‘Yes Means Yes’: Affirmative Consent

Consent Logo

Written by Jolene Potter

The Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT) at Eastern Connecticut State University partnered with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) to present “The Consent Workshop,” an interactive workshop designed to help students better understand the meaning of affirmative consent. The program was held on Oct. 18.

“The Consent Workshop” was presented by Eastern alumnus Ignacio Heredia. He graduated from Eastern in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and has been working as an Education and Youth Development Coordinator for PPSNE for 10 years. Heredia has extensive experience in developing and implementing sexuality education programs for youth and adults in community-based organizations and schools.

The workshop first explained what affirmative consent was and what it looks like. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. “It is so important to not only know what consent is, but to know what it looks like and how to practice it,” said Heredia. The interactive workshop accomplished this by engaging in open dialogue regarding safer sex practices. Students also worked with peers to respond to hypothetical scenarios and identify solutions and red flags.

The workshop also discussed different types of communication with students. “Assertive communication is ideal,” said Heredia. “Assertive communication involves speaking in an open, clear and respectful way. Individuals who are passive communicators may be afraid of confrontation and aggressive communicators are often forceful and may even seek confrontation with others. Consent requires assertive communication.”

Students also learned the five major criteria for consent. First and foremost, consent a clearly indicated desire to engage in a particular activity. Consent is also changeable, meaning that an individual can change their mind at any time and that consent once is not consent forever. Consent is also informed, meaning that both parties are aware of the other’s boundaries and are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent is also freely given, meaning that neither party is coerced or convinced to do something they don’t want to do. Lastly, consent is enthusiastic.

Heredia recommends continually checking in with your partner to ensure that both parties are engaged and wish to continue. “You should watch, listen and never be afraid to ask,” said Heredia. “You can and should ask your partner if they are comfortable, if something is okay, if they want to slow down or if they want to go further. Silence or lack of resistance does not mean consent.”

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.

Hundreds of Eastern Students Attend Student Activities Fair

Written by Jolene Potter

Organization of Latin American Students

Organization of Latin American Students

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

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

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

Black Student Union

Black Student Union

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

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

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

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

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

BioChemistry Club

BioChemistry Club

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

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

 

Eastern 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.”

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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

Occum Hall wins Warrior Cup, Puentes al Futuro gets $4,500

Residents of Occum Hall with Rosie Hernandez, founder of Puentes al Futuro, and William Stover, director of Family and Community Partnerships (center, holding check)

Residents of Occum Hall with the Warrior Cup trophy, alongside Rosie Hernandez, founder of Puentes al Futuro, and William Stover, director of Family and Community Partnerships (center, holding check)

Written by Michael Rouleau

The Warrior Cup is an annual competition in which all 13 residence halls at Eastern Connecticut State University compete for the benefit of a local nonprofit organization or charity. Occum Hall was the 2016-17 winner of the cup, but the real winner is Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future), a Windham Public Schools afterschool program, which received $4,500 from the year’s Warrior Cup activities.

Rosie Hernandez thanks Occum Hall residents for their fundraising efforts

Rosie Hernandez thanks Occum Hall residents for their support of Puentes al Futuro

Residence Halls earn points in the year-long competition through the academic achievement of their residents, as well as their participation in campus activities, fundraisers and community service events. Occum Hall, composed primarily of transfer students, finished the year with 492 points, followed by the freshman halls of Burr, Constitution and Mead. All fundraising activities among the 13 residence halls went to this year’s designated recipient, Puentes al Futuro.

“This money will help keep the program alive,” said Kim Silcox, director of Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement, which is an avid supporter of Puentes al Futuro. “Funding for afterschool programs is more uncertain now than ever.”

More than 250 Eastern students have volunteered 3,600 hours with the program since its inception six years ago. Through the program, local middle school children learn about their Hispanic heritage in a variety of cultural and academic enrichment activities. With its partnership with Eastern, children see a “bridge to the future” as they interact with college students, often times on the Eastern campus.

