Tag Archive for community service

Student Non-Profit Wins Dell Award; Presenting WESeminar

The Shining Hope Kibera Clinic will become an integral piece of our innovative model changing the realities of women in Kibera through the integrated links between girls education and services unavailable elsewhere.

Shining Hope for Communities, a student-founded non-profit organization, has been named the winner of the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition.

The award is based on a world-wide competition among college students who create projects that can “make the world a better place.”

Shining Hope for Communities founded The Kibera School for Girls in 2009 in the Kenyan slum of Kibera, and is creating the Johanna Justin Jinich Memorial Clinic and a community center this year at the same site. Initial funding for the Kibera School for Girls was provided by the Davis 100 Projects for Peace program. The Dell award includes $50,000.

The group has also received a $50,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and a $1,000 award from the MTV People’s Choice Awards this year.

Shining Hope for Communities includes Executive Director and Kibera native Kennedy Odede ’12,

Local Church Honors Wesleyan with Community Service Award

At left, Pastor Moses L. Harvill of Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown presented the church’s Community Service Award to Wesleyan for “their many years of service to the Cross Street Tutorial Academic Center (CSTAC).” Wesleyan employees Trish Gordon, affirmative action specialist; Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for diversity and student engagement; and Frank Kuan, executive director of the Center for Community Partnerships, accepted the award. AME Zion Church also awarded CaVar Reid '11 as the “Wesleyan Student of the Year.”

Students Share Video of Volunteering in Haiti

Eight Wesleyan students helped children affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake during their spring break. The students are: Back row, from left, Ali Patrick '13, Barbara Moseman '13, Jacob Eichengreen '13, Stefan Skripak '13 and John Snyder '12 and front fow, from left, Michael Steves '13; Elijah Meadow '13 and Haley Baron '12. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Between March 7-19, eight Wesleyan students assisted the Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team-Haiti (AMURT) by setting up camps for children and planting community food gardens in Port-Au-Prince.

The students, Jacob Eichengreen ’13, Elijah Meadow ’13, Haley Baron ’12, John Snyder ’12, Ali Patrick ’13, Barbaralynn Moseman ’13, Michael Steves ’13 and Stefan Skripak ’13, created a video of their experience (watch video below).

“Probably, the most difficult time for me was last night when there was a flash flood, and I just realized that everyone that we’ve met, or heard of…hundreds and thousands of people, right now are in six inches of water,” Snyder says in the video. “Their tents are soaked. People are sleeping in mud, if they’re sleeping at all. It was It was just an extraordinarily emotional experience.”

The students shared their experience to admitted students during WesFest on April 16, and to the Wesleyan community on April 19. More information on the  student’s trip is in a March 3 Wesleyan Connection article.

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Students Help Nicaraguans Create Irrigation Systems During Spring Break

During spring break, nine Wesleyan students helped farmers in Nandaime, Nicaragua build watering systems.

Thanks to nine Wesleyan students, subsistence farmers in the small urban center of Nandaime, Nicaragua, will no longer struggle to grow crops during the dry season.

Between March 7-14, the students transformed five plots of land into irrigated farms, which will allow a network of female farmers to grow extra vegetables in the summers and sell them at a cooperative.

“Now they’ll be able to supplement their diet with nutrient-rich foods and sell the excess food at the market for an additional source of income,” says trip organizer Rachel Levenson ’12.

Levenson and her peers, Amanda Schwartz ’12; David Harris ’13; Liz Wojnar ’12; Tasha Camhi ’12; Max Cecil ’12; Rebecca Lange ’13; Hannah Lewis ’13 and Miriam Berger ’12 accompanied Rabbi Seth Haaz of Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown, Conn. on the journey to Nicaragua during their spring break. The group partnered with American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which coordinated the logistics and provided leadership.

“The trip was a great way for the students to combine service, Tikkum Olam (repairing the World) and Jewish learning,” says Rabbi David Leipziger Teva,

GSAC, Wesleyan Students Teach Minds in Motion Workshops

At right, Jegadish Gunasagaran ’11, Le Na Dang ’11 and Jacob Litke ‘10 participated a Minds in Motion program March 6 at Snow Elementary School in Middletown. The students taught fifth graders how to compare DNA from five different suspects taken from an imaginary crime scene. The Wesleyan undergraduates are students of Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

At right, Jegadish Gunasagaran ’11, Na Le Dang ’11 and Jacob Litke ‘10 participated in a Minds in Motion program March 6 at Snow Elementary School in Middletown. The students taught fifth graders how to compare DNA from five different suspects taken from an imaginary crime scene. The Wesleyan undergraduates are students of Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

8 Students Assist Haitian Children during Spring Break

Wesleyan students are going to Haiti to assist children affected by the 2010 earthquake.

Eight Wesleyan students will assist victims of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake by offering hands-on community-based disaster relief during their spring break.

Between March 7-19, Elijah Meadow, Haley Baron ’12, John Snyder ’12, Ali Patrick ’13, Barbaralynn Moseman ’13, Michael Steves ’13, Stefan Skripak ’13 and Jacob Eichengreen ’13 will be setting up camps for children and planting community food gardens in Port-Au-Prince.

They will be assisting the Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team-Haiti (AMURT). AMURT volunteers assist local residents, allowing them to grow and help their own communities. To date, the non-profit organization has distributed emergency food rations, tarps, tents and other supplies to more than 15,000 Haitian residents. They’ve also built 10 healing and education centers, which will benefit more than 5,000 children.

In preparation for the trip, the students are learning how to speak Haitian Creole with Haitian native Holly Nicolas, Wesleyan Station department assistant. They’ve also consulted with Barbara Dedman, director of nursing, and Robin Zup, medical billing specialist, in Wesleyan’s Health Services Department, where they received the necessary vaccinations.

Each student is paying for the trip out-of-pocket, which tallies in at $1,300. This includes airfare, vaccinations, meals, water, security and transportation. They’ve borrowed tents and sleeping bags from Wesleyan’s Outdoors Club, and are actively soliciting donations for medical supplies and craft projects for the Haitian children.

Eichengreen, who is leaning towards a degree from the College of Social Studies, has done service work in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., but never something on the same scale as volunteering with disaster victims.

“I breathe the same air as people in Tibet. I drink the same water as people in Somalia. I purchase goods made by people across the globe,” he says. “What happens to them also happens to me. Even in a place as remote and isolated from the international mainstream as Haiti, I feel obligated to go help because the people there are not all that different from the people I know at home.”

Baron, who is double-majoring in sociology and Spanish, has interned at the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco, Calif., supporting illegal immigrant families who needed clothing and jobs. She also taught an impoverished town in Ecuador about efficient trash and health practices.

Baron has a long-time interest in developing countries and the concept of a post-conflict society, specifically domestic issues of homelessness, poverty and East African politics.

“As I continue to learn about both of these topics, I realize that both are on different levels, one systematic, but more individual and the other societal are both situations in which people are post-conflict,” she says. “This is where I connect Haiti. I feel that the enthusiasm and dedication the eight of us wield can really create positive change in Haiti, something that is greatly needed. I just want to be able to make some type of change, even if that is making one child’s day better.”

Joe Bruno, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, says service to the community has been a Wesleyan core value since the earliest days of the university’s existence. This commitment is continually reaffirmed by the efforts of colleagues in the Center for Community Partnerships and by the volunteer work done by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff in Middletown and elsewhere.

“The extraordinary efforts of these eight students involved in service to Haiti and the Haitian people is surely another excellent example,” Bruno says. “We can all be proud of their commitment and dedication to this important cause, and we should look forward to learning of their experiences when they return.”

While in Haiti, the students will video and photograph their daily activities, and ask the Haitian children to take pictures with disposable cameras. Eichengreen says he’ll use the media to encourage other students to volunteer.

“I’m sure the experience will be rewarding, but as for right now, it’s pretty nerve-wracking,” Eichengreen says. “Just when you think you’ve remembered everything and have it all taken care of, you remember that you have a five-page paper due tomorrow and three tests this week.”

Jacaruso Judges Connecticut Library Design Contest

Steven Jacaruso, art director, judges various library publications at the 2010 Connecticut Libraries Publicity Awards Contest.

Pictured in center, Steven Jacaruso, art director, judges various library publications at the 2010 Connecticut Libraries Publicity Awards Contest.

Steven Jacaruso, art director in the Office of University Communications, recently judged the 2010 Connecticut Libraries Publicity Awards Contest. As one of three  judges, Jacaruso observed more than 75  imaginative bookmarks, brochures, newsletters, program flyers and innovative web sites, blogs, podcasts, videos and electronic newsletters.

Awards in each category are based on the library’s total operating budget (less than $750,000 or $750,000 and over). The event was held at The Middletown Library Association in Middletown.

“Considering the budget constraints and the fact that most of the submissions were by non-professional designers, some of the work was of a very high standard,” Jacaruso observed. “I was very impressed with how Connecticut libraries are trying to attract readers with programs they have created.”

Green Street Celebrates Winter Solstice with Dance, Art, Music

The Green Street Arts Center hosted a Winter Solstice Celebration Dec. 18 in the Green Street Performance Studio. The event included GSAC's AfterSchool Program talent, open dance floor, music, art and fun.

The Green Street Arts Center (GSAC) hosted a Winter Solstice Celebration Dec. 18 in the Green Street Performance Studio. The event included GSAC’s AfterSchool Program talent, open dance floor, music, art and fun. Above, teaching artist Jocelyn Pleasant gives a drum lesson.

Emily Troll '10 and a GSAC AfterSchool student play piano together.

Emily Troll ’10 gives a GSAC AfterSchool Program student a piano lesson.

AfterSchool Program students received help with their homework.

AfterSchool Program students received help with their homework. Above, a volunteer teacher from Macdonough School helps.

At right, Shawn Hill, desktop support specialist for science and math, taught students photo manipulation software during the event.

At right, Shawn Hill, desktop support specialist for science and math, taught students how to use computer programs. Hill presented a short film at the Solstice.

The Winter Solstice Event was featured in The Hartford Courant on Dec. 19.

Gilarde Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in S.C.

Jeff Gilarde, director of scientific imaging in the Biology Department,  spent his holiday vacation volunteering with the Habitat for Humanity of Horry County, near Myrtle Beach, S.C. Gilarde is pictured here near the tool trailer on Dec. 30, where the temperature was 38 degrees.

Jeff Gilarde, director of scientific imaging in the Biology Department, spent his holiday vacation volunteering with the Habitat for Humanity of Horry County, near Myrtle Beach, S.C. Gilarde is pictured here near the tool trailer on Dec. 30, where the temperature was 38 degrees.

Fellow volunteer Don Simon and Gilarde constructed about 32 'headers' for the entire house. These parts go over every door, window and closet to stabilize the structure and keep it hurricane safe. "It's hard work but well worth the sweat. It sure feels good to know that some family in Myrtle Beach will have a house to live in soon," he says.

Fellow volunteer Don Simon and Gilarde constructed about 32 'headers' for the entire house. These parts go over every door, window and closet to stabilize the structure and keep it hurricane safe. "It's hard work but well worth the sweat. It sure feels good to know that some family in Myrtle Beach will have a house to live in soon," he says.

Gilarde rests on the headers that he built.

Gilarde rests on the headers that he built.

Governor Rell, DEP Honor SplitFrame Project with Environmental Award

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently commended Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art, on his efforts with the Mattabeseck Audubon Society. Rell presented the Audubon Society with GreenCircle Award.

The Society was experiencing problems at their Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, Conn. with beavers who had changed the site so that access was a serious challenge. The Audubon Society welcomed Huge and his Wesleyan students to solve the problem.

SplitFrame, designed and built by Elijah Huge's students, received a GreenCircle Award Dec. 16.

SplitFrame, designed and built by Elijah Huge's students, received a GreenCircle Award Dec. 16.

They designed and constructed a sustainable project under adverse conditions. They created a split frame viewing station consisting of a lower floating observation deck and an elevated platform connected by a hinged staircase. Tiers on the lower platform serve as seating for conducting classes. Through their architectural skills, professionalism, and dedication to the project, the sanctuary is once again available for a unique environmental experience.

Rell awarded 17 Connecticut civic organizations, individuals and businesses with GreenCircle Awards at a ceremony at the State Capitol in Hartford Dec. 16.

“Today’s program marks the 11th anniversary of GreenCircle, an awards program that has continued to grow and reward those volunteers who continually show their commitment to Connecticut’s environment,” Governor Rell said. “Through their efforts and volunteer hours, they have contributed to improving the quality of life for all residents and visitors to this great state. Thanks go out to them all.”

Since the DEP launched the GreenCircle

Green Street Hosts Feast, Benefit Auction

Proceeds from "A Feast for the Senses" on Feb. 18 will benefit the Green Street Art Center's AfterSchool Arts and Science Program and the GSAC Scholarship Fund.

Proceeds from "A Feast for the Senses" on Feb. 18 will benefit the Green Street Art Center's AfterSchool Arts and Science Program and the GSAC Scholarship Fund.

The Green Street Arts Center celebrates its fifth-year anniversary with an auction, entertainment and world cuisine.

During Green Street’s “A Feast for the Senses,” participants will enjoy live performances, international foods, scrumptious desserts and a silent auction and raffle on 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 18.  An online auction runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.

“‘A Feast for the Senses’ promises to showcase Green Street’s unique kaleidoscope of offerings with live performances and interactive salsa workshops (bring your dancing shoes), while enjoying a delicious meal,”  says Jessica Carso, GSAC managing director. “Wonderful items and experiences are arriving for our silent auction and raffle every day. We’re sure that everyone is going to find something they just won’t be able to leave without. ”

The auction includes