Eastern Gallery to Present ‘Still/Live’

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/12/2018) The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present “Still/Live” from Jan. 16 to Feb. 22. An opening reception will be held on Jan. 25 from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“Still/Live” explores how four contemporary artists working in photography and time-based media (video and kinetic sculpture) have reimagined the genre of still life. Mauricio Alejo’s photographs and videos focus on everyday objects in familiar domestic spaces. Through these careful arrangements, Alejo invites the viewer to see simple objects anew. While Dave Greber’s trilogy of video loops combine still lifes with video game aesthetics, Cynthia Greig uses drawing and photography to create hybrid still life images and videos. Through his kinetic sculptures, Robin Mandel draws upon the still life tradition to investigate tension between stillness and motion, presence and absence, materiality and immateriality.

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

Eastern to Host Community Forum

     Public to Discuss Art Installation related on Whitewater Partnership

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/10/2018) Members of the public are invited to attend an information session and community forum at Easten Connecticut State University on Jan. 17 regarding the design competition that will result in a new community art installation on Bridge Street in downtown Willimantic. The forum will run from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library. Interested community members are encouraged to attend to ask questions and share ideas regarding the project. Light refreshments will be served.

The design competition arose from a collaboration between Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts (COA) and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI).

Three Connecticut-based design teams were recently selected as finalists in the competition to design the art piece, which must also generate renewable energy. Representatives from the three teams will be present to get feedback and community input as they craft their designs. The three teams include Pirie Associate Architects of New Haven, Gray Organschi/Howeler & Yoon Architecture of New Haven and Boston and Swiftwater Hub of Mansfield and Hartford. In March, a single design will be selected and the winning team will develop working blueprints.

More information can be found at www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

View Online: http://easternct.meritpages.com/news/community-forum-for-art-installation-related-to-whitewater-patnership/2006

Eastern Offers New Certification

          Earn Certification in Professional Human Resources 

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/05/2018) Aspiring and veteran human resources professionals can now attain professional certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) at Eastern Connecticut State University. The registration deadline is Feb. 15 for the session running from Feb. 21-May 16. Classes will take place on Wednesdays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Webb Hall, room 215, on the Eastern campus. The course costs $1,250 for SHRM members and $1,400 for non-members.

As an official SHRM Education Partner, Eastern is offering a certification course that will prepare individuals for the SHRM Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional exams while equipping them with the most up-to-date knowledge in the human resources industry.

Learn from a certified instructor who provides expertise, insight and one-on-one guidance. Network, share experiences and discuss topics with a diverse group of HR professionals. Stay on track to earn your certification with a structured learning experience. Take advantage of funding options such as tuition reimbursement.

The SHRM exam window is May 1-July 15, 2018. The exam application deadline is March 23; the late exam application deadline is April 13.

Eastern will offer more SHRM certification sessions in the future. For more information or to register, contact Sandra Rodriguez at rodriguezsan@easternct.edu.

Kathy Manizza, Coach-of-the-Year

Written by Casey Collins

Eastern Connecticut State University cross country coach Kathy Manizza was named Little East Conference (LEC) Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year this fall after leading the Warriors to their first-ever LEC title. Manizza, who resides in Lebanon, has been coaching at the university level for more than 24 years, serving as head coach of Eastern’s cross country and track and field teams for the past six years. She is the first LEC Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year in Eastern’s history.

At this year’s LEC championships, the Warriors found themselves matched up against a daunting field of competitors. Eastern’s main rival, Keene State College, entered the championship as the 17-time defending conference champions. In the end, Eastern placed all five of its scoring runners within the top 14 finishers, out of a seven-team field from seven schools. As a result, the Warriors edged out second-place Plymouth State University by a mere eight points to take home the championship.

“This was my dream team,” said Manizza. “We had been building this team for the past five years, and we had an outside chance of winning the conference last year. We knew that it was a small chance, but we also knew that we had the talent to do it.”

Junior Christina Gosselin has been running for Manizza for the past three years. When asked about her head coach she said, “Coach Manizza has been a great mentor and coach to me. Not only has she helped me become a stronger runner, but she has led our team to achieve success and many accomplishments over the year.”

Sophomore Samara Johnson just concluded her first year running on the team, and said of her coach: “Coach Manizza is always supportive, encouraging and pushing us to do our absolute best. If anyone deserves coach-of-the-year, it’s certainly her.”

Eastern Supports Community Art Project

                                            Teams up with Willimantic Whitewater Partnership

Written by Lynn Stoddard

Three world-class design teams from Connecticut have been selected to prepare detailed design concepts for public artwork that generates renewable energy for the future Willimantic Whitewater Park site.

The invited design competition arose from a collaboration between Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts and the Land Art Generator Initiative.

From proposals submitted by 15 multi-disciplinary teams, the selection committee chose Pirie Associate Architects of New Haven, Gray Organschi/Howeler & Yoon Architecture of New Haven and Boston and Swiftwater Hub of Mansfield and Hartford to develop detailed designs. The designs are due at the end of February. In March, one winning design will be selected and the winning team will develop working blueprints. More information about the project can be found at http://www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

Members of the public are invited to attend an information session and community forum on Jan. 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library at Eastern Connecticut State University. All interested community members are encouraged to ask questions and share their ideas regarding the project at this public event.

Eastern Joins Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative

Written by Casey Collins

In an effort to promote awareness of substance use, Eastern Connecticut State University has been granted $10,000 by the Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative, a project supported by the Wheeler Clinic and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant supports a number of awareness, education and prevention efforts at Eastern around the topic of substance use on college campuses.  In addition to marketing to targeted audiences, the University will be sponsoring public awareness events and speakers throughout the spring semester. In addition, as a member of the Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative, Eastern will be inviting its students to participate in a voluntary survey in January to further understand the attitudes and perceptions of substance use on campus.

The survey is being administered by the Core Institute, the nation’s largest database on college students’ drinking and substance use. It has been found that students’ perceptions of drug use and the reality of campus drug use are often far apart. The survey aims to bridge this knowledge gap by understanding trends among students, identifying influential factors and determining areas that need to be monitored or improved.

One of the project’s education and awareness efforts concerns the proper disposal of medicines and legally obtained drugs. Far too often, prescription drugs are handled in an improper manner, starting with how they are prescribed. Dr. Daniel Tobin, assistant professor of medicine at Yale University, says that 80 percent of doctors prescribing opioids are primary care physicians, not pain specialists. They may not receive the same comprehensive training that pain specialists receive and may be less qualified to accurately diagnose and responsibly distribute opioid prescriptions. This contributes to an issue we face as a nation today — the improper disposal of unused medicines.

To many people, a natural solution to this issue is simply to dispose unused medications by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage. This approach only worsens the situation. Drugs that are flushed down the toilet enter our water stream and can contaminate water or harm aquatic wildlife. The same goes for garbage as well, as pills that make it to landfills can make their way into the soil and contaminate the ground.

To address this issue, Eastern has invested in a special new preventive technology called Deterra. Known as a drug deactivation system, Deterra consists of a charcoal lined bag that seals off and deactivates the active compounds inside a capsule, therefore rendering them completely safe to dispose of. The school has made Deterra widely available to students who need to dispose unused medicines.

Eastern’s participation in the Healthy Campus Initiative program comes at a time where our nation faces a serious drug abuse issue. As of Oct. 26, 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a “national emergency.” While Eastern has never experienced an opioid overdose on its campus, the state of Connecticut finds itself at risk. The Wall Street Journal estimates that more than 1,000 people in Connecticut perished from an opioid-related overdose in 2017. By promoting the safe storage and disposal of drugs, along with other prevention initiatives, Eastern is building a foundation of knowledge to reduce the risk of opioid use.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with these issues, contact the Opioid Treatment hotline at (800) 563-4086.

