On Nov. 21, Wesleyan students and staff helped stuff 1,000 boxes with everything families will need for a Thanksgiving dinner celebration.
This fall, Wesleyan students and staff took part in the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project, an annual collaborative effort to provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need. Wesleyan was one of 70 community partners for the project, led by Fellowship Church in Middletown. The university’s involvement in the project was coordinated by Cathy Lechowicz and Diana Martinez, director and assistant director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.
For this year’s project, the Wesleyan community donated stuffing, gravy, pies and other foodstuffs; students and staff from the Allbritton Center helped register families at Amazing Grace Food Pantry from Oct. 31 to Nov. 18; students and staff, including the men’s crew and women’s lacrosse teams, helped with packing almost 1,000 boxes of food at Fellowship Church on Nov. 21; and staff from Wesleyan’s Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development helped distribute the food to Middletown residents in need on Nov. 22. The women’s lacrosse team also collected more than $600 to contribute to the project.
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Fred Ayres ’17 helps stock shelves at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown on Nov. 4. Ayers is one of several Wesleyan students and alumni who are volunteering at the food pantry this month in preparation for Thanksgiving. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
On Nov. 24, dozens of low-income Middletown families will enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast courtesy of a local food pantry and the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships at Wesleyan.
Fred Ayres, at right, helps a patron gather a ration of food at Amazing Grace. The pantry serves an estimated 3,000 individuals, or 1,075 households each month.
From Oct. 31 to Nov. 18, four Wesleyan students, three alumni and JCCP staff are hosting Middletown Community Thanksgiving Basket Project registration at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown. Families who sign up will receive a baked turkey and traditional fixings on Thanksgiving Day.
In addition, the JCCP is hosting a Stuffing and Gravy Drive (jars or cans) from now until Nov. 18. Boxes are placed in North College, Usdan, Olin, Freeman Athletic Center and Allbritton. Wesleyan volunteers also will assist Middletown Police Department with a turkey drive on Nov. 18 and 19. They also hosted fill-a-bus events at local supermarkets on Nov. 5 and 6.
Volunteer Fred Ayres ’17, a neuroscience and economics double major, has served as an intern for the St. Vincent de Paul Middletown group, which includes Amazing Grace, throughout the fall semester. In addition to directly volunteering with families who shop at the pantry, he has also learned how Amazing Grace stocks their shelves, how they raise funds and collect donations,
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Assistant Football Coach Jeff McDonald tells about his helpful experience with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County when the Athletics Council was seeking an anti-bullying program to link with their work in MacDonough Elementary School. Thayer Talbott, left, and Wallace Jones, right, look on.
The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) invited Wesleyan coaches for “A Slice and A Celebration” in the Warren Street Lobby of Freeman on May.
Over pizza and a beverage, the coaches were celebrated for their community involvement, as well as offered the opportunity to learn more about the Community Foundation and how it can be a resource to the nonprofits and our broader community. Foundation leaders in attendance were Cynthia Clegg, president and CEO; Thayer Talbott, senior director of programs and operations; and Wallace Jones, CFMC board chairman.
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During spring break, March 4-13, 20 Wesleyan students went to New Orleans to help rebuild a home.
Twenty Wesleyan students spent the first week of spring break volunteering in New Orleans to help with rebuilding and repairing homes in the community.
The students, who were accompanied by Justin Marks, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, bused as a group to to New Orleans as part of ServeUp, a project organized by InterVarsity New England. Wesleyan’s group joined volunteers from Boston College, Boston University, Clark University, Fairfield University, Northeastern, Rhode Island College, University of Vermont, among others.
Wesleyan’s group stayed at an old elementary school site and partnered with two organizations, Rebuilding Together New Orleans and Greenlight New Orleans. Students worked on priming, painting and screening a local home and replaced old light bulbs with energy efficient ones around the community. Many homes in the area are still damaged from Hurricane Katrina.
“It was a truly eye opening experience and it has taught us a lot about the very real problems that are still prevalent in our communities,” said volunteer Kenny Chiu ’19.
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MacDonough Elementary School students Norma, Aiden and Marrisaana proudly display their Greek gods and goddesses during the WesMyth program, taught by Wesleyan student volunteers Sarah McCully ’16 and Jack Spira ’16. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
“Bubbletrapper” is the goddess of bubblegum and is always nice — except to bad guys.
“Bubblegum is her weapon,” said Marrisaana, a fifth grader at MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown. “When she’s mad, she traps bad guys in a bubble.”
5th grader Aiden shows off his mystical god, “Lione.”
On Feb. 19, Marrisaana and four other classmates participated in Wesleyan’s WesMyth program, which provides fifth graders at McDonough with an introduction to Greek mythology. The program, taught by Wesleyan student volunteers, is held for one hour every week throughout the academic year.
On this particular day, the WesMyth participants created their own Greek gods and goddesses based on mythical creatures they’ve studied in weeks past.
“What will you name your god or goddess? What powers will he have? What will his personality be like? Would he be friends with Aphrodite?” asked WesMyth volunteer Sarah McCully ’16.
Fifth grader Aiden sketched a god named “Lione” who is half lion and half human. “Lione is the god of lightning, fire and nature. He’s cruel and likes to destroy things,” Aiden explained.
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The Green Street Teaching and Learning Center hosted a Girls in Science Camp Aug. 3-7. Wesleyan faculty members Ruth Johnson, assistant professor of biology (pictured third from left); Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies (pictured at far right); Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics (pictured at left), along with three undergraduate students, worked with the campers on various experiments. Sara MacSorley, director of the GSTLC (second from left), coordinated the activities.
Johnson led the campers on a bug hunt through Wesleyan’s West College Courtyard garden. There, the girls observed insects while considering insect diets and insect life-cycles. The girls also learned about the life-cycle of the fruit fly and set up an experiment to test the effects of feeding flies a high-sugar diet (this negatively affects the fly life-cycle, and is akin to inducing Type II Diabetes). Johnson also taught the campers about genetic variations (mutations) that affected wing and bristle development.
“Learning about these phenotypes served as an intro to genetics, genes and proteins,” Johnson said.
Johnson also taught the girls about microscopy. After a short presentation on how a variety of biological objects appear when viewed with high magnification, the girls viewed and captured images of the fly pupal eye with a fluorescent microscope. The girls also viewed a variety of mutant adult fly eyes with dissecting microscopes and, to build their skills in observation, built 3D models of these with modeling clay.
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The Russell Chapel is located on the southwest hill of Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown near Wesleyan. Several Wesleyan film students have used the Chapel as a backdrop for their projects.
In 1867, Middletown’s Frances Russell donated a Gothic Revival Chapel in memory of her late husband Samuel Russell. Samuel, an entrepreneur and trader, was the owner and namesake of Wesleyan’s Russell House.
The architecturally-distinctive brownstone Russell Chapel, which is listed on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places, sits atop the southwest hill on Indian Hill Cemetery and abuts Wesleyan University on Vine Street. Now, at 148-years-old, the Chapel has reached a dangerous structural tipping point and rehabilitation is desperately needed.
“Indian Hill Cemetery is an integral part of our community,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Kari, Mathilde and I frequently take walks through the cemetery’s immaculate grounds, which offer pristine views of Middletown and sections of campus. I know several students and other employees who enjoy the grounds as much as we do, and the Russell Chapel is the iconic centerpiece.”
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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.
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.
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.
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.