Eastern Club Hockey Helps Raise Money for Autism Awareness

Eastern Connecticut State University’s club hockey team beat Roger Williams University (RWU) by a score of 6-2 on Nov. 21, in a special game played to support autism awareness.  The players wore ribbons on their helmets and uniforms and the RWU team also had custom jerseys that showcased the national autism awareness logo.

RWU also sponsored an alumni game to further raise money and awareness. An RWU hockey player’s brother, who is autistic, also participated in a ceremonial puck drop between Roger Williams’ captain and Eastern Captain Samson Amendola. “Our guys were gentlemen and very supportive of the RWU players and coaching staff,” said Head Coach John Brancati.

Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

“I am proud of Eastern’s club hockey team for partnering with the Roger Williams University hockey team to support autism awareness,” said Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch, one of the club’s advisors. “The team has shown a strong sense of community, within and beyond Eastern. I applaud the team’s commitment and leadership.”

The game attracted a large number of fans, who wore scarfs of blue, the color designated for autism awareness by Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading advocate of autism awareness and research. The fans participated in raffles and purchased custom RWU autism awareness shirts. The jerseys worn by the players will be auctioned off with proceeds going toward autism research.

“As an intern in a special needs middle school who plans to be a special education teacher, I was very touched by this fundraiser,” said Eastern senior Connor Walsh. “Hockey has greatly impacted my four years at Eastern, and I definitely want to incorporate events like this into my future teaching career.”

“I am very proud of my players,” said Brancati. “This fundraiser is a great, fun way to raise money; last year they raised $10,000. I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of it.”

“Key of She” Moves Eastern Audience During A Cappella Performance

Written by Christina Rossmando for the University Relations Press Release

Eastern Connecticut State University’s all-female a cappella group “Key of She” performed a concert on Dec. 3 that featured several top-hit songs of today. The ensemble san songs such as “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, “Gold Digger” by Kanye West and a collection of Beyoncé’s top hits that included “Love on Top” and “Drunk in Love.” The show was in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center and open to the general public with free admission. “Fermata the Blue,” Central Connecticut State University’s all-male a cappella group, opened the show.

“We are an all-female group and arrange pieces using nothing but our voices,” said Junior Medina Hosaini. “We are all very dedicated and focused. We rehearse 3-4 times a week totally about eight hours.” The group is student-run and funded by the Music Society. Students of every age can join, as they go through a tryout and call-back process. Upon acceptance, they are split into groups based on their range of singing.

“I joined last year after a lot of my friends told me about it, and I’m glad I did,” said Hosaini. “I get to do what I love around some really great and talented people. We are honestly more like a family, and our practices are always so much fun.” The group has about 20 talented women. Some described their experience like a sisterhood or sorority. The group opens for the Central Connecticut Sate University a capella group and competed in their first competition last spring, wining first place.

The “Key of She” group surprised me with their talent and ability to move the audience,” said Junior Heaven Caristo-Mobley. “I never thought they would be that good; I also couldn’t believe they don’t use instruments, its all just with their voices.”  “It was like “Pitch Perfect” came to life and this time without auto tune and voice editing,” said Junior Kelsey Testi.

Some songs were sung by the whole group and others were sung by a soloist. Sophomore Alyka Lara soled to the song “Use Somebody” with the group backing her with beats and vocals. “I love to sing the songs of today,” said Lara. “Everyone is so talented and it is comforting to sing with individuals who really know how to sing, giving us the chance to create something truly beautiful.” The Pitch Perfect-esque group has a bright future at Eastern Their second concert is scheduled for the spring with a potential second competition. “It’s just like nothing I’ve ever been apart of before, we are like sisters, we fight but at the end of the day we all share the same love for music,” said Lara.


Dance With Africa

Written for the University Relations Press Release

The African Club at Eastern Connecticut State University will host its annual banquet on Dec. 2 from 7-10 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The evening, titled “Dance with Africa,” will present dance performances from different groups, authentic African food and picture souvenirs reflecting African life, history and culture.

Representatives from “The Shikuri Project,” a non-profit organization that promotes medical treatment for young children suffering from sickle cell disease, will also present at the banquet.

For more information about “Dance with Africa,” contact Dee Agyeman at africanclub@my.easternct.edu

Habitat for Humanity: Shackathon

Written for the University Relations Press Release

Eight members of the Eastern Connecticut State University chapter of Habitat for Humanity slept outdoors in cardboard boxes for the annual “Shackathon” on Oct. 20–21. The event challenged participants to spend a full day outside — academic schedules permitting — sleeping in the elements and only eating donated food. The shackathon aims to raise awareness of homelessness and substandard housing.

“I give so much credit to the homeless,” said Kelvin Powell, president of Eastern’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. “They face so many challenges on a day-to-day basis. The willpower, the mental fortitude; they are easily some of the strongest people.”

Members Ellie Frankinburger ’18, Brian Tomlinson ’17 and Evan LaChance ’19 standing before their boxes the following morning.

A junior majoring in business administration, Powell said it was his third shackathon. He remembers last year’s event when temperatures dipped into the low 20s. “Last night felt like a summer day compared to last year,” he said. Still, with the cold season coming up and the challenges of finding food and shelter, Powell acknowledged that “it’s a hustle” for the homeless in the fall and winter seasons.

Other shackathon-ers did not find the night so pleasant. “It was a cold, long night,” said Brian Tomlinson ’17, a business administration major. At more than six feet tall, Tomlinson added, “My box was super claustrophobic.” Other participants reported waking up throughout the night, bothered by the rain and cold temperatures at 4 a.m.

Club members who participate in shackathon get preference for Habitat’s annual spring break trip, “Collegiate Challenge.” This spring, 14 members will travel to Wilmington, NC, where they will spend the week building houses for those in need. The shackathon is also a fundraiser, with proceeds going to the Windham chapter of Habitat for Humanity. More than $350 were raised this year.