Snapshots

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

Lucier’s 90th Birthday Celebrated with 90 Artists Recording “I’m Sitting in a Room”

Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier

In honor of revolutionary composer, experimental musician, and professor emeritus Alvin Lucier‘s 90th birthday, several Wesleyan faculty, staff, and alumni participated in a 27-hour-long performance of Lucier’s paradigmatic work “I Am Sitting in a Room.” Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus, retired from Wesleyan in 2010 and earned a Master of Arts ad eundem gradum from Wesleyan in 1979.

Lucier personally chose 90 colleagues, friends, and former students to participate in the event, of which 15 are acquaintances from his time at Wesleyan. The concert spanned from 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 14 and some segments are available for viewing online.

Wesleyan-affiliated faculty, staff, and alumni who participated include Ronald Kuivila, professor of music; Sumarsam, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music; Paula Matthusen, associate professor of music; Mark Slobin, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, emeritus; Jane Alden, associate professor of music; Jennifer Thom Hadley ’84, MA ’86, World Music Archives library assistant; Alec McLane, retired music librarian; Nestor Prieto MA ’12; K.C.M. Walker MA ’12; Jessica Marino MA ’13; James Peter Falzone MA ’19; Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk MA ’12, PhD ’17; Douglas Simon ’69, MA ’71; Dina Maccabee MA’15; and Akiko Hatakeyama MA ’11.

Each of the guests recorded the same speech using their own voice and space: “I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now,” they said. “I am recording the sound of my speaking voice, and I am going to play it back into the room again and again, until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed.”

Then, the guest artists would repeatedly play and rerecord their taped voice, with each recording sharing more resonant characteristics of the space.

Lucier made the original recording in 1970, and no recordings of “I’m Sitting in a Room” are alike.

Learn more about Lucier in this May 11 New York Times article.

Nestor Prieto MA '12

Nestor Prieto MA ’12, a Venezuelan-born composer, sound artist, and multi-instrumentalist living in Middletown, Conn., met Lucier in 2011 at Wesleyan. His work centers on the implementation of obsolete audio technology, improvisation, and manipulation of found sound and speech. Prieto also performed in Vespers, with the original Sondols, as part of Lucier’s 80th birthday celebration.

lucier

Paula Matthusen, associate professor of music, is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered.

Stewart Leads Annual Earth Rant in Honor of Earth Month

In honor of Earth Day, Professor of Physics Brian Stewart hosted his 14th annual Earth Week Rant titled "Last Call." During his hour-long talk and Q&A, Stewart discussed global warming, fracking, fossil fuels, consumption, geoengineering, natural gas, and creating social change.

In honor of Earth Day, Professor of Physics Brian Stewart hosted his 14th annual Earth Week Rant titled “Last Call.” During his hour-long talk and Q&A, Stewart discussed global warming, fracking, fossil fuels, consumption, geoengineering, natural gas, and creating social change.

stewart

Stewart began his talk by showing the New York Times’s breaking news story, “Biden Will Commit the U.S. to Halving Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030.” “I’ll just give you my ask right now,” Stewart said. “How can you help make this possible? If we are to truly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases level that enables humanity as well as the other beings we share Earth with to exist, what will be necessary? Think about ways you can contribute to an avalanche of public opinion that eventually makes this possible.”

"Thanks to the superb record-keeping in Japan," Stewart noted, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto peaked on March 26, the earliest in more than 1,200 years.

“Thanks to the superb record-keeping in Japan,” Stewart noted, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto peaked on March 26, the earliest in more than 1,200 years. “This record is another indication of phenological change—that is to say the changes in the behavior of natural organic systems—responding to climate change.”

Japanese Community Celebrates Spring with Cherry Blossom Festival

On April 17, Wesleyan’s Japanese community gathered outside the College of East Asian Studies to celebrate Ohanami, or “flower viewing.” In early spring, three sakura—or cherry blossom trees—are blooming near the Japanese Garden.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual gathering was restricted to current students studying Japanese and CEAS faculty members.

The cherry trees were donated in the mid-70s by Nobel Laureate Satoshi Omura, who received an honorary degree from Wesleyan in 1994.

“The cherry blossoms’ timing was perfect,” said event coordinator Naho Maruta, associate professor of the practice in East Asian Studies. “We had fallen cherry blossoms all over the ground, which made a beautiful cherry blossom carpet.”

Maruta said this year’s event was especially meaningful because it was canceled last year. Also, since Japanese classes are still taught online this semester, “some students and teachers finally met each other for the first time in person.”

Photos of the event are below:

cherry blossom

cherry blossom

Canada Geese Graze and Greet Wesleyan Students

geese

A gaggle of Canada geese visited campus on Feb. 22 to enjoy a grassy area for feeding. Although some geese migrate, they’re also year-round Connecticut residents and are frequently seen on Andrus Field in February and March. Canada geese prefer wide-open spaces for grazing and breeding. More than 25 geese gathered in this area and greeted Wesleyan students as they walked by. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Campus Community Celebrates the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Feb. 12, Wesleyan welcomed Civil Rights activist, organizer, author, and educator Ruby Sales to deliver the annual 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. Sales is the founder and director of SpiritHouse Project, a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that uses the arts, research, education, action, and spirituality to bring diverse peoples together to work for racial, economic, and social justice. In the 1960s, Sales joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Tuskegee University and went to work as a student freedom fighter in Lowndes County, Alabama.

On Feb. 12, Wesleyan welcomed civil rights activist, organizer, author, and educator Ruby Sales to deliver the annual 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. Sales is the founder and director of SpiritHouse Project, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that uses the arts, research, education, action, and spirituality to bring diverse peoples together to work for racial, economic, and social justice. In the 1960s, Sales joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Tuskegee University and went to work as a student freedom fighter in Lowndes County, Alabama. “Not only do Black people survive, we also try and we thrive, because we were privileged to have 111 historically black colleges that produce Black doctors, Black lawyers, Black morticians—a Blackness that exists in every southern city in the United States—Birmingham; Washington D.C.; Charleston, South Carolina,” Sales said. “Yes, there was a plantation system in this, but there was also the magnificent work of the people who carved out a middle-class existence in a society that did not intend for us to survive.”

C-CERT Assists with Student Arrival Period

During the spring semester arrival period, Feb 5–8, volunteers from Wesleyan’s Campus-Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) assisted with welcoming students to campus, checking them in, and ensuring they had a COVID-19 test within five days of arriving on campus.

Members also shoveled snow to keep paths clear and delivered students’ suitcases, via an ATV, to their residences. Joe Fountain, director of athletic injury care, loaned the Athletics Department ATV to C-CERT for this purpose.

Wesleyan’s C-CERT group consists of staff, faculty, and student volunteers.

(Photos by Olivia Drake and Roseann Sillasen)

CERT

CERT

Snow Dusts Campus during Winter Recess

Light snow dusted campus Jan. 26–27, while students were away on winter recess. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

snowy campus

Andrus Field glimmers with fresh snow behind College Row.

Snow covers an evergreen hedge on Pine Street near several wood-frame student houses.

Snow covers an evergreen hedge on Pine Street across from several wood-frame student houses.