Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

Monument Quilt Offers Public Platform for Rape Victims to Grieve, Heal

DSC_2560The Wesleyan community gathered on Foss Hill Sept. 2 to view The Monument Quilt, a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. The quilt serves as a platform for storytelling and a space where survivors are publicly supported.

Sections of the quilt are traveling throughout the United States. In August, the quilt made stops in North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.

Following the tour, thousands of fabric squares will be stitched together to spell “NOT ALONE” on the National Mall.Through public recognition, the quilt aims to reconnect survivors to their community.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT) also attended.

Learn more at https://themonumentquilt.org/.

(Photos by Cynthia Rockwell and Olivia Drake)

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Rabban ’71 to Deliver Constitution Day Lecture Sept. 17

David Rabban '71

David Rabban ’71

David Rabban ’71 will speak on “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the American University” during Wesleyan’s annual Constitution Day Lecture.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Smith Reading Room inside Olin Memorial Library. The lecture, hosted by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library is free of charge and open to the public.

This talk will cover the judicial treatment of free speech and academic freedom at American universities from the 1950s to the present. It will explore the First Amendment rights of professors, students and universities as institutions, and the tensions that arise when these rights conflict.

Center for the Humanities Explores “Mobilities” in Fall Lecture Series

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize are just three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities' fall lecture series.

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize? are three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities’ fall lecture series.

Over the past decade, a new approach to the study of mobilities has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.

This fall, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities will offer 10 lectures on the theme of “Mobilities” as part of its lecture series. Five of the speakers are from Wesleyan.

All talks begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public, and are held at Daniel Family Commons. The dates, topics and speakers are:

Sept. 8
Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’ Birds
Cary Wolfe, professor of English, Rice University

Sept. 15
Beyond Synthesis: The Return of Micro History in Global Contexts and the “Relationing” of History
Angelika Eppel, professor of history, Bielefeld University, Germany

Sept. 22
The Roma Question in France and the Return of Race
Éric Fassin, professor of sociology, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Students Express Gender at Bend it at Beckham

Wesleyan students participated in Bend it at Beckham Aug. 29 in Beckham Hall. Students were encouraged to bend the gender binary by expressing gender through a variety of ways. The party was DJ’d by Ron Jacobs ’16 and Abhimanyu Janamanchi ’17. (Photos by Harry Jiang ’18)

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Students of Color Gather for Reception, Program

The Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance (AFCA) hosted a Students of Color Reception Aug. 28 in Usdan University Center. The reception allowed new students who identify themselves as a “student of color” to meet fellow students, faculty, staff and administrators. The group gathered for lunch and a brief program led by Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion. Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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First-Year Students Move In on Arrival Day (with photo gallery)

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arriva Day, Aug. 27.

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Residential Life Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arrival Day, Aug. 27.

A mini fridge, mirror, bed linens, navy blue rug, a N.Y. Yankees decorative sign, storage tubs, a closet-full of clothes. And don’t forget the guitar.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

“What didn’t I bring with me?” said Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 as he unloaded and unpacked his bounty of belongings into his 113 Butts C residence Wednesday morning. “I have it all. But I only brought a couple books because I heard that [in college] you have no time to read them.”

Stagoff-Belfort, who hails from Montclair, N.J. is one of 757 members of the Class of 2018 who settled into their new home-away-from-home on Arrival Day, Aug. 27. Stagoff-Belfort received help from his parents, Cindy Stagoff and Bob Belfort, and sister Claudia Stagoff-Belfort.

Stagoff-Belfort is interested in Wesleyan’s economics and government programs and looks forward to exploring the music scene on campus.

“I’m super excited to be here,” he said. “Wesleyan is going to be a great experience.”

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley '18.

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley ’18. Whatley is residing in West College.

Alina Whatley ’18 of Orinda, Calif. flew to Connecticut on Aug. 25 with her mother, Danusia Zaroda. The mother-daughter duo unpacked three over-stuffed suitcases and a blanket, hand-quilted by Alina’s grandmother.

Whatley also unpacked boots and a down jacket in anticipation of the New England winter. Then they headed to a local home furnishings store with a 20 percent off coupon. “We bought out the entire store and helped end the recent recession,” Zaroda said.

Over in Bennet Hall, Joseph Kim of Clairmont, N.J. unloaded his belongings with help from his mother, Jae; sister Michelle; and father, Kwan. Joseph plans to study biology and chose Wesleyan for its strong academic reputation.

“I think I have everything I need,” he said. “I have my laptop, printer, guitar. All my clothes. And seven pairs of shoes.”

Claudia Kahindi '18 poses in her West College room.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 poses in her West College room. “Wesleyan is the place for me!” she said.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 traveled more than 7,000 miles from her home in Kilifi, Kenya to her new West College dorm room. Kahindi is a Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project Scholar and plans to participate in intramural basketball at Wesleyan. She decorated her room in African flags, jewelry, a elephant khanga and shells from a popular beach in Kenya.

In contrast, Courtney Robinson ’18 traveled only 20 miles to Wesleyan’s Bennet Hall from her home in West Hartford. Her parents, David and Jane, are both Wesleyan alumni from the Class of 1987 and helped their daughter unpack.

“I woke up at 8:15 and sorted through some photos. I packed a few more things and came to campus,” Robinson said.

The Class of 2018 is 45 percent men and 55 percent women. Thirteen percent come from outside the U.S., including both international students and U.S. citizens raised abroad. They come from 30 different countries outside the United States, with home countries as far flung as Ukraine, Guatemala, Palestine, Egypt and Malaysia. There is also an increase in representation from students who live in the U.S. South and Midwest. Learn more about the Class of 2018 here.

View more photos of Arrival Day activity below: (Photos by Olivia Drake, John Van Vlack and Harry Jiang)

Class of 2018 on Student Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. Class of 2018 Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan Welcomes 109 International Students to the Class of 2018

International students shout "Go Wes!" during their orientation Aug. 26 at Usdan University Center.

International students shout “Go Wes!” during their orientation Aug. 26 at Usdan University Center.

Students from 30 different countries joined the Class of 2018 during International Student Orientation, held Aug. 24-26.

This fall, 109 undergraduate students come from international countries, including students who are U.S. citizens but live abroad. Three students are visiting from Germany, two from Spain and one from France.

This year, Wesleyan has students who hail from Guatemala,

Display in Usdan Illustrates Students’ Geographic Diversity

A map in Usdan University Center created out of recycled paper, yarn and pins by student Orientation interns illustrates the geographic diversity of Wesleyan's newest students. The new students—including the Class of 2018, transfer and graduate students—come from as as close as Middletown and as far away as North Sydney, Australia (20,002 miles).

A map in Usdan University Center created out of recycled paper, yarn and pins by student Orientation interns illustrates the geographic diversity of Wesleyan’s newest students. The new students—including the Class of 2018, transfer and graduate students—come from as as close as Middletown and as far away as North Sydney, Australia (20,002 miles).

Wesleyan Welcomes 64 Graduate Students

Graduate Student Services welcomed 64 graduate students to Wesleyan on Aug. 26.

Of the students, 19 are part of Wesleyan’s BA/MA program; 12 are MA students; 20 are Ph.D. candidates; eight are Foreign Language Teaching Assistants; three are Wesleyan Writing Fellows and one is an exchange student from Germany.

Twelve are studying music and ethnomusicology; 37 are pursing degrees in science and mathematics; three are studying psychology and 12 are non-degree seeking students.

Of the 64 graduate students, 43 are from the United States. The other 21 are from France, Ghana, India, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Singapore, United Kingdom, Argentina, Italy, Japan, the Bahamas, Germany, China, Nepal and Morocco.

During Graduate Student Orientation, which began on Aug. 26, students toured Wesleyan’s Science Library and Olin Library, where music students were introduced to the Music library. They also attended panels and talks on Life at Wesleyan, Wellness at Wesleyan, lab safety training, graduate pedagogy and honor codes.

Students met with several Wesleyan faculty, staff and students including Mark Hovey, director of graduate studies, professor of mathematics; and Cheryl-Ann Hagner, director of Graduate Student Services; Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion; Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs and others.

Pictured below are photos of the graduate student welcome picnic, held Aug. 26 behind Exley Science Center: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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Bloom’s Novel Lucky Us on Success, Luck, Big Dreams, Scandals

New book by Amy Bloom.

New book by Amy Bloom.

Amy Bloom, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence and director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is the author of a novel, Lucky Us, published in July 2014 by Random House.

Disappointed by their families, Iris, a hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Lucky Us is a resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise.

In celebration of her book release, Bloom will be speaking Sept. 2 at the Society Club in London, and Sept. 3 at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

Bloom’s stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, Thee New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate and Salon, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award.

A Wide Angle View of Wesleyan’s Summer Campus

Here’s a wide look at Wesleyan’s campus on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan's Campus.

Memorial Chapel and South College.

Van Vleck Observatory.

Van Vleck Observatory.

Graduate Students, Faculty Attend American Chemical Society Meeting

Chemistry graduate student Duminda Ranasinghe spoke about his research on "Density functional for core-valence correlation energy."

Chemistry graduate student Duminda Ranasinghe spoke about his research on “Density functional for core-valence correlation energy.”

Two graduate students and two faculty attended the 248th national meeting of the American Chemical Society Aug. 10-14 in San Francisco, Calif.

Chemistry graduate students Duminda Ranasinghe delivered a poster presentation on her research titled “Efficient extrapolation to the (T)/CBS limit” and an oral presentation on “Density functional for core-valence correlation energy.”

"Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7."

Chemistry graduate student Kyle Throssell presented a poster titled “Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7.”

Chemistry graduate student Kyle Throssell presented two poster presentations on “Potential curves of selected radical thiol double additions to alkynes” and “Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7.”

The students were accompanied by George Petersson, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of chemistry; and Michael Frisch, research professor in chemistry.