Bolivian Ambassador Speaks at Eastern: ‘The Human Race is a Family’

Written by Jordan Corey

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations, visited Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 13 as part of its University Hour event series. Llorenti provided insight on the past and current state of Bolivia, and then spoke more broadly on global relations.

The ambassador was introduced by friend Martin Mendoza-Botelho, a professor of political science at Eastern, who noted that Llorenti has always had a “natural appetite to serve society.”

Llorenti began by describing the world from Bolivia’s perspective. He informed listeners that, while Bolivia is a highly indigenous country, it took almost 200 years to elect its first indigenous president, who took office in 2006.

In addition to social backlash against indigenous cultures in Bolivia, the country was once very poor, with 40 percent of its population living in extreme poverty. With the election of President Evo Morales, Llorenti said, came a “democratic revolution” that has since turned Bolivia into South America’s fastest-growing economy, reducing the poverty level to its current 16 percent.

“That’s why leadership is so important,” Llorenti stressed, using Morales as a jumping-off point to address crises that are going unsolved globally. “We are facing the worst humanitarian crises since 1945,” he said, naming war, poverty, finance, energy usage and climate change among the glaring issues. “Things are getting worse and worse.”

The ambassador called the human race a “family” that must work together to fix the world’s problems. Because the modern world is so interlinked, he argued, what happens in one place has an impact everywhere else.

Consequently, Llorenti advocated for a rules-based international power system in which all members share common goals and responsibilities – components he claimed the global society is lacking. He also pointed out that, in light of this, what is done on a local level matters. “It’s really up to us to do our share,” the ambassador concluded.

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Hundreds of Eastern Students Attend Student Activities Fair

Written by Jolene Potter

Organization of Latin American Students

Organization of Latin American Students

Willimantic, Conn. – More than 500 students attended Eastern Connecticut State University’s annual Fall Student Activities Fair and President’s Picnic on Sept. 11 from 5-7 p.m. on the Library Quad. Student representatives from dozens of Eastern clubs and organizations staffed tables to recruit the hundreds of prospective members who attended the event.

The Fall Student Activities Fair provides new and returning students an opportunity to further explore their interests. Eastern clubs and organizations focus on a variety of student interests such as academic, art and music, club sports, cultural, government, leadership and service, media, recreation, religious and special interests.

Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS) President Freddy Cruz shared the goals of the organization. “OLAS provides a family for students and a support system out of class,” said Cruz. “We want to promote Latin American culture, reach out to our local community and have fun.”

Black Student Union

Black Student Union

Black Student Union President Morgane Russell expressed similar hopes for the current academic year: “Our goal is to provide a safe space for black students and all students of color and to promote unity and diversity on campus.”

 FEMALES (“Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership," Excellence and Success”

FEMALES (“Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership,” Excellence and Success”

Drama Society student representatives were also present at the event to recruit students. “As an organization we fund shows for the Theatre Department, put on our own independent shows and hold staged readings,” said senior theatre major and Drama Society President Emily John. “Our organization provides a collaborative learning experience for all students regardless of major. Keeping our group open to non-theatre majors is important because it enriches us as a group and enriches our art.”

Student leadership organizations “Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence and Success” (MALES) and “Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership, Excellence and Success” (FEMALES) were also present at the fair. “Self-growth is our motto. We want to create a positive circle that uplifts students and helps them to be the best version of themselves,” said senior finance major and MALES President Kendrick Constant. FEMALES shared similar goals and objectives for the current academic year: “Community service and involvement is the cornerstone of FEMALES,” said junior history major and Secretary Kiana Veamon. “We want to get to know students and give them a sense of community and support to help them reach their full potential.”

BioChemistry Club

BioChemistry Club

Several academic organizations were also present at the activities fair, including the Biochemistry Club. “Our goal is to promote scientific collaboration, undergraduate research opportunities, career exploration and help first-year students adjust through study groups for Biology and Chemistry classes,” said sophomore biochemistry major and Vice President Crystal Vicente.

With more than 100 clubs and organizations at the fair, there was something for everyone.


