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INSIDE THE BORDERS, OUTSIDE THE BORDERS: Southern’s Commitment to Community and Global Outreach Photography and text by Isabel Chenoweth Southern Academy photos by Alisha Martindale Design by Barbara Kagan Sponsored by the Public Affairs Department at Southern Connecticut State University, Patrick Dilger, Director Copyright © 2011 Southern Connecticut State University Special thanks to Interim President Stanley F. Battle, Patrick Dilger, Mary Pat Caputo, William Faraclas, Deborah Flynn, Patrick Heidkamp, Thuan Q. Vu, Camille Serchuk, Yan Q. Liu, Leon Weinmann, Lisa Kortfelt, Alexandria Lolos, Alisha Martindale, Service Point USA, and Joseph Cifferelli.

INSIDE THE BORDERS, OUTSIDE THE BORDERS: Southern’s Commitment to Community and Global Outreach

501 Crescent Street • New Haven, Connecticut www.SouthernCT.edu

INSIDE THE BORDERS:

DAY OF SERVICE

Southern Reaches Out to its Neighbors Southern Connecticut State University’s campus borders several New Haven neighborhoods: Newhallville, Dixwell, Westville, and the town of Hamden. Some of these neighborhoods experience disproportionately high crime rates and school dropout rates, and struggle with an ever-widening achievement gap. Southern has responded by increasing its efforts to address concerns that affect everyone in the community. Hundreds of students, staff, and faculty have joined in a variety of service projects, or participated in collaborative educational programs, such as Southern Academy. Southern Academy aims to improve literacy in New Haven while exposing children to exciting educational opportunities. The year-round program includes six weeks of summer classes

Ronald D. Herron, former Vice President of Student and University Affairs, began this annual Day of Service five years ago as a way of serving surrounding neighborhoods and instilling in students the importance of giving back to the community. Now sponsored by the Office of Student Life, the Student Government Association, the Service Team and the New Haven Police Department, the event draws over 600 students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers for clean-up projects in a number of different locations in the New Haven community.

and then monthly meetings, seminars, and field trips throughout the year. It began in July 2011 with 25 fourth graders and plans to expand to 200 students within the next four years. The sheer number of volunteers in the Southern university community willing to donate their time, energy, and talent for these programs demonstrates pride in the neighborhood as well as a strong commitment to implementing positive change. This spirit of volunteerism recently earned Southern a place on the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

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THE BIG EVENT

This annual event, sponsored by the Office of Student Life, the Student Government Association and the Service Team, brings together 400 students, faculty, staff and neighborhood volunteers to clean up and spruce up neighborhoods throughout the city and in West Haven.

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ADOPT-A-FAMILY FOOD DRIVE

Students, staff, and faculty collect over 300 boxes of food for the Coordinating Counsel for Children in Crisis in New Haven. The Office of Student Life and the Student Government Association co-sponsor this annual event.

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FIELD DAY

GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SPORT DAY

Sponsored by the Athletic Department and the OďŹƒce of Institutional Advancement, this popular annual (and National) event draws 200 girls ages 6-14 from all over Connecticut. They come with school groups, sports teams, brownie and girl scout troops to learn about sports available to girls as a result of Title IX. Girls rotate through stations to learn the basics of softball, volleyball, track and field, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, cheerleading, and basketball.

The Residence Hall Association sponsors a field day for more than 200 New Haven elementary school students from schools lacking the resources and space to hold the all-school game day. Over 100 Southern students lead the kids in arts and crafts activities and sports games.

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ORGANIC GARDEN

The Sustainable Southern-Plant it Forward Initiative brings gardening and urban farming to campus. The plan involves developing unused portions of campus for a community organic garden, fruit orchard, vineyard, greenhouses, outdoor classroom, and apiary. Faculty instrumental in implementing the project include Patrick Heidkamp, Susan Cusato, Suzanne Huminski, and Victor Triolo. 6

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OUTSIDE THE BORDERS: Southern Travels the Globe Southern students have a wealth of opportunities to learn about the world around them. The summer international programs introduce students to other cultures, often exposing them to global health, educational, and environmental issues on a personal level. The students venture out of their comfort zones to conduct invaluable field research into areas such as malnutrition, poverty, pollution, and energy production. Recent trips include studying art in Paris, energy and environmental initiatives in Iceland, classical mythology in Rome, advances in information science in China, and public health in Guatemala. The following pages highlight some of the Southern students’ recent experiences traveling and studying in Guatemala.

