All posts by Jackson Rioux

CCSU English Department Hosts Alumni Panel


by Jackson Rioux

“It was all frustrations and roadblocks, and there was one moment of happiness and that’s when you get a job.”

Those candid words were spoken by Central Connecticut State University alumnus Ian Mangione at “The Road Taken,” an event hosted by the CCSU English Department on Oct. 27.

“The Road Taken” offered the chance for current CCSU students and faculty to gain insight from recent graduates’ experiences in the “job search.” The event allowed alumni to, “discuss their current employment, additional training or education that helped them realize their career goals.”

“The Road Taken” ran from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at Mid-Campus Hall. There were two panels of English alumni, with the first one taking the floor at 7:30 p.m.

The first panel featured four alumni who found their jobs as educators through varied paths. The panel was called, “Many Roads Leading to Rome: Divergent Paths to Careers as Educators.” Each speaker took the time to discuss his or her current position, former experience and other related career factors during the 45-minute panel.

The first panel drew plenty of responses from the audience as the panelists talked about odd or completely unrelated prior jobs.

For instance, panelist Mike Rebeschi formerly worked in a kitchen as a chef. Rebeschi enjoyed being able to play music in the kitchen, although he did say, “I got sick of crepes really fast,” as laughter rang out throughout the room. Rebeschi, who graduated from CCSU in 2015, has moved on from the kitchen, as he is now a master’s degree candidate in elementary education at Southern Connecticut State University.

The first group of panelists also took time to discuss their differing personalities and teaching methods before taking questions from the audience.

The second panel was titled, “Many Romes: Paths Leading to Diverse Careers.” Each panelist had taken a career path toward Government, Health Management, Industry, Librarianship, Public Relations or Writing.

This panel discussed specific skill sets hiring teams look at. They also gave advice regarding resumes and networking among other topics.

Nicolas Phillips, who graduated from CCSU in 2011, placed a significant amount of importance on one skill set.

“If you have great grammar skills and you can write, there’s always a place for you at a company,” said Phillips. “Everyone needs good writers.”

Phillips has been able to translate these skills into a Corporate Communications position at Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

The other panelists agreed with Phillips as they cited other helpful skills that were acquired through majoring in English.

“It’s good to have the English skills to know how to communicate to a broad group of people,” said Kimberly Gierla. “It’s good to know how to communicate and get your point across.”

Kassondra Mangione cited her journalism background as a beneficial asset toward her Communications and Public Relations Manager role with Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

“One way I marketed myself when interviewing for the job was I know how the reporter’s mind works,” she said. “I know what it takes to get a press release picked up by the media.”

Mangione’s example aimed to further show that a student’s major does not necessarily restrict a student to a narrow field upon graduation.

As a whole, the panel provided insightful advice to an audience that may soon be finding themselves in the shoes of the panelists.

Central Celebrates Homecoming Week With Annual Fall Carnival

by Kayla Murphy

Students across Central Connecticut State University gathered in the Student Center Circle from 12-4 p.m. for the annual Fall Carnival on Wednesday Oct. 12. Hosted by CAN, the Fall Carnival is an opportunity for students to come together and celebrate the week of Homecoming.

The area was crowded with hundreds of students dancing to songs by Drake and Flo Rida. Others were munching away on cotton candy and fried dough.

Senior student Sakriah Epps helped out at the Fall Carnival for a second year in a row. Epps said  the highlight of the carnival was the free t-shirts and bags.

“We only had about 50 shirts,” said Epps. “They sold out so quickly.”

Epps also said CAN planned to give out more free shirts at the pep rally held on Friday in Kaiser Hall from 7-9 p.m.

In order to obtain free shirts, students had to participate in different games and activities, such as Frog Flippers, Pirate Plunder and Strike Zone Bowling.

After completing each activity, students were given stamps on the back of their hands. Once they collected a certain amount of stamps, they were given a free shirt.

Andrea Cuartas, a Political Science major, said she had just missed out getting a free t-shirt, but was able to get a free bag.

“I went with a group of my friends to the carnival” said Cuartas. “The music was really good, but it got really crowded, especially people waiting in the lines for food.”

Junior student Matt Keborkin, who helped with WFCS Radio, said the event was jammed pack with buzz and excitement.

“CAN needed DJ’s to help with this event, and I’ve never done a live event before. So I was really up for the challenge and it was something new to do. I was really happy that the crowd seemed to like what I was playing,” he said.

Other than WFCS Radio, the Habit for Humanity and the Student Veterans Organization also promoted their clubs and presented activities for students to do.

Criminology major Nick Faniola, offered his assistance with the Student Veterans Organization. It was his first time helping out at the carnival. Having served in the Marine Corps for four years, Faniola was happy to help educate students about the 22-A-Day Challenge.

“The 22-A-Day Challenge is a push up challenge,” said Faniola. “Everyday 22 veterans commit suicide. By promoting the push up challenge, we are trying to raise awareness to Central students. We even had students write warm wishes on these giant posters for veterans going through a hard time.”

The carnival was a success in the mind of senior student Sakriah Epps.

“It was a perfect day for the carnival,” said Epps as she cleaned up around her gaming station. “A lot of kids were able to come hangout a bit in between classes and I’m glad students were willing to participate. I think this weekend is going to be a lot of fun with Family Day and Homecoming.”

Stand Up Against Sexual Assault

by Ryan Callinan 

If we are to successfully combat the ever-growing crisis of sexual assault in this country, it is not enough to simply refrain from committing sexual assault. If people do not stand up and actively fight against sexual assault, then they are also complicit in the act. If we do nothing when we know a sexual assault has happened, then we are also responsible for it continuing to be a problem. If we remain silent when we hear someone talk or joke about having committed sexual assault, then we are guilty as well.

A recording recently became public in which the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is heard not only admitting to, but also boasting and joking about committing sexual assault.

He brags about having forced himself upon, touching and grabbing women without consent. This is not “locker room talk” or “guy talk,” as he said in the days after the recording came to light.

This is sexual assault.

Continuing to support this man or minimizing what he is saying, is no different from supporting all sexual predators who commit such acts. It also makes it easier for predators to continue to do so.

This is a disgusting revelation. A man representing a major political party has not only committed sexual assault, but has also openly bragged about it.

This is an opportunity for everyone to take a stand against all sexual predators and the lifelong trauma they inflict upon their victims.

If people look past Trump’s admission and continue to support him, then they are condoning this behavior by minimizing its intensely harmful significance.

It is no different from someone talking about forcing themselves on a date against their will. It is no different from knowing about someone touching a child inappropriately and ignoring it.

Not standing up against such acts is to support them. To support them is to enable them along with the lasting trauma they inflict on their victims.

Despite this recent recording, Trump signs still remain on front lawns. That alone is stomach churning. The disgust intensified when children are seen playing in those yards next to those signs.

A child who watches their parents support a sexual predator is going to be less likely to grow up seeing such people and their crimes for what they are. These crimes are terribly harmful, trauma-inflicting and criminal.

Children are always learning from their parents, and they cannot help but be influenced by their parents’ behavior, even when they are too young to understand what assault means or have any idea how devastatingly impactful trauma from sexual assault is.

This is an instance where a sexual predator’s own words can be heard describing his crimes. The opportunity to speak and stand up against sexual assault in all of the forms it takes should be seized.

If the opportunity is seized, then the fight can be taken to the sexual assault crisis in this country.

CCSU Political Clubs Staying Active

by Lauren Lustgarten

With the 2016 Presidential Election just under a month away, political clubs on all college campuses are involved with campus activities. Political clubs at Central Connecticut State University have continued to increased their activity.

Although, some groups are finding less interest than they were expecting. Whether it is because people think their vote doesn’t matter or simply because of unlikeable candidates, it is greatly affecting school involvement.

College Democrats is one of the more active clubs on campus. Currently holding about eight to ten members, the club has been active for at least the past six years.

Most members come from the Department of Political Science, with more members joining during election years. In 2012, there were 40 active members.

The club does a lot more off-campus than they do on-campus but, this year they are hosting the Young Democrats Convention on Nov. 12 in which the club will be the ground team.

The College Democrats are an affiliate of the Connecticut College Democrats who are an affiliate of the National College Democrats.

A normal meeting consists of around eight members in attendance with an equal mixture between males and females. With a lot of chatter among the members, there seemed to be one major issue they were worried about: voter apathy.

“We need to get the people to vote. Since Bernie dropped out, a lot of people are refusing to vote. We need to get the Bernie supporters to vote for Hilary,” said one of the members with a bunch of nodding heads following.

A few members described themselves as “Bernie guys” and one even said “I hate Trump…I’m not even crazy about Hillary but we’re better off as a country with her as our president.”

College Democrats have been doing a lot around campus. They can be around campus at voter registration tables. The group attempts to outreach to as many people as possible through door-to-door knocking. They also co-sponsored a showing of the presidential debate with SPJ. As always, they hope to continue to grow and change the way people think about this election.

SGA is an extremely active organization on campus. They are the creators of many events that take place at CCSU.

When it comes to the election, they are doing their best to extend awareness around campus regarding the upcoming presidency. Caitlin Moreau, an At-Large Senator and on the Public Affairs Committee for SGA, said they have already started getting people involved on campus.

“We held a watch the debate party in Vance on Monday night for students to watch the debate together. We are starting a voter registration campaign to help students to register to vote in the upcoming election and we have already started walking around campus with forms to register students,” said Moreau.

She said they will be taking further action to inform students how easy it is to register and are planning ways in which to reach all students possible. Some strategies include tabling at dining halls, walking around in groups , posting flyers and possible promotional items like stickers.

Another extremely active group on campus who seems to have the most followers and pull on campus is Youth for Socialist Action (YSA). The group has been around since 2006.

Currently, there are around 20 members total with new students wanting to join regularly. The group engages in a lot of action so balancing workloads as students with activism can be difficult, explained president Brian Becker. That is why active members come and go during the semester.

YSA works with other on-campus clubs to discuss and defend students’ rights, organize and attend local and national protests and rallies and engage in weekly educational work. Members of the club learn how to paint banners, give speeches and organize to create change.

The activities they engage in often correlate with the interests of students on-campus and off-campus. For example, they worked with the CSU-AAUP, the professors’ union, in protecting their right to a fair contract. They organized rallies and protests to ensure that the quality of education in universities doesn’t suffer.

Becker is a 21-year-old senior. He is a sociology major with a minor in political science. He only joined the YSA last semester while they were working with the university professors’ union to help fight for a fair contract. It was immediately a club he thought he could get behind and now he is the president.

With a heavy persistence on change, Becker has a solid grasp on this upcoming election and feels strongly in what he plans to do.

“I don’t plan on voting. While I would never dissuade other students from doing so, I would urge them to get involved with groups that engage in social activism on the ground. It is because of the pressure of social movements from below that change is pushed forward and the voices of the oppressed heard. Genuflecting to politicians to enact policy, as we’ve seen in this state and with this election, doesn’t accomplish much,” said Becker.

Anyone committed to social change can join the YSA.

College Republicans are a now defunct campus group. They were just as involved as the College Democrats, but offered no comment on the reasoning behind the inactivity.

Despite this one group’s inactivity, the other groups are doing more than enough to get students involved in the election this year.

The old mantra, “One vote can make a difference,” is still strong.



Miller Leaves Enduring Legacy at CCSU

by Jackson Rioux

Central Connecticut State University President Jack Miller retired on Sept. 19 after a memorable 11-year run with the university. Miller, who announced his retirement earlier this year, has received praise from administrators and students.

“I think he leaves an exceptional legacy on a number of fronts,” said CCSU Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. “I think he’s done as much as anybody to advance the profile and quality of the institution.”

Schlickmann also called Miller a “tremendous fan and supporter.”

“Our athletic complex is the best in our league, and he was a big mover in engineering that,” said Schlickmann. “He’s helped us increase our status in the NEC and our scholarship offerings.”

Miller’s stamp on CCSU goes well beyond athletics. During his tenure, CCSU has seen growth on multiple fronts. The university’s endowment has tripled to $63 million. Renovations, new residence halls and academic buildings have further advanced the image of CCSU.

“I thought he was a very good president,” said senior Vinnie Rosa. “He always had a smile on his face and supported the school.”

CCSU Travelers EDGE Program Manager Kate Wall believes Miller’s legacy will be one that kept students’ interests in mind. “I think when people look back on the legacy of Jack Miller, they’ll think of somebody who was first and foremost for the students,” said Wall. “There are a lot of new buildings that he was instrumental in getting the financing for.”

Miller, however, is most proud of the massive increase in graduation rates that took place during his time at the university. CCSU had a graduation rate approximately 40 percent when Miller first took over. It has since risen to 57 percent. He hopes it will be one of the lasting images of his presidency.

“I want the 230 students a year to graduate now that wouldn’t have graduated under our old graduation rate to remember that some things happened and a lot of people put in effort to have them succeed,” said Miller.

Before arriving at CCSU, Miller served as the chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He spent time at Florida State University as the Dean of the College of Education and was also an administrator at Georgia Southern University and Wichita State University.

Miller had never spent more than “six or seven years” at a university before his time at CCSU. His 11-year stay in New Britain gave him a perspective his past positions had not.

“If I had left here after six years, we wouldn’t have gotten half done,” he said. “I look back now and say, ‘Well, maybe I should’ve stayed longer at some of these other places because it takes longer to do some of this stuff then you would hope and think.’”

Miller has not played an active role in finding his replacement. “That’s not for the people that leave, that’s for the people that are here to think about,” he said. He is willing to answer any questions, but wants to give the next president “plenty of room.”

He did offer some advice: “If they get ready to ask me what the single biggest problem is, I’ll say, get ready to deal with some really tough budget times.”

Miller’s life in retirement will feature a move to Florida. His house in Connecticut has already been sold and he plans to be on his way to the Sunshine State by the end of the week. Despite the far move, he will be coming back to visit CCSU for events and games sometime in the next six to nine months.

The retired president gave a few humble words when asked how he would like to be remembered by students.

“Well, I hope they think a little bit about their success, the only thing I do and represent is the students’ success,” said Miller. “If the students aren’t successful, then I’m not successful.”