Monthly Archives: March 2020

In a recent article in The New London Day, Lee deLisle, a professor in the Department of Recreation, Tourism, & Sport Management, discusses the impact that COVID-19 has had on our favorite leisure activities and how it affects us on a personal level. He comments on the trend of sports programs being postponed/cancelled for safety reasons in light of the pandemic, and the importance of sports and entertainment in society.

Read “Loss of live entertainment leaves seats, people empty.”

Lee deLisle

 

Finding yourself wanting to exercise more during these stressful times? Kristie Rupp, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Movement Sciences, knows all about that. Her research focuses on increasing physical activity engagement, and she is also an avid runner herself. Regarding exercise during times of stress, Rupp says, “We definitely want to encourage people to be physically active while practicing social distancing! Walking or running is a great way to exercise and get outside, while still maintaining a safe distance from others. There are also a host of free workout videos on YouTube and other platforms that you can use to help you stay active indoors for those who have been instructed to do so. Now, more than ever, it is important to engage in regular physical activity to help promote overall health and personal well-being during these challenging times.”

Kristie Rupp

Professor Joan Kreiger is a licensed Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and the Respiratory Care Program Coordinator in the Health and Human Performance Department at Southern. She was interviewed on WTNH recently about her respiratory therapy work on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Watch the interview, “Wednesday Warrior: Joan Kreiger, Program Director for the Respiratory Care Program at SCSU” (May 6, 2020).

She was also recently interviewed on WTIC News/Talk 1080 Radio about the effects of COVID-19 has on the respiratory system and the types of respiratory therapy that may help patients with the virus.

Listen to the brief interview: https://bit.ly/2U9XmeA

Kreiger has an extensive background in teaching healthcare curriculum at public and private universities, and at major urban not-for-profit health care, education and research enterprises. Learn more about the Respiratory Care Program.

Joan Krieger

Jean Breny, chair of the Department of Public Health, recently delivered the Presidential Address at the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)’s virtual annual conference.

The title of Breny’s address, “Advancing Health Equity: Taking an Anti-racism Approach to Health Promotion Leadership and Action,” provided an understanding of how public health professionals can work towards health equity in their communities by using an anti-racism framework.

Southern's information and library science programs will give you solid experience in library science while offering an array of electives in areas like digital libraries, information architecture, network management, and instructional design.

Southern’s online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program was judged among the best in the nation — coming in at number five on Online Schools Report’s (onlineschoolsreport.com) rating of the top 35 such programs in the U.S. for 2020. Programs were evaluated on numerous factors, including admission rates and student satisfaction.

Southern is the only Connecticut-based institution of higher learning to offer a fully online library science master’s degree. The program was granted candidacy status for accreditation by the American Library Association — and is the only program in the state to have achieved this distinction as of January.

The master’s degree in sport and entertainment management program, which is offered fully online, was also evaluated among the nation’s best, included on Intelligent.com’s guide to the Top 49 graduate programs in the field in 2020.

The organization reviewed 333 educational programs offered through 137 colleges and universities to compile the guide, evaluating curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment. Southern’s program was specifically lauded for its focus on experiential learning.

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be holding a Virtual Spring 2020 Graduate Open House on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Learn about these and Southern’s many other exceptional graduate programs.

The fully online graduate program allows students to choose between a specialization in either sport or entertainment management.

When the Southern campus had to close suddenly in mid-March due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state of Connecticut, among the many repercussions was the large amount of food Chartwells was left with, with no students, faculty, or staff to serve it to. But with a food recovery program already in place on campus, through a partnership between the Office of Sustainability and Chartwells, the food was able to be quickly delivered to members of the local community.

Student Derek Faulkner, an environmental systems and sustainability studies major, intern in the Office of Sustainability, and vice president of the Geography, Environment & Marine Sciences Club, sprang into action, working with fellow Sustainability Office intern Julian Saria and many members of Chartwells staff to package and prepare the food for pickup and delivery. Together, Faulkner and Saria delivered over 300 pounds of food to St. Anne’s Soup Kitchen in Hamden, Park Ridge Tower Affordable Senior Living in New Haven, and Monterey Place Senior Living in New Haven.

“There was a large amount of food that was not weighed due to the hectic nature of delivery that morning,” Faulkner says. “The head chef, Ernie Arroyo, really helped us out. We weighed about 200 pounds and a conservative estimate would be 300 total pounds. It was a mix of prepared food, packaged retail food, and bulk ingredients (salad bar, vegetables, pasta, meat, etc)” — all food that would have gone to waste if the Sustainability Office and Chartwells didn’t have a process in place for distributing food to the community.

About a quarter of New Haven residents don’t have enough food or enough money to buy food, and most people who can’t afford food don’t go hungry for just a day or a week — they experience food insecurity over long periods of time. The Food Recovery Network, the largest student movement against food waste and hunger in America, has created a sustainability network across the United States where “food recovery is the norm and not the exception.”

To address hunger in Greater New Haven, in 2015 the Office of Sustainability, along with Residence Life, partnered with Chartwell’s and the Food Recovery Network’s Connecticut chapter to collect excess unserved food from Conn Hall and campus food retail locations. The Office works with Haven’s Harvest for some of the deliveries, but most of the food is delivered by SCSU interns. The unserved food is delivered to soup kitchens like the one at St. Ann’s Church in Hamden. “Without the students, we wouldn’t have any of it,” says Suzanne Huminski, campus sustainability coordinator. Each semester, SCSU sustainability interns plan and manage all aspects of daily food recovery, including logistics, collection and delivery, scheduling, administrative meetings, tracking results, and communications with community partners. Faulkner credits Saria and Latasha (Tash) Neil as being the program’s coordinators.

The delivery of food this month happened under unusual circumstances, but thanks to the quick thinking and action on the part of Faulkner, Saria, and Chartwells staff, many Greater New Haven residents were able to enjoy food that otherwise would have been thrown away. “And what better timing to ensure food security for someone in need than right now during this pandemic, as food becomes less available,” says Faulkner.

And the generosity of Southern Owls continues: Heather Stearns, campus recycling coordinator, reports that over the March 21-22 weekend, when students moved out of the residence halls, the Sustainability Office did a non-perishable food drive and collected still more food that will be donated to community agencies. Stearns says, “I will be assessing how much food we have on hand later this week and coordinating with some of partners to see where we will be sending it.”

From: James Thorson, Chairman of the SCSU Department of Economics:

How likely is a recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of many businesses?

If the social distancing measures remain in place for a month or more, then a recession is almost inevitable. Even in our increasingly online economy, many of our transactions involve face-to-face transactions. In many sectors of the economy, spending is being curtailed — which results in lower incomes. The good news is that if the virus gets under control fairly quickly, any downturn should be relatively short.

James Thorson

Will the economic stimulus help stave off a worse recession and help it bounce back more robustly when the virus is finally under control?

In all likelihood, economic stimulus should lessen the severity of a recession — as long as the stimulus induces additional spending in the economy. This additional spending is likely because many people have had their incomes reduced dramatically, so they will need the stimulus money to survive. Once the virus is under control, the economy should bounce back pretty quickly because there will be much pent up demand.

What are your thoughts on the volatility of the stock market?

The stock market hates uncertainty and this virus has caused uncertainty. What we thought was going to be a two week or so social distancing period has extended to an uncertain period of time. This is having devastating effects on businesses such as restaurants, hotels, airlines, among others. When this will end is anybody’s guess. Such uncertainty always makes investors nervous. The good news is that the virus will eventually come under control, and the economy and the stock market will eventually recover.

What effect is the pandemic having on small businesses?

Many small businesses are going to be hit very hard by the pandemic, at least in the short term.  For example, many restaurants and stores have shut down for the time being.  That means that these business owners are still paying rent and property taxes, but they are receiving no income. Even businesses not directly affected are likely to see a slowdown.  The supply chain in the United States is still operating, but more slowly and not as completely.

Also, productivity is likely to be lower, even with people working from home.  For most of us, our houses are just not set up as efficiently as our workplaces, so that makes it more difficult to get work done.

With the market in decline, is this generally a good time for people to increase their investments, such as in a 401(k), or to sit tight?

The general question of market timing is always a difficult one, and stock prices are inherently unpredictable.  For a person with a long-tern horizon, I would not shy away from investing in the market.  Those who invested in the market in 2008-2009 still have done very well, even with the market decline.

The best time to invest in the market is when things are at their worst. But there are two potential challenges with that strategy.  First, we never really know beforehand when “the worst” is.  Second, it can be psychologically difficult for many people to do this. That is one reason why automatic investment strategies, such as when we have money withheld from our paychecks to be put in a 401(k) or 403 (b), can be very successful over time.

 

 

 

 

SCSU Softball Captain Sara Buscetto

The spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has caused innumerable cancellations and closures across the state, the country, and the globe. Among the canceled activities at Southern are spring sports, and for senior athletes, the loss of their final season.

Southern’s softball Senior Captain Sara Buscetto has written about what it means to her to have her senior softball season canceled. She writes, “It’s been hard for me to find the words to explain how I have been feeling regarding the abrupt cancellation of our softball season. After finally processing what’s happening here, I speak on behalf of all athletes affected by this when I say that we’re heartbroken.”

Read Buscetto’s thoughts on staying positive in the face of adversity and loss.

    With daily life upended and familiar people, places, and routines suddenly off-limits, there is no question that we’re in the midst of a stressful time. In the face of such enormous stress, it can be hard to remain calm, let alone feel that we’re thriving. Nick Pinkerton, director of Counseling Services, offers advice for taking care of ourselves and our mental health during difficult times.

    Nick Pinkerton, director of Counseling Services

    Pinkerton recommends the following ways for students — as well as faculty and staff — to THRIVE in the wake of this unprecedented situation:

    TOGETHERNESS:

    Having a sense of togetherness is critical in times like these, and can be challenging when, for the safety of ourselves and our community, we are practicing social distancing. Importantly, social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation, and there are things we can do to stay connected to one another. Reach out to friends on social media, video chat, and call people on the phone. Talk to friends and loved ones about how you are feeling. Share memories, hopes, and fears with those you care about, trust, and love. Remind others and yourself that we will get through this, no matter how hard it is, and we will do it together.

    HEALTH:

    Remembering to practice good self-care is very important. Focusing on getting good sleep, eating well, and exercising are some of the most critical investments you can make in preventing illness and improving your overall health and well-being. Simple things like setting an alarm for bed time and waking time are wonderful ways to begin a healthy routine. Go for that walk, run, or bike ride you have been meaning to take if you only had the time. Get some fresh air, enjoy a bit of nature, and make and enjoy something healthy and tasty.

    RESILIENCE:

    One of the hardest things to do in a stressful situation is to remember that you have not only have what it takes to get through it, you actually have the capacity to come out stronger on the other side. Sometimes our true strength is only realized in the wake of tremendous challenge and adversity. While the times ahead are going to be challenging in many ways, and there are many questions and concerns we are all facing, we can and will persevere and overcome.

    INSIGHT:

    In this time of reflection, practicing mindfulness and maintaining optimism are essential. Mindfulness is defined as purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Rather than getting caught up in the worries about what might come (what if’s) or upset about what has already happened (should have’s), ask yourself what you can do right here and right now to better your situation. Focus on the things you can control and try to let go of the things you cannot. Practice yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or a host of other mindfulness strategies regularly, and begin to see the amazing benefits they can have on your life. Recognize when you are falling prey to negative thinking, challenge it, and settle into a more accurate and adaptive pattern of thought, feeling, and behavior.

    VITALITY:

    Vitality is a zest for life. It is the thing that makes you grateful for breathing and experiencing the wonders of each and every moment. It is having a compassionate lens in the way you see others and yourself. Nothing is more attractive and invigorating than being with someone who has a love for life, and an appreciation for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Even in dark times, there is still so much to be grateful for. Practice vitality by remembering what you are thankful for, what you hold dear, and what is ultimately most important.

    EMPOWERMENT:

    Having a sense of purpose and meaning in your life is more important than we often realize. What is it that gets us out of bed in the morning? Are we needed? Are we doing things that matter? Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Focus on your why. What goals do you have? What hobbies have you wanted to take on if you only had the time? What creative endeavors make you lose time and engage in flow? Write a list of these activities and begin making them a part of your daily routine. Break your goals into actionable steps that you can begin working on today. Get a buddy to help you stay committed to your tasks. Take pride in each new accomplishment, and feel the sense of joy that comes with empowerment.

    Here are a few other resources that may be helpful:

    “Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe” (American Psychological Association)

    Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

     

    Alumna jewelry designer takes the prize for artistry and entrepreneurship.

    Jewelry designer Stephanie Howell wearing one of her creations.

    Having spent six years traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe, Stephanie Howell, ’11, has officially arrived as a business owner. In June 2019, she launched her first collection of jewelry through her namesake company S. Howell Studios — and within months was named a top five finalist in the Halstead Grant competition for emerging silver jewelry designers.

    Applicants to the annual competition submit a portfolio of their work and answer 15 questions related to their businesses. “Applying for the Halstead Grant is essentially like creating a well-thought out business plan,” says Howell, who won a $500 grant and received national media exposure from the competition.

    The recognition was a welcome confirmation for the entrepreneur, who traveled extensively after graduation. She financed her trips by working in restaurants while keeping future business plans in mind. “I set a goal to start turning one of my passions into a career by the time I turned 30,” says Howell. At 29, she decided to devote her career to jewelry design. “Once I was ready to settle down, it felt like a no brainer,” she says.

    “I am profoundly inspired by botanical textures. By co-creating with the earth, I’m able to make carefully handcrafted silver fossils,” says Stephanie Howell.

    The clues to Howell’s future career were certainly there. Years earlier, as an incoming freshman browsing through Middlesex Community College’s undergraduate catalog, she was immediately drawn to a course in metal and jewelry design. She earned an associate degree and transferred to Southern where she was a studio art major “from day one,” with a concentration in jewelry and metalsmithing.

    She recalls a small, tight-knit group of classmates, and cites Professor of Art Terrence Lavin as being “invaluable” in terms of shaping her education. “He constantly challenged me to step outside of my creative comfort zone and become a better artist,” says Howell, who graduated magna cum laude.

    She continues to design in metal, valued equally for its permanence and malleability. She uses the lost-wax casting process to create “silver fossils, preserving plants indefinitely.” Botanical details — the delicate veins of an aspen leaf or the floral whorls of lupine — embellish her handcrafted collection of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, often accented with gold and semiprecious stones.

    “By featuring subtle beauty in my work, I encourage people to take a closer look at the world around them,” she says.

    A model shows some of Howell's latest jewelry collection.
    A model shows some of Howell’s latest collection. “Terry Lavin was my jewelry and metalsmithing teacher the entire time I was at Southern. He constantly challenged me to step outside of my creative comfort zone and become a better artist,” says Howell.