Snapshots

Bite Off More than You Can Chew at the New “Wisdom Teeth” Exhibit

wisdom teeth

The campus community can sink their teeth into a new exhibit housed in the Science Library. Titled “Wisdom Teeth,” the 30-piece exhibit showcases a series of skulls and jaws, each highlighting the amazing dental morphology that has evolved in the vertebrate lineage. All displayed specimens are housed in Wesleyan’s George Brown Goode Biology Collections.

wisdom teeth

Most vertebrates, such as an iguana or pelican, have “homodont” dentition with identical tooth structures throughout their jaw. Mammals, however, have “heterodont,” or specialized teeth (for example incisors to seize prey and molars to grind food so it may be digested more easily). Examples of both dentitions are displayed in the exhibit.

odfish As you can see, the thin struts of bone that make up the Codfish skull are unfused which allow for greater cranial flexibility. This flexible skull allows the Cod to extend their jaws forward and rapidly snatch prey by protruding the pre-maxilla. In addition, like many other teleosts- or bony fish, Cods use suction feeding by rapidly expanding the space in their mouth to create a negative pressure which sucks prey items into their jaws.

The “Wisdom Teeth” exhibit also includes an online component featuring several photographs and additional information. The codfish, pictured here, has thin struts of bone that make up the animal’s skull and allow for greater cranial flexibility. This flexible skull allows codfish to extend their jaws forward and rapidly snatch prey by protruding the pre-maxilla. They also rapidly expand the space in their mouth to create a negative pressure that sucks prey items into their jaws.

American Beaver Like all rodents, beaver’s teeth continue to grow throughout their life to prevent too much wear from accumulating. Beaver incisors are particularly durable as they are covered in a thick layer of enamel, with an orange tint from the presence of iron compounds. This iron oxidizes over time leaving beavers with orange teeth. This all makes sense when you consider the incredibly tough material that beavers must chew through to construct their dams.

The American beaver has heterodont teeth that grow throughout its life. Beaver incisors are covered in a thick layer of enamel, with an orange tint from the presence of iron compounds, which makes them extremely durable.

wisdom teeth

The Javan rhino has 28 teeth (1 incisor, 3 premolars, and 3 molars in each half of the jaw). Less than 75 Javan rhinos exist today. They browse the tropical rainforest in Indonesia searching for vegetation.

bear

According to the exhibit, omnivores like this grizzly bear have more generalist teeth that can be used to process a wide variety of foods. The incisors at the front can be used to slice through an animal but are also commonly used to graze grass. The menacing canines can be used to rip apart flesh or takedown squirrels and other small animals, but are also used to rip into logs to find grubs and ants. The molars and premolars can be used to crunch bones or crack nuts.

wisdom teeth

“Wisdom Teeth” was created by Fletcher Levy ’23 last summer as part of his work with the College of the Environment. “I was very inspired by the raw beauty of the osteology collections here at Wesleyan,” he said. “While working on this collection, I was struck by the diversity and beauty within the shape of teeth.” The exhibit was developed with the assistance of Professor of Biology Ann Burke; Assistant Professor of Archaeology Katherine Brunson; Harold T. Stearns Emerita Professor of Integrative Sciences Ellen Thomas; Andy Tan ’21; Yu Kai Tan MA ’21; facility manager Joel LaBella; instrument maker specialist Bruce Strickland; Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian Andrew White; and Science Library assistant Linda Hurteau. (Photos by Olivia Drake, Andy Tan and Yu Kai Tan)

 

Fall Is In the Air …

The Wesleyan community is experiencing a rather warm start to fall, but a beautiful one nonetheless!

(Photos by Willow Saxon ’25 and Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

fallfall fall fall fall fall olin fall

Fall Harvest Celebrated with Middletown Community at Pumpkin Fest

During Long Lane Farm’s annual Pumpkin Festival, members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities learned about local organic farming and food politics while enjoying free veggie burgers, hot cider, vendors, live music, and various crafts, including pumpkin painting.

“Pumpkin Fest is just the kind of event that provides a moment for residents and students to meet for food, music, and laughter,” said farmer Elle Bixby ’23. “Long Lane Farm’s mission of providing a place for growing sustainable food in a community spirit is a perfect backdrop for reminding students that there is more to the Wesleyan campus than just classrooms and books, and for connecting our greater Middletown community to some of the experiences provided by the school.”

