Poverty Awareness Marathon Raises 378 Food Items

KPE professors Charlie Chatterton and Ari de Wilde midway through the marathon.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Connecticut State University held its 10th annual Poverty Awareness Marathon on Oct. 5. The event culminated with 197 members of the Eastern community who walked and ran to raise awareness, as well as 378 food items that were donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen and Shawn’s Cupboard, Eastern’s on-campus food pantry.

Beginning at 7 a.m., marathon runners participated for as many laps around campus as their schedules permitted; some for a single lap (roughly 1.2 miles) others for a half-marathon (13 miles). Professor Charlie Chatterton, who has completed numerous marathons, exceeded by running 28 miles in approximately six hours.

Participants pose for a group photo before the 7 a.m. starting time

Chatterton teaches kinesiology and physical education (KPE). He has been involved in poverty awareness efforts for years, and has been instrumental in this event since the beginning. He encourages students to get involved in any way they can.

Aside from running or walking, the Eastern community donated nonperishable food items and students signed large, colorful posters, pledging to volunteer in upcoming events and to call attention to issues of poverty with their friends and family. Among them were several athletes from Eastern’s sports teams, including the men’s and women’s cross-country teams, men’s basketball and women’s lacrosse.

The marathon was organized by the Center for Community Engagement and the student organization People Helping People.

 

Eastern Named a 2018 College of Distinction

WILLIMANTIC, CT (06/18/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized as a 2018-19 College of Distinction by the college-guide/ranking organization Colleges of Distinction.

The organization praised Eastern for its student-centered approaches and high-impact educational practices. High-impact practices of note include Eastern’s community-based learning programs, intensive writing courses, living-learning communities for residents, undergraduate research, internships and other hands-on learning experiences.

“We are absolutely thrilled to recognize Eastern Connecticut State University as a College of Distinction for its effective dedication to student success,” said Tyson Schritter, CEO for Colleges of Distinction. “Colleges of Distinction is so impressed with Eastern’s curriculum, which is enriched with the kind of high-impact educational practices that are most crucial for student development. Such innovative engagement is preparing the next generation of young adults to thrive after college.”

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of a review of each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, alumni success, strategic plan, student satisfaction and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community and Successful Outcomes.

“Colleges of Distinction is far more than a ranking list of colleges and universities,” said Schritter. “We seek out the schools that are wholly focused on the student experience, constantly working to produce graduates who are prepared for a rapidly changing global society. Again recognized as a College of Distinction, Eastern Connecticut State University stands out in the way it strives to help its students to learn, grow and succeed.”

Top U.S. Mental Health Official Speaks at Eastern’s 128th Commencement

                                                                            Eastern Graduates 1,200 Students at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

Elinore McCance-Katz

Hartford, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), told the graduates and their families at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 128th Commencement exercises that the current opioid crisis facing the United States is “the nation’s greatest medical challenge since the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. It is a tragedy of major proportions, and we need to work together to help those addicted get treatment and recover from this disease.”

Eastern’s annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 15, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,105 undergraduates and 85 graduate students received their diplomas.

McCance-Katz told the audience that Eastern had grown from a small college when she attended Eastern Connecticut State College in the 1970s to become “a comprehensive university that has flourished.”

The commencement speaker also received an honorary doctor of science degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises.  She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978 with a degree in biology. Following a sterling career in medicine, psychiatry, academic achievement and public administration, McCance-Katz’s DHHS appointment in August 2017 made her the first assistant secretary-level director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

After earning her degree from Eastern, Dr. McCance-Katz went on to earn a Ph.D. at Yale University in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 1984, and then received her M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1987. 

After completing a residency in psychiatry, she held teaching positions at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California in San Francisco, the University of Texas and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prior to her HHS appointment, McCance-Katz was Chief Medical Officer of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals from 2015 to 2017, and served as professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Describing how her professional journey had taken her from treating AIDS patients in the 1990s to her current national leadership role in treating substance abuse and mental illness, McCance-Katz described federal and state efforts to develop new recovery services and support services.  “We will turn the tide on this epidemic,” she said, urging graduates to get involved as medical professionals, nurses, counselors and social workers.

 “Be adventurous. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Be an advocate for those who have not had the advantages you have had.  There is no greater satisfaction than helping others.”

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Other speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chairof the Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College and Universities System. Additional members of the platform party included Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Father Laurence LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Núñez told the graduates their liberal arts education at Eastern was highly prized by American employers.  “In five separate surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities over the past decade, the vast majority of employers — over 90 percent! — say they are less interested in specialized job proficiencies, favoring instead analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills — the wide-ranging academic and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.”

