More than 1,000 Eastern students completed internships, student teaching and volunteer programs in the Windham Public Schools during the 2011-12 school year. The Center for Community Engagement volunteer programs for English Language Learners during the school day as well as after school to increase academic achievement and cultural understanding. Students developed mentoring programs at high schools in Windham and Hartford, ran a summer math enrichment camp for local children, and facilitated food and nutrition programs for children. Lauren Greeney, a Senior Sociology major from Bethel, CT, organized an “Interschool Walk for Warmth” in October for the four elementary schools and Windham Middle School which raised awareness of issues of poverty and raised money for the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry’s Fuel Assistance Fund. Maiyah Gamble-Rivers, Senior Art History Major from Providence, RI, has organized an “Art and Culture” event for the past two years which brings children from the four Windham elementary schools to Eastern for an afternoon of arts enrichment. The theme for 2012 was African art and culture. The program included storytelling by Eastern students and Dr. Raouf Mama, Professor of English, as well as music, theater and fine art workshops.
Eastern hosts four blood drives a year. In 2010 and 2011, Eastern earned the SILVER award from the Red Cross Blood Center for having more than 10 percent of the Eastern community donate blood. More than 625 pints of blood were donated in 2011 by Eastern community members. Social Work students Leah Hershberger, Daasha Mallory and Tanika Dixon worked with the local American Red Cross office to organize the “Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive Challenge” aimed at recruiting Latino/Hispanic blood donors and bone marrow registrations and promoting healthy living. Resident Assistants in the Office of Housing and Residential Life recruit volunteers to donate blood and to assist with the blood drives throughout the year.