The annual “Eastern Celebrates” festivities kicked off on Friday, May 8, with the classes of 2001 through 2014 reuniting at Blarney’s for Eastern’s sixth annual “Bash for the Past.” Special guests included the classes of 2000, 2005 and 2010. Earlier that afternoon at Blarney’s the classes of 1980, 1985, 1990, and 1995 held their own reunions.
On Saturday, May 9, Reunion Day ushered in the return of more than 1,200 alumni and guests. Following a luncheon in their honor in the Connecticut Room, the Jubilee Class of 1965 reconvened for an alumni reception in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library. They were joined by the classes of 1940, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1960, 1970 and 1975. During the reception, the Class of ’65 received Golden Diplomas commemorating 50 years since their college graduation. At the end of the day, alumni faithful marched from the Library to the Big Tent BBQ, set up on the Gelsi Young parking lot.
More than 1,000 people enjoyed each other’s company, sumptuous food and classic rock and roll courtesy of Flip Entertainment LLC. As usual, a good time was had by all, as alumni, new graduates, and family and friends came together to share good times and common experiences.
Other reunion events included a CAB reunion; a reunion of Honors alumni; awards for Education students; a hooding ceremony for this year’s master’s degree recipients; a reception for alumni from the Master of Science in Organizational Management; and a golf scramble and alumni game for the men’s soccer program.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn. – On May 20, 21 and 22, more than 1,400 students in grades five through 12 gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University to participate in “College Knowledge Days.” The students came from schools in Andover, Bloomfield, Colchester, Enfield, Farmington, Franklin, Hartford, Norwalk, Plainville, Stafford, Sterling, Thompson, Torrington, Waterford, West Hartford and Windsor.
Eastern President Elsa Nunez greeted the students, and Jeffrey Buskey, assistant director of admissions, explained the purpose of College Knowledge Days. The visiting students participated in several lectures and group activities facilitated by Eastern staff. The presentation, “Preparing for the Future,” instructed students on how to research and choose the college that is right for them. The presentation, “Financing My Future,” focused on paying for a postsecondary education. Group discussions analyzed payment options such as federal student aid, grants, work-study and loans. Group activities such as “When I Grow Up,” gave visiting students the opportunity to discuss what they want for a future career and the process that it takes to attain that career.
“College Knowledge Days are a great opportunity for students and educators to start the conversation about postsecondary options,” said LaQuana Price, Eastern’s assistant director of admissions, who coordinated the event. “The program allows students to start planning early for their future.”
Written by Dwight Bachman
On April 24, anthropologist Hilda Lloréns, 96’, presented “Arrancando Mitos de Raíz: Guía para una Enseñanza Antirracista” en Puerto Rico (Pulling-up Myths from their Roots: A Guide for the Anti-Racist Teaching of Puerto Rico’s African Heritage), published in 2013. The book’s presentation, which was sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and the Intercultural Center, detailed the findings of the research project, “Beyond the Self: Towards an Integral Approach to an Anti-racist Pedagogy in Elementary Education.”
This research project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and spearheaded by Isar Godreau from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey. The project sought to explore: 1) whether institutional racism was embedded in school curricula; and 2) whether black children were exposed to racism and discrimination in school.
The research team found that at the institutional level, in curricular materials and lessons, students were taught five recurrent and specific myths about Africa, the African heritage, and blackness in Puerto Rico. These five myths are: 1) Africa is a poor, primitive place of little importance in the world; 2) slaves were passive victims of slavery; 3) all black persons in Puerto Rico were slaves prior the abolition of slavery; 4) the contributions of African heritage are limited to music, folklore and hard labor; 5) in Puerto Rico, the majority of black persons disappeared as a result of race mixing or “mestizaje.” At the interpersonal level, racial discrimination among students included rejection, humiliation, mockery, and even physical abuse of black children. Consequently, the research team found that students who are victims of racism experience emotional instability, anxiety, and isolation. Students often begin to experience racism in elementary school and continue to encounter racism throughout the entirety of their schooling experience.
During the presentation, Lloréns explained the findings of the research, as well as the contents of “Pulling-up Myths by the Root.” The book offers a practical guide for teachers, social workers, education students, and the community at large to understand the effects of racism and suggest ways in which they can begin to effect anti-racist change both at the institutional and interpersonal levels. Lloréns donated a copy of the book to the J. Eugene Smith Library.