State Commissioners Visit Eastern

On Oct. 1, Robert Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), attracted a full house of students, faculty and Willimantic residents in the Science Building Auditorium, where he discussed environmentalism in Connecticut and the work of the DEEP.

 The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was established in the 1970s. At the time, “the Connecticut River was regarded as the most beautiful open sewage system in America,” said Klee. Energy was added to the DEP’s mission in 2011, and the agency’s name was changed.

A challenge the DEEP continues to face is balancing environmental initiatives with energy initiatives — they often clash. “Some want pristine forests and rivers to fish in; others want hydroelectric power plants along the rivers,” said Klee.
We are a leader in the nation when it comes to financing energy projects,” he continued, citing Connecticut’s “green bank.” “We’re also seeing huge increases in solar power and electric vehicles.”

Klee said climate change is largely the result of inefficient energy use, and is changing the physical environment, evidenced by such phenomena as rising sea levels and affects on wildlife. “Storms are more frequent and intense than in the past. Our infrastructure can’t handle it.” Should a massive power outage occur, Klee mentioned the development of “micro grids” within the larger grid.

A student questioned the correlation between development and pollution, citing how repaving roads increases pollution runoff into waterways. “Repaving the roads is necessary,” Klee said. “Another example is the building of the rail system along the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield corridor. It’s a large project that will produce waste, but it’s a big step in mass transit.”


Eastern students, faculty and staff, area residents and public officials packed the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room on Oct. 1, when Eastern hosted the monthly meeting of the State of Connecticut African-American Affairs Commission (AAAC).

  President Elsa Núñez greeted the commissioners. AAAC Executive Director Glen Cassis and Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury, who is a Commission member, presented the audience with an overview of the commission, describing its origin, statute, mission, legislative priorities, accomplishments, statistical data and issues of interest. The audience asked questions about education, criminal justice, health, affordability of higher education, racial profiling and President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Fred Pierre-Louis, the commission’s chairman and Subira Gordon, the commission’s legislative analyst, shared information on resources for students to use to gain access to higher education and ways to help pay for it.

The mission of the AAAC is to improve and promote the economic development, education, health and political wellbeing of the African American community in Connecticut. It accomplishes these goals through information sharing, promoting cultural awareness, community networking and legislation. For more information, visit:

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Author of “My Accidental Jihad” Shares Her Love Affair with Eastern


On Sept. 17, author Krista Bremer discussed her memoir “My Accidental Jihad: A Love Story” in the Science Building as part of Eastern’s University Hour series. “My Accidental Jihad” tells the story of Bremer’s love affair with an older Muslim man from Libya, and the cultural struggles that followed after they married and started a family. “I wrote this book to, in part, declare my relationship as a love story, but not an airbrushed one like what we are fed growing up.”

When discussing the memoir’s title, Bremer said, “‘Jihad’ is a very volatile word in our society. There are many connotations and misunderstandings with it. ‘Jihad’ means struggle, and it’s the perfect word to describe the inspired struggle that is marriage.”

Bremer met Ismail, her husband to be, as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina. Avid runners, they crossed paths on the trail several times before deciding to run together. “He was older, darker, poorer than me. We were from two totally different worlds,” said Bremer, a lifelong surfer who was raised in southern California by “hippie parents.” Ismail, already in his 40s at the time, was raised by illiterate parents in an impoverished Libyan village.

“I remember when I first saw his little apartment. I thought he was poor. But he didn’t feel his material circumstance was any reflection of who he was. I grew to love his minimalism and sought refuge there from all the clutter of my apartment,” she said.

“As our relationship took off, I went into a bit of a crisis. We had radically different views of the world,” she continued. Now, having been married for more than 10 years, Bremer can look back on this initial struggle with clarity. “All relationships are bicultural, whether you marry someone from across town or across the world. You need to find a way to balance and embrace different perspectives.”

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First Blood Drive of the Year

We always knew Eastern students were generous with their time, but as it turns out, they are also very generous with their blood. Eastern’s first blood drive, which took place on October 6-7, was a huge success. Seventy-five pints were collected on Monday and 93 pints were collected on Tuesday. Over 200 students, faculty, staff and friends donated. If a student didn’t feel comfortable donating, they volunteered their time at the recruitment tables 2 weeks before the blood drive, as well as at the registration table and canteen on the days of the blood drive.  A special thank you to Dominos Pizza for donating 18 pizzas each day for the donors. Way to go Warriors!!  In two days you saved 504 lives.  You truly are giving the gift of life!

Our next Blood Drive is scheduled for December 1 – 2 in the Betty Tipton Room.  Appointments can be made online at or by contacting Nancy Brennan at 860-423-0856,

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Creative Writing Abroad, in Florence, Italy

This summer, 11 students from Eastern spent the month of July in Florence, Italy, on an intensive creative writing workshop. With its rich culture and scenic Tuscan views, Florence was chosen as the location for the workshop to inspire students’ creative and literary senses as they wrote, critiqued and edited original works fiction and poetry.

            The Eastern students worked in the courtyard of Studio Art Centers International (SACI) where, surrounded by gardens, they produced their own works of poetry and short fiction. “Taking inspiration from the Renaissance art around every corner, and the beauty of the Tuscan countryside, students immersed themselves in lively Italian culture and produced their own stunning works of art,” said English Professor Chris Torockio, supervisor of the trip.


The five-week workshop, titled Creative Writing Abroad, is the summer highlight of the English Department. The trip included visits to the famed and picturesque cities of Lucca, Siena, Pisa, Fiesole and San Gimignano, as well as visits to museums, galleries and other attractions.

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Award-Winning Best Buddies Produce New Video!


Eastern’s Best Buddies chapter, which was recently named the best chapter in the country, has produced it first movie! See how the group spreads its mantra of compassion and humanity by visiting

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Eastern Celebrates a Rich History of Environmental Sustainability

On Sept. 30, the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) and Community Garden hosted an open house to educate students and faculty on the efforts of both the ISE and Grow Windham. Grow Windham coordinates with the Windham High School Community Program to show students the process of growing, collecting and making food, with the mission of promoting urban sustainability and community education. Most of the food grown in the garden is donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry to assist with community needs.

“The open house showcased the community program’s salsa dulce, which was made entirely from vegetables grown in the garden,” said  Laura Miller, ISE’s energy technical specialist for education. ISE has worked to promote energy efficiency and sustainability both on campus and in Connecticut since 2001, through cooperative work with state agencies, municipalities, colleges, universities, K-12 schools, businesses, and non-profit organizations. The community garden, located adjacent to ISE, is maintained by volunteers from different organizations, including Grow Windham.

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HPE Professor Lee Visits Malaysia

On Sept. 23, Anita Lee, associate professor of health and physical education, reflected on her presentation at the 10th International Sport Science Conference, hosted by the Universiti Sains Malaysia University of Science, Malaysia (CUSM) at Kota Bharu, Malaysia, where she was invited to speak in August. Her presentation, “Physical Activity Epidemiology: Behavioral and Social Approaches to Promoting Physical Activity in the United States,” was well-received by international scholars.

Lee shared what she learned in Malaysia and titled her presentation “Physical Activity in Malaysia: A Journey in a Muslim Country and Liberal Art Education.” Her illuminating lecture enabled the Eastern community to learn about foreign culture without traveling.

In Malaysia, Lee also visited the USM Sports Science Unit, Health Science Campus , where she engaged  undergraduate, graduate students and faculty, and learned about the physical activity, diet, obesity status and culture of Malaysia. The Office of Diversity and Equity and the Minority Recruitment and Retention Fund financially supported Lee’s trip to Malaysia.

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“On the Verge” to Show in the Harry Hope Theatre

From Oct. 7–12, the Performing Arts Department and Drama Society at Eastern is presenting its first production of the semester, “On the Verge; or the Geography of Yearning.” The play is a comedy and pop culture commentary that follows the expedition of three Victorian women explorers. Their journey to “Terra Incognita” (Latin for “Lands Unknown”) takes them through space and time, from 1888 to 1955, happening upon nine diverse characters along the way.

While Professor Chase Rozelle III has served as the Theatre Department’s technical director for many years, “On the Verge” is the first Eastern production he has directed. “I love the language and the premise of the play; the script is really strong. The humor is great; it’s both slapstick and intellectual,” said Rozelle.

“On the Verge” stars four student actors. The three explorers are loosely based off real-life Victorian women, and played by Caitlighn Foley (Mary), a sophomore majoring in theatre and accounting; Stephanie Madden (Alex), a junior majoring in psychology and theatre; and Sarah Oschmann (Fanny), a senior majoring in theatre. The aforementioned remaining nine characters are all played by junior biology major John Paul DeVeglia. “We cast for the play in the spring and started rehearsal the first day of classes,” said Rozelle. “I have a dream cast. Every day we have so much fun.”

The play was originally written in 1985 by Eric Overmyer, and utilizes witty, esoteric language and humor typical of the Victorian era. Among the nine characters played by DeVeglia is a yeti, who adds to the comedy of the play. Costume designer and new faculty member Amanda Whitfield has had a large impact upon the production as well. “Her costumes are phenomenal. Amanda is a most creative artist,” said Rozelle. The production team also includes two Eastern alumni: Gabriel Luxton ’11 is the production’s sound designer and Matthew Pryke ’12 is the lighting designer.

Above, Caitlighn Foley (Mary), Stephanie Madden (Alex), and Sarah Oschmann (Fannie) play Victorian lady explorers in “On the Verge; or The Geography of Yearning,” which runs October 7-12, 2014 in the Harry Hope Theatre. The play will run from Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 7–11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Harry Hope Theatre. There will be a Sunday, Oct. 12, matinee at 4 p.m. For reservations, call the box office at (860) 465-5123.

Music Program Hosts Brown Bag Concert

On Sept. 26, in Shafer Auditorium, Eastern’s Music Program presented the second Brown Bag Recital in the series of noontime recitals and colloquia during the semester.  Audience members enjoyed lunch during the informal presentation that allowed musicians to demonstrate what they are learning from their teachers in the percussion, woodwind, guitar and voice studios.

This concert featured Andrew Faria, guitar; Kelsey Fuller, piano; Jessica Fraleigh, flute; Arnold Fraccaroli, marimba; Judy Reid, Alto; Mindy DeDominicis, soprano; Alexis Kurtz, soprano; and T. Venlo Odom, percussion.

The public is invited to attend the noon-hour free concerts; admission is free. The Brown Bag Concert series is an opportunity for students who are studying applied music to demonstrate their skills on a regular basis in a relaxed environment. This opportunity is outside of the normal setting of large concerts that occur regularly on campus, and serves as a way for individuals to perform solo material.

The concerts are an hour in length and are held on the second Friday of every month. They are performed in a friendly, inviting setting, and the audience is encouraged to bring lunch and enjoy the music. For more information on the Brown Bag Concert series schedule for the remainder of the semester visit

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Eastern Student Witnesses Historical “No” to Independence in Scotland

On Sept. 18, David Coffey, a senior majoring in political science, witnessed close up the Scotland referendum to decide whether the country would stay with the United Kingdom or become an independent country. Coffey was in Scotland while the voting occurred. It was an experience he will not soon forget.

“It seems like on nearly every street corner there were people handing out “Yes” flyers. In addition to that, ‘yes’ graffiti was spattered upon statues from one end of the city to the next. Scarcely a person I spoke to did not have a ‘yes’ button on their shirt or jacket. Judging by Edinburgh alone, I was convinced that Scotland would soon become its own country, separate from the rest of Great Britain.

Coffey experienced the city’s night life, hanging out with a fellow American and a group of Pro-yes Scotsmen, where he learned about their cause, even growing empathetic to their cause. “They spoke of growing tired of things like feeling unrepresented in London. They also explained their opposition to foreign wars that Westminster had them get involved with. These concerns echoed my own issues with politics in the United States. Though I arrived with a mostly neutral mindset, by the end of the night, I was chanting ‘yes!’ too!”

When Coffey heard about the “No” vote, he feared what he would see in the streets. To his pleasant surprise though, it was just another regular day in Edinburgh. He thinks he knows why. “Everyone was so civil. This wasn’t something voted upon by out-of-touch politicians in London; it was a popular vote by the average people of Scotland. What I observed in Edinburgh was a strong camaraderie amongst the Scottish people, one that they would not throw away over a political disagreement. This is what the majority of the Scottish people wanted, and everyone seemed to respect that. For better or worse, the people have spoken, and they have said they want to stay with the United Kingdom. This was a victory for democracy; I hope it ends up being a victory for Scotland too.”

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Graduate School Fair

The Center for Internships and Career Development hosted a Graduate School Fair on Oct. 2 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The fair is held each fall semester to help students apply for graduate programs. Graduate programs from around the region attend, including representatives from other institutions around the state. Even if graduate school is a few years away, the fair provides helpful information in helping students plan and prepare for graduate school. For more information on the fair, including all the graduate schools that participated in the fair, visit:

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Poverty Awareness Marathon Number 57!

On Sept. 19, students and faculty gathered outside the Student Center at Eastern to run a marathon to show of support for the 46.2 million people in the United States living in poverty. The goal of the marathon, organized by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), was to collect 462 nonperishable food items to donate to the local Covenant Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry in Willimantic.

A donation was required to register for the 26.5 mile run around campus, with each lap consisting of 1.2 miles. Participants were encouraged to come and go as their schedule permitted.


Donations of money and children’s books were also accepted, as well as pledges to read to children at Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) on campus.

Luis Rodriguez, assistant director of the CCE, was impressed with the turnout. “This is the first major volunteer event of the year. Professors brought their entire classes — clubs and sports teams came out, too,” he said. “The event showed that there is a community beyond Eastern. Eastern and Willimantic—we’re one big community here.”

Associate Professor Charlie Chatterton, chair of the Health and Physical Education Department, has been instrumental in the marathon’s success since the beginning. The marathon was number 57 in his “Take Strides to Brake the Cycle of Poverty Marathon” initiative, a personal crusade in which Eastern has played an important role. “As a group, 335 individuals participated in the marathon, collectively completing more than 667 miles and collecting 561 nonperishable food items for the Covenant Soup Kitchen,” said Chatterton. “It took me about five and a half hours to complete, but we had stops along the way to visit the CDFRC to run with the kids, and often took breaks at the exchange point every 1.2 miles. Ari de Wilde, assistant professor of health and physical education, also completed 20-21 miles as well, as he is preparing for the Hartford Marathon. ”

CCE student leader and event organizer Lily Egan ’15, a communications major from Colchester, said, “I’m so impressed by the amount of compassion and community spirit all of the students and all participants have shown. I’m proud to go to a school that comes together like this.”

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Four From Eastern Tabbed in LEC Weekly Awards Program

Four Eastern student-athletes have been singled out for honors by the Little East Conference in its weekly award program. In the fifth weekly report, freshmen Emily Becher (Brooklyn) of the women’s soccer program and Alex Kallgren (Dudley, MA) of the field hockey program gained individual honors for the second time this year, while sophomores Tyler Jones (Vernon) and Greg Walton (Brunswick) of the men’s soccer team were cited for the first time in 2014.

Becher and Jones were selected as Offensive Player-of-the-Week, Kallgren as Rookie-of-the-Week and Walton Goalkeeper-of-the-Week in their respective sports. Earlier this season, Becher was cited as Rookie-of-the-Week in the second report and Kallgren was named Rookie-of-the-Week in the conference’s third weekly report. As a freshman, Walton was selected Goalkeeper-of-the-Week in the fourth and fifth reports of 2013 after extending his scoreless streak to 551 minutes and 16 seconds.

A midfielder, Becher moved into share of the Little East lead in goals (6) and game-winning goals (3) by scoring three of the Warriors’ four goals in a 1-1-0 week, which included a 3-1 win over defending LEC playoff champion Keene State College. Becher, the top freshman goal-scorer in the conference, scored twice 2:24 apart as Eastern emerged from a 1-1 halftime tie with Keene to defeat the Owls at home for the eighth straight time. Becher’s goal total already exceeds the team’s top goal-scorer from a year ago.

Also a midfielder, Kallgren took over the Little East lead in goals Saturday by contributing an insurance goal midway through the second half in a 2-0 conference win over Framingham State University. Kallgren’s eight-goal total in eight matches is the second-most by a freshman in program history and equals the seventh-most in a season by any player. Four of her goals and nine of her team-leading 18 points (equaling the second-most in the conference and most by a freshman) have come in two Little East victories.

In field hockey, the Warriors have had three weekly selections in the first five weeks after coming up empty last season. Jones, a first-year sophomore transfer forward, scored the only goals during Eastern’s 2-0-0 week which included 1-0 shutouts wins over regionally-ranked Gordon College and Little East opponent Keene State College in overtime. During the week, Jones averaged 78 minutes per match and recorded half of Eastern’s 18 shots. Beginning with a 2-1 LEC win at Western Connecticut Sept. 20, Jones has now recorded the game-winning goal in three straight Eastern victories. In eight matches, Jones has scored half of the team’s eight goals and also tops the club with 23 shots.

The first freshman in eight years to be named first-team All-Little East Conference goalkeeper in 2013, Walton extended his scoreless streak to 232 minutes and 47 seconds last week with a pair of 1-0 shutouts over Gordon and Keene State. In posting his LEC-leading third shutout in eight starts this year against Keene, Walton made a career-high ten saves to lower his LEC-leading goals-against average to 0.71 and improve his conference-leading save percentage to .872. Walton currently ranks third in the LEC in total saves (41). Walton has given up more than one goal in a match only once this year.

The women’s soccer team is 5-3-1 overall, 1-1-0 in the Little East Conference. Field hockey is 5-3, 2-1 in the LEC, and men’s soccer, the three-time defending LEC champion, is 4-2-2, 2-0-0 in the conference.

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