11th Annual Poverty Awareness Marathon Benefits Shawn’s Cupboard

Eastern alumnus Austin Darley '14 returned to campus for the annual event.
Cross country coach Kathy Manizza and Professor Charlie Chatterton finish an early-morning lap.
Student volunteers Lindsay Allard, Sarah Farag, Tristen Kijak and Elisabeth Graves collect donations for Eastern's on-campus food pantry, Shawn's Cupboard.

 

Eastern Connecticut State University held its 11th annual Poverty Awareness Marathon on Oct. 18. More than 100 members of the Eastern community ran and walked to raise awareness of poverty in Windham and across the nation. In recognition of the 38 million people in the United States who live in poverty, the marathon collected more than 200 nonperishable food items for donation to Eastern’s on-campus food pantry, Shawn’s Cupboard, which was created to fight food insecurity of among students.

Professor Charlie Chatterton, the organizer of the event, spoke on why he runs. “The challenge is to think about this issue all year along; this is an issue that exists nationally and locally. I run because I believe in the respect and dignity of all people.”

Marathon participants began in front of the Student Center and ran/walked 1.2-mile loops around campus—22 laps equal 26.4 miles. Most participants—faculty, staff and members of athletics teams and clubs—ran a partial marathon, as permitted by class and work schedules.

In recognition of the 38 million people in the United States who live in poverty, the marathon collected more than 200 nonperishable food items for donation to Eastern’s on-campus food pantry, Shawn’s Cupboard, which was created to fight food insecurity of among students.

Volunteers from the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and the Health & Physical Education and Sport & Leisure Management Club (HPE/SLM) helped facilitate the event, collecting donations, directing the runners and providing refreshments between laps.

Organizers of the event also set up signs throughout the running path which included statistics on national poverty rates and poverty rates in Windham. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for example, 11 percent of the population in Windham lives in poverty and one in six children across the nation do not know where their next meal will come from.

 “We’ve had a great turnout, with a lot of good energy and we are really raising awareness of issues related to poverty in the United States,” said Lindsay Allard ’21, a member of the HPE & SLM Club.

Written by Vania Galicia

Eastern Named to Princeton Review’s 2020 ‘Best Colleges’ Guide

Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized by in the Princeton Review in its “2020 Best Colleges” guide for the Northeast region. Featured schools were chosen based on survey results from 140,000 students across the country. Eastern was praised for its small class sizes, close-knit campus community and affordability. 

Home to 5,200 students annually, Eastern students come from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, along with 29 other states and 20 other countries. The 16:1 student to faculty ratio encourages group discussions and teamwork. Eastern offers 41 majors and 59 minors, with a liberal arts curriculum that’s rooted deep in the school’s mission to provide students with a well-rounded education. Eastern was also ranked among the top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2020 Best College ratings.

Eastern also offers 18 NCAA Division III sports teams, more than 90 registered student organizations and 17 honors societies. Eastern’s athletic mission is to emphasize values such as diversity, sportsmanship, health, wellbeing and equity. Eastern hosted its annual President’s Picnic and Student-Club Fair. In spring of 2019, more than 50 percent of Eastern students participated in at least one club. Clubs with the highest membership last semester were Eastern Outdoors Club, Freedom at Eastern and People Helping People. Eastern is also home to student services such as the Womens Center, LGBT support groups and minority support groups. Eastern was awarded the ‘Green Campus’ Status by Princeton Review for the ninth year in a row in fall 2018.

Written by Molly Boucher

Courant Names Eastern a ‘Top Workplace’

For the eighth time the Hartford Courant has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its “Top Workplaces” survey. With almost 1,000 employees, Eastern ranked 10th in the “large” category, and was the only public higher education institution recognized among 60 organizations in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham and New London counties. Results were published on Sept. 22 in the Hartford Courant.

“We are honored to be recognized once again as a top workplace in Connecticut,” said Eastern’s President Elsa Núñez. “Even though Eastern was recognized in the large organization category, our university has always prided itself on being a close-knit community and a welcoming, inclusive campus for students, faculty and staff. The Courant’s announcement reminds us that Eastern is a stable, inspiring place for our faculty and staff to come to work each day, and a supportive learning environment for our students. I am very pleased that we were among those recognized.”

Surveys were administered on behalf of the Courant by Energage, LLC, a research and consulting firm that has conducted employee surveys for more than 50,000 organizations. Rankings were based on confidential survey results completed by employees of the participating organizations. This year’s Courant survey surveyed 29,000 employees across the state.

The survey included 24 statements, with employees asked to assess each one on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Topics included organizational direction, workplace conditions, effectiveness, managers and compensation. Each company was assigned a score based on a formula.

To honor all “Top Workplaces,” The Hartford Courant held its annual awards program on Sept. 19 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT, where it announced the top workplaces in each category.

Written by Vania Galicia

Goddard, Shafer Halls Reopen to New Look and Purpose

Shafer exterior
Shafer cafe
Shafer residence
Shafer lounge
Shafer kitchen lounge
Goddard KPE lab
Goddard KPE lab
Goddard psychology lab

 

Two fabled buildings on the Eastern campus reopened their doors this fall semester after undergoing extensive renovations for more than a year. Shafer Hall, formerly home to the university’s fine arts programs, has been transformed into a loft-style residence hall. Goddard Hall, the university’s first facility devoted to science, has been outfitted with fresh labs and technology and finished with a contemporary interior.

Constructed in 1946, Shafer Hall remains one of Eastern’s most historic buildings. While major renovations have converted it into a residence hall, the building retains its original glazed block arches, wooden benches lining the hallway and other classic touches. The original lobby’s raised paneling was restored and continues to serve as an entrance to the newly remodeled auditorium and café.

The building has capacity for 91 residents. The residential suites include single apartments with kitchenettes, sitting areas, breakfast bars and lofts for bedroom furniture. Three- and four-person suites feature private bedrooms, kitchens and separate bath and toilet facilities.

The former Harry Hope Theatre will soon be reopened as a gym for students campus wide. Other building highlights include a game room, a kitchen lounge where students can gather to cook group dinners, as well as computer, study and meeting rooms.

All new mechanical systems, electrical, plumbing, sprinklers, data connectivity, windows, floors and roofing meet the university’s high standards for safety, technology and minimal environmental impact. The renovation was designed in accordance with Connecticut High Performance Building Regulations, which closely align with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification standards.

The project was funded by bonds from the Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Funds Authority (CHEFA) at a cost of $24.6 million. Construction began in August 2018. The architect was Stantec and the contractor was O&G Industries Inc.

The newly reopened Goddard Hall marks the completion of the Goddard/Communication Renovation Project—the Communication Building reopened in fall 2018. The adjoining buildings now represent a modernized academic complex home to several departments.

Completely gutted and rehabbed, Goddard includes fresh labs, classrooms and offices. There’s a suite of six labs for the Psychology Department as well as a lab for the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department, outfitted with an interactive wall and workout equipment for research.

The building also has new HVAC, plumbing, sprinkler and heating systems. New windows and improvements to the exterior make the building more energy efficient, also aligning it with Connecticut High Performance Building Regulations.

The two-phased Goddard/Communication project was funded by state-appropriated bond funds at a cost of $21.7 million. Goddard construction began in May 2017. The architect was MDS National Inc. and the contractor was PDS Engineering & Construction Inc.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern a Top 25 Public Regional University in U.S. News and World Report

The class of 2023 gathered for a group photo during the Fall 2019 Warrior Welcome weekend–Eastern draws students from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns

 Eastern Connecticut State University is again the highest ranked institution among Connecticut’s four state universities in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s edition of “Best Colleges.” The 2020 rankings were released on Sept. 9.

This is Eastern’s highest ranking ever as it was ranked 21st among public universities in the North Region. Eastern moved up five spots among public institutions over last year’s rankings and moved up 13 spots when both public and private institutions were considered.

Under the mentorship of Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan, Roshani Budhathoki ’19 was selected for an undergraduate fellowship by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB).

.The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and is known as the most competitive among the four regions that make up the U.S. News and World Report ranking system.

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked based on 15 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

“Given the uncertain times facing the higher education community, I am delighted to see Eastern achieving its highest ranking ever,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “This is a testament to our commitment to high standards and the faculty and staff’s focus on providing students with personal attention. Our improved ranking this year is due to our rising graduation and retention rates as well as the continued quality of our incoming classes.

 Environmental earth science students traveled to the mountains of Wyoming and Idaho this summer for a geology field course led by Eastern faculty.:

“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 upwards of 1,400 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2020 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 15.

For the past 35 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.

Written by Ed Osborn

Eastern Alumna Salutes Inclusive Excellence Award Winners

On May 9, Eastern recognized more than 100 students with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or higher, and an additional 11 students who have demonstrated exemplary co-curricular engagement at the University’s Seventh Annual Inclusive Excellence Student Awards Ceremony. The ceremony recognized the achievements of African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students at Eastern.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez said the ceremony was not just about inclusion, but also spoke to the University’s other core values of academic excellence, integrity, social responsibility, engagement and empowerment. “It is important for each of you to stand tall and be proud of who you are and what you are capable of. Never, ever, ever let anyone attempt to diminish your worth or your talents.