Eastern Announces Fall ‘University Hour’ Schedule

Written by Jordan Corey

campus quad nice wide shotWILLIMANTIC, CT (09/12/2017) This fall 2017 semester, Eastern Connecticut State University is again hosting University Hour, a free and open-to-the-public series of cultural events that occurs every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. in locations across campus. Upcoming events include:

On Sept. 13 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti will discuss global security. He will be speaking about the ideological gaps that lie between developing and developed countries, among other foreign policy issues.

On Sept. 20 in the Student Center Theatre, “Hostage of Empire: Constitutional Dimensions of Puerto Rican Birthright Citizenship” will showcase the history of America’s extension of citizenship to Puerto Rico, and resulting debates over constitutional status of Puerto Ricans.

On Sept. 27 in the Student Center Theatre, “The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in the Health Care System” will feature a lecture by Dr. Tonya Pasternak, who will talk about naturopathic medicine and discuss her medical approaches to common conditions.

On Oct. 4 in the Student Center Theatre, “Dear Woke Brown Girl” will feature “Latina Rebels” founder Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, who will speak about the concept and process of being “woke,” along with the personal tolls that often come with it.

On Oct. 11 in the Student Center Theatre, Cambodian scholar and poet Heng Sreang will discuss his research on the Cambodian (Khmer) diaspora in New England and California, in addition to doing a poetry reading.

On Oct. 18 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall, Eastern will host the Providence-based music group Ensemble/Parallax. The ensemble will give a performance featuring several of their pieces, with a follow-up discussion on performance techniques, the aesthetics of new music and historical content on the music presented.

On Oct. 25 in the Student Center Theatre, “Alcohol Monologues” will take place, a show mimicking the style of the “Vagina Monologues.” A cast of student volunteers will read candid accounts of their experiences in order for the audience to consider the impacts of alcohol usage.

On Nov. 1 in the Student Center Theatre, Matika Wilbur, an acclaimed photographer from the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, will give a presentation that encourages citizens of the United States to move past appropriating and neglecting indigenous images and traditions. This will be done through photographic representation and direct narratives of Native American lives.

On Nov. 15 in the Student Center Theatre, “Living Intersex: Walking the Line” – the final event of the semester – will feature Saifa Wall, an intersex man of African descent. Having overcome emotional and political hardships, Wall aims to develop strong relationships between ethical, responsible research and community empowerment.

Bolivian Ambassador to Speak on Global Security at Eastern

Bolivian Ambassador_LlorentiWritten by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (09/07/2017) On Sept. 13, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti will be making an appearance at Eastern Connecticut State University’s “University Hour” to discuss global security. The event takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Instructional Center.

During his presentation, Llorenti will address the ideological gaps between developing and developed countries. This year, Bolivia joined the Security Council of the United Nations as a non-permanent member. The ambassador’s “University Hour” speech will center on foreign policy and is free to attend.

Eastern Announces Star Show Schedule for Fall 2017

Written by Casey Collins

Professor Russell Sampson leads a star show in Eastern's Planetarium

Professor Russell Sampson leads a star show in Eastern’s Planetarium

Willimantic, CT (09/07/2017) —The planetarium at Eastern Connecticut State University has just announced its fall 2017 series of star shows, “Celestial Wonders and Cosmic Conundrums.” The public is invited to attend the free events, but tickets are required.

During the first show on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m., Physical Sciences Professor Russell Sampson will discuss the constellations, planets and special sky events of the season, as well as talk about his expedition to Wyoming, where he viewed the recent total solar eclipse.

The second show of the season will occur on Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. and will focus on scientific discoveries from the Cassini Mission to Saturn. This show will highlight the rings, moons and storms of Saturn.

The third and final show of the fall semester will occur on Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Sampson will explore The Big Bang Theory and discuss how the universe was born and what it was like 13.7 billion years ago.

