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The Charger Bulletin

More Tracks, More Options

by Elissa Sanci | January 28, 2015

The department opens more doors for incoming students, with the introduction of six new specialized major “tracks.”

The Department of Communication is primarily located in Maxcy Hall (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin Photo)

The Department of Communication is primarily located in Maxcy Hall (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin Photo)

The University of New Haven Communication, Film and Media Studies Department has added six new tracks to the pre-existing communication major.

Students are now able to take a specific track when entering the major; these tracks include Journalism, Public Relations, TV Video Production, Film Production, Digital Communication and Interpersonal Communication.

Previously, students were only able to take one of two paths within the communication major: Bachelor of Science, which took a TV and Film production path, and Bachelor of Arts, which focused more on the writing, journalism and public relations aspect of communication.

These new tracks tailor to the students’ interests in a way the old system didn’t; students are now required to take less mandatory credits, allowing them to develop a minor or a double major, which proved to be difficult in the past.

“For the past 40 years, we’ve only had two tracks,” said Dr. Steve Raucher, chair of the department. “That was good for while we were growing, but now we want to expand the program.”

UNH’s Communication Department focuses on experiential learning, and gives students a hands-on experience to help them develop their skills and passions. The department offers plenty of opportunities for its student to learn firsthand how to use radio, film and TV equipment, as well as the opportunity to practice their writing and public relations skills with outside professionals.

“We provide an education that’s crucial to an informed society,” Raucher said of the communication major.

Bryan Lane, a communication professor, said the UNH Communication Department has many qualities that set it apart from other universities. UNH’s program has faculty with past experiences in the field, has a focus on hands-on experience and has a student run radio station and film studio.


Make-A-Wish grants a rocking wish

by Samantha Mathewson | December 10, 2014

Adrian Laureano was granted his wish Dec. 7 to sing with Disney Channel stars Austin and Ally in L.A. Dec. 11. UNH students and many others gathered to celebrate with him and make him feel like a true rock star. 

Adrian Laureano singing alongside his mother, Jasmine Gonzalez, and his brother, Josue Alvarez  (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

Adrian Laureano singing alongside his mother, Jasmine Gonzalez, and his brother, Josue Alvarez
(Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

Adrian Laureano got to be a “rock star” for a day, as he was granted his wish from Make-A-Wish on Dec. 7, at Karaoke Heroes in downtown New Haven.

Adrian, 5 years old, was granted his wish to sing a song with Austin and Ally, and will be traveling to Los Angeles on Dec. 11 to do just that.

“I’m excited,” said Adrian, whose favorite singers are Disney Channel stars, Austin, played by Ross Lynch, and Ally, played by Laura Marano, who star in their own TV show, Austin & Ally. Adrian started off his party by singing a Lynch original, “Better Than This.”

Family and friends gathered to celebrate the granting of his wish, along with students from the University of New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, Glastonbury High School, sisters of Zeta Phi Beta and brothers of Iota Phi Beta. Everyone acted as Adrian’s paparazzi, cheering as he arrived, asking to take selfies with him and to sign autographs to make him feel like a true rock star.

Adrian was also accompanied by two UNH students, Matt Redding and Dylan Jones, who acted as his bodyguards during the party.

“We’re just very thankful for everyone who came out to support us. We didn’t expect it to be like this,” said Adrian’s mother, Jasmine Gonzalez. “It means a lot; it’s unexplainable and very touching.”
After his opening act, students and guests in the audience helped him sing along to songs including “Roar” and “Firework,” by Katy Perry, and taught Adrian how to do the Cupid Shuffle.

“Even though I only played a small role in making this adorable little boy’s wish come true, I felt honored,” said sophomore Jessica Bradt. “It was really nice to see a smile on his face as we all applauded and cheered for him as he walked in and sang for us.”

Adrian was diagnosed with moderate to persistence asthma, tracheomalacia and gerd at six months old. Due to his illnesses, he takes two inhalers at night, along with two medications, and has to use a ventilator for five to ten minutes before going to sleep.

“It’s hard. It’s all year long and worse during the winter and spring because of allergens,” said Gonzalez. “He gets croup cough, and that’s when I have to send him to the hospital to get steroids to open up his airway.”

Adrian Laureano got to rock out with family and friends (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

Adrian Laureano got to rock out with family and friends
(Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

Shelissa Newball, assistant director of office of student activities at UNH, along with her fellow Wish Granter Jennifer Canebari, arranged Adrian’s party and wish.

“It is a very unique wish,” said Canebari, who said she had to look up who Austin and Ally were.

Adrian and his family will also spend a day at Universal Studios while in Los Angeles.

“It makes me cry sometimes to think that his wish is coming true, and it’s something his family will remember,” said Newball, who has been with Make-A-Wish for less than a year. This is the sixth wish she has granted.

Newball had to contact the venue and all the attendees when planning Adrian’s party.

“Karaoke Heroes donated the venue,” said Newball. “They were so generous in everything they did, and every student contacted jumped at the opportunity.”

