Thursday, January 29, 2015  
The Charger Bulletin

Leadership Day 2015

by Samantha Mathewson | January 28, 2015

University of New Haven students participated in Leadership Day Jan. 20, where professionals shared their experience and knowledge on how to become better student leaders.

Joshua Fredenburg (Photo obtained via

Joshua Fredenburg (Photo obtained via

Leadership Day was sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and was coordinated by Shelissa Newball, assistant director of student activities, with the help of OSA’s Leadership interns.

“Overall it went well, we had about 180 students attend and the speaker was good; he talked about the next steps to take as a leader and what it means to be a good leader,” said Newball.

Leadership Day started at 9:45 a.m. in Bucknall Theater with guest speaker Joshua Fredenburg, whose presentation was titled, “Are you a leader who is prepared to make an impact on the world?”
Fredenburg is a national keynote speaker, best-selling author and leadership, diversity and relationship expert.

To start his presentation, Fredenburg had everyone on their feet to recite a motivational positive affirmation. Early on he addressed a quote that he found eye-opening by Noel Jones: “Everytime a child is born, a solution is brought into the world.”

It is from this notion that Fredenburg aims to motivate people to become what they are destined to become and, according to his website, he has already reached thousands of emerging and seasoned leaders in over 42 different states nationally as a keynote speaker.

Fredenburg went on to explain four questions one should consider when becoming an effective leader. The first question was do you know thyself?

This means identifying your strengths, your gifts, your personality, your passion, your emotions and your intuitive intelligence. In regards to finding one’s passion he said, “Passion brings power; discover who you are and success is inevitable.”

The second question was do you have a heart of service?

This means as a leader, do you like to help others? Are you there to make an impact and make people better? Because greatness is everyday people doing things to make the world a better place.
The third question was are you an adaptable leader?

This means that you are accepting of change, you are willing to adjust and be flexible, and at the end of the day, it’s not about doing what’s comfortable, it’s about doing what is necessary to make an impact. “The moment you know everything is the moment you are set up to fail,” said Fredenburg.

The last of the four questions that Fredenburg explained to the audience was do you have exceptional character?

This means not only do you lead with morals and values, but are you responsible and accountable? Do you get the job done and do you meet those demands exceptionally? He quoted Howard Schultz when saying, “Without character, nothing else matters.”

With his fourth and final question he also pointed out the importance of developing this character and it is when you go through challenges that one’s character is developed, and when one has an exceptional character, they are protected from people who are trying to bring them down.

He wrapped up his speech by saying, when one is able to answer these questions, it is then that they can have an impact here (UNH), in their community, the nation, and the world.
More information about Fredenburg and his impact as a keynote speaker can be found at

After Fredenburg’s keynote presentation, the day followed with various workshops lead by professionals from the surrounding area or UNH community, and even some of UNH’s own student leaders.

As the day came to a close, everyone rejoined in the Alumni Lounge where those that attended were given a t-shirt and duffle or drawstring bag.

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.


What’s your New Years Resolution?

by The Charger Bulletin | January 28, 2015

We asked UNH students & faculty what their New Years Resolutions were:


“To stay on top of everything I do.” Richard Rotella, senior

“Live a healthier lifestyle.” Amy Reidy, senior

“Communicate better.” James Kielar, junior

“To be happy.” Shelissa Newball, Assistant Director of Student Activities

“To complete a half iron man.” Aksel Thibodeau, senior

“To live a more healthy and active lifestyle.” Colleen Kerrigan, Coordinator of Student Activities

“Stop procrastinating.” Sarah Ruell & Brianna Hill, freshmen

“Live in the moment.” Mary Xatse, junior

“Go visit law schools.” Keelin Herbst, sophomore

“Eat healthy.” Vince Yau, junior

“Save my GPA.” Taylor Edgecomb, sophomore

“Apply for grad school and get accepted. And gain the courage to say hi to someone attractive.” Chris Sang, junior