“This 4,500 will go to the kids; not to salaries, not to administrators,” assured Rosie Hernandez, founder of Puentes al Futuro. “This really is an incredible amount of money that will go very far for the program.”

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.

Betsy Wade Speaks at Eastern

Written by Casey Gagnon

On March 22, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted “Time with Betsy Wade: A legend in the Fight for Women’s Rights.”  Wade was the first woman to hold the job as a copy editor at The New York Times, where she worked for 45 years as a copy editor.

During her time at the newspaper, Wade served on the union contract-negotiating team and later serving as a trustee of the union-management pension fund, designing a plan that was without gender bias.  She was elected to two terms as the first woman to serve as president of the New York local of the Newspaper Guild, the largest in the nation and a named plaintiff in the landmark sex discrimination lawsuit against the New York Times.

During her talk Wade described her first day as copy editor, recalling a male coworker saying to her, “So now you want my job right?”  Her response was, “No I don’t want your job.  I want the one ahead of yours.”  Wade said she just wanted to be paid the same as her male coworkers, since she worked just as hard. Once she gathered enough women who felt the same, she decided to take the issue to court.

When asked by a student if there was any advice she could give to someone, she said, “Whatever you do, don’t go at it alone.  If you catch yourself out on a limb, you’re going to want someone to hold your hand and catch you before it breaks.”

Walter Diaz Receives 2016 Higher Edge Award

Written by Michael Rouleau

Chris Soto and Walter Diaz at the Higher Edge anniversary celebration

Chris Soto and Walter Diaz at the Higher Edge anniversary celebration

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — Walter Diaz, dean of students at Eastern Connecticut State University, was given the 2016 College Access Champion Award by Higher Edge on Nov. 19 at the organization’s five-year anniversary celebration. Eastern has been an integral partner of the college access- and success-focused non-profit group, with Diaz being its most valuable on-campus liaison.

“It was an honor to present Dr. Walter Diaz with the inaugural College Access Champion Award,” said Chris Soto, founding director of New London-based Higher Edge. The organization provides one-on-one advising and support to low-income and first-generation students, guiding them through the challenges and technicalities of the college process.

“Since our first days working with Eastern, Walter has been the driving force behind the success of our students and their acclimation to campus,” said Soto, remarking that more Higher Edge students attend Eastern than any other college. “He knows all too well the challenges that low-income students face on their college journeys and works diligently to remove or alleviate those barriers.”

Soto added, “Dr. Diaz sees beyond what students see in themselves and draws out their untapped potential, which manifests in students’ activism on campus.”

The plaque of the College Access and Champion Award reads: “Dr. Walter Diaz: Esteemed educator, tireless advocate, and steadfast ally. Your unwavering passion, mentorship, and wisdom all combine to make magic happen for all those whose path you cross. From the entering freshman to the senior level administrator, you leave no one behind and are always thinking about ways to support others. Thank you for believing in our students, our mission, and modeling leadership that has catalyzed meaningful, educational change throughout our state.”

With the opening of a new Higher Edge satellite office on Eastern’s campus, Diaz and his Eastern colleagues will be able to provide greater support to Higher Edge students.

Eastern Student Leader Taylor Herold Wins Ken Bedini Award

Written by Michael Rouleau

taylor herroldWILLIMANTIC, Conn. — Eastern Connecticut State University student Taylor Herold ’17, a communication major from Manchester, won a Ken M. Bedini Student Leader Award this November at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Northeast Conference in Hartford. She was one of five recipients among a pool of students from 131 schools in the region.

Named after Eastern’s vice president of student affairs, the awards were established to recognize outstanding contributions of the region’s undergraduate student leaders. Herold meets the award criteria with ease, being an honors student, manager of the Campus Activity Board (CAB), a Student Orientation Counselor (SOC), an e-board member of the Senior Class Committee and an active member of Eastern’s LEAP student leadership program.

“I tell everyone who asks about my involvement that if it were not for Eastern, I would not be doing what I’m doing,” said Herold, who has attended leadership workshops and professional development conferences with the Office of Student Activities. “I truly believe that I would not have been given the same opportunities to develop myself and grow as a leader anywhere else. I have the entire Eastern community, both staff and peers, to thank for helping me become the better person and leader I am today.”

In her nomination letter, Casey Kensey, assistant director of student activities, said, “Taylor has dedicated so much of her time giving back to the campus community and has demonstrated her ability to be an outstanding leader.” She added, “Taylor has the skills that would make her an excellent student affairs professional, and has recently announced that she will pursue this career path.”

During her four-year stint with CAB, Herold has been the weekend programs coordinator, concert coordinator and special events coordinator, concluding her tenure as manager. “In each of these roles,” said Kensey, “she was creative, paid special attention to detail and brought high standards to her work, aiding the board with planning and facilitating many excellent events.”

Speaking to her nomination, Herold said, “What really means the most to me is knowing that my peers and supervisors thought that I’d make an excellent candidate and went out of their way to write me nomination letters. It helped me realize the impact I was making at Eastern and has been a driving force in inspiring me to continue to push myself to grow as a student leader.”

The NACA is the higher education leader for providing knowledge, ideas and resources to promote student learning through engagement in campus life.

Veterans are “a Rather Elite Group”

Written by Dwight Bachman

Colonel Frederick Miclon Jr.

Colonel Frederick Miclon Jr.

Colonel Frederick Miclon Jr., director of staff at the Joint Force Headquarters for the Connecticut National Guard, delivered the keynote address on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, during Eastern Connecticut State University’s special tribute to the men and women who serve in the nation’s military. 600 veterans and active service personnel teach and work at Eastern, and 300 students are veterans.

Miclon, an Iraq War veteran, said that since the American Revolution, more than 42 million Americans have served during times of war, not including the three to four million currently fighting in the global War on Terror since 2001. “42 million sounds like a very large number, but when you put it in perspective, less than one half of one percent of all Americans are currently serving in the military, making it a rather elite group.”
VETS-Honor GuardMiclon said many Americans take their freedoms for granted, forgetting the oath veterans take and the blood they shed to support and defend the Constitution, which preserves the freedoms Americans cherish. “This is not something we take lightly. You are pledging to give your all, up to and including laying down your life if necessary. That very oath is something that binds us together, a brotherhood of shared experiences and commitment unlike that required in almost any other job in our great land. Most Americans however cannot truly appreciate the significance that the impact of service in the military can have on a veteran. As we know, many suffer in silence bearing the burdens of their service alone.”

Miclon concluded by saying, “Whether it is in life or in death, not just on Veterans Day, it is important for us to not only recognize our veterans, but to educate our children and young adults of the many sacrifices made since the days of the revolution by men and women who answered the call.  Without that knowledge, it is difficult to understand and appreciate the cost of freedom and the price paid for the rights we enjoy as Americans.”

Eastern President Elsa Nunez

Eastern President Elsa Nunez

Eastern President Elsa Nunez agreed: “Not only do our veterans represent us as they defend our freedoms, they are the finest example — the most fitting proof — that ‘all men (and women) are created equal.’  In the trenches, all of the amenities of modern life are set aside and all the trappings of class and position are forgotten when our military forces place their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. There is not a more pure example of human beings existing for each other and for the common good than on the battlefield. That is where ‘democracy’ has its finest hour.”

Nunez noted that her grandfather served in World War I; her father in World War II; and her brother in the Vietnam War, and that seven and a half years after opening its Veteran’s Center, Eastern is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the 15 most veteran-friendly campuses in the North.

Other Veteran’s Day ceremony speakers included Kenneth Bedini, Eastern’s vice president for student affairs; Father Laurence LaPointe, director of Eastern’s Campus Ministry; and Sergeant First Class (Retired) CTARNG Rebekah Avery, coordinator of Eastern’s Veteran’s Center.