Tag Archive for community service

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)

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,”