Bachman Wins Bennett/Garvey Award

Dawn Bennett, Dwight Bachman and Mark Bailey, awrds committee chairmanDawn Bennett, Dwight Bachman and Mark Bailey, awards committee chairman

The St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Hartford recently named Public Relations Officer Dwight Bachman a special honoree of the Reverend Collin Bennett/Marcus Garvey Service Award.

Dr. Julius Garvey, Marcus Garvey's son, congratulates Dwight BachmanDr. Julius Garvey, Marcus
Garvey’s son, congratulates Dwight Bachman

The award, presented at the Marriott Hotel Downtown Hartford, in recognition of the late Reverend Collin Bennett ’81 and Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, “honors individuals from the Greater Hartford community who, like Marcus Garvey, promote racial pride, civic responsibility, and a keen interest in uplifting citizens in the communities to which they belong.”

“Garvey’s famous quote, ‘Up you mighty race and accomplish what you will,’is indicative of the thrust behind the contributions you and the other honorees have made,” said Mark Bailey, awards committee chairman. “It is this level of dedication, civic consciousness and strong commitment to action which St. Martin’s hopes will be a beacon for others to emulate.”

Marcus Garvey Expert Robert Hill looking at the volumes he contributed to the Reverend Collin Bennett Cribbean Collection with Mollie Bennett, Bennett's widow.Marcus Garvey Expert Robert Hill looking at the volumes he contributed to the Reverend Collin Bennett Cribbean Collection with Mollie Bennett, Bennett’s widow.

Four members of the Bennett family graduated from Eastern. Bennett, winner of Eastern’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994, was noted for his entrepreneurial, political and civic activities in Hartford. In October 2000, Bennett donated the funding to create his entire collection of Caribbean books for inclusion in the J. Eugene Smith Library, where it now sits on the third floor.

 

 

Eastern Hosts 7th Marrow Drive

University Partners with DeCasanova to Find Life-Saving Matches

•Members of the men's soccer team with Coach DeVido (left) and Willy the Warrior

Members of the men’s soccer team with Coach DeVido (left) and Willy the Warrior

 Written by Michael Rouleau

In its ongoing support for people with life-threatening blood diseases, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its seventh marrow registry on Dec. 6. Organized by the men’s soccer team, 140 people were registered into the “Be The Match” database – the largest marrow registry in the world – bringing Eastern’s total to 1,650 registrants over the past five years.

The campus’s first marrow drive occurred in 2012, when student and soccer player Jon DeCasanova was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and lymphatic cancer. DeCasanova, a senior at the time, was given less than a one-percent chance of survival by some doctors.

Jon DeCasanova '16 explains the registration process

Jon DeCasanova ’16 explains the registration process

“One of the treatments I needed was a marrow transplant,” said DeCasanova ’17, who graduated last spring and now works for the Rhode Island Blood Center. In his role as an assistant account executive, DeCasanova helps run Be The Match events throughout the region. “I was able to receive a stem cell transplant, which is a science that we’re supporting here today. It’s a science that saved my life.”

In the past five years, 20 Eastern registrants have made life-saving donations to people with rare blood diseases – a rate much greater than the national average of one in 300 being selected as a best possible donor, and one in 430 actually going through with the procedure.

People identified as matches have two options for donating. One method is via a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, a nonsurgical procedure similar to giving blood. The other method is via a bone marrow donation, a surgical procedure in which bone marrow is extracted directly from the pelvic bone.

On the day of the event, members of the soccer team spread throughout campus, asking everyone they saw if they’re willing to help save a life. They even recruited the school’s mascot, Willy the Warrior. “Without the promotion of the team, there wouldn’t be as much success as there is,” said Greg DeVito, head coach, who reports the team volunteered approximately 70 hours in advance and during the event. “It’s an honor to see the team use their free time to help out a good cause.”

Volunteer Lauren Landry '20 takes a minute between mouth swabs for a photo.

Volunteer Lauren Landry ’20 takes a minute between mouth swabs for a photo.

“Most current students weren’t here in 2012, so they don’t quite understand what it did to this campus,” said DeCasanova of his diagnosis, remembering the fear and outpouring of support across the Eastern community. “Most people don’t experience cancer at such a young age; I was only 20 years old at the time. None of us really understood what was going on.”

While the men’s soccer team spearheads the effort with Be The Match, several other student organizations help the event run smoothly. Among them this year were the Social Work Club and Love Your Melon, a nonprofit organization with a chapter on campus that is focused on pediatric cancer. Among other tasks, student volunteers prescreened interested donors for eligibility – using a questionnaire concerning general health – and administered mouth swabs.

“I don’t get emotional too much these days,” said DeCasanova, “but when it comes to this event and Eastern in general, and the family we have here, it’s amazing… the passion everyone still has for this event, and their continuing support, not only for me, but for all the patients out there that need matches.”

With DeCasanova’s story and Eastern’s support, the soccer team won the 2016 National Association of D3 Athletic Directors Community Engagement Award. In 2014, the University was honored with the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match Awareness Award. Representatives from the organization have commented that Eastern outperforms schools with much larger student populations.

“It’s not about me anymore. My life is saved,” concluded DeCasanova, adding that there are more than 70 diseases that are curable via marrow transplants. “It’s about all the other patients out there who are still looking for matches.”

Eastern Reveals 2017 TIMPANI Winner

•The Animal Kingdom Mega Pack by Animal Planet has been named the 2017 TIMPANI toy of the year.

• The Animal Kingdom Mega Pack by Animal Planet has been named the 2017 TIMPANI toy of the year.

Written by Ed Osborn

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education announced on Dec. 6 that “Animal Kingdom Mega Pack” by Animal Planet has been named the 2017 TIMPANI (Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination) Toy.

Now in its eighth year, the annual study investigates how young children learn as they play with a variety of toys in natural settings. Ten toys were selected this year for the study by teachers, faculty and student researchers. The toys were placed in preschool classrooms at the University’s Child and Family Development Resource Center, and student researchers used hidden cameras to videotape children playing with the toys. Researchers then coded the footage according to the study’s evaluation rubric, which includes four subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, creativity and imagination, and verbalization. For this year’s study, researchers coded nearly 8,000 five-minute observations.

•Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, principal investigator of the study and Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, discusses the study during the TIMPANI press conference.:

• Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, principal investigator of the study and Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, discusses the study during the TIMPANI press conference.:

“Undergraduate research is a strength of Eastern’s liberal arts education,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, “and the TIMPANI toy study is an outstanding example of students conducting faculty-sponsored research of the highest level on our campus. For the past eight years, our early childhood education students have observed children at play with a variety of toys, and have developed an annual criteria-based evaluation of what toys are best for the cognitive, social, and creative development of young children. Parents, preschool educators and others across the globe are turning to Eastern for guidance on how best to support children’s play. In the process, our early childhood education students are learning to conduct empirical research of the highest quality.”

The Animal Kingdom Mega Pack received the highest overall score in this year’s study. It also scored the highest in three of the four subscales: creativity and imagination, social interaction, and verbalization. It was the highest-scoring toy for both boys and girls. It also scored highly for children from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. “This was a toy that inspired high-quality play by children of all different backgrounds,” said Julia DeLapp, director of the Center for Early Childhood Education and co-investigator of the study.

•Children enrolled at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) play with the tool in the preschool classroom

• Children enrolled at Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) play with the tool in the preschool classroom

DeLapp noted that research studies such as the TIMPANI toy study are not available to undergraduate students at most colleges universities, but are essential elements of an Eastern education. The result, as she explained, was that early childhood education students are well prepared for graduate school and the workforce because of the professional experience that research projects provide.

The 2017 TIMPANI Toy, which includes plastic animals from a variety of habitats, is an example of a “replica play toy.” According to Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, principal investigator of the study and Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, replica play toys provide important opportunities for children to engage in symbolic, make-believe play. “When children are playing with these kinds of toys, they have to do something beyond just becoming a make-believe character themselves. They actually have to project themselves into the role of an animal. This takes what some researchers call a ‘greater symbolic leap’ from reality to the make-believe play theme.”

