Category Archives: On-Campus

Welcoming New President Toro

by Alonso Velasquez

Central Connecticut State University welcomed President Zulma Toro at a reception held in Alumni Hall on Jan. 19th.

CCSU faculty and students filled the tables set up in Alumni Hall to enjoy finger foods, have the opportunity to mingle with each other and meet the new president for themselves.

The ceremony was open to the public, which resulted in many in the CCSU community taking the opportunity to meet Toro.

Many in attendance spoke of their hopes and expectations for the incoming president.

Student Chris Morales hopes that the new president will “improve student retention and support Greek life.”

CCSU Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Zdzislaw Kremens explained that, being an engineer himself, he likes that Toro “is an engineer. She is very energetic. I think she will be a very good president.”

Freshman Akai Long hopes that she fosters innovation. “She said that her plan involved a new building that CCSU recently purchased. I hope she has an active presence, as the predecessor didn’t.”

“I hope most of all that she has an open door policy, and is a transparent and accessible president,” said Student Government Association (SGA) Chair of Academic Affairs Wyatt Bosworth. “This is what truly causes positive change. She came to the student government meeting yesterday and sat down with us for an hour. She met with clubs and organizations. She cares deeply about getting student input and that’s a good first sign.”

“If we have a direct line of communication between the leadership of the university and the students, then we can collaborate and move the institution to be what we need to be,” said Toro at the SGA meeting on Jan. 18th.

“Things I hope she can improve on, would be for her to maintain a good relationship with the legislature of the governor’s office, we’re facing very big budget cuts this year,” said Bosworth. “The state needs to see her be an effective, transformative president, so they can continue to invest in this institution. And I hope that she keeps a high standard for academics, and funds our student activities appropriately.”

“We are going to make the case for Central once again to see if we can somehow at least maintain the current support from the state. We will continue to advocate for Central, because we are helping the students,” said Toro during the SGA meeting, in regards to the university budget.

Student Jose Diaz said Toro could help the Latino community. “At CCSU, there is a lot that can be done. So I think the expectation is to help the immigrant community and having more resources and being open to talking with students.”

CCSU Latin American Student Organization (LASO) co-director Awilda Reasco said, “I would like the support of Dr. Toro to enhance our diversity, because CCSU is in the backyard of Hartford and New Britain and we have so many talented young students of color, Latino, African American, low income students that we need to reach out, by giving access to them.”

The gala was part of a string of events intended to help Toro learn more about the CCSU community. The day prior to the event, she spoke for an hour to the SGA, and LASO also hosted an event for her.
Toro is CCSU’s 13th president, succeeding Dr. Jack Miller, and officially started her term on Jan. 3rd.

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.”

Torpe Theater Celebrates Italian Culture Month with ‘A Touch of Sinatra’

 

by Kaitlin Lyle

Sitting in the audience of Torp Theater last Sunday afternoon, members of the Central Connecticut community enjoyed an enriching musical experience in observing “A Touch of Sinatra,” a show dedicated to presenting the life and music of Frank Sinatra and his companions in the music business.

Presented by the Italian Resource Center in cooperation with the Elihu Burritt Library, the occasion on October 16, 2016, was made possible through the suggestion of Dr. Maria Passaro of the CCSU Department of Modern Languages, who had seen “A Touch of Sinatra” at a library event over the summer. The performance took place at 3 p.m. in Davison Hall’s Torp Theatre and gathered a crowd of Sinatra enthusiasts. Following an introduction by Dr. Passaro and Dr. Carl Antonucci, Director of Library Services, the show commenced with Joe Gilligan narrating the well-loved singer’s story and Donnie Fararro providing musical talent from Sinatra’s broad music career.

“We’re going to show the good and the bad, the people he loved and the people who loved him, and his enemies,” said Gilligan at the start of their performance. “We’re going to do a bit of everything.” With that brief foreword, the duo brought the audience back in time to Sinatra’s early days, beginning with his birth on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. As the audience began to settle into the ambiance that Gilligan and Fararro designed to tell Sinatra’s story, the theater was soon echoing with the familiar songs of the late artist, beginning with Fararro’s delivery of “New York, New York.”

With each account of the notable moments in Sinatra’s life, the theater lights would illuminate both the stage and the audience, subsequently lowering as the stories gave way to melody. In combining the words of his story with the lyrics of his music, the performers incorporated specific works that aptly depicted the trials and tribulations in Sinatra’s life: from his divorce from first wife Nancy Barbato (“All the Way”) to the moment of his first big break in 1939 (“Fly Me to the Moon”). With each celebrated song, the audience was enraptured as Fararro crooned the lyrics in the familiar style of the late artist. Along with their celebration of Sinatra through Fararro’s musical renditions, it was through Gilligan’s narration that the audience received an education of little-known details in Sinatra’s personal life, including the unfortunate eardrum injury he underwent at birth.

Between the anecdotes and the musical performances, Gilligan and Fararro shared a few jokes from their experiences that had members of the audience chuckling in their seats. However, their routine onstage was not entirely limited to narrating the life and music of Frank Sinatra, but also included the individual stories of Sinatra’s acquaintances during his music career, such as Perry Como, Johnnie Ray, and Dean Martin. In their renditions of Dean Martin’s melodies, the duo encouraged the audience to join them in singing the lyrics, succeeding as the crowd began singing “That’s Amore” with gusto. Yet it was during the grand finale – in which Fararro and Gilligan dedicated the song “My Way” to the memory of Sinatra’s beloved mother Dolly – that the audience members, regardless of age, joined in singing along with the popular ballad before replacing their singing with a standing ovation for the talent onstage.

Following the performances by Gilligan and Farrarro, there was an intermission outside of the theater that served Italian-style refreshments before the Italian film “Stanno Tutti Bene,” (Everybody is Fine) commenced.

Among the audience was Professor Gil Gigliotti of the English Department who was present along with the Western Culture II course that he co-teaches with Professor David Blitz of the Philosophy Department. Around the campus of CCSU Professor Gigliotti is especially known for his avid interest in the life of Frank Sinatra, as was referenced by Dr. Passaro in her introduction. As a professor in the English Department, he has taught several courses on Frank Sinatra throughout his time at CCSU, including a course abroad entitled “The London Sinatra(s)” during the winter semester of 2015. In addition, Professor Gigliotti has written two books that incorporate the musician’s life story, “Sinatra: But Buddy I’m a Kind of Poem” in 2008 and “A Storied Singer: Frank Sinatra as Literary Conceit” in 2002, both of which can be found at the CCSU library. Since December of 1993, he has hosted a radio program entitled “Frank, Gil, and Friends” on Tuesdays from 8 to 10 a.m. in affiliation with the CCSU Radio Station 107.7 WFCS, where Gigliotti is also the faculty advisor. At the heart of the professor’s time on the air is the music of Sinatra, from his contemporaries to the music that Sinatra inspired in today’s genres.

As a whole, Gigliotti remarked that he admires the late singer’s persistence and hard work throughout his music career. “He started off as a hit among young teenage girls and his career should have ended shortly thereafter, but for any number of reasons, he managed to come back and he stayed on top for the rest of his life.” said Gigliotti. With regards to “A Touch of Sinatra,” Gigliotti stated that he hoped that his students would be able to observe the performance with a critical eye, given the knowledge they attained over the past two months. “I’m not looking for them to take away anything specific as much as hearing someone else tell the story and perform the music,” said Gigliotti.

Needless to say, those who attended the performance in Torpe Theater this past weekend were treated to a well-rounded cultural event that celebrated the lives of notable Italian musicians as well as the music that has bonded their impact throughout generations.

Registering to Vote

by Devin Leith-Yessian

Sitting behind a stack of 500 forms, the president of the CCSU Democrats called out to passing students, asking them if they are registered to vote.

­­­­“I don’t believe in that stuff,” responded one student, who briskly walked away.

He wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

At the end of the day, around 480 registration forms were left blank.

“It is discouraging to hear people say that their vote doesn’t count,” said president Wyatt Bosworth.

Before the 2012 election, Democrats passed a law allowing same day voter registration and online registration. This allows unregistered voters to register to vote at their polling place and cast their vote in one trip.

In New York, which lacks same day registration, the deadline is 25 days before the election. That date occurred on Oct. 14 this year.

When Bosworth and his fellow CCSU Democrats were planning the push to get people registered as they walked through the Student Center, he admitted that the 500 person goal was “aggressive.” Nonetheless, he seemed disappointed at the lack of interest, and sometimes opposition, to getting registered.

“My vote doesn’t matter. A lot of people said that at the table. They think the government is corrupt, which they’re not wrong,” said Secretary of the CCSU Democrats Kristina Carvalho. “They feel as though they don’t have as strong as a voice as people say they do.”

One student who did stop at the table was Kaila Robinson. While she was already registered, she needed to change her address. This  meant she had to fill out another registration form. She wasn’t particularly excited about Clinton, and she said that it came down to “whatever I have to do” to stop Trump.

Adam Offutt found himself in a similar situation to Robinson.

He was also changing his address to CCSU. He said that he doesn’t hear many people his age discussing politics or their intention to vote. His age group has the lowest voting turnout of any, although he did not know why.

What Offutt and other students seemed to agree on the dissatisfaction with the candidates they had to choose from.

Standing in sharp contrast to Offutt and Robinson’s political orientation was Brandon, who preferred to not give his last name.

He identified himself as a Republican and was wearing a jacket adorned with a Confederate flag. He said that he would have voted for Ted Cruz in the primary if an error had not occurred during registration. This error marked him as an Independent, which made him ineligible to vote.

A sentiment he shares with Robinson and Offutt is that he is “not at all” happy with the candidates who came out of the primaries.

While Trump might not have been his first choice, Brandon still believes he is the clear choice among the candidates in the race. He is concerned that the current gridlock will continue without presidential and congressional majority from the same party. Brandon also believes that the economy, which he described as just beginning to “skyrocket,” would suffer with Clinton as president.

Regardless of the difference of political opinion, Bosworth asked Brandon if he was registered. After a cordial conversation regarding the candidates, Brandon left, leaving Bosworth continuing to find more students.

Despite only registering a few students, Carvalho was still optimistic about the work that was accomplished.

“I would’ve liked to have seen more people, but the people we did ask were already registered, so that was refreshing,” she said. “Not all of them, but a good amount.” Trailing off from laughter she wondered aloud, “But will they vote?”

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.