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IMMERSION

SOUTHERN STUDENTS ARRIVE IN ANTIGUA GUATEMALA to study public health in this developing country. For two weeks, Professors William Faraclas and Deborah Flynn will lead the group through a carefully planned itinerary of field research. As we drive from the airport to Antigua Guatemala, an hour’s trip, we soak up the landscape, colorful and lush, widespread poverty evident. Bright political billboards loom along the roadside and stray dogs wander everywhere. People walk perilously close to traffic carrying bundles of sticks on their backs, baskets on their heads. Old American school buses painted rainbow colors spew black exhaust. We spot Burger King, Walmart, and the golden arches mixed in with colonial architecture. We meet Dr. Carmen Cereza, a pediatrician and public health medical professional in Santa Cruz la Laguna, one of the poorest

Above: Students with Dr. Carmen Cereza, front right. 10

villages in Guatemala. She addresses health care concerns with compassion and commitment. • Guatemala has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the Americas. • Maternal mortality in Guatemala is almost ten times higher than the U.S. • Guatemala has 25 different multi-ethnic groups each with its own language, and additional dialects. • Government expenditures in health only equal 3% of the country’s GDP. • 75% of the population lives in poverty earning less than $2 per day (closer to 90% for indigenous groups). • 24% of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition (closer to 70% for indigenous groups). • Use of insecticide-treated mosquito sleeping nets has reduced malaria morbidity rates by 80%.

HEALTH CARE AND QUESTING

THE STUDENTS QUEST for information about a number of health care issues. Working with local interpreters, Jorge and Elizabeth, they visit the local market, pharmacy, water department, dump, clinics, and walk the city — sometimes in pouring rain — in search of answers. They glimpse problems beneath the surface of the city fabric — elderly women walking barefoot on cobblestone streets, men stumbling drunk, starving dogs, the homeless foraging for food in the dump. The scenes inspire conversation and more questions. This kind of investigative research provides invaluable insight into another culture.

Right: Students with Dr. Daniel Salazar, center, Director of the Carroll Behrhorst Clinic in Chimaltenango. 11

FLOWERS AND MEMORIALS

ART AND ARCHITECTURE 12

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MARKETS

OBRAS SOCIALES DEL HERMANO PEDRO THE STUDENTS VOLUNTEER at this 230-bed residential facility for physically and mentally disabled children and adults, and the poor. Whether sitting quietly with severely disabled psychiatric patients or holding babies awaiting cleft palate surgery, the students are visibly moved by the atmosphere of compassion and care at Obras.

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STUDENTS TRY A HAND AT WEAVING and make tortillas during a visit to a women’s cooperative in this small village. After a mouth-watering lunch, our hosts walk us up to mountainside fields and terraced gardens to enjoy the view and a snack of fresh-cut corn grilled over an open fire.

THE QUEST CONTINUES WITH A VISIT TO THE SHRINE OF SAN SIMON, near Chimaltenango, a church dedicated to Maximón, a Mayan folk saint, represented in black and obsessed with vices — smoking and drinking. The Mayans mollify Maximón with gifts and sacrifices. Offerings include candles, alcohol, cigars, cigarettes, sugar, and firecrackers burned for good health, good crops, and even fertility. Shamans perform ritual blessings by sweeping various herbs and flowers sprinkled with alcohol up and down one’s body to free it of bad spirits.