“As soon as Shelissa contacted me I knew we would absolutely participate,” said Meghan Boudreau, general manager of Karaoke Heroes.

Karaoke Heroes also knew that Adrian was a Spiderman fan and gave him Siderman toys upon his arrival.

Along with the gift from Karaoke Heroes, Aetna health insurance gave a travel package and the Undergraduate Student Government Association of UNH awarded Adrian a proclamation for his unwavering courage.

“Today’s experience was awesome,” said Adrian’s father, Adaberto Rivera. “He’s [Adrian] very bright and smart, and loves singing and dancing. He always has lots of energy.”

Student solidarity

by Kaitlin Mahar | December 3, 2014

Students Show Support and Stand in Solidarity for Ferguson during a peaceful protest in the Maxcy Quad on Dec. 1. 

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” These were the cries that refrained through Maxcy Quad as student protestors congregated to partake in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case Monday, Dec. 1.

Students partaking in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case   (Photo by Kaitlin Mahar/Charger Bulletin photo)

Students partaking in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case
(Photo by Kaitlin Mahar/Charger Bulletin photo)

On Monday, Nov. 24, Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 17, in Ferguson, Mo. The grand jury’s failure to find probable cause that a criminal act occurred on Aug. 9, 2014, the day Brown was shot, immediately sparked protests and demonstrations all over the world.

Brown’s family released a statement the next day, Tuesday, Nov. 25, addressing the protestors: “We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.”

Inspired by the Brown’s press release, Scott X. Esdaile, the President of the Connecticut NAACP, advocated for peaceful protests in Brown’s honor, and University of New Haven students, led by senior Ronald Pierce, UNH’s NAACP president, took part in the national protest.

“I got information today about a campus walkout for you to lead your class out at 1:01 p.m., the time Mike Brown was killed, to show solidarity and protest and show that this was not okay,” said Pierce, 21. “I didn’t initially know about it—I just heard and quickly got something together.”

Despite the short notice, Pierce’s protest had over thirty participants, who met in the middle of Maxcy Quad with their hands up, as Pierce simultaneously fielded questions from the media and led the protest. While the participants’ specific reasons for protesting differed, they all could agree on one thing: Mike Brown would not be forgotten.

“We, the vocal underprivileged group, wanted to ban together in order to promote justice for all lives affected by gun violence and police brutality,” said senior Antoinette Gardner.

Social media played a big role in the protest too, as protestors got the word out about the demonstration through Facebook, Twitter, and email, and many wanted to combat the online negativity encircling the Ferguson controversy.

“When you see all the ignorant comments posted on social media, it genuinely makes me proud to stand out here and fight for what I believe,” said Es-pranza Humphrey, Assistant Secretary of UNH’s NAACP.

Tyjee Williams, Vice President of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, agreed. “Everyday, you see different videos on social media about police doing their jobs wrong. It upsets everyone that nothing is being done about this subject,” Williams said. “There will not be any peace until something is done.”

While some student protestors, such as Bridget Koestner, a junior, did not have a direct connection to the protest through their respective clubs and organizations, many came out just to show their support.

“I’m here as an ally,” said Koestner, 20. “I think that our generation needs to be the change, and I’m here to be a part of that.”

For more information or to show your support, feel free to follow the trending topic #HandsUpDontShoot on social media.

Rocky Horror left audiences shivering with anticipation

by Elissa Sanci | November 18, 2014

The UNH Theater Program left the audience in tears of laughter with their racy rendition of The Rocky Horror Show.

Tyler Prigionieri played Riff Raff in UNH’s The Rocky Horror Show (Photo by Keegan O’Connor/Backstage crew)

Tyler Prigionieri played Riff Raff in UNH’s The Rocky Horror Show
(Photo by Keegan O’Connor/Backstage crew)

The University of New Haven Theater Program’s production of The Rocky Horror Show premiered on Nov. 12 in Bucknall Theater at 8 p.m.

The musical, directed by Jonathan Yukich, was a success and even garnered a standing ovation. The Rocky Horror Show, a musical written by Richard O’Brien, has captured audiences since its inception in the early 1970s. The musical is a humorous tribute to science fiction and horror films produced in the 1940s. It tells the story of a newly engaged couple who find refuge from a storm in the home of a mad transvestite scientist and his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky.

The theater program’s take of the cult musical classic, which features songs “Sweet Transvestite” and “Time Warp,” showed five times: Nov. 12, 13, 14, and 15 at 8 p.m. and again on Nov. 14 at 11:30 p.m.

The cast, made up mostly of seniors, included David Ransbottom as Brad Majors, Shannon Whitaker as Janet Weiss, Tyler Prigionieri as Riff Raff and Leann Boisvert as his sister, Magenta. Zachary Fontanez sported fishnet stockings and heels as Frank ‘N’ Furter and Joshua Dill donned a gold speedo as Rocky. Zachary Smith-Grabko narrated the show, delivering hilarious insight throughout the night.

Prigionieri, who played Riff Raff in the show, has been involved in four shows with the UNH Theater Program, but says Rocky Horror was his favorite.

“The script in general was a challenge for me as an actor,” Prigionieri said. “I really had to appreciate and understand the text in order to present the Riff Raff I did on stage. It was a challenge that brought me to realize how much I really do have a passion for the theatre; Riff Raff was a pleasure to perform.”

Audience participation was encouraged at the 11:30 p.m. performance on Nov. 14. Keychain flashlights were attached to the back of each seat in Bucknall Theater for audience members to wave during the performance of “Over at the Frankenstein Place.” The audience was also invited on stage after the curtain call to dance the “Time Warp” with the cast and crew.

The cast and crew had been working on this show since Sept. 4 under the direction of Yukich, rehearsing for long hours in Bucknall Theater.

“The crew began initial work on the set, such as bringing in lumber, collecting and creating props and working on measurements on Sept. 25,” said Keegan O’Connor, a member of the cast who helped build and paint the set for Rocky Horror. O’Connor has been part of thirteen shows both with UNH and within her community at home.

The Rocky Horror Show cast  (Photo Keegan O’Connor)

The Rocky Horror Show cast (Photo Keegan O’Connor)

“My favorite part was seeing how well the set came together and how creatively the actors and the director, Jonathan Yukich, used the space our set designer, Heather Konish, came up with,” O’Connor said. “It was incredible to see the original design of the set and how it made the most of such a small stage; in only two months, the crew was able to make the design come to life and that was really fun to watch it go from a pile to wood to a functioning laboratory!”

The show had many memorable moments and the crowd howling with laughter. “My favorite part of Rocky Horror was when Dr. Scott reveals his fishnet stockings and red pumps!” said Prigionieri. “Such a great comedic response.”

UNH’s production of The Rocky Horror Show was a success. The actors brought Richard O’Brien’s cult classic to life and worked in harmony to keep the audience laughing.

Students petition the phasing out of graduate education program

by Samantha Mathewson | November 12, 2014

Information of a proposed phase-out of the graduate education program was announced Friday, Nov. 7, as a result of the university’s Charging Forward intiative. Members of the department have since petitioned the proposal in attempts to keep the graduate program alive and flourishing at UNH. 

Changes were expected, but that doesn’t mean that the campus community will accept them without a fight. Students petition the recent decision of Dean Lourdes Alvarez of the College of Arts and Sciences; President Steven Kaplan; Board of Governors Chair, Philip Bartels; and Dan May, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, to phase out the Graduate Education Program at the University of New Haven.

The student-organized petition was started by graduate Stacey Frizzle on on Friday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m.

“As a UNH undergraduate alumni and current graduate student, it saddens me to hear of this decision. I spent many weekends as an undergraduate advocating for this program to groups of potential UNH students during information sessions,” said Frizzle in her petition. “This type of program is almost unheard of with small class sizes, one year completion length, and the integration of full time teaching internship. The program offered by the university prepares students in a way that few other schools in the country are able to do so.”

There are currently 1,195 signatures, but there is an average of about 400 per day. There is no set requirement for number of signatures the petition must obtain; however, the goal is 3,803.

“Administration has just said that they will consider any contributions. The more signatures, the better,” said Frizzle.

The petition explains that UNH is unique in offering an internship program, capstone program, and 4+1 program for education. Many undergraduate students have chosen to attend the University of New Haven specifically with the intention of entering the M.S. Education program. Removing this program not only diminishes the size of the graduate student body, but also deters undergraduate students from enrolling at this school. Undergraduates currently enrolled in the 4+1 program may decide to transfer to another institution to complete their Bachelor’s degrees.

Under the 4+1 program, students pay for a four-year undergraduate education and get a get a free fifth-year master’s degree and become eligible to obtain teaching certificate, complete with teaching internships, which essentially is paid for by the school districts where they serve their internships.​

Frizzle also stated in the petition that she has worked with many teachers who have graduated from the education program at UNH.

“They are, without a doubt, some of the most well-rounded, qualified, and in-demand teachers in the state of Connecticut. Many of these graduates have earned teaching jobs at top ranked public school.”

In lieu of the petition, graduate student Kirstin Surdej posted on Facebook after signing the petition, stating, “The University of New Haven wants to get rid of the highly competitive, cost-effective program I just received my Masters from. This program was the only reason I considered, and ultimately decided on, UNH as a potential school. I find it disgraceful that for all of UNH’s raving about an ‘experiential education’ they’re attempting to get rid of a program that requires over 4,000+ hours of fieldwork for completion. Please sign this petition, if only to ensure that other students who are passionate about education have the same opportunity that I did!”

Surdej finished her required coursework in June, but is planning to participate in Winter Commencement this January. Surdej is currently student teaching, which she explained is the next step after completing the Master’s coursework, and is required for state certification.

“It’s a 13 week placement under the guide of a mentor teacher and it’s a wonderful experience,” said Surdej. “I felt prepared for my placement as a student teacher after my coursework, but the 4,000 hours I’d already spent in a school during my internship increased my confidence in handling the stuff they can’t teach you in classes, like how to build trusting relationships with your students or how to handle social incidents between students. The 4+1 program allowed me to see a variety of school systems and grades, but it also allowed me to really focus on implementing content and running the whole school day by the time I got to student teaching, because I’d already been given a chance to practice handling the other stuff.”

President Kaplan has responded to the petition, stating that, “First of all, I want to assure you that this is probably the most difficult decision I have had to make in the 11 years of my presidency at UNH, primarily for many of the reasons you outline in your very thoughtful messages. I do not question the quality of the program or the fact that UNH has produced many exceptional educators. We are very proud of the impact and reputation of our program. Nevertheless, an 18-month-long, data-intensive review of all academic and non-academic units at UNH by task forces composed of faculty and staff made it clear that it was imperative for the long-term success of the University that we begin to seriously prioritize which programs would receive current or enhanced funding and which programs would be restructured or phased out. Unfortunately, education is one of the few programs that will most likely fall under the latter category.”

The “data-intensive review” mentioned above is an initiative of Charging Forward, which is a multi-year period intended to shift resources away from programs that are no longer adequately contributing to the university’s success, in order to make additional investments in programs that are performing exceptionally well.

However, Nancy Niemi, professor and chair of the education department, stated in an email sent out on Nov. 7, that closing the Education Department was not the recommendation of the Charging Forward task force. Instead, she stated, the recommendation was to restructure the finances of the Initial Certification Program, continue the Sixth Year Certificate in Instructional Technologies to attract even more students, and that the 4+1 program be given more resources to function with even more power.

“Unfortunately, the administrators of the university chose to recommend closing our program instead, claiming that teacher preparation has no place at a private institution like ours,” said Niemi. “As a department that consistently trains some of the most in-demand teachers in the state, we are devastated by this decision, and feel deeply saddened that our university chooses not to believe in the worthiness of having a teacher preparation program. We have one week to prove that, internally and externally, we are worth keeping and hold enough value for the university that our resources are warranted–that a school founded on professional education needs a department like ours.”

Over the past five years, the number of students enrolled in the teacher preparation program has declined by almost two-thirds; causing operation costs of the program to exceed the income from tuition.

“It seems the so-called marketplace is telling us that there is a very limited demand for our program,” said President Kaplan in his response to the petition. “I should add that there are a number of public universities in the region that have a longstanding mission of providing high-quality graduate teacher education programs and will likely continue to do so.”

While other schools do have similar programs, Surdej explained that, “the principals of both schools that I’ve served in have told me how wonderful the students they get from UNH are. Losing this program isn’t just bad for the university; it will reduce placements in the numerous districts UNH has partnered with over the years. Schools often look to hire former interns and student teachers when positions open, if we close the program, there will be a smaller pool to hire from and more students spending money at competing institutions instead of ours!”

President Kaplan looks to do what is in the best long-term interest of the University as a whole. “I have a deep sense of respect for those who have graduated from our program and for the faculty who have taught them, but this respect must by necessity be tempered by my obligation to all of our students – past, present and future – to ensure that the University of New Haven invests in those programs that through the aforementioned comprehensive prioritization process have been identified as being able to contribute most directly to the university’s goal of becoming one of the best comprehensive universities in the Northeast.”

If the graduate education program is phased out, current graduate students will still be able to complete their programs of study, however no new admissions would be accepted after Jan. 1, 2015.

This possible change has caused senior John Foti to reconsider his future graduate school options. “As a senior who has always thought about attending graduate school for education, this is comes as a surprise to me,” said Foti. “I recently spoke with faculty who oversee the graduate education program to talk about my future application and how the university could provide me with not only the education, but also with the tools to be a great educator down the road. When considering graduate schools and where I’d attend, UNH instantly was the number one choice because of a number of reasons. One, because the program has had wonderful success and two, by attending UNH for graduate school, I’d still be able to be connected to the community, university and memories that I have already experienced here, that have without a doubt prepared me and will assist me in my future aspirations.”

“The University has never been financially stronger, and the timing has never been better for us to be good stewards of the University’s proud history by responding to the marketplace as UNH has always done and, thus, strategically planning for the University’s future,” said President Kaplan in his response, and thanking those who have expressed their concern, assuring them that, “I take this matter very seriously and will consider all points of view before our Board of Governors votes on this matter this coming Friday.”

The petition can be found at All signatures must be collected by Friday, Nov. 14, on which date the board plans to meet again.

Expanding UNH’s college atmosphere

by Samantha Mathewson | October 29, 2014

David Beckerman recently purchased the previously owned Carroll Furniture building located on Boston Post Rd, across the street from the University of New Haven, creating a convenient off-campus housing option for students in the future.

The previous Carroll Furniture building, located .3 miles from campus will soon house UNH students (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

The previous Carroll Furniture building, located .3 miles from campus will soon house UNH students (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin photo)

“It is our goal to continue to support and build a college atmosphere within Allingtown,” said David Beckerman, who has invested in a three-phase project to revitalize areas surrounding UNH and build apartments with UNH students in mind.

“We welcome the potential to lease space to students,” said Beckerman, in regards to the three apartment complexes planning to be built within the next two to three years. However, they will also be available to the general public to rent.

The Atwood, which spans 40,128 square feet, will feature 30 apartments total: 26 two-bedroom/two bathrooms, which can house up to four people; and four one bedroom/one bathroom apartments.

“It will mirror a New York loft apartment, with exposed wooden beams and pipes, and some brick walls,” said Beckerman. “It’ll be neat.”

Of the 30 apartments, three will be handicap accessible. The apartments have hardwood floors with a carpeted living room, an updated kitchen, equipped with stainless steel appliances, including a stove, microwave and dishwasher, and granite countertops.

“David’s investment down there is really great,” said Synodi. “It is the first private money going into Allingtown and it will fix the intersection, so it is safer to cross roads leading to the Carroll furniture.”

Synodi also said, while these projects will happen over time, they have the potential to increase the student body accepted at UNH.

The Atwood apartment complex will have two elevators, cable and Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heat, a securely lit parking lot with full time 24-hour security and controlled access, maintenance, concierge service, available washer and dryers and rental furniture will be available. There will also be a community common room with a TV, pool table, computers and a coffee station.

The Atwood project is expected to be completed Fall of 2015; however, Beckerman explained that “it all depends on the harshness of this years’ winter season.”

If you are interested in renting an apartment in the Atwood complex, visit to put your name on the waiting list, which some UNH students already have their names on. “Initial interest has been positive,” said Beckerman.

Prices of renting at The Atwood range from $1,200/month for a one bedroom and $2,100/month for a two bedroom. “Rates are competitive with what the university charges,” said Beckerman, who noted the additional incising factors of Atwood, including security, one block from UNH and parking.

“Clearly location is an advantage; we are less than a mile from the VA hospital and Yale-New Haven Hospital,” said Beckerman, who explained that could also increase possible inquiries. “Atwood is a catalyst for change in Allingtown.”

The second phase of Beckerman’s project is The Taft, which has an expected completion date of Summer 2016. This apartment complex features three floors of 20 apartments. There will be 14 two bedroom/two bathroom and six one bedroom/one bathroom apartments. This apartment complex will be connected by Hi-Line to The Atwood.

The third phase is Clock Crossing and has an expected completion date of Fall of 2017/Spring of 2018. Clock Crossing will be built on the land that previously housed the West Have Forest Theatre, but will be built into a four-story apartment complex, with 45 two bedroom/two bathroom apartments and 15 one bedroom/one bathroom apartments.

“I think the investment in Allingtown, relating to the proximity of UNH, is long overdue,” said Beckerman.

The Atwood is the first of a three-phase plan to create a college atmosphere is Allingtown  (Photo obtained via

The Atwood is the first of a three-phase plan to create a college atmosphere is Allingtown
(Photo obtained via

The apartment complexes also provide opportunities for retail, which will promote the creation of a college atmosphere. “We’re bringing a new town,” said Beckerman who explained the space could hold anything from restaurants to clothing stores.

The Atwood has 2,000 square feet of available retail space, while The Taft has 6,000 square feet and Clock Crossing has 18,000 square feet.

“The university has committed to being supportive with Charger Cash,” said Beckerman in regards to potential retail that would be housed in any of the apartment complexes.

Any retail that develops in the upcoming complexes would accept Charger Cash, bringing in more university related customers.

In addition to the contribution of UNH’s recreation center, Beckerman had previously invested in what is now Bergami Hall. Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, George Synodi, explained that while UNH owned the land Bergami stands on, it was leased out to Beckerman who built New Hall at the time, which was then, in return, leased to UNH to house students. It was later bought and renamed by Bergami in July of 2012.

“We feel UNH students are worthwhile to invest it,” said Beckerman. “The direction of the university is positive.”

Dancing with the undead

by The Charger Bulletin | October 22, 2014

St. Jude Up til Dawn hosted the Zombie Prom in the Beckerman Rec Center on Friday, Oct. 17, to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital.

Lauren Granato and Joshua Richards posing at Zombie Prom 2014 (Photo provided by UNH Photography Club)

Lauren Granato and Joshua Richards posing at Zombie Prom 2014 (Photo provided by UNH Photography Club)

The event was structured as a high school prom, with food, photos, and fun. Guests were encouraged to come as zombies and ghouls to “scare away cancer” and celebrate Halloween. The Undead paid $2 for admission while those who came as normally dressed humans paid $3. Humans were able to channel their inner zombie by getting their make-up done at the make-up booth.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility that aims to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric diseases through research and treatment. As stated as part of their mission statement, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

At St. Jude, families never have to worry about the bill—the hospital funds treatment, travel, housing, food and research conducted because “all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”

St. Jude shares all the breakthroughs they make worldwide, and treatments invented at the facility have helped raise the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since opening its door in 1962.

The University of New Haven chapter of St. Jude Up til Dawn has been on the UNH campus for the past seven years, and has been hosting Zombie Prom for the last three in an effort to raise money and awareness for St. Jude.

“I think Zombie Prom is a campus tradition that draws a broad audience—fighting childhood cancer is something that everyone can relate to,” said Colby Thammavongsa, former internal director of the UNH chapter of St. Jude Up til Dawn. “Zombie prom is a great way to support the hospital because it’s a seasonal theme that interests everyone.”

Several co-sponsors collaborated with St. Jude Up til Dawn to run the dance, including the Paranormal Investigation Research Organization, the Photo Club and WNHU Radio Station.

PIRO provided the decorations the Halloween spirit. Victoria Sanborn, president of PIRO, was very enthusiastic about helping at this event. “Zombies are up our alley,” she said.

Throughout the rest of October, there will be several PIRO Sponsored events. Such events include a Harvest Party, psychic readings, and the Costume Ball on Oct. 31.

The Photo Club set up a photo booth for guests to remember this night of the living dead.

“Up til Dawn has asked us to do it, and we were happy to help out,” Lauren Granato, president of the Photo Club, said.

2014 Zombie Prom attendees  (Photo provided by UNH Photography Club)

2014 Zombie Prom attendees
(Photo provided by UNH Photography Club)

The photo backdrop was decorated with caution tape, pumpkins and yellow and green lights to add to the spooky atmosphere. Photos will be available on their Facebook page, within the fourth week of October.

WNHU played music of both popular and Halloween genres. Tony Bonano, a member of WNHU, enjoyed maintaining the equipment and dancing on the dance floor. WNHU will be opening up their new station location on Ruden Street on Oct. 25.

Over 80 people were in attendance and the dance raised over $150, all of which goes to St. Jude Hospital. The “best dressed” zombie award was presented to Josh Richards and Amanda Sudowsky.
“I’m just so happy I won Female Best Costume of the night,” Sudowsky said.

Zombie Prom is one of the many fundraising events that will lead up to St. Jude Up til Dawn’s Finale event on Feb. 28.

The Finale event serves to celebrate the money raised by the chapter throughout the year while still acknowledging the families that stay up all night with their children.

Kristen Merlin returns to UNH

by Elissa Sanci | October 8, 2014

Kristen Merlin wasn’t going to try out for The Voice initially—after being shot down two previous times, she figured it wasn’t worth a third shot. She had a gig planned for the day of the tryout, and figured she’d only go to the audition if she found someone to cover for her.

Kristen Merlin performs at UNH’s Fall Fest (Photo by UNH student John Marden)

Kristen Merlin performs at UNH’s Fall Fest (Photo by UNH student John Marden)

Luck and fate were obviously on Merlin’s side that day; not only did she make it past the first round of auditions, but made it all the way to the big stage, where both Shakira and Adam Levine turned their chairs around for the University of New Haven alumna.

Merlin, one of the finalists on NBC’s reality TV singing competition, came back to her alma mater Fri. Oct. 3 to perform during SCOPE and the Music Industry Club’s Fall Music and Arts Festival.

Fall Fest began at 2 p.m., where MIC held acoustic sets until 4:30 p.m. The concert, held on the Bartels Student Activities Center patio, began at 6 p.m., featuring Ian Biggs, Sparks and the Rescue and ASTR, closing with Merlin.

“It’s awesome being back at UNH,” Merlin said. “So many things on campus have changed but it’s cool because you walk down memory lane; it’s like ‘I dormed in that one, I partied in that one!’”

Merlin, who attended UNH from 2003 to 2007, lived in Botwinik, Sheffield and Winchester Halls during her time on campus. Merlin graduated with a B.A. degree in music and sound recording.
Merlin said her favorite UNH memory was playing in SCOPE’s open mic Beanhouse events, where she would play her original music.

“The only difference [between playing for small audience and playing for large-scale audiences] is the energy in the room; the more bodies, the more energy you feel but the excitement was kinda just the same,” she said. “It was as fun for me to have that intimate crowd as it was to perform at the much larger scale.”

The Voice, which is currently in its seventh season, is based purely on a contestant’s voice; a blind audition involves the four judges listening to contestants with their chairs turned so that they can concentrate on their voices rather than their appearances. The show’s tagline—Close your eyes. Open your ears.—says it all.

“I’m always judged for looks before anything else, so it was really cool and funny to see Shakira’s reaction—she was wicked shocked to see what she turned around to,” said Merlin, who hails from Hanson, Mass. “It’s a great premise; I love the idea of The Voice, especially for me, because I fit the exact premise of it.”

Merlin said that because she was so nervous during her audition, she didn’t realize that both Adam Levine and Shakira had hit their buttons, signifying they both wanted her for their teams and guaranteeing her a spot on the show.

“It really wasn’t setting in until the end of [my audition] when I was like ‘Oh sh*t! They turned! That means this is it, I’m on! Now I get to choose.’”

Merlin initially wanted Blake Shelton as her coach, and after he didn’t turn his chair, had decided to go with Levine. She shocked herself by choosing Shakira. “As I was saying ‘I choose Shakira,’ in my head I was like ‘Whaaat?’” Merlin explained.

Merlin enjoyed working with Shakira throughout her time on The Voice, where she placed fourth. “At one point, I actually ended up mentoring her; she freaked out when we had to do a song together,” she said. “She was freaking out saying ‘It’s not going right,’ and I was like ‘Shak—take a moment. You are Shakira; I don’t know if you know this—you can do anything on stage and people will go crazy. You’re going to be fine.’ I had to, like, talk her off a ledge for a minute.”

Merlin remembered watching artists like Matt Nathanson performing on campus when she was an undergraduate and said that she aspired to tour campuses and perform for students too. “And here I am,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome.” Merlin plans to travel to Los Angeles, Calif. soon to record an EP; she writes all her music and plays acoustic guitar as well.

“Music is my life—I’m sickly addicted to music,” she said.

“Kristen was very personal,” said Chariot Yearbook Editor Annalisa Berardinelli. “She literally hopped over the wires of the BSAC patio and danced with the crowd; she was very cool and down to Earth.”

Derek Watson, president of SCOPE, was very pleased with the turnout of the event. “It was excellent to have Kristen Merlin back as an alumna of UNH.” It was cool to see her interact with the crowd, he added, where she hung out with fans, taking pictures and talking to undergraduates.

“Fall Fest was a great event to foster and cultivate a great sense of community among local artists,” said senior Colby Thammavongsa.

“Don’t ever give up; always chase your dream,” Merlin said to anyone looking to pursue a career in music. “No matter how big or small your goal is, jump at any opportunity you can take. Timing is everything, that’s for sure.”

We’re all HIV Equal

by Francesca Fontanez | October 1, 2014

Bartel’s Alumni Lounge was bustling with people of different backgrounds, races, orientations and ages, all gathered together for one thing on Thurs. Sept 25: HIV equality and awareness!

PRIDE members supporting HIV Equal (Photo obtained via HIV Equal Instagram)

PRIDE members supporting HIV Equal (Photo obtained via HIV Equal Instagram)

HIVequal is an international social media photo campaign created in order to promote testing for HIV, raise awareness and help end the stigma that comes along with HIV.

With the help of Dante Gennaro, the Outreach and Testing Coordinator for World Health Clinicians program, the University of New Haven’s PRIDE organization was able to host an event to do just that.

At the event, students were tested for HIV, and upon waiting for their results, photographed and educated about the disease. They were also provided with resources regarding how to prevent the spread, and the stigma often attached to HIV. Unfortunately, there are more than 225,000 young Americans who are unaware of their HIV positive condition.

In order to put this event together, the club had been actively planning since June.

Overall, the event had a much appreciated turn out of over 200 students; 150 of those were tested.

UNH Students partake in PRIDE’s HIV Equal  (Photos obtained via HIV Equal Instagram)

UNH Students partake in PRIDE’s HIV Equal
(Photos obtained via HIV Equal Instagram)

When asked about the attendance, Amber Crow, PRIDE President stated that she was “floored!”

Additionally, Crow stated how extremely grateful she was for the best club members and for the 18 clubs co-sponsoring the event. There are an exceptional amount of supporters and allies on campus.
“It’s truly incredible,” Crow said.

The campaign’s slogan is “Everybody has an HIV status. We are all HIV equal.”

This event brought together people from all walks of life for education, acceptance and awareness. The ultimate goal is to provide equality and hope for all those affected by the HIV virus, and to remind as many people as possible that acceptance is key.

“After becoming aware of the event, Rich and I decided it would be a good idea to support PRIDE and get tested,” said junior James Kielar.

“I had to wait 15 minutes after eating, but it was a small price to pay for such a wealth of information. I think awareness and information is important for college students, and PRIDE gave the campus community the opportunity to partake in a free and fun way of getting tested. This should definitely be an event that becomes a reoccurance on campus and I hope to see an even bigger turnout next time around.”

Richard Rotella, Undergraduate Student Goverment Association president, also attended the event and believes that tests for sexually transmitted infections are a pertinent subject in today’s society.
“I was more than happy to support such an important campus event, which addresses such a prevalent issue on college campuses,” said Rotella. “It is important to create a sense of equality and not judge one based on a status.”

When asked about any last thoughts in regards to the event, Crow states “Honestly, the campaign says it all; we’re all HIV equal.”

Scholarship Ball raised over $1 Million, setting event record

by The Charger Bulletin | September 24, 2014

By Leah Myers & Samantha Mathewson

University of New Haven alumni set the record for the most money raised at the annual Scholarship Ball last May.

(From left to right) Distinguished Alumni Awardee Dr. Marc Benhuri ‘69 , Distinguished Alumni  Awardee Michael Quiello ‘74, Chairman of the UNH Board of Governors Phil Bartels, UNH  President Steven H. Kaplan, President’s Award Recipient Charles Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA,  and Distinguished Alumni Awardee Alice Gao ‘94 MBA. (Photo obtained via

(From left to right) Distinguished Alumni Awardee Dr. Marc Benhuri ‘69 , Distinguished Alumni
Awardee Michael Quiello ‘74, Chairman of the UNH Board of Governors Phil Bartels, UNH
President Steven H. Kaplan, President’s Award Recipient Charles Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA,
and Distinguished Alumni Awardee Alice Gao ‘94 MBA. (Photo obtained via

Through admittance tickets sales, silent auctions, and scholarship donations that evening, the UNH alumni raised over $1 million dollars at the Scholarship Ball, which is the highest amount they have raised at this event.

The thirty-first Annual Alumni Scholarship Ball was held on Sat, April 12, 2014. This ceremony took place at the David. A Beckerman Recreation Center at 6 p.m. with over 300 people in attendance that evening.

During this event, several of the distinguished donors were honored for their generous donations to UNH. Students that have benefited from UNH scholarships also attended to speak on behalf of the student body.

All of the money raised at the Scholarship Ball directly funds student scholarships, and the ball is one of the prime methods of raising money for student scholarships.

Previously, at the Scholarship Ball in 2013, $862,000 was raised. UNH alumni contribute to over 150 scholarships intended for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Every year, a few outstanding alumni are awarded for their extravagant donations and for their hard work both and dedication at their careers and on campus.

This past year, there were three recipients for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The recipients were Dr. Marc Benhuri ’69, Alice Gao ’94, and Michael Quiello ’74.

Upon recognition, Benhuri, owner of The Benhuri Center for Laser and Implant Dentistry, which was rated “New York’s most sought-after dental facility visited by celebrities, CEOs and foreign dignitaries from around the world,” read from a poem he titled, “What I Have Learned,” which encompassed his gratitude for all UNH has given him.

Gao also reflected on UNH. “My ideas and ideals were shaped at UNH, and the school has truly inspired me to reach for my full potential.”

For Quiello, UNH gave him the tools necessary to compete with the best of the best. “UNH was a springboard for me to be able to fly higher than I ever dreamed.”

The President’s Award, presented by President Steve Kaplan, was awarded to Charlie Pompea ’71, ’90 EMBA. While modest, Pompea said, “I don’t think I have done much. I am just happy to be a part of the vision of the school,” upon receiving his award.

One of the many scholarships that have come to use are the DeNardis Endowed Scholarship and the Emergency Scholarship Fund.

Guest speaker, Jenny Tanski ’14, praised how her peers and UNH have helped her graduate on time and pay off loans with these scholarships at a time of need.
In 2013, Tanski lost her parents in an accident after a blizzard and had little income to follow.

“I was so scared,” said Tanski. “This couldn’t happen to my family. Not us. Not now. Not ever.”

After being stuck inside for three days following a historic blizzard last winter, Tanski was getting cabin fever. So, Tanski and her sister decided they would make a short walk from their Milford home to find something to eat, and they invited their parents.

Jenny Tanski ‘14 with Tammie Pompea, wife of President’s Award winner Charlie Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA  (Photo obtained via

Jenny Tanski ‘14 with Tammie Pompea, wife of President’s Award winner Charlie Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA (Photo obtained via

Since the sidewalks weren’t clear, the four walked in a single file line along Route 1 as close as possible to the snow banks, but the trip turned tragic when a Black SUV came barreling at the group.

Thankfully, Tanski’s younger sister was not hit, and Tanski avoided serious injury, but her parents were not as fortunate.

While Tanski spoke to the audience, she reflected on her college career saying, “You are investing in dreams. In my dreams. In dreams of fellow students who never thought they could achieve so much and strive for even more.”

Tanski majored in criminal justice and graduated in the spring of 2014. She hopes to pursue a career working with troubled adolescents.

President Kaplan explained that the scholarship ball continues to increasingly raise more money each year.

“The reason,” President Kaplan said, “is that people are excited about what is happening here. Donors that have given in the past are giving more because the university is doing so well and they want to see more people have the opportunity to study here. Scholarships enable [the university] to recruit talented students and to retain them.”

“I believe it is important for Alumni to contribute to the University to ensure the institution remains strong into the future and to ensure that deserving students, who otherwise could not afford it, have the opportunity to take advantage of all the University has to offer,” said Paula-Marie Uscilla, assistant general counsel, litigation at United Technologies.

Uscilla graduated from UNH in 1999, with a BS in Sports Management.

Next year’s thirty-second Annual Scholarship Ball will take place on April 18, 2015.

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