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.

2 Students Awarded Eastern Summer Fellowships

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern students Jolene Potter ’18 and Julie Leitao ’18 participated in Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Fellowships this summer. Potter, a psychology major, prepared her research study, “Awareness and Understanding of Rape Culture among College Students,” for publication. Leitao, a theatre and early childhood education double major, worked to devise the script and choreography for the upcoming Eastern theatre production “Thread City.”

Jolene Potter '18

Jolene Potter ’18

Potter began her research in fall 2016, and aspired to submit her 9,000-word manuscript to an undergraduate research journal at the conclusion of the summer fellowship.

“Through in-depth interviews with Eastern students, my research examines how students define, perceive and reproduce notions about rape culture,” said Potter. “The study explores student acceptance of rape myths, their victim-blaming behavior and their tendency to defend the perpetrator. I also assess feelings regarding campus safety, beliefs regarding the necessity and efficacy of campus programs regarding sexual assault, and awareness of services for victims of sexual assault.”

Potter reports that her findings suggest “an association between awareness and understanding of rape culture and decreased rape myth acceptance and victim-blaming behavior, increased concerns pertaining to campus safety, and increased awareness of services offered to victims of sexual assault.”

Julia Leitao '18

Julia Leitao ’18

Leitao worked on the upcoming theatre production “Thread City,” which will be performed at Eastern Oct. 11-15. The show aims to tell the story of the immigrants who came to Willimantic to work in its historic thread mills. During one of Leitao’s spring semester classes, she interviewed local residents, learned about theatre companies and completed “moment work”—a theatrical technique in which individual moments are dissected and explored.

“We delved deeper into the research and used it to create the characters, storyline and movement pieces of the show,” said Leitao. “‘Thread City’ will focus on movement and sound rather than being a text-heavy performance.

“Devising a piece of theatre that tells the story through the body is something I am very excited to be a part of,” added Leitao. “Our characters and movements will represent immigrants from various locations who have traveled to a new, strange world and are adapting to a new life.”

Eastern’s Summer Research/Creative Activity Fellowship program is administered by the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Advisory Council. Students from all majors can apply for the competitive fellowship. Participants receive a $1,000 stipend and $250 for travel.

Eastern Receives Generous Davis Foundation Grant

Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines

Written by Michael Rouleau

•A peer mentor tutors a student in the Writing Center in Eastern's J. Eugene Smith Library:

• A peer mentor tutors a fellow student in the Writing Center in Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library

WILLIMANTIC, CT (07/18/2017) The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded Eastern Connecticut State University a $200,000 grant to develop its “Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” initiative. The two-year project aims to strengthen first- and second-year students’ analytical thinking, reading and writing skills by enhancing faculty approaches to teaching critical thinking. The project also aims to improve teaching and learning assessment, as well as better link Eastern’s discussion-oriented First Year Program with its level-two Writing Program – two programs that all Eastern students pass through regardless of major.

“In the past it was assumed that students develop higher-order thinking skills as a cumulative result to degree completion,” explained David Pellegrini, project director and theatre professor. “But today, educational researchers have found that intentional instruction focused on critical reading and writing best ensures that students graduate with the skills they need in competitive and ever-evolving career landscapes. Moreover, this emphasis on critical thinking must begin at the very beginning of a student’s college experience.”

While the grant will be distributed over a two-year period, university officials plan to make the “Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” program a sustained component of Eastern’s liberal arts curriculum.

•Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi is one of the key faculty members involved in the Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines program. He will participate in the Critical Thinking Task Force and review curriculum

• Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi is one of the key faculty members involved in the Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines program. He will participate in the Critical Thinking Task Force and review curriculum

Beginning in fall 2017, a faculty-led Critical Thinking Task Force will convene with expert consultants in the field of college-level critical thinking pedagogy and assessment. Faculty workshops will be developed and best practices will be shared among colleagues and with students in a process that will transform how critical thinking is taught in each academic discipline at Eastern.

“Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” is connected to two longstanding Eastern programs: the First Year Liberal Arts Introduction (FYI 100) and the Writing Program. To assist them in becoming engaged in the intellectual life of the university, first-year students enroll in one of many discussion-oriented FYI courses that explore a broad, contemporary theme developed from the expertise of the instructor. From there, students take their major’s designated Writing Intensive (WI) course.

“By convening and providing training for instructors of FYI 100 and level-two WI courses, this project will forge meaningful connections between modes of instruction, evaluation and assessment to enhance the development of critical thinking competencies for students from freshman to sophomore year,” added Pellegrini.

“One advantage of a small liberal arts college is that faculty are able to come together to jointly plan programs,” said Provost Dimitrios Pachis, speaking to the collaborative nature of the project. “In line with the interdisciplinary nature of our liberal arts curriculum, this project draws on the interests and expertise of faculty from nearly all of our major programs.”

“We are honored to receive this significant grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, which is recognized for its support of innovative programs at New England colleges and universities,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “We are very grateful to the foundation’s trustees for this grant, which will strengthen the core academic skills of all Eastern students. As a liberal arts institution, we keenly understand the importance of developing strong reading and writing skills in our students, regardless of their major. This grant will allow us to significantly improve our first-year program, increasing student learning from freshman to sophomore year while improving student learning outcomes and retention and graduation rates.”

The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.

Eastern Named a ‘Great College to Work For’ for Eighth Time

Written by Michael Rouleau

2013GCWF_4CsingularWILLIMANTIC, CT (07/17/2017) Eastern Connecticut State University has again been named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities. Released today by The Chronicle, the results are based on a survey of 232 colleges and universities. This is the eighth time Eastern has received “Great Colleges” distinction since it first began participating in the program in 2009.

Only 79 of the institutions that applied for the program achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition this year. Eastern was also named to the national Great Colleges “Honor Roll,” one of only 42 institutions named to this exclusive club. This is the third year in a row that Eastern has been named to the honor roll. Eastern was also the only public four-year university or college in New England to gain “Great Colleges” distinction.

The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For survey is the largest and most comprehensive workplace study in higher education. Now in its 10th year, it recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was employee feedback.

Eastern won honors in six survey categories this year: Collaborative Governance; Compensation and Benefits; Facilities, Workspaces, and Security; Confidence in Senior Leadership; Teaching Environment; and Tenure Clarity and Process.

“It is gratifying to know that our employees continue to value the positive working atmosphere we share on our campus,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “The ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ recognition is not only a symbol of the common purpose found among our faculty and staff, it represents the welcoming and supportive environment that our students experience every day.

“To know that Eastern has consistently received this honor – winning ‘Great Colleges’ recognition in each of the eight years we have participated – is an indication that our commitment to campus unity is an enduring value firmly embedded in our culture.”

“Ten years in, the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ distinction is well-known by academic jobseekers as a sign that an institution’s employees are valued and given opportunities for growth even when they face financial constraints,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Any college or university that’s on the list is showing that they emphasize one of their most valuable assets: their faculty and staff.”

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. “It’s easier to be a great workplace during good times, but it’s when times are tough that the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner of ModernThink LLC. “Those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent.”

###

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 www.easternct.edu.

About The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education is dedicated to serving the higher-education community with insights, understanding, and intellectual engagement. Academic leaders and professionals from around the world trust The Chronicle’s analysis and in-depth exploration to make informed decisions.

About ModernThink LLC

As a research and consulting leader in workplace issues, ModernThink has supported a wide variety of “Best Place to Work” initiatives. Through these programs, the firm has gained substantial survey and industry expertise, including specific insight into higher education. ModernThink knows what it takes to build a great place to work and shares that know-how with its clients. The ModernThink team of organizational development experts is dedicated to helping colleges follow through and capitalize on feedback from employees and benchmark data from peers to drive meaningful change at their institutions. Learn more at http://www.modernthink.com.

View Online: http://easternct.meritpages.com/news/eastern-named-a–great-college-to-work-for–for-eighth-time/691

Former Washington Post Publisher Addresses Eastern Graduates

Written by Ed Osborn

                                                     Eastern Graduates 1,238 at XL Center

David Graham

David Graham

Hartford, CT — Former Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham told the graduates at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 127th Commencement exercises to “treasure this college. Eastern has given you a wonderful education . . . once you are making a living, give something back so that you can help Eastern continue to be great in the future.”

The annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 17, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,180 undergraduates and 58 graduate students received their diplomas.

Graham also told the graduates, “Throughout our history, American leaders have stood up in times of peril — during the American Revolution, during the Civil War, confronting Hitler, standing up to Communism, and advancing civil and women’s rights.  At some time in your life, you will be asked to stand up for what is right, and I know you will answer the call.” Noting that the American political system has worked very well for more than 200 years, Graham said, “Future politicians will say, ‘I will fight for you.’  That’s fine. But ask them, ‘What will you do when you are done fighting?’”

Commencement 2017 Crowd_7167The commencement speaker also received an honorary degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises. Graham is chairman of Graham Holdings Co., formerly the Washington Post Co. A graduate of Harvard College, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving as an information specialist with the First Cavalry Division from 1967-68.  He later served as a patrolman on the Washington, D.C., police force before joining the staff at the Washington Post in 1971 as a reporter.  Graham assumed the position of publisher of the Washington Post in 1979, following in the footsteps of his mother, Katherine Graham, who led the newspaper following her husband Philip Graham’s passing in 1963. In 1991, Donald Graham took over leadership as chief executive officer of the Washington Post Co.

Commencement 2017 Nunez and BabyIn 2013, Graham and his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amanda Bennett, joined Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Henry R. Munoz III, chairman of Munoz & Company, to co-found TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund that helps undocumented immigrant youth get access to a college education. Since its founding, TheDream.US has raised $91 million in scholarship funds, providing financial support to 1,700 college students nationwide. Graham also co-founded and served as chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program; he remains a member of the board.  The program has helped double the number of District of Columbia public high school students going on to college and has helped triple the number graduating from college.

Commencement 2017 Nunez Shakes HandOther speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Nunez; Matt Fleury, chair of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and University System; and Senior Class President Abigail Caselli, who delivered the Senior Class Address. Other members of the platform party included Willimantic Mayor Ernie Eldridge; Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Ellen Lang ’81, president of the ECSU Alumni Association; Father Larry LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Commencement 2017 BEST BalloonNunez told the graduates she was confident they would impact the world in three ways,  first as professionals in the workforce, equipped with “. . . a highly desired set of skills” sought by the majority of American employers — “analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills, the broad intellectual and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.” Nunez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, quoting Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, who once said, “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”

Waving BESTLastly, Nunez encouraged the Eastern seniors to “. . . exercise your duties and rights as American citizens. Our nation remains a beacon of freedom and a guiding light for other nations to follow, not because of our military might or our economic power, but because of the political, religious and personal freedoms we enjoy.”

Commencement 2017 Four LadiesNoting those freedoms must be protected, Eastern’s president went on to say, “Being a citizen of this great nation is clearly an investment of time, but it is the only way we can protect the freedoms we hold dear. Never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else.  Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

Commencement 2017 FamiliesMore 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.

Commencement 2017 Student PresidentSenior Class President Abigail Caselli presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2017 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. “To a room filled with the next great doctors, nurses, actors and actresses, genetic counselors, presidents of universities, human resource managers and professors, just to name a few of the success stories to be written about my fellow graduates, I encourage you to use the opportunities that Eastern has given you and make the world around you better.  As someone once said, ‘Service is the highest form of leadership.’ May each of you find and share that leadership within you.”

Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. “Today is a significant milestone for you,” he said. “We are proud of your accomplishments and applaud the many sacrifices you have made to get here. Your journey to this point was not easy, but for that reason, it is so much more satisfying. Whatever path you have chosen, you can make a difference.”Commencement 2017 SelfiesMark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, also spoke to the graduates. “You have come a very long way since the first day you arrived at Eastern,” said Ojakian. “Life will take you in many different directions after you leave here tonight. The road in front of you is undefined. But I am hopeful that our state and our nation will be in a better place — as you become your future.”Commencement 2017 Christina

Commencement 2017 Foot GuardFrom the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, 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, this year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions.

Commencemetn 2017 SingersUniversity Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Abigail Perreira and Kristin Uschkureit sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Leigha Grushkin gave the invocation; and Environmental Earth Science Professor Peter Drzewiecki was recognized as the 2017 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

Eastern Presents Inclusive Excellence Awards to ALANA Students

Written by Dwight Bachman

Inclusive Excellence Award winners with keynote speaker Natasha Stephens

Inclusive Excellence Award winners with keynote speaker Natasha Stephens

 Eastern Connecticut State University recognized the academic achievements of African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students on May 5 during its Fifth Annual Inclusive Excellence Awards ceremony. Nine awards were given and 165 students were recognized for achieving GPAs of 3.5 or higher.

Eastern presented Melat Assefa and Christina Perez the Advisor’s Choice Award; Deja Seawright the Inspirational Leadership Award; and Chisolm Sunny Uduputa the International Student Award. The Resilient Warrior Award to AnnRichelle Akko, Daniel Costillo, Adrian Lopez Diaz and Yineira Lopez. Taylor Hemphill was named recipient of the Social Justice Advocacy Award, and the Volunteer Service Award went to Destiny Hartmann.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Eastern President Elsa Núñez told those in attendance that the awards ceremony was not just about inclusion. “It also speaks to Eastern’s other core values of academic excellence, integrity, Social Responsibility, Engagement, and Empowerment. Today, we show respect and celebrate the accomplishments of students who too often have been forgotten in the past.  We are very proud of you! We are doing everything we can to promote the success of students of color. We know that having an inclusive, diverse, and culturally rich campus is good for all our students — in the end, we all must learn to live together in today’s global society.”

Natasha Stephens

Natasha Stephens

Alumna Natasha Stephens, who graduated from Eastern in 2003 and is the Title IX Coordinator at Wichita State University in Kansas, delivered the keynote address. She told the honorees she was honored to come back to campus. “While you have breath in your body, thank those who helped you, took time to meet with you, who gave you an opportunity and took a chance on you.  Never forget your roots and where you came from — no matter how high you go in life, give back of your time to someone else.”

She concluded by telling students that they can always change their plans. “Don’t limit yourself or your abilities — challenge yourself to new things. Believe in yourself, and give someone the wings to fly.”

‘Cantilever’ Showing at Eastern April 25-30

Written by Michael Rouleau

Cantilever_flyerWILLIMANTIC, CT (04/20/2017) “Cantilever,” the final Main Stage production of the academic year at Eastern Connecticut State University, will be performed from April 25-30. Presented by Eastern’s Theatre Program and Drama Society, “Cantilever” tells the story of the apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright, a prolific 20th-century architect who ran a fellowship program on his extraordinary Arizona estate, Taliesin West.

“In the turbulent 1930s and 1940s, young draftsmen and designers flocked from around the world to study at the feet of the master,” explained Theatre Professor J.J. Cobb, playwright and director. “They found themselves serving food and pouring concrete into textile-block molds in the Arizona sun. Some quickly deemed the arrangement a manipulation, but many stayed for decades. ‘Cantilever’ looks behind the curtain of idolatry, at artists striving to reconcile their own desires with Wright’s philosophy.”

The play will be shown in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 30 at 4 p.m.

During her research into Wright’s fellowship, Cobb kept wondering why the apprentices would stay. The play focuses entirely on the apprentices and their many challenges, with Wright and his family remaining a powerful yet invisible presence. The production design of “Cantilever” attempts to rebuild the world of Taliesin West in sensory ways, allowing the audience to be transported even though they aren’t in the desert.

Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $15 for the general public. For ticket information and reservations, please call the FAIC box office at (860) 465-5123 or email theatreboxoffice@easternct.edu. To purchase tickets online, visit easternct.showare.com/cantilever/.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 300 Students to Participate in Eastern Research Conference

WILLIMANTIC, CT — The Third Annual CREATE Conference at Eastern Connecticut State University will take place this Friday, April 21, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CREATE stands for “Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern,” and is the University’s premier conference showcasing student research and creative activity.

All activities take place in the Student Center except for an exhibit of student art taking place in room 223 of the Wood Support Services Center from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

From art to zoology, Shakespeare to social media, tax law to terrorism, Eastern students of all majors explore important concepts and produce exemplary research and creative work; the culmination of their work this academic year will be on display at CREATE. The one-day conference will feature more than 300 Eastern undergraduates, who will present talks, professional posters, live music, dance performances, art and photography exhibits, documentary films and panel discussions.

“CREATE is a reaffirmation of Eastern’s commitment to undergraduate research as Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university,” said Niti Pandey, business administration professor and conference co-chair. Reflecting on this year’s record number of participants, she added, “There is a wonderful variety of presentations and performances for people to see. CREATE 2017 showcases the hard work and talent of our students and demonstrates the dedication of their faculty mentors. We look forward to an excellent event!”

Members of the Eastern campus and surrounding communities are invited to browse the conference’s many cultural and academic offerings. “CREATE will be a superb learning experience for all who participate and a true celebration of our student’s achievements,” said Patricia Szczys, biology professor and conference co-chair.

Registration takes place at 8:15 a.m. in the Student Center Café, and the opening ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Student Center Theatre. Those interested in the event but unable to attend the whole conference can view the schedule and presentation details at www.easternct.edu/create. Ample parking is available in the University’s two parking garages.

NOTE TO NEWS MEDIA:  The news media is invited to attend and cover the conference. This event is a marvelous collection of academic presentations, plays, musical performances, art on exhibit, and other student work — more than 300 students in all. Students and faculty mentors are available for interviews, and there will be host of photography opportunities. Come and see how undergraduates at Eastern are doing research commonly found only in graduate programs at larger institutions!

Eastern Presents ‘Short Stuff 2017’

Written by Michael Rouleau

Short_Stuff_2017_flyerWILLIMANTIC, CT (04/04/2017) The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Short Stuff 2017” on April 8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 3 p.m. in the Delmonte Studio Theatre of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. “Short Stuff” is a compilation of 10-minute plays that are directed by advanced theatre students, with students also handling sound, lighting, costume and stage management.

“Short Stuff 2017” will feature three high school actors from Windham High School (WHS) – N’Deeah Romney, India Nicholson and Aramis Morales – as WHS teachers Nicole Bairos and Mike Lessard have been collaborating with Eastern’s Theatre Program to offer opportunities between the high school and the university.

Written by established playwrights such as David Ives, Christopher Durang and Jon Jory, “Short Stuff 2017” runs a gamut of styles, genres and themes – from absurdist comedies to realistic dramas. The annual showcase has been presented by the Theatre Program for more than 20 years. The short play format provides students the opportunity to further hone their talents while delighting audiences.

The public is invited; donations will be gratefully accepted in support of the Theatre Program’s upcoming New York City Showcase – an end-of-the-academic-year trip where students present shows in an Off-Broadway venue and take workshops.

For “Short Stuff” ticket reservations, call the Box Office at (860) 465-5123, email theatreboxoffice@easternct.edu or visit www.easternct.showare.com/shortstuff2017.

‘Earth Day, Every Day’ Tours Schools Statewide

Back row (left to right): Aiden Eastwood (Bob the Director), Daniel Fernandez (Chadwick Composter), Kate Prozesky (stage manager), Shane Kegler (director), Calvin Gee (Elmer Energy), Jordan Merrill (Mr. Gas Guzzler), Diana McCarthy Bercury (Eversource eesmarts program administrator) Front row: Joseph Diaz (Roger Recycle), Olivia Florence (Scarlet Upcycle), Stephanie Madden (Kelly, assistant director), Alexis Kurtz (Penelope Precycle) and Deborah Stauffer (playwright)

Back row (left to right): Aiden Eastwood (Bob the Director), Daniel Fernandez (Chadwick Composter), Kate Prozesky (stage manager), Shane Kegler (director), Calvin Gee (Elmer Energy), Jordan Merrill (Mr. Gas Guzzler), Diana McCarthy Bercury (Eversource eesmarts program administrator) Front row: Joseph Diaz (Roger Recycle), Olivia Florence (Scarlet Upcycle), Stephanie Madden (Kelly, assistant director), Alexis Kurtz (Penelope Precycle) and Deborah Stauffer (playwright)

Written by Michael Rouleau

A zany cast of characters performed by Eastern Connecticut State University alumni is amid an ambitious month-long tour for a children’s theatre production called “Earth Day, Every Day.” Brought to audiences by eesmarts™, an Energize Connecticut initiative managed by Eversource and the United Illuminating Company, the play will tour Connecticut elementary schools from March 27-April 21.

Three public performances are scheduled: two on April 13 at the Energize Connecticut Center (122 Universal Drive North, North Haven) at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and one on April 14 at Stafford Palace Theatre (75 Main St., Stafford Springs) at 10 a.m.

“Earth Day, Every Day” was born when nontraditional student Debbie Stauffer ’16 hesitantly enrolled in a scriptwriting class taught by Communication Professor Edmond Chibeau. “As it turned out, I can write scripts,” said Stauffer, “and with the great direction from Dr. Chibeau I wrote a script for the eesmarts contest. The rest is history!” In the photo, the two are seen holding flowers at the March 24 debut showing at the Energize Connecticut Center.

“Earth Day, Every Day” was born when nontraditional student Debbie Stauffer ’16 hesitantly enrolled in a scriptwriting class taught by Communication Professor Edmond Chibeau. “As it turned out, I can write scripts,” said Stauffer, “and with the great direction from Dr. Chibeau I wrote a script for the eesmarts contest. The rest is history!” In the photo, the two are seen holding flowers at the March 24 debut showing at the Energize Connecticut Center.

“Earth Day, Every Day” was written by Eastern alumna Deborah Stauffer ’16, who won the 2016 eesmarts Student Contest “Wright the World” college category. The play aims to teach children the importance of making smart and sustainable energy choices. With numerous performances at elementary schools in 38 Connecticut towns, the messages of “Earth Day, Every Day” will reach approximately 10,000 students.

The play follows Roger Recycle, Penelope Precycle, Elmer Energy, Chadwick Composter and Scarlet Upcycle as they audition for a special Earth Day commercial broadcast. During their audition, they try to convince the director that they are the best solution for conserving energy and resources. By the end, the characters realize that each of them play important roles in conserving the planet, and that they need each other to make the world a better place.

“A lot of us go into theatre to make a difference,” said Director Shane Kegler ’11, an alumnus of the Theatre Program at Eastern. “This production allows us to be a part of something big, and being able to do this many shows and reach this many kids proves just how important we all think it is.”

“Earth Day, Every Day” features a cast and crew of 13 Eastern alumni and students. “I remember how much I was influenced by shows that were brought to my elementary and middle schools,” said Alexis Kurtz ’16, who plays Penelope Precycle and majored in theatre at Eastern. “Hopefully, this play helps a lot of kids to become aware of ways they can make a difference in the environment, and that even small contributions are helpful in reducing waste.”

Stauffer added, “I’m excited that my script has come to life. The costumes are outstanding and every character is really what I imagined them to be. I am so thrilled with it all!”

The production is the result of a collaborative effort that involved several departments at Eastern, Eversource and the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), which resulted in an original play with more than 50 scheduled performances.

“The continued commitment of Eversource and CREC to educate children through the arts will affect the future of energy conservation,” said Eastern Theatre Professor Ellen Brodie, who acted as facilitator/liaison for “Earth Day, Every Day.” “This is a wonderful beginning to what is sure to be a very effective tour of enlightenment and entertainment.”

The three public performances are free of charge to audience members. For more information, please contact Alysse Rodriguez at (203) 799-0460 or arodrigues@crec.org.