MAYAN CULTURE

SANTIAGO ZAMORA

Next stop: Chichicastenango in the highlands. Chugging up steep inclines and switchbacks, the bus reaches this colorful town, home to the famous 1200-year-old market. On market days, dawn brings a steady stream of vendors, buses, and exploding firecrackers. The streets become awash with colors, smells, sounds, and people from all over the world buying and selling everything from handcrafts, pigs, chickens, hand-carved masks, machetes, and textiles. Young boys, smudged with polish, shine shoes, beautiful little girls sell jewelry, old men swing incense. The 18 steps (representing each Mayan calendar month) of the church of Santo Tomas is a sea of flowers and vendors.

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MEDICINE AND MIDWIFERY THE STUDENTS VISIT INDIGENOUS HEALTH CLINICS and health care workers in villages on Lake Atitlán, learning firsthand how this Mayan region addresses health issues. Local care providers explain the critical importance of listening, and understanding Mayan cultural values. The most effective care balances modern medicine with respect for traditional healing methods. In San Juan La Leguna, Anna, a midwife, shares her vast knowledge and experience of 50 years delivering babies. We listen rapt, fascinated by Anna’s stories, her warmth, grace, and kindness. Anna walks us to the town dock and watches as our boat pulls out onto the lake. In her colorful traditional dress and long braids wrapped in red cloth, she waves good-bye, a vision perhaps none of us will forget.

SANTIAGO ATITLÁN EDUCATION IN GUATEMALA suffers from a severe lack of resources, supplies and training. The indigenous population is affected the most by poorly funded schools, and schools that fail to teach Mayan languages and culture. Dropout rates are high. Families may also rely on children to sell goods on the street, shine shoes, care for other children. Time spent in school may result in direct economic loss for some families. To address this concern, some schools now stagger hours so that children in one family may attend school at different times. We meet with Mandy, a former Peace Corps volunteer who has married and settled in Santiago Atitlán. She has started the very first lending library in town and a preschool fashioned on Montessori principles. The school is bright, engaging, cheerful. Children clearly thrive here. A few miles outside of town, we visit another school. Nino, a local resident who has worked hard to realize his own dream of starting a school, happily introduces us to the teachers and children. The children sing for us and play with us. They want to hold hands, hug, look at our cameras, braid our hair. Many of these children lost family members in 2005 when a mudslide buried 1,500 people alive. We feel honored to be here. Some of our group donates money to build a new roof for the school.

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ANIMALS

TIKAL NATIONAL PARK ONCE A POWERFUL KINGDOM of the ancient Maya, Tikal, situated in the low-lying rain forest of the El Petén Region, constitutes one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. At dawn, we sit at the top of Temple IV for almost two hours, silent, still, waiting for the forest to come alive. Slowly, as the sun begins to rise, we hear the swell of sounds, a radiating cacophony — or maybe symphony — of howler monkeys roaring like lions, spider monkeys, birds and cicadas chirping, toucans, parrots and parakeets calling, coatimundi racing through the underbrush. The heat is humid and relentless. Mosquitoes bite through insect repellent. As mist clears, we absorb the sheer enormity of the temples. Temples I, II, and III in the distance appear vast and otherworldly, a rare confluence of the ancient, the spiritual, and the temporal that takes your breath away. Later, while preparing to return home, students summed up the trip as unforgettable, moving, profound, bittersweet, and life-changing.

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INSIDE THE BORDERS, OUTSIDE THE BORDERS: Southern’s Commitment to Community and Global Outreach Photography and text by Isabel Chenoweth Southern Academy photos by Alisha Martindale Design by Barbara Kagan Sponsored by the Public Affairs Department at Southern Connecticut State University, Patrick Dilger, Director Copyright © 2011 Southern Connecticut State University Special thanks to Interim President Stanley F. Battle, Patrick Dilger, Mary Pat Caputo, William Faraclas, Deborah Flynn, Patrick Heidkamp, Thuan Q. Vu, Camille Serchuk, Yan Q. Liu, Leon Weinmann, Lisa Kortfelt, Alexandria Lolos, Alisha Martindale, Service Point USA, and Joseph Cifferelli.

INSIDE THE BORDERS, OUTSIDE THE BORDERS: Southern’s Commitment to Community and Global Outreach

501 Crescent Street • New Haven, Connecticut www.SouthernCT.edu


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