Campus News & Events

Gruen Researches Empathy, Ethics and Chimpanzees, Philosophically


At top, Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, explains “The Chimp Project” from her office in Russell House. She and  Hughes Fellow Shayla Silver-Balbus ’06 (pictured at left) studied chimpanzees in Ohio this summer.
Posted 10/01/05
Lori Gruen spent this past summer with curious students of an unsuspecting kind – chimpanzees named Emma and Harper. Gruen, an associate professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Wesleyan Feminism, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, formally known as the Women’s Studies Department, studied the chimpanzees at the Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center where she continues to gather information for an upcoming book on empathy.

“By exploring our attitudes and relationships with chimpanzees we can enhance our capacity to empathize with different others and get a glimpse at how empathy might have evolved,” says Gruen.

Gruen’s book will focus on, among others topics, chimpanzee history, sign language skills, comparative cognition and emotional and ethical intelligence. Gruen plans to continue working on the new book during her upcoming spring sabbatical.

“This is an opportunity for me to move away from practicing pure philosophy,” she says. “This is a feature of being engaged in the world.”

Whether in the field with chimpanzees or in the classroom with students, Gruen’s academic work always involves ethics. In her classes, one of which includes the popular “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” she asks that her students challenge their life choices.

Co-taught with Laura Grabel, professor of biology and Fisk Professor of Natural Sciences, “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” focuses on such hot button issues as the ethics of cloning, stem cell research, infertility, contraception and abortion. Offered for the first time last year, the class is again at it 65 student capacity. Gruen says an additional 130 students were on the waiting list. Grabel says that a previous incarnation of the class was taught without a real ethics component and that Gruen’s insights have brought a whole perspective to the scientific information that’s presented.

“Lori has brought that missing piece to the course, Grabel says. “She can teach the rich intellectual history of the philosophical field of ethics and teach students how to apply these concepts to crafting strong ethical arguments relevant to reproductive issues ranging from cloning to abortion.”

Much like in “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” whose subject matter often attracts the local and national media, Gruen longed to weave ethics into other classes across campus. This past summer she helped launch Wesleyan’s Ethics in Society Project, a similar program to the one she launched at Stanford University before coming to Wesleyan in 2000. The project awards Ethical Reasoning Capability Summer Development Grants to six Wesleyan professors who are responsible for incorporating ethics into their undergraduate curriculums.

The grant recipients for this year include: Christina Crosby, English for a course “Questions of Embodiment”; Norman Danner, Computer Science for “Cryptography”; Indira Karamcheti, English for “Postcolonial Literature”; Elizabeth McAlister, Religion for “Christianity and Globalization”; Sheila Mullen, Less Commonly Taught Languages for “American Sign Language and Current Issues” and Suzanne O’Connell, Earth &Environmental Science for “Introduction to Environmental Science”.

The Ethics in Society Project grants will be available to Wesleyan faculty again at the beginning of spring semester as well. For more information, visit www.wesleyan.edu/ethics.

“Wesleyan’s commitment to interdisciplinary work is great for students and myself as a scholar,” says Gruen. “It’s important to be able to think deeply and broadly about challenging issues. My students always want to learn how to respond to the world around them, all while keeping ethics in mind.”

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

“The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome” Kicks off Dance Residency at the CFA


Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, discusses “The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome,” the first in a series of lectures addressing the implications of genetic research. (Photo by Lex Leifheit)
Posted 10/01/05
The year 2003 marked a major milestone in human genomics: the completion of the sequencing of the human genome. With that milestone came a seemingly endless number of possibilities, and the challenge of understanding their consequences.

“Where do we as individuals and where do we as a society draw the line, and who should do the line drawing?” asked Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at the Johns Hopkins University, addressing an audience of 120 students, Wesleyan faculty and greater Middletown community members in the CFA Cinema on Sept. 20.

Hudson, joined by Founding Artistic Director Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Associate Professor of Philosophy Lori Gruen, launched a discussion titled “The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome,” the first in a series of lectures addressing the implications of genetic research as part of the Dance Exchange’s year-long residency at Wesleyan. For the past three years, the Center for the Arts and Wesleyan Faculty have partnered with Lerman to plan the most comprehensive residency ever undertaken by a dance company at Wesleyan. This partnership has resulted in Wesleyan serving as lead commissioner of Genome, which will premiere at the CFA on Feb. 3, 2006.

“There’s a long list of partners to thank,” CFA Director Pamela Tatge commented as she individually acknowledged the people and organizations who have supported the Genome residency.

Hudson also acknowledged a vast number of people, those who contributed to the gene sequencing project as it ramped up in the late 90s, describing the genome itself as “three billion chemical letters.”

Working off a display of images ranging from a fertilized egg being “sampled,” to a comic strip, Hudson raised questions about the implications for medicine (illnesses detected early, prescriptions based on genetic makeup), equality (out of three billion, only three million chemical letters differ from person to person), justice (corporations blaming “bad genes” for afflictions such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and reproduction.

Liz Lerman opened her part of the dialogue by stating the advantage of artists in exploring the nature of scientific advances.

“We get to expand the nature of what might be real or not real, true or not true,” Lerman said.

She added that working on Ferocious Beauty: Genome has been a process of building trust with scientists, learning from them and finding ways in which they can exchange ideas.
One scientist who contributed to Genome is Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Laurel Appel. Lerman shared an anecdote where she and one of the dancers, dressed as “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel, visited Appel’s laboratory. Appel, recognizing the character Mendel, began to update him on the advances of science since his heyday in the mid-1800s.

Audience questions focused mainly on aspects of genetic research they would like to see explored through dance. Lerman did not go into great detail about the premiere, reminding them that the show is still in development, but described her vision of the structure in two parts. Act one will depict ways to understand the science. Act two will explore topics such as identity and ancestry, aging and death, and the quest for genetic “perfection” as it relates to research funding and profit motives.

The premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome will be on Feb. 3 and 4, 2006. Tickets are available now by calling the University Box Office at 860-685-3355. Free Genome-related events include “Challenging Nature: Biotechnology in a Spiritual World,” a lecture by Lee M. Silver, professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs at Princeton University at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 in the CFA Cinema, and “The Double Helix: Law and Science Co-constructing Race,” a talk by Pilar Ossorio, assistant professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at 8 p.m. Nov. 10 in the CFA Cinema.

 
By Lex Leifheit, press and marketing coordinator for the Center for the Arts

United Way Campaign Begins Oct. 6


Posted 10/01/05

Wesleyan will again help build a stronger, healthier Middlesex County during the Middlesex United Way’s annual Community Campaign. The campaign kicked off Oct. 6 at the President’s House.

This year’s goal is $140,000, which is $5,000 more than last year’s goal.

For more than 60 years, the Wesleyan community has supported the local United Way. Its Core Services provides funding to 32 local programs and services offered by its 23 partner agencies. These include the American Red Cross, 2-1-1 Infoline; Middlesex Hospital Family, Advocacy Program; Middlesex Hospital Homecare; Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters; Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater; Salvation Army of Middletown, among others.

This year Middlesex United Way is supporting a new initiative called Community Impact, which is designed to target root causes of chronic community problems that are hurting families. Community Impact programs include housing, mental health and substance abuse programs.

“Just feeding a hungry family isn’t enough,” explains John Biddiscombe, adjunct professor of Physical Education, director of Athletics and chair of the Physical Education Department. “We want to address the reason why a family goes hungry in the first place.”

Biddiscombe served as president of the Middlesex United Way for two years, vice president for two years and on the organization’s executive committee for seven years.

Kevin Wilhelm, Middlesex United Way’s executive director, explained that local needs assessment results, input from residents, and calls to Connecticut’s 2-1-1 Infoline show that housing, mental health and substance abuse rank as top concerns of county residents.

“Middlesex United Way has traditionally served local residents by funding non-profit agencies that provide critical human care services,” says Wilhelm. “We are also being more proactive in our approach and funding community projects that reach more residents and address what they tell us is of top concern to them.”

The substance abuse initiative focuses on reducing and preventing substance abuse among sixth to 12th graders through Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth. In a recent survey of Connecticut ninth and 10th graders, 36 percent reported using marijuana, 28 percent reported binge drinking in the past month, and 24 percent reported being regular smokers. United Way focuses on school and home-based prevention programs for school-aged children and their families.

The improved mental health initiative focus on early identification and intervention of children birth to 5-years-old with social and emotional problems so that more children enter school ready to learn. About 24 percent of Connecticut high school students indicated on a recent survey that they have “seriously considered” suicide.

The housing initiative focus is on affordable housing along Connecticut’s shoreline, specifically to develop affordable housing units for working families currently living in motels. Forty percent of Middlesex County’s homeless are dependent children.

Last year, Wesleyan raised a record-breaking $140,018, 6.5 percent of Middlesex United Way’s total.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Time to Give

Wesleyan began its Middlesex United Way campaign Oct. 6. Office delegates passed out contribution forms to their respective areas. Employees can make contributions through payroll deduction.

Anyone who gives has a chance at winning one of three gift certificates raffled off during the campaign. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate at the Wesleyan Computer Store and Service Center; $100 gift certificate at Broad Street Books; and squash lessons at Freeman Athletic Center, valued at $120.

Last year 59 percent of Wesleyan employees made donations to the local chapter. Those that pledge more than $1,000 will become members of Wesleyan’s Leadership Circle.

Biophysics Retreat Focuses on Research, Information Exchange


At top, Mark Flory, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, lectures to a group during the Sixth Annual Biophysics Retreat for the Molecular Biophysics Program Sept. 15. At left, Maggie Chen, a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Chemistry explains her research titled “Site-Resolved Dynamics and Energetics of a Ribosomal RNA” during the Fall Retreat Poster Session, part of the biophysics program.

Posted 10/01/05
The Sixth Annual Biophysics Retreat was held at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown on Sept. 15.

Organized by David Beveridge, professor of chemistry, Manju Hingorami, assistant professor of molecular biology and Ishita Mikerji, associate professor of molecular biology, the event was supported by the Edward W. Snowdon lecture fund.

The retreat was designed to bring together students and faculty in the molecular biophysics and biological chemistry programs and provide them an opportunity to discuss their current research, explore new ideas and possible collaborative work. About 60 people attended this year’s retreat.

One of the featured speakers was Mark Flory, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

A newly-appointed member of the molecular biology and biochemistry department, Flory spoke about his research which included studying the process by which cancer cells are formed in yeast. By relying on mass spectrometry, an analytical technique used to identify complex compounds, to study yeast cells, Flory hopes that he can gain further insight into why such cells become abnormal during tumors and cancer.

“We are currently looking at the systems in yeast using genetics,” Flory says. “At some point, we can then make the jump and connection to human cells.”

Other presentations by Wesleyan faculty included “Time resolved fluorescence studies of U1A protein dynamics,” presented by Joseph Knee, professor of chemistry and “Controlling the effects of stereochemistry on biological activity” by Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry.

In addition, Wesleyan post doctorate fellow Bethany L. Kormos presented “U1A-RNA Complex Formation: Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations.”

Brian T. Chait, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Professor at The Rockefeller University, delivered the keynote address titled “Proteomic tools for dissecting cellular function.”

The event also featured posters by several Wesleyan students, including “Spectroscopic and Molecular Dynamics Evidence for a Sequential Mechanism for the DNA B-A Transition,” by sixth-year molecular biology and biochemistry Ph.D. candidate Kelly Knee. Knee’s research examines the transition of certain proteins on DNA, which may potentially help with drug design in the future.

Another highlight was a poster by Congju (Maggie) Chen, a sixth-year Chemistry Ph.D. candidate, which detailed her research about how a specific strand of RNA could be attacked and broken down by Ricin, a toxin that has been linked to terrorist attacks in the past.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

“Hidden Gem” Opens Its Door


 

The staff at Wesleyan University Press will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 11 at its new location, 215 Long Lane, across from the new Physical Plant. Pictured in back, left to right are Eric Levy ’97, acquisitions editor; Stephanie Elliott, publicity associate; and Leslie Starr, marketing manager. Pictured in front is Suzanna Tamminen ’90, MALS ’04, director and editor-in-chief.

Posted 10/01/05
It’s one of only 110 academic publishers in the nation, and has produced more than 1,000 books by authors around the world. But the Wesleyan University Press staff believes their publishing house remains a hidden gem.

Formerly housed on Mt. Vernon Street, Wes Press moved to its new location, 215 Long Lane, last year. To celebrate its move and introduce itself to the Wesleyan community, the staff at Wes Press will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 11

“We’re something of a secret on campus,” says Leslie Starr, marketing manager for the 46-year-old press. “We’d love to have members of the campus community stop by and see what we’re all about. “

Starr works at the press with Suzanna Tamminen ’90, MALS ’94, director and editor-in-chief; Eric Levy ’97, acquisitions editor; and Stephanie Elliott, publicity associate. They collaborate with the Wesleyan University Press Editorial Board — made up of Wesleyan faculty members from various fields — to decide what manuscripts to publish.

In America, university presses publish, on average, 9,000 books a year. Each press publishes books in specific areas. Wesleyan University Press’s editorial program focuses on poetry, music, dance and performance, science fiction, film and television, and American studies. By next fall, Wes Press hopes to begin publishing books for the general reader on Connecticut’s cultural and natural history.

This fall/winter, the press is publishing books on creative writing, acoustic effects in music recording, disaster movies, Australia’s Aboriginal songs, and poetic meditations on exile. In November, the press will publish the first modern and corrected English translation of Jules Verne’s The Begum’s Millions.

Wes Press receives close to 750 poetry and book submissions a year; however, it accepts few of these. Most authors are sought out, making the acquisitions work quite active.

“It’s far more effective, and we get better projects, when we seek them out,” Tamminen says. “We are looking for books that make an important contribution to their field, in lucid prose, and which fit into our editorial program. In order to best serve the fields we publish in, we need to have enough books in the area to have a critical mass, where the books do a kind of intellectual work together.”

The press publishes 12 new books each publishing season – spring/summer and fall/winter.

There are currently 430 Wesleyan University Press books in print, four of which have earned Pulitzer Prizes and two of which received National Book Awards. Most recently, Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop, by Joseph G. Schloss, won the International Association for the Study of Popular Music’s 2005 Book Award.

“A lot of people don’t realize that you can’t just write a book, send it in to a publisher and get it published,” Starr says. “We’re very selective, and we need to be in order to maintain the mark of quality that Wesleyan has earned over the years.”

Book selection and marketing are done in-house while all copy editing, book design and printing are done externally. While books are being produced, the marketing staff is preparing the seasonal catalog, producing fliers and sending proofs to major publications.

“Getting a review published in publications such as Publisher’s Weekly or the New York Times is a very effective way to get the word out about a book,” Elliott says. “A lot of what we do involves cultivating relationships with reviewers.”

The small staff also hires about 10 Wesleyan students each year. The students gain hands-on experience writing press releases, sending out review copies, soliciting book endorsements, and doing other office work. In the last five years, nine of these students have gone on to work in publishing after graduating.

Wesleyan University Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses, the Association of American Publishers and the New England Booksellers Association.

Since many of the books published by Wes Press are on specialized scholarly topics, they often appeal to small audiences. And since the press operates as a business, making a profit can be the small publisher’s biggest challenge, Starr says. A book can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 to produce.

The press is constantly seeking grants and donations to help defray costs while it meets the needs of the academic community, which is its primary mission.

“We hope people will come to the open house to browse our bookshelves and have some cider and a cookie,” Tamminen says.

Wesleyan University Press can be reached at 860-685-7711. It is online at www.wesleyan.edu/wespress. The press offers members of the Wesleyan community a 20 percent discount on Wes Press titles when they are ordered through the press. For more information e-mail lstarr@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Information Commons Houses Reference, Technology Support for Students


Olin Library’s new Information Commons features a library reference desk, an Information Technology Services desk and a SARN information and referral desk.
Posted 10/01/05
A new information lab in Olin Memorial Library has merged three services into one.

Information Commons provides library reference, information technology and access to the Student Academic Resources Network (SARN). The facility is located in the Campbell Reference Center on the first floor of the library.

“Students are relying on the Internet more and more to get information, but there’s still a demand for the library’s material, reference services and workspace,” says Dale Lee, information service technician and coordinator of the Information Commons. “Our coordinated services, in-person and online, make it easy to find information.”

The Commons was created by the library staff and Information Technology Services to meet the intellectual needs of students and faculty in the 21st century.

The Commons features a library reference desk, an Information Technology Services desk and a SARN information and referral desk. Each desk is staffed by a trained specialist. While the first two desks provide services familiar to most library users, SARN combines a variety of on campus resources in one area. These include Class Deans, Writing Programs, Math Workshop, Career Resource Center, Language Resource Center, Life Sciences Mentored Study Groups, Dean’s Tutoring Program, Health Professions Partnership Initiative and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

“We looked at different ways we can collaborate and cooperate, and now students can get reference or technological help all in one place,” Lee says.

Equipment in the Commons includes 18 multi-use computers including 15 personal computers and three Macintosh; four computers for research and Web access; and five stand-up computers for quick look-ups. Standard office programs are provided.

The computers are linked to three black and white printers, one color printer and one scanner. In addition, the space has improved wireless access. The working space arrangements were designed to facilitate group as well as individual work.

This area is only phase one of the Information Commons. Additional group study and instruction rooms will be constructed in the future and will include computer and multi-media equipment.

For more information or comments, e-mail infocommons@wesleyan.edu or contact Lee at dtlee@wesleyan.edu. Information Commons is online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/infocommons/.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wes-HAUL Volunteers Help Make the Move


 

At top, Wes-Haul volunteers Daniel Rubin ’06 and Hanako Moondance ’06 carry a refrigerator into freshman Jennifer Bunin’s room in the Fauver Field Residence during Arrival Day Aug. 29. At right, Ian Renner ’08 helps carry students’ belongings into Clark Hall.

 
Posted 09/09/05
U-HAUL? Not here. Leave that up to Wes-HAUL, a team of volunteers that welcomed new students to campus. They unloaded cars, carried belongings, directed traffic and answered questions during students’ Arrival Day Aug. 29.

Wes-HAUL started five years ago as a small University Relations initiative and has evolved into a cross-university effort. More than 35 volunteers, including Wesleyan staff members, five spouses and kids of staff members, Diversity Peer Educators, and members of the football team, participated this year. All volunteers received a Wes-HAUL t-shirt, breakfast and lunch.

“This year, everyone worked so hard and was genuinely welcoming despite the hot and humid day,” says Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of Alumni Relations and secretary of the Alumni Association. “I love being part of the team and I look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.”

Wes-HAUL volunteer Ian Renner ’08 manned Clark Hall, where lived during his freshman year. By 10:30 a.m. he had already moved in two mattress covers and two car loads worth of student belongings.

“I’m enjoying meeting and welcoming the freshmen,” he says, during a break. “It’s good to see the new people moving in the hall.”

Daniel and Louise Walunis of Cleveland, Ohio appreciated the Wes-HAUL help when moving their daughter, Valerie ’09 into her residence.

“Before I could even park the car and return, they had moved everything in,” Daniel Walunis says. “The helpers made the transition very smooth. It was well managed.”

Christine Colfer, administrative assistant for Regional Programs and Networks volunteered for Wes-HAUL, a “once a year opportunity” to meet new students and parents. Her husband, Daniel Colfer, a Public Safety officer, and their daughter Haynie, 12, were also on hand to help.

“Being a staff member, I don’t get to get out much and see the kids and the dorms,” Christine Colfer says from the Fauver Field Residences. “And they give you lunch and a t-shirt. What could be better?”

Kiersten Haynie liked what she saw, too.

“I want to come to Wesleyan someday,” Haynie says. “It seems like a good place to go to school.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer next year can call 860-685-3836 or e-mail mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

A Technological “Academic Commons” for Liberal Arts Colleges


Academic Commons, a Web site developed by two Wesleyan staff members and a staff member from Alma College launched in August.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Colleagues from liberal arts colleges interested in technology-related issues can read original articles on the topic, share their own ideas and even collaborate with their peers on a Web site launched this month called Academic Commons (http://www.academiccommons.org).

The site offers a forum for investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts education.

The idea for the project came out of a series of meetings that took place at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College. Michael Roy, director of Academic Computing Services and Digital Projects, and John Ottenhoff of Alma College spearheaded the project. Jennifer Curran, functional project manager for Wesleyan’s EPortfolio, is the publication’s managing editor.

Roy says the intent was to create a space where faculty, technologists, librarians and other stakeholders in the academic enterprise could think critically about the impact of technology on liberal education.

“There are many other venues for talking about technology and education more generally, and there are plenty of opportunities for technologists to talk with other technologists, and librarians with other librarians, and so forth, but we did not find any other space that looks at this particular niche,” Roy says.

Academic Commons publishes essays, reviews, interviews, showcases of innovative uses of technology and vignettes that critically examine technology uses in the classroom. The first edition features essays on copyright issues, using technology in learning to speak the language of film and the dangers of ”just-in-time” education. The site offers links to a variety of interesting teaching, learning and technology projects.

The Web site also has built-in collaboration software to encourage people to use the space to work together on projects.

Roy and Curran foresee building a genuine community of like-minded people all working in this specialized territory.

“We are all wrestling with the complex and evolving relationships among technology, new media, and liberal arts education,” Curran says. “Technology challenges higher education professionals to think beyond conventional notions of the liberal arts and to broaden their understanding of what it means to be ‘liberally educated.’ Our hope is that our counterparts at institutions of higher education across the country will find this space useful in their efforts to explore these ideas and to take an active part in shaping the relationship between technology and liberal arts education.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Observes Constitution Day


Posted 09/09/05, Updated 09.16.05

We The People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this, Constitution for the United States of America. –Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
 

We The People of Wesleyan University observed Constitution Day with a series of events Sept. 15-16.
 
Wesleyan’s observance is part of a nation-wide observance the U.S. Department of Education has mandated for all educational programs in all federally funded institutions. President George W. Bush signed into law on Dec. 8, 2004, Public Law 108-447, which established Sept.17th as Constitution Day. Wesleyan will celebrate it on Sept. 15-16.

Barbara Jones, university librarian, coordinated the events (see sidebar).
 
Libraries, Jones says, are under a great deal of pressure in regard to protecting the constitutional rights of library users.
 
“The Wesleyan University Library is dedicated to providing its users access to information expressing a variety of points of view, including those views that some of us might find despicable,” she says. “We are also dedicated to protecting the privacy of library users, so that in their search for knowledge, nobody is looking over their shoulder.”
 
Along with the events at Wesleyan, General Tommy Franks lead the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 on radio, television and via www.constitutionday.com. The celebration ended with bells ringing across America led from the Carillon on the grounds of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Penn. where George Washington fought the Revolutionary War.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Honor the Day

Wesleyan honored Constitution Day Sept. 15-16 with a series of events.

Thursday, Sept. 15

Noon –  Discussion by Paul Finkelman, professor of law at the University of Tulsa held an informal discussion with Wesleyan’s new Pre-Law Society. Kim Kubat, assistant director of the Career Resource Center organized the event. Olin Library’s Develin Room.

1 p.m. – Neely Bruce, professor of music, performed Bill of Rights followed by an announcement of the formation of Wesleyan’s new Pre-Law Society. Olin Library Lobby.

4 p.m. – Discussion on the Separation of Church and State by Paul Finkelman, professor of Law at University of Tulsa. Modest reception followed. Olin Library’s Smith Reading Room.

Friday, Sept. 16

Noon – Neely Bruce performed “Bill of Rights” with more than two dozen singers. Memorial Chapel. This is the first of the new Friday lunch-time concert series co-sponsored by the Music Department and the Center for the Arts.

Wesleyan Reaches Out to Students, Citizens Displaced by Hurricane


Posted 09/09/05
Wesleyan University will offer Connecticut residents enrolled at colleges and universities in areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina the opportunity to take fall semester classes at Wesleyan, and Wesleyan students, faculty and staff have begun to coordinate other efforts for relief opportunities.

The university has reached out to students from Connecticut who attend colleges in areas affected by the storm. These students may apply for status as visiting students and enroll in classes on a space-available basis. Wesleyan will work with families to ensure that their total costs do not exceed their existing commitments to the schools in which they had been enrolled.

To date two students have accepted the offer and several more are working their way through the application process.

The deadline to register was Sept. 12. Admission decisions were made on a rolling basis. Students will need to enroll by Monday, Sept. 19, since Wesleyan classes will be in their third week.

Campus housing is nearly full, so most visiting students will be expected to commute. The University will assign what housing is available to students from outside commuting distance.

Students in the program will have their courses posted to an official Wesleyan transcript, which will be made available to them upon their request.

Some students may want to consider options other than enrolling in classes. Students who wish to speak with an adviser about either community service or internship possibilities may call Wesleyan’s Career Resources Center (www.wesleyan.edu/crc/) at 860-685-2180.

Katrina occurred before students returned to campus from summer break but already the Wesleyan community has begun to respond. Numerous faculty, staff, and students have reported making contributions of cash and supplies to The Red Cross and other charity organization. A candlelight vigil on Sept. 8 drew more than 150 people. A benefit party for people of color affected by Hurricane Katrina was held at Malcolm X House on Sept. 9 and student groups met Sept. 12 to discuss further efforts.

“This is an initial response to a tragic and uncertain situation,” says Wesleyan President Doug Bennet. “It is also an important moment for the educational community to come together to help these students.”

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Creativity Topic of Shasha Seminar


Posted 09/09/05
Accessing creativity will be the topic of discussion during the fourth annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns Oct. 6-8 at Wesleyan.

“The Shasha Seminar is a wonderful example of Wesleyan’s commitment to lifelong learning,” says Linda Secord, director of alumni education. “We expect this year’s discussion of creativity to be stimulating, giving participants newly informed perspectives that they will take with them as they return to their personal and professional lives.”

Through a series of seminars and hands-on workshops, alumni, parents and friends will expand their understanding of the creative process and its impact on human endeavors.

Past seminars have explored a wide range of issues, from global conflict to ethics to the environment. This year, experts will lead sessions on topics such as “Creativity as Collaboration,” “Scientific Genius and Creativity,” “The Power of the Arts to Change Lives,” “Breaking Rules, Making Rules,” and “Creativity in the Workplace.”

Attendees also can take workshops in Javanese Gamelan, African drumming, drawing, writing, and behavioral study of human speech and birdsong.

“The interaction among participants is always spirited and rich with ideas,” Secord says.

Howard Gardner P ’91, P ’98, the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University is this year’s keynote speaker.

Seminars speakers include:

Abraham Adzenyah, M.A. ’79, adjunct professor of music at Wesleyan; Ramon Alos Sanchez, a graduate student in film direction at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, Italy; Julie Burstein ’80, executive producer of Studio 360 at WNYC Radio in New York; John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus at Wesleyan; Anne Greene, adjunct professor of English at Wesleyan, director of Writing Programs, and director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference.

Also John Kirn, associate professor of biology and associate professor of neuroscience and behavior and chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at Wesleyan; Liz Lerman, founding artistic director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; Ricardo Morris, director of the Green Street Arts Center; Janice Naegele, associate professor of biology, and associate professor of neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan; John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, and director of the new museum project at Wesleyan.

Also Nick Rabkin P’08, executive director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago; Alan Robinson, a faculty member at Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Sumarsam, M.A. ’76, chair and adjunct professor of music at Wesleyan.

Endowed by James Shasha ’50, the Shasha Seminar supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues.

The cost is $250 per person.

For more information or to register, contact Kathy Macko at kmacko@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2737. The Shasha Seminar Web site is: http://www.wesleyan.edu/shasha.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at Wesleyan


Posted 09/09/05
The University Recycling Committee has implemented a new campus-wide recycling system.

Mixed paper, glass, metal, plastic, corrugated cardboard, batteries, printer cartridges and even old furniture can now be collected and recycled.

“Recycling is required by law in Connecticut, and is the obligation of every member of the Wesleyan community,” says Bill Nelligan, the Wesleyan recycling coordinator and associate director of Environmental Health and Safety. “We hope that the Wesleyan community will join this effort to make Wesleyan a leader in waste reduction and environmental responsibility.”

Nelligan says recycling saves resources, energy, reduces pollution, cuts generation of greenhouse gases and reduces disposal costs.

Members of the University Recycling Committee worked for a year on the project, ordering new recycle bins, labels, creating brochures and designing a Wesleyan Recycles Web site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/recycling. The site provides answers to frequently asked questions, a guide to reducing and reusing items, recycling tips and links to the National Recycling Coalition and the City of Middletown’s recycling information. A detailed list of what can and cannot be recycled at Wesleyan is posted on this site.

Committee members are currently distributing recycling containers at departments and residences campus-wide. Custodians will be responsible for removing recycling materials from the hallways and trash rooms and place them in the appropriate outdoor container.

Nelligan test-trialed the new recycle bins in Physical Plant. He placed the bins under staff people’s desks.

“It took 30 days for one office person to fill a trash two-thirds of the way full. Everything else he would haven thrown away was recyclable,” Nelligan says. “Recycling is definitely working at Physical Plant, and we’re hoping it can work campus-wide.”

Ninety-five-gallon recycling bins have been scattered in 30 locations around campus.

Major recycling categories are mixed paper, glass/metal/plastic and corrugated cardboard.

Paper products that can be recycled include white/colored paper, envelopes, manila folders, carbonless office forms, newspapers, magazines, hardback/paperback books, junk mail and corrugated cardboard.

Glass/metal/plastic items that can be recycled include plastic containers, glass jars, bottles, beverage cans, milk and juice boxes, aluminum food containers and clean aluminum foil are recyclable.

Paper, cardboard and glass/metal/plastic bins are available at locations around campus.

Styrofoam, batteries, florescent bulbs, computers and electronic equipment, printer cartridges, motor oil, scrap metal and even old dorm furniture and mattresses also can be recycled. For more information on where to drop these items off at, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/recycling/where-category.html.

To order a bin, or for additional information, visit the Wesleyan Recycles Web site at or call 860-685-2771. For pick up call 860-685-3400 or e-mail recycling@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor