All posts by Lauren Lustgarten

Making A Difference At CCSU

by Lauren Lustgarten

The beginning of a mission to prove to children that a college degree is worth it and high school does not have to be the end was a success.

On April 17 at Central Connecticut State University, 400 students from the Consolidated School District of New Britain came to campus to get a taste of college. The event, “Love Wins: Finish the Race,” was organized by administrative assistant to the president Courtney McDavid in conjunction with Nelba Márquez-Greene and The Ana Grace Project.

Márquez-Greene, a former CCSU faculty member, founded The Ana Grace project in honor of her daughter, Ana, who was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

“Everything went so well. We were a little concerned with how we were going to handle going from the 80 kids that we had on campus last year to 400 kids this year,” said McDavid. “We also had eighth graders this year, while last year we only had fifth graders, so I was curious to see how it would work out because they were older, but they ended up having just as much fun as the fifth graders.”

The event has been in the works since September when they had their first planning committee meeting.

“A planning committee was something new this year. It was very helpful because it brought a lot of new ideas to this years event,” said McDavid.

There are about 20 people on the planning committee, which consists of a wide variety of people, including community members, administrators, faculty and administration.

“Planning committee member, Tina Rivera from the Information Technology Department, had a great idea to give these cards to each of the students. So, each of the students got a lanyard with a card in it that had their picture and their name and an inspirational message on the back,” said McDavid. “That is just one example of the ideas that were shared and how we were all able to work together as a team. It was really a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without all of the volunteers.”

They were made aware of a student from Chamberlain who was in a wheelchair, so Physical Education and Human Performance Chair Kimberly Kostelis worked with some of the members and students from the department and had everything planned out for the student so he would not feel excluded.

“In every picture I saw of the student, he was all smiles, so I was happy that it all worked out and really all the kids had such an amazing time,” said McDavid. “I’ve been hearing so many stories from people who had little things that stuck out throughout the day to them and I really think that not only did the children enjoy the day, but CCSU students and members who volunteered also had an amazing time.”

In addition to the planning committee, the presence of a small fundraising committee also made a significant difference.

“We started fundraising in January and went into full-drive in late February, early March,” said McDavid. “We ended up raising over $50,000 and it was announced at the event that we raised enough to create an endowed scholarship. We now have the Ana Grace Marquez-Greene Endowed Scholarship, which will be for a New Britain student.”

McDavid says they are going to work to increase funds so they can continue to make the event successful in the future. McDavid noted that much of this would not be possible without the help and generous donations from the owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, Stephanie Blozy.

“Fleet Feet is amazing. They went out into the schools and measured the children’s feet. They provided all the students with their own new pair of athletic shoes. She was here the day of the event with tons of other sizes and she set up a whole station,” said McDavid. “She also provided shoes for all the teachers as well and I think they felt really excited about that. We’re extremely lucky to be working with Stephanie.”

As McDavid hopes to make this an annual event at CCSU, discussion of plans for next year have already begun. They hope to include more schools in the event. After the event ended, the superintendent of New Britain schools said that next year, she hopes CCSU will be able to host about 700 students.

The four schools that attended this year, Chamberlain, Northend, Smith and DiLoreto, all have the “Love Wins” curriculum and that is how they were selected.

There will be a wrap-up meeting for the planning committee this week to discuss how the day went and things to change and add to the event in the years to come. At the meeting, McDavid hopes to identify dates for next year. Come the fall semester, planning will start up again.

“It went really well and I think anyone that you talk to on campus would agree,” said McDavid. “People were so excited about it and you could tell the children really appreciated it.”

Facebook Murderer Found By Police Before He Committed Suicide

by Christie Stelly

Steve Stephens, the perpetrator of a disturbing murder committed in Cleveland, Ohio, killed himself after being pulled over by police last Tuesday afternoon.

On April 16, Stephens shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. The murder can be seen in a graphic video uploaded and shared on Facebook.

In the video, Stephens’ states, “Found me somebody I’m going to kill, this guy right here, this old dude.” Stephens then exited his car and began talking to Godwin before shooting him in the head.

The video, shared by millions of Facebook users, sparked a nationwide manhunt. There were billboards and photographs posted all over the country with a photograph of Stephens.

There is evidence on Stephens’ Facebook that may provide the motivation behind his anger. In a Facebook post, he blamed the murder on a woman, Joy Lane, who is believed to be his ex-girlfriend. His post read: “three years I spent with this b****… I wish we never met.”

In the disturbing video, he asks Godwin to say his ex-girlfriend’s name before pulling the trigger. “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you,” Stephens said in the chilling video.

Two days later, Pennsylvania police received a tip from a fast-food worker at a McDonalds restaurant, who recognized Stephens in the drive-thru lane. Stephens was told that he had to wait for his french fries, a tactic used by the employees to stall Stephens from leaving the parking lot while they called police.

Stephens was impatient and left the scene in a hurry. Soon after, police spotted him in a White Ford Fusion with temporary license plates and eventually cornered him on Buffalo Road. Once police walked over to the vehicle, Stephens shot himself.

“We’re grateful that this has ended,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “We would prefer that it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions, I’m sure, that not only the family, but the city in general would have had for Steve.”

The graphic video remained on Facebook for approximately two hours before staff took it down. Facebook has been criticized for not removing the video quick enough.

“We have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like these from happening,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

In a Facebook post by Stephens, he claimed that he has killed 15 people in total. Police have yet to confirm any of the 14 other supposed murders.

According to the Associated Press, Godwin was killed while he was walking on Cleveland Street, collecting aluminum cans, which was something he did often. “Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did,” said Debbie Godwin, the victim’s daughter. “That’s all he was doing. He wasn’t harming anyone.”

Stephens was working at a behavioral health agency as a counselor for teenagers and young adults. According to sources at NBC News, Stephens’ friends described him as a “good guy.”

It is unclear why Stephens murdered an innocent man in cold blood, and the public and Godwin’s family may never get the answers that they want and need. Stephens is the only one that could have given an explanation for his cruel killing and since he is gone, the public will never know.

A Fresh Approach: Exploring Art In Teacher Preparation

DR. Clark and Dr. French’s diversity leadership course with CCSU leader candidates on the university campus.

by Courtney Leblanc

In a bright room, abstract art is plastered on the walls and scrapbooks and gifts from past students lay scattered along the window sill. Photos fixed to the walls showcase teacher candidates and their participation in the arts, while student-made masks captivate all who enter the unconventional workplace.

The atmosphere of Dr. Barbara Clark’s office reveals her dedication and love of teaching. On March 22, her lifelong hard work had paid off. Clark was notified that she had been chosen as the recipient of The Board of Regents Teaching Award. As an alumnus and professor of 12 years at Central Connecticut State University, Clark was humbled to receive the honor.

“I was really surprised because the chances of getting something like this are, you know, I would say pretty slim because there are so many great professors at CCSU,” said Clark.

The award is given to outstanding faculty who distinguish themselves and have promoted improvements to their educational programs. With that said, Clark has proven that her appreciation of the arts and its integration in education has had an everlasting impact on many.

In Clark’s early years, she had a dream to become an artist and live a romantic life in the city. However, when Clark’s parents suggested that she get into the education field, she respected their opinion. She found that she can take her love for the arts and transform the classroom environment.

“I consider what I create in schools a form of conceptual art,” said Clark. “I created programs for schools to teach the adults how you can change a school environment to improve community, behaviors and friendships.”

As a young teacher, Clark worked in a variety of school districts. She noticed the vast differences between urban and suburban communities.

As a result, she wanted to show that unique and cutting-edge programs can potentially inspire students who are below grade level.

In using her skills and strategies, she is determined to show teacher candidates what they can achieve as an innovative teacher.

“Dr. Clark has had a tremendous impact on the way I practice teaching,” said Allison Tuohy, one of Clark’s past students. “I am currently teaching kindergarten and I often incorporate things I’ve learned from my prior professor. I use music and art to teach my English language learners. I try to unmask the possibilities for each and every student.”

Clark’s pursuit to educate future teachers does not end here. She hopes to further her career by training in-service educators as well.

“I have this dream of having a program for teachers where they would find their imaginative voice and their creative spirit,” said Clark. “Then they would be more likely to know how to use those methods with children.”

As a piece of advice for future teachers, Clark tells her students not to settle for the status quo. She urges them not to simply work out of the curriculum book, but to use ideas that truly inspire them.

With the help of her co-worker, Dr. James French, Clark wrote a book titled, “Hearts and Mind Without Fear: Unmasking the Sacred in Teacher Preparation,” in hopes of extending the teachings of her research to future educators.

As Clark says in her book, “teachers must know how to be social- and eco-justice advocates that teach children love and respect so that they are truly peacemakers as they move throughout their lives.”

‘Love Wins: Finish The Race’

 

Each student got a backpack filled with a water bottle, an energy drink and a wristband, along with a new pair of athletic shoes donated by Fleet Feet of West Hartford.

by Lauren Lustgarten

In order for children to believe that high school does not have to be the end of the road, initiative needed to be taken. Nelba Márquez-Greene teamed up with Central Connecticut State University and started to pave the way.

Organized by The Ana Grace Project, Márquez-Greene, a family therapist and a former faculty member at CCSU, founded the project to honor her daughter, Ana, who was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

This past Monday, approximately 400 students from the Consolidated School District of New Britain spent the day at CCSU to get a taste of college. During the event, “Love Wins: Finish the Race,” the Northend, Chamberlain and Smith Schools sent their fifth graders and DiLoreto Magnet School sent their fifth and eighth graders.

“The idea is that these young children will get a taste of college from CCSU students and will leave the campus with the belief that, after high school, there is a world of possibilities awaiting them,” said Márquez-Greene in a press release.

With the help of administrative assistant to the president Courtney McDavid and other CCSU members, the day at CCSU was organized.

“Nelba Márquez-Greene came up with the idea as a way to inspire young, elementary school students to look beyond the end of high school to pursuing a college degree,” said McDavid.

“Motivated in part to commemorate her daughter, Ana Grace, Nelba wanted to use forces of love, community and connection to help make these young people’s lives richer and more fulfilling and to provide them with an opportunity to ‘finish the race’ with a college degree,” McDavid added.

After hearing from a New Britain teacher who believed his young students needed to learn empathy, compassion and kindness and be reminded of life past high school, Márquez-Greene got the idea for “Love Wins: Finish the Race.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with The Ana Grace Project on this critical initiative,” said CCSU President, Dr. Zelma Toro in a press release. “We couldn’t be more supportive of its mission to promote love and build community and connection for every child and to impart the message that education is the path to a successful future.”

CCSU teamed up with the Ana Grace Project to make this event possible.

375 volunteers on campus helped make the event possible. The day started with the CCSU Radio Station playing music and greeting the students as they got off the buses and headed into Welte for a welcome reception where Toro along with Mayor Erin Stewart and the superintendent spoke.

Engineering students demonstrated the properties of liquid nitrogen and used it to make ice cream. Later, with the help of the athletic department, 250 CCSU student athletes and 75 coaches escorted the students to the athletic fields where the students engaged in a variety of field activities including football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball and more.

Connecticut National Guard volunteers even helped out and ran a hydration station on the field for the students.

“Our athletics program is honored to play a role in the ‘Finish the Race’ activities. Consistent with the CCSU mission, we place great emphasis on community engagement as a core component of the overall educational experience of our student athletes,” said athletic director Paul Schlickmann.

Working with Márquez-Greene and ‘Love Wins: Finish the Race’ has been humbling and inspirational, explained Schlickmann.

“Nelba’s strength and vision to create such a transformative program from an unspeakable tragedy is remarkable,” said Schlickmann. “The motivation for our student athletes is to serve as positive role models and contribute to the theme of the movement; to expose and excite the youth of our city to the possibility and value of a college education. In doing so, they will hopefully expose them to some athletic activities that can be integral to their continued physical and personal development and self-esteem.”

On top of all that the students got to experience, they were also given a new pair of athletic shoes and a backpack stuffed with a sports drink, a water bottle and an Ana Grace Project wristband.

Fleet Feet of West Hartford not only donated the shoes, but the staff also visited the schools last month and measured each child for their correct shoe sizes.

The event was made possible by sponsorships by Farmington Bank and additional support from the CCSU Alumni Association, Achieve Financial Credit Union, Barnes & Noble, Pratt & Whitney, Coca Cola and several other private donors.

This was the second year CCSU has hosted the event, however last year only Chamberlain came to campus.

“We look forward to this being an annual event,” said McDavid. “Planning this event was definitely a team effort.”

Increased Enrollment Numbers For Fall Semester Off To A Slow Start

by Diondra Clements

As the end of the spring semester approaches, it is becoming time for high school seniors and college transfer students to decide where they are going to study, come August 2017.

Recently at Central Connecticut State University, there has been an increase in school tours and admitted student days, inviting many students to walk around campus and wonder if CCSU is the right place for them.

Feb. 18 and March 26 were dates of Admitted Student Days and April 8 was the most recent Open House.

Before visiting campus, many see CCSU as an “easy” school that offers few job opportunities following graduation.

However, in the last three years, recognition of CCSU has gone from a school that’s easy to get into, to being recognized for its actual achievements.

“Our advertising has only been getting somewhere the last three years. Additional resources have been added recently. Thanks to President Toro, she has been adding to the additional resources,” said Lawrence Hall, director of admissions.

The application deadline for high school seniors to apply to CCSU is May 1 and the deadline for transfer students is June 1. The current total of students who have sent confirmation of their acceptance as of April 13 is 645 for freshmen. CCSU’s goal is 1,300. For transfer students, 225 have sent acceptance confirmations, with a university goal of 895.

Though this may seem like a small number, Hall reassured that it was an increase from previous years, also touching upon the fact that this is not an official final count. It will not be until the middle of July that the school will have a finalized count of new students enrolled at CCSU.

Hall explained that sometimes they may not know the official count of the total incoming freshmen and transfer students until the first week of September.

As far as the financial situation goes, Hall also made note that they have already seen an increase in deposits compared to last year at this time. Freshmen deposits are up by 96 and transfers are up by five. Although this is an improvement, there is still more that can be done.

“Even though we’re very visible to the Hartford/New Britain community and its surrounding areas, the bread and butter is we want to be visible to different cities, such as Danbury and Stamford,” said Hall. “Reaching out to students out-of-state and even started to get our feet wet in the international field about three years ago.”

The largest factor in recruiting new students is finding how to attract more people to CCSU with reasons other than it being close to home or knowing someone who attends.

CCSU sophomore Dejhana Sejdiraj’s initial thought when she first got to CCSU was that it felt “homey.”

“My sister was already attending this school, so that helped in  my decision to apply,” said Sejdiraj. “I’m actually glad I got denied at UConn because I absolutely love this school. It honestly feels like a home to me.”

Sitting Down with New SGA Executive Board

by Lauren Lustgarten

President Brendan Kruh

President Brendan Kruh, 362 votes or 43.04%.

Q: As president, what are just some of your roles?

“On paper, I am responsible for chairing meetings, forming committees, planning SGA retreats and attending weekly meetings with the Vice-President of Student Affairs. However, I see my responsibilities as much more; it is vital that I participate in as many events as I can on this campus and ensure that I know as much as possible regarding to what is happening on this campus and off.”

Q: What do you think helped you to win the majority of the votes during your campaign?

“What I believe helped me the most in my campaign was that I have worked very hard for almost three years to become involved within the campus community. I believe that my experience and passion were the driving forces which led the students who voted for me; and I am grateful for their recognition and blessing.”

Q: What do you want to change most about/with SGA? How do you plan to change those things?

“I would really like to work on SGA becoming a more efficient vehicle for students to come and bring their initiatives and ideas forward. Our organization has an extremely solid foundation and infrastructure which can be utilized in the facilitation and implementation of any initiatives of students which are brought forward. Therefore, I would like to make it abundantly clear to the student body that our Student Government is there for them and that we will help bring their ideas from concept to conclusion. This goes for the internal function of the body as well. As President I would like to be there for Senators as they come up with new and inspiring ideas. I would like to be able to use my resources, experience and knowledge as an aid in assisting them in each of their endeavors.”

Q: Moving forward, what are your visions for SGA? CCSU?

“I strongly believe in the Central Story, which is the story of each of us as students. I would like to tell that story by having banners put up on the light posts around campus, which would show off our students and their efforts on campus. I would also like to see easels placed all around campus which the SGA will update weekly with the coming weeks events, meetings and games. The point in both of these initiatives is to engage our students and to get them excited to be involved. After we all graduate, we will want to look back at our experience and really feel as if we made the most of it. With this initiative I believe we will be enabling our students to take advantage of all the opportunities this campus provides.”
Vice President Marissa Cusano
Vice President Marissa Cusano, 346 votes or 40.99%.
Q: As vice president, what are just some of your roles?
“Some of my roles as vice president would include the Club Liaison Program; this is where each club is assigned a senator to help them with anything that is needed by the club or organization. I will have the responsibility of chairing the meetings for our Internal Affairs Committee and organizing the stipend review process through this committee at the end of the semester. I am also in charge of creating the stipend contracts for all senators. In case of the president being absent from a Senate meeting, I would chair that meeting, along with being able to pass legislation of the senate in the absence of the president.”
Q: What do you think helped you to win the majority of the votes during your campaign?
“For my campaign I feel that it helped that I wasn’t afraid to go out and talk to people whom I’ve never met before. I went outside my comfort zone in order to talk to as many individuals on campus as possible. I was very passionate about my ideas for the senate next year and I feel as though my passion played a factor in winning a majority of the votes. I received a lot of good feedback and backing on my ideas for the Liaison Program and I feel as though it was those ideas that gained me a lot of support.”

Q: What do you want to change most about/with SGA? How do you plan to change those things?

“My first priority within senate is the Liaison program. I want to increase the communication between clubs and the Student Government as well as getting senators more involved in the clubs in which they are representing. I have a lot of ideas on how to improve the relationship between senators and clubs and I am currently in the process of putting those plans into action with the help of the President Elect and Treasurer Elect. We all are working hard together in order to prepare for the upcoming year. We are already meeting regularly in order to make sure that all of the changes we feel are necessary are getting talked about. We are being a very proactive incoming Executive Board and I could not be more proud or thrilled to work with such amazing men.”

Q: Moving forward, what are your visions for SGA? CCSU?

“Moving forward, my vision for SGA is to increase our communication with clubs, organizations, and all students on campus. We are here for the students and the students need to know that we are here to support them and help them with anything they might need. Another main vision of mine is for CCSU to have develop an increased sense of community on campus. Every single student should be able to feel at home here on campus. It is essential that there is a sense of comfort and safety on this campus, and that all feel accepted and supported.”
Treasurer Christopher Capiello
Treasurer Christopher Cappiello, 332 votes or 39.15%.
Q: As vice president, what are just some of your roles?
“As treasurer my responsibilities are overseeing the entire SGA budget, which next year, will be in excess of 1 million dollars due to the increase in the Student Activity Fee that was approved by the BOR last week. Additionally, I chair the finance committee and communicate with all clubs to ensure that they have the proper information needed to get funding from SGA.”
Q: What do you think helped you to win the majority of the votes during your campaign?
“I learned a lot last year when running for vice president; what works and what doesn’t work with campaigning. This year, I did not put up any posters of myself because I focused my energy on going out and talking directly with clubs and organizations to see what they wanted from SGA.  To sum it up, I feel like the most effective way to campaign is to talk directly to those that I will represent and not rely on posters and social media.”
Q: What do you want to change most about/with SGA. How do you plan to change those things?
“My main focus and change I want to see with SGA is making it easier for clubs to get funding. Currently we do all paperwork for financial requests via paper and I really am looking into a way to digitize that process to make it easier on the clubs.”
Q: Moving forward, what are your visions for SGA? CCSU?
“I will work the rest of the Executive Board to fix broader issues. It is clear that CCSU has no spirit and no sense of community, so I want to prove the financial support to the senate in order to foster a community spirit on campus.”

HIV & AIDS Information Session

CCSU Women’s Center partnered with AIDS Connecticut to provide free male and female condoms.

by Cyrus dos Santos

The Ruth Boyea Women’s Center and AIDS Connecticut (ACT) held an information session to encourage safe sex and disease prevention. The event, titled “No Glove No Love,” took place in the Women’s Center lounge on the second floor of the Student Center Monday evening.

“It’s completely free,” said Sharise V. Truman, coordinator for women’s health services at Central Connecticut State University. “We’ve partnered with AIDS Connecticut, and through them we’re able to get male and female condoms for individuals as well as lubricants.”

Along with free contraceptives, ACT provided literature as well as guest speaker LaToya Tyson, ACT’s prevention program manager.

“We work on improving the life of people that are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Tyson.

One of the main goals Tyson and her colleague, Norman Lebron, aim for is emphasizing personal risk awareness. According to Tyson, many individuals are simply unaware that they are at risk for contracting HIV and lack the knowledge necessary to eliminate that risk.

“I want to work myself out of a job,” said Tyson. “The only reason I have work, is because people are still getting infected. It’s a preventable infection. It’s something that you don’t have to get.”

ACT was formed in 2013 when the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition and Alliance for Public Health, two organizations that began in the 1980s, merged. They are federally funded through the Department of Public Health in Connecticut. Located in Hartford, the organization provides assistance to individuals dealing with employment discrimination issues, as well as a syringe service program. ACT also offers confidential HIV testing. Information can be found at their website, aids-ct.org.

This is the second information session hosted by the Women’s Center this semester. Truman spoke about the need for a continuing conversation on the importance of safe sex. “Because some individuals may be practicing un-safe sex and that puts them at risk for contracting HIV.”

Lambda Pi Eta Officially Inducted 23 New Members

23 Members of the Department of Communications were inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society.

by Diondra Clements

Twenty three members of the Central Connecticut State University Communication Department were inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta, Tau Mu chapter of the National Communication Association’s Honor Society this past Thursday.

This honor society celebrated academic success in the fields of communication and journalism.

The Connecticut Room was filled with the 20 students and their families — three students were not in attendance — to support all who were inducted.

The ceremony was led by department chair Dr. Chris Pudlinski and the co-presidents of the chapter, Kelsey Murphy and Emily Wilson. The event was organized by communication professor Joan Walden and her students who are currently enrolled in the department’s “Signature Events” course.

Those inducted were junior and senior communication students.  In order to be honored and inducted, one must have a 3.25 GPA and at least 12 credits in their communications classes and a 3.0 cumulative GPA and 60 credits overall.

“I’m really excited, especially since only a select group are included,” said Nicole Vitale, one of the honorees. Another honoree, Kerry Clark, explained the feeling as “unexpected.” Clark’s mother stated that she was proud to see all of her daughter’s hard work starting to pay off.

The night started with Pudlinski speaking about Lambda Pi Eta and its over 300 chapters. A slideshow of remembrance that was put together by the students of the “Public Relations Strategies and Techniques” class then followed.

The night also included special guest speaker, former Vance Chair, writer and educator, Susan Campbell. Campbell encouraged and congratulated the honorees on their academic achievements and future endeavors, leaving them with the words, “focus is the new IQ in communications, the sky’s the limit, make them proud.”

Murphy and Wilson then came up to also congratulate the honorees and reflect on their time as co-presidents. They lit three candles to represent Lambda Pi Eta. All three candles were blown out, signifying the start of the new chapter.

After a few more words, the honorees were then called up to receive their cords along with their certificate.

“It’s exciting and an honor as president to see new students being inducted,” said Murphy. “I hope they enjoy each other’s company, develop relationships within communication companies and further refine career goals.”

Wilson continued, “It’s exciting to see so many people getting so much out of this communication department. It’s a great opportunity to network and meet other people.”

At the ceremony, Pudlinski made note that all three co-presidents were graduating this May, which meant new inductees were welcomed to take the position.

Changing Views of Objectivity and Ethical Challenges Conversed at CCSU

EIC of ctnewsjunkie.com Christine Stuart, investigative reporter for the Hartford Courant Matt Kaufman, CCSU journalism professor Theodora Ruhs and writer for Hartford Business Journal David Medina.

by Christie Stelly

Journalists and students gathered together to discuss changing views of objectivity and ethical challenges in the new era of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Stan Simpson, the Robert C. Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism and Mass Communications, moderated the event that included panelists David Medina, writer for Hartford Business Journal, Connecticut Latino News and Identidad Latina; Theodora Ruhs, assistant professor of journalism at CCSU; Christine Stuart, editor-in-chief of ctnewsjunkie.com and Matt Kauffman, investigative reporter for the Hartford Courant.

“Trump is the first president elected with no military experience or political background,” said Simpson. “He is running the country as the corporate CEO that he is and the reality TV star that he was.”

The first discussion by panel members was how long they believed this “reality TV star” mentality and practice could be sustained for. Medina said that “it’ll sustain as long as the press allows it to.”

“There are bills being put into place right now, as we speak, but we are too busy covering what he says,” said Medina, suggesting that journalists should report more on certain changes Trump is implementing, rather than on the outlandish things he says.

Ruhs disagreed in part with the statement that the media is not covering enough on all aspects of Trump’s presidency, including policies. She explained that part of the issue is how our media is set up as a business model.

“We are producing news for what is going to sell, what is going to bring audience members in,” said Ruhs, adding that she has faith in the media and believes that journalists are doing their best to cover these issues.

Staurt has more confidence about the future of the field of journalism. “Reporters are doing a better job at actually digging in and I am very much optimistic for the future of journalism,” said Staurt, who also said she believes there is no use in reporting alternative facts.

Kaufman believes that it is more on the public than the media to pay attention to key issues that journalists are reporting on.

“The American people personally decide what is important to them,” said Kaufman. It is not an issue of whether or not reporters are doing a good job reporting, but on what the American people are going to actually be interested in reading, he explained.

Some individuals believe that there were red flags that should have seen with Trump during the campaign, so Americans should not be surprised by what they are seeing now.

“He did exactly what he said he was going to do,” said Medina, also explaining many people were tired of the way the country was being run and Trump promised a change to them. Issues within only the first 60 days included false claims about the size of inauguration crowds, allegations of voter fraud and claims of Barack Obama wiretapping Trump towers.

Is there a “Get Trump” mentality in the media? The New York Times publicly stated that they were going to suspend the rules of objectivity and go after Trump. This brings about questions of ethics and objectivity, asking if it is dangerous to have this type of mentality.

Ruhs believes that it is journalist’s job to be watchdogs and hold people accountable. Instead of a “Get Trump” mentality, she suggests use of the phrase “accountability” instead. She added that the definition of what a journalist’s job actually is needs to be clarified.

Some would argue that Trump has been great for the media. Newspapers and other media organizations have had more to cover than ever. Many newspapers have had to hire new staff members because there needs to be substantial coverage on Trump. Readers are relying upon journalists to provide accurate news about their president so that they can remain informed.

The Pew Research Center reported that 36 percent of people surveyed got their news from news organization websites or apps, more than any other online source. This means that people are still relying on their news directly from news organizations.

The Pew Research Center also reported that two-thirds of Americans surveyed worry about fake news. People are remaining skeptical about the quality of news. This provides a hopeful glimpse into the future, since news consumers clearly care about where they get their news and the reliability of it.

Medina suggested that journalists go back to the basics of journalism and what it is supposed to be about. That includes holding authority accountable and maintaining the quality of information. Journalists need to always remain accurate and continue to serve as watchdogs and hold people accountable.

Earth, Fire, Water, Air

by Lauren Lustgarten

With its “unusual juxtaposition and intermingling of art and science,” the Central Connecticut State University art exhibition, “Earth, Fire, Water, Air: Elements of Climate Change,” is aiming to give visitors a new sense of urgency towards climate change.

The most recent addition to the exhibition, which has been seen flying around campus, is the Fossil Fuel Dragon.

Concerned students stepped up to the challenge of assembling the 60-foot papier-mâché dragon that battled the Earth — equipped with a wind turbine sword and solar panel shield — throughout the campus as fliers promoting the art exhibition and more were distributed.

Professor Longhorne borrowed the dragon from New Haven school students.

The driving force behind the Fossil Fuel Dragon March was to not only bring attention to the art exhibition, but to also bring attention to the Global Environmental Sustainability Symposium, a conference regarding climate change, which will take place at the Student Center on April 13.

Curator of the “Earth, Fire, Water, Air” exhibition and emeritus professor of art history, Elizabeth Langhorne, hopes that this representation of the battle between the fossil fuel dragon and earth will open people’s eyes to the severity of climate change.

“Emission of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere, largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas [Earth, and hence the fossil fuel dragon] drives global warming [Fire], causing the melting of glaciers and destructive sea rise [Water],” said Langhorne. “But, through the embrace of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar [Air, and hence the earth puppeteer using solar panel shield and wind turbine sword], we can mitigate the disruptive forces, global and local, of climate change.”

The papier-mâché dragon was originally made by school children in New Haven who they borrowed it from, explained Langhorne. Along with theater professor, Thom Delventhal, Langhorne called through Facebook and other social media sites, asking for participants to hold the dragon, signs and hand out fliers. Delventhal organized the participants and all together, they assembled the dragon.

“As an activist, I wanted to chant, ‘Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Fossil fuel has got to go,’” said Delventhal. “As an actor, my life has been about imagination and play. But President Trump’s recent statement about ‘really clean coal’ is extremely upsetting. That is an oxymoron.”

Dr. Charles Button, geography professor and founder and chair of the Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition, helped with the assembling and marching of the dragon as well. GESAC and the art exhibit worked together to have the exhibit function as a lead into the symposium in which Button organized. Button has hosted the Sustainability Symposium every year since his arrival on campus 10 years ago.

The tenth Annual Global Environmental Sustainability Symposium will have the theme of ‘Climate Change: 10 Years of Progression, Aggression, and Suppression.’ The Symposium is free and open to the public.

“There will be numerous educational programs and activities that engage audience members in discussions about the status of social, economic, and environmental dimensions of climate change. The day highlights the academic work of CCSU students and numerous prominent scientific, political, and community leaders, including: CT Senator Ted Kennedy Jr., Earthwatch’s Dr. Stan Rullman, Yale University Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy (and former CT DEEP Commissioner) Dr. Daniel Esty, and CCSU Professor of Geography and Sustainability Dr. Charles Button,” said Dr. Button in the press release.

Just some of the topics that will be examined during the symposium will include the impacts climate change has on bees, water sources and ecosystems; electrical vehicles; the impacts corporations have on climate change; discussion of current political attacks on climate science and sustainability and more.

“The CCSU and New Britain community is alive with climate change activity. For example, CCSU Education Club members brought fourth graders from New Britain’s Jefferson Elementary School into the exhibition,” said Langhorne.

There will be a closing reception for “Earth, Fire, Water, Air: Elements of Climate Change” on April 12 from 4-7 p.m. where student art, made by New Britain fifth graders from Holmes and Smith Elementary Schools and CCSU art students, created in interaction with the exhibition will be displayed.

“I am so grateful to Professors Langhorne and Button for their commitment to bringing these issues to the forefront of their work,” said Delventhal. “It was my honor to use my acting skills and to enlist the help of my students in bringing this puppet to life.”

Students can attend the art exhibit until April 13 in the CCSU Art Gallery located on the second floor of Maloney Hall.