Getting Healthy Naturally at Eastern

‘Our Bodies Naturally Want to be Healthy’

Tonya Pasternak

Tonya Pasternak

Written by Jordan Corey

To discuss naturopathic medicine and its role in the realm of health care, Dr. Tonya Pasternak was featured as part of Eastern Connecticut State University’s “University Hour” series on Sept. 27. Ultimately, the field aims to promote internal and external well-being, its practitioners emphasizing the significance of getting to know a patient in detail. “We fill in the cracks of things that may not be paid attention to otherwise,” said Pasternak, who works for Collaborative Natural Health Services.

Pasternak compared naturopathic medicine to conventional medicine, the training required to become a naturopathic doctor, and closed with a brief look at treating fatigue – one of the most common complaints patients seek medical attention for.

Naturopathic medicine, explained Pasternak, largely focuses on the body’s ability and inherent desire to heal itself. Rather than revolving around the importance of pharmaceuticals, naturopaths approach patient care with more natural substances and therapies. The practice is a type of holistic medicine, which means in order to find the right treatment, doctors examine a patient’s body, mind and spirit functioning together. “We take the whole person into consideration,” she noted.

The doctor gave the audience a rundown of six guidelines that naturopathic doctors follow: to do no harm; to identify and treat the cause; to advocate for the healing power of nature; to not only be a doctor but a teacher; to treat the whole person; and to prioritize prevention. With these principles in mind, naturopaths try to find the least invasive, least toxic means of discovering root causes of health issues and resolving them.

Pasternak pointed out that while naturopathic medicine has many benefits, it does have its limitations and there is only so much that can be done on that level. “Thank God for pharmaceuticals and things like antibiotics and surgery,” she stated, in reference to treating more serious conditions. Pasternak highlighted that the practice is strong in areas where conventional medicine – and its health care system – falls short.

Because of pressure from insurance companies, Pasternak argued, patients are rushed in and out of visits with their primary care doctors, and “people are just left suffering” as a result. “People’s bodies are being subdivided,” she said, raising concerns about the use of multiple specialists to treat one person’s health problems – a stark contrast to the holistic naturopathic approach.

“The medical system doesn’t really allow people to be heard,” said the doctor, touching on her time spent volunteering in Seattle tent cities, one of the first homeless tent communities to be sponsored and accepted by local governments. Seeing and treating those with extremely limited resources, restricted access to food, and no money for health care products pushed Pasternak as a student and made her a better naturopathic doctor. Asking herself early in her career, “What do I possibly have to offer that could make them better?” she now continuously keeps in mind the magnitude of meeting people where they’re at.

Author Malik Champlain Visits Eastern, Speaks on Racial Injustice

Malik Champlain

Malik Champlain

Written by Jordan Corey

Motivational speaker and author Malik Champlain spoke at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 6 during the school’s “University Hour” series. As part of #EasternBlackout Day, Champlain gave a presentation on how to remain proactive in the face of oppression. Attendees were encouraged to dress in all black as tribute to black and African-American people who have died unjustly at the hands of law enforcement.

Before starting, Champlain projected a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that read “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” which set the tone for the following hour. He began his lecture by thanking those who attended the University’s recent rally in support of DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — and introduced himself through poetry.

Students gather for a group photo for "Blackout Day," in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Students gather for a group photo for “Blackout Day,” in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

The topic of racism has long surrounded discussions of American society, becoming especially prevalent in the past few years. Champlain is one of many who feels a personal responsibility to speak, and more importantly, act out against it. He shared with the audience his own experiences, including marching in Washington, D.C. and co-sponsoring nonprofit organizations such as The Black Man Can Institute.

“Now is going to be in the history books,” he said, urging students to play their own part in joining a movement and emphasizing that sometimes it only takes one person to jumpstart something big.

Champlain provided a list of eight ways to get involved with a social justice movement, including educating oneself on a particular movement and using social media as a platform. Coming full-circle in his speech, Champlain concluded with a rhyme: “When I say Black Lives Matter, I look at you,” he said, “When you hear Black Lives Matter, what will you do?”

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Hundreds of Eastern Students Attend Student Activities Fair

Written by Jolene Potter

Organization of Latin American Students

Organization of Latin American Students

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

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

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

Black Student Union

Black Student Union

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

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

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

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

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

BioChemistry Club

BioChemistry Club

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

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

 

Eastern to Host Public Dance Classes

DAD_flyer

Written by Michael Rouleau

WILLIMANTIC, CT (08/23/2017) Dancers of all ages and levels are invited to visit Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 9 for a day of dance workshops led by Eastern faculty, alumni and current students. Dance Awareness Day will occur in the Fine Arts Instructional Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Class offerings will include hip-hop, modern, tap and jazz dancing, as well as classes for yoga/Pilates, technique and more.

Space is limited. Initial registration begins at 8:30 a.m., though participants can register up to 10 minutes before individual classes. Participants under the age of 18 must be registered by a parent or guardian. Prices for the general public are $5 per class or $15 for four classes. Dance Awareness Day is sponsored by the Modern Movement student club at Eastern. For more information, contact Modern Movement at modern@my.easternct.edu.

Students Study Health Care in Ghana

Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18
Photo courtesy of Helena Delfino '18

 

Written by Michael Rouleau

Ten health sciences students from Eastern Connecticut State University returned from a study abroad trip in Ghana this August. The purpose of the two-week trip was to introduce students to the health care system of a developing country.

Trip highlights included two days at Mampong Hospital, a rural facility where the students observed two live births. “Students got to see a cesarean section and hold a five-minute old baby, which is an unparalleled experience,” said trip supervisor Rochelle Gimenez, a health sciences professor at Eastern.

