s social media pages for more details: https://www.facebook.com/Andrej5K/ and https://www.instagram.com/andrej5k/.

Written by Vania Galicia

Half of Connecticut Communities Now Participate in ‘Sustainable CT’

Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in Connecticut to become more efficient, resilient and inclusive, has registered its 85th Connecticut municipality, officially reaching a participation rate of 50 percent of the state’s cities and towns. These communities are working towards their own unique sustainability goals through this free voluntary certification program.

“We are excited and inspired by reaching this milestone,” said Lynn Stoddard, executive director of the program and director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“Half of Connecticut’s towns, home to 2.1 million residents representing more than 58 percent of our state’s population, are working to make our communities great places to live, work, and play,” continued Stoddard. “When towns register for Sustainable CT, they send a strong message to their residents and peers that they are committed to making their communities more sustainable, collaborative and forward-looking. We look forward to bringing more towns on board and working with communities across Connecticut to achieve their sustainability goals.”

With input from municipal leaders across the state, Sustainable CT was developed under ISE’s leadership in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. To achieve certification, registered Sustainable CT communities work to demonstrate significant achievements in actions in nine sustainability impact areas ranging from thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. As a core part of the program, towns must address diversity, equity and inclusion when completing their certification applications. Certification submissions go through a series of rigorous reviews by independent experts and Sustainable CT partners.

“It is inspiring to see such incredible momentum in the second year of the program, and the interest points to a bright future for the state of Connecticut,” said Katie Dykes, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and member of the Sustainable CT board of directors. “As we work to achieve our ambitious state levels goals, Sustainable CT serves as a critical framework for engaging our municipalities and supporting local action.”

Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, and Stamford achieved “silver” certification, the highest honor in the program, in 2018. Seventeen municipalities were recognized at the “bronze” certification level: Bristol, Coventry, Hebron, Madison, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, New London, New Milford, Old Saybrook, Ridgefield, Roxbury, South Windsor, West Hartford, Westport, Windham and Woodbridge. More communities are working towards certification in 2019, with an application deadline of Aug. 30.

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Sustainable CT is a voluntary certification program to recognize thriving and resilient Connecticut municipalities. An independently funded, grassroots, municipal effort, Sustainable CT provides a wide-ranging menu of best practices. Municipalities choose Sustainable CT actions, implement them, and earn points toward certification. Sustainable CT is independently funded, with support from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation; the Hampshire Foundation; the Common Sense Fund; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; and the Bristol Brass General Grant Fund, the Merriman Family Fund, and the James R. Parker Trust at the Main Street Community Foundation. For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.

Written by Lynn Stoddard

Holmes Program Grows Pool of Minority Teachers

Ian Stygar, Sayantani Nandy and Faith Kioko present on their year in the Holmes Master’s Program at Eastern’s annual luncheon.

School districts across the nation continue to face a lack of minority teachers. Eastern Connecticut State University’s participation in the Holmes Master’s Program seeks to alleviate this problem. On June 28, Eastern celebrated three aspiring teachers from underrepresented backgrounds who will soon enter the teaching profession. Faith Kioko (Ashford), Ian Stygar (Lebanon) and Sayantani Nandy (Ellington) were honored at the annual Holmes Master’s Luncheon, hosted by the School of Education & Professional Studies and Graduate Division.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Holmes Program supports students from historically underrepresented groups who are pursuing careers in education. Eastern continued its partnership with Holmes, hosting its third cohort of Master’s students this year.

The Holmes Master’s students (podium) hosted a panel on educational leadership on April 4.

The 2019 cohort of full-time graduate students had a busy year in pursuit of teacher certification. In addition, they designed research proposals, worked in Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education, presented to classes and hosted forums on campus. They interviewed alumni teachers and gathered data for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). They also attended the AACTE’s annual Washington Week and advocated on educational policy.

“I believe all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow and meet their full potential,” said Kioko, a candidate for teacher certification in early childhood education. “The Holmes Program helped me to pursue my career and has enriched me with professional training and mentorship.”

As part of her Holmes activities, Kioko wrote a research proposal titled “Dismantling Systemic Racism.” The project looked at the effects of race on access to opportunities; implicit bias and its influence on educational policy; and the disproportionate suspension rates for African American students.

Sayantani Nandy presents at Eastern’s CREATE conference on the university’s Education Preparation Program (EPP), which is in the process of being re-accredited by CAEP — the Council of Accreditation for Education Programs.

“To support our students’ social and emotional well-being, we must acknowledge and confront the legacy of racism and exclusion in our schools and communities,” said Kioko. As a teacher, she hopes to empower students, inspire lifelong learning and involve parents in the process.

A candidate for teacher certification in elementary education, Stygar looks forward to impacting the lives of young people from impoverished communities. “I specifically want to work with students from low-income areas because they are often the students who receive the least support,” he said. “Teaching allows me to work closely with students and hopefully help them understand the importance of being a lifelong learner as well as the importance of being a good person regardless of race or gender.”

Much of Stygar’s time in the program was spent interviewing undergraduate teacher candidates at Eastern. “This allowed me to see how the career of teaching is viewed from the perspective of freshman and sophomore students,” he said, noting that the teaching profession is not attracting enough males.

Eventually Stygar would like to move into administration, ultimately becoming a school principal. “It’s a dream of mine to develop a program that recruits males into the elementary education profession, as well as spread awareness of the importance of males in primary grades.”

Nandy has wanted to be a teacher ever since kindergarten. “I would come home and play ‘teacher,'” she said. “My English teacher in elementary school was a great motivator; I wanted to be someone like her.”

A candidate for teacher certification in early childhood education, Nandy originally wanted to teach at the post-secondary level. The birth of her son and the experience of substitute teaching younger children convinced her to shift focus to early childhood education.

Nandy would eventually like to further her studies in the areas of experiential learning and inclusive education. “Digging deep in the field would help me integrate my learnings into my teachings, and address the learning needs of my students,” she said.

The Holmes Program at Eastern is coordinated by Education Professor Tanya Moorehead, a Holmes Scholar herself. “Hosting the Holmes Program fits with the mission and vision of Eastern,” she said in a previous press release. “The education field as a whole is predominately white female, particularly in elementary school. This gives us a way to recruit and develop different faces and backgrounds in the teaching world, because the faces that we’re teaching aren’t always represented by the faces that are teaching them.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Students Research Food Culture in Italy and Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Students visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa and climbed the 294 marble steps to the top!

From June 9-29, eight Eastern Connecticut State University students studied “Cross-Cultural Psychology of Food” in Florence, Italy, with Assistant Professor of Psychology Jenna Scisco. Students learned about eating behaviors and the differences between Italian and American food culture by visiting an olive oil farm, a goat farm, a community garden, a butcher shop, restaurants and food markets.

Students visited the Orti Dipinti educational garden where they learned about sustainable food practices.

Students also took in lectures on Italian cuisine and the slow food movement and participated in food tastings and cooking classes. Through these engaging activities, the students learned that Italian food is fresh, seasonal and regional. Italians value being able to prepare their own food, love to eat and are passionate about their food. Food is meant to be shared in Italy; an important flavor in Italian cooking is family and friends!

At Orti Dipinti educational garden, students made fresh pesto from their handpicked herbs, such as pineapple and apricot sage.

The students’ primary research project was a comparison of meals they observed in the United States and Italy. These hands-on field observations immersed them in the local culture and allowed them to explore differences in types of foods consumed and eating behaviors across the two cultures. Students also completed a report on the use of food in artworks displayed in the Uffizi, Accademia and Bargello galleries. They also wrote a report on the unique characteristics of Italian food labels found on products in grocery stores.

Dr. Scisco led a lecture on food culture atop Piazzale Michelangelo with sunset views of Florence.

While exploring Florence, Eastern students climbed to the top of the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), enjoyed beautiful views of the Arno River from the Ponte Vecchio, took in the sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo and visited beautiful churches such as the Santa Croce Basilica. Students also had the opportunity to explore other cities in Italy with a climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and an overnight trip to Venice.

by Dwight Bachman