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Almost Maine, Theatre Department

For the second year in a row, a Theatre Department production has been selected for presentation at the John F. Kennedy Center American College Theater Region I Festival (ACTF). The December production of “Almost, Maine” is this year’s New England Region I winner and will be staged at the festival in late January 2016 at Western Connecticut State University. Directed by Theatre Professor Sheila Hickey Garvey, “Almost, Maine” was one of six productions selected for presentation out of almost 150 submissions entered from colleges across New England and New York.

Garvey describes the play as “a delightful comedy/romance with cosmic overtones” and says the invitation to perform at the festival is “a great honor.” Written by playwright and actor John Cariani, the play has a small cast of eight and a minimal set, designed for the SCSU production by Theatre Professor John Carver Sullivan, who also designed the costumes. There will two performances of “Almost, Maine” at the festival on Friday, January 29, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Almost Maine

The play portrays 20 different residents living in a tiny mythical community located in Northern Maine. At 9 p.m. on December 21, during an occurrence of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, select community members are mystically gifted with a very special opportunity, one that affords them the chance to renew their lives and live them with an open heart.

“Almost, Maine” was developed at the Cape Cod Theater Project in 2002, and received its world premiere at Portland Stage Company, where it broke box office records and garnered critical acclaim. It opened off Broadway in the winter of 2005-2006 at the Daryl Roth Theatre and was subsequently published by Dramatists Play Service. To date, “Almost, Maine” has been produced by over 2500 theater companies in the United States and by over a dozen companies internationally, making it one of the most frequently produced plays of the past decade.

If you would like to support the Crescent Players’ performance at the ACTF, visit this page and in the dropdown menu next to “I would like to support the,” choose “Other,” then type “Crescent Players Fund” in the box to indicate the fund name. Thank you for supporting Southern students!

Food Recovery NetworkEver wonder what happens to that sandwich in The Bagel Wagon that has reached the “best by” date on its label? Prior to this past summer, it would be thrown away, but now, foods that Chartwells can no longer sell when they reach that date no longer go to waste, thanks to the efforts of the Sustainability Office, Chartwells, and a dedicated student intern.

This past summer, Southern joined the Food Recovery Network, a national organization that supports college students recovering perishable and non-perishable foods on their campuses that would otherwise go to waste and donating them to people in need.  Heather Stearns, recycling coordinator, says that Chartwells hired a student intern, Ashley Silva, who is focused on sustainability, and has been working with her on a weekly food collection schedule. Each week, Silva makes the rounds to the Bagel Wagon, Davis Outtakes, and the North Campus Kiosk and collects perishable foods — including salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, bagels, and hummus — that have reached their “best by” date. The foods would be thrown away when they reach that date, but they are still safe to eat. So after Silva collects them, they are donated to Connecticut Food Bank, a private, nonprofit organization that works with corporations, community organizations, and individuals to solicit, transport, warehouse and distribute donated food.

newshub-triad-food-recovery-15
In addition to the food collected from campus Chartwells locations, fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the campus organic garden are harvested and donated to local soup kitchens such as the Community Dining Room in Branford and St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen in Hamden. Pounds of produce such as squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, various greens, corn, peas, potatoes, peppers, and basil, are donated on a regular basis. This fall, Southern donated almost 200 pounds of fresh produce that was grown at the garden, located behind Davis Hall.  Suzanne Huminski, sustainability coordinator, says that throughout the fall semester, between the garden and FRN efforts, over 600 pounds of food have been collected and donated.

To promote community awareness of hunger and food insecurity in Connecticut, students working on FRN at Southern organized a recent campus event called “Hunger 101,” meant to be a conversation about food access and food justice in the state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food security” as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” According to the Sustainability Office’s website, over 14 percent — of New Haven County residents — nearly 123,000 people — are food insecure, and over 19 percent of all hunger-stricken residents are children.

To expand the university’s food donation program, the Sustainability Office is placing permanent food donation boxes in the lobby of the Facilities building, in the Wintergreen building, and on the second floor of Engleman, outside of the FYE Office. Members of the university community are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items year-round. Donations from these collection sites will be brought to the Connecticut Food Bank in Wallingford each week. Stearns also encourages staff and faculty to bring food items to the Sustainability Office during the regular Swap Shop open houses.

