Sustainable CT to Provide Path toward Livable Communities

Written by Ed Osborn

                                              Municipal Leaders Celebrate Program Milestone

Co-creators of the emerging Sustainable CT program celebrate at Wickham Park in Manchester.

Co-creators of the emerging Sustainable CT program celebrate at Wickham Park in Manchester.

Willimantic, CT — The creators of “Sustainable CT,” an initiative to help communities become more vibrant and livable, gathered at Wickham Park in Manchester, CT, on July 24 to celebrate their accomplishments.

More than 200 municipal leaders and residents from across the state and people from key agencies, non-profits, businesses and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities have collaborated to create the vision and framework for Sustainable CT.  The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University is spearheading program development and coordination.

Sustainable CT, created by towns and for towns, is a certification program that will provide a roadmap of best practices and resources intended to help communities become more efficient, healthy, safe, resilient and livable.  Leading up to the celebration, the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee held an all-day work session to make important decisions on program design and forthcoming action.  The program will be further developed over the coming months, with an official launch scheduled for November.

Ted Shafer, First Selectman for the Town of Burlington and Chair of the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee, addresses partners and collaborators.

Ted Shafer, First Selectman for the Town of Burlington and Chair of the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee, addresses partners and collaborators.

Ted Shafer, first selectman for the Town of Burlington and chair of the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee, thanked the crowd and said, “Sustainable CT is a gateway to creating more thriving, resilient, collaborative and forward-looking communities.  I am honored to be working with all of you to create this positive vision and framework for our towns and our state.”

Municipal leaders on hand at the event expressed hope that, in the midst of Connecticut’s budget challenges, Sustainable CT can provide a positive vision to help engage residents in improving their communities and bring much needed resources and support to Connecticut towns.  “We are excited to partner with the Institute for Sustainable Energy on this initiative,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

“Sustainability actions, policies and investments deliver multiple benefits to all residents and help municipal leaders make efficient use of scarce resources and engage a wide cross-section of residents and businesses,” concluded DeLong.

Representatives from each of Connecticut’s 169 towns and cities have participated in the development of Sustainable CT.  Many elected officials and town staff chaired committees and working groups.  Other municipalities were represented by regional organizations that helped shape the program.

Over the past five months, eight working groups have developed a list of approximately 65 best practices to benefit Connecticut municipalities of all sizes.  The emerging roadmap includes 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.

Tony Cherolis, a youth program coordinator of the BiCi Co program at the Center for Latino Progress (CPRF), is a newer member of the Sustainable CT Transportation Working Group. “I’m generally passionate about the role of transportation in equity and sustainability,” said Cherolis. “I’m becoming the coordinator for the Transport Hartford Academy at CPRF, where we will be providing opportunities for education, discussion, civic engagement and action supports for sustainable and multi-modal transportation options. Being on the Transportation Working Group is a way to bring that kind of engagement to other towns and municipalities that are also excited about this mission.”

The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund have provided seed funding to support the development of Sustainable CT.  For more information visit www.sustainablect.org.

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

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.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 300 Students to Participate in Eastern Research Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable Energy Empowers Sustainability Through Connecticut

Written by Christina Rossomando

Keynote speaker, Gina McCarthy, former head of the CT Department of Environmental Protection and former Administrator of the EPA under President Obama spoke to participants

Keynote speaker, Gina McCarthy, former head of the CT Department of Environmental Protection and former Administrator of the EPA under President Obama spoke to participants

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/10/2017) The Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability (CACS) held a statewide conference at Wesleyan University on March 31 to bring together higher education students, faculty and staff who share a common interest with campus sustainability.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University organized the conference with the Office of Sustainability at Yale University; Eastern and Yale serve as co-chairs of the CACS.

ISE 1

Approximately 150 representatives from campuses across the state participated in the conference and attended breakout sessions focused on campus sustainability projects, student engagement, community action and state policy. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator under President Obama and former commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection for the State of Connecticut, spoke at the event to encourage continuing efforts toward greater sustainability.

In her keynote address McCarthy said, “We all have to get out of our comfort zone… so take off your lab coats. Turn off your Bunsen burners and round up your nerdy friends.”

ISE 2

In response to environmental directions being proposed by the new administration in Washington, D.C., McCarthy said, “It’s not unusual for the federal government to get a little confused at times . . . (but) states like this one have no intention of turning the clock back.”

Eastern ISE student interns and ISE staff participated at the conference. “The interns were engaged at almost every level of the conference,” said Norma Vivar of the Institute for Sustainable Energy. “They were involved in the planning and back end production of the event, designing and producing the conference guide, nametags and directional signs. Under Laura Miller’s guidance, students used their creativity and skills to support all logistical needs of the event. They also benefitted from the ability to attend sessions and network with others.”

Lynn Stoddard, ISE director, was a host and conference leader. She explained the progress of ‘Sustainable CT,’ the program where towns in Connecticut will be able to gauge their relative standing in regards to sustainability and plan for future development.

“The topics of the sessions varied,” said Vivar, “from campus initiatives and student programs to sessions about community engagement, the Sustainable CT program and Influencing State and Public Policy. Each session was positive, motivating and inspiring.”

 

‘Earth Day, Every Day’ Tours Schools Statewide

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

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

Written by Michael Rouleau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Dining Hall Institutes Programs to Eliminate Food Waste

dining hall shotWith the cooperation of students, faculty and staff, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Hurley Dining Hall has taken steps to help eliminate waste by cutting back on the trash that the dining hall produces each day.

The first step was the elimination of trays. In the past, students grabbed a tray and loaded as much food on as many plates as they wanted. Over the past two years trays have been removed, forcing students to take only the food they can carry. “This was a good move for us,” said Jeffrey Kwolek, senior director of dining services. “Students were wasting full plates of food because they thought they were that hungry. Now not as much food is wasted.”

The second step the dining services took was the “Food Recovery Program,” which repurposes leftover food. “I don’t like to see food thrown away,” said Kwolek. “We have a leftover rack that at the end of the day would just get tossed, so I thought why not let someone else eat it.”

Eastern has a strong partnership with the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic; students, faculty, sports teams and other Eastern community members volunteer their time to help those in need at the kitchen. Now, Hurley Hall has partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) to arrange for the leftover food to be repurposed and sent to the soup kitchen twice a week. “More than 400 portions of food are sent every week,” said Kwolek. “This has definitely made a positive impact. Our wasted food isn’t going into the trash anymore; it’s going to people who can use it.”

The last program Hurley is participating in is a “Compositing Program.” This program is used to turn the waste that Hurley generates into energy and fuel. Instead of the trash being sent to waste management systems it is being sent to the Bio Power Plant in Southington CT.

“It’s important we do as much as we can to become a good partner with the community,” said Kwolek. “The programs we are trying are good ways to support that.”

 

Eastern’s Carmen Cid Receives National Recognition

Cid started at Eastern in 1987, working as a professor of ecology for 17 years; she has served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for the last 12 years.

Cid started at Eastern in 1987, working as a professor of ecology for 17 years; she has served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for the last 12 years.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Pioneering ecologist Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been elected a 2017 Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The lifetime achievement award honors ESA members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of ecology—the study of how organisms interact with their environments—through research, education and outreach.

“My life’s work has focused on pioneering a multicultural urban ecology curriculum and implementing leadership programs to help recruit and retain undergraduate and graduate women and minorities in ecology,” said Cid. “Being elected by the ESA to its selective fellows community validates my work in ecology over the course of more than 30 years.

“When I started, there were few women in ecology and none from Latin America,” continued Cid. “I have worked to create bridges between cultures and the scientific field of ecology.”

Among Cid’s proudest achievements is the development of the Spanish/English curriculum “The Urban Ecologist,” which is part of the series “Wonderwise: Women in Science.” Used throughout the United States, Canada and the Philippines, the curriculum has become a standard in after-school programs, focused on engaging middle school-aged girls in the study of forest and wetland ecology. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Foundation.

Taken in 1998 for the award-winning “Wonderwise” series, this photo depicts Cid in the pond at Eastern’s on-campus Arboretum, assessing plant biodiversity in the wetland.

Taken in 1998 for the award-winning “Wonderwise” series, this photo depicts Cid in the pond at Eastern’s on-campus Arboretum, assessing plant biodiversity in the wetland.

At Eastern, Cid has also been a champion of experiential learning, engaging students in ecological field work in the Arboretum—Eastern’s on-campus nature preserve—and the nearby Church Farm Center for the Arts and Sciences. As both a professor and dean, she has used the principles of ecology to develop Eastern’s campus into a more sustainable setting, helping it to become nationally recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Green College” for the past seven years.

“I am lucky to have worked for 30 years at a university that promotes the values of ecology and understands its greater effects on society,” she said of Eastern.

Cid has been a member of the ESA for 39 years. Among her contributions, she was the founding chair of the ESA Women and Minorities Committee and developed the first strategic plan to improve the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in ecology. She is currently the committee chair of the ESA Commitment to Human Diversity Award—an award she won in 2012.

With a membership of more than 10,000, the ESA elected Cid as one of only 27 fellows in 2017, and one of only three from New England. The organization elected Cid “For her ESA leadership and contributions enhancing ecology education outreach to diverse audiences, recruitment and retention of women and minorities in ecology, and applying ecological principles to improve undergraduate liberal arts education.”

The ESA fellows program was created in 2012 with the goal of honoring its members and supporting their competitiveness and advancement to leadership positions in the ESA, at their institutions and in the broader society. Past ESA Fellows are listed at http://www.esa.org/esa/about/esa-awards/esa-awards/esa-fellows-program/esa-fellows/.

Eastern Joins Colleges Nationwide to Urge Action on Climate Change

The community garden is a collaborative project of Eastern and Grow Windham. Located on the Eastern campus, the food harvested at this community resource is donated to local community organizations, like the Covenant Soup Kitchen.

The community garden is a collaborative project of Eastern and Grow Windham. Located on the Eastern campus, the food harvested at this community resource is donated to local community organizations, like the Covenant Soup Kitchen.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, has joined two other Connecticut university presidents as well as those from colleges and universities in 35 other states, in urging President-Elect Donald Trump and incoming congressional representatives to accelerate progress toward a clean energy future. Nunez joins Michal Roth, president of Wesleyan University, and Susan Herbst, president of the University of Connecticut, as well as 170 others from across the country.

Through their open letter, organized by a diverse group of higher education institutions and the Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, higher education leaders are calling on elected officials to support participation in the Paris Agreement, climate research and investment in a low-carbon economy.

“The upcoming transition of federal leadership presents a unique opportunity to address head-on the challenges of climate change by accelerating the new energy economy and creating strong, resilient communities,” wrote the group. “We are committed to developing and deploying innovative climate solutions that provide a prosperous future for all Americans.”

The group of schools expressed their alignment with the business and investment communities in supporting the science-based targets outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The 400-kilowatt phosphoric acid fuel cell next to the Science Building was installed in 2012. Electricity generated by the fuel cell supplies a majority of the power needed to run this building.

The 400-kilowatt phosphoric acid fuel cell next to the Science Building was installed in 2012. Electricity generated by the fuel cell supplies a majority of the power needed to run this building.

Eastern has been taking climate action for years, including voluntarily setting carbon neutrality goals and publicly reporting progress through a program called the Climate Leadership Commitment.

In the past year, Eastern has improved recycling on campus; opened the new Fine Arts Instructional Center, which is built to LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design); and adopted a “trayless” system in the dining hall to reduce food waste, energy and water use.

“I am pleased to join other universities in America in calling for strong leadership in Washington, D.C., on climate change,” said Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern. “At Eastern, we intend to continue our commitment to climate action on our campus and in Connecticut communities.”

For more about sustainability at Eastern, visit:  www.easternct.edu/sustainability. A full list of schools supporting the open letter can be found at www.secondnature.org/higher-education-climate-action-letter.

Princeton Review Names Eastern a 2016 Green College

: The rear façade of the new Fine Arts Instructional Center — currently under review for receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

The rear façade of the new Fine Arts Instructional Center — currently under review for receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Willimantic, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The Review featured Eastern in its 2016 “Guide to 361 Green Colleges,” published on Oct. 4 and available at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.

This is the seventh year in a row that Eastern has made the list of the nation’s top green colleges, which is based on data from the Princeton Review’s 2015-16 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning their commitment to the environment and sustainability.

“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. “We’re happy that today’s college students value sustainability, and that our institutional efforts to minimize environmental impact have not gone unnoticed.”

In addition to a strong environmental earth science program and university initiatives that emphasize sustainability, Eastern’s campus boasts four LEED-certified buildings featuring daylight harvesting and gray-water systems, recycled flooring, native plants and biofilter systems to reduce rainwater runoff. Furthermore, the ISE addresses energy issues in the region by supporting the development of sound public energy policy, providing K-12 energy education and professional development, and solutions to community resource issues.

“We strongly recommend Eastern and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said The Princeton Review’s Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher.

Franek noted the growing interest the company has seen among college-bound students in green colleges. “Among more than 10,000 teens and parents who participated in our 2016 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.”

Profiles of Green Colleges found in The Princeton Review’s Guide include “Green Facts” about the schools with details on the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.

The Princeton Review chose the colleges based on “Green Rating” scores (from 60 to 99) that the company tallied in summer 2016 for 640 colleges using data from its 2015-16 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. More than 25 data points were considered in the assessment. Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into the guide.