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Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Branches down. (Photos by Kaylin Berger '13)

An unprecedented October snow storm wreaked havoc on Wesleyan’s campus and throughout Connecticut Oct. 30. The university was among the more than 800,000 electrical utility customers who lost power. Electricity was restored to the central campus area on Nov. 1, but many program and wood-framed student houses that are supplied by electrical grids in Middletown remained without power.

With the restoration of power to the core of the Wesleyan campus, the university re-opened and resumed classes on Nov. 2.

“By resuming classes we aim to return to the normal rhythms of our educational mission,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail on Nov. 1. “We are aware, of course, that this return to academic work may be challenging for students who are seeking alternative living arrangements (more…)

Wesleyan will play Williams College during the Homecoming football game Nov. 5. Tailgating begins at noon.

All Wesleyan students, alumni, parents, families, faculty and staff are invited to Homecoming/Family Weekend Nov. 4-6.

This year, campus guests can participate in an array of academic, cultural and athletic events. Students’ families gain a sense of the undergraduate experience by sitting in on regularly scheduled classes, attending WESeminars, and by meeting faculty and administrators in both academic and social settings. Alumni can reconnect with Wesleyan and with each other at a host of special seminars and social gatherings.

“We welcome all members of the Wesleyan community to take advantage of the rich schedule,” says Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of events. “From lectures on social media and the Peace Corps, to improve comedy and a cappella, to athletic contests and celebrations, there’s something for everyone.”

Key events this year include tailgating during the homecoming football game against Williams College; a celebration of Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus; a Randy Newman P’14 benefit concert; a Homecoming Day Lunch, Fall Harvest Brunch and All-College Dinner; an Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony; Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Ribbon Cutting; the 19th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, and Where on Earth are We Going? Symposium. (more…)

Ruth Striegel is the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology.

Like all eating disorders, binge eating only affects women and teenaged girls, right?


An extensive new study that examined the eating habits of 21,743 men found that binge eating affected 1,630 of them. The rate, while slightly less than the number of women in the same study who experienced binge eating, reveals that this behavior is not limited to female populations. The results argue strongly for including men in future studies and treatment strategies.

Published in the Sept. 2011 issue of International Journal of Eating Disorders, the study, titled “Why Men Should be Included in Research on Binge Eating: Results from a Comparison of Psychosocial Impairment in Men and Women” was led by Ruth Striegel, Walter A. Crowell Professor of Social Sciences, professor of Psychology, and renowned eating disorder researcher.

Striegel and her team found that the health and medical implications of binge eating are just as damaging to men affected by this disorder as they are to women.

“Binge eating is closely linked to obesity and excessive (more…)

Professor Johan Varekamp and former graduate student Tristan Kading studied how a volcano eruption in 2000 affected the chemical makeup of Lake Caviahue in Argentina. Varekamp presented the study at a recent Geological Society of America meeting.

Professor Johan Varekamp made two presentations on a chemically-altered lake and urban pollution during a recent Geological Society of America meeting. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Six Wesleyan researchers, including a graduate student, were authors or co-authors of papers chosen for presentation at this year’s annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 9-12. It is the largest annual meeting of the preeminent scientific association in the geologic and earth science fields.

Johan Varekamp, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Sciences, professor of earth and environmental sciences, presented two papers. The first, “Wethersfield Cove, Hartford, Conn. – A 300 Year Urban Pollution Record,” detailed a study of the sedimentary record of the cove, which revealed unusually high levels of Mercury. The cove, which had been surround by economic activity since colonial times, showed sedimentary mercury levels as high as 3,000 parts per billion.

The study has become the subject of a front-page feature in The Hartford Courant featuring Varekamp and three graduate students from his Graduate of Liberal Studies (GLSP) class, Kristen Amore, Julia Rowny and Luis Rodriguez, assistant store manager at Cardinal Technologies, who joined Varekamp to do ongoing samplings of the cove.

Varekamp also was asked to present his paper, Lake Caviahue (Argentina) Nearing Schwertmannite Saturation, which charted the chemistry-altering changes in the lake since the eruption of the Copahue volcano in 2000.

The paper was co-authored by Varekamp’s former graduate student Tristan Kading MA ’10, who is now a Ph.D. candidate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Kading did much of his master’s study on Lake Caviahue.

The volcano’s runoff into Lake Caviahue has raised the lake’s acidity over the last 11 years creating a near saturation of the mineral schwertmannite, which has given the water a yellow-brown color. (more…)

"The Energy Puzzle In More Than 140 Characters" and "The Future of Nuclear Power" are the topics of the Where on Earth are We Going Symposium Nov. 5.

On Nov. 5, two energy experts will speak during the annual “Where On Earth Are We Going?” symposium. The event is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.

At 9 a.m., Lisa Margonelli, director of the Energy Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C., will speak on “The Energy Revolution Will not be Tweetable: the Energy Puzzle in More than 140 Characters.” Margonelli is the publisher of The Energy Trap and blogs frequently at The Atlantic web site. Her book Oil On the Brain: Petroleum’s Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank follows the oil supply chain from the gas station to oil fields around the world.