Anyone interested in helping with FRN efforts on campus can call Silva in the Sustainability Office at (203) 392-7135.

In spring 2016, the first group of students will cross the Atlantic to study abroad under a new agreement formalized Dec. 3 by Southern and Liverpool John Moores University.

This “Trans-Atlantic Alliance” will offer students the chance to take classes in both New Haven and Liverpool, England, as well as benefit from dual-taught undergraduate and graduate-level programs, delivered by LJMU and SCSU faculty members through video link and guest lectures.

SCSU President Mary Papazian and Edward Harcourt, LJMU’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement, formally signed the agreement in the foyer of Southern’s new science building.

“(LJMU) is an institution very much like ours,” Papazian told the New Haven Register. “This allows us to look at problems around sustainability, public health, health care management, business, creative writing from a variety of perspectives.”

Papazian predicted the partnership would be “a robust exchange, so many of our students have that chance to have that global experience.”

“It’s a great place, a safe place for our students to experience the world,” she said of the historic port city, home to the Beatles, the Cunard steamship line and Liverpool F.C., one of the world’s most well-known professional soccer clubs.

LJMU traces its roots back nearly 200 years to 1823 and the opening of the Liverpool Mechanics’ Institute. Over the decades, the institute merged with other institutions to become Liverpool Polytechnic; traditionally providing training, education and research to the maritime industry, before earning university status in 1992. Now ranked among the top 400 universities world-wide, LJMU offers 250 degree courses to 25,000 students drawn from more than 100 countries.

This spring, four SCSU undergraduates with academic interests in business, wellness, geography and global health will be leaving for Liverpool to study abroad for a semester. They include senior Shayne O’Brien (pictured with President Papazian and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Harcourt), who plans a career as a glaciologist. Additionally, Mark McRiley, a graduate student from public health, also will be attending LJMU in 2016 to earn his Ph.D. on full scholarship. Several students from LJMU are also expected to be attending Southern.

Liverpool John Moores University visit

Harcourt told the Register that the Alliance was a “game-changer for both institutions.

“We’re very similar, very connected to our local regions,” he said. “What we looked for is aligning comparable interests and strengths.”

Liverpool also has smaller-scale partnerships with colleges in China and Malaysia, Harcourt said, but with Southern, “the big prize longer-term is, could we get to the point where we’re presenting a joint prospectus of master’s programs,” which would be unique and enticing to students in overseas markets.

On the home front, several academic departments have hosted classes or colleagues from Liverpool via videoconference or in person. In November, the nursing departments from the respective institutions participated in a symposium in which Assistant Professor Christine Denhup presented her research on parental bereavement following the death of a child, an area of mutual interest for both groups.

In late November, John Morrissey, senior lecturer in environmental geography, natural sciences and psychology at LJMU, spoke about “Enabling Sustainability Transitions in the Coastal Zone,” during Southern’s Department of Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences’ Geography Awareness Week.

And in October, the visit of former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent for the Dr. Joseph Panza Sport Management Lecture was broadcast live to LJMU so that sport management students there could participate and ask questions of the speaker.

More collaborations are forthcoming. During the most recent visit of the LJMU delegation, Tim Nichol, dean of the Liverpool Business School, met with SCSU School of Business colleagues (below) to discuss a wide range of potential initiatives. These include collaborative research and teaching, an MBA program in comparative healthcare offered by both institutions and a shared DBA that could be offered internationally.

Liverpool John Moores University visit

James Tait, professor of science education and environmental studies, is proposing a doctoral research project examining evidence of prehistoric hurricanes in the marshes of Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Conn., with a goal of plotting how the intensity of these storms have changed over thousands of years.

Tait has done extensive work researching and proposing solutions to beach erosion along Connecticut’s Long Island Sound shoreline in the wake of recent hurricanes. With SCSU geography colleague Elyse Zavar and faculty from LJMU, Tait recently visited Formby Point, home of the United Kingdom’s largest collection of sand dunes, an area that faces similar issues in the wake of violent storms.

 

David Pettigrew, Bosnia

Through his writings, lectures and interviews with the media, Professor of Philosophy David Pettigrew has been a powerful voice for the victims of atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On Nov. 29, he delivered a lecture in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, on the legacy of the Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the ethnic conflict in the fledgling nation 20 years ago.

Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia on March 1, 1992, triggering a secessionist bid by the country’s Serbs backed by the Yugoslavian capital, Belgrade, and a war that left about 100,000 dead, including the mass slaughter of many Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces.

Following earlier lectures in Prague and Stockholm that identified human rights violations in Republika Srpska, (the Bosnian Serb Republic), Pettigrew’s Nov. 29 speech condemned efforts in the republic to deny the genocide and to demean and otherwise psychologically intimidate Bosnian Muslims who were targeted and driven from Višegrad, in the eastern part of the country, as well as from other towns and villages across Republika Srpska.


Join Dr. Pettigrew for a film screening and discussion: Friday, Dec. 4 from 1-3 p.m.


Pettigrew wrote that the political culture in Republika Srpska “is breeding hatred and contempt of the Bosnian Muslims”:

“The culture of genocide denial and dehumanization, produces what I call in my paper a ‘cumulative cruelty’ directed at genocide survivors,” he said. “The cumulative cruelty directed against Bosnia’s Muslims and non-Serbs is the sad legacy of Dayton. The lecture calls for constitutional reform to reunify the country with national laws against hate speech and genocide denial…”

This summer, Pettigrew led a delegation to the town of Višegrad in eastern Bosnia to meet with activist Bakira Hasečić and show public solidarity with her in defense of the Pionirska Street house, where 59 women and children were burned alive. Hasečić , who was a rape victim in Višegrad, has been prosecuted and fined for trying to rebuild the house in order to save it from destruction by the municipality.

Pettigrew became particularly interested in Višegrad because of the nature of the atrocities there and because the town continues to maintain a culture of denial. Regarding the crimes in the town, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia wrote in its Judgement that:

“In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street [June 14, 1992] and Bikavac fires [June 27, 1992] must rank high…. By burning the victims and the houses in which they were trapped, Milan Lukić and the other perpetrators intended to obliterate the identities of their victims and, in so doing, to strip them of their humanity. The families of victims could not identify or bury their loved ones. … There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crime.”

Newspaper 1Newspaper 2Newspaper 3

Today, only the Pionirska Street house remains, rebuilt by Hasečić and other local activists to prevent its destruction and preserve the memory of these crimes. The house is still threatened by an “expropriation” process by the city so the only memorial to the victims could still be destroyed, said Pettigrew, who joined the members of his delegation in laying flowers in the house in memory of the victims.

“When I put the flowers in the basement at the base of a display with the photos of the victims, everyone was in tears and speechless,” he said. “Without planning it, we formed a line-up for a photo in front of the basement where the crime took place: in memory of the victims, in solidarity with Bakira, and in defiance of genocide denial.”

The delegation who attended with Pettigrew (photographed below outside the Pionirska Street house) included: Ermin Kuka and Ilvana Salić, from The Institute for Research of Crimes against Humanity and International Law at the University of Sarajevo; Professor Benjamin Moore, from Fontbonne University in St. Louis; Marketá Slavková from Charles University Prague, and Jasmin Tabaković, a refugee who fled from Višegrad with his family when he was four years old. He lives now in Belgium, and this was the first time that he had returned since his family was expelled.

Pettigrew

Hasečić, president of the Association “Women Victims of War”-Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, wrote of Pettigrew: “At a time when the victims of the genocide and aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been abandoned, when we have been left vulnerable and exposed, while war criminals enjoy rights and protections, when we have again been forgotten by the international community, and when many historians around the world who serve the interests of the ideologues and lobbyists of greater Serbia seek to re-write history and wash the blood from the hands of the war criminals, there are a few intellectual and moral giants who dedicate their lives and research to telling humanity the truth about what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992-1995. Among these few is the distinguished Professor Dr. David Pettigrew.”

Pettigrew initially became involved in Višegrad in summer 2010 when he accompanied a government exhumation team there. Repairs on a nearby dam had caused the river level to drop, so the experts hoped they would be able to find the remains of the 3,000 victims who were murdered on the bridge and thrown into the river.

Pettigrew was assigned to a team that located loose bones on the river banks as well as full skeletons just beneath the riverbed. When about 60 of the victims had been identified, they were buried in the Muslim cemetery in Višegrad with a memorial inscribed to: “the memory of the victims of the Višegrad genocide.”

Local authorities began to plan to destroy the memorial and ground the word “genocide” from the inscription. In that and subsequent years, Pettigrew has written letters to United Nations and international government leaders, seeking to protect this memorial and the Pionirska Street house, as well delivering lectures and conducting media interviews to raise awareness about the genocide that occurred in the region and its lingering legacy. In October 2014, for example, he delivered a keynote address at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, on “The Suppression of Collective Memory and Identity in Bosnia: Prohibited Memorials and the Continuation of Genocide.”

The Institute for Research of Genocide Canada recently thanked Pettigrew for his “continuous struggle for the truth about the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and genocide against its citizens.”

“Professor David Pettigrew is an example of an intellectual who put his knowledge at the service of truth and justice. It is a major contribution to peace in the world.”


Pettigrew’s Nov. 29 lecture and related press conference generated considerable media coverage in online portals, on television and in print:

On-line coverage

http://www.bhrt.ba/vijesti/bih/pettigrew-visoki-predstavnik-treba-postaviti-bih-na-put-ustavnih-reformi/

http://www.vecernji.ba/visoki-predstavnik-treba-postaviti-bih-na-put-ustavnih-reformi-1040948

http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/krug-99-sada-vise-nego-ikad-potrebno-djelovanje-visokog-predstavnika-u-bih/151129045#18

http://novovrijeme.ba/pettigrew-visoki-predstavnik-treba-postaviti-bih-na-put-ustavnih-reformi/

TV News

http://www.federalna.ba/bhs/vijest/148748/video-na-krugu-99-o-bonskim-ovlastima

http://www.tv1.ba/vijesti/bosna-i-hercegovina/dogadjaji/25597-visoki-predstavnik-trenutno-kao-rijetko-kad-u-proteklim-godinama-treba-i-mora-koristiti-bonske-ovlasti.html

Climate Commitment

In a strong show of leadership in the sustainability arena, Southern’s President Mary A. Papazian has signed a new Climate Leadership Commitment that goes farther than the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), to which the university became a charter signatory in 2007.

Signing the ACUPCC meant pledging to reduce the university’s carbon footprint to zero by 2050, an important step to take in 2007. But over the intervening years, it has become clear that a carbon mitigation pledge alone as a strategic imperative isn’t enough.

In 2014, Second Nature, which oversees the efforts around the ACUPCC, introduced the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC), to begin exploring climate adaptation and resilience as complements to the original Climate Commitment. The ACUPCC has been updated as a Carbon Commitment and, to advance the mission of ARC, a new Resilience Commitment has been formed.

Now, there are three possible Commitments a university president or chancellor can sign: the Climate Leadership Commitment, which integrates a goal of carbon neutrality with climate resilience and provides a systems approach to mitigating and adapting to a changing climate; the Carbon Commitment, which is focused on carbon neutrality; and the Resilience Commitment, which deals with climate resilience and adaptation. Papazian, with approval from the Cabinet, signed the first of the three.

“Under this new integrated Climate Leadership Commitment, we are formally committing to continue what we have been working on for many years,” says Papazian. “This includes incorporating sustainability across all of our operations, as well as further developing sustainability in our academic programs, greening our purchasing practices, the way we care for our buildings and grounds, our co-curricular offerings, and reducing the amount of materials we throw away.”

She added, “We are educating our students to prepare them for environmental issues that will be prevalent when they graduate, and the new commitment means that we are going farther than just striving for carbon neutrality. The Climate Leadership Commitment is more than just a declaration or statement: it is a catalyst for rigorous and robust actions on our campus and in our community.”

Southern is one of only 40 of the original 600-plus signatories from across the country to join the new commitment thus far.

Suzanne Huminski, the university’s sustainability coordinator, explains, “In 2007, the conversation was still about ‘is there climate change?’ and about carbon reduction. But climate change impacts are prevalent in the world around us – like the health of Long Island Sound, for instance, or the growing vulnerability of neighborhoods, transportation corridors, and waste water treatment plants close to shore. Studying coastal resilience and the health of the Sound, which the Werth Center has been doing for many years, can now be recognized in our university climate commitment, rather than solely focusing on reducing carbon emissions.”

Signing the new commitment “means we are building a stronger community around adaptation and resilience,” Huminski adds.

Climate Commitment

Resilience, in the world of sustainability, has to do with two areas, she explains. The first has to do with  planning and implementing strategies to prevent or minimize future harm caused by climate change impacts. But even with excellent planning and communication, unexpected challenges will arise, so resilience is also the institution’s ability to recover from unexpected events and adapt to “the new normals” that a changed climate brings.