Every show concludes with a Q&A session. Shows last about an hour-and-a-half and are free to attend, but tickets are required. To reserve seats, contact Zosia Carlquist at

‘Kingdom Animalia’ Kicks off Fall Semester at Eastern

First Art Exhibition of 2017-18 Academic Year

"On the Edge: Sea Ice Melt and Polar Bear," 2017 (30" X 20" archival digital print on paper) by Terry Lennox, digital art and design professor at Eastern

“On the Edge: Sea Ice Melt and Polar Bear,” 2017 (30″ X 20″ archival digital print on paper) by Terry Lennox, digital art and design professor at Eastern

WILLIMANTIC, CT (08/25/2017) The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Kingdom Animalia: Illustrations from New England” from Aug. 31 to Oct. 12. An opening reception will be held on Sept. 7 from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“Kingdom Animalia” is a sprawling, modern-day take on the medieval bestiary. These “books of beasts” were illustrated encyclopedias of the animal kingdom. Similarly, the 22 illustrators included in the exhibition depict animals ranging from the familiar to the fantastic. In addition to showcasing the work of local and regional artists, “Kingdom Animalia” also celebrates Eastern’s new Illustration Concentration, which the Art and Art History Department launched this past year.

The Art Gallery is located in Room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center, on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 11 to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 1-7 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. Parking is available in the Cervantes parking garage and in the Student Center parking lot. For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at The Art Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit

Eastern to Host Public Dance Classes


Written by Michael Rouleau

WILLIMANTIC, CT (08/23/2017) Dancers of all ages and levels are invited to visit Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 9 for a day of dance workshops led by Eastern faculty, alumni and current students. Dance Awareness Day will occur in the Fine Arts Instructional Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Class offerings will include hip-hop, modern, tap and jazz dancing, as well as classes for yoga/Pilates, technique and more.

Space is limited. Initial registration begins at 8:30 a.m., though participants can register up to 10 minutes before individual classes. Participants under the age of 18 must be registered by a parent or guardian. Prices for the general public are $5 per class or $15 for four classes. Dance Awareness Day is sponsored by the Modern Movement student club at Eastern. For more information, contact Modern Movement at

‘Colleges of Distinction’ Recognizes Eastern’s Business and Education Programs

colleges of distinction badges

Written by Michael Rouleau

WILLIMANTIC, CT (08/09/2017) The School of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized by Colleges of Distinction for its expert blending of the liberal arts with professional programing in business and education. This honor is in addition to Eastern being named a 2017-18 College of Distinction by the same organization, which is a trusted guide for college-bound students.

In acknowledging the recognition, Jacob Easley, dean of Eastern’s School of Education and Professional Studies, said: “The marriage of liberal arts outcomes with those of professional studies contributes to the unique value and distinction of our programs. Furthermore, our commitment to inquiry, social responsibility, lifelong learning and diversity enriches the lives of students.”

“The 21st-century job market now demands employees who are both stellar communicators and critical-thinkers, and it is with the School of Education and Professional Studies’ well-rounded approach to career development that its students are especially prepared to take on the postgraduate world,” wrote Colleges of Distinction in a recent news release.

“We are ecstatic to celebrate Eastern Connecticut State University for its exceptional commitment to student success,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction. “Building upon its extensive liberal arts curriculum, as well as its impressive engagement of high-impact practices, Eastern continues to stand out through its stance as a leader in professional education.”

Colleges of Distinction granted these awards in education and business programming after a comprehensive vetting process, selecting schools based on such qualities as accreditation, breadth of program and a track record of success.

Eastern’s Education programs include early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education and educational technology. “Eastern’s future educators are bolstered by an enriching liberal arts perspective, allowing them to be empathetic, creative and efficient mentors for their students,” added Colleges of Distinction.

“The fast-paced, modern world of business requires effective communication and innovative strategies,” wrote the organization. “Eastern’s programs in accounting, business administration, business information systems, finance and organizational management keep their future leaders ahead of the curve and ready to grow alongside the industry.”

About Colleges of Distinction: Colleges of Distinction has recognized and honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education for over 15 years. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit

About Eastern Connecticut State University: Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 23 other states and 20 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 64 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 26th top public university in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2017 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council seven years in a row. For more information, visit

Windham Schools Partner with Eastern on Puentes al Futuro Program

Written by Ed Osborn

puentes 2017 games

For the sixth summer in a row, the Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future program provided enrichment activities for Willimantic middle school students from July 5–27. The program is a collaboration between Windham Public Schools’ Office of Family and Community Partnerships and the Center for Community Engagement at Eastern Connecticut State University. The academic and cultural enrichment program was funded in part by a generous grant from Eversource, in addition to funding from Windham Public Schools.

puentes 2017 students in costume

Puentes al Futuro provides a safe space for summer fun and helps students improve their academics in advance of the next school year. The program is an extension of an after-school program in Windham schools during the academic year that has grown from only 20 students when it started six years ago to a level of more than 125 this year.

