Eastern Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

Demonstrations of Native dancing by members of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes rounded out the Native American Heritage Day of Events on Nov. 13.

Written by Jolene Potter

WILLIMANTIC, CT (11/28/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University held several events in commemoration of Native American Heritage Month in November. Events featured prominent figures and speakers from the local Native American community – including internationally acclaimed author and environmental activist Winona LaDuke of the Anishinaabe Tribe as well as Chief Marilynn Malerba of the local Mohegan Tribe. The celebration also included demonstrations of music, jewelry making and natural medicines.

There are currently 573 tribes recognized by the federal government according to The Bureau of Indian Affairs. All federally recognized tribes are sovereign and self-governing nations that maintain a government-to-government relationship with the United States. Each indigenous nation has a distinct history, language and culture.

Native American Heritage Month serves to educate the public about the challenges faced by Native people currently and historically as well as the ways in which tribal citizens and communities have worked to address these challenges.

There are two federally recognized Native American tribes in Connecticut – the Mashantucket Pequot Nation and the Mohegan Tribe. However, there are several other tribes, bands and communities in Connecticut that don’t have federal recognition, including the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe, Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Tribe and Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.

Many Native communities are not recognized by the federal government, as obtaining federal recognition requires extensive documentation, which is particularly difficult for the many Native communities that have oral histories with little written down. Without recognition, communities aren’t eligible for certain services and have limited rights to self-governance. The Eastern Pequots lost their federal status on Oct. 12 (Columbus Day), 2005.

Author and activist Winona LaDuke of the Anishinaabe Tribe spoke with the Eastern community on Oct. 31.

The first event of Native American Heritage Month occurred on Oct. 31 and featured internationally acclaimed author and environmental activist Winona LaDuke of the Anishinaabe Tribe. LaDuke’s talk, “A Native Perspective: Sustaining Our Land, Recovering the Sacred,” explored how indigenous understandings of land, religion and sacredness influence strategies for a sustainable environment.

The current and historical territorial dispossession of indigenous peoples often goes hand in hand with natural resource exploitation. LaDuke discussed how the exploitation of natural resources threatens Native communities, as well as the necessity for utilizing renewable forms of energy. This exploitation often violates treaty rights, threatens the environment and contributes to climate change.

LaDuke is the executive director of Honor the Earth, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and financial support for indigenous environmental justice. The organization recently played an active role in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. LaDuke was also involved in stopping work on the Sandpiper Pipeline in northern Minnesota in 2015.

Eastern hosted Chief Marilynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe on Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. Malerba is the 18th chief of the Mohegan Tribe and is the first female chief in the tribe’s modern history. Malerba spoke of many issues affecting Native communities throughout the nation including land rights, voting rights, rates of poverty and unemployment, violence – particularly against women and children – suicide, drug and alcohol abuse rates, educational shortcomings and healthcare inadequacies. “American Indian activism is needed now more than ever,” she said.

Chief Marilynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe spoke with the Eastern community on Nov. 7.

Malerba focused on the tendency for Native communities to experience poverty and joblessness. Seventeen percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and 27 percent of all self-identified Native Americans and Alaska Natives live in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The living conditions for Natives on reservations are often of poor quality,” said Malerba. “On many reservations the electricity is subpar, plumbing is subpar or nonexistent, the roads need renovating and the homes are overcrowded.” Malerba’s assertions are supported by data from the National Congress of American Indians, which states that 40 percent of Natives who live on reservations are in substandard housing, one-third of homes are overcrowded and less than 16 percent have indoor plumbing.

Eastern Pequot tribal members Natasha Gambrell ’15 and Valerie Gambrell ’77 (both Eastern graduates) spoke on Nov. 13 about the difficulties their tribe experiences with federal recognition.

Also discussed was the shockingly high rates of violence against women and children in Native communities. According to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, American Indians are the victims of rape and sexual assault at a rate more than three times higher than that of any other race in the United States. Furthermore, while the majority of survivors of sexual assault are victimized by a family member or intimate partner, American Indian and Alaska Native women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence committed by a stranger or acquaintance outside of the tribal community, with 70 percent of perpetrators being non-Native. This creates unique challenges for tribal communities in adjudicating cases of sexual assault, leading to lower prosecution and a lack of justice for Native survivors of sexual violence.

Malerba also discussed the massive disparities in health care for Native Americans as compared to the general population. Although Native Americans are able to receive health care through Indian Health Services (IHS), like many other federal agencies that serve Native people, the IHS suffers from a lack of funding. As a result, one in three Natives are uninsured and lacking proper healthcare. According to the Center for Disease Control, Natives suffer from high rates of diabetes, obesity, substance abuse, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Another epidemic facing Native communities is youth suicide. According to U.S. Census data, suicide is the second most common cause of death for Native youth ages 15 to 24 – two and a half times the national rate for that age group.

