Campus News & Events

Equity Task Force Issues Final Report

The Equity Task Force established in January to explore the establishment of a resource center, and other means of improving equity and inclusion on campus, has issued its final report.

The nine-person task force is made up of faculty, students and staff, and tri-chaired by Gina Ulysse, professor of anthropology, professor of feminist gender and sexuality studies; Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion and Title IX officer; and Shardonay Pagett ’18. Over the course of the spring semester, it dedicated a considerable amount of time to studying Wesleyan’s historical attempts to address equity and inclusion, and meeting with various groups of faculty, staff and students to receive input. In February, it released an interim report.

The final report, issued May 3, makes three recommendations:

  • The university should establish a new Center “that has a clear, intellectually grounded mission in social justice and a focus on intercultural development and literacy, which integrates students, faculty and staff in its core operations at the developmental stage to work sustainably toward a deeper commitment to inclusion campus-wide;”
  • The university should embark on a “long-term, comprehensive, campus-wide initiative with concrete action plans” addressing student concerns, patterns of inequity, and retention problems among faculty and staff on campus;
  • Finally, the university should transform the task force into a standing institutional committee comprised of students, faculty and staff, to work together with the larger Wesleyan community toward ongoing institutional change efforts.

In a response sent out to the campus community, President Michael Roth thanked the task force for its hard work and urged everyone to read the report. He wrote, “…it is vital that we seize this moment to improve the educational experience for all Wesleyan students, most especially those who have felt marginalized by practices of this institution, past or present.”

Roth says the administration will proceed with all three recommendations in the report.

“We will plan a Center within the time frame suggested that will enable students to deepen their education and enhance their ability to thrive on campus – especially those groups of students who have struggled against legacies of discrimination. This will build on the accomplishments of student activists, and also of professors and staff members who have worked hard to make this university a more equitable and inclusive place.”

He also promised to “add to the considerable resources we have already dedicated to recruiting and supporting students, faculty and staff from under-represented groups. […] Our goal is to ensure that all students have every opportunity to excel in all sectors of the curriculum and co-curricular activities.” The university will also establish a committee to coordinate efforts and measure their outcomes.

Wesleyan to Consider Undocumented/DACA Status Applicants as Domestic Students in Admission Process

Wesleyan University announced that it will begin considering undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status applicants who have graduated from a U.S. high school as if they were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, beginning with the class entering in fall 2017. This policy change has important implications for admission and financial aid for these prospective students.

“Supporting these talented and deserving young people is the right thing to do, and is consistent with Wesleyan values and our commitment to equity and inclusion,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth.  “Many of these students were brought to this country at a young age by their parents and have lived here most of their lives. They ought to have the same access to a high-quality college education as any other student from this country.”

O’Connell, Alumni Participate in National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Workshop

Suzanne O’Connell, right, with Ed Laine ’69 and Kerry Brenner ’94 at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop.

Suzanne O’Connell, right, with Ed Laine ’69 and Kerry Brenner ’94 at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop.

Suzanne O’Connell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, faculty director of the McNair Program, together with Ed Laine ’69 and Kerry Brenner ’94, attended a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 20-21. The three were involved in a report on Service Learning in the Geosciences.

O’Connell presented the report at the meeting.

Laine, recently retired from Bowdoin College, was on the meeting steering committee, while Brenner, a senior program officer in the Board on Science Education in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (NAS) coordinated the meeting.

A summary of the workshop will be published as a book by the National Academies Press in fall 2016.

10 Wesleyan Students, 1 Alumna Receive Fulbrights

Eleven Wesleyans were finalists in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year, including 10 from the Class of 2016, and a Class of 2013 alumna. In all, 23 people from Wesleyan applied for Fulbrights, and 12 were semi-finalists.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in 160 countries worldwide. Primary funding for the program comes from an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations in the U.S. and abroad also provide direct and indirect support.

The program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. Candidates must submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S. Recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Van Vleck Observatory Celebrates Centennial with Exhibition, Event Series

Wesleyan’s iconic observatory dome was built to house the Van Vleck Refractor, used in research until the early 1990s. Photo by John Van Vlack.

Wesleyan’s iconic observatory dome was built to house the Van Vleck Refractor, used in research until the early 1990s. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

The building was named for Professor John Monroe Van Vleck, who taught mathematics and astronomy at Wesleyan from 1853 until his death in 1912.

The building was named for Professor John Monroe Van Vleck, who taught mathematics and astronomy at Wesleyan from 1853 until his death in 1912.

Wesleyan’s Van Vleck Observatory is celebrating its centennial this spring, with a series of events and an exhibition beginning in early May.

On May 6, the observatory’s library will reopen to the public with an exhibition on the history of astronomy at Van Vleck. Developed by a team of faculty, students, and staff, the exhibition will use the observatory’s extensive collection of scientific instruments, teaching materials, photographs, drawings, and correspondence to illustrate both the changes in astronomical research and teaching over the past century, and the observatory’s consistent mission of conducting instruction and research under the same roof. The exhibition will incorporate the history of science into Van Vleck’s existing public outreach programs through period lectures, demonstrations of historic artifacts, and gallery talks.

“The Millionaire” Mechanical Calculator. Useful for determining distances to stars, this late 19th-century calculator had high precision (eight significant figures) and is still in perfect working order. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

“The Millionaire” Mechanical Calculator. Useful for determining distances to stars, this late 19th-century calculator had high precision (eight significant figures) and is still in perfect working order. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

The exhibition was spearheaded by Roy Kilgard, support astronomer and research associate professor of astronomy, Seth Redfield, associate professor of astronomy, associate professor of integrative sciences, Amrys Williams, visiting assistant professor of history, and Paul Erickson, associate professor of history, associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of science in society.

More events are planned in the run-up to the exhibition opening. On May 1, the Wesleyan Orchestra will hold a concert featuring astronomically themed music, including John Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis, which was composed using star charts from the Van Vleck Observatory library. On May 3, Special Collections & Archives will host an exhibition, “A Stellar Education: Astronomy at Wesleyan, 1831-1916.” Located on the first floor of Olin Library, the exhibition documents the study of astronomy at Wesleyan from the university’s opening through the construction of the Van Vleck Observatory. On May 4, the History Department is hosting David DeVorkin, senior curator at the National Air and Space Museum, who will give a talk situating Van Vleck in the history of American observatories.

Owoyemi ’18 to Study in Russia as Critical Language Scholar

Praise Owoyemi '18

Praise Owoyemi ’18

Praise Owoyemi ’18 has been chosen for the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia this summer.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program under the U.S. Department of State, which American undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to apply for. CLS is dedicated to broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, as well as building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries. CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

Owoyemi started studying Russian when she arrived at Wesleyan. Despite many comments she received from peers on the difficulty of the language, she challenged herself and found it was an incredibly exciting language to study. She decided to apply for the CLS program because she felt that “being immersed in a Russin speaking environment would improve her Russian speaking and comprehension skills.” She hopes to expand upon all she already knows, through both formal, classroom instruction and informal, day-to-day experiences.

“I was really surprised when I found out I had been selected as a recipient for the program, but I am incredibly excited to experience Russian culture. I’m also really excited to stay with a host family because that will help me to interact with others in the language and not just revert back to English,” she said.

Owoyemi is double majoring in psychology and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. She enjoys studying Russian literature.

Chitena ’19 Receives Davis Projects for Peace Grant to Teach Programming in Zimbabwe

Alvin Chitena ’19 at North College. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Alvin Chitena ’19, pictured here at North College on April 22, grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and worked with computers from the age of eight. He took his first computer class at Wesleyan. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Alvin Chitena ’19 has been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant of $10,000 to launch his project Zim Code at five high schools in Zimbabwe this summer. Zim Code provides Zimbabwean youth with free access to resources they need—computers, internet access and instruction—to learn computer programming and how to apply their new skills in their community.

Davis Projects for Peace was created in 2007 through the generosity of Kathryn W. Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist who died in 2013. It supports initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship by undergraduate students focused on conflict prevention, resolution or reconciliation in countries around the world.

Slobin Honored for 45 Years at Wesleyan

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, was honored April 16 with “Ideas on the Move,” a conference celebrating his career and many accomplishments. Slobin will retire from Wesleyan June 30.

Slobin is an ethnomusicologist who has written extensively on the subject of East European Jewish music and klezmer music, as well as the music of Afghanistan.

The daylong event featured talks by alumni from as far back as 45 years. Topics included “Mark’s Metaphors: Visual Poetics, Pedagogy and Theoretical Clarity;” “ONCE Upon a Time: Mark Slobin’s Experimental Ethnomusicology;” “How Mark Slobin Became an Ethnomusicologist;” and “Growing Up With Mark.” A concert, featuring Irish, Yiddish, Korean and other music, also was held in honor of Professor Slobin in World Music Hall. View a list of all speakers and musicians on this website.

Slobin came to Wesleyan on July 1, 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, president of the Society for Asian Music, and editor of Asian Music. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award (for lifetime achievement) from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Curt Leviant Award In Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (honorable mention). He was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Chosen Voices (1989).

In his blog, President Michael Roth said: “He is at home with all kinds of sounds, and his students (many of whom were present at the conference) work on everything from Mongolian throat singing and African funeral music to hip-hop and klezmer. He’s even written the book on music at Wesleyan.

“Mark spoke briefly at the conference about how Wesleyan has fostered groundbreaking research, practice and teaching in music for a very long time. Thanks to him, and to his colleagues and students, we expect that to continue far into the future.”

The evening concluded with a Javanese Wayang Puppet Play “Arjuna in Meditation,” performed with the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble under the direction of I. M. Harjito and Sumarsam (dhalang) and guest musicians.

eve_markslobin_2016-0415110517

5 Undergraduates Receive Doris Duke Conservation Scholarships

Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Olivia Won ’18 is interested in addressing issues of climate justice by reorienting environmental action to work through a place-based, social justice lens.

Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Olivia Won ’18 is interested in addressing issues of climate justice by reorienting environmental action to work through a place-based, social justice lens.

In April, the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program presented scholarships to five Wesleyan undergraduate students. As Doris Duke Scholars, Olivia Won ’18, Emily Murphy ’18, Ryan Nelson ’19, Gabby Vargas ’18 and Kelly Lam ’19 will receive two summer experiential learning and research opportunities at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation initiated the Conservation Scholars programs at several universities across the country in 2013 with the intention of attracting and training members of under-represented communities in the field of conservation. Over the course of their two years in the program, the scholars will work right alongside conservation professional and researchers that will serve as mentors.

“More than ever, the conservation field needs to increase its efforts to attract, train and employ individuals from communities

Stanton, Hoggard, Brown: ‘Storied Places’ Unites Dance, Music, Text of Collaborative Cluster

Professor of Dance and Department Chair Nicole Stanton notes that faculty dance concerts play a crucial role in academic life: "For many of us in the dance department, this is our creative research. This how we explore our ideas and passions and how we engage with the world and with critical, cultural, social and political themes."

Associate Professor Nicole Stanton notes that faculty dance concerts play a crucial role in academic life: “For many of us in the dance department, this is our creative research. This how we explore our ideas and passions and how we engage with the world and with critical, cultural, social and political themes.”

On the weekend of April 15-16, the CFA theater was home to the spring faculty dance concert, Storied Places. In addition to the dance, which was choreographed and directed by Chair and Associate Professor of Dance, Associate Professor of African American Studies, and Environmental Studies Nicole Stanton, the performance also featured original compositions and musical direction by Adjunct Professor of Music and African American Studies Jay Hoggard ’76. Adding a further layer of texture was narrative text, written and performed by Chair and Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Professor of English and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Center for African American Studies Lois Brown.

Additionally, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy L’Merchie Frazier created visual scenography and design—some based on the photographs that grace the cover of Hoggard’s new two-CD set, Harlem Hieroglyphs.

The collaboration, which featured a host of musicians and dancers—including Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Dante Brown ’09 and Rick Manayan ’17—had begun with Hoggard’s compositions, which were inspired under the theme of “Migrations”—as he thought specifically of the migration his own family had made from the rural South to a new home in Harlem, as well as more generally about the movement of peoples throughout history and how that was illustrated in music, particularly jazz.

Nicole Stanton recalls that she had reached out to Hoggard, at the suggestion of Pam Tatge ’84, MALS ’10, P’16, who was then director of the Center for the Arts.

“I enjoy very much the idea of collaboration and collaboration across disciplines,” Stanton explains. “I’m interested in dance and the total art form that engages a lot of different senses and a lot of different modes of expression.”

New Solar Farm, Panels Help Generate Electricity on Campus

Solar panels on the Office of Admission were installed in 2009.

Solar panels on the Office of Admission were installed in 2009. Construction on a new solar farm will begin May 2016 near the rugby field on Long Lane. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This month, Wesleyan is celebrating its progress toward a sustainable campus and is about to embark on an exciting new project – the creation of a solar farm that will supply 1.2 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy each year and expand the university’s use of solar energy by six-fold.

“The solar farm will be a highly visible sign of our progress, but our commitment to sustainability is embedded in everything we do,” said Jennifer Kleindienst, sustainability director at Wesleyan.

Energy use has the greatest impact on Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, and efficiency and conservation programs, as well as expansion of renewable energy sources are all a part of the university’s strategy. Preparations for construction of a solar photovoltaic (PV) “farm” will begin in May, and it is expected to be operational by the fall. The solar farm will be located on the south end of Wesleyan’s Long Lane property near the rugby field.

Solar panels were installed on a student residence on Fountain Avenue in October 2008

Solar panels were installed on a student residence on 19 Fountain Avenue in October 2008.

The new solar farm, which will be owned and operated by the local company Greenskies, will produce about 5 percent of Wesleyan’s annual electric consumption, complementing the three existing solar arrays on campus at the Office of Admission, the Freeman Athletic Center, and 19 Fountain Avenue. When the array becomes operational, Wesleyan will be generating 92 percent of its power needs through natural gas co-generation and solar.

Wesleyan received its first solar panels in October 2008. Thirty-two solar panels were installed on the rooftop of a new senior house on Fountain Avenue. The entire house is Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR certified.

In September 2009 John Nordeman ’99 and Matthew Rudey ’99, co-owners of renewable energy company Just Energy (JE), installed panels on the Office of Admission. Wesleyan has a contract with JE to purchase all the electricity the system produces for the next 10 years. The Admissions building uses about 110,000 kWh annually. The panels create electricity at a maximum output of 3 kW and will produce about 3,000 kW hours annually towards that annual usage.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. In sum, the arrays are expected to make approximately 200,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, or about 7 million kWh over their 35 year life span.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. The system was installed in December 2011.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. In sum, the arrays are expected to make approximately 200,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, or about 7 million kWh over their 35 year life span.

 

 

 

Wesleyan Launches Sustainability Action Plan during Earth Month

cam_lon_2016-0414035938

Hilary Brumberg ’17 waters seedings inside the new greenhouse at Long Lane Farm. The new greenhouse, funded by the Green Fund, allows the students to get a head start on the gardening season. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Emma Distler ’19 uses a bottle filling station inside Usdan University Center on April 18. The bottle filling stations provide clean, filtered water and reduce the use of disposable bottles. As part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts, the university has installed bottle refilling stations and drinking fountains at many locations campus-wide.

Emma Distler ’19 uses a bottle filling station inside Usdan University Center on April 18. The bottle filling stations provide clean, filtered water and reduce the use of disposable bottles. As part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts, the university has installed bottle refilling stations and drinking fountains at many locations campus-wide.

During Earth Month Wesleyan is celebrating its progress toward a sustainable campus.

“From planning to composting, from university-wide utilities to low-flow showerheads, we are reducing our carbon footprint and creating a culture of sustainability,” said Jennifer Kleindienst, sustainability director at Wesleyan.

With leadership from Kleindienst, Wesleyan has developed a Sustainability Action Plan – a broad commitment to sustainability that is the result of more than a year of effort from over 130 students, faculty and staff. The plan is intended to guide the university’s efforts in this area over the next five years.

“Wesleyan as a whole can contribute to a sustainable world not just by doing what it does so well – teaching and research – but also by being a model of sustainability itself,” said President Michael Roth. “We now have a comprehensive plan and strategies to move Wesleyan toward carbon neutrality and create a more environmentally and socially sustainable campus.”

A recycling station was installed in Boger Hall/41 Wyllys.

A recycling station was installed in Boger Hall/41 Wyllys.

Energy use has the greatest impact on Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, and efficiency and conservation programs, as well as expansion of renewable energy sources are all a part of the university’s strategy. Preparations for construction of a new solar photovoltaic (PV) “farm” on the university’s Long Lane property will begin in May, and it is expected to be operational by the fall.

Wesleyan’s sustainability achievements also include:

• Sustainable Buildings: Boger Hall (formerly 41 Wyllys Avenue) has the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification (Platinum). Among the building’s sustainability highlights are a green roof that provides water filtration and a reduction of the heat island effect; mechanical and lighting systems that sense occupancy, low-flow water fixtures, individual control over lighting and heat, and much more here.

• Water: Usage has declined by over 50 percent (more than 13 million gallons, or the equivalent of nearly 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools) since 2011 due to installation of low-flow fixtures.

Wesleyan students oversee Long Lane Organic Farm's compost area.

Wesleyan students oversee Long Lane Organic Farm’s compost area.

• Composting and waste reduction: Over a three-year period, Wesleyan has increased composting from 12 tons to 42 tons, while generation of trash declined from 703 tons to 604 tons.

• Long Lane Farm: Since 2004, the student-run Long Lane Farm has produced food for dining halls and the broader Middletown community. The Community Food Project connects families with children on free or reduced-price lunches to the farm, where they get an opportunity to help out, receive free produce, and have fun.

• Grounds: In 2013, facilities staff planted a wildflower meadow on eight acres off Long Lane. More than 80 acres of Wesleyan’s campus are no-mow, low-mow, or wooded. Since 2012, the student group Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan (WILD Wes) has brought permaculture principles to campus. The group now manages two garden locations.

Water usage at Wesleyan has declined by more than 50 percent since 2011 due to installation of low-flow fixtures.

Water usage at Wesleyan has declined by more than 50 percent since 2011 due to installation of low-flow and automatic-shut off fixtures, like this one in Fayerweather.

• Green Fund: In 2010 the student-managed Green Fund was established through a $15 per semester opt-out fee, and 87 percent of students voluntarily participate in the fund. Over the past five years, the Fund has awarded over $365,000 to more than 40 different projects.

“I’m so encouraged by our progress to date,” Kleindienst said, “and having a detailed, comprehensive plan with specific actions and metrics will enable us to do much more. Sustainability is an ongoing process, not an end goal, and we are fortunate to have a campus where sustainability is widely embraced.”