Gas at $3.50 a gallon is expensive, but its environmental, economic, political and moral price is much higher, she says. Margonelli will offer a provocative tour of the true cost of gasoline – as bad for the citizens of the Middle East as it is for Americans -and then explain how we can change by looking at energy as a system and finding opportunities for mini revolutions in technology, policy and behavior.

At 10:30 a.m., Paul Gunter, a lead spokesperson in nuclear reactor hazards and security concerns, will speak on “The Future of Nuclear Power Following the Fukushima Disaster.”  Gunter acts as the regulatory watchdog over the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry. (more…)

Anne Peters, assistant professor of government, is a former Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academies in Washington, DC. Peters was assigned to develop new programs that would allow U.S. and Arab scientists to collaborate. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This issue we ask “5 Questions” of Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government who specializes in the Middle East. Her research interests include the durability of Middle Eastern Authoritarianism.

Q: We all saw the stirring images from Egypt in the spring, but there’s been very little coverage of what is happening there since. What happened in the days and weeks after the protest ended?

A: The Egyptian protesters were a diverse group of people with varying levels of policy goals and political sophistication who all coalesced around the need to remove the President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. That we now see acute fragmentation and intense rivalry among formal parties and informal groups is not surprising. However, this has put the groups in poor position to exert leverage over the military leadership, the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), that asserted its role as a transitional government after Mubarak resigned from office.

Two major party coalitions have emerged. The first is the Democratic Alliance, which is headed up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Although the Brotherhood was prohibited from forming a political party, under Mubarak’s rule it built a political bureau that fronted a number of “independents” in parliamentary and associational elections. Until recently, the Alliance comprised about forty Islamic and secular parties. Yet two-thirds of the original members have since left the Alliance (including leading salafi Islamist parties), after expressing concern that the FJP is trying to take the majority of nominees. The second coalition is the liberal Egyptian Bloc, which was established by Coptic Christian businessman Naguib Sawiris and consists of about twenty parties, fifteen of which have reportedly withdrawn because they fear that the dominant Egyptian Liberals Party is trying to hoard nominations.

Newer and smaller parties, then, are largely responsible for the fragmentation of the coalitions. A more liberal political parties law has allowed many new parties to register, but it also means that many of them are less cohesive and less organized. They fear the disproportionate power of leading parties in their respective coalitions. Although nobody knows its precise level of support, as an older organization the Brotherhood has the advantage of drawing upon pre-established networks. By contrast, the Egyptian Liberals Party is a new party, but has the advantage of resources and support from Egypt’s relatively organized business communities.

Q: It was an odd uprising in that there really wasn’t a single organized political group leading it. What were some of the factors that precipitated it?

A: In general, standards of living were being eroded by inflation and unemployment; the financial sector suffered from corruption and unequal access to capital; and educated Egyptians could not find gainful employment. (more…)

The Class of 2015 Freeman Scholars.

The Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholars Program welcomed 11 new students to the program during a Freeman Scholars Dinner Oct. 6.

The program enables qualified young men and women from each of 11 countries or regions – The People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam to come to Wesleyan on full tuition scholarships.

“I am fortunate to work with the Freeman Asian Scholars Association; so many are friends. I love their energy, good spirit and their wonderful creativity and culture they inject into the community,” says Gina Driscoll, associate director of development events.

This program is made possible by Wesleyan University and the Freeman Foundation, which aims to improve understanding and to strengthen ties between the United States and the countries of the Pacific Rim. Entry into the Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholars Program is highly competitive: only one student is selected annually from each country.

The Freeman Foundation, led by the late Houghton Freeman ’43, his wife Doreen, and their son Graeme Freeman ’77, launched  the program in 1995.

The 2011-12 cohort includes Tong Satayopas of Thailand; Dat Vu of Vietnam; Kehan Zhou of China; Kaito Abe of Japan; Marianna Ilagan of the Philippines; Rizky Rahadianto of Indonesia; Chun Kit Ng of Malaysia; Inha Cho of the Republic of Korea; Michael Leung of Hong Kong; Jill Jie’en Tan of Singapore and Yun-Hsuan Lai of Taiwan.

The new Freeman Scholars joined the Classes of 2014, 2013 and 2012 scholars during the Freeman Scholars Dinner Oct. 6. The group sung the Wesleyan Fight Song and shouted, "Go Wes!" (Photos by Charlotte Christopher '12)


Acclaimed Israeli author Amos Oz will speak in Memorial Chapel on Nov. 3. (Photo by Colin McPherson)

The internationally lauded novelist and journalist Amos Oz will speak on “Israel Through Its Literature,” at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the campus community.