“To not get annoyed at the little things.” Haley Van Etten, junior

“To be more positive.” Jennifer Denman, junior

“To get in shape.” Kate Saccone, senior

“To get more involved in student government.” Jerome Ware, junior

“Do well in class.” Joshua Richards, junior

“Floss everyday and go to the gym four times a week.” Melina Singer, junior

“To make Dean’s List.” Bri Folkl, junior

“Step into the gym at least two times this semester.” Brittany Emerson, junior

“Run a six minute mile by the end of the semester.” Harrison Walker, junior

“Go to the gym more and be healthier.” Kylie Henderson, junior

“Eat healthier and go to the gym more often.” Nicki Greenstein, junior

“To lose 10 pounds.” Alexis Hanna, junior

“Travel more.” Shani Robinson, junior

“To find an internship for this summer.” Jesse Latorraca, junior

“To do better in school.” John Escobar, junior

“Get all A’s.” Jason Quirk, sophomore

“To make Dean’s List.” Stephen Ornstein, sophomore

In memory of “Hank” Bartels

by Samantha Mathewson | January 28, 2015

Henry Edwin “Hank” Bartels, of North Branford, Conn. died of natural causes on Jan. 16. Hank was 92 and a prominent philanthropist.

Hank Bartels will be missed (photo obtained via New Haven Register)

Hank Bartels will be missed (photo obtained via New Haven Register)

In an email sent out to the University of New Haven community, President Steve Kaplan addressed the many contributions that Bartels’ has made over the years. “He was an amazingly generous patron of higher education, the arts, health care, and too many organizations to list across the New Haven region over many decades. Hank was an emeritus member of our Board of Governors, an honorary degree recipient and president’s medal recipient and an incredible friend. He provided intelligence and leadership and positively influenced those around him,” said Kaplan. “During his 24 years of service on our Board of Governors, he consistently demonstrated how deeply he understood and appreciated the great potential of UNH and contributed his ideas and gifts toward its transformation. Hank will be missed, and his influence and enormous support will be forever remembered.”

To pay homage to all the philanthropic contributions made by Hank, the UNH community created a scrapbook of appreciation for the Bartels’ family, reflecting on how he had made a lasting impact. A memorial service in tribute to Bartels will be held at a later date and further details will be announced to the UNH community when they become available.

Reducing the university’s carbon footprint

by Samantha Mathewson | December 10, 2014

The University of New Haven is going green and reducing its carbon footprint with the addition of solar panels on the roof of Celantano Hall.

carbon footprint

226 photovoltaic modules are currently being installed and are planned to be fully operational by the end of this year. The solar panels are being installed by Bella Energy, and are under contract to Petra Corporation. Each solar panel has the capacity to generate up to 290 watts of power. As a whole, the system will generate approximately 60 kW of electricity, the equivalent of the energy used to power an average of 12 houses. When completed, the system will display real time power generation and energy savings though a web link and building displays.

“The benefit of this installation is that it will reduce the need for UNH to buy electric power from an electric utility company. This results in a savings to the university of about $20,000 per year,” said Louis Annino, associate vice president of facilities. “The benefit goes beyond financial, however, as this reduces the university’s contribution to greenhouse gas emission, which benefits not only the university, but also the surrounding community. This clean energy technology is part of the university’s commitment to enhancing our use of energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The installation of solar panels reduces the university’s carbon footprint by deriving clean, pure energy directly from the sun. They create no waste or emissions when in use, and unlike fossil fuel power plants, they produce renewable energy from a fuel source that requires no locating, excavation, transportation or combustion. It’s a simpler, cheaper, cleaner and all-around better energy solution.

“The initiative cost approximately $300,000,” said Annino. “The project also provides tax incentives and utility rebates which effectively reduces the project cost by 50 percent.”

When installed, the solar panels will power the general electrical needs of Celantano Hall, reducing its need to import power. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to create energy, they emit toxic gases that are the primary cause of pollution and global warming. Also as a nonrenewable resource, their limited availability causes market prices to increase dramatically.

The installation of solar panels on the roof of Celantano Hall was initially proposed by students in the Tagliatela College of Engineering in the fall of 2011. Students presented their plan to the Office of Facilities, who then revised the design.

Ultimately, Celantano was selected because solar panels were originally eliminated from the building design due to cost.

This initiative will be funded by incentives offered through utility rebates. With this design being implemented, there are other dormitories that the university might consider for installing solar panels.
Celantano Hall was designed with green initiatives in mind and was awarded National Leadership in Energy Efficient Design Gold certification in July of 2010, from the United States Green Building Council. This certification encourages and accelerates the adoption of sustainable green building and development practices using rating systems that recognize projects that provide high-quality environmental and health performance.

LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings which promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability. While it wasn’t required in the past, newer applicants for certification require routine (annual) reporting in order to maintain their LEED rating.

“To achieve such a rating not only touches on energy efficiency, but many other areas of environmental impacts,” said Annino. “Such things might include low water use, plumbing fixtures, landscaping, which requires limited irrigation or maintenance and even use of recycled construction materials. In terms of energy efficiency measures, measures like high efficiency lighting, premium efficiency electric motors, and building controls and occupancy sensors were all used in Celentano Hall.”

Celantano Hall, previously Soundview, was designed by Sasaki Associates, Inc. to incorporate notable features that led to its LEED certification, including an innovative and highly efficient variable refrigerant volume heating and cooling system, which provides individual temperature control to each suite without bulky ductwork, allowing for considerable construction cost savings.

Celantano Hall also features an array of sustainable design, construction and operational initiatives that include site, landscape and building elements such as:

•Optimized energy performance. Celentano Hall exceeds guidelines for operating energy consumption by virtue of superior building skin materials, windows, insulation and optimal solar orientation.
•No irrigation. All plants and grasses are drought resistant and do not need irrigation.
•Storm-water management. Reduced impervious ground surface captures 90 percent of runoff and improves quality of runoff.
•Water use reduction. Significant savings of potable water by use of low-flow sinks, toilets and showers.
•Indoor air quality exceeds standards for ventilation, fresh air, occupant control of temperature and fresh air.

Energy is a significant cost to the university. “We currently spend in excess of $3,000,000 per year and certainly saving money on energy can allow our operating dollars to be spent in other ways, such as improving facilities, funding additional programs and controlling the overall cost of a UNH education,” said Annino. “The benefits however go beyond money. By being smart with our precious natural resources we are protecting our environment by reducing our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming.”
With the new addition of Westside Hall to UNH campus comes more opportunities for the university to go green.

“Westside Hall is now going through the process of applying for LEED certification, as well taking advantage of similar measures,” said Annino, who explained that green amenities in Westside include utilities such as high efficiency lighting, premium efficiency motors, sophisticated building controls and occupancy sensing and temperature setbacks.

“It is anticipated that this installation [of solar panels] will raise the level of awareness to the greater UNH community for clean energy initiatives,” said Annino. “With a higher level of awareness will come additional interest and investments in energy and sustainability projects, as well as greater sense of our own responsibility for wise and efficient use of our natural resources.”

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.”

Stepping into time

by Francesca Fontanez | December 10, 2014

University of New Haven’s Elite Step Team held their annual Step competition and exhibition, “Stepping Into Time,” on Dec. 5, at Bucknall Theater.

Stepping is a rising art form, similar to dancing, that is a crucial part of America’s artistic and cultural history. When stepping, the body is used percussively to create specific rhythms through a combination of footsteps, claps and the spoken word, often in sync with others.

Since Elite was the host of this weekend’s competition, they did not compete, but only displayed their show for exhibition; competitors included “UHA STEPPAZ” from the University of Hartford who placed second and “Sexual Chocolate,” the all-male team from Boston College who took first.

The theme of Elite’s show was time travel. Members of Elite reminisced as they took us back to decades gone by. The team had members perform a skit from every decade, starting with the sixties and ending with the present.

In addition to their performance, Elite also kept things interesting by adding an audience participation portion. Jazmin Williams, the Elite Dance Team President, said she was hoping for an interactive audience. Kharik DeFoe, a member of Elite explained that their show took a lot of preparation. He said many hours of practice went into learning the routines, which was difficult because of everyone’s conflicting schedules.

In the end, Elite’s hard work paid off; the crowd reaction was very enthusiastic.

Battle for Hope raises awareness for sexual abuse, harassment and violence

by Alyssa MacKinnon | December 10, 2014

The University of New Haven’s Theater for Community Impact class created Battle for Hope, a student-made production, to raise awareness about sexual assault, relationship abuse and harassment on campus.

The play, which took about a month to put together, was presented on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. in Bucknall Theater and was free of charge for all students.

Powerful imagery on the play bill—the director Tyler Prigionieri with his mouth taped shut and half of his face hidden in shadow—conveyed that the show would be authentic and emotional.

“What better way to change our campus than to provide entertainment and put our theater skills to the test,” said Erika Vargas, the lighting director and one of the writers of the play. A small warning took its place on the cover for those who may be triggered by the topic of the students work. Teal, purple and navy ribbons could signify what a survivor had experienced—domestic abuse, sexual assault, and general harassment respectively.

“Domestic Violence, harassment and sexual assault are the topics we chose to focus on. We believe that there are topics that exist in the dark underbelly of schools; many people are either ignorant about them or try to ignore their existence, which results in an inappropriate use of negative words or jokes around our campus,” read a part of the pamphlet. “This negativity can lead to people becoming passive bystanders if they choose to ignore the words that are being said and the message behind those words.”

The play was divided into six acts. The stage was painted in a splash of light blue color, an artistic choice meant to represent seeking inner peace after a traumatic event.

“In the Dark” began in the dark as derogatory words began coming from above the audience. LaTanza Britts was the primary writer for this scene. She used words from A Streetcar named Desire and things she personally heard around campus. One that stood out so vividly because of its vulgarity was “my d*ck and your lips should meet.”

The second act was called “Shakespeare and Pizza,” in which lines from Othello (courtesy of Allison Ramsdell) were used between two men, one an abuser and one the bystander. The bystander calls 911 after witnessing the abuser harm his partner but disguises the call for help as a simple pizza order.

Often, when people think of bystanders, they think of large acts of courage but it is possible to make a difference without risking your safety.

“Spectrum of Emotions” was the third act. This riveting act had actors standing in spotlights slowly being circled closer and closer by figures in inhuman red masks who were shouting; the emotions ranged from anxiety to guilt, anger, fear, and lastly, hope.

The fourth act, “The Monster in Me,” used lines from the show “Degrassi” to tell the story of a sexual assault victim trying to move ahead with her life, but demonstrates her struggle to continue, especially with intimate behaviors. Keith Watford played the new boyfriend of the victim, Lily, and the authenticity of his hurt at her inner turmoil was tangible. The act was partially created by Liz Vega, who played the angelic figure of hope.

The play continues moving into the fifth act, “Textual Harassment.” Actors stood alone in spotlights on either side of the stage as harassing, provocative and demeaning texts appeared on the screen behind them while a well-chosen song by Eminem took its place as the underscore. The soundtrack of the show was spot on at every turn, truly enhancing the key emotions of the audience.

The last act, “Red Paint Warrior,” by Keira Terrell and Leann Boisvert, had a few students standing in a stream of light again, now being marked by red handprints, as actors in featureless masks once again trap the portrayed victims in a swirl of emotions. Hope walks in, however, and the scene changes to one of white light, and the play concludes.

After the performance, Brittany Bach, president of the Victimology club, and Victoria Carnera, a 2013 alum, spoke to students after the show about different options and places available for students on campus and off.

With the statistic that one-fourth of women and one-sixth of men experience sexual assault or harassment, it is important for students to be educated about the available resources and to be sensitive to possible triggers; for instance, avoid using the word “rape” jokingly.

The two advocates for victims spoke about the Milford Rape Crisis Center, which has a free confidential 24/7 crisis hotline [(203) 878- 1212], and the Violence Prevention and Intervention Center, which is located on the lower level of Sheffield Hall, around the corner from Health Services.

The VPIC provides free and confidential support groups for women, but men are also welcome to contact VPIC. If someone chooses to come forward about an attack, it is important to communicate that you believe the person, that they are not alone and that you are there for them.

UNH can be made a better, safer place for all our students if we each look out for one another and hold ourselves responsible as bystanders to prevent the events that create victims. Together, the UNH community can help every victim become a survivor.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

by Elissa Sanci | December 10, 2014

More than 250 children living in different shelters in the greater New Haven area were provided holiday gifts because of Phi Sigma Sigma’s Giving Tree. The sorority held their annual Winter Wonderland event to thank all those who made this possible Dec. 5 at the Balcony Banquet Facility in Hamden, Conn.

Phi Sig Fundraising Chair Paula Aulestia and sister Maddie DiPrima standing among the piles of donated gifts  (Photo provided by Paula Aulestia)

Phi Sig Fundraising Chair Paula Aulestia and sister Maddie DiPrima standing among the piles of donated gifts
(Photo provided by Paula Aulestia)

This is Phi Sigma Sigma’s fourth Winter Wonderland; an event that once was held on campus moved off campus due to an increasing amount of attendees last year, and is anticipated to keep growing each year.

Phi Sig alumna Jacqueline Botchman created the Giving Tree in 2011 after she came across Alice Pierce, Christian Community Action director. Phi Sigma Sigma works with CCA to find donors to provide gifts for all the children in four different shelters across New Haven.

Special Events Committee Head Bri Sirota and Fundraising Chair Paula Aulestia worked together to plan the event. Sirota’s main focus was Winter Wonderland, while Aulestia worked with CCA to find sponsors for every family.

“It was awesome to work with Christian Community Action; Alice was so supportive and helpful,” said Aulestia. “She was there through everything and you could tell she has passion and dedication for what she does. We were able to sponsor every child, which came out to 66 families.”

21 campus organizations, along with each sister of Phi Sigma Sigma, sponsored children, and many members of each attended Winter Wonderland as representatives of their organization. Some of these organizations include Up Til Dawn, PRIDE, PIRO, the Black Student Union and a majority of Greek life. More than 250 guests attended the event, which Sirota had been planning since the beginning of the semester.

“It is such a great thing seeing organizations all over campus come together to make someone less fortunate have an amazing holiday season,” Richard Rotella, Undergraduate Student Government Association president said.

Food and decorations donations were made by local community vendors, such as Walmart, Party City and Sodexo, as well as Texas Road House, Chili’s and Bertucci’s.

“I think [Winter Wonderland] helps us gain a better relationship with organizations on campus and in the local community,” said Sirota.

“I think this year’s Winter Wonderland was a great success and all the help we got from the campus and surrounding community to sponsor children was truly amazing,” said Mel Lundin, Phi Sigma Sigma president. “It’s such a great feeling knowing we were able to help make the holiday season less worrisome for the families we were able to support.”

Aulestia adds that she loves the event. “It really shows that this is the season of giving and that sometimes, you have to think of the less fortunate.”

Rotella attended the even as one of the representatives of Sigma Chi fraternity. “Overall, it was a great event and an eye opening experience to be one of the people that helped by donating to people in need,” he said.

“After the event was completed, the venue reached out to me to say how wonderful we are as an organization for what we were able to do for the families,” said Sirota. “They had no idea that there are people like us who do such amazing things in the area.”

Clean up after your trees

by Samantha Mathewson | December 3, 2014

During fall months it is important to care for your lawn and clean up leaf litter. The University of New Haven Athletics department has been voluntarily raking neighbors of North Campus’ lawns during the fall months for upwards of eight years, this year almost doubling the number of houses they visit.

Women’s Soccer (Photo provided by Coach Laura Duncan)

Women’s Soccer (Photo provided by Coach Laura Duncan)

“Our campus is integrated within a community; I think it is very important for our Student Athletes to respect our neighbors living environment and give back from the support that they provide us,” said Laura Duncan, UNH’s Women’s Soccer coach, who heads the community service initiative under the Athletics Department. “Many of our neighbors that ask are elderly and are not able to rake their own leaves.”

Duncan has been a member of the UNH community for five years and the program was already set up when she arrived. In regards to how the Athletic Department reaches out to local neighbors, notifying them of this opportunity, Duncan explained, “We place a flyer on the doors of the street that connect the Main campus to North, a group of Student Athletes are assigned to drop them off and another group will pick them up a few days later. The houses can usually pick from a variety of days that work best for them and then I assign teams accordingly.”

Leaves were raked by various athletic teams and campus organizations Nov. 13, 14 and 20.

Leaves prevent water infiltration into local groundwater systems, which recharge vital freshwater sources. While it is important to remove the leaves from your yard, according to the New York State

Department of Environmental Conservation there are three green alternatives to burning them, which also help keep the air clean.

“A big pile of leaves will decompose, but very slowly so one option is creating a compost pile.

Leaf volume and decomposition time can be greatly reduced by shredding. Rake dry leaves into low piles and mow over them several times with a mulching mower. Up to three fourths of an inch” deep of shredded leaves can be applied to your lawn. You can add shredded leaves to your compost pile, and use the compost in the spring,” stated the New York State DEC.

Another green option is using leaves as mulch in your vegetable or flower garden.

“Decaying leaves use up soil nitrogen, so add an organic source of slow-release nitrogen, like composted animal manure, before planting,” suggested the New York DEC. “Keep total mulch depth to three inches or less and don’t let mulch touch the base of a tree or its trunk, or shrubs as this can encourage pests and disease.”

Lastly the NY DEC suggests creating a community municipal compost pile.

“Your community may offer curbside collection of leaves, or allow residents to bring leaves to a central location. Leaves are then composted and the compost made available to the public. Ask your local recycling coordinator if this is an option in your community as not all landfills will accept yard waste,” said the New York DEC.

It is important to refrain from burning leaves because smoke contains dangerous compounds, which can be harmful to residents in the surrounding area and can spark an accidental, larger, fire.

More information can be found at
“Over the last few years the number of houses has grown, I believe this came from positive feedback,” said Duncan. “I think it is a great activity for our teams to take part in an event off the field and judging by the pictures I receive I think they have a lot of fun doing it. Most teams commit an hour to an hour and half per house.”

Senior, and Captain of the Women’s Track and Field team Ivy Watts has participated in the community leaf raking for all of her four years at UNH.

“Each year our team goes out into the community and participates in raking the leaves of the houses in the surrounding area. I really think this is a great experience for both myself and my teammates to give back to the community and help those who may not otherwise be able to do it themselves,” said Watts.

“We are going out into the community and showing that we are here and willing to help. I think that no matter how small our efforts are, we are still making a difference in the community and that is what truly matters. When the residents of the home thank us for our efforts, it makes the time spent outside raking worth it. This experience is important for us to build a relationship with the community and take some time out of our busy schedules to give back and help others. That in itself, is truly a rewarding experience!”

This year there was a larger number of houses interested in having their lawn raked through the UNH Athletic Department. This year a total of 24 houses were raked, in comparison to the 13 houses that were visited last year.

All teams in the Athletic Department rake at least one house and some teams with larger rosters took two.

“Our coaches and administration spent Friday morning raking three houses as a group and multiple organizations from across campus helped out,” said Duncan.

Men’s Rugby Club, Men’s Lax Club, Black Student Union, CJ Club, ALD honors society, Kappa Chapter of Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity Inc. are among the many additional organizations that helped out.

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