The organic, student-run farm has celebrated its fall harvest at the festival since 2004. Long Lane Farm supplies high-quality organic food to local residents of the Middletown area as well as to food pantries and soup kitchens.

“Pumpkin Fest is a wonderful opportunity to bring together the Wesleyan and Middletown communities through an afternoon of farm festivities, while also providing Long Lane Farm with a platform to share more about the work we do on the farm,” said farmer Debbra Goh ’24.

As part of the farm’s mission, proceeds generated by Pumpkin Fest bake sales go to a selected Middletown charity or organization. This year, proceeds went to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective.

“It was wonderful to see the community show up to support such an important cause, and it was amazing to be able to have Middletown residents back on the farm with us,” Goh said.

This year’s event featured music by Dachelle, Clay Rodgers Band, Miranda Finn, Audrey Mills, Bella Amenta, Lilly Gitlitz, Skye Hawthorne, and Emily Bloom. This year’s vendors included the Green Fund, Wesleyan Natural History Museum, Botany Club, Bread Salvage, Cardinal Kids, Wesleyan Sustainability, WesCoven, Wesleyan Jewish Community, WILD Wes, WesVo, and Eco-facilitators. Sponsors included the College of the Environment and Bon Appetit.

Pumpkin Fest co-organizer Cambria Tsai Weaver ’22 says Pumpkin Fest is her favorite event of the year.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the College of the Environment for supporting us, to the Long Lane collective members for working their butts off to make it happen in two weeks, and to the Middletown community for showing up in a big way,” she said. “I’ll leave Wes with the fond memory that we were able to pull this one off one last time before I graduated!”

Said Bixby, “Pumpkin Fest wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without everyone coming together with an eye towards social harmony between campus and town.”

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Willow Saxon ’25 and Milly Hopkins ’25)

pumpkin fest

pumpkin fest

pumpkin fest

pumpkin fest

Prospective Students, Parents Attend Vibrant Admission Open House

The Office of Admission welcomed prospective students and guests to an October Open House on Oct. 11. The vibrant day offered two, identical half-day programs that featured a talk from Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid; a student-to-student panel; an information session on the admission process and financial aid; an address to parents by President Michael Roth ’78; a resource panel discussion; and student-led campus tours.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

admission open house

admission open house

Wesleyan’s Japanese Garden Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Exhibit

japanese garden

Paul Theriault, Center for the Arts art preparator; Stephen Morrell, Japanese garden architect; Ben Chaffee, associate director of visual arts; and Rosemary Lennox, exhibitions manager, gather outside the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Japanese Garden during its 25th-year celebration.

Since 1995, the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Japanese Garden—or Shôyôan Teien—has provided a serene space for meditation, tea ceremonies, and art classes.

Designed, built, and continuously cared for by Stephen Morrell, a landscape architect specializing in Japanese-style gardens, Wesleyan’s Shôyôan Teien is being celebrated through a new exhibit that contemplates the garden’s rich history.

“One’s experience of the garden is meant to be personal,” Morrell said. “By design, it encourages a peaceful intimate relationship where subjective and objective experience merges into present moment being. When that happens you become part of the garden.”

The exhibit, titled 25th Anniversary of the College of East Asian Studies Japanese Garden (Shôyôan Teien), held inside the Freeman Center’s Gallery, showcases sketches, photographs, models, poetry, video, and historical records of the garden.

The exhibition will run through Dec. 10. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

japanese garden

The Japanese garden can be viewed through the Freeman Center’s tatami room (shôyôan). The tatami room was built in 1987 through the generosity of Mansfield Freeman from the Class of 1916. Planned as an educational resource, the ensemble of the tatami room and garden provides a tangible means of experiencing Japanese aesthetics and culture.

garden

Shôyôan was built in September 1987 by master carpenter Takagaki Hiroshi and his apprentice Kaneko Ryosei, using traditional Japanese tools and techniques. In a traditional Japanese house, a similar room would function as a multi-purpose space, serving alternately as a living room, dining room, bedroom, or study.

japanese garden

The garden is host to several plants and trees including Japanese box leaf holly, crimson pygmy barberry, Korean and Japanese boxwood, iris, Yakushima rhododendron, lilyturf, Japanese garden juniper, sedum, Japanese shield fern, and weeping hemlock.

japanese garden

Japanese garden architect Stephen Morrell also designed the meditation gardens for Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York, and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, as well as a tea garden exhibition for the New York Japan Society. Since 1981, he has been Curator of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck, New York.

Photos of the gallery exhibit are below: (Photos by Milly Hopkins ’25)

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden
japanese garden

“Limited Miles, Unlimited Flavors” Theme of 2021 Eat Local Challenge

eat local challenge

Jessi Zenack ’25 and Maya Gray ’25 enjoy lunch on Huss Courtyard Sept. 21 during Wesleyan’s annual Eat Local Challenge. All food provided in the meal was harvested within 150 miles of campus.

Barbecue-smoked pork paninis, apple cider-brined turkey legs, clam fritters with fresh pickle aioli, and blue hubbard squash bisque were among the lunchtime tastings offered to Wesleyan students on Sept. 21.

As part of the 16th annual Eat Local Challenge themed “limited miles, unlimited flavors,” Wesleyan’s food service provider Bon Appétit staff was charged with crafting a meal from products and ingredients harvested within a 150-mile radius of the campus without sacrificing flavor. The meal included produce, meat, dessert, and drinks from local farmers and fishermen.

“Back home, I often shop very locally and care a lot about where my food comes from, which is why I am a gluten-free, dairy-free pescatarian,” said Maya Gray ’25 during the Eat Local Challenge. “The fact that this was truly a meal from scratch that also supported local farmers means a lot to me. This was such a wonderful treat to have, and I’m very grateful I got to try it! There is so much injustice in the farming industry, so it is important to always buy as locally as possible, especially for a University like Wes that holds real influence in Middletown.”

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

eat local challenge

 

Students Network, Share Interests at Annual Involvement Fair

From Alpha Delta Phi Society to the WeSanskriti—a South Asian classical dancing group—Wesleyan’s 300-plus student groups offer opportunities for students with different backgrounds to meet peers with common interests.

As part of Wesleyan’s Week of Welcome (WesWOW), representatives from more than 100 student groups and clubs gathered on Andrus Field Sept. 10 for the Student Involvement Fair. Group members provided information, sign-up sheets, and various activities associated with their individual clubs.

Wesleyan has more than 300 student-run groups, focusing on activism, identity, sports, publications, performance and visual arts, community service, religious affiliations, cultural interests, and more. Among them are the Botany Club, Photography Club, Mexican Ballet Folklorico, EveryVoteCounts, WesClimb, Bell and Scroll Society, Jewish Voice for Peace, Powerlifting Club, Society of Physics Students, Student of Color Fashion Show Committee, Ujamaa Black Student Union, WesEMT, and more.

The 21st annual event is sponsored by the Wesleyan Student Assembly and the Office of Student Involvement.

“Joining a club or group is a wonderful way for students to meet like-minded students,” said Joanne Rafferty, director of student involvement and New Student Orientation. “It also can contribute to their entire Wesleyan co-curricular experience.”

Any group wanting to hold a meeting or event can book a space via WesNest.

Photos of the Student Involvement Fair are below: (Photos by Willow Saxon ’24)

WesleyanDoulaProjec

The Wesleyan Doula Project provides free and compassionate support for people in the position of terminating their pregnancies, working to combat the stigma around abortion and reproductive health and to ensure that each individual receives the care they deserve. The WDP strives to empower students to pursue reproductive health work and to strengthen connections between Wesleyan and the local community. Driven by the values of health equity and Reproductive Justice, the WDP is part of a national Full-Spectrum Doula Movement committed to making doula care accessible to all people and all pregnancy outcomes.

wes buds

WesBuds is a partnership between Wesleyan students and the students of Middlesex Transition Academy (MTA). MTA students, ages 18-21, may have intellectual or developmental disabilities and are looking to address their own individual transition needs after high school. In WesBuds, students make new friends, participate in fun events like soccer clinics, watching movies, dancing, and hanging out.

Performance Helps New Students Navigate Human Differences, Social Positionality

I, You, (We)s

Through a series of skits performed by new student orientation leaders, the Class of 2025 campus newcomers learned how they may experience power, privilege, and difference as they navigate different communities at Wesleyan.

Titled “I, You, (We)s,” the Sept. 2 performance, held during New Student Orientation, presented frequent challenges in community engagement and offered suggestions for engaging authentically, thoughtfully, and collaboratively.

“The goal of this program was to introduce new students to the topics and conversations that would be relevant during their time at Wesleyan,” explained Esme Maria Ng ’22, who co-wrote the scripts with fellow student playwright and “I, You, (We)s” actor Luna Dragon Mac-Williams ’22.

When writing skits for the program, Ng and MacWilliams based their pieces on their own individual strengths, interests, and stories.

“The biggest thing that came to mind is how my identity interacts with the mostly white, cishet, economically privileged environment around me,” Ng said. “Thus, my pieces were hoping to pose questions along the lines of ‘what is our responsibility to one another when we can’t understand one another?’ ‘How do we reconcile ourselves with the world around us, thinking especially about how/where our privilege places us in these spaces.'”

Ng and Mac-Williams worked on writing and editing the script for about a month this summer. Their revision process involved sharing the work with the actors and Wesleyan faculty and staff to ensure the script had a clear message and maintained historic and geographic accuracy.

Centering the principles of the Cardinal Community Commitment, the skits also addressed topics including racism, imposter syndrome, tokenization, navigating power dynamics, hierarchy, and Wesleyan-Middletown relationships.

The performance was directed by Marcella Trowbridge, artistic director of the local non-profit theater company ARTFARM. “I am delighted to be back at Wes as a guest artist working with students addressing current issues through theater,” Trowbridge said. “This is a new script and we hope it will become an annual part of New Student Orientation.”
The project was supported by a plethora of campus partners including the Center for the Arts, the Resource Center, the Sustainability Office, the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, the Theater Department, the Allbritton Center, Student Activities and Leadership Development, Fries Center for Global Studies, and the Office of International Student Affairs.

Additional photos of the “I, You, (We)s” rehearsal on Aug. 31 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

I, You, (We)s
I, You, (We)sI, You, (We)s

I, You, (We)sI, You, (We)sI, You, (We)s

I, You, (We)s

Students Embody Dances from Different World Cultures during Annual Common Moment (Video)


The Class of 2025’s New Student Orientation concluded on Friday, Sept. 3 with a celebratory return to an in-person “Common Moment” which was held on Andrus Field.

The annual shared participatory arts event is one of the culminating experiences of students’ first week on campus. The movement experience for incoming students, which has been held since 2008 starting with the Class of 2012, featured both faculty and alumni choreographers from Wesleyan’s Dance Department.

The event had pivoted to an asynchronous event last summer. The Class of 2024 participated virtually (view performance) from their residence halls on Aug. 28, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Choreographers this year included Chair of the Dance Department and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Hari Krishnan, Assistant Professor of Dance Iddi Saaka, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance and African American Studies Joya Powell, Visiting Instructor in Dance Nik Owens ‘12, Visiting Associate Professor of Dance Doug Elkins, and Eury German ‘16.

Following the performance by first year students embodying dances from different world cultures, there was a concluding fire dancing performance by the student group Prometheus.

Past guest teaching artists at the Common Moment have included the Asphalt Orchestra, Heidi Latsky, and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. View past Common Moment celebrations online here.

Students Begin Harvesting, Selling Produce at Long Lane Farm

long lane farm

Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm(ers) have begun harvesting crops from the two-acre student-run farm. Every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m., the students sell their crops at a farm stand near the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street, and again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Cash and Venmo are accepted.

long lane farm

Garlic scapes, baby daikon radish, snap peas, collard greens, and kale are in season for mid-summer picking and indulgence. The students started planting summer crops in a greenhouse in March and moved the plants outdoors in April. Garlic, however, was planted last November.

Students Celebrate the End of the Semester with Spring Thing


Students gathered on Andrus Field May 13 for Spring Thing, an end-of-the-semester celebration.

Tickets to the event were $6 and 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective. Ticketholders gained access to a dozen carnival games, music by student bands, and meal options by four food trucks.

Students continue to wear masks in public spaces to Keep Wes Safe.

Photos of Spring Thing are below: (Photos by Willow Saxon ’24)

spring thingspring thing