“We need to be better equipped for these challenges, and we have a role to play in helping surrounding communities do the same,” she says.

The university has made significant strides in sustainability in recent years. From new campus construction and facilities renovations to green transportation options and programs like the Food Recovery Network, Campus Conservation Nationals, Recyclemania, Plant It Forward, and Compost Happens, to projects like the campus community garden, Urban Oasis, Green Room Certification, and refillable water bottle stations, to presentations by guest speakers, and much more — the university has been working on sustainability on many fronts. The Office of Sustainability tracks progress toward meeting greenhouse gas and waste reduction goals of the ACUPCC.

The university is also committed to and has a long history of integrating sustainability into the educational environment, and offers one of the only Environmental Education Master’s programs in New England. The geography degree offers a concentration in sustainability, and the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies has endowed research positions for undergraduates. New for fall 2016, Southern will offer an undergraduate major in Environmental Systems and Sustainability, and the School of Business has developed courses in sustainability management. For many years Southern’s Public Health Department has focused on food justice and access, and one focus of the sustainability office in the past year has been to expand opportunities for student internships, both on campus and partnering with industry.

Huminski says that Southern is attracting national attention for its efforts toward more sustainable operations. This fall, the university was profiled in Business View Magazine for its sustainable practices. The university has twice been named one of the nation’s greenest colleges and universities by the Princeton Review and recently received top honors for a national energy efficiency award sponsored by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. This award was based on energy savings from the Adanti Student Center recommissioning project, which utilized wireless sensing and online energy analytics to address less-than-optimal energy performance . The project paid for itself in three months, and resulted in a 17 percent reduction in energy use in the building.

Huminski points to the dedication of administration, faculty, and staff for embracing sustainability across campus operations. “Students have always been involved,” she says, “but Facilities Operations and Southern’s executive leadership are also a driving force in adopting sustainability. Effective leadership is critical to success.”

Papazian says, “Signing the Climate Leadership Commitment sends a powerful message that we will do better working on this as a campus community — and as part of regional and global communities. Reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the dynamic and changing world around us is complex and involves everyone on campus. We have already been doing this work – with the help of so many folks here at the university.”

 

For the first time in its 122-year history, Southern has an endowed chair.

Ruth Eren – the director of SCSU’s Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders and a noted expert in this field on program development for children – has been selected as the Goodwin Endowed Chair in Special Education. She was chosen after a national search.

Eren, along with the late former interim dean of the School of Education James Granfield, co-created the Center in 2010 to help provide the state with a distinctive resource to improve the experiences of children who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

She has spent many years consulting with public schools in Connecticut regarding program development for children with ASD and has been a member of several state committees related to this subject, including Connecticut’s Task Force for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Eren is a former special education teacher and administrator, and currently serves as chairwoman of the SCSU Special Education Department.

“Ruth stands out in her field as an educator, researcher and resource who has been tapped many times by Connecticut legislators and education officials for her insight and advice,” said Stephen Hegedus, SCSU dean of the School of Education. “We are delighted to have someone with Ruth’s commitment and vision to become our very first endowed chair at Southern.”

Louise Spear-Swerling, chairwoman of the search committee for the endowed chair, agreed.

“She has an extensive knowledge base about autism spectrum disorders, years of practical experience working with individuals with autism, and a longstanding involvement in state, regional and national autism initiatives. She combines an exceptional level of applied expertise with strong leadership skills and a deep personal commitment to helping this population of students and their families.”

The endowed chair is being funded through a gift left by the late Dorothy Weisbauer Goodwin, who graduated from Southern in 1939, when it was named the New Haven State Teachers College. She died in 2009 at the age of 91.

Upon her death, $1 million of the $1.2 million gift to the SCSU Foundation was earmarked for an endowed chair. Today, that endowment is worth nearly $1.6 million. About $180,000 is available initially, with additional allocations each year that are determined by SCSU Foundation policy and market conditions.

The intent of the gift is to provide financial support for the position, including a reimbursement to the university of salary and benefit costs associated with the position; the hiring of research assistants working for the chair; and covering conference, travel, publication, research and other customary expenditures associated with an endowed chair.

“I would like to use the endowment to support more SCSU student engagement in the Center and its activities, bring outstanding leaders in the field of education regarding ASD to our campus to share their knowledge with our students and community, and support efforts to increase our visibility and influence at state, national and international conferences,” Eren said.

“Most important, the endowed chair will allow SCSU and the Center to enhance the lives of individuals with ASD by giving their teachers, related service providers and families, the evidenced-based tools that will help them all to achieve the goal of successful participation in society as adults,” she added.

Hegedus said the chair is a major boost for SCSU.

“We are confident that this will enhance the reputation and prestige of the Center and the university as a whole,” he said.

    Academic Science and Laboratory Building Ribbon Cutting

    Students engaged in scientific research at Southern now have a state-of-the-art facility and cutting-edge equipment that will better prepare them for the 21st century.

    A ribbon-cutting to mark the ceremonially opening of the university’s Academic Science and Laboratory Building was held Friday in front of SCSU’s students, faculty and staff, as well as local and state dignitaries, and business leaders.

    Academic Science and Laboratory Building

    The building – a four story, 103,608 square-foot-facility – will be the “focal point” for the university’s science programs. It connects with Jennings Hall, which has been the main science building at SCSU for more than three decades. Morrill Hall, also used by SCSU for science classes, labs and offices, is connected to Jennings. The three buildings provide the university with a new “science enclave.”

    “This signature building will truly enhance our ability to foster the next generation of Connecticut’s scientists,” said SCSU President Mary A. Papazian. “Certainly, the need for new facilities for our science programs was clear, as our enrollment in STEM courses has been steadily increasing, in step with workforce demand in these fields. By producing more graduates with much-needed expertise in science and technology, Southern will continue to be a key player in Connecticut’s economic revival.”

    Student Katherine Perez and Nanotechnology
    Katherine Perez, a physics major and New Haven Promise scholar, said the new building gives all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students the opportunity to explore the many different scientific fields.

    “This building was constructed for the sole purpose of giving its occupants the ability to think freely, to think outside the box,” Perez said. “The new laboratories are spacious and equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and technologies so that each student has the necessary tools to help improve their academic learning and research. (They) also provide students with the ability to conduct more collaborative research, which is an experience every STEM student should have since (it) is an important skill to have when working in industry.”

    Other speakers included Merle Harris, a member of the state Board of Regents for Higher Education; Steven Breese, SCSU dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; Ted Gresik, senior director, North America service, environmental health for PerkinElmer; Thomas Fleming, chairman of the SCSU Department of Earth Science; Kristin DeRosia-Banick, environmental analyst for the state Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture; and Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Construction Services.

    The “L-shaped” building features a brick and glass exterior, as well as a skywalk to Jennings. Academically, the building will host teaching and research labs for physics, earth science, environmental science, molecular biology and chemistry. It includes a high performance computing lab for research in theoretical physics, bioinformatics and computer science.

    The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) Center for Nanotechnology is located on the ground floor. On the first floor, a saltwater Aquaria Room with a touch tank will be featured and will be a centerpiece of outreach to area schools and the community. In addition, a giant, model nanotube runs through the middle of the building and will light up dramatically as an additional attraction.

    Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies, Touch Tank

    The Werth Center for Marine and Coastal Studies is housed on the first and second floors. The center has several new labs, including an analytic lab (where mercury levels can be determined) and a sediment coastal science lab (where levels of sediment can be tested).

    Other amenities include an outdoor rock garden showcasing rocks indigenous to Connecticut; a sustainable rain harvester system that collects and stores up to 40,000 gallons of water underground, which later is dispersed to reduce landscape watering consumption by 50 percent; rooftop telescopes operated via the third floor Astronomy Room; a pair of 50-seat general purpose classrooms, as well as office space and study/common areas.

    Rain Harvester

    Centerbrook Architect and Planners of Centerbrook is the architectural firm in change of the $49 million project. FIT Construction Inc. of Farmington is the contractor.

    “This building is filled with awe-inspiring science with far reaching implications,” said Christine Broadbridge, SCSU director of STEM initiatives.

    Broadbridge announced that SCSU is naming its model carbon nanotube in honor of PerkinElmer in recognition of the company’s leadership participation during the initial outfitting of the labs and for its recent collaborative efforts with the university.

