Snapshots

“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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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:

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