Núñez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, saying, “I know that the majority of our seniors have found ways to donate their time and good will to making our community a better place to live.  Wherever you end up — in Connecticut or beyond — make sure you continue to give a portion of your time to make a difference in your community.” 

Lastly, Núñez encouraged the Eastern seniors to be active citizens as they participate in the American democratic system of self-governance. She quoted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who has written that disagreement is “the most vital ingredient of any decent society. It defines our individuality, gives us our freedom, enjoins our tolerance, enlarges our perspectives, makes our democracies real, and gives hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere.”

“So never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else,” said Núñez. “Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 163 of the state’s 169 towns. Approximately 85 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Charlotte MacDonald presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2018 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. Recalling the Eastern tradition where freshmen toss a penny into a fountain on campus as they make a wish — presumably to graduate in four years — MacDonald shared her own three wishes with her classmates. “My first wish is that you go confidently in the direction of your passions . . . the education you have received at Eastern has prepared you for this.  My second wish is for you not only to better yourself but others around you. Contribute to your community, offer things you no longer use to those in desperate need, volunteer your time . . . My last wish is that you find a path to happiness. . . your willingness to conquer challenges is what will separate you from the majority.”

Meléndez, former vice president of government and community alliances for Hartford Hospital, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, expressing gratitude to all who had supported Eastern’s graduates — parents, family, friends and especially Eastern’s faculty. “Their commitment to your success is what makes this university so special. Today is a significant milestone.  We hope today is merely a catalyst for a fulfilling life as each of you pursues your goals.”

Michele Bacholle, Distinguished Professor of the Year

 

Ojakian also offered remarks, commending Eastern President Núñez, her administrative team and “an exceptional faculty that guided you onyour journey to get to today.  The journey is now yours. It is your own path and your own truth that will motivate you . . .  Trust your instincts . . .  You have an obligation to leave this world a better place.  Take charge!”

This year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions, ranging from the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet. University Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Halie Poirier, Michael Beckstein and Hannah Bythrow sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Nathan Cusson gave the invocation; and French Professor Michèle Bacholle was recognized as the 2018 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

CREATE Conference Shows Breadth and Depth of Eastern Students

Written by Michael Rouleau

Displays of research and creativity filled the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University on April 13 for the annual CREATE conference. CREATE stands for “Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern,” and is the University’s premier undergraduate conference of the academic year.

CREATE featured more than 200 students of all majors who led oral and poster presentations, panel discussions, music and dance performances, art and photography exhibitions, as well as documentary viewings and new-media demonstrations.

Students give a musical performance.
A student gives an oral presentation.
Conference patrons peruse the CREATE art gallery.
Students give a theatrical performance.

 

“This conference really cements our slogan that Eastern offers a ‘liberal arts education, practically applied,’” said Brian Oakley, conference co-chair and professor of environmental earth science. “It’s evident when you look around and see the breadth and depth of the work being done by our students.”

“There is no event on campus more important than CREATE,” affirmed Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Some of the work on display represents three or four years of problem solving, testing and intellectual pursuit. This event is more than a source of pride; it’s a validation of our university’s mission.”

Midway through the conference, two students and two faculty members received awards for undergraduate research and faculty mentorship.

Julie Underhill ’18, who majors in labor relations and human resources management, and Tess Candler ’18, who double majors in political science and economics, received the undergraduate research awards. The faculty awards went to Underhill and Candler’s mentors, respectively: Business Administration Professor Niti Pandey and Political Science Professor Courtney Broscious.

Award recipients Julie Underhill (middle) and Niti Pandey (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.
Award recipients Courtney Broscious (middle) and Tess Candler (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.

 

“Without the professors we cannot celebrate the success of the students,” reminded Provost Dimitrios Pachis, “and without the students we cannot celebrate the success of the professors. This is how the world works, the yin and the yang. With this sort of partnership, we create the future.”

The CREATE conference advances Eastern’s strategic plan by reinforcing high-impact practices such as mentored research and creative projects; increasing the percentage of students who present scholarly work; raising awareness of the accomplishments of Eastern students; and contributing to the intellectual richness of the campus community.

Eastern to hold Ninth Annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/11/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony on April 19 from 2-5 p.m. in the lobby of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the event will showcase the numerous service projects being spearheaded by Eastern students in the Windham area.

Student volunteers will present posters describing their projects, which have occurred at more than 30 sites in the region. Guest judges from the community and Eastern faculty and staff will present awards for the best programs.