    PerkinElmer, a company headquartered in Massachusetts with a facility in Shelton, Conn., and which delivers instruments and services designed to help improve human and environmental health, has installed hi-tech scientific laboratory instrumentation in the new building.

    A team of Southern faculty members have been presented a prestigious national award that recognizes their efforts to collaborate with the general public on real-world science projects.

    SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) recently announced that six SCSU faculty members are the recipients of this year’s William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science. They are: Winnie Yu, professor of computer science; James Tait, professor of science education and environmental studies; Vince Breslin, professor of science education and environmental studies and newly named chairman of the department; Terese Gemme, chairwoman of theHonors College; Terri Bennett, chairwoman of the Mathematics Department; and Susan Cusato, associate professor and former chairwoman of the Science Education and Environmental Studies Department. They were presented an engraved silver platter at a recent awards ceremony.

    “We are deeply honored by this recognition,” said Yu, who coordinated the SCSU team and the effort to seek the award. “It has been my privilege working with our team, as well as our administrators, to boost our efforts toward citizen science. But the award reflects many years of hard work from so many outstanding faculty members.”

    Yu pointed out that since 2004, 32 faculty members from 12 departments and three schools at SCSU played a role in the award through their devotion to citizen science. This was accomplished by participating in various activities, such as attending summer institutes, creating new courses and including SENCER ideals into existing courses and programs.

    New courses that SENCER had designated as “models,” have included: “Computer Ethics,” designated in 2006 and developed by Terry Bynum, professor of philosophy; “Science on the Connecticut Coast: Investigations of an Urbanized Shoreline,” designated in 2007 and developed by Tait and Breslin; and “Pollinators: A Case Study in Systems Thinking and Sustainability,” designated in 2014 and developed by Cusato and Suzanne Huminski, SCSU sustainability coordinator and an adjunct faculty member who teaches environmental and marine science.

    David Burns, executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) and founder of SENCER, praised SCSU for its development of the courses, as well as the “deep insights about some of the things we need to understand about student needs when we think we are doing good things for students.” SENCER is the signature program of the NCSCE.

    Yu thanked Steven Breese, dean of the SCSU School of Arts and Sciences, as well as DonnaJean Fredeen, the former dean who launched SCSU’s relationship with SENCER.

     

      Southern Connecticut State University has adopted a campus-wide policy that prohibits smoking and tobacco use.

      Tobacco-Free Campus at Southern
      Tobacco-Free Campus at Southern

      Southern Connecticut State University has been awarded the Tobacco Grant from the state Department of Public Health. As of August 25, 2015, the university is a tobacco-free campus, the first public university in Connecticut to implement such a policy. In coordination with this new policy, which will eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke at Southern and prohibits the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, a multi-faceted state and community intervention was proposed, based on best practices in tobacco prevention and control. The proposed work will sustainably prevent the initiation of tobacco use and promote cessation among young adults at the university, while also building capacity for tobacco control and prevention in the Connecticut State University system.

      As part of the grant, the SCSU Health and Wellness Center staff plans to train and empower anti-tobacco youth advocates (Tobacco-Free Ambassadors, or TFAs) to engage and mobilize their peers through campus community outreach, education, demonstrations, and events. The Health and Wellness Center will offer enhanced onsite cessation services for students, including a comprehensive and intensive 8-week intervention facilitated by a clinical professional trained in cessation counseling. Innovative, student-led social media campaigns will highlight social norms, common misconceptions about smokeless tobacco, and exciting events such as flash mobs, film screenings, and e-cigarette exchange events. Southern will lead a statewide coalition with Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) and Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) to build university capacity and share best practices in tobacco control and prevention. Through conferences, ongoing technical assistance and on-site consultations, Southern will coordinate state efforts for tobacco-free policies, and support other  universities in their efforts to sustain healthy communities for living and learning. As a result of the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy and the proposed programming, the university expects to see rates of tobacco use decline over the next two years as demand for cessation increases and social norms change.

      Initial grant funding will allow the university to implement, evaluate, and improve ongoing and comprehensive tobacco prevention programming and collaboration to change social norms and maximize human and financial resources. The proposed statewide coalition will serve as a replicable model for other public and private universities considering tobacco-free policies and hoping to increase efficiency and effectiveness through creative collaboration.

