Tag Archive for community service

Athletics Celebrates Partnership with Community Foundation of Middlesex County

Thayer Talbot, Jeff McDonald, and Wallace Jones stand in the lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center. Jeff McDonald is speaking.

Assistant Football Coach Jeff McDonald tells about his helpful experience with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County when the Athletics Council was seeking an anti-bullying program to link with their work in MacDonough Elementary School. Thayer Talbott, left, and Wallace Jones, right, look on.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) invited Wesleyan coaches for “A Slice and A Celebration” in the Warren Street Lobby of Freeman on May.

Over pizza and a beverage, the coaches were celebrated for their community involvement, as well as offered the opportunity to learn more about the Community Foundation and how it can be a resource to the nonprofits and our broader community. Foundation leaders in attendance were Cynthia Clegg, president and CEO; Thayer Talbott, senior director of programs and operations; and Wallace Jones, CFMC board chairman.

Students Volunteer to Improve Community Conditions in New Orleans

During their spring break, March 4-13, 19 Wesleyan students went to New Orleans to help rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

During spring break, March 4-13, 20 Wesleyan students went to New Orleans to help rebuild a home.

Twenty Wesleyan students spent the first week of spring break volunteering in New Orleans to help with rebuilding and repairing homes in the community.

The students, who were accompanied by Justin Marks, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, bused as a group to to New Orleans as part of ServeUp, a project organized by InterVarsity New England. Wesleyan’s group joined volunteers from ​Boston College, Boston University, Clark University, Fairfield University, Northeastern, Rhode Island College, University of Vermont, among others.

Wesleyan’s group stayed at an old elementary school site and partnered with two organizations, Rebuilding Together New Orleans and Greenlight New Orleans. Students worked on priming, painting and screening a local home and replaced old light bulbs with energy efficient ones around the community. Many homes in the area are still damaged from Hurricane Katrina.

“It was a truly eye opening experience and it has taught us a lot about the very real problems that are still prevalent in our communities,” said volunteer Kenny Chiu ’19.

Children Learn about Greek Mythology through Student-Led WesMyth Program

MacDonough Elementary School students Norma, Aiden and Marrisaana proudly display their Greek gods and goddesses during the WesMyth program, taught by Wesleyan student volunteers Sarah McCully '16 and Jack Spira '16. 

MacDonough Elementary School students Norma, Aiden and Marrisaana proudly display their Greek gods and goddesses during the WesMyth program, taught by Wesleyan student volunteers Sarah McCully ’16 and Jack Spira ’16. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

“Bubbletrapper” is the goddess of bubblegum and is always nice — except to bad guys.

“Bubblegum is her weapon,” said Marrisaana, a fifth grader at MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown. “When she’s mad, she traps bad guys in a bubble.”

5th grader Aiden shows off his mystical god, "Lione."

5th grader Aiden shows off his mystical god, “Lione.”

On Feb. 19, Marrisaana and four other classmates participated in Wesleyan’s WesMyth program, which provides fifth graders at McDonough with an introduction to Greek mythology. The program, taught by Wesleyan student volunteers, is held for one hour every week throughout the academic year.

On this particular day, the WesMyth participants created their own Greek gods and goddesses based on mythical creatures they’ve studied in weeks past.

“What will you name your god or goddess? What powers will he have? What will his personality be like? Would he be friends with Aphrodite?” asked WesMyth volunteer Sarah McCully ’16.

Fifth grader Aiden sketched a god named “Lione” who is half lion and half human. “Lione is the god of lightning, fire and nature. He’s cruel and likes to destroy things,” Aiden explained.

Rosenthal Honored by United Way for Community Leadership

Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, was honored with the Community Leadership Award during the Middlesex United Way Annual Meeting on Jan. 28. 

Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, was honored with the Community Leadership Award during the Middlesex United Way Annual Meeting on Jan. 28. Rosenthal was honored for founding Wesleyan’s Service-Learning Center, focused on connecting faculty to the community through coursework, and for his efforts leveraging university resources and expertise to partner with community organizations to meet community needs.

Faculty Teach Local Girls about Science

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The Green Street Teaching and Learning Center hosted a Girls in Science Camp Aug. 3-7. Wesleyan faculty members Ruth Johnson, assistant professor of biology (pictured third from left); Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies (pictured at far right); Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics (pictured at left), along with three undergraduate students, worked with the campers on various experiments. Sara MacSorley, director of the GSTLC (second from left), coordinated the activities.

Johnson led the campers on a bug hunt through Wesleyan’s West College Courtyard garden. There, the girls observed insects while considering insect diets and insect life-cycles. The girls also learned about the life-cycle of the fruit fly and set up an experiment to test the effects of feeding flies a high-sugar diet (this negatively affects the fly life-cycle, and is akin to inducing Type II Diabetes). Johnson also taught the campers about genetic variations (mutations) that affected wing and bristle development.

“Learning about these phenotypes served as an intro to genetics, genes and proteins,” Johnson said.

Johnson also taught the girls about microscopy. After a short presentation on how a variety of biological objects appear when viewed with high magnification, the girls viewed and captured images of the fly pupal eye with a fluorescent microscope. The girls also viewed a variety of mutant adult fly eyes with dissecting microscopes and, to build their skills in observation, built 3D models of these with modeling clay.
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Wesleyan Supports Historic Russell Chapel Restoration

The Russell Chapel is located on the southwest hill of Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown near Wesleyan.

The Russell Chapel is located on the southwest hill of Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown near Wesleyan. Several Wesleyan film students have used the Chapel as a backdrop for their projects.

In 1867, Middletown’s Frances Russell donated a Gothic Revival Chapel in memory of her late husband Samuel Russell. Samuel, an entrepreneur and trader, was the owner and namesake of Wesleyan’s Russell House.

The architecturally-distinctive brownstone Russell Chapel, which is listed on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places, sits atop the southwest hill on Indian Hill Cemetery and abuts Wesleyan University on Vine Street. Now, at 148-years-old, the Chapel has reached a dangerous structural tipping point and rehabilitation is desperately needed.

“Indian Hill Cemetery is an integral part of our community,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Kari, Mathilde and I frequently take walks through the cemetery’s immaculate grounds, which offer pristine views of Middletown and sections of campus. I know several students and other employees who enjoy the grounds as much as we do, and the Russell Chapel is the iconic centerpiece.”

Faculty, Staff Participate in Crowd-Generated Performance Art on Connecticut River

Wesleyan faculty and staff participated in a crowd-generated performance art collaboration on the Connecticut River, June 28.

Wesleyan faculty and staff participated in a crowd-generated performance art collaboration on the Connecticut River, June 28.

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The event was sponsored by The Jonah Center for Earth & Art, a prominent environmental advocacy organization in Middletown. The Jonah Center partnered with Wesleyan’s Environmental Studies program in constructing an online biodiversity database for Middletown. Pictured is Steve Devoto, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, snapping photos of the event from his kayak.

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At the southern tip of Wilcox Island, paddlers formed in a rosette just under the Arrigoni Bridge. The group floated in formation under the bridge to be photographed from above. Photos made available to the Jonah Center or the City of Middletown will be used to promote the riverfront and preservation of the river as a natural and recreational resources.

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A couple canine companions also participated in the kayak and canoe spectacle.

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Elise Springer, associate professor of philosophy, serves on the Jonah Center’s Advisory Council.

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After the group photo, participants paddled upstream around Wilcox Island, exploring its many small beaches and access points.

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At Harbor Park, Mayor Mayor Dan Drew spoke to the paddlers before they launched into the river.

In addition, Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literatures, professor of environmental studies; and Dana Royer, associate Professor of earth and environmental sciences are both members of the Jonah Center's Board of Directors, and Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology and director of the College of the Environment, is on the center's Advisory Council. Olivia Drake, editor and campus photographer, served as the event's photographer.

In addition, Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literatures, professor of environmental studies; and Dana Royer, associate Professor of earth and environmental sciences are both members of the Jonah Center’s Board of Directors, and Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology and director of the College of the Environment, is on the center’s Advisory Council. Olivia Drake, editor and campus photographer, served as a photographer for the event. (Arial photo by Billl Bynum.)

Student-Athletes Collect Gifts for Students at Local Elementary School

Wesleyan student-athletes gathered gifts for local school children at "Stuff the Nets" Dec. 8.

Wesleyan student-athletes gathered gifts for local school children at “Stuff the Nets” Dec. 8.

For the second year in a row, the Wesleyan Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) sponsored a gift drive known as “Stuff the Nets” on Dec. 8. During this time, hockey goals were positioned around the Freeman Athletic Center and athletic-contest goers donated unwrapped new toys for students at the MacDonough School, one of the eight elementary schools in Middletown.

The result of the drive was more than 100 items, which were then wrapped by a combination of Wesleyan student-athletes, coaches and staff members as well as personnel from the MacDonough School. The gifts will be distributed to students at the school for the holidays.

“MacDonough School is so fortunate to be a part of the Wesleyan University community,” said Jon Romeo, the school’s principal. “Events like the ‘Stuff the Nets’ gift drive demonstrate the deep commitment of Wesleyan student-athletes to helping those in need. The event will help to make the holidays so much brighter for our students and their families.”

View more photos on the Wesleyan Athletics page.

Staff, Students Participate in Day of Caring

Several Wesleyan staff and students participated in United Way’s Day of Caring on Oct. 3. Projects included storytelling and reading with children at Farm Hill School, leading arts and crafts projects, painting a mural and planting gardens. The event was hosted by the Center for Community Partnerships. Read more about the Day of Caring in this Oct. 23 Hartford Courant article. Contributed photos of the day are below:

Olivia Tempest '13 works with children at Farm Hill Elementary School in Middletown.

Olivia Tempest ’13 works with children at Farm Hill Elementary School in Middletown.

Residential Life area coordinators Brian Nangle and Daniel LaBonte paint a map of the United States on the school's playground.

Residential Life area coordinators Brian Nangle and Daniel LaBonte paint a map of the United States on the school’s playground.

Tracy Mehr-Muska, University Protestant Chaplain, paints a paw at the school.

Tracy Mehr-Muska, University Protestant Chaplain, paints a paw at the school.

Tessa Young '13 and Roseann Sillasen, associate director and project manager of Physical Plant - Facilities, work on additional paw paintings.

Tessa Young ’13 and Roseann Sillasen, associate director and project manager of Physical Plant – Facilities, work on additional paw paintings.

Kathleen Roberts, residential operations coordinator for Residential Life, helps a Farm Hill School student with her art project.

Kathleen Roberts, residential operations coordinator for Residential Life, helps a Farm Hill School student with her art project.

Wesleyan Raises Funds for Food Pantry through International Bake Sale

Sherri Condon, accounting specialist in Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services, displays a tray of Canadian sugar cookies during the International Bake Sale Nov. 14 in Usdan University Center. Through baked goods and pumpkin pie sales, Wesleyan raised $900 for the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown.

Sherri Condon, accounting specialist in Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services, displays a tray of Canadian sugar cookies during the International Bake Sale Nov. 14 in Usdan University Center. Through baked goods and pumpkin pie sales, Wesleyan raised $900 for the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown.

Student-Athletes Lend a Hand at Wesleyan’s Neighborhood Preschool

A rotating crew made up of the Wesleyan baseball team helped remove a 23-year-old wooden playscape at the Neighborhood Preschool Oct. 5. Team members arriving for the earliest shift are, from left, Coach Mark Woodworth '94; Jimmy Hill ’14 of Glastonbury, Conn.; Jordan Farber '16, of  Livingston, N.J.; Jeff Blout ’14 of Duxbury, Mass.; Chris Law ’14 of Dover, Mass.; and Kai Kirk '16 of San Jose, Calif.

A rotating crew made up of the Wesleyan baseball team helped remove a 23-year-old wooden playscape at the Neighborhood Preschool Oct. 5. Team members arriving for the earliest shift are, from left, Coach Mark Woodworth ’94; Jimmy Hill ’14 of Glastonbury, Conn.; Jordan Farber ’16, of  Livingston, N.J.; Jeff Blout ’14 of Duxbury, Mass.; Chris Law ’14 of Dover, Mass.; and and Kai Kirk ’16 of San Jose, Calif.

At Wesleyan’s Neighborhood Preschool on Lawn Avenue, a 23-year-old wooden playscape with safety issues needed to come down.

Mark Woodworth ’94, father of current NPS student Dylan, and head coach of Wesleyan’s baseball team, signed up to help. On Oct. 5, Woodworth and his team set aside the baseball bat and took swings with sledge hammers and mallets, wielding tools, and lifting timbers between their Friday morning classes.

During playtime, the NPS students looked on in amazement, repeating to each other what their teacher, Karyn Hurlbert reminded them, “Stay out of the sandbox”—where the baseball team was dismantling their old climber.
The playscape will be replaced later this month after a successful fundraising effort chaired by Neighborhood Preschool (NPS) parents Lauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, and Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of events for University Relations.

Built by Bears Playgrounds, it is to be named “The Teachers’ Playscape,” in honor of the dedicated individuals who have taught and nurtured community youngsters in the more than three decades that the school has been in operation. Additionally, Jen Alexander ’88, Scott Kessell ’88, and Matt Niland are involved in creating and building additional structures that will share the playground space.

“We have had great support from Wesleyan,” notes Hurlbert, adding that the NPS location on High Street also is getting a new climber.

By noon the old jungle gym was down and the site cleared and ready for the arrival of the new centerpiece to NPS children’s active play.

Additional photos of the playground destruction are below: (Photos by Cynthia Rockwell)