Wednesday, April 23, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

Are you Afraid of the ’90s?

by Samantha Mathewson | April 23, 2014

Michele Ann Suttile, a 2006 University of New Haven graduate, is now a working actress currently producing her first independent film, Are You Afraid of The ‘90s?

 

Photo of scene from Are You Afraid of The '90s?, featuring Heather Matarazzo as Jess holding a Gameboy. Photo by Director of Photography Jake Horgan

Photo of scene from Are You Afraid of The ’90s?, featuring Heather Matarazzo as Jess holding a Gameboy. Photo by Director of Photography Jake Horgan

Are You Afraid of The ‘90s? is a short indie comedy about one girl’s quarter-life crisis and how her obsession with the 90s becomes a living nightmare. The film stars Heather Matarazzo from The Princess Diaries and Welcome To The Dollhouse, Kristine Sutherland from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Darren Lipari from Julia and Amber Dreams, Chelsea Marino from The Retreat and The Unknown, and Steve Stapinski from Sporting Dog and The Maiden Heist.

“We have shot half of the film and are fundraising so we can finish the second half, which will include more known ‘90s actors,” said Suttile. “It is a film for our generation; we want twenty-something’s to know they are not alone in dealing with what is being called a ‘quarter-life crisis,’ a painfully relevant phenomenon for the now adult children of the 1990s.”

In Are You Afraid of The ‘90s?, 26-year-old Jessica Russo (Matarazzo) finds herself living back at home with her parents after getting fired from her job, due to a careless and stupid mistake. Her mom had saved dozens of boxes filled with her childhood things, and as she struggles to pull herself out of her quarter-life crisis, she starts to notice her childhood toys appearing in the strangest of places, as if they have a life of their own. Strange turns to stranger until it becomes all too clear: the 90s are out to get her.

When Jessica’s mother Jane (Sutherland) begins rummaging through her childhood toys, Jessica gets sentimental about her childhood; however the toys actually end up haunting her rather than being an escape from her jobless reality. A short “teaser” of their film was shot in December and is now available to the general public on the Afraidofthe90s Youtube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORQiDNqxiHQ.

They were able to fund the first half of filming with their Indiegogo campaign last year; however, in order to raise money to continue filming the second half, Are You Afraid of The ‘90s? producer/writer/director Kate Moran organized the Kickstarter campaign.

Suttile explained Kickstarter is a great crowd-funding platform for creative projects. “We have seen many films and projects find success through this avenue. It is a great way to host a crowdfunding effort and get exposure to so many donors who would otherwise not know about our project.”

The campaign has since ended with success, exceeding their goal of $5,000 with $5,518 raised. “So far we have raised just over $10,000 with thanks to our generous supporters; however, we will still need at least $1,000 to $2,000 more for post-production costs,” said Suttile. Filming of the second half is planned and about to start.

Are You Afraid of The ‘90s? is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, and contributions through Fractured Atlas are tax-deductible and can be made through the Fractured Atlas website (Donors can go to www.fracturedatlas.org and search for Are You Afraid of The 90s? to locate our page and donate). “Donations of any size would be greatly appreciated and will go a long way towards bringing our film to life,” said Suttile.

In addition, in order to raise money for filming Are You Afraid of The ‘90s?, the film’s production team held a 90s themed Halloween fundraising party. “[At the party] We were able to spread the word about our film, gain publicity as well as new supports and raised a few hundred dollars,” said Suttile. “We are in the process of planning some more exciting events in the coming months.”

“Once our film is completed, we will be submitting it to all the major and local film festivals, as well as reaching out to production companies,” said Suttile. “It will tour the festival circuit this fall and early next year and hopefully be available to the public later in 2015.”

“This film’s goal is to give our generation something to connect to, and to help us all feel not so alone. It’s for everyone who has ever loved their childhood and struggled to grow up,” said Suttile.

Aside from generous donations, Suttile explained there are many other ways they need help. You can get involved by helping to spread the word, and stay connected with them online through their website www.That90smovie.com, follow them on Twitter: @afraidofthe90s, and Like them on Facebook: Are You Afraid of The 90s?

The movie has been filmed, and will continue to be filmed, in Nesconset, Long Island. To explain the reasoning behind the theme of the film, Suttile explained that, “Our writer/director Kate Moran is a 90s child herself and noticed how rapidly the trend of reliving ‘90s nostalgia was growing in the media and the Internet.”

As far as promotions go for Are You Afraid of The ‘90s?, Suttile explained they have secured product placement deals with Ring Pops, Push Pops, Mondo, and Bagel Bites as well as obtained clearances with Hasbro (Furby, Nerf, Skip-It) and Bandai (Tamagotchi).

At UNH, Suttile majored in criminal justice, investigative services with a minor in sociology. “My passion has always been for acting, but my parents wanted me to get a well-rounded education as a ground work for learning,” said Suttile.

When asked how her UNH education helped her get to where she is today, Suttile said, “My college experience really taught me the value of hard work, and of the importance of prioritizing and organizing my time. So many times we are confronted with opportunities (and obstacles!) that require effort, focus, and time management skills, which I would be without if not for my UNH education.”

While at UNH, Suttile had to manage multiple projects and commitments simultaneously, so while producing Are You Afraid of The ‘90s?, and in different stages and variations of her life, she has been able to apply that same methodology of productivity. “The difficulties and challenges I learned as a student gave me the basis to be able to properly handle adulthood inevitably as it enfolds.”

 

UNH dedicates Dodds Theater to alumnus William L. Bucknall Jr.

by Elissa Sanci | April 16, 2014

The University of New Haven dedicated Dodds Theater in honor of William L. Bucknall Jr., April 10 at 4 p.m. Bucknall and his wife, their family, friends, members of the Board of Governors, alumni, students and faculty alike gathered at the entrance of the newly appointed Bucknall Theater to honor Bucknall’s generous donation to the university.

(From left to right) Mr. Bucknall, President Kaplan and a Graduate Student at the Bucknall Theater Dedication Ceremony, April 11.  (Charger Bulletin Photo by Nicholas McDermott)

(From left to right) Mr. Bucknall, President Kaplan and a Graduate Student at the Bucknall Theater Dedication Ceremony, April 11.
(Charger Bulletin Photo by Nicholas McDermott)

William “Bill” Bucknall grew up with a love of literature, theater, music and the arts. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from UNH in 1965 and went on to work for the human resources department of United Technologies Corp. He continued on to serve as senior vice president of UTC for 16 years, until retiring in Jan. 2008.

Bucknall, a former columnist of The Charger Bulletin, believes that the theater department, “not only provides students with an understanding of theater and all of the academics associated with it, but it also gives students a confidence in themselves to project who they are on stage.”

He adds that this is a skill directly relatable to life after college. “So much in the business world is about being able to stand on your own two feet and to persuade people to move in a certain way.”

Bucknall’s contributions to the theater department have helped it grow exponentially in the last three years. Previously, there had only been three theater-related majors; now, UNH offers 26 majors and 15 minors, according to College of Arts and Sciences Dean Lourdes Alvarez.

Alvarez said it was nice to be able to formally recognize Bucknall for all that he’s done. “The theater program has long informally referred to Bill as our ‘theater angel,’” Alvarez said.

“With his support, over the past few years, we have been able to renovate and upgrade the theater and transform it into a truly spectacular venue,” Alvarez added. With the money Bucknall donated, UNH added new paint and carpeting, refinished the lobby floor, remodeled the prop room, purchased new equipment, installed a state of the art sound system and added cutting edge lighting equipment.

Amanda Sigan, a cast member of UNH’s most recent production, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, is thankful for Bucknall’s generous contributions to the theater program. “He’s donated so much new equipment and everything we do wouldn’t be possible without his generosity.”

Electrical Engineering and Theater Design double major, Erika Vargas, added in her celebratory speech that Bucknall has made it possible for her to peruse both of her interests simultaneously.

The new, updated sign was unveiled to a drum roll, and plaques were gifted by Vargas to Bucknall.

Members of the Theater Club stood passing out pamphlets and complimentary pocket-sized notebooks, while Fully Charged, UNH’s A Capella Group, sang renditions of Lorde’s “Royals” and Imagine Dragon’s “Demons” as guests arrived for the ceremonial unveiling of the theater.

 

Hola, bonjour, and privet

by The Charger Bulletin | April 16, 2014

The Modern Language Department’s week in the limelight.

Students being taught how to belly dance. (Steve Blazo  Photography)

Students being taught how to belly dance.
(Steve Blazo Photography)

The University of New Haven recently pledged to double the amount of students who study abroad by the end of this decade. President Steven H. Kaplan remarked, “As a leader in experiential education, UNH seeks to expand the opportunities available to our students and to enhance their appreciation for diverse cultures and viewpoints.”

UNH was the first college in Connecticut to join Generation Study Abroad, and as if almost in sync, a month after this, the university had their first Modern Language Festival.

The series of cultural activities from Monday, April 7 to Thursday, April 10 sought to bring attention to a growing Arabic, Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese and Russian departments at UNH.

The festival began on Monday with a day of dance. First featured was the Portuguese culture with the Maculele, or Warrior Stick Dance, originating from Brazil. This dance began in the times of slavery when African men and women would dance with their machetes to pass the time cutting sugarcane. Now it is done in a circle called Roda with the Brazilian drum, or atabaque. Bamboo sticks are used and hit above the head with the right hand striking in an X-shape to the rhythm.