Amos Oz, Israel’s best known writer, is the author of novels, novellas, short stories, children’s books, literary and political essay collections, and the moving memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness. Oz’s most widely acclaimed novel, My Michael (1968), was an immediate artistic and political sensation. It has been published in over 30 countries and in 1975 was made into a popular film. Among many other titles received with admiring reviews and heavy sales are The Hill of Evil Counsel (3 novellas), In the Land of Israel (essays on the Lebanon War), and novels such as To Know a Woman and The Same Sea.

One of the founders of the Peace Now movement, Oz has written extensively about Arab-Israeli relations and for more than 40 years has championed dialogue and campaigned for mutual recognition between Israel and a Palestinian state.  He is a long-time teacher and is currently a professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.

Oz is the recipient of numerous awards for literary and humanitarian activity, including the Prix Femina (1998) and Knight of the Legion of Honor (1997) in France; the German Friedenspreis (1992), Goethe Prize (2005), and Heine Prize (2008); and the Israeli Prize for Literature (1998).

Arrangements for this appearance were made through the B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau. The event’s sponsors are the Rosenberg Family Fund for Jewish Student Life, Wesleyan Writing Programs and the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture Fund, Jewish and Israel Studies, the Wesleyan Jewish Community and the College of Letters.

The new Wesleyan mobile web site, seen here on an Apple iPad, offers news, events, academics and directory links and map locations.

The campus community can browse university information through their smart phones and tablets through a new mobile web site developed by Information Technology Services.

The Wesleyan mobile web site, launched Oct. 25, provides quick links to university news, events, academics, map locations and directory. Mobile device auto detection is built into the Wesleyan home page, so smartphone users (iOS, Android or Blackberry Torch) can view either the full web site or the mobile version on their handheld device.

“A mobile web site is really designed for a broad audience,” says Melissa Datre, director of ITS’s New Media Lab. “Students, staff and faculty will find it useful, but it will also appeal to folks visiting campus who need to access information about the university quickly. The site provides information they would be able to find on the regular web site, but it is shortened and optimized for mobile viewing.”

Smartphone users have the option to navigate to the mobile site directly using http://mobile.wesleyan.edu/ or http://m.wesleyan.edu.

The New Media Lab began developing the mobile site in January by investigating technologies for cross-device deployment and researching internal statistics and other university’s mobile sites. They later conducted research to look at what other universities were doing with mobile technologies, and compiled their own data from Google Analytics.

ITS will continue to develop the mobile website and encourages the campus community to submit comments at medialab@wesleyan.edu. Datre says the next step will be to create mobile applications, or programs, that have a more targeted audience.

“The exciting part is we’ve only just begun with mobile device development and there is a lot more opportunity out there for Wes to go mobile,” Datre says.

Through the 76th annual Employee Campaign, Wesleyan hopes to raise more than $135,000 for the Middlesex United Way.

Since January, Middlesex United Way has helped keep more than 170 families from becoming homeless, and its support of area food pantries and soup kitchens has helped them provide more than 780,000 meals to hungry Middlesex County residents.

And since 1935, Wesleyan employees have responded to the needs of the community by participating in the annual United Way Employee Campaign. This year’s goal is to top $135,000.

“It is more important than ever for us at Wesleyan to show support for the larger community of which we are a part,” said President Roth in an all-campus e-mail. “In today’s economy, in which those in the lower half of the income scale are in especial difficulty, community support is more important than ever. Many of our neighbors are in need, and the United Way is the means through which we can help them.”

Professor Bill Johnston is serving as campaign chair this year. Johnston is professor of history, professor of East Asian Studies, chair of the Asian Languages and Literatures Department and professor of science in society.

“I’m asking that employees give just $2 a week or $104 a year, he says. “That small gift can do so much for people in our community.”

Johnston also asks those who give regularly to consider increasing their donation.

United Way has begun a “Five Year Goals for the Common Good” plan in the areas of education, income, health and housing. The organization supports Habitat for Humanity, the John J. Driscoll United Labor Agency, Middlesex Hospital, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, Amazing Grace food pantry, the YMCA of Northern Middlesex Country and others. The full directory is online here. The mission of Middlesex United Way is to mobilize the caring power of communities to strengthen lives and help people.

Wesleyan employees will soon receive a United Way form from their department representative. Donors can make a one-time gift or make weekly or monthly pledges.

For more information on United Way, visit their website, http://www.middlesexunitedway.org/.


The Campus Activities Committee hosted “Taste of Middletown” on Oct. 20 as a way to celebrate Wesleyan’s faculty and staff. More than a dozen Middletown eateries attended, including Famous Pizza, First & Last, Haveli Indian Restaurant, Sweet Harmony Bakery, Esca and more. WB Mason provided hot and cold beverages, and representatives at the Inn at Middletown and three other local hotels hosted information booths. Photos of the event are below.

Staci Baldwin, construction project coordinator in Physical Plant, shows off a smattering of foods available for taste-testing at the event.

Staci Baldwin, construction project coordinator in Physical Plant, shows off a smattering of foods available for taste-testing at the event.


Human Resources honored 22 employees with 20 or more years of service during a luncheon Oct. 11 in Beckham Hall.


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