      The proposed cost of this multi-faceted state and community intervention is $235,496. Grant funding will support a part-time program coordinator, two expert consultants/trainers, four full-day conferences with partner sites, technical assistance and financial support to subcontractor partner universities, extensive training and support for staff and student workers, cessation aids, permanent signage and promotional items, supplies, and five professional conferences where project leaders will share best practices and a replicable model for tobacco prevention and control policies on campus communities. Subcontractors include CCSU, ECSU, and WCSU, as well as experts in cessation and e-cigarettes to provide specific training, support, and technical assistance to partners and student workers. SCSU Health and Wellness Center staff salaries, including the Principal Investigator and co-Principal Investigator will be paid in full by Southern as an in-kind contribution. Grant funding will cover costs associated with dozens of student-led programs, outreach, and events, including innovative e-cigarette exchange events.

        Vivian Shipley's Books
        Vivian Shipley's Books

        English Professor Vivian Shipley, a Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor, has published two new volumes of poetry: Perennial (Negative Capability Press, 2015) and The Poet (Louisiana Literature Press, 2015). Shipley, who earned her bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in English from the University of Kentucky and her doctorate in Victorian literature from Vanderbilt University, has taught at Southern since 1969 and has published 10 books of poetry and six chapbooks. She teaches undergraduate and graduate poetry writing workshops in the English Department.

        The painting on the cover of The Poet is a portrait of Shipley’s mother- and father-in-law, Ruth and Morris Harris, who are dressed for a Halloween party. The artist, their daughter Marcia Harris, died from multiple sclerosis at age 49. Poems in this collection, says Shipley, are centered on the multiple disguises and masks that poets can wear and refer in one way or another to the act of writing poetry. “Fiction is, well, fiction,” Shipley says. “Poets seek to find truth, personal or universal, in their poetry. But, does poetry need to be literally true? Can and/or should the poet be a good liar? The difficulty of writing poetry that appears to be confessional but never really happened or didn’t happen quite that way can be very disturbing to other people—particularly family members.” In The Poet, Shipley explores different techniques to counter this problem and still write poems that sound as if the poet has had experiences she has not had. Readers who delve into the poems in The Poet can decide if Shipley really defaced Sylvia Plath’s gravestone, trekked the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu, hiked up Av. Du-Lachaise to visit Jim Morrison’s grave, was a surfer chick, a dominatrix or a hammer thrower. Personal poems about aging are, she admits, unfortunately true.

        Shipley was raised in Kentucky, and her relatives all lived on dirt farms there. The photograph on the cover ofPerennial is of Celia Farmer, Shipley’s maternal great-great-grandmother, who lived to be 107 on one small farm or another in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Born in 1818, she died in 1925. Blind for many years, she had no teeth and was cared for at the end of her life by her daughter, Lydia Farmer Stewart, who was Shipley’s great-grandmother. Poems in Perennial, Shipley says, are centered on the persistent poverty, illness, and terror that plague the world generation after generation. The book’s first section, arranged in chronological order, begins with a poem about Rebecca Nurse, who in 1692 was hanged in Salem, Mass., for being a witch, and ends with a poem that pays tribute to the lives of 142 Christian students in Kenya who were killed by al-Shabab on April 2, 2015. Shipley says she does not believe her poems will impact constant acts of senseless brutality, but she thinks it’s important “to not look away or forget lives that have been snuffed out by mindless cruelty.” The book’s two other sections contain poems about personal loss, focusing largely on the deaths of Shipley’s parents. “A priest is blessed to be able to offer a communion wafer that provides salvation to a deeply troubled world,” Shipley says. “Poets have only their words to give. Evil in this world will not be tamed; widespread injustice will not be curbed. The poems in Perennial bear witness to the struggle of the heart, the mind, the body ensnared by powers that cannot be understood or controlled.”

        A New York Times review of Shipley’s poetry says that it “preserves a uniqueness of place,” and her work has received many accolades. Her book All of Your Messages Have Been Erased (Louisiana Literature Press, 2010) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won both the 2011 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and the Sheila Motton Book Prize for Poetry from New England Poetry Club. It was also recognized as Best Creative Work by the Connecticut Press Club and was a finalist for both the Connecticut Book Prize and the Milton Kessler Poetry Prize from SUNY-Binghamton. Shipley has received many other awards and recognitions as well, including being chosen as SCSU Faculty Scholar three times and named to the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni.