Pride Alliance Ally Week for Eastern Students

(From The Campus Lantern – October 30, 2014) 

Some of the pictures from the Flag Day collage. Pride Alliance / Eastern Connecticut State University

Some of the pictures from the Flag Day collage.
Pride Alliance / Eastern Connecticut State University

Last week from Monday, October 20, to Thursday, October 23, Eastern’s Pride Alliance celebrated their annual Ally Week.  The purpose of the week was to celebrate and thank the allies of the LGBT+ community at Eastern.  Events that were educational, fun, and emotional were held throughout the week and included Out At Eastern, a candlelit vigil, Alphabet Soup, and Flag Day.

“Out At Eastern [was] our big starting off event,” stated Pride Alliance Vice President Lindsey Emblidge.  Clubs and organizations were asked to participate in the event which took place on Monday; of the participants were the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and the Pride Room.  Each organization had its own table, similar to the setup of the President’s Picnic in September.  Members of Pride Alliance helped to run the other tables at the event, which included a tie-dye station, a bracelet-making station, a cotton-candy and popcorn station, and a station in which passersby could dress-up in wigs and feather boas and take pictures.

Tuesday was the candlelight vigil in honor of LBGT+ victims of bullying and harassment.  The event started at the Clock Tower and ended in the Pride Room.  “We wanted to remember those who had to extinguish their own light, so we lit candles in remembrance of them,” said Alexis Cross, the secretary of Pride Alliance.  She continued, “There is a huge amount of LBGT+ students, peers and youths who feel as though they cannot continue on, and we wanted to have an ode to them throughout this week.”  In reflection of the event, people who attended stated that it was a very personal and somber experience.

In addition to the vigil, there was a visibility event in which Pride Alliance members made signs with both positive and negative statistics about the LGBT+ community.  The signs were posted around the Student Center throughout Ally Week for the entire campus to see.

On Wednesday, Pride Alliance hosted Alphabet Soup, which was a bingo-style educational event.  A definition of a sexual orientation or gender identity was called out to participants who then had to find the word around the room.  On the bingo cards were terms related to the LBGT+ acronym and the winner of the game won a prize.  “It was very educational.  A lot of people left knowing more words than they did when they came in, and next year we plan on adding even more words because our acronym continues to get longer throughout the years as more sexual and gender identities are understood and brought to light in the mainstream,” Cross stated.

Flag Day was on Thursday.  Starting on Monday, pictures had been taken throughout the week of people who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community.  On Thursday, Pride Alliance had a table set up in the Student Center to reach out to more of the Eastern community to take pictures to show their support.  The end result was a collage of over fifty photographs of Eastern staff and students.

“The club’s main purpose is to facilitate relations between the LBTQ+ community and the heterosexual community on campus through socials, discussions, education events, and political activism,” Cross stated.  Pride Alliance is working on becoming more politically active in the upcoming semesters; they plan on starting a letter-writing petition to members of Congress and    the Senate about the importance of LGBT+ rights in the United States.  Since the club is so multi-faceted and diverse, especially in terms of members with different sexual orientations and gender identities, they put on many events each semester to involve each member and make sure everyone’s voice in the LGBT+ community is heard on Eastern’s campus.

Pride Alliance meets on Thursdays at 5:30 P.M. in room 221 in the Student Center.

Upcoming WECS Radio Inteview with President Núñez

(From The Campus Lantern – October 30, 2014) 

Morgan Cunningham / Eastern Connecticut State University

Morgan Cunningham / Eastern Connecticut State University

Morgan Cunningham, an Eastern student, has hosted a weekly radio show on WECS Radio for the past five years entitled “Oldies Come to Life.”  The program features audio recordings from the early 1900s to 1979 in which Morgan looks at historically for on-air discussion.  In addition, educational interviews are featured on the show, such as the upcoming series of interviews that feature President Núñez.  The show airs each Friday from 7-9 P.M on 90.1 FM and WECSRadio.com.

Morgan’s interview with President Núñez touches on many aspects of her life, including her journey from Puerto Rico to the United States, her educational background, and her new book.  President Núñez also discusses her work at Eastern, touching upon subjects such as how the school differs from UCONN and the new Duel College Enrollment Program at Eastern.

Interview airdates and times are as follows:

Friday, November 7th, 2014: 8-9 P.M.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014: 1-2 P.M.

Saturday, November 16th, 2014: 11 A.M.-12 P.M

Monday, November 24th: 12-1 P.M.

Tuesday, December 2nd: 7-8 P.M.

Campus Escort Service

(From The Campus Lantern – October 16, 2014) 

Last Thursday, my friend and I took a trip up to Hartford.  By the time we got back to campus it was about half-past midnight.  With the recent assaults that have been happening on campus in the past few weeks, we did not feel safe walking from the Shakespeare parking garage back to Laurel Hall.  That’s when I decided to call our campus’ escort service for the first time.

I called Campus Safety, explained the situation my friend and I were in, and hung up angrily.  The dispatcher informed me that the campus escort service does not usually run when the shuttles are running.  My friend and I had no choice but to walk back to Laurel in the middle of the night.  We did not see one shuttle bus the whole ten-minute walk back to our dorm.

The next day, I looked into what information there was about Public Safety’s escort service on Eastern’s website. The description states: “As part of the ECSU Police Department’s commitment to the safety of our community, an Escort Service is available. Police officers and the student patrol are available to escort individuals to and from any location on campus.”  The escort service is such an important safety tactic on campus, and it deserves a more descriptive statement.  Unless I called the department, I would not have known what hours the escort service runs.  In fact, the website makes it seem like the service is available to students at any time.

I spoke with a few students on campus and they were outraged about my experience.  Especially with the recent assaults, every student I talked to agreed that campus police needs to work on making the students feel safer on campus.  However, the students are not the only ones who are concerned.  I also spoke with officers who work in the Public Safety department, and they are aware of the issue.  They are working on hiring more people to work in the department, specifically in the escort service area.

Having gone through the scenario in which it felt like the university didn’t care about my safety, it was a relief to learn that Public Safety knows that the students are worried about the issue.  I look forward to seeing the improvements that are taking place to make Eastern Connecticut State University the safest campus that it can be.

The Clothesline Project

(From The Campus Lantern – October 16, 2014) 

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Patrick Kmiecik / Eastern Connecticut State University

For a few weeks now there have been decorated t-shirts hanging in the stairwell of the Student Center.  The shirts are a part of the annual Clothesline Project here at Eastern, a visual display of t-shirts that spread awareness about domestic violence and abusive relationships.

The Project started in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1990, and has been happening at Eastern for the past few years. Students from the Women’s Center and Intercultural Center and members of on-campus clubs made the t-shirts, along with people on campus who may have been affected by domestic violence.  Even people who haven’t been directly affected decorated t-shirts to show their support as allies of the cause.

Amber Domond, an Eastern student who works closely with the Women’s Center, said, “It was a profound experience to see all those people come in and show their support in ending domestic violence.”

The Clothesline Project gives victims, survivors, and allies a healthy outlet to voice their experiences with domestic violence.  It is important that their stories are shared with the world to show support and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence.

Erika Sanchez, another student who works closely with the Women’s Center, said, “People take domestic violence lightly.  They think it can’t happen to them, but the truth is that it’s very common and could be happening to their friends or family.  The Clothesline Project helps to end the stigma that domestic violence is a joke.”

The Clothesline Project takes place during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which evolved from the first Day of Unity that was in October 1981.  Eventually, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  It is important for college students to know that females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of intimate partner violence.

Next time you walk through the Student Center, take a look at the t-shirts hanging in the stairwell and show your support to those who are affected by domestic violence.  If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about domestic violence, the coordinator of the Women’s Center, Starsheemar Byrum, can be reached at byrums@easternct.edu.

“Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” Crossover

(From The Campus Lantern – October 2, 2014) 

On Sunday, September 28, Fox aired the first ever Family Guy-The Simpsons crossover episode, “The Simpsons Guy.” The episode was an hour long instead of each show’s usual thirty-minute block. The crossover was filled with the usual raunchy jokes told by Stewie and Peter, as well as Homer’s usual donut eating and pranking by Bart.

The Griffins found themselves in Springfield after Peter published an offensive comic and was booted out of Quahog by protesters. The family ended up at the Kwik-E-Mart where they met Homer Simpson.

Each member of the Griffin family hit it off with someone in the Simpson family. As one would have expected, Peter and Homer bonded over eating donuts; Bart and Stewie prank called Moe’s together; Meg and Lisa played the saxophone; Marge and Lois saw a movie together; Chris and Maggie shared a pacifier; even Brian and Santa’s Little Helper went on a walk together.

Throughout the episode, running jokes from each show make appearances. In one scene, the infamous Kool-Aid Man called Peter and said that he went to the wrong location so he wouldn’t be able to burst through the wall. In another, Stewie wrote on a chalkboard in a Bart-like fashion. Towards the end of the episode, Homer and Peter took part in a seemingly never-ending “chicken fight.” The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy even made a snarky comment at the end of the episode.

The repeated jokes about how Family Guy copies off The Simpsons – there was one scene in which similar characters from each show sat next to each other and the obvious lack of creativity between the shows was painful – were a little too forced. I prefer the Simpsons over Family Guy – to me, the former is a classic and the latter is a little too offensive and straightforward for my taste.

Overall, the episode was entertaining. Crossovers are easy to mess up and hard to get right – I’d say “The Simpsons Guy” was somewhere in between.

Ebola Outbreak in the U.S.

(From The Campus Lantern – October 2, 2014) 

As of Wednesday, October 1, there is a confirmed case of Ebola in Texas. According to CNN, the patient recently flew from Liberia to Dallas. Liberia is one of the countries that have been hit hardest by the outbreak.

Before hysteria ensues here in the States, it is important to look at the facts on Ebola. According to the White House’s website, “[the] Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding.” It is important to note that Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids and cannot be transmitted through air, food, or water in the United States.

Undergraduate Research at Eastern

(From The Campus Lantern – September 18, 2014) 

There is a resource on Eastern’s campus that more students should be taking advantage of, yet not many know about it. Under the “Campus Culture” section of the Student Portal on Eastern’s website, there is a link on the bottom left which reads “Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.” Through this office, students can be connected to opportunities to work with faculty mentors on research projects or creative work. Students can also apply for research and travel grants, fellowships and scholarships and find summer research or creative programs at other schools that provide stipends and housing. It is important to note that undergraduate research is being conducted across most disciplines here at Eastern; students are encouraged to start thinking about participating as early as possible by talking to faculty in their departments.

The website is a useful resource for learning more about the research opportunities that Eastern offers. The website explains that “[l]ong-term, scholarly activity outside of the classroom has been tied to graduate school acceptance” and “[c]areer preparation is also enhanced by undergraduate research and creative work.” Students can browse completed projects by other Eastern undergraduates, learn about resources that are available to those who would like to do research, and read news about the department. There is also an area of the website which offers tips for successful ways for students to present their research, including how to make a poster using PowerPoint. These are tools that can be used not only when conducting research but also when students are in the classroom. The website also features student work that has been published, presented or exhibited.

Eric Cerino, Eastern alumnus of the class of 2014 who completed six projects through the Undergraduate Research department, says, “I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Escoto and other Eastern professors through the years inform me about research and encourage me to delve into multiple research projects. My mentors Drs. Lanagan-Leitzel, Leszczynski and Salters-Pedneault constantly pushed me towards disseminating my findings at conferences and through publications.”

Because of his work through the department, Cerino is now enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Oregon State University and receives tuition reimbursement and a substantial stipend. He continues, “Eastern provides the foundation and background for a successful research career and promotes students to discover a passion they wish to make a difference in. As a successful aging researcher, I identify cognitive, physical, and societal factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle in older adults through interdisciplinary methods. I can say wholeheartedly that Eastern is responsible for the development of this passion.”

The Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Dr. Carlos A. Escoto, can be contacted at escotoc@easternct.edu for students who are interested in learning more about undergraduate research, its benefits, and how to get involved in a project.