“Maintaining a connection with their tribe lowers the suicide rate for indigenous youth, among serving them in other ways,” said Malerba. “The Indian Child Welfare Act is not highly regarded and indigenous children are still being displaced. This contributes greatly to an increased risk of suicide.”

Demonstrations of Native dancing by members of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes rounded out the Native American Heritage Day of Events on Nov. 13.

Malerba also stressed voter suppression as a major issue for Native communities. “Only about two percent of the U.S. population is made up of American Indian and Alaskan Native people,” said Malerba. “We can’t move mountains with elections. We need other people to care about and rally toward Native rights.” Some factors that contribute to voter suppression are lack of official addresses on most reservations and the distance of polling places from reservations.

Malerba ended her informative talk with an important lesson: “Have a large voice when you’re offered a seat at the table. Advocate for what you think is right.”

The month of recognition and celebration continued on Nov. 13 with the “Native American Heritage Day of Events.” Lessons in jewelry design were led by Natasha Gambrell ’15 of the Eastern Pequot Tribe. An interactive program featuring a variety of Native music was also held by Chris Newell, a singer and senior educator of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.

Native American Heritage Month events were co-sponsored by the Intercultural Center, Arthur L. Johnson Unity Wing, the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Institute of Sustainable Energy and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology and Social Work.

 

Princeton Review Names Eastern a Green College 9 Years in a Row

Eastern’s newly renovated Communication Building features a number of sustainability improvements, aligning it with the State of Connecticut’s standards for high-efficiency buildings.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in 2018 according to The Princeton Review. Eastern is listed in the Review’s 2018 edition of “Guide to 399 Green Colleges,” published on Oct. 16 – the ninth year in a row that Eastern has made the list.

Schools were selected based on a summer 2018 survey that measured more than 25 data points related to sustainability practices and policies. Only schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher (out of 99) are featured in the guide.

“We are pleased to release our 2018 edition in October, as the month has been designated National Campus Sustainability Month,” said Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. “To all students wanting to study and live at a green college, we strongly recommend the outstanding schools we identify and profile in this guide.”

“We are proud to again be recognized as an environmentally friendly school by this important publication,” said Lynn Stoddard, director of Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE). “We’re happy that today’s college students value sustainability, and that our institutional efforts to minimize environmental impact have not gone unnoticed.”

Eastern’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated through its use of renewable energy and strides toward carbon neutrality, the construction/renovation of “green” buildings, environmentally related academic and extracurricular offerings, and other green initiatives.

The Eastern campus boasts five LEED-certified buildings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), including three residence halls, the Science Building and the new Fine Arts Instructional Center. These buildings feature daylight-harvesting and gray-water systems, recycled flooring, native plants and rainwater collection systems. LEED buildings can reduce energy and water costs by as much as 40 percent.

This fall 2018 semester, Eastern reopened its newly renovated Communication Building, which now meets the high-performance building standards set by the State of Connecticut. Such standards include utilizing recyclable materials for a portion of the construction, as well as materials sourced within 500 miles of the worksite. Improvements have also been made to water conservation, energy conservation and insulation.

Eastern is also home to Connecticut’s largest geothermal installation. Located at High Rise residence hall, the system draws energy from the internal heat of the earth and reduces energy use by 12 percent. Elsewhere on campus, a 400-kilowatt phosphoric-acid fuel cell provides clean energy that prevents the release of approximately 1,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Lining the campus’ walkways and roads are solar-powered lighting fixtures. Furthermore, commuters with electric or hybrid cars can take advantage of vehicle-charging stations as well as choice-parking spots as reward for reducing their carbon footprint.

A university’s greatest amount of waste may come from its dining hall. To reduce food waste, Eastern’s Hurley Hall and food provider, Chartwells, has a three-pronged program that involves offering students plates (rather than trays) of food, donating leftovers to the local soup kitchen, and composting discarded food.

Eastern is also home to the Institute for Sustainability Energy (ISE), the organization spearheading the statewide initiative “Sustainable CT.” With 22 municipalities certified as of this October, and more in process, Sustainable CT provides a road map for communities to become more sustainable and resilient.

Among its academic and extracurricular offerings, Eastern offers a strong environmental earth science (EES) program – with tracks in EES, general earth science, and sustainable energy science – as well as a new minor in environmental health science. The Environmental Club advocates for the importance of human impact on the environment, while promoting sustainable awareness and practices on campus.

The annual Campus Sustainability Week engages students in environmental issues and gathers volunteers for service projects. The Green Theme housing community – located in the LEED-certified Nutmeg Hall – allows environmentally minded students to live together and participate in activities related to “going green” and sustainability.

22 Communities Statewide Achieve ‘Sustainable CT’ Certification

Written by Lynn Stodard

 WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/03/2018) Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming efficient, resilient and inclusive, announced its first group of certified towns this week. Twenty-two municipalities met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for certification. The list of certified communities spans every county and includes some of Connecticut’s largest cities and smallest towns.

With input from municipal leaders across the state, Sustainable CT was developed over the past few years under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM).

Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford and Stamford have achieved “silver” certification, the highest honor in the program. Another 17 municipalities are being recognized at the “bronze” certification level: Bristol, Coventry, Hebron, Madison, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, New London, New Milford, Old Saybrook, Ridgefield, Roxbury, South Windsor, West Hartford, Westport, Windham and Woodbridge.

“We are excited to recognize the first Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Laura Francis, first selectman of Durham and co-chair of the Sustainable CT Board of Directors. “These towns have worked hard and shown great leadership in completing many actions that increase sustainability while also saving money, promoting health and increasing residents’ connection and sense of place.”

All 22 newly certified towns worked to demonstrate significant achievements in nine sustainability impact areas ranging from thriving local economies and vibrant arts-and-culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. In addition, the towns had to address diversity, inclusion and equity when implementing sustainability actions. The certification submissions went through a series of rigorous reviews by independent experts and Sustainable CT partners.

“These 22 Sustainable CT communities are models for local governments that strive to be thriving, resilient, collaborative and forward-looking,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. “They have built community and local economies. They have equitably promoted the health and well-being of current and future residents, and they respect the finite capacity of the natural environment.”

CCM will hold an awards ceremony to recognize Sustainable CT certified towns at their annual convention in late October.

Launched less than one year ago, Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable program for towns. Sixty-four towns have registered for the program, approaching participation by 40 percent of all towns in the state.

“Congratulations to our 2018 certified Sustainable CT communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, executive director of the program and director of Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable energy. We are eager to share the inspiring accomplishments of all of these towns in creating livable, thriving communities. They are also showing that local actions lead to positive statewide impact on our environment, economy and culture.”

Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from three Connecticut philanthropies: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund.

For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.

Eastern Named a 2018 College of Distinction

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                            Eastern Graduates 1,200 Students at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

Elinore McCance-Katz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michele Bacholle, Distinguished Professor of the Year

 

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

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

Northeastern Connecticut launch of Sustainable CT

Written by Lynn Stoddard

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/28/2018) Sustainable CT, a new statewide initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns, will be holding an upcoming regional launch event at the Connecticut Audubon Society Center in Pomfret on April 18 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged; if you are planning to attend please call (860) 928-4948.

Created by towns for towns, Sustainable CT includes a wide-ranging menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning and recognition. Many area municipal leaders, experts and community members have worked together for the past 19 months to develop Sustainable CT.

The Sustainable CT platform supports a broad range of actions, such as improving watershed management, supporting arts and creative culture, reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy, implementing “complete streets” (streets that meet the needs of walkers and bikers, as well as cars), improving recycling programs, assessing climate vulnerability, supporting local businesses, and providing efficient and diverse housing options. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. After successful implementation of a variety of actions, municipalities will be eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Three Connecticut philanthropies – The New Haven-based Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

The Northeastern Connecticut regional launch event is for anyone interested in learning more about Sustainable CT and how to get involved in supporting the implementation of Sustainable CT actions. Event attendees will include municipal-elected officials and staff, residents, nonprofits, businesses, colleges and universities.

For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.

 

Designs to be revealed for Willimantic Whitewater community art project

The winning design will eventually be installed at the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership’s Bridge Street site

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/22/2018) On April 14, three Connecticut-based teams will reveal their designs for a new public art piece that generates renewable energy, to be located on the Willimantic River. The public is invited to attend the evening reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University to hear from representatives of the three teams who will present and showcase their design concepts. The winning design will be announced on Connecticut Arts Day later in April, and the community art piece will eventually be installed on the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership’s Bridge Street site.

The design competition is a partnership of the 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 nonprofit Land Art Generator Initiative.

The three design teams – Pirie Associate Architects (New Haven), Howeler & Yoon/Gray Organschi (New Haven/Boston) and Swiftwater Hub (Mansfield/Hartford) – were selected in December from 15 teams of landscape architects, artists and engineers who responded to a call for qualifications.

The three designs will also be on display from March 24 through April 13 at Kerri Gallery, 861 Main St., Willimantic, where the public will be encouraged to provide feedback. For viewing hours, visit www.kerriquirk.com. For more information, visit www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

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

Written by Ed Osborn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Upcoming Sustainable CT Events

            Eastern, Connecticut College Host Sites in Eastern Connecticut

Written by Lynn Stoddard

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/22/2018) Sustainable CT, a new statewide initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns, will be holding two regional launch events in eastern Connecticut this coming week. The first event will be held on Jan. 24 from 6:30-8 p.m. in New London at Connecticut College, in the 1941 Room, College Center at Crozier-Williams, 270 Mohegan Avenue. The second event will take place on Jan. 26 from 9-10:30 a.m. in Willimantic, in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library at Eastern Connecticut State University. The events are free and open to the public.

Created by towns for towns, Sustainable CT includes a wide-ranging menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning and recognition. Many area municipal leaders, experts and community members have worked together for the past 19 months to develop Sustainable CT.

Delpha Very, executive director of economic & community development in Putnam as well director of the town’s redevelopment agency, helped spearhead a group of municipal leaders, nonprofits, academics and business representatives to develop the arts and culture actions in the program. “In Putnam we recognize that the creative workforce is a significant driver of our local economy,” said Very. “By incorporating actions that support arts and culture, Sustainable CT provides municipalities the opportunity and resources to advance their own economic growth.”

The Sustainable CT platform supports a range of actions, such as improving watershed management, supporting arts and creative culture, reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy, implementing “complete streets” (streets that meet the needs of walkers and bikers, as well as cars), improving recycling programs, assessing climate vulnerability, supporting local businesses, and providing efficient and diverse housing options. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. After successful implementation of a variety of actions, municipalities will be eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

The Town of Groton is one local community that has expressed interest in seeking certification. “In Groton we are planning for the future. In the wake of recent coastal flooding events and intense storms, we realize that there is a need to be prepared,” said Deborah Jones, assistant director of planning and development for the Town of Groton. “Sustainable CT, with its forward-looking actions provides a helpful roadmap, and potential funding opportunities that can help the town advance these goals.”

The Sustainable CT initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Three Connecticut philanthropies – The New Haven-based Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

The eastern Connecticut regional launch events are for anyone interested in learning more about Sustainable CT and how to get involved in supporting the implementation of Sustainable CT actions. Event attendees will include municipal elected officials and staff, residents, nonprofits, businesses, colleges and universities.

For more information and to register for any regional launch event, visit www.sustainablect.org.

Eastern Helps Launch Sustainable CT

               Program Lift Off on January 16 at the Hartford Public Library

Written by Lynn Stoddard

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/16/2018) Sustainable CT, a new statewide initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns, will have its launch in the Hartford area on January 16th at 6:00 p.m. in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library, in collaboration with the City of Hartford. Created by towns for towns, the initiative includes a wide-ranging menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning and recognition.

“Sustainable CT provides support to help the City of Hartford and all of our communities achieve the shared values of improved well-being, economic vitality, and environmental stewardship,” said Shubhada Kambli, sustainability coordinator of the City of Hartford, who will also serve on Sustainable CT’s newly formed board of directors.

Many Hartford-area municipal leaders, experts and community members have worked together for the past 18 months to develop Sustainable CT, including Khara Dodds, director of Land Use Planning and Services for Glastonbury, who will also serve on Sustainable CT’s newly formed board of directors; Matthew Hart, town manager of the Town of West Hartford and co-chair of the Cultural Ecosystems Working Group; Mark Moriarty, director of Public Works of the City of New Britain and co-chair of the Sustainable CT Transportation Working Group; and Jennifer Kertanis, director of Health of the Farmington Valley Health District and co-Chair of the Sustainable CT Public Services Working Group.

The Sustainable CT platform supports a broad range of actions, such as improving watershed management, supporting arts and creative culture, reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy, implementing “complete streets” (streets that meet the needs of walkers and bikers as well as cars), improving recycling programs, assessing climate vulnerability, supporting local businesses, and providing efficient and diverse housing options. There is no cost to participate, and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. After successful implementation of a variety of actions, municipalities will be eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

“We are excited to register and become a Sustainable CT certified community,” said Ted Shafer, first selectman of Burlington and officer of Sustainable CT’s pending board of directors. “The program provides an engaging opportunity to be recognized for our sustainability successes and to access new opportunities for funding to become an even more sustainable community.”

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Three Connecticut philanthropies-the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund-have supported the program’s development and launch.

The Hartford area regional launch event is for anyone interested in learning more about Sustainable CT and how to get involved in supporting implementation of Sustainable CT actions. Event attendees will include municipal elected officials and staff, residents, nonprofits, businesses, college and universities. Tabling organizations will be present to highlight existing sustainability initiatives and successes in the Greater Hartford region.

Regional launch events will be held throughout the state in January. For more information and to register for any regional launch event, visit www.sustainablect.org.