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Below are the latest entries from all Eastern Blogs. Click on any Entry to go directly to that blog.

Class Registration by Sara Colucci  —  Admissions

Registering for classes here at Eastern Connecticut State University each semester is a very simple, quick, and stress-free process. Everything is done online via Eweb Online Services and students can look up their classes prior to registration.

The whole process starts with an email from the registrar's office letting you know when your registration date is and where you can get your registration code from. It is very important that you receive your registration code before your registration date otherwise you will be late signing up for classes!

Next, comes the fun part of looking up the courses you are interested in, when they are offered, and which professor is teaching them. At first it may seem a little tricky to figure out what classes you need to take, but the advisement center and your academic advisor are always there to help you sort through it.

 Once you come up with a tentative schedule, you'll want to write down all of the course code numbers so they are easily accessible come registration time. From personal experience, I have found that having backup classes written down somewhere is a good idea as well. The reason for this is that some of the courses that you decide you want to take may not be open for very long after registration due to popularity or limited spots. This is why it is smart to write down the other times offered for the course with their specific codes, as well as alternative courses as backups.

I just registered for my fall senior year classes and still made sure I had alternative courses listed in front of me just to have a safety net even though my classes are much more degree specific. All the faculty and staff make it as simple as possible for the students to get the courses they want and help keep them on the graduation track. Being prepared and having all the course information accessible will help make this registration process much easier!

Our athletic web site has moved  —  Athletics

Welcome to my new webpage/blog!  —  Barbara Murdoch

Murdoch ORN pics.jpgI have recently started a new position here at Eastern Connecticut State University, as an assistant professor. So far I have been very excited by the students, the faculty and staff. All have been so very welcoming. I am just beginning to put my lab together and have taken on two very enthusiastic undergraduate students. Together in the coming months we will explore the fascinating research area of nervous system development, neurogenesis and regenerative medicine.

As my site is still under construction, I invite you back to see how our research is progressing.

Later gang, I'm needed in the lab!  

Internship announcements compiled by career services   —  Biology

Once a month the Office of Career Services will be sending you current internships available for students majoring in Biology.  Check out the link below for the February announcements!


Lana Pontbriant

Office of Career Services
Eastern Connecticut State University
Ph: 860.465.4436
Fax: 860.465.4440
E-mail: pontbriant (at)

What's New in Blackboard 9 SP 10-11  —  Blackboard Learn

On Aug 18th, the BOR will upgrade blackboard Learn to SP 10 and SP11. As a result there will be changes to the tool as detailed in the following article:

Whats New Blackboard Learn SP10-11:



A new portal for Blackboard Learn 9 has been created including training videos, documentation, as well as news and updates about the project:

Michael Downs  —  Career Development

Michael Downs.png

Expected Graduation Date: May 2014

Major: Communication

Employer: Eastern Connecticut State University: University Relations

Internship Title: Special Events Intern

Senior Michael Downs has recently put to use what he has learned as a Communication major to his internship with Eastern Connecticut State University's University Relations department! As a Special Events Intern, Michael's responsibilities involved conducting research and planning events for the 125th Anniversary of Eastern Celebration that took place throughout the semester.

"It's been so interesting to learn about the history of Eastern through the research that I've been doing," mentions Michael. "It's been really interesting to learn about how far this institution has come since its inception in 1889."

Through completing this internship, Michael has acquired many useful skills, such as how to correctly and effectively gather research; that he says will be essential to my future career. He has also learned valuable writing skills that will not only be useful to his future career path, but in graduate school as well.

To any other internship hopefuls, Michael's advice for you is to start your internship search early, so you can find the perfect opportunity just as Michael has done! 

Story submitted by Rebecca Coolidge

Charlotte Smith  —  Career Services


Charlotte Smith     

Class of May 2013

Business Administration (Marketing and Finance)


Internship Employer: Aetna, Inc.


Position Title: IVL/SG Broker Services Intern


Charlotte Smith certainly was a "busy bee" this past summer. The Business Administration senior (focus in Marketing and Finance) was kept active through Aetna's internship program. As one of the nation's (and world's) largest health insurance companies, Aetna hires a slew of interns every summer to populate their Hartford, CT campus. Charlotte, being one of those interns, worked for Broker Services. Through this position, she was handed an array of tasks including data analysis, marketing material production, creation of diagnostic reports, and helping "plan incentives for the brokers to perform their best."

As for her experiences, Charlotte says she learned a lot during her stay with Aetna. Not being familiar with the healthcare industry, she says that "the entire time was a learning process." In addition to familiarizing herself with the industry, she was able to become well-rounded in all things business. Instead of learning just one skill set, Charlotte learned many. "Through this opportunity," she says, "I have been able to gain experience in marketing, finance, data analytics, event planning, and I have been able to work with other departments as well.  This variety of experiences will help me in the future when finding a career and make me a more valuable employee."

            Having pulled from her internship what employers find most important, Charlotte advises internship seekers to "start early" and "not limit yourself." Don't confine yourself to only the skill sets you know or think you need. Try everything because "you never know what you'll end up with!"


Story by Alexandra Remy

iSpring Solutions offers a new Powerpoint Add-In application that meets the needs of people who might be using Impatica and Adobe Presenter. iSpring offers a free version of their application, which can convert a Powerpoint to a flash presentation for upload on the web or into Blackboard Vista. Unlike Impatica, it doesn't use any Java technology, so users only need a flash player enabled browser. The free version does not include audio recording capabilities, but it does allow you to insert YouTube videos or other flash content. People who need audio recording capabilities should still work with Adobe Presenter, but everyone else can benefit from this free offering.

The application can be downloaded here:

The following material is from their site:

Free PowerPoint to Flash converter creates web-friendly Flash movies from your PowerPoint content keeping its visual parameters and animation effects during conversion. iSpring Free works within PowerPoint, transforming it into a fast and easy Flash authoring tool. Just click Quick Publish and iSpring will generate a Flash movie from your PowerPoint presentation in just a few seconds.

iSpring creates high quality Flash movies with true vector representation of standard PowerPoint objects and keeps most of advanced PowerPoint 2000/XP/2003/2007 features.

  • 180+ PowerPoint animation effects
  • All PowerPoint slide transitions
  • Hyperlinks and action buttons
  • Animations and hyperlinks on Slide Masters
  • One click conversion
  • Embedded audio and video clips
  • Insert Flash feature
  • YouTube video insert new
  • Presentation autostart control
  • Flash-based player

Celebration of Excellence  —  Communication

On April 4, 2013, The Communication Department held their annual Celebration of Excellence which recognizes student excellence in Video, Radio, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations as well as the induction into the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society.  Enjoy the celebration presentation below.     

Dub-Nation Student Creative Work  —  Communication- old


Visit What's new at Eastern for the summer? Discounted campus housing and a growing campus community life with events. What's great at Eastern this summer: COM 460 with acclaimed non-fiction author Jeff Benedict whose cover story is on Sports Illustrated, small classes, Core and Major courses, one week intensives, 3- or 6-week, or online courses. Have the best summer yet at Eastern! Register now!

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Another Milestone Win!  —  Dr. Jeff G. Konin

Congratulations to Coach Holowaty for win # 1400!
Containers FF 1 - Copy.jpgThe Center for Early Childhood Education is pleased to announce the release of Investigating Containers, a video featuring activities conducted with toddlers and preschoolers at Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). The video illustrates how teachers and children engaged in a variety of learning activities while developing an understanding of the properties and uses of containers.
Investigating Containers is the fifth video in the Investigating... series. Each video in the series captures one topic of investigation explored through the CFDRC's Investigations curriculum. Videos include interviews with preschool and toddler teachers about how children engaged in language and literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, and other activities through the three- or four-month investigation. The next video in the series (coming later in 2014) will feature an investigation on pathways.

To watch any of the Investigating... videos, go to

Test Entry  —  Eastern Base New Style -departmental

This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog.

Test Entry  —  Eastern Base New Style -official

This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog.

Field Work Project in Ghana in June 2010  —  Eastern in Africa

It would be significant if Eastern students and faculty undertaking field work on Sanitation and Development in Kormantse-Nkum in Ghana, West Africa identify specific measures that could help along the development process of the village. The sanitation situation in Kormantse-Nkum is in need of much improvement, as is the case throughout Ghana. Perhaps the students could undertake a class project to fundraise to tackle something specific. The idea was floated that the class fundraise to help t build the primary school in the village. The cost is about $12,000. The school project could be an integral part of the sanitation and development activities. A proper school with up-to-date waste disposal facilities could go a long way towards alleviating the sanitation situation in the village. The students will be instructed on proper sanitary measures, which they will practice in their daily lives. Starting with the young is most important. 

Eastern Congratulates Graduates  —  Eastern in the News

Click here to read article

Test Entry  —  Eastern Sky Watchers

This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog. This is a test of the new blog.

Special Notes for Mac Users  —  ITS Exchange Project

If you are currently using Entourage 2004 or 2008 to access your Eastern email, when your mailbox is moved, your email access through those clients will be broken. In order to access your email you can choose from the two options below. 

If you do not use Entourage and instead access your email via a web browser you need do nothing.

Option 1: Use Safari or Firefox to access your email
If you use Entourage, stop and switch to using either Firefox or Safari browser access your email and calendar.  When you are ready to upgrade to Office 2011 for Mac, you can choose to use Outlook 2011 as outlined in Option 2 below or simply continue using OWA.

Option 2:  Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac 
Microsoft has replaced Entourage with Outlook 2011. Outlook 2011, when used with Exchange 2010, offers a vastly improved email experience.  The appearance and functionality of Outlook 2011 is much the same as its Windows counterpart, Outlook 2010.  ITS is working to make this upgrade available to you by either self-install or a Help Desk-assisted installation.  Details will be announced in the near future.  

It is important to note that upgrading to Office 2011 will not remove your Office 2008 applications including Entourage.  As a result, you will determine when you switch from the '08 versions to the '11 versions of PowerPoint, Excel and Word.   The date of your mailbox move will dictate only the switch from Entourage to Outlook 2011.  ITS will be providing training on Office 2011 later this semester.  Watch for training announcements in your email and on the Exchange Project blog. 

Got an iPad or IPhone? - Get iOS4.2 Now  —  Macblog

Apple released iOS4.2 today. OK, why should you care?  Just another update for the iPhone, right?  Well, if you have an iPad, this is the software update you've been waiting for - can you spell multi-tasking?  Can you spell folders?

If you've got an iPhone 4, iPad or iPod Touch you need this update, too.  Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch is now FREE!  No MobileMe pay for subscription required. If you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS, you are out of luck on the free part. Only the iPhone 4 can do Find My iPhone for free.

Other really cool features in iOS4.2 include AirPrint and AirPlay.  AirPrint lets you print from your iPhone or iPad wirelessly, instantly and without drivers - BUT hold on - it only works with a few brand new HP printers.  But hey, the holidays are right around the corner, right?  Add one to your wish list.  The Apple website has all the details and demos for the new iOS4.2 features.  Check it out here.

Celebrating 125 Years of Service to the Community   —  News Flash

CCE Group.JPGEastern wrapped up its spring semester series of 125th Anniversary celebrations with Community Engagement Day on May 2. The day began with a luncheon and panel discussion featuring four alumni in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room. Anabelitza Lozada '11, Levar Mitchell '12, Matt Blocker-Glynn '03 and Victoria Nimirowski '87 discussed how they turned their community engagement experiences at Eastern into successful careers. The event was sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, the Center for Internships and Career Development, and the Office of Alumni Affairs.

Lozada graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Work. The following year, she completed her master's degree at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work. She currently is the social worker for the Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens program at Windham High School.  Mitchell earned his Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Management with a minor in Sociology. He currently works as a sports, fitness and recreation director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford, and is the youngest sports director in Connecticut. Mitchell is pursuing his master's degree in Social Work at the University of Connecticut.

Blocker-Glynn graduated with a B.A. in History. He received his M.Ed. in Human Relations Counseling from Plymouth State University, and then came back to Connecticut to direct the University of Hartford's Center for Community Service six years ago. Nimirowski has been the executive director of the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) since 2005.


In the afternoon, the CCE sponsored the annual Service Expo, during which time student volunteers displayed posters and other visual manifestations of the various service projects that have taken place during the 2013-14 academic year.  The annual Distinguished Service Awards ceremony took place in the Student Center Theatre following the Service Expo.

Kimberly DePaolis, a junior double-majoring in early childhood education and psychology, won the Student Community Engagement Award for her leadership, fundraising and volunteer work locally and abroad--in such countries as Jamaica and Ecuador--earned her this award. 

Professor of Anthropology Ricardo Perez earned the Faculty Community Engagement Award for working with Eastern students in service projects with Willimantic schools in the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) program. The Community Partner Engagement Award was given to '09 alumnus Christopher Brechlin, who worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer with ACCESS Agency and is now the CEO of Blueprint for a Dream, a "social enterprise" that focuses on northeast Connecticut.  Professor of Sociology Cara Bergstrom-Lynch won the Service Learning Award for her fundraising efforts and community organizing. Since 2007, more than 550 students in her senior seminar have organized more than 120 community projects. The Community Event Award was given to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). From January to April of this year, the 10 students involved in the program put forth more than 456 hours of tax assistance, filing approximately 9,500 returns for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for IMG_5628.jpgIn the evening, "La Familia de Mucho Colores," a community cultural celebration in the Betty R. Tipton Room, concluded Community Engagement Day. Arnaldo Rivera and his band Vente-Tú played Latin Jazz and Salsa; children from the Puentes al Futuro ("Bridges to the Future") program danced to Mexican polkas, a Puerto Rican bomba and other Latin American music. Dancers fom the El Sagrado Corazón Catholic Church also joined in the festivities.

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Núñez Wins United Way Award  —  News Flash Source

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Nunez is pictured with United Way President and CEO Susan Dunn and board chairman Jim Sicilian.


On March 31, Eastern President Elsa Nunez was recognized with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Community Service Award, the service organization's highest volunteer honor. The Community Service Award is present annually to someone who volunteers with United Way and other community activities and is recognized by the community as a leader. It is given in memory of Dr. Frederick Adams, a former United Way board member, for his service to the community.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Cooper and team (2).jpg
Willimantic, Conn. - This past June, Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Arielle Cooper '13 coached her high school alma mater to a softball state championship. Cooper, 23-years-old and one year out of college, returned to Fitch High School in Groton to fill in as interim head coach this past April. On June 14, the Falcons finished with a 26-1 record and were Class L state champions.
Originally, Cooper was interested in filling in as the junior varsity coach, but instead was offered the varsity coaching position. "It felt great that the players trusted me as a first-year coach. The team chemistry was amazing. I think that aspect helped us get to the championship," she said. "It was really rewarding to go back to my alma mater, where it all started for me. I feel like things have come full circle."

In 2009 -- her senior year at Fitch -- the Falcons won a state championship with Cooper as their starting third baseman. "Not many people get to experience being a state champion player and coach, so I am grateful for that accomplishment," Cooper said. "The moment we won the championship game, I just watched the girls celebrate; I remember that feeling very well. It was great to feel like I led the team back to a state title."

Cooper studied sport and leisure management while at Eastern, and was a star third baseman for the Warriors softball team. "I had an amazing four years at Eastern. I grew through the program; being a Warrior made me a better person and coach," she said. "I learned more than I thought I would. Coach Pepin and Coach Maneggia were great coaches." 

This past successful season has presented a number of opportunities for Cooper. "I have had a few offers at other schools to coach," she said, "but I'm not ready to make a big decision yet. I'm hoping to return to Fitch. I still have a while to figure everything out."

Aside from coaching, Cooper has other career aspirations. "In the near future I'm going to be working towards a master's degree either in school counseling or education," she said. "I also wouldn't mind being an athletic director. That's always a career in the back of my mind."

Welcome to Eastern Connecticut State University for the fall 2014 semester. Much of the information contained in this notice is located on the Office of the Registrar's website. We recommend that you follow either the office's Facebook page and/or Twitter page in order for you to be notified of all important updates, reminders, and deadlines to help ensure academic success. All of the information contained herein will be available on the office blog which you can subscribe to for future posts.


E-Web, Eastern's Online Services

You can access E-Web, Eastern's Online Services at via any web browser. Click "Login"; enter your Eastern ID; enter your PIN; Select applicable features from the menu display. If this is your first log-on, your pin was initialized as your DOB, in a MMDDYY format (ex. 030681); the system will immediately expire your PIN and request you change your PIN. Your new PIN must be a 6-digit number.

Some of the self-service options available to students through E-Web are:
• View course offerings and search for open seats
• Register and add/drop classes
• View billing information and make credit card payments
• View your class schedule
• View your registration status and appointment date
• View mid-term and final grades
• Perform an unofficial degree evaluation
• Request an enrollment verification
• Request official transcripts
• View advisor information
• View your academic history
• Update permanent/home and local addresses
• View financial information
• Enter emergency contact information

Enter personal email address and view university assigned email address. Please note that the Eastern email address is the official address for University email correspondence.

Policies, Procedures and Deadline Information

Do you know the last day you can drop a class? Do you know when the deadline is to apply for August and December graduation? See the following page on the Registrar Office website for all of the important deadlines for the fall 2014 semester. Follow the Facebook page and/or Twitter page for reminders.

Annual Notice of Rights Under FERPA

Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - Eastern Connecticut State University is required to annually notify students in attendance of their FERPA rights. The annual notice is located on the Registrar's website where you will also find additional information regarding FERPA as well as applicable forms.

Service Members Opportunity College (SOC)

Are you an active duty Armed Forces Servicemember concerned about being transferred? Eastern is a Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC). If you are in the Navy or the Coast Guard and sign the SOCNAV or SOCCOAST agreement, you will be able to complete your Eastern degree wherever you are stationed. Family members are also eligible. You must be able to complete a minimum of 30 credits at Eastern. Please call 860-445-0333 for details.

Public Information

In accordance with Public Act 90-259, statistics on campus crime for the previous calendar year are available on request by contacting the Department of Public Safety.

Voter Registration

In accordance with Federal Law Section 48a(b) of H.R. 6 Higher Education Amendments of 1998, Mail-in voter registration cards are available at the Support Services Center, Student Center and Library.

Spring 2012  —  Social Work and Addiction

click on link to review past course syllabi CT-PEN MI 051911.pdf

Eastern Intramurals  —  Sport and Leisure Management

Come down to the gym this week and next week and watch the final games of Co-ed Volleyball. Better yet, consider signing up for Eastern's Intramural Sports programs.


The sports include:

    Fall                                    Spring                                     

       - Co-ed Soccer                       - Co-ed Floor Hockey

       - Flag Football                        - Co-ed Outdoor Soccer

       - Volleyball                             - Co-ed Volleyball  

       - Dodgeball                             - Basketball

       - Co-ed Softball

       - Tennis 

Visit the Department of Athletics on Eastern's website for more information.

Student Center Thanksgiving Week Hours  —  Student Activities


Tuesday, Nov 26th: 7:30am-7pm, Fitness Center: 7:30am-6pm

Wednesday, Nov 27th: 8am- 5pm, Fitness Center: 8am- 12pm

Thursday, Nov 28th: CLOSED

Friday, Nov 29th: CLOSED

Saturday, Nov 30th: CLOSED

Sunday, Dec 1st: 12pm- 10pm, Fitness Center 12pm- 9pm

Monday, Dec 2nd: Normal hours


Meet Your SOCs!  —  Student Orientation

The most important part of your SOAR session is your Student Orientation Counselor, or SOC.  Your SOC will lead your group in many different activities throughout your SOAR session, and is there to help you with whatever you may need.  Our SOCs are involved with a wide range of clubs and organizations on Eastern's campus, and are an energetic and knowledgeable group of students who stand out as campus leaders.  They are students, just like you, and will work directly with you throughout your SOAR experience to help with your transition to Eastern.

Becoming a SOC is one of the most competitive application processes on campus, and we are proud to announce that the following eighteen students will be here to help with your first Eastern experience this summer:

Ashley Lovett - Ashley is a freshman, loves helping out in the community, and is the vice president of Eastern's chapter of the Best Buddies club.  She will also be an RA in the fall.

Benjamin Foran - Ben is a sophomore and involved in many different activities at Eastern, including spending the past year as the films coordinator for the Campus Activity Board (CAB) and a member of People Helping People (PHP).

Edward Straub - Edward is a freshman and the captain of the Frisbee team as well as a member of a variety of intramural sports.  He is also commuter student.

Elias Gomez - Elias is a sophomore and one of the returning SOCs for this summer.  He is a sociology major and is a member of MALES (Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence, and Success), OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students), the treasurer of the Student Government Association (SGA), and a student worker in the IT department.

Elise Davis - Elise is a freshman and sociology major.  She is an active member in People Helping People and works for the office of Accessibility Services.

Jen Dufraine - Jen is a sophomore and biology major.  She has represented Eastern on their swim team for the past two seasons.

Judy Frankel - Judy is a sophomore with a major in political science, which has led to her strong involvement in Eastern's Student Government Association (SGA).  As well as being a returning SOC, she knows everything there is to know about the SGA shuttle services.

Kellen Jackson - Kellen is a freshman and a child psychology major.  She is an active member of CAB's Street Team, helping to promote events around Eastern's campus.

Kyle Droniak - Kyle is a freshman and involved with many different things at Eastern, including being a member of People Helping People and CAB's Street Team.

Matt Reisman - Matt is another returning SOC, a sophomore with a business administration major.  He is the secretary of SGA, works in the Student Center, and is a member of MALES and the New Element dance team.

Robert Closs - Robert is a sophomore and sociology major, as well as another returning SOC.  He is a student worker in the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and a member of both MALES and West Indian Society.

Roxanne Plummer - Roxanne is a transfer student and a member of the social work program.  She is also an active member of West Indian Society and will be an RA in the fall.

Shaun Belton - Shaun is returning for his third year as a summer SOC, and is a junior with a psychology major.  He is a student worker in the Student Center and a member of MALES.

Stephanie Canada - Stephanie is a sophomore and visual arts major, with a concentration in drawing and painting.  She is an active member of Allies and Spectrum.

Tara Fitzgerald - Tara is a junior and business administration major.  She is active in Eastern's intramural sports and a member of Eastern's chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

Taylor Hammond - Taylor is a freshman with a double major in English and communications, leading to a degree in secondary education.  She is a member of Eastern's competitive dance team.

Wiley Dawson - Wiley is a sophomore and history major, and another returning summer SOC.  He is active in Eastern's community as SGA's president, a member of MALES, and an RA in Noble Hall.

Zach Taylor - Zach is a freshman and marketing major.  He is a member of MALES as well as a player on Eastern's club rugby team.

Be sure to check out full SOC bios at, or by friending ECSU Orientation on Facebook.  Our SOCs are excited for this summer, and can't wait to meet the incoming class of 2014!

Make sure you reserve your spot for SOAR soon by visiting our website at

The journey's end  —  Summer Trip to Sámiland

Farewell to the Arctic

We left Jokkmokk on Friday afternoon, having concluded the course with Krister Stoor that morning.  I think it's safe to say that everyone considered this a bittersweet moment--happy to be heading toward home, but sad to depart from new friends and to see the trip coming to an end.


Once back in the van, with our two official road songs (Anders Glenmark's "Högre Standard" and Wimme's "Texas") having provided the necessary accompaniment for a proper launch, we quickly settled into travel mode, i.e., virtually everyone fell asleep or remained contemplative as the miles passed by.  Within a half hour, we had dipped below the Arctic Circle for the first time in nearly two weeks and the seemingly endless woods gradually gave way to farmland, the latter a testament to the early settlers who began arriving in this area over 500 years ago under the auspices of the Swedish crown.  It's hard to imagine how people eke out a living as farmers in a region where the growing season is so short, but clearly they manage to do so.


Friday's journey was actually quite short, bringing us only as far as Luleå, the northernmost of the "å" cities (Umeå, Skellefteå, Piteå and Luleå, from south to north), each of which takes its name from the old term for river, since they all mark the mouths of major rivers merging with the Bay of Bothnia, the brackish sea that separates Sweden and Finland.  More specifically, however, we're not in Luleå proper, a fairly large, modern city, but in Luleå Gammelstad, the old town that lies about 15km NW, and was once the original site of Luleå.  Some 500 years ago, this settlement actually sat on an island, surrounded by the Lule River, and part of an archipelago that eventually disappeared due to an up shift in the land that raised the coastline significantly and led to the decision to move the town to its current location.


Beyond this rather striking geological oddity, however, is the fact that Luleå Gammelstad is home to a stunning 15th century church Luleå Kyrkan.jpg that has remained in constant use, despite the obviously radical shift precipitated by the Reformation that brought Catholic parishes under the aegis of the newly established state Lutheran church.  Unlike other sections of northern Europe, however, where similar transformations occurred, most of this building's religious symbols and artifacts associated with the "old" religion were not stripped by the Protestants, but were left in place.  As a result this church is the closest thing to an intact medieval structure as one is likely to find in Scandinavia.  The vault over the altar is still decorated with elaborate paintings of scenes from the bible, most of them grim reminders of what would happen to non-pious parishioners.  Additionally there is a magnificent carved and gilt altarpiece from the 15th century, and what is considered one of the finest medieval carved crucifixes suspended over the choir.  All told, this church certainly merits a visit if one is in the area...but wait, there's more. 


As we learned when visiting Arvidsjaur a couple of weeks ago, until the early years of the 20th century, all Swedes were required to attend church on a regular basis, the frequency determined by their proximity to the parish seat.  Luleå residents were no different, but given how few of them actually lived close enough to the church to simply show up on Sunday morning, only those living within a 10km radius were required to make the trip every week; those within a 20km radius came every other week, and so on. Gatan.jpgThis eventually resulted in the establishment of a kyrkstad (church town), consisting of more than four hundred, privately owned small red cottages, set in concentric circles surrounding the church grounds.  Today, these cottages are all lovingly maintained, serving primarily as summer cottages, with artists' studios, cafés and other amenities interspersed among them.  Car traffic is limited to those residents needing to load or unload goods--otherwise this is a walking town.  By the way, Luleå Gammelstad has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it will continue in this same fashion, minus tawdry fast-food franchises or even a grocery store, for the foreseeable future. 


"Music opens a space within us that we can't open ourselves."

When we arrived in Gammelstad, I was more than a little dismayed to discover the church was closed, but this was soon eclipsed by the realization that this was because a concert featuring local folk musicians was scheduled to take place there in the evening.  Therefore, several hours later, with dinner securely tucked under our belts, we made the short walk up the hill from the hostel and joined a small assembly of local people for an evening of music.  This particular concert marked the opening of a spelmans stämma (folk festival), one of myriad such events that occur annually in Sweden during the summer.  With very little effort, other than the travel involved, it would be very easy to attend a stämma every weekend from June through August, each one featuring a blend of local and nationally celebrated musicians, all gathering to exchange dance tunes and traditional songs in a decidedly non-competitive atmosphere.  What's happening here is the conveyance of traditional knowledge--there it is again--whether it's aimed toward the continuance of regional dance repertoire or simply sharing the experience of making music across generations. 


The concert began with a small ensemble, most of whose members played the nyckelharpa, a bowed instrument unique to Sweden.  Nyckel.jpgA friend of mine once described this oddity as the unfortunate progeny of a fiddle and a typewriter, and given its array of keys and its violin-like shape, I think he may be onto something.  Nevertheless, it's an instrument that the Swedes have embraced quite passionately since a major folk revival in the 1970s rescued it from obscurity.  I find it even more interesting that the majority of players have built their own instruments, usually by attending one of the many community-sponsored evening workshops found all over the country.


The acts that followed the Luleå Nyckelharpa Club were diverse in terms of instrumentation and repertoire--one group even closed their set with a fine rendition of the American hymn, "Have Thy Way, Lord" composed in 1909.  Folkies.jpgWhat all of these musicians shared (and one might argue the audience, as well) is a belief in the inherent value of amateur music making, an attribute that I find all too often missing in contemporary society, which seems much more interested in watching others attempting to be professionals with mixed results.  None of these musical groups was of professional caliber, yet that in no way impacted the overall result of the concert: it was simply a very enjoyable evening of people playing music together for all the right reasons.  As the parish minister reminded us during his short homily, music provides a trip into ourselves while simultaneously encouraging us to connect with others.  Couldn't have said it better if I tried.


On our way back to the hostel, a young man to whom I had spoken earlier stopped us, and asked if we'd like to take a look at the town from the top of the bell tower, a free-standing building in front of the church, built in the 1850s.  How could anyone decline such an invitation?  Tornet.jpgMoments later, after climbing up several flights of increasingly narrow and steep stairs, we found ourselves gazing out over the entire countryside, as our guide pointed out interesting historical facts about the church, the town and the region. Aerial.jpg This is decidedly not something that other tourists experience.  The tower is closed to all but church personnel and their guests, yet somehow this young man had recognized in our group a level of interest that deserved this little reward, and for that we are all indebted to him and his generosity--I doubt very much that any of us will forget this experience. 


And finally the High Coast

Most of today was spent driving due south on E4, the closest thing one finds to a freeway in Sweden.  Much of it comprises two wide lanes, with a non-descript "neutral" zone in the center for passing purposes.  Periodically, however, the road narrows significantly and the speed limit drops to 70kph (about 45mph) as E4 courses through small towns along the way.


Within a couple of hours, we were back in Umeå, the town we stayed in before heading up to Jokkmokk, and home to Krister Stoor, his wife Karin, and his two sons, Lars-Henrik and Per.  Before leaving Jokkmokk, Krister had asked if we'd like to stop by for a cup of coffee and one more round of farewells, an offer we gladly accepted.  When we arrived, however, Krister and Karin surprised us with a big platter of freshly made Swedish waffles, served up with homemade blueberry-raspberry jam (fruit from their garden) and whipped cream.  Needless to say they disappeared quickly, and soon thereafter we said our good-byes to all and once again hit the road.


A number of years ago, my family and I discovered Sweden's Höga Kusten (High Coast), another geological phenomenon that resulted from an up lift that raised the coastline significantly and created many small bays with protected harbors.  Not surprisingly, this ultimately became one of the most important fishing regions in northern part of the country.  While there is very little commercial fishing there now, the area is still full of small fishing villages, made up of yet more, tiny, red cottages nestled around the harbors.  Kapellet.jpgAdditionally, there are a number of so-called fishermen's chapels, very small churches housed in structures that would easily be mistaken from the outside as personal homes.  This tradition began as a means of discouraging thieves from stripping the interiors, but continued after this threat was eradicated, as an architectural style unique to the High Coast.


Having encountered one of these chapels on a family excursion in the past, I thought it would be worthwhile making a small side trip to see if we could duplicate the experience.  After a couple of false starts, we finally found one sitting just above the village of Norrfällsviken.   We had to wait a few moments before entering the chapel because a wedding had just concluded, but once inside it was clear the effort expended to find this place was worth it.  Door.jpgThe chapel was built in 1649, and has been renovated on several occasions, but remains a charming reminder of the importance of the church, even in these remote villages.  Pulpit.jpgThe interior is quite stark, having only a few paintings from various eras, and a simple elevated pulpit from which the local priest delivers his readings and sermons.  As is the case in all of these fishermen's chapels, however, the most distinctive feature is a model ship suspended directly over the altar, serving as a reminder of the importance of this livelihood in local culture. Ship.jpg


We concluded this small adventure with a meal of fresh fish from local boats, served up in a small restaurant right there in the village.  Among the dishes sampled were warm-smoked salmon, fried herring and...hamburgers for the non-fish eaters.  And of course, there was room for ice cream.

Tomorrow we'll continue south to Uppsala, where we'll spend the night before heading for the airport early on Monday morning.  With any luck, we'll finish up our stay in Sweden with a visit to Skokloster Slott, a magnificent 17th century castle that remained in the same family until late into the 20th century, and as a result is in exceptionally fine condition.  Since I doubt I'll have time (or the energy) to update this blog tomorrow evening, however, this will be the final entry.  My thanks to all who helped make this trip possible, and to my stalwart and patient fellow-travelers.  You did great, gang, so here's a little reminder of the trip, just for you...



Our annual SUOAF Holiday Party will be on Dec 18th at 4:00, Student Center Café.  As was the case last year, SUOAF will match the amount generated by the members.   The organization we will be donating to this year is  WAIM


Here is information from WAIM's website ( If you click on "programs" you can see the breadth of impact they have in the community. Their heating system broke and they are in need of funds to purchase a new heating system to keep the organization functioning. They are located at 866 Main Street in Willimantic. The director is an Eastern graduate, Victoria Nimirowski.


WAIM started in 1984 in the basement of a local church with the original intention of redistributing clothing to our neighbors in need. Since then, we've grown to an organization that, along with clothing, provides furniture, appliances, linens, career clothing and emergency financial assistance to over 8,000 people each year from Windham and twelve surrounding towns. We also manage a thriving community garden at Lauter Park in Willimantic, and provide seasonal programs to help clients make ends meet.


In order to RSVP, please complete the following.

Streets of the old city, Gammelstad  —  Sweden


Men's Soccer: Moving on from LEC Title to NCAA Tournament  —  Team Blogs

by Matt Kalmin


Hey everyone!

As many of you all know we recently won the Little East Conference post-season tournament last weekend! We played Keene State at home for the final game.  We were very confident in ourselves because we had everyone back for the game, even Mike Radlbeck who was injured for five weeks straight.  We played a hard-fought game and in the end won on a penalty kick by Matt Esposito in the first few minutes.  For myself and the other seniors, it is our second LEC tournament title in the four years that we have been here.

For the third consecutive year, we have made it to the NCAA Division II Tournament.  Everyone on the team is extremely excited for the opportunity that is in front of us.  We will be playing Springfield College on Saturday at 11 a.m, in the first round.  If we win, we will play the winner of Amherst-Husson on Sunday at 1 p.m..  The games are being held at Amherst College in Massachusetts 

Please come up and support us as we attempt for a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16  for the first time in school history!

Improving College Affordability  —  The President

For the past few months, the parents of high school seniors have watched the flurry of activity that accompanies students who are completing and submitting their applications to college--after which they will wait impatiently to receive the responses that will determine their future. It has been a traditional rite of passage for high school students for many years.


However, the excitement that typically surrounds the college acceptance letters coming into households around the country is now being tempered with more than a little trepidation: With the economy just barely getting a passing grade, parents and students are recalculating just how much they can spend on college.


The cost of college combined with a troubled economy means tough choices for prospective students.  Anxiety over rising college costs and student debt is at an all-time high. The average tuition at a four-year public university climbed 15 percent from 2008 to 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education; in the 2012-13 academic year, the net price (the cost after scholarships, grants and federal tax benefits) that typical in-state students at public colleges will pay is $16,510. At four-year private schools, tuition and fees climbed 4.2 percent just this past year, with the average private college student paying a net price of about $27,600 annually.


For Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds, borrowing has become a primary way to pay for higher education; last year, outstanding student loans topped $1 trillion. A college degree has traditionally been the key that opens to door to a better life, which is why Americans generally consider student loans worth the cost. In fact, two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 per borrower. But it is harder than ever to pay back those loans--and the question becomes: Is college getting out of reach for middle- and low-income students?


This past September, Dr. Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, provided testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about improving college affordability. She made the case that college affordability is the responsibility of "four primary stakeholders"--the federal government, state governments, institutions of higher education, and families.


Howard pointed out that the federal government has been doing its part by increasing funding for the Pell Grant. Meanwhile, an analysis of institutional spending data by the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research shows that public colleges and universities have kept overall increases in the cost of educating students to roughly the rate of inflation--indicating that these institutions have been responsible partners in working to slow down the rising costs associated with college attendance. And as shown in the previous paragraph, it's painfully obvious that students and families are shouldering their share of the financial burden with ever-increasing loan debt.


So which leg of the quadrangle is bringing down the whole? According to Howard, it is the states--i.e., decreasing state appropriations to fund higher education. In the past year alone, more than 40 states have taken steps to reduce support for their public institutions of higher education. This directly contributes to rapid increases in tuition and fees, as colleges and universities are forced to find other ways to offset the funds they no longer receive from their state's legislature.


Revenues for public colleges and universities, which enroll approximately 70 percent of all degree-seekers, come primarily from a combination of state appropriations and the tuition and fees that students pay. However, state appropriations are not keeping pace with the increasing enrollments at colleges and universities. As Howard cited in her testimony, per-student state investment in higher education has deteriorated over the past 25 years.


Figures cited in a "College Completion Agenda" report published last year by the College Board's Advocacy and Policy Center show that state appropriations declined by 23 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2000-2011. In fact, the 18 percent decline in state appropriations per student from 2007-2011 was the largest three-year decline in the 30 years of data collected and reported by the center. States have cut the amount of money they are giving to colleges by a total of $15.2 billion since 2007, or 17.4 percent. At the same time, the number of students enrolled in college has risen 12 percent. What that means is that the average public college gets a tax subsidy of only $6,600 per student, down from $9,300 just five years ago, according to the report. Increases in public college tuition over the years have made up only about two-thirds of those subsidy losses, according to the College Board.


While it is true that states are facing challenging budgetary circumstances, state governments must continue to seek ways to meet their obligations for funding higher education. In her testimony to the Senate committee, Howard laid out several strategies that can be utilized by state legislatures to improve college affordability and student success. Such strategies include state investments in student financial need-based aid programs instead of the more politically popular merit-based aid programs; the granting of greater flexibility and autonomy to public colleges and universities on a range of institutional policies that will maximize efficiency and utilization of resources; the implementation of Common Core State Standards that will drive timely degree completion; and  the development of performance-based funding (PBF) systems that tie a portion of an institution's state funding to performance on a series of metrics.


College costs keep rising--but so does the need for more college graduates. In 1978, only 28 percent of jobs required postsecondary education. By 2020, that figure will be 65 percent.  The United States is facing an alarming education deficit that threatens our global competitiveness and economic future. In less than two decades, the U.S. education system has dropped the country's international standing from first to 21st out of 27 advanced nations in high school completion. Only a strong commitment to affordable, high-quality, public higher education can keep the United States on a path that will reestablish our country as a global leader in education. This is a race that we cannot afford to lose.


Elsa M. Núñez


Eastern Connecticut State University





National Guard Education Program Changes  —  VETS Center

Effective June 2011, United States Army National Guard (ARNG) Soldiers will begin the transition to GoArmyEd, the Army's enterprise education system serving both components as a Virtual Gateway to Education-Anytime, Anywhere.

GoArmyEd currently supports Active Duty and Army Reservists as a one-stop Web site that allows Soldiers, Army Education Counselors, and schools to conduct business for all education needs in a seamless Soldier-centric environment. June's transition realizes the Army's vision for an enterprise system serving all Army components.

GoArmyEd will give you 24/7 online access to register for classes, access to your counselor, school, or the GoArmyEd Helpdesk, and many self-service features that put you in the driver's seat as you plan for and pursue your education goals. You will be able to identify courses that advance you toward your degree and view your tuition assistance (TA) balance for the year. You'll also be able to review your individual degree plan, student record, course history, grades, and other information necessary to reach your goals. In addition, the GoArmyEd portal will enable you to withdraw from classes or request military withdrawals, resolve recoupments and holds, and request reimbursements for courses not offered through the portal... all online.

So, what do you need to do? At this time, nothing is required of you other than reading this message, which is intended to give you advance notice of the exciting changes affecting the way you access your TA benefits. GoArmyEd will be sending out invitations for you to set-up an account in June 2011, which will include detailed directions to support your transition. Key milestone dates to be aware of are:

         4 June 2011-Schools with historical ARNG enrollments set-up in GoArmyEd; ARNG Soldiers begin setting up accounts in GoArmyEd; after completing their account set-ups, ARNG Soldiers will be restricted from requesting TA in GoArmyEd until 1 August 2011.

         1 August 2011-ARNG Soldiers begin requesting TA in GoArmyEd for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011. ARNG Soldiers will continue to use the current National Guard system to request courses that start prior to 1 October 2011.

         1 October 2011-All ARNG Soldiers and Army education personnel begin using GoArmyEd to manage TA for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011; schools using GoArmyEd receive TA requests, process grades, and submit invoices for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011; the current National Guard education system is used only for grade reporting, invoicing, and recoupment processing for courses that started prior to 1 October 2011.

If you currently have an active GoArmyEd account simply continue to use the system based on your current eligibility.