“Today’s honorees join thousands of other successful Eastern alumni who are making their own personal contributions out in the real world, including our guest speaker today, Dr. Kawami Evans. Today, we show respect and celebrate the accomplishments of students who too often have been forgotten in the past.  Thank you for being part of this celebration; to our honorees, congratulations.  We are very proud of you.”

Keynote speaker Evans ’97 serves as associate director at the Center for African Diaspora Student Success at the University of California at Davis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history and social science at Eastern, her Master of Education in educational policy and research administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a doctorate in educational management and leadership from Drexel University.

Evans encouraged the students to use their curiosity and optimism to persevere through unseen psychological struggles that can become their staunchest challenges. She said many high- achieving students fall prey to chasing individual achievements, accolades or material gain as their goal, even confusing their self-worth with what they can accomplish.

“This is dangerous; it can lead to anxiety and depression. Don’t let this be your reality or focus,” said Evans. “Who you are is what we are celebrating today. All the earned accolades you are receiving are but a byproduct of the brilliance within you . . . You are the promise of our ancestors’ prayers and walk with the wisdom and swag of those who have grit, resilience, the social and emotional intelligence, curiosity and hope.”

Evans told the students the most important element they need to resurrect in discussing their future success is their spirituality, ways in which students discover their destiny — answers to the big questions of who they are, what is their life purpose and how do they make difference in the world.

“Much of the world right now is relegated to systems and polices. We have to raise the bar with our vision of what’s possible,” Evans said. “It will take hard work, community, love, bravery, unrelentless effort and celebration.  I sincerely believe that we can create a world that works for all.”

A total of 280 students qualified for an Academic Excellence Award with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, and more than 100 of them were able to attend the May 9 event. During the ceremony, several students received service awards. Adrianna Arocho and Mayra Santos Acosta was presented the Volunteer Service Award; Aiyana Ward, the Athletic Excellence Award; Kimberly Allen and Sommer Bachelor, the Career Development Award; Jenilee Antonetty, the Resident Assistant Diversity Impact Award; Rafael Aragon, the Residential Community Leadership Award; Tristan Perez, the Social Justice Advocacy Award; Emma Costa, the Inspirational Leadership Award; Ishah Azeez, the Resilient Warrior Award; Kimberly Allen and Vishal Jungiwalla, the Advisor’s Choice Award; and the Freedom at Eastern Club, the Building Bridges Award.

By Dwight Bachman

43 Strong, Eastern Represents in Georgia at National Conference

With 43 student presenters, Eastern was among the top 20 schools nationwide for NCUR participation, and the only school from New England to make the list.

Forty-three students from Eastern Connecticut State University traveled to Georgia on April 11-13 to present original research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). The 2019 conference occurred at Kennesaw State University and featured hundreds of undergraduate students from across the country.

Eastern was among the top 20 schools nationwide for NCUR participation this year – the only school from New England to make the list – and one of the few with a student population of less than 6,000.

Eastern students from a range of majors presented artwork, music performances and oral/poster presentations. Research questions probed topics such as the microbiome of scorpions, the link between casual sex and online dating, pop-culture glamorization of eating disorders, and much more.

Adella Dzitko-Carlson presents “Finding Faith in the 21st Century: The Search for the Sacred in John Luther Adams’ “In the Name of the Earth.”

Music major Esther Jones ’20 commented on the experience of performing a lecture-recital. “This experience at NCUR was a milestone in my life because I didn’t think that I could actually do it when the time finally came around. I thought that I would be trembling so badly that my mind would go blank.”

Jones’ piano performance was titled “‘Theme and Variations on an Egyptian Folksong’ by Gamal Abdel-Rahim.” She added, “This experience helped to boost my confidence and has given me courage to face new challenges.”

“One of my greatest takeaways from this conference is how it pushes you and makes you a better academic,” said Michael Tuttle ’19, who majors in psychology and mathematics.

“Presenting at a conference subjects your research to a higher level of scrutiny, challenging your thoughts and ideas. When audience members ask questions and offer suggestions, it pushes you to think critically and creatively.” Tuttle’s presentation was titled “Overconfidence and Impulsivity of College Students in a Cognitive Reflection Task.”

Theresa Parker presents “Echo Chambers in Social Media: Why do People Seek or Reject Opposing Viewpoints.”

Biology major Chris Shimwell ’20 presented “Molecular Identification of the Scorpion Telson Microbiome.” He said, “Presenting at a national conference is a valuable experience because it allows you to synthesize information into an audio-visual format and present it to others who are highly educated and knowledgeable about your field.”

Jacob Dayton ’19, a biology major who presented two projects – one on the genetic diversity of a migratory bird group and one on the behaviors of strawberry poison-dart frogs – added that the value of presenting at national conferences is threefold.