Awards will be given to the following individuals: Service Learning Award – Denise Matthews, professor of communication at Eastern; Community Program Award – Christy Calkins and Journey House Program at Natchaug Hospital; and Community Engagement Awards to Nancy Brennan, Interfaith Campus Ministry, Erin Corbett and student Makayla Mowel.

The expo will kick off with keynote speaker Erin Corbett of Second Chances, an education program within the Connecticut prison system. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the CCE at (860) 465-0090.

Eastern Makes “College Consensus” List of Top Colleges in Connecticut

Written by Ed Osborn

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/26/2018) College Consensus, a unique new college review aggregator, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its ranking of “Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18.” Eastern was ranked in the top 10 schools in Connecticut, and was one of only two public institutions chosen, the University of Connecticut being the other.

To identify the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18, College Consensus averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report among others, along with thousands of student review scores, to produce a unique rating for each school. Read about the organization’s methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

“Congratulations on making the list of Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, managing editor of College Consensus. “Your inclusion in our ranking shows that your school has been recognized for excellence by both publishers on the outside and students and alumni on the inside.”

Part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, Eastern began its life in 1889 as a public normal school. Today the University is recognized as one of top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the nation’s Green Colleges eight years in a row by the Princeton Review.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts college, with a student body of 5,300 students; more than 90 percent of Eastern’s students are from Connecticut. Eastern’s size gives its students an uncommon degree of individualized attention, aided by a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and a strong commitment to student success.

In addition to a strong liberal art foundation, Eastern has many opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning, ranging from internships to study abroad, community service and undergraduate research. For instance, Eastern has sent more student researchers to the competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the past four years than all the other public universities in Connecticut combined. In 2018, 41 of the 44 students from Connecticut who will present their research at the conference in April are from Eastern.

With its history, Eastern is also one of Connecticut’s foremost educators of teachers, and its professional studies and continuing education programs have made it an important institution for Connecticut’s working adults.

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

Eastern Students Smash Cars for Funds

•A smiling student wields a sledge hammer before smashing the car

• A smiling student wields a sledge hammer before smashing the car

Written by Casey Collins

A group of Eastern Connecticut State University students organized one of the most unique fundraising events the campus has ever sponsored on Nov. 30. The students – Alexandra Kallgren (Dudley, MA), Nick Terry (Southington), Brandon Baro (Bristol, RI), Devin Belinski and Jared Buckley (Oxford, MA) – were tasked with creating an event for the Leadership and Problem Solving class they take with Gregory Kane, professor of kinesiology and physical education. The result: for only $2, any participant could unload their end-of-semester stress on a defenseless car for 30 seconds.

car smashers group shotThe car, which was supplied by Chuck and Eddie’s Used Auto Parts in Southington, will not be hitting the road again anytime soon thanks to the turnout of Eastern students. More than 100 students showed up at the courtyard in front of the Fine Arts Instructional Center to give their all to the vehicle. At the end of the day, the event had raised more than $300.

car smasher with hatSenior Kyle Chung sat behind the barrier, watching as his friend decimated the side door of the car with the 20-pound sledgehammer. “I think this stands out as one of the coolest events I’ve seen on campus,” he said. “I’ve seen people wash cars for money, but this has to be the first time I’ve ever watched people destroy them for money.”

Eastern Alumnus Receives Early-Career Award for Cancer Research

Written by Jolene Potter

Staff portraits. Justin Brown, PhD.

Staff portraits. Justin Brown, PhD.

WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/17/2017) Eastern Connecticut State University alumnus Justin Brown ’09 was awarded the prestigious Early-Investigator Award by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Office of Disease Prevention earlier this year for his innovative cancer prevention research. The award is made to an early-career prevention scientist who has made significant research contributions and is poised to become a leader in prevention research.

Brown is currently a research fellow in population sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. The overarching mission of his research is to identify the biological pathways through which lifestyle factors – including physical activity, diet and body composition – influence cancer prognoses.

Consideration for the competitive Early-Investigator Award requires innovative and significant research accomplishments in applied prevention research, evidence of highly collaborative research projects, especially those that bridge disciplines to offer new approaches and ways of thinking in disease prevention research, and a track record of career advancement and evidence of leadership roles.

“It is an incredible honor for Justin to be recognized by the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) as a 2017 Winner of the ODP Early Stage Investigator Award,” said Charles Chatterton, professor of kinesiology and physical education at Eastern. “We are all very proud of him and truly value the important, meaningful work he is doing. His dedication to this area of medicine inspires all of us.”