“The summer Puentes al Futuro program is a unique opportunity for Windham middle school students and Eastern Connecticut State University students to spend an intensive month together outside of the traditional school environment,” said Kimberly Armstrong Silcox, director of the Center for Community Engagement.

puentes 2017 in the pool“The student-led program allows the college students to develop deeper relationships with the youth through leadership development, student engagement and enrichment opportunities. We see the children develop self-confidence, respect for themselves and others, and blooming creativity that is not easily established during the school year with the pressures that children face in school. The Center for Community Engagement is always proud to partner with Windham Public Schools. This program is a terrific reflection of the commitment that Windham Public Schools has to provide resources to support their students in unique and powerful ways.”

During the three-week program, 27 students from Windham who are entering sixth and seventh grade participated in an academic component in the mornings at the middle school and then spent the afternoons at Eastern learning cultural dance, theater and swimming.

This year’s focus was on the immigration experience and the experiences of undocumented individuals and families. The students wrote essays and turned them into monologues that were performed at a “Showcase” during the final day of the program, along with dances and original theatrical pieces the students had developed. The goal was to provide the students with accurate information and to give them a safe space to express their concerns as well as to ask questions. Members of the organization “Connecticut Students for a Dream” met with the participants to provide accurate information about pathways to college for undocumented students.

puentes 2017 showcase final

Each Monday, students also visited the CLiCK (Commercially Licensed, Cooperative Kitchen) in Windham to learn about nutrition, gardening and cooking.

puentes Emiliano Gutierrez“I enjoyed being at Eastern,” said Emiliano Gutierrez, who is entering Windham Middle School this fall. “I had a lot of fun with the other students. We played games — BINGO and “Helicopter” — and also swam in Eastern’s beautiful swimming pool.  We learned about the lives of immigrants and wrote stories about them. I wrote about a young Mexican boy who had immigrated to the United States.”

Manuel Silva will be a student at the Charles H. Burrows STEM Academy this fall. “I learned how to express my creativity in the Puentes program. I wrote my story about four children whose parents had immigrated to the United States and how they are trying to come to America to find their parents.”

Silva was one of four participants who presented their stories in oral monologues during the program’s final showcase on July 27.  After practicing dancing in Eastern’s Dance Studio, the children in the program formed two teams during the final ceremony to perform a “Warrior Dance” in colorful costumes.

The program was staffed by five Eastern students and coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). Windham Middle School staff supported the program as well, and professional dancer from New York City taught the dance classes.

Carly Perron ’18 was the Eastern student program coordinator and was assisted by fellow Eastern students Sarah Tricarico, Mariana Vega, Adilsa Encarnacao and Luis Martinez, who served as counselors.

Perron served as a counselor in the program in 2016.  A double major in political science and history who is also preparing for secondary education certification, she is a regular CCE volunteer leader, working in programs for the elderly in addition to the program for middle school students.  “Middle school is hard,” she says. “I want to make the kids’ lives and experiences a bit easier.”

Given the multi-cultural nature of Willimantic, the Puentes program is “all about culture and remembering where you come from,” says Perron. Speaking to the focus on immigration in this year’s program, she said, “I want these students to know the positive side of immigration. They are learning about the rights and opportunities for undocumented children or their undocumented parents.”

The middle school students also got to spend time on a college campus, some for the first time, and realize that going to college and getting their degree is an achievable aspiration.

In addition to the summer program, the Puentes program also includes activities throughout the school year, including several that involve Eastern students. These range from a “Arts and Culture” program for elementary schoolchildren, which focuses on learning the culture of another country — Jamaica, Ireland and Russian have been explored in the past — to the “I Love Me” program designed to build self-confidence for middle school students.

Parents can learn more about the Puentes program and register their children when school begins by visiting or by calling (860) 465-2300. You can also watch a video interview about “Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future” at

For more information about the Center for Community Engagement visit or call (860) 465-0090.