Spain was represented next with a lesson in Flamenco. This form of art includes dance, guitar playing, drums, foot stomping, and handclaps, or “Palmas.” The hands are very expressive in this form of dance and the motions are inward and self-reserved.

Next, Professor Halima Belemlih set up a Belly Dance performance representing Arabic culture. This type of dance focuses on the articulation of the hips and was taught by UNH student Marwa Lahlou and her friend Jasmin. They demonstrated dances with traditional outfits and students had the option of following along.

On Tuesday, the festivities continued with Chinese students on the BSAC patio teaching the traditional game of Mahjong. Taiwanese Bubble tea and Chinese steamed bread was also served. At this time in the programming space, Spanish professor Irizarry had a presentation showing the connection between Latin American and African American music; Salsa and Hip-Hop. This included video, audio, and lyrics.

Following was henna tattoos in the Bartels programming space. The tattoos are drawn using dye from the henna plant, which is popular in Eastern cultures and can be painted on the skin and last for several weeks.

In the afternoon, students could play Gioco Dell’Oca, or the Goose Game. This resembled a life-size version of Candyland and was led by Italian professor Maddalena Lolaico and her students. Participants formed teams, and on their turn, rolled a pair of dice, which said how many spaces forward to move. Some squares sent one backwards and some caused missed turns. If one team landed on the same space as another, that team was sent back to the space where the other team had been. A team had to land on the sixty-third square to win.

Thursday commenced with naming tables in Bartels, in which professors Chiaoli Lin, Dima Krizhanovskiy, and Mohammed El Idrissi could write student’s names in Chinese, Russian or Arabic respectively. Around lunchtime, students studying French, and their professor Coralie Gallet, had “Bistro Français,” where they served typical French dishes, such as quiches, cheese, baguettes, and crepes in the Bartels dining room. During the lunch, French music and a slideshow.

Dance UNH 4.07.2014 Steve Blazo Photography www.blazophoto.com

Afterwards, students studying Russian and their professor Daria Kirjanov put on “Kafe Rus.” Ukrainian cherry and potato dumplings and Russian tea and pastries were served. An accordionist played Russian folk songs during the event, along with modern Russian music and a slideshow that was shown.

On Thursday afternoon, students learning Arabic performed songs in the language on the BSAC patio. At night, a classic Russian comedy movie titled, Kidnapping in the Causcus was shown.

Professor Alessia Dalsant reflects, “We are so excited about this week’s success that we are planning to make it an annual event! The festival’s objective is to introduce students not only to the wide selection of languages offered at UNH, but also to the diverse and rich cultures that one discovers by studying languages.”

Dalsant believes that speaking a foreign language opens doors not only to the job market, but also for personal growth. The festival would not have been possible without the generosity of Greg Overend; Director of Student Activities, Dean Lourdes Maria Alvarez; Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Rebecca Johnson; Dean of Students, and Wanda D. Tyler; Director of Intercultural Relations. After a taste of these multi-faceted cultures, who wouldn’t want to study abroad?

 

Victimology Club posts for awareness

by The Charger Bulletin | April 16, 2014

By: Miriam Corella

Contributing Writer

The University of New Haven’s Victimology Club is using social media’s evil powers for good. Throughout April they are running a campaign in order to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

One in four women and one in six men are victims of sexual assault, so a Victimology Club representative stated in their campaign that “a huge number of our campus population is affected by this almost invisible issue. It is time that we band together as RSOs and campus leaders to take a stand in the name of our campus community and shed light on a crime that affects so many of us.” Victimology invited the UNH campus to join them to take a stand against “this very prevalent issue.”

While sexual assault is a subject that is tough to deal with, it is important to start addressing it directly rather than sweeping it to the side. The club got the idea from a similar campaign that men in Scotland are doing, which is gaining a lot of notoriety for its message, and can be found at: http://www.policymic.com/articles/85293/amazing-posters-of-scotland-s-men-standing-up-against-rape-are-exactly-what-america-needs

“After seeing this, the e-board decided that we should make this into something that our club does for Victims’ Rights Month. We are asking that for all of April, you and as many people as you can get to do it, post a certain photo as your profile picture on Facebook and on Instagram. Take a photo of yourself and edit the picture to say “I am the type of guy who” or “I am the type of girl who,” then you fill in the blank with something to do with consent, and then “Are you?” At the bottom of the photo write “#SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth,” the title of this event, to include the cause for the photos,” said Victimology Club in an email sent out to the UNH community. “If you are a part of Greek Life, play a UNH sport, are a part of the LGBTQ community, or are part of a cultural diversity organization that understands the intersectionality of sexual violence with your community or organization, try and make your picture unique to show that you are representing that population.”

Victimology Club also encourages social media users to like each other’s photos consistently throughout the month so that it keeps appearing on everyone’s newsfeed for the whole month and continues the support of the cause.