His research study, “A Phase II Randomized Clinic Trial to Evaluate the Dose-Response Effects of Exercise on Prognostic Biomarkers among Colon Cancer Survivors,” is among his publications in the area of cancer prevention. He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and is an editorial board member of BMC Cancer, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of cancer research, including the pathophysiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. In 2013, he received the citation award for authoring the most frequently cited paper in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in sport and leisure management from Eastern in 2009, Brown earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Running to Break the Cycle of Poverty

Written by Casey Collins

•Just before the marathon kicks off, Charlie Chatterton explains the epidemic of poverty and the goal of this annual awareness-raising event

Just before the marathon kicks off, Charlie Chatterton explains the epidemic of poverty and the goal of this annual awareness-raising event

WILLIMANTIC, CT It’s 6:45 a.m., and the usual buzz of construction at Eastern Connecticut State University is absent this late September morning. It is too early for cars to be driving through campus, yet too late for the streetlamps to stay lit. On the morning of Eastern’s Ninth Annual Poverty Awareness Marathon, almost everything on campus seems to be at a standstill. Everything except for one man. His name is Charlie Chatterton, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. For him, this is just another normal day.

Chatterton has been preparing for the morning’s marathon for quite some time, stretching his legs and

•Chatterton has run 66 marathons, many of which dedicated to raising awareness of poverty.

Chatterton has run 66 marathons, many of which dedicated to raising awareness of poverty.

torso casually as students begin to fill the courtyard in front of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Among the students are basketball players, soccer players and volleyball players, with a few other individuals mixed in. They socialize among themselves in tightly-huddled groups, each breath becoming a small cloud escaping into the cold. Chatterton continues his preparations for the marathon, seemingly unfazed by the gloomy weather. His pair of Asics are a bright green and blue, with signs of wear and tear.

As the start time approaches, Chatterton begins to make his way around the circle to organize the marathon participants. He becomes energetic upon mingling with the crowd. He greets everyone, alerting them as to when the 26-mile journey will begin. With all participants lively and attentive, Chatterton takes a second to share his story.

“I’ve been part of a church group called the Great Disciple of Poverty,” Chatterton explained, “and for me this is marathon number 66.”

The story began in 2006. At the time Chatterton was an active participant in his local church group, Break the Cycle, which ran marathons to support anti-poverty efforts. That year he ran in four marathons with his support group, the last taking place in New Orleans post-Katrina to raise money and awareness for the restoration of the city. He returned in 2007, this time armed with a group of Eastern students and the support of Habitat for Humanity.

“You got off the highway (going into New Orleans) and you still saw people living in trailers and the devastation and the impact of poverty,” he said with an uneasy look on his face, wincing at the memory as if he were still there. “It was very powerful to see.”

While Chatterton loves running marathons, it’s the raising of awareness that gets him up and motivated in the morning. “I kept running that spring (of 2007) because I was in shape. That summer I decided I was going to do my 37th and 38th marathon. The reason for that was because there was about 37 million individuals in the United States in poverty. So each marathon would be dedicated to a million. Eventually it got up to 41 because the number just kept going up. So in 2009 I finally caught up, but then I just kept going. Now each year I run around three.”

•The 2017 marathon at Eastern collected nearly 400 food items for donation

The 2017 marathon at Eastern collected nearly 400 food items for donation.

Just before the stampede takes off through campus, Chatterton leaves his closing thoughts. He hopes that the marathon will produce 400 donations – already a large stack of cans and boxed goods has taken shape at the donation center.

“It’s really about raising awareness towards the poverty issue and asking the students what can they do with their own special talents and abilities to make a difference,” Chatterton says. “The real challenge is not what we do today, but what we do going forward.”

With that, the crowd takes off through campus. Chatterton leads the pack into its first lap. The sun finally starts to break through the clouds.

As the day continues, students come and go from the marathon. Some participate for just a lap or two, others for miles – whatever their class schedules allow. As each lap passes, the sun continues to rise. At the halfway mark the day is in full swing. Students begin to take up most of the designated marathon path. Those who are left in the marathon are easily identifiable among the sea of backpacks and early-morning coffees – especially the guy in those blue and green sneakers.

Chatterton does not cut himself short. He pushes through each lap, never once dropping the smile from his face. Students and staff alike whisper his name to each other as they spot him finishing up his last few laps. With lap 26 on the horizon, Chatterton arrives at the courtyard, donation tents still standing as the day draws to a close.

The stack of donated goods has grown exponentially. You can see it in Chatterton’s expression how much this means to him. The final count for donated goods is 364, just short of the goal, yet there is no disappointment to be found in any of the staff. Chatterton’s infectious attitude has reached everyone. This is the real Charlie Chatterton. Thanks to his leadership, Eastern and its students have made a real difference.

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 www.usnews.com/colleges. 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.