“My goal is to become a labor and delivery nurse,” said Helena Delfino ’18. “We all got the chance to stand in the operating room and watch a cesarean section! A few days later we observed a natural birth; I got to stand next to the table and hold the baby boy immediately after he entered the world. This experience solidified my dream of becoming a labor and delivery nurse.”

The Eastern students also spent time at an orphanage and gained first-hand knowledge of the local infrastructure while touring a water-treatment plant and an environmental health/sanitation center. They also visited local markets, a game reserve, a monkey sanctuary, a cultural center, a rainforest, and learned about the slave trade at Cape Coast Castle.

“After returning home, the impact of my trip has really become apparent,” said Allison Nadeau ’17. “As an American-born citizen, I have never known any other lifestyle. My times of hardship are minuscule in comparison to what Ghanaians may go through daily. Clean water, wash rooms, consistent electricity and drivable roads are things that I have taken for granted in the United States. Ghanaians showed me the simplicity of true happiness.”

Students Write Fiction in Italy

 

Written by Michael Rouleau

Fourteen students from Eastern Connecticut State University spent a month this summer in Florence, Italy, in a global field course called “Creative Writing Abroad.” The region of Tuscany’s rich culture and picturesque landscapes inspired students’ literary senses as they wrote, critiqued and edited original works of fiction.

“While my story had an element of fantasy, other students in the class wrote about realistic scenarios,” explained Victoria Randazzo ’18. “One thing everyone’s story shared was a touch of Florence. Whether characters or places, everyone drew from our daily experiences. I was happy to get more in touch with my creative side; the beauty of Florence was an inspiration.”

“I was able to put a lot of detailed description into my story that I wouldn’t have been able to had I not been there firsthand to see how the city looked, how the people interacted, and the feeling of being away for an extended period of time adapting to another culture,” said McKenzie Fayne ’17. “Being in Italy as a creative writing student gave me the tools I needed to step out of my comfort zone in terms of writing style. I enjoyed writing this piece on my own terms and being able to perfect it while in such a beautiful city.”

Led by English Professor Christopher Torockio, the students gathered for writing workshops at SACI—Studio Arts College International (in Florence)—and immersed themselves in Italian culture as they visited the famed cities of Fiesole, Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca and Pisa.

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

An Exciting Year for Singers: Groban, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Montreal

Chamber-Singers-with-Groban-at-Mohegan-Sun

Written by Michael Rouleau

Student vocalists had an exciting 2015-16 academic year, singing in several high-profile productions including performances with Josh Groban and the “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience,” as well as a three-show tour in upstate New York and Montreal.

The Chamber Singers, Eastern’s premier vocal ensemble, left such a positive impression when they performed with singer/songwriter Josh Groban in fall 2015 that they were asked to perform with him again at the Mohegan Sun Arena on July 29, 2016. The ensemble joined Groban on stage for “Dust and Ashes” and “You Raise me Up.”

“It’s particularly gratifying when professionals recognize Eastern’s exceptional work,” said David Belles music professor and conductor at Eastern. “Having an artist of international acclaim ask us to perform is an honor. The university should be proud of these students.”

Rehearsal for "Game of Thrones" concert

Rehearsal for “Game of Thrones” concert

On Feb. 25, 19 students sang in the “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience” at Mohegan Sun Arena. Led by renowned composer Ramin Djawadi, students performed in an epic three-hour concert alongside professional musicans before a sold-out crowd. The best compositions from “Game of Thrones” were brought to life with footage from famous scenes and special effects, capturing the grand scale of a series that has been hailed as one of the best television programs of all time.

“It was truly an honor and a privilege to work with and be conducted by Ramin Djawadi,” said music major Hannah Bythrow ’17. “The only word that can truly describe this experience is ‘immersive.’ Being able to even be one piece in this huge puzzle was inspiring and amazing.”

The Chamber Singers embarked on its annual spring tour this past March, performing twice in upstate New York and once in Montreal. In its tour, titled “Poetry and Praise,” the ensemble presented music that spans 400 years of history from both secular and sacred traditions.

“Poetry and Praise” was divided into two halves; the first featuring music dealing with topics of nature, the second examining various texts about devotion and praise from a sacred perspective. “Equally expressive, both halves of the program enlightened, informed and entertained audience members,” concluded Belles.

Honors Students Study Environmental Conflict in Costa Rica

 

Written by Michael Rouleau

A group of honors students from Eastern Connecticut State University spent 10 days in Costa Rica in May 2017 for a field course that examined the country’s rich biodiversity and developing agricultural industry.

“This course required students to examine the conflict between preservation of the tropical rainforest and Costa Rica’s economic shift to export-focused agriculture,” said Patricia Szczys, biology professor and trip supervisor.

“Our trips to plantations as well as conservation centers and the tropical rainforest allowed us to see how the Costa Rican citizens feel about the conflict, what they’re doing to fix it, and put our research into perspective,” said Michelle D’Agata ’18, a sport and leisure management major. “Overall, I found that the citizens, scientists and plantation owners have positive attitudes and genuine concerns for the environment, and plantation owners use a number of tactics to minimize their negative impacts.”

The trip to Costa Rica was the field component of a course taken on the Eastern campus during the academic year. The students toured the tropical rainforest as well as plantations that grow pineapples, bananas, peppercorn and coffee. They even participated in a community service project where they planted 100 trees at a peppercorn farm as part of a reforestation effort.

“Costa Rica was certainly a great conclusion to my undergraduate career!” said Kayla Giordano ’17, a political science and economics double major. “I think the most eye-opening part of the trip was experiencing how our food is grown and how different agriculture is in Costa Rica compared to the United States. I’m glad I spent the semester learning about the biodiversity in Costa Rica before actually traveling to the country. It was awesome to be able to identify species we’d discussed in class during excursions into the rainforest.”