To make the largest impact, it is important to get your friends and members involved too; the most important part of making this campaign successful is the amount of people involved and more posts means more awareness.

“Let’s kick off April with a huge social media blast on this campus, show our support of all of the survivors on this campus, and bring awareness to perpetrators that we will not stand for this anymore!” said Victimology Club in an email about their campaign.

The next event being held in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is the Remembering Jessica Fundraiser Dinner. The dinner will be hosted by Victimology Club and Office of Advancement to honor the memory of Jessica N. Santos on Thursday, April 17. Santos was a student from Tarrytown, NY, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Yonkers, NY, on Aug. 27, 2006, a day before she was to begin her sophomore year at UNH. The event will help raise funds to aid students pursuing degrees in criminal justice and forensic science and marks UNH’s annual observance of victims’ rights through the month of April. There will be two seatings for the dinner in the Alumni Lounge at 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

 

Have you seen…

by Samantha Mathewson | April 9, 2014

Recent thefts on campus leave Campus Police searching for the culprit.

Surveillance Photo provided by Campus Police

Surveillance Photo provided by Campus Police

While progress has been made, the investigation of the electronic thefts from Buckman, Dodds and Harugari Halls remains active as Chief of Police Mark DeLieto and Assistant Chief of Police Donald Parker search for the suspect’s identity.

An email explaining the thefts was sent out by Parker on Friday, March 21, to the University of New Haven community with an attached surveillance image of the possible suspect (pictured above). They asked that anyone who could identify the person in the image, or if anyone has seen the person on campus, to please contact Campus Police at 203-932-7014.

The investigation is currently ongoing and no exact identification has been made from the surveillance photo; however DeLieto said “We will ID him.”

DeLieto has no doubt that the person who committed the thefts will be found, and said the investigation is by no means a lost cause. “We just need a positive ID by name to be made, and right now all we have is that it ‘looks like’… [Someone].”

Since the thefts, other police departments including Orange PD and West Haven PD have gotten involved with the investigation in attempts to make a positive identification. DeLieto and Parker said that the suspect is neither a student nor a member of the UNH Campus. They believe the suspect may be a person on parole, and his parole office has been contacted. As of now the suspect is considered a “person of interest.”

The surveillance photo was taken in Harugari hall, where a single desktop computer belonging to the university was stolen. DeLeito believes this particular theft was planned because the items were carried away in box by the suspect. “It was an intentional act,” he said.

The thefts from the other campus buildings were a combination of electronic items including cell phones and laptops. The thefts in Buckman occurred a week prior to the theft from Harugari, but there is no evidence that connects the two occurrences.

“Thefts are not generally high on this campus, and most that do happen are “crimes of opportunity,” said DeLieto and Parker. “Either students are naïve or forgetful, but out of the thefts that do occur, a lot are seen in the library because students get up to go get lunch and leave their belongings behind and unattended.”

The librarians are very strict when it comes to unattended belongings and leave notices on people’s computers and belongings that are left unattended; however DeLieto and Parker explained this situation makes a criminal out of someone not normally one, because when items are sitting around unattended for a long time it is likely that someone will just come by and pick them up. “Leaving items unattended is the biggest nation-wide campus crime,” Parker said. The officers strongly recommend students be careful with their personal items. “It is amazing how many items we get turned into lost and found here in Campus Police. Students forget about them, and we try, but it is hard to find the owners – you’d be surprised,” said DeLieto and Parker.

Parker explained the university has an educational program called Stay Safe 360 to prevent these kinds of crimes. According to the UNH website, the program features a series of useful videos that provide practical information and advice for situations students face every day. To access these videos students can visit insideUNH and find 360 Stay Safe under the ‘Employee’ tab.

The thefts that have been reported appear to be random and no patterns of common, or increased, occurrences have been seen. However, Harugari experienced a book theft a couple years ago like this one, where high-end textbooks were stolen by a non-campus member to be sold. The thief was found and ordered to make restitution to the campus for the crime he had committed, and it is because of this that DeLieto is confident in finding the suspect involved in the current electronic thefts, and believes it is indeed not a lost cause.

“This may seem like it happened a while ago, but the process takes time,” said DeLieto. After an ID can finally be made, an arrest warrant will be made; however, the officers explained it is a lengthy process. If and when the suspect is arrested for the thefts, it is ultimately up to the courts to decide what happens next, and unlike the book thefts, a restitution option is not always the case.

 

 

Psych Word

by Elissa Sanci | April 9, 2014

An inside look at the voices behind the mic at WNHU’s Friday afternoon show.

Rob Girard (left) and Kristina Gilbertie (right) Co-Hosts of Psych Word at WNHU/ Photo by Erica Naugle

Rob Girard (left) and Kristina Gilbertie (right) Co-Hosts of Psych Word at WNHU/ Photo by Erica Naugle

Rob Girard and Kristina Gilbertie, the hosts of the WNHU’s Friday afternoon show Psych Word, seem as though they’ve known each other forever. Girard and Gilbertie are drug and alcohol counselors who create a fun, fresh atmosphere for their radio show, inviting their listeners in and creating a conversational tone. Since the start of their show in February 2014, they have been featured in the newest edition of “New Haven Living” magazine.

Psych Word, which airs live each Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. on WNHU 88.7, covers a range of topics including mental health, current events, and overall wellness with a little humor and sarcasm mixed in.

Girard is currently a masters student at the University of Connecticut, and the creator of the show and its name. He said he gave the show its name because he felt it encompassed the content—psychology and mental health—and also because he liked the play on words.

“I like that it sounds like psych ward, because a lot times when you’re listening to us, you’re like ‘What? They are nuts!’” he adds, “I kind of go off the deep end sometimes.”

Each show has a theme, and Girard and Gilbertie often have guests that correspond to their themes. Guests have ranged from veterans and pin-up girls—women who make calendars to raise money for veterans—to health and fitness experts.

“We try to stick to a topic each show, but sometimes we get sidetracked,” Girard said. “Sometimes our callers will take us in a different direction.”

Girard explained one of the most popular segments of their show is Rant of the Day, which is where callers are able to call in from 3:10 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. with their “Rant of the Day.”

Co-Hosts of Psych Word at WNHU/ Photo by Erica Naugle

Co-Hosts of Psych Word at WNHU/ Photo by Erica Naugle

Gilbertie, who is also lead singer of the bands Sister Funk and Run Jenny, said that getting listeners involved is one of her favorite parts of being on the radio. “I love being interactive and getting people involved, and we love getting callers to give us their point of view.”

WNHU is the University of New Haven’s non-commercial, official FCC-licensed FM radio station, which broadcasts live from the station, located in the basement of Maxcy Hall.

“I knew that WNHU had been the number one college radio station for years, and I knew that I wanted to try to get a show on the station,” Girard said. “When we got the offer for a live show Friday during drive time, it was like the perfect recipe.”

Girard and Gilbertie stay connected with their listeners through many social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and they even have their own website, psychword.com, where listeners can go to share thoughts, opinions and comments of the show.

 

“Fangirls Don’t Exist” and how women are treated in the music industry

by Ashley Winward | April 9, 2014

As March came to a close, so did Women’s History Month with a panel discussion on women and their role in the music industry. The Women’s History Month events committee, run under Wanda Tyler, put on an intimate discussion with two panelists, moderated by student Cassidy Burt.

The panelists included University of New Haven professor Meryl Sole, and front woman of the band Candy Hearts, Mariel Loveland. The two women gave insight on their experiences in the industry where male dominated situations can feel overwhelming.

Sole has her doctorate in Music and Music Education from Columbia University as well as two Masters Degrees; one in Music Education from Columbia University and one in French Horn Performance from Boston University. Prior to teaching at UNH, she taught brass, music theory, music history and appreciation at Adelphi University in New York. Along with teaching, she also does research on music and its effect on toddlers, and still freelances as a French horn player with local symphonies and performance groups such as the National Opera Center and the Cosmopolitan Symphony.

Loveland came out of school with a major in creative writing and a minor in song writing before interning in the music industry and working on a DIY label. She went on to form the band Candy Hearts, working with New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert on his imprint label Violently Happy Records to produce their EP The Best Ways to Disappear. She shared the love of French horn as well, though noting she was “forever last chair” as well as a placeholder with her mellophone in the marching band.

In a classical setting, Sole found it commonplace to be the only female on her instrument, or even in the entire brass section. At times, she would walk into auditions and wouldn’t be given more than three seconds nefore being thanked for her time. “Being a female brass is really tough,” she added.

In the punk rock scene, Loveland found one of her biggest struggles was being taken seriously. Her first band kicked her out because having a female lead “wasn’t good for their image” and to this day has issues at times getting on stage at her own shows. “The Rock scene expects (girls) to be with the band, not in the band,” she explained. “You’re under a microscope that others are not, judged for things that a man might not. A lot of the problems I have are because I have a female body.”

Some examples brought up in this respect were the idea of promiscuity; that a women who sleeps around is viewed as trashy, while a man might get a high five from his buddies. Sole noted a double standard that she faces as a woman with a family, “A man is not immediately seen as a father, but a woman is immediately seen as a mother and when she spends long periods of time away doing work it’s seen negatively.”

While there was a lot of discussion about negative experiences, it was an open forum full of solutions to improve. When asked for advice to give the women in the room, confidence and self-esteem were impressed upon heavily. “It’s all about how you carry yourself, whatever the kind of person you are, own it, ” Loveland stressed.

Sole supported the idea by telling girls, “Have the drive to work your butt off for what you want.” However, both felt that positive role models in the industry were necessary for increased female success. “Students need to see positive images of strong female teachers for women to aspire to,” Sole said.

Loveland also interjected that there needs to be “bad” role models too. “There need to be some girls that aren’t that great at succeeding. There are male role models who are quirky and charming, but when a girl sees success, they see Beyoncé success. We need some more quirky, charming girls that aren’t perfect!”

As for the men? “Be supportive of your female friends,” Loveland advises, “treat them as an equal, but also understand that women are different.” Sole also mentioned not judging a book by its cover. “Never underestimate the women you’re surrounded by, you might not know just how much they’re capable of.”

 

Thirteen Countries, One Celebration—The 2014 International Festival

by Patricia Oprea | April 9, 2014

Over seven hundred international students are currently studying at the University of New Haven; that’s nearly 1/6 of the total student population, undergraduate and graduate students included.

Students at the International  Festival performing as Indian dance medley/ Photo by Patricia Oprea

Students at the International Festival performing as Indian dance medley/ Photo by Patricia Oprea

This past year, events such as Chinese Moon Festival, Diwali Festival and the Chinese New Year Celebration have succeeded in bringing culture to students who seek it out. However, the annual International Festival is a celebration of cultures on a larger scale; it is something students prepare for months in advance. In the beginning of spring semester, an email is sent out to students asking if anyone wishes to represent a country for the festival. Students gather to decide what their display will look like, what food to get and whether they wish to perform. This event isn’t solely catered to university students; in fact, many outside friends, family members and interested people from the community came to the festival.

The 34th annual International Festival was held on Sat., April 5, at North Campus. As one walked into the Charger Gymnasium, there were booths on the left and right sides with tables in the middle, and a stage straight ahead on the far end. Closest to the entrance was China’s table. Students talked to the long line of people awaiting food, and pointed out pictures with China’s landmarks.

Right next to China was Taiwan’s table, adorned with posters, books, pictures, maps, slideshows and cultural artifacts including woodwork and puppets. The ever-popular bubble tea was being given out and was finished rather quickly.

After Taiwan was Haiti’s table with pictures laid out on one side and food on the other. This presentation was prepared by some of the Caribbean Student Association’s members who said “Haiti isn’t represented on campus so we wanted to represent them this year.”

Near Haiti was the table of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Graduate student Melissa Gitens said how there is a nonprofit organization for this culture which her father created. The Trinbago American Association of Southern Connecticut holds events in the area to promote awareness of the land. Member of the Association, Sharon, described the Carnival celebrations in the country as “a party for two days in the street, and bands can have up to 5,000 people.”

Gitens then pointed to an oil drum cut in half (otherwise known as the “steel pan”), the only instrument created in the twenty-first century. Sharon also said how much of the traditional snacks and dried fruits are preserved. “[We have] no packaged food, we eat fruit as our snacks.”

After Trinidad and Tobago was Iraq’s table. Female students were donned in traditional Kurdish outfits and it was explained that Kurds are the second highest population of people in Iraq, next to the Arabs, and before the Turks of Turkmenistan. Their food was ordered from a restaurant downtown named Aladdin Crown Pizza.

Finally, there was Italy’s table, filled with Global Ambassadors and students that have studied abroad, along with photographs of their experience. They served lasagna and gelato. Freshman Jack Rothstein said, “My first college experience was in Italy. I feel like I’m doing better here because I studied abroad.”

Further into the gymnasium were booths of seven more countries. First came India with dozens of students donned in traditional clothing. Their table featured multiple instruments, including a harmonium, the base for all Indian music. This table got their food from Tandu restaurant, also in downtown New Haven.

Next was Ethiopia’s table, with freshman undergrad, Naomi, dressed in a traditional Habesha dress. She explained how Amharic is the national language and proceeded to write people’s names in this script. Most of the artwork is cloth based; however, writing on leather is popular as well. Their food was ordered from Ethiopian restaurant Lalibela in downtown New Haven.

After Ethiopia was Germany’s table with pretzels, muesli and bauernbrot breads, apple and cherry strudel. Marisa Oschmann, new to the university from Germany this semester, ran the table. When asked what she thought of the U.S., Oschmann said, “Our cultures are pretty similar now. It was my dream to come here.”

Next to Germany’s table was Iran’s with artwork and instruments. Two instruments were the Taar, part of the string family and resembling a guitar, and Tonbak, a single drum. Paintings, cloth work, poetry and metal artworks were laid out on the table as well.

Afterwards was the U.S.’s table, with food including macaroni and cheese and pulled pork.

Then came Egypt’s table with photographs, artwork with hieroglyphs and plenty of traditional food.

Last but not least on the left side, were Saudi Arabia’s tables, one section with food and another for henna tattoos. Their presentation included dozens of photographs, maps and brochures, as well as many pastries.

Around 6 p.m, winners of food and displays were announced. Italy won Best Dessert for their gelato, India won Best Appetizer for their samosas, and Haiti won Best Entrée for their meat and vegetable combo, rice and beans, and plantains. Most Informative Display went to Saudi Arabia, Most Interactive Display was won by China, and Best Cultural Presentation went to both Taiwan and India.

Then the performance hosted by Jason An and Shican Li began. First up was a duo representing Argentina who danced the salsa. Shican Li next sang a song in Chinese called “Looking at the moon, drinking wine, and thinking about you.”

Next, Indian students danced to a medley of Indian music for a wildly cheering crowd. The females’ ornate costumes created a colourful and appealing sight that won them Best Visual Appeal. Next performed Fouad, representing Iran, on his two instruments—the taar and the tonbak. Fouad’s unique style on both instruments won him Most Original. To close the show, senior David Janovsky represented Ireland through his Irish step-dancing and won Best in Show.

Although there were 13 distinct countries to see, everyone gathered for the same purpose—to eat, learn, and celebrate the diversity of the university. As UNH announced its plans to double their amount of students going abroad (the first university in Connecticut to do so), a stronger presence of cultural awareness arose on campus.

Josh Low, President of the International Students Association, helped plan the festival in conjunction with the International Services Office, and Karima Jackson.

“This year we had more performances than last year and some different countries showcased such as Haiti and Italy,” he said. “Though it was not as packed as last year, the event was well received by the attendees and it was another wonderful International Festival.”

 

Where fundraising and competition collide

by Patricia Oprea | April 2, 2014

Rotaract Club hosts the second annual Hunger Games to raise money for Shelterbox.

Although there were no poisonous berries, food shortages or deaths of valiant tributes, Rotaract Club sponsored the University of New Haven’s second annual Hunger Games from March 23 to March 26.

Being a community-service based organization, Rotaract started this event last year to continue raising awareness of problems worldwide. All money raised is donated to Shelterbox, a charity founded in 2000 that raises funds for disaster relief. Shelterbox delivers boxes to families in need; the boxes include a tent and supplies particular to the disaster. Shelterbox is currently helping people in the Philippines who were hit by the Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever recorded. Each box costs 1,000 dollars, and last year UNH raised 4,000 dollars; enough to buy boxes for four families!

Just like in the movie The Hunger Games, students participate as tributes from a district, or organization, on campus. Fourteen total contestants representing SCOPE, the Beckerman Rec Center, SAE Kappa Class, SMILE, Legal Society, ASME, the UNHstable, Photography Club, Phi Sigma Sigma, Green Team, Communications Club, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Choices Club, and Alpha Lambda Delta participated in the opening challenge.

The first round was Monday, and all tributes awaited their task in the Quad, energized as time went on with music provided by WNHU. Each tribute stood near the BSAC on the grass and had a square space in front of them. The challenge was to run to the opposite side of the Quad, near Sheffield, and pick up tiles with letters on them, to try and make the longest word possible in 15 minutes. The stipulation was that only one letter could be picked up at a time, so there was a great deal of running across the Quad. Most letters were green, but the blue ones were worth double points, which had tributes flipping over letter after letter seeking that color. During the fifteen minutes, trading among districts for letters occurred, as did alliances to help one another create the longest word. Afterwards, the bottom six with the lowest scores each cracked open a coconut to find the name of a natural disaster inside. The first four to find letters and spell their word out moved on to the next day. After the first day, SCOPE and Alpha Lambda Delta were eliminated.

Tuesday’s challenge had two parts for the remaining 12 individuals. First, participants had to pop a balloon by throwing darts at one balloon at a time until each person had popped a total of four. A note with an item was inside each balloon. Gold balloons represented easy items, blue balloons were intermediate, and red ones were difficult.

Tributes then had 15 minutes to scavenge for all their items; ranging from a poncho to matches to a Pokémon card. At the end of 15 minutes, all tributes had returned with four items, except for Legal Society’s tribute, Brianna Stefano. She had to do the redemption challenge and eat six saltine crackers in one minute. However, Stefano was a few crackers short leaving eleven remaining tributes.

Wednesday’s event was cancelled due to potential flurries and 30mph wind speeds, so tributes had a free day to prep for Thursday and fundraise.

Thursday began with a mini challenge to eliminate three people and get down to the bottom eight. This is where fundraising and organization support really mattered, because the five people who raised the most money were exempt from the first challenge. Tributes from the Rec Center, SAE, Communication Club, Green Team, and PhiSig were safe; however, the six tributes with fewer funds raised had to put together cardboard pieces with letters to make a phrase, and in order to do so, got clues every five minutes. The ending phrase was “One Step Closer to the Finale.” Times ranged from 13 minutes to 16 minutes, and the three organizations that moved on were UNHStable, ASME, and Choices Club.

The next round was Shelterbox trivia for the eight remaining participants. The four who studied up on the charity and got the highest scores were Alyssa Mackinnon from Green Team, David Puglisi from Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Marija Savaiko from the Rec Center, and Melissa Lundin representing Phi Sigma Sigma.

The finale event had multiple parts. First, tributes had to pour water in a pipe to make a Ping-Pong ball at the bottom rise to the surface. Each ball had a number on it (all tributes had the same number) and there were four in total. This is where organization support really mattered because tributes all started with tiny cups, and if people donated five dollars, tributes could receive a red solo cup; much like how tributes in the movie get sent gifts from sponsors to stay alive.

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Lundin and Puglisi had great crowd support from their organizations, and received cups immediately. Green Team and the Rec Center received cups afterwards too. As soon as four balls were found, tributes raced to the tent (one from Shelterbox) across the quad to try combinations of their numbers on a lock.

Mackinnon was the last tribute to make it to the tent, but a few moments later, she was the first to discover the combination. As the winner, Mackinnon received a 51-inch flat screen TV, and a pizza party for the UNH Green Team. “I am very thankful to Rotaract for putting so much effort into developing a creative challenging event for a great cause. I am ecstatic to have had such an amazing opportunity to participate and eventually win the games, thanks to the support from my hunger games allies and green team!” said Mackinnon.

Savaiko was the top fundraiser two years in a row and raised 878 dollars for Shelterbox. “I think this year it was more relaxed for competition on fundraising but overall the challenges were, for the majority, all different. In the end we all accomplished raising money for Shelterbox and that’s the most important thing, “ said Savaiko. Savaiko won a cake party for her organization and an iPad Air for herself.

“In comparison to last year, this year did not have as much team element or survival instinct and instead focused more on the organization the money raised was going to. And the weather was an unfortunate element of the week, but I think the Rotaract Club did a great job of handling the situation,” said junior Joe Brown, the communication club tribute.

All tributes were enthused by the Hunger Games event. “The events were challenging and allowed people to win even if they weren’t the strongest. It felt like competing on a reality show. Rotaract did a great job and I think this event will l continue to evolve each year,” said Dan Brophy, a tribute from WNHU.

Once again, Rotaract captured the attention of many clubs and students with an interactive fundraising event. Paul Raffile, the Community Service Chair of Rotaract, was in charge of the event both years, and remarked on how important Shelterbox is to their organization. Participants raised 2,800 dollars for Shelterbox this year, and are looking forward to the Hunger Games next year, hoping the odds may be “ever in their favor.”

 (Images were of “Tributes” competing in the second annual UNH Hunger Games provided by Chariot Yearbook and Jenna Rabadi)

UNH joins Generation Study Abroad

by Kerri Zbodula | April 2, 2014

UNH is the first Connecticut college to pledge doubling the amount of study abroad students.

A group of UNH students who studied at the University’s campus in Tuscany last fall / UNH Today Photo

A group of UNH students who studied at the University’s campus in Tuscany last fall / UNH Today Photo

The University of New Haven is the first Connecticut college that has joined Generation Study Abroad with the objective of doubling the amount of study abroad students within the next ten years. Generation Study Abroad is in existence to encourage American students to participate in a program of international study.Generation Study Abroad was launched on March 3 at UNH. Generation Study Abroad believes that every student should have the opportunity to study abroad. Within the next decade, their goal is to have 600,000 U.S. students studying abroad in credit and non-credit programs. Since it was launched, more than 150 colleges around the country have committed to the program.Amanda Carter, a criminal justice major at UNH, has gone to a new country to study every fall semester since her freshman year. Carter began in Spain her freshman year, then traveled to Italy her sophomore year, and just finished studying in Korea her junior year.

For Carter, studying abroad has been a great experience. “Studying abroad has brought me closer to the people and cultures of the world. It’s a great experience to get a perspective outside the normal American college student,” said Carter. “Me and other students studied at the Korean National Police University as part of UNH’s exchange program. The experiences and opportunities I had learned, alongside criminal justice professionals abroad cannot be matched. Although many people are hesitant to go out of their comfort zone and study abroad, I can confidently say I would recommend it for anyone.”

UNH provides students with components of a liberal arts education, as well as opportunities for hands on technical learning through research. Between the 1,800 graduate students and 4,600 undergraduates, UNH enrolls approximately 6,400 students per year. UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, consisting of its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning.

More information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and a complete list of commitment partners can be found at www.iie.org/generationstudyabroad.

 

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