Tag Archive for community service

Wesleyan Hosts Blood Drive to Benefit American Red Cross

In partnership with the American Red Cross the Center for Community Partnerships, and the Beta Beta Chi Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Wesleyan held the first blood drive of this academic year on Oct. 26 and 27 in Beckham Hall. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed in the U.S. every day.

Wesleyan Open Golf Association Supports Middletown United Fathers

The Wesleyan Open Golf Association donated $1,500 to Middletown United Fathers, Inc. Wesleyan employees, (pictured in yellow attire) from left, are David Meyer, director of Public Safety; Frank Marselli (in back), coordinator of the Usdan University Center; Lou Onofrio, maintenance and repair mechanic at Physical Plant- Facilities and Sean Higgins, Lock Shop foreperson for Physical Plant-Facilities.

More than 75 Wesleyan employees, contractors, friends and families participated in the Wesleyan Open Golf Tournament, held July 9 at Banner Country Club in Moodus, Conn.

Golfers raised $1,500 for Middletown United Fathers, Inc.

MUF is a non-profit organization that operates as an advocate for underprivileged and underserved men and youth of color throughout Middlesex Country. Areas of advocacy are centered on issue regarding education, health, finances, personal, family and community responsibility. Future programming will include ongoing fatherhood parenting classes as well as job placement services for youth and fathers participating in services through the organization.

All participants pay an entry fee which includes an 18-hole round, prizes and dinner. A portion of the fee is collected for a different charity in Middletown.

With Bird Blind, Architecture Students Help Nature Lovers See

Wesleyan's faculty-student design collaborative North Studio created a bird-viewing structure inside a 700-acre nature preserve. The bird blind serves as a viewing platform, a resting station and shelter for visitors.

Lots of people like watching birds. Understandably, birds don’t always like people watching them.

For the Audubon Center at Bent of the River, a 700-acre nature preserve in Southbury, Conn., this presented a problem: the swallows and kingfishers along a popular trail were perpetually startled by human visitors. Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge and the 11 students in his Architecture II class devised a solution – a chic bird blind they designed and built from scratch.

The structure represents the third major design-build project for North Studio, a faculty-student design collaborative Huge founded in 2006 that is cultivating a niche in architectural design for nature preserves.

Previously, Huge and his North Studio students, who are as likely to major in sociology or German studies as in studio art, conceived and built an award-winning multi-level bird-viewing platform for an Audubon Society sanctuary in Portland, Conn. A subsequent iteration of the class designed and built a Sukkah, or temporary Jewish ritual structure, at Wesleyan.

Nature preserves work well as clients for North Studio, which tries to balance three objectives – producing design research,

Valenti ’12 Documents Cancer Survivor Stories for Middlesex Hospital


Film studies major Zachary Valenti '12 is creating a documentary featuring eight female breast cancer survivors for the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center and the Center for Survivorship’s "Project Pink" event on April 14.


Film studies major Zachary Valenti ’12 understands how cancer can devastate a family. The disease claimed two grandparents – his father’s mother and mother’s father – as well as a stepfather. As an adolescent, Valenti was already aware of the risks of male breast cancer. He suffered from gynocomastia, the abnormal development of breast tissue in men.

For the past three months, Valenti has combined his life experiences and film studies skills for a project that raises breast cancer awareness in the local community.

Valenti is creating a documentary featuring eight female breast cancer survivors for the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center and the Center for Survivorship’s “Project Pink” event on April 14. Project Pink is a makeover and fashion show event to help breast cancer survivors feel “as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.”

The volunteer project required Valenti to interview, film and edit the women’s stories.

“I’ve never been so conscious of my gender as I have talking to these women

DNA Workshop, African Drumming, Compass Use at Minds in Motion


Pictured at right, Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, director of graduate studies, taught a Minds in Motion program March 12 at Snow Elementary School in Middletown. Her student assistants, pictured in the back row, are graduate student Jacob Litke, graduate student Li Yan and Hyo Jung Yang ’12. “Minds in Motion” is an afternoon of fun, fast-paced, hands-on workshops geared to high-interest, motivated students in grades K-8.


Kurban ’14 Helps Children Obtain Clean Drinking Water in Developing Countries

Carina Kurban ’14 sells stainless steel water bottles for $15-$20 apiece through her organization 1for3.org. She donates 100 percent of the proceeds to help developing countries gain access to clean drinking water.

In the remote village of Gitwe, Rwanda, 6-year-old children ascend mountains, or make the journey by foot along dusty roads – more than 3.5 miles each way – to fetch water for their families. They fill plastic motor oil jugs or any other container they can find. Barefoot and often in intense heat, they lug the 40-pound containers of water back home.

“The bins that the children carry are just as big as they are,” says Carina Kurban ’14, who witnessed the daily procession of thirsty children during a fact-finding missionary trip in August 2010. “And many of the children can’t go to school because they need to make multiple trips a day just to get water.”

Kurban, who spent her week abroad collecting data from water sources and villagers who clean water would benefit (see video below), is the co-founder of 1for3.org, an organization dedicated to providing access to clean water in developing countries. Selling stainless steel water bottles in the United States helps thousands around the world.

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“It’s simple. When someone buys one of our bottles, they are not only helping the environment locally by cutting back on plastics, they are simultaneously saving three lives overseas,”

Physical Plant’s Mike Conte Helps Rebuild Katrina-Damaged Home

At right, Mike Conte, assistant director of mechanical trades, works on a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Conte and his 17-year-old daughter, Megan Nicole Conte (pictured in back, center), volunteered with recovery camp Mission on the Bay to help rebuild a home located a mile off the shoreline.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s battering storm smothered Bob Flowers’ Gulfport, Miss. home. The flooding and winds left the structure unlivable, forcing Bob and his wife to reside in a FEMA trailer for the next four years and 10 months.

Desperate for some helping hands, the couple applied for relief with Mission on the Bay, a ministry of Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi. The organization provides volunteers who help families rebuild post-Katrina homes.

Mike Conte, assistant director of mechanical trades, and his daughter, Megan Nicole Conte, 17, are among 1,800 volunteers from across the country and Canada who joined the organization in 2010.

In mid-April, the father-daughter duo and eight

Local Students Sample the Sciences at Wesleyan

Isaac Lichter-Marck '11 shows an eastern tiger swallowtail caterpillar to fifth grade students from Snow Elementary School on June 16. The Snow School students sampled the Wesleyan Sciences during a tour of Wesleyan’s biology, physics and scientific imaging departments.

Student Non-Profit Wins Dell Award; Presenting WESeminar

The Shining Hope Kibera Clinic will become an integral piece of our innovative model changing the realities of women in Kibera through the integrated links between girls education and services unavailable elsewhere.

Shining Hope for Communities, a student-founded non-profit organization, has been named the winner of the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition.

The award is based on a world-wide competition among college students who create projects that can “make the world a better place.”

Shining Hope for Communities founded The Kibera School for Girls in 2009 in the Kenyan slum of Kibera, and is creating the Johanna Justin Jinich Memorial Clinic and a community center this year at the same site. Initial funding for the Kibera School for Girls was provided by the Davis 100 Projects for Peace program. The Dell award includes $50,000.

The group has also received a $50,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and a $1,000 award from the MTV People’s Choice Awards this year.

Shining Hope for Communities includes Executive Director and Kibera native Kennedy Odede ’12,