Tag Archive for community service
by Cynthia Rockwell •
Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, the Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Genius, and Tony Award winner for Hamilton and In the Heights was honored with the Latin Recording Academy President’s Merit Award at the 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 16. This is a special award, not given annually, and it was presented to the well known composer, lyricist, and performer by Latin Recording Academy President/CEO Gabriel Abaro to honor Miranda’s many outstanding contributions to the Latin community.
Abaroa told Billboard, “Lin-Manuel’s urban and social poetry have provided strength and encouragement to every Latino motivated to get ahead. He has brought pride to our community by reminding us of the resilience and fortitude we demonstrate on a daily basis.”
Most recently he composed and released “Almost Like Praying—Relief Single for Puerto Rico,“ (Atlantic Records, Oct. 6, 2017). Miranda, who performed the song with various artists, donated all proceeds to The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund to help the survivors of Hurricane Maria
Additionally, when the Grammy nominations were released on Nov. 28, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work appeared in two categories, both related to his work on the soundtrack for Moana, Disney’s animated adventure-comedy. Moana: The Songs, a compilation of works by various artists, including Miranda as singer and performer, appears in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media. Additionally, a song he wrote for that film, “How Far I’ll Go” (performed by Auli’i Cravalho), appears in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter Melinda Newman, Miranda explained that the insight into creating “How Far..” for the title character of the film came in recalling his own teenage years:
Where she [Moana] and I met was having a calling — not necessarily even understanding the calling, but knowing that it’s there inside. I knew I wanted a life in some creative endeavor for as long as I can remember. For me, I think the song took the final turn it needed when I realized it’s not a song about a young woman who hates where she is and needs to get out, it’s a song about a woman who loves where she lives and her family and her culture and still has this feeling. So what do you do with it? I related to that as well and so that was the final insight we needed to get that moment to really strike a chord because it’s messier, it’s complicated.
by Olivia Drake •
“Press this button and say, ‘Action!'” Sarah Lucente ’21 explains to third-grader Isaiah as he intently peers into a videocamera’s viewfinder. “Think about this scene. Think about doing a closeup.”
Isaiah is one of 10 area youth learning about filmmaking though Wesleyan Film Outreach, a program that provides school-aged children with the skills to write, film, direct and edit themselves.
Stephen Collins ’96, associate professor of film studies, teaches the community-engagement class for two hours every Tuesday with Film Outreach volunteers Lucente, Caris Yeoman ’21, Luisa Bryan ’21 and Nick Catrambone ’21.
Collins modeled the class after a pilot he ran in 2016 at MacDonough with his youngest daughter’s fourth grade class.
“Having two kids in the public school system, I see how starved they are for arts education,” Collins says.
by Bill Holder •
A new $1.3 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education over five years to Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science program has brought federal funding for an important collaborative initiative in Middletown that will help provide low-income, historically underrepresented high school students with pathways to success in science and math.
The grant is the latest in a growing list of initiatives that are bringing Middletown and Wesleyan together in projects large and small.
“We don’t often pause to appreciate the full scope of collaborations between Wesleyan and Middletown,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth, “but when we do, the many ways they are contributing to the growth of our strong local community become so apparent. We couldn’t ask for better partners than we have here in Middletown.”
by Olivia Drake •
On April 21, the Wesleyan Refugee Project (WRP) hosted a speaker panel in Memorial Chapel about refugee resettlement. WRP is a student-led group dedicated to volunteering, advocating, fundraising, and raising awareness of current refugee crises. The team works with a number of international and local nonprofit organizations, assisting in areas such as tutoring, legal aid, and refugee resettlement.
Angie Smith, a photographer based in Los Angeles, Calif. and the founder of Stronger Shines the Light Inside (SSTLI), delivered the keynote address. SSTLI traces processes of refugee resettlement though a series of photographs and interviews with the refugee community in Boise, Idaho. Smith spoke about the inception, development and execution of SSTLI, refugee resettlement in the U.S., using photography to tell impactful stories, and applying skills from a liberal arts college in the real world to create new initiatives promoting social justice and change. During her presentation she shared a series of photographs from the project that have been featured in numerous publications online and in print including National Geographic, WIRED, The New Republic, and The New York Times Magazine. She also read excerpts from interviews that accompanied the photographs.
In addition, brothers Maher Mahmood and Mahmood Mahmood spoke about their experiences with resettlement in Connecticut. Both described their journey from Iraq to Connecticut
by Olivia Drake •
Four Wesleyan students participated in a literacy program March 24 at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center. The students, who are members of Wesleyan’s QuestBridge/First Class organization, read social justice-themed books to the Green Street students and spoke about being a first-generation college student. QuestBridge/First Class provides support to low-income and/or first-generation students on campus.
The student volunteers included Yuhsuan Liu ’20, Aysha Khan ’19, Jada Jenkins ’20, and Mya Valentin ’19. The literacy program was organized by Belen Rodriguez ’19 and Emma Llano ’19.
“We thought this would be a great way to interact with younger students in Middletown who may also be low-income,” Rodriguez said. “In general, increasing childhood literacy is an important goal to have and we hope to hold more events like this in the future.”
The students read and discussed
by Olivia Drake •
This spring, Wesleyan joined Campus Compact, a coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide, to advance the public purpose of Wesleyan by deepening its ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.
In March, President Michael Roth signed onto to Campus Compact’s Civic Action Plan. Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, and other members of the Civic Action Plan steering committee, are leading conversations on campus and in the community to create an actionable plan to realize Wesleyan’s goals. Lechowicz publishes posts about the process on Wesleyan’s ENGAGE blog.
“We want to hear what it means to be civically engaged,” Lechowicz said. “How do we do it as an institution and how can we better support or encourage students, staff and faculty to contribute to the greater good? What are the barriers and challenges? Through casual conversations, we seek input on better ways to share information about civic engagement, policies or practices that we may adopt to help encourage or acknowledge contributions, and to learn what may already be happening around campus.”
After seeking input, the steering committee will draft a plan this summer, and put plans into action next fall. The committee welcomes the campus community to submit ideas and feedback through this online form.
Anyone seeking volunteer opportunities can contact Wesleyan’s Office for Community Service.
Wesleyan’s Civic Action Pledge reads as follows:
To advance the public purposes of higher education, we affirm the following statements, which characterize our current commitments and name the ideals toward which we will work with renewed dedication, focus, and vigor.
We empower our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
We prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.
We embrace our responsibilities as place based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of our communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.
We harness the capacity of our institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.
We foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members.
by Olivia Drake •
On April 12, the Hunger and Homelessness student group in the Office of Community Service raised more than $500 at the Wesleyan Hunger Banquet, an interactive simulation of global poverty rates. The funds will be donated to the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown.
More than 35 Wesleyan students and Class of 2021 admitted students and their parents, visiting for WesFest, attended the event. Participants were placed into an income bracket at random and then provided a seating arrangement and meal indicative of that income level.
Anthony Hatch, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of African American studies, assistant professor of sociology, served as master of ceremonies.
“By attending this semester’s hunger banquet, you have deepened your awareness of world hunger and poverty. The test is how you put this knowledge to use,” he said. “Together, we can change the world. Rise up. Join the fight.”
The high-income meal was donated by Haveli Indian Restaurant, while two of the coordinators, Fred Ayres ’17 and Abby Matlack ’20, provided the middle- and low-income meals. Ron Krom of St. Vincent de Paul also spoke at the event.
“The Wesleyan Hunger Banquet is a simulation of the magnitude of global poverty and hunger that allows attendees to visualize and grasp its severity,” said Ayres, who leads the Hunger and Homelessness group. “Through sharing a meal with others, attendees learned about the misperceptions and solutions that surround income inequality.”
by Olivia Drake •
On April 8, more than 250 students helped raise funds for children and families impacted by childhood cancer.
WesThon, a student-run philanthropy, provides emotional and financial support to affected families, and spreads awareness and ensures funding for critical research — all in pursuit of a cure. WesThon’s yearlong efforts culminate with a six-hour, no-sitting dance marathon at Psi Upsilon.
At this years event, WesThon participants raised more than $20,000 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, doubling what they raised last year.
“Since this is only the second year of the event we are beyond thrilled with the result,” said Dana Mitchell ’18, who oversaw recruitment for the event.
(Photos by Christopher Wilkos)
by Lauren Rubenstein •
On April 12, the Hunger and Homelessness student group in the Office of Community Service will once again host the Wesleyan Hunger Banquet, an interactive simulation of global poverty rates. Attendees are placed into an income bracket at random and then provided a seating arrangement and meal indicative of that income level.
The event will take place in Woodhead Lounge from 5-7 p.m. Anthony Hatch, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of African American studies, will serve as MC, and Ron Krom of St. Vincent de Paul will speak at the event.
“The Wesleyan Hunger Banquet is a simulation of the magnitude of global poverty and hunger that allows attendees to visualize and grasp its severity,” said Fred Ayres ’17, who leads the Hunger and Homelessness group and is involved in organizing the banquet. “Through sharing a meal with others, attendees will also learn about the misperceptions and solutions that surround income inequality. Students involved in current initiatives to ameliorate hunger and homelessness will share how others can get involved.”
Tickets will be sold in Usdan University Center April 7-12, and can also be purchased at the door. No RSVP is required. Proceeds will be donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry, and the group aims to raise over $500.
by Olivia Drake •
On Jan. 28, 35 local girls in grades K-6 celebrated National Girls & Women in Sports Day at Wesleyan.
Several Wesleyan student-athletes and eight coaches led sports clinics in field hockey, lacrosse, crew, soccer, softball and volleyball. All participants were treated to a pizza party and discussion with Wesleyan student-athletes and were offered free admission to Wesleyan’s women’s athletic contests. Throughout the day, the female athletes celebrated the courage, confidence, and character gained as they participated in sports.
Jennifer Lane, head coach of softball, coordinated this year’s event with help from Olivia Berry, assistant softball coach and Jeff McDonald, assistant football coach.
“The young girls and the Wesleyan student-athletes enjoyed themselves immensely,” Lane said. “It was a great opportunity for the Wesleyan student-athletes to give back to the community and it was a chance for the youth participants to experience sports they had and had not played before. The young girls loved working with the Wesleyan student-athletes and their parents couldn’t say enough wonderful things about the day.”
This year marks the 31st anniversary of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, which was created by the Women’s Sports Foundation. The event recognizes the extraordinary achievements of those who have helped to effect change and create opportunities for women and girls in sports.
by Michael O'Brien •
On Jan. 20, the Wesleyan men’s ice hockey team welcomed its newest member to the team, 9-year-old Connor Albert from Team IMPACT.
In April 2016, Connor was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones. The issues, however, started in January 2016 when a small limp continued to get worse. One day, while playing basketball, Connor fell on his hip and the pain increased drastically. Doctors found a tumor in his hip, which they thought was benign, until four different biopsies concluded it was bone cancer. He underwent hip replacement surgery in the fall and is still recovering from it, and is doing very well. He uses a walker or crutches to get around, and has chemo treatments that are week long stays in the hospital. He is also doing regular physical therapy.
Partnering with Team IMPACT, whose focus is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team, the Cardinals made Connor apart of theirs this month.
Prior to his arrival on campus, several members of the team visited Connor in the hospital. Among those were the leadership group consisting of Rob Harbison ’17, Marty Rubin ’18, Luke Babcock ’19, George Blinick ’19 Vince Lima ’19 and Matt Horton ’20.
“It means so much to our team to be able to brighten the life of a real warrior like Connor,” Rubin said. “He is constantly teaching us how to remain positive in the face of adversity, which as a NESCAC team recently finding our own success, that lesson has been an overwhelmingly helpful reminder.
Connor also reminds us to remain united because we play for something larger than ourselves. I would argue he is teaching us more than we are even teaching him, that’s how great of a kid he is.”