Trawick-Smith said toys such as the “Animal Kingdom Mega Pack” have been played with for centuries. “Even children in Ancient Rome have been recorded playing with little replicas of animals and people.”

As Dominique McLean, a psychology and early childhood education student involved in the study, noted, “The animals were an open-ended toy that allowed children to bring their prior knowledge into their play narratives. They collaborated with their peers to create habitats and to sort the animals.”

Nicole Green, an English and elementary education student involved in the study, said that the study made clear to her how important play is for children’s learning. “I saw many important life skills that were being taught as children were playing with each other, and I think that those need to be fostered even as they get a little older and move into elementary school.”

Other students involved in this year’s study were researchers Amanda Terenzi, a social work student, and Stefanie Dominguez, a communication and early childhood education student. Ayla Heald was the student editor for this year’s video, with student Emily Parsons providing additional support for the study.

The results of the study were first announced at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children in Atlanta, GA, on Nov. 15. Findings will be disseminated to preschool teachers nationally to inform their decisions about the toys to include in their classroom. Findings will also be shared with families.

To see today’s press conference on the TIMPANI Toy of the Year, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRHzF_sUnP4

For more information on the 2017 TIMPANI Toy of the Year, visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani/, or contact the Center for Early Childhood Education at (860) 465-0687 or visit www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani/.

Previous TIMPANI toys include Plus-Plus® by Plus-Plus® (2016), Wooden Cash Register by Hape (2015); Paint and Easel (easel by Community Playthings), and Hot Wheels Cars by Mattel (2014); Magna-Tiles by Valtech!, and My First Railway by Brio (2013); Duplo Blocks by LEGO (2012); Tinker Toys by Hasbro (2011); Wooden Vehicles and Signs by Melissa and Doug (2010).

* * * * *

Disclaimer: The TIMPANI toy study does not consider, nor does it test, the safety of toys. The study makes no claims about the safety of any toy studied. Neither the Center for Early Childhood Education nor Eastern Connecticut State University is liable for any mishaps related to the use of toys mentioned in study findings. Concerns about any toy listed in the study findings should be directed to the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Eastern to Reveal Toy of the Year

Written by Michael Rouleau

TIMPANIlogo-150x150Just in time for the holiday season, Eastern Connecticut State University will reveal its 2017 TIMPANI toy of the year on Dec. 6 during a 10 a.m. press conference in the Joinery of the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE). TIMPANI stands for “Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination,” and is an internationally acclaimed study conducted by Eastern faculty and undergraduate students. Following the press conference, members of the media will be invited to tour the University’s childcare center and observe the toys in action.

Now in its eighth year, the annual study investigates how young children play with a variety of toys in natural settings. Ten toys were selected this year for the study by teachers, faculty and student researchers of the CECE.

The toys were placed in preschool classrooms at the University’s Child and Family Development Resource Center, and student researchers used hidden cameras to videotape children playing with the toys. Researchers then coded the footage according to the study’s evaluation rubric, which includes four subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, creativity and imagination, and verbalization. For this year’s study, researchers coded nearly 8,000 five-minute observations.

Previous TIMPANI toys include Plus-Plus® by Plus-Plus® (2016), Wooden Cash Register by Hape (2015); Paint and Easel by Community Playthings and Hot Wheels Cars by Mattel (2014); Magna-Tiles by Valtech and My First Railway by Brio (2013); Duplo Blocks by LEGO (2012); Tinker Toys by Hasbro (2011); Wooden Vehicles and Signs by Melissa and Doug (2010).

TIMPANI results have been widely reported, including by sources such as International Business Times, All-Jazeera America and television news programs across the country. The instrument used in the study has been shared by request with researchers all over the world, including Turkey.

Note to news media: Come to the Dec. 6 press conference to find out the identity of the 2017 TIMPANI toy. For more information, contact the Center for Early Childhood Education at (860) 465-0687 or visit www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani/.