All posts by lorenzo burgio

Letter To The Editor

by Stephen Dew

Finance Committee Vice-Chair

Student Government Association

A few months ago, the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut Sate University decided to embrace the advocacy of social justice issues on this campus, on behalf of the students, through the creation of the Social Justice Committee.

Nobody denies that as a campus we must confront issues like racism, sexism and homophobia. As a homosexual man, I want to see a campus that is welcoming to all, but SJC has done far more harm than good.

It has alienated minority communities, such as the veterans on campus, who only a few weeks ago were not invited to attend a panel organized by the committee to discuss veterans issues. While the panel may have helped some, it has thrown open divisions between not only the Student Veterans Organization and the SGA, but also divisions inside the government itself.

To feel more a part of the campus, SVO requested shirts and sweatshirts to promote themselves, which the SGA approved by a majority. But because of this, members of the SJC have pushed other organizations to request shirts to feel more included. I ask, why did SVO feel alienated? Why did members of the committee vote no on the request made by SVO? And why do they now push for more organizations to request promotional items?

It’s extremely clear to me the student government has been hijacked — for personal and moral gain — by a bunch of loony lefties who wish to impose their will on others who do not want it.

The average student does not want to be lectured on making the campus more open and compassionate. They want and need help with the cost of living that every student faces, from tuition fees to the price of textbooks.

How can the student government or senators claim the moral high ground, when not enough is done on these matters, because we as senators have to bicker and argue against those who are intolerant of those who do not think in their way.

An open and compassionate campus cannot be created if those students who struggle with their day-to-day living have to be tossed aside simply because they cannot afford to come to CCSU; that would be the biggest injustice to impose on our students.

Keeping The Library Colorful

Kelly Moore presents her art to students at Elihu Library

Alonso Velasquez

Each week as students walk through the lobby of the Elihu Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University, they are greeted by a different whimsical portrait of a pop-culture or historical icon drawn on a whiteboard.

Every drawing, from Sonic’s Big the Cat to the kids from Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” are courtesy of CCSU librarian worker and student, Kelly Moore.

“Half of the time the drawing depends on what the library events are. A couple of weeks ago, it was Teddy Roosevelt because we were having an event about him- so I had to do him. Otherwise I tend to draw inspiration from whatever game I’m playing at the time, so when [The legend of Zelda’s] ‘Breath of the Wild’ came out over spring break, I said ‘I’ll draw Link,’ and recently I’ve been playing ‘Sonic Adventure,’ so I drew Big the Cat,” said Moore.

During elementary school, Moore was interested in Pokémon and the artwork of Ken Sugimori, which sparked her interest as well.

“I remembered I would order posters and Pokémon cards just so I could have the pictures, I didn’t even play the card game, I just really liked the pictures and the cards, so I tried to collect them all and sort them by the artist,” said Moore, who has been working at the library for over a year and a half.

Moore is planning on transferring to Southern Connecticut State University in the fall semester to pursue a Master’s degree in library sciences, and wants to either be a children’s or music librarian.

The book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” inspired her to enter this profession, explained Moore.

“I’ve started reading the books when I was in fifth grade, and it was my favorite series of all time, I reread it every year. I love the amount of care that Lemony Snicket put into every word he wrote. And it’s funny, because drawing and reading, Lemony Snicket is my biggest writing influence and Brett Helquist [the book’s illustrator] is my biggest drawing influence. There are a lot of librarian characters always presented as positive role models. So I decided I wanted to be like Uncle Monty [a character from book],” said Moore, who explained how she began drawing on the whiteboard for the library.

“It was a couple of months into working here, I remember we had an ice cream social event and the person who used to draw the board, wasn’t there and I guess they left. Another person was working less often, so someone asked me if I wanted to try doing it, so I did, and I wrote all the letters in ice cream. After that, I started to draw on a regular basis. I used to draw it with Guillermo Novo, who also worked here, but unfortunately our schedules haven’t been able to match up and he really hasn’t been available on the day we need new boards. So I do them by myself now,” said Moore.

The previous artist had a more black and white style, whereas Kelly is more colorful. “I try to related it to things that are more popular, because I also work with kids in my town library and we do the board there too. I did Olaf from “Frozen,” and I don’t like “Frozen,” but the kids loved it, so I said, ‘I’ll figure I’ll try to do the same sort of thing with college students,'” said Moore. “I definitely want to make people happy and welcomed and feel like it’s a real inclusive environment here.”

Tax Breaks for Graduates Would Benefit the State

by Lorenzo Burgio

College graduates that work and live in the same state as the institution upon graduation are undeniably beneficial to that state’s economy.

Connecticut lawmakers, particularly House Democrats, have recently noticed this and are proposing a tax break that would apply to students who graduate after January 2018.

Students who obtain a job and live in the state after graduation will receive the tax break for five consecutive years. If the graduate attends an out-of-state school, they are still eligible as long as they return and begin working within two years of graduation.

The amount of the tax breaks would vary per graduate and be based on income. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 graduates would be eligible and the first-year cost of the plan would be $6 million, according to the Hartford Courant.

Two highly debated issues are tackled by this bill; making higher education more appealing to upcoming generations and improving the state’s economy.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that individuals born after 1980 with a college education have lower unemployment and poverty rates than those without one. They are also more likely to rent or own their own home and not be living with their parents; factors that benefit the economy.

“Since the 1970s, education increasingly tends to demarcate the more economically successful from the less economically successful,” PRC stated in the study.

Arizona State University also conducted a study that gauged the societal benefits from a college-educated population.

“Social benefits of a workforce with greater educational attainment and skills can be traced to the enhanced worker productivity associated with greater educational attainment. These productivity gains translate into higher output and incomes for the economy,” the ASU study concluded.

The enhanced productivity then starts a chain reaction that improves not only the state’s economy, but the country’s as well, explained the ASU study.

“Higher education influences economic well-being in three ways,” the ASU study stated. “First, the direct expenditures by the institutions, their employees and their students impact the local economy. This spending multiplies through the local economy until the monies are used to purchase goods and services from outside the local area.”

The fact that a college-educated population is beneficial to both the educated citizens and the economy where they live and work, is the most important aspect of the ASU study.

“The benefit stream contains the private benefits that accrue to the individual plus the social benefits that the employment of the individual generates for the rest of the economy,” the ASU study stated.

This means the entire state benefits when tax breaks are used as incentives to increase the size of the college-educated population that remains in Connecticut upon graduation; as the the proposed bill aims to do.

The tax break will make higher education more appealing for upcoming generations and these studies are reason enough for it to be enacted, so Connecticut residents — whether students or not — can benefit from the economical boost that will follow.

Female Artists Flock To New Britain For Tenth Annual Swan Day

by Lorenzo Burgio

The halls of Trinity-On-Main were filled with live music echoing off the stained-glass windows, while supporters of the tenth annual Support Women Artists Now “SWAN Day CT,” were promoting female artists from around the state Saturday night.

Female artists painted bodies and canvases live on the main stage, while musicians ranging from 15 to 80 took the stage to perform.

Current nominee for the New England Music Festival’s Best of CT award, That Virginia was present.

The 27-year-old DIY musician is originally from Brazil but now lives in Bridgeport, as he has been playing guitar for nine years while scheduling her own shows and tours.

 “When I first heard about SWAN Day through another performer, I reached right out to Jennifer Hill,” said That Virginia, who has participated in SWAN Day for three years now.

Hill, who is referred to by many participants as Mama Swan, has organized SWAN Day CT in conjunctions with the WomenArts organization for the past ten years.

The singer/songwriter and pianist has been recognized by the organization for making SWAN Day CT one of the most successful hosted nationally and internationally.

Ryan Kristafer from WTNH cohosted the main stage with fashion and jewelry designer Ebony Amber of Torrington.

“It’s a great way to support women artists and it’s nice to see a lot of guys here too; without women where would we be,” said Kristafer.

A pop-up market with various female vendors hosted another smaller stage where many enjoyed the music while checking out what the vendors had to offer.

Each vendor displayed their own unique craft or passion.

Lisa McDonald of Harwinton, who is a self-proclaimed chocoholic, was there representing her business Underground Truffles, and 34 of her own chocolate recipes.

When visiting friends in Gualaceo, Ecuador, McDonald became familiar with the cocoa plant and began mixing the raw cocoa with Austrian chocolate to create her recipes, taking about 20 hours each.

Her chocolates contain no preservatives or dies and she usually vends at different farmers markets around the state and online.

Second year vendor Emily Falkowski, displayed earrings handmade from balsa wood she burned designs on, prints of her artwork and t-shirts she designed.

“Last year I was cutting people’s silhouettes out of paper and I thought this year to bring some more work to get myself out there this year,” said Falkowski, adding the event is a good way to network with other female artist.

Stories Shared at CCSU’s First Dear World Event

by Alonso Velasquez  

Students sharing important moments in their lives by writing a personal message on their body filled the Student Center last Thursday when Central Connecticut State University hosted their first Dear World event. 

Messages were written on students’ arms, foreheads or upper chests, then photographed and shared on social media, in conjunction with the organization’s efforts to share people’s stories. 

Katie Greenman of the Dear World organization was the photographer of the event and focused on telling participants’ stories through their images. 

Six students from CCSU who had had their portrait taken were brought forward by Greenman to speak about their own unique message. The students included Kaylah Gore, Shane Early, Shandra Witke, Kelly Turner, Grecia Zaldivar and Christopher Aquino.  

Their messages ranged from sexuality, bullying, estranged family relations and overcoming prejudices.  

Greenman talked about the organization’s roots and how they originated in Louisiana in 2009, as a way to improve people’s spirits after Hurricane Katrina.

Messages were initially meant to be light-hearted and a “love note to the city,” such as “Team New Orleans,” or “Creole food is the best.”  

However, one man took a different direction, writing “Cancer Free” on his lower neck, bringing to light how much more the project could mean.

Since then, the organization has traveled internationally, trying to facilitate and bring to light people’s untold stories.  

Through videos and other media, they have shared stories of hope from Syrian refugees to those affected by the Boston bombings.  

Those who helped run the event had to go through a two-hour training session in preparation; of those helpers were Simmi Miranda and Mehna Desai, of the Mosaic Center. 

“Last semester, during one of our Mosaic meetings, we were talking about how we wanted to bring all of CCSU together,” said Miranda. “We’re in the height of a lot of things going on. With the political season came a lot of tension, so what we wanted was some kind of way where students, faculty and staff could come talk to people, reflect in a safe environment and unite… Dear World had exactly what we wanted.” 

“Dear World is basically a project that consists of storytelling. It is a time to reflect about your individual story, something that makes you unique,” said Desai. “I feel like we’re not really focused on each other, we don’t really have time to talk about our stories. We usually just talk about usual things.”

A photoshoot was also held the day before, which was restricted to a select number of student leaders, students and faculty who were helping to carry out the following day’s event.