The Legacy of a Lifelong Friendship: The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship Dinner.

The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship (CIF) is rooted in a story of lifelong friendship between two young boys living in Newton, Mass. David Feldman and Dr. Ted J. Chamberlain were raised four houses away from each other and spent thousands of hours together in childhood. “Our friendship continued throughout adulthood; our wives are friendly, our children are friendly, their spouses are friendly, our grandchildren are friendly,” Feldman said. 

Their friendship stretched beyond time as well as religious differences, for both Feldman and Chamberlain maintained differing faith backgrounds throughout their friendship. Feldman was raised in a Reformed Jewish tradition; meanwhile, Chamberlain was raised in the Baptist sect of Protestantism. 

Despite these differences, both men maintained a wide worldview and held a deep respect for other religious traditions in the midst of adhering to their own. In addition to this, Chamberlain served 28 years as Eastern University’s Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Development. During this time at Eastern, Chamberlain was well-known for his deep faith and how he used his faith to forge meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life. After Chamberlain’s untimely passing in 2010, many of the people who knew Chamberlain commemorated the legacy he left behind. 

In 2014, as a result of the wisdom of David and Sydney Feldman, faith and academic leaders from Eastern University and Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Mass. were brought together to contemplate the prospect of establishing a fellowship inspired by Chamberlain’s legacy. Thus, this eventually resulted in the formal establishment of the Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship.

Annually, four Eastern students and four students from Temple Beth Shalom formulate a cohort that receives the opportunity to “learn about each other’s faith tradition; reflect upon commonalities and differences in the spirit of emerging friendship; grow spiritually, emotionally and intellectually; and engage in a social justice project for the common good of society and the world,” Chamberlain Award & Interfaith Fellowship says. 

On April 8, the CIF reception transpