By Acadia Otlowski
Soft music filtered through the air as students and faculty gathered in Alumni Hall this Thursday to celebrate the fourth annual Asia Day at CCSU.
The event, coordinated by Shizuko Tomoda, professor of modern language and part of the East Asian Studies Committee, featured projects from students in addition to presentations and performances from guest speakers.
“I am the organizer but also try to stay behind the scenes,” said Tomoda, stressing that the day was all about her students and their projects. These projects lined the edges of the room, some featuring candy and other elements to attract attention.
“I bring [in] guest speakers but this is student oriented,” Tomoda said. “I was working towards getting the students together; I wanted them to be ambassadors.”
Tomoda explains that CCSU is unique because it is the only school of the four state schools that has an East Asian Studies program.
“It’s a challenge,” Tomoda said, referring to budget constraints that limit the program. Tomoda cited the drumming performance of Stuart Paton as an example of why Asia Day needed more funds.
Paton, founder of the Burlington Taiko Group, played a solo performance for CCSU’s Asia day. Tomoda said she was confident in his strong performance, but said it would have been preferable to have the whole group perform, calling them “dynamic” together.
Tomoda said that she hopes to do some fundraising to make the program even more successful. As it was, she was pleased with the turnout, despite weather issues, which lowered the number of projects displayed.
“Hopefully next year we can raise about $3000,” Tomoda said.
At the event, students spoke about their projects, with encouragement from Tomoda. The topics ranged from Asian cultural phenomena’s, language and geography. Although many seemed willing, Tomoda described it as her job to “kick their butts” and have them come up and present even when they were unwilling.
One group spoke about sumi-e, the Japanese word for ink drawing, or ink painting.
“The point of sumi-e is that it’s a very minimalistic style of art… it is done with as few strokes as possible,” said one student to the small crowd that had gathered.
Another student in the group described the usage of sumi-e in popular culture, noting its use in various video games.
Gustavo Mejia, Spanish professor, said he was watching student presentations. Meijia was joined by other professors who stood in small groups near the back.
“[The main purpose of this is to] promote Asian culture,” said Xiaoping Shen, professor, chair of the Geography Department and another coordinator of the event.
“We also make students talk about their travel abroad experience,” said Shen. “Students are presenting from Chinese and Japanese classes.”
In addition to the student performances, Shen said that they have organized two guest speakers.
One of these guest speakers was Piper Gaubatz, a professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts and author of two books, one being Chinese Cities, which was the topic of her presentation.
“Chinese cities are also recognized as world heritage [sites],” said Gaubatz. “China has possibly, I don’t know the exact numbers, the most world heritage sites of any country.”
As she spoke, students wandered into the room, perusing the student projects, taking a seat or grabbing refreshments from the table in back.
The event full of student projects was open to drop-ins until 6:30. Anyone seeking more information on East Asian Studies should visit the International and Area Studies, accessible through the CCSU website.
By Rachael Bentley
Torp Theater was the site for CCSU’s own mock presidential debate Tuesday, Oct 16, hosted by CCSU’s own journalism professor, John Dankosky. The debate served as a “pre-game show” for the real debate which was shown live in Torp theater for students and facutly to watch.
The two contenders were Tom Foley, who represented the Romney campaign and Ned Lamont, who represented President Obama’s re-election campaign.
The two parties were brought to CCSU to debate in favor of their parties candidates, serving as unofficial “stand-ins” for Romney and President Obama.
Foley was the former U.S Ambassador to Ireland and was the Republican 2010 gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut. In August 2003 to March 2004, Foley served in Iraq as the Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Lamont is currently serving as the Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Philosophy by the Board of Trustees at CCSU. Prior to that in 2010 he was the unsuccessful democratic nomination for Governor of Connecticut and was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 2006.
According to many who attended the event, figuring out who won the mock debate was no easy task.
“It’s hard to say who won,” said Dankosky. “If you were to grade who won in terms of substance and what was said, then I would say Tom Foley won. If you were judging based on who advocated to for their candidate, I’d give the win the Ned.”
The questions used for the debate where a mix of those created by Dankosky and then some created by his own journalism students.
“The main reason I wanted to use student questions was because this is an academic study and I feel that it’s important to get the students involved,” Dankosky explained.
But that wasn’t the only reason he decided to use student questions. Tuesday nights Presidential debate was Town Hall styled, meaning that the questions for the candidates were being asked by undecided American citizens, not a moderator.
This feature was the core reasoning behind Dankosky using student questions.
“What you want is to get them to pause,” Dankosky explained. “If all we do is ask a question so then they say words that have been pre-loaded either by their campaign or in their head, that’s not terribly valuable. We can get a website for that. The idea is that we would actually get someone to think about what the answer is. Not having them think, ‘how should I answer this?’ but more ‘how do I feel about the thing they asked me?’ which is the nature of the job we are supposed to be doing. Let’s get to the heart of what people actually think.”
Some of the questions included issues on foreign affairs, affirmative action and immigration policies.
Overall, the audience felt that Foley debated more like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have been during this campaign, using facts to sway on-the-fence voters who might be unhappy with President Obamas’ recent term. Students felt that Lamont, on the other hand, debated much like Obama, using more a sentimental approach, which may be attributed the the fact that Lamont advocated for Obama increasingly during his 2008 campaign.
“Doing something like this is a fun exercise,” Dankosky said. “But it’s also a way to speak to people directly about the candidate they support, which is a worthwhile thing.”
By Alyssa Pattison
This fall, four new Kindle e-readers are available to rent at the Elihu Burritt Library for matriculated part-time and full-time students and faculty.
The fourth generation black and white ink display e-readers are pre-loaded with over 80 books from The New York Times bestsellers to non-fiction reads. Jane Austen, the Dalai Lama and Mark Twain are an example of authors who can be found on the pre-downloaded list of titles, along with others like E.L. James (for you 50 Shades fans out there). The e-readers do not allow downloading of new material and textbooks are not included.
Library staff are eager to spread the word about the new Kindles and were excited to offer information about the devices, along with a short tutorial. Currently, only few people know about the option to borrow a Kindle through the school library.
The devices can be borrowed for seven days, and may be renewed for an additional seven days. Kindles may be checked out for a maximum of two weeks and cannot be reserved due to a first come, first serve basis. A $10.00 per day fine can be expected for overdue returns, maxing out at $100.00. Students and faculty with a history of lost or damaged books are not eligible to rent.
Kindles should be returned to staff at the circulation desk as opposed to the book drop, where they may become damaged by heavy textbooks. Students who leave Kindles in the book drop will be billed a $25.00 fee.
Upon returning, Kindles will be inspected for the four key items: The Kindle, USB cord, power adapter and case. If any pieces are not returned, the renter will be billed accordingly, which will include replacement cost as well as a non-refundable processing fee of $25.00.
In the event of damaged equipment, staff will determine if the damage is the result of normal wear and tear. It is not suggested that renters attempt to repair, adjust or alter the e-reader in any way.
While the Kindle e-reader is user-friendly for even the least tech-savvy readers, library staff are available for any questions about the devices and are excited to spread the word about their new addition.
A similar program for Netbook rentals is expected for the future. To check out the fourth generation Kindle e-reader for yourself, visit the circulation desk on the first floor of the library with your Blue Chip card ready to go.
By Amanda Webster
CCSU celebrated National Plug In Day on Sunday by hosting an electric car show in Welte parking lot.
CCSU’s Global Environmental Sustainability Action Coalition (GESAC) and New England Electric Auto Assn (NEEAA) worked together to put on the event. Different types of electrically charged vehicles were on display for the public to view along with panels and discussions to participate in hosted in Alumni Hall.
The panels were made up of different owners of electric vehicles and they answered questions concerning mileage, gas conversions, and costs of different cars. There was also a chart to compare electric cars with each other so potential consumers could see what the best deals are on the market.
Merrill Gay was among the group of individuals showing off their different vehicles. His vehicle, a Vela mobile, looks somewhat like a hybrid between a rocket ship and a bicycle.
“It’s peddle powered with an electric assist,” said Gay when asked how his vehicle worked. “If you’re going up a big hill it’s nice to get a little extra power.”
Gay said he loves to ride his Vela everywhere and takes every opportunity to show it off.
Everyone at the show agreed that an interest in electric cars was a very interesting hobby and many of the participants said they had been involved with electric sustainability since they were young.
Greg Robie said that his interest in electric cars started when he was little but had to be put off in order to pursue a career.
More than just a hobby, Robie explained that he enjoyed working with electric vehicles because he was able to educate others about the good they do for the environment.
“We have to get more people aware that they don’t need to be spending a ton of money every week on gasoline,” said Robie.
Robie explained that he was lucky enough to pursue this hobby after retirement. “It got to the point where I was able to ask myself, what do I want to do for fun?” Robie said. “And I realized it was this.”
By Rachael Bentley
Upon arriving at CCSU’s campus on Family Day, I was surprised to notice that there were very few people on campus. The Student Center was quiet as a tomb, and there were very few people walking around. Soon enough my family and I came across Vance Lawn, which is where a large portion of the festivities were to be held, only to see a few tents pitched, some tables for sitting down and two microphones set up for the entertainment.
The “Back Yard Games” that were advertised around campus the week before consisted of sand art, troll games, an inflatable rock-climing wall with a 100 pound weight limit, and some lawn games. The RECentral tent was giving away free temporary tattoos and travel sized deodorant and there was a balloon contortionist. I even spotted a table filled with a CCSU sorority chapter, but it was unclear what they were actually doing.
Having brought my mother, father and two 14-year-old siblings, I was at a loss as to what they could do. After a half an hour of waiting in line to create a sand creation with my sister, salvation came in the form of an all male a capella group. After two minutes it was obvious that whoever was in charge of working the sound board was unable to get the settings right because the feedback was louder than the actual singers.
My family lasted all of half an hour before they decided to go home. I couldn’t actually blame them, seeing as how every booth was catered towards five-year-olds. Especially since we found out we had to pay for the food at the event. It seemed bizarre to me that no one thought,
“Hey, what are the college kids and adults going to do at this event?”
At other colleges around the country family day is considered one of the biggest events of the year, and they take the oppertunity to show off their school very seriously. It seems that CCSU dropped the ball in this regard, and I’m afraid my parents think I am one of a handful of students that actually go to this school based on this weekends turnout.
By Eric Bedner
While the large group of gamers, seated at the couches in the Student Center, have found their niche in society, they often find it difficult to escape the similar labels they experienced in high school.
“There was an immediate connection,” said senior, Patrick Willkinson, a Communications major. Willkinson’s sentiment is shared with nearly all of the so-called “couch people,” who more often than not, were considered by others to be outcasts in their respective high schools.
“In high school I didn’t have many friends, and now I have a ton of friends who all have similar interests,” said junior, Emily Dombroski, a Biology major.
The interest in numerous computer and console games is a contributing factor to the comradery in the group, but Magic: The Gathering is the most popular game, by far. Magic, the first game of its kind, is a card based game, derived from other fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, with approximately 12 million players worldwide.
There are some commonalities among the group members. One being that although they played the game while they were in high school, they rarely, if ever, played where their peers could see them. Many went to card shops or events to avoid the ridicule they may have received otherwise.
Junior, Frank Gialluca, a psychology major, says he is one of the few exceptions. While attending University High School of Science and Engineering, Gialluca had a group of friends that he would play with, and said that 99 percent of people in my high school played Magic.
Magic players and other gamers were clearly far more accepted at his high school. Again, this is the exception.
In general, people noticed the “couchies” very early on in their career at CCSU. Their position in the Student Center makes them hard to miss to passersby, and gives those with similar interests a wide, accepting door to walk through.
Bethany Kiefer, a student at Tunxis Community College, met her boyfriend, senior, Nick Lowe, a biology major, at the couches. They have been going out for two years, and he taught her to play Magic.
“At some point in our lives, we didn’t belong anywhere,” said Kiefer. Even in their group there are cliques. According to the group, some of the complaints were that people could be loud and disrespectful, leaving large amounts of trash on the tables, only to be cleaned every night by the custodians.
Even though, at times, there may be some personality conflicts, the ridicule many of the “couchies” have experienced affords them empathy.
“They come in because they don’t fit in,” said Kiefer. “And we don’t want to push them away.”
The CCSU Memes Facebook page is a place where the term “couch critters” is often used. The amount of posts mocking the group are too numerous to count. They include various posts implying that the “couchies” are dirty, odorous people, and Jonathan Pare claims that he left the University to avoid such mockery.
While there are minor conflicts, they tend to be ended relatively quickly. There are, however, exceptions, such as the debate that started over who was the best captain of the Enterprise. The jury is still out.
Often the so-called “nerds,” people criticized for their intellect, are ostracized from “mainstream” society, affording them the ability to empathize with others. Their relative isolation can also help them to hone their particular skills, in the same way it enabled Bill Gates, the king of the nerds, to write the program for Windows. Time will tell who the outcasts of society truly are.
By Tyler Scott
The faculty art exhibit in Maloney Hall kicked off Thursday afternoon with crowds of people filling the second floor gallery.
The myriad of different works on display were accompanied by talks from artists Terry Feder, Ron Todd, and Charles Menoche.
The variety of pieces featured in the exhibition encompassed the diversity of visual arts. Those who attended the opening reception that took place 4-7 p.m., orbited around sculptures in the room and pictures on the wall.
There was a feeling of “randomness” due to the lack of a prevailing theme. Political works were juxtaposed with portraits and landscapes, which did not seem to bother the equally ecliptic students and teachers observing them.
Terry Feder had 3 works on display; ‘Flowers’, ‘Candy’, and ‘Birds’. She went into detail explaining her piece, ‘Birds.’ Made with oil paint on a canvas wrapped in aluminium, the painting featured a metal pitcher with red and green birds flowing out. The piece expressed how nature cannot be contained by modern technology.
“Writing teachers tell us to write about what we know and love, I believe it should be the same for visual arts,” said Feder.
Ron Todd and Charles Menoche presented their project, ‘ANT,’ a 3 minute video loop of a swarming ant colony in the desert with a surreal, ambient audio component. The artists explained the tedious, and sometimes dangerous, means by which they filmed the colony. They related the hazards of working with the ants and encounters with scorpions.
The audio track played behind it provided an anxious tone to the video. Menoche went into detail about the different audio programs he used to synthesize the track. Todd told the audience process of selecting the various sounds they used. The artist team incorporated more synthetic sounds to acquire the eerie tone and rejected a lot of organic sounds. When put together with the video, the sound provided a sense of motion that blended with the video zooming in and out on the bustling colony of ants.
Other works on display included a huge piece by Mark Stapthy, called ‘Berlin Turnpike 1848.’ The wide picture, crafted from distemper on paper, added a localised touch to the mix of art.
Adam Niklewicz contributed a rotating sculpture constructed from the remains of a chicken soup. Niklewicz arranged the chicken bones into a sculpture that balanced on an overturned glass pot top.
In the center of the gallery, Vincente Garcia’s ‘Steel Disk’ sculpture stood. The intricate metal work filled the room nicely, as people circled it to move about the gallery.
The artwork will be on display through Oct 11, 1-4 p.m. Monday- Friday. Anyone can stop by the second floor of Maloney Hall to experience the diversity of modern art and the incredible talent of the faculty that run CCSU’s Art Department.
By Danny Contreras
“We’re more than just a band and its fans. We’re family,” said Corey Taylor in between songs, pumping the Comcast Theatre crowd.
Slipknot closed Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival after The Meadows were battered by a thunderstorm. Heavy metal cannot describe the intensity of this festival. The two smaller stages contained some of the leading acts in the industry with Dirtfedd, As I Lay Dying and whitechapel opening a chaotic day.
Danger filled the day. Amidst the heavy crowd, rain poured throughout, and the audience had to seek shelter due to an impending thunderstorm, with cloud to ground lightning, slowly making its way to Hartford.
Slipknot took the stage at 9:15 PM, following a Satanic set by metal gods, Slayer. Thrash pumped everyone in the crowd up before a video with Anthrax’s Scott Ian asking: “are you ready, maggots?” the endearing term by which Slipknot refers to its fans. And how could anyone argue otherwise when bodies just amassed everywhere in the Comcast Theatre?
Opening with “(sic)” Slipknot got down and dirty from the beginning. Dropped tuned guitars machine gunned for fifteen minutes as they made their way through their earlier songs. “Wait and Bleed” played fourth; the crowd echoing Corey Taylor’s melodic voice, as the extra percussion provided by Shawn and Chris, thundered along with the light show nature provided the audience.
The band wore red jumpsuits similar to the ones they wore during Iowa. The masks had changed for about 50% of the band members, with half of them wearing their Vol. 3 get ups, and the other wearing masks from the self-titled and All Hope is Gone.
Midway through their fourteen song set, a dark interlude akin of gothic metal bands lowered the intensity and gave the band the chance to sing one of their darker songs, “Gently.” Dropping from above, white confetti mimicked fragments of skin which glistened with the yellow and purple lights. Corey dropped his microphone and kneeled, yelling low notes from a short distance to the microphone. Sid withdrew himself from the throng and sampled distorted voices. The demons had been summoned. “Gently” transitioned into “Vermillion.” Obsessions were burned on the pyre as the creepy chorus was sang by the audience and the band members: “She isn’t real. I can’t make her real.”
Then, everyone present had to face a daunting, painful memory: the death of Paul Gray, a founding member, and bassist. The background changed to reflect his number, #2. The air stood still, and the audience knew why. Chaos incarnate was only words away. “I push my fingers into my eyes,” and the crowd sang along in memory of Gray. Reminiscent of the music video, “Duality” started with slow moving audience members ready to tear everything apart. People started hugging each other, arm in arms, swaying to a decaying rhythm, the only thing that made all the maggots feel part of the Slipknot family. This wasn’t just a concert. This was a ritual—a rite of passage for fans because doing this “is the only that slowly stops the ache.”
Unfortunately, things had to come to an end. But still, this whole concert, the very first one in Hartford since Paul Gray’s death, needed to end with the exorcising of demons and so the best way to honor a man, and save ourselves from personal destruction was to “Spit it Out.”
In search of a concert record, Taylor commanded every audience and band member to get down on the ground. A grenade had been thrown and we needed to avoid it by “jumping the f*ck up.” And we all obediently agreed. He rapped his way through the chorus, then the bridge, then he commanded us to jump. That split second of clean air, felt like a realization of a dream. And right after everyone headbanged.
And while it may have been an amazing ending, the band needed to get a message straight. A message of solidarity: you’re not alone, and you will get through it. “People = S#!T,” and “Surfacing” played after as conclusions to an epic journey. What a blissful moment.
The sky lit up to the voices of the fans and the band members. The ecstasy had run its course, and coming down felt bad. This is one thing one can experience every day; a dangerous drug with everlasting side effects. But one that we cannot blame addicts for choosing. This band provided an escape for all its fans. And before the band said good-bye, Corey needed to warn everyone. Warn the world that things, no matter how bad they seemed, “were just beginning.” Oh, 2013 will be a great year for maggots.