“One, it provides students with the opportunity to practice communicating their research to a diverse audience. Two, questions and comments from audience members challenge students to defend and/or expand their thinking. And three, it provides the opportunity to publicize Eastern and the quality research that its students are conducting.”

Students also cited being exposed to new research questions during others’ presentations, interacting with peers from across the country, and sharing the NCUR experience with their Eastern friends as highlights of the conference. Psychology Professors Carlos Escoto and James Diller and Biology Professor Patricia Szczys accompanied the Eastern group.

NCUR was established in 1987. From a pool of several thousand applicants, students are accepted into the conference if their research demonstrates a unique contribution to their field of study. NCUR offers undergraduates the opportunity to present their research findings to peers, faculty and staff from colleges and universities across the nation, providing a unique networking and learning opportunity.

Written by Michael Rouleau

SLM Classes Show Students the ‘Real World’ of Sport Management

SLM students toured Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on April 4, led by Eastern alumnus Derek Miles ’08 (second from left), director of operations and events.

Sport and leisure management (SLM) students enrolled in Professor Charlie Chatterton’s upper-level courses have had a dose of reality this semester. They’ve toured sporting facilities and interacted with a range of professionals, from young Eastern alumni to franchise executives from the Hartford Yard Goats and Connecticut Sun.

The “Design, Construction and Management of Sports Facilities” class went to East Hartford on April 4 for a tour of Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, led by Eastern alumnus Derek Miles ’08. Miles is the director of the stadium’s operations and events, and discussed game/television production, grass and field maintenance, game-day operations, stadium security, parking operations and internship opportunities.

Amber Cox (middle), vice president of Sports Connecticut Sun/New England Black Wolves, spoke with students on March 18.

“For any students entering the SLM field, I would offer the advice of keeping an open mind about what they would like to do,” said Miles. “The sport-management industry is tough to get started in. Often you just need a foot in the door in order for other opportunities to arise.

“I’ve seen people come to us with economics degrees or a marketing background and turn out loving the operations side of things,” he continued. “As long as students are open to different positions and are willing to try different areas of the sports field, they can absolutely grow into other positions.”

The “Intro to Sport Management and Sport Science” class welcomed alumnus Anthony Rosati ’09 on April 3. Rosati is the director of athletic facilities and graphic design enchantments at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He oversees the game-day operations of all UConn athletic facilities; manages more than $3 million in facilities budgets; and oversees the hard-branding (graphic enchantments) in and outside of athletic facilities.

“My job boils down to ensuring that our teams have everything they need from a facilities standpoint — ensuring that practice and games are set up in a safe and efficient manner.”

Eastern alumnus Casey McGarvey ’12, assistant director for athletic communications of the University of Hartford, spoke with SLM students on March 29.

Rosati advises students to volunteer at events, work an internship and job shadow professionals of interest. “The main thing is to make the most of those experiences,” he said, “not to simply go through the motions, but to stand out.”

March was a busy month the “Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Communications in Sports” class, with three visits by distinguished professionals who spoke on marketing initiatives and strategies for their companies.

Amber Cox, vice president of the Sports Connecticut Sun/New England Black Wolves, came to campus on March 18; Tim Restall, president of the Hartford Yard Goats, visited on March 25; and Eastern alumnus Casey McGarvey ’12, assistant director for athletic communications of the University of Hartford, visited on March 29.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

 

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/08/2019) Eastern Connecticut State University will host its premier academic and artistic conference of the year on April 12. CREATE – Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern – will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Center and surrounding venues. An award ceremony with remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Hundreds of student researchers, artists and performers will present their talents at CREATE. Students from all majors will lead oral and poster presentations, participate in panel discussions, showcase music and dance performances, exhibit their art and photography, and present documentary films and more.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Student Center Café. President Núñez will present two undergraduate awards and two mentor awards to outstanding students and faculty members at the 12:30 p.m. award ceremony.

For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/create/, where you can view the day’s agenda and download the event’s cell phone app for iPhone and Android.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

Eastern Connecticut State University will host its premier academic and artistic conference of the year on April 12. CREATE – Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern – will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Center and surrounding venues. An award ceremony with remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Students present research during the poster session of the 2018 CREATE conference.

Hundreds of student researchers, artists and performers will present their talents at CREATE. Students from all majors will lead oral and poster presentations, participate in panel discussions, showcase music and dance performances, exhibit their art and photography, and present documentary films and more.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Student Center Café. President Núñez will present two undergraduate awards and two mentor awards to outstanding students and faculty members at the 12:30 p.m. award ceremony.

For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/create/, where you can view the day’s agenda and download the event’s cell phone app for iPhone and Android.

Written by Michael Rouleau