Eastern Helps Launch Sustainable CT

                                                     Municipalities May Now Participate

Sustainable-CT_Logo_color_wide_no_badge_300dpiWritten by Lynn Stoddard

Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns, launched on Nov. 28 at the annual convention of Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. The initiative, created by towns for towns, includes a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning and recognition.

“Sustainable CT provides support to help all of our communities achieve the shared values of health, economic development, cost savings and environmental stewardship,” said Ted Shafer, first selectman of Burlington and chair of the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee.

The Sustainable CT platform supports a broad range of actions, including 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 selected actions, municipalities will be eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

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

“Sustainable CT builds on many current success stories in our communities to create and support more great places to live, work and play,” said Lynn Stoddard, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy. “This positive vision has inspired more than 200 municipal leaders, experts and community members to work together for the past 18 months to develop Sustainable CT. We are all very excited about launching the program. Lots of towns want to be the first to participate.”

“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.”

Municipalities may now begin to participate in the program and use its tools and resources. Residents, businesses, non-profits, and colleges and universities are important partners and can play a role in supporting communities through the Sustainable CT platform. Additional regional launch events will provide information for all who are interested and will be held throughout the state in January. For more information and the schedule of regional launch events, see www.sustainablect.org.

Eastern’s ‘Campus Sustainability Week’

Written by Michael Rouleau

File Photo

File Photo

WILLIMANTIC, CT– Eastern Connecticut State University will participate in the Third Annual Campus Sustainability Week from Oct. 9-15. The weeklong celebration is coordinated by the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability, a network of state universities that addresses environmental and social challenges in Connecticut.

Activities will range from outdoor yoga to documentary showings to discussions about food security. Participating campuses this year include Eastern, Wesleyan University and Yale University. Activities open to the public at Eastern include:

On Oct. 9, a book swap will occur in the Webb Hall foyer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A solar cooker demonstration will occur outside in the Webb Lawn from 12 to 2 p.m.

On Oct. 10, a showcase of local farmers who produce food for Eastern’s dining services will occur on the Student Center patio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A showing of the documentary “Just Eat It” will occur from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

On Oct. 11, another book swap will occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Webb Hall foyer, as well as another solar cooker demonstration from 12 to 2 p.m. outside of Webb Hall. The movie “No Impact Man” will show from 5 to 6:30 in room 217 of the Student Center. The film follows a Manhattan family that decides to lead a zero-waste lifestyle.

On Oct. 12, the award-winning documentary “Reuse” will show from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

On Oct. 15, the week’s concluding event will be the “Fall for Nature Trail Run,” starting at 12 p.m. at Mansfield Hollow State Park. Runners, walkers and volunteers are invited to the three-mile trail run, which aims to inspire interest in preserving parks and natural spaces. The run includes a pre-registration fee of $5 or a day-of registration fee of $10.

For more information on Eastern’s Campus Sustainability Week, as well as activities happening at other campuses, visit the online calendar at http://www.easternct.edu/sustainenergy/files/2017/10/Campus-Sustainability-Week-2017.pdf.

The Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability was founded and co-chaired by Eastern and Yale for the purpose of sharing information, developing partnerships and implementing strategies to address different sustainability issues.


Art Contest for Renewable Energy

Blending Public Artwork with Renewable Energy

Willimantic, CT —  The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University is partnering with the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership (WWP), the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Office of the Arts and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) to sponsor a design competition to create a new work of public art along the Willimantic River. The art piece must generate clean energy and will be built on the newly remediated plot of land adjacent to the river owned by WWP.

WWP envisions the site functioning as an urban green space connecting residents and visitors to the river and trails for recreational use. According to WWP President Jim Turner, “After the successful completion of a long remediation process, the site is now ready for the next step toward becoming a community asset. We are thrilled about the partnership we’ve formed with ISE, the state Office of the Arts and LAGI, and about the support we’re received from the town of Windham.

“The design competition promises to generate exciting new ways to think about the river and its role in town life. This project will highlight Willimantic as a place whose history and future are linked to renewable energy.”

The goals for the project include creating a striking visual place-making emblem (like the Frog Bridge) that generates its own power; providing a welcoming hub for hikers and cyclists; and drawing people and commerce to downtown Willimantic.

The design competition encourages a multi-disciplinary approach, soliciting entries from teams of architects, artists, engineers, graphic designers, scientists, landscape designers and students. Entrants have the opportunity to make innovative contributions to the ongoing recreational plans to connect the community to the river and be part of the overall economic revitalization of Willimantic.

An optional informational meeting will occur on Oct. 11, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room of Eastern Connecticut T State University’s J. Eugene Smith Library. The meeting will also be video-recorded and posted online.

Responses to the Request for Qualifications” form are due by Nov. 10.  Three teams will be selected to submit a detailed concept design due Feb. 12. Each selected team will receive a $10,000 stipend. One of the three design concepts will be selected and built. For more information and for the Request for Qualifications form, please visit http://www.landartgenerator.org/lagi-willimantic.html.

Eastern a Green College 8 Years in a Row

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

The rear facade 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 (09/22/2017) For the eighth year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University was named a “green” college by the Princeton Review. The announcement came on Sept. 20 when the review released its 2017 “Guide to 375 Green Colleges.”

The guide profiles colleges with the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives and activities. Colleges were chosen for the guide based on “Green Rating” scores (from 60 to 99) that were tallied in summer 2017 for 629 colleges using data from its 2016-17 survey. More than 25 data points were weighted in the assessment. Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into this guide.

Eastern's dining hall reduces food waste by donating and composting excess food, and encouraging students to take only what they can eat.

Eastern’s dining hall reduces food waste by donating and composting excess food, and encouraging students to take only what they can eat.

In addition to a strong environmental earth science program – as well as a new minor in environmental health science – Eastern’s campus boasts four LEED-certified buildings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). A fifth building, the new Fine Arts Instructional Center, is currently under LEED review. These buildings feature daylight-harvesting and gray-water systems, recycled flooring, native plants and biofilter systems to reduce rainwater runoff.

A new initiative to reduce food waste is occurring at Eastern’s dining hall, Hurley Hall. The three-pronged program involves offering students plates (rather than trays) of food, donating leftovers to the local soup kitchen and composting discarded food.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern is currently leading a statewide initiative called Sustainable CT, a certification program that will provide a roadmap of best practices and resources to help communities become more efficient, healthy, safe, resilient and livable.

Green Logo-Sustainable-CT_Logo_color_square_no_badge_300dpi“Among more than 10,000 teens and parents who participated in our 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 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,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges.”

The Princeton Review’s 2017 “Guide to 375 Green Colleges” is available at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide. The review first published this guide in 2010. It remains the only free, annually updated guide to green colleges. The review is also known for its dozens of categories of college rankings in its annual books, “The Best 382 Colleges” and “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

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.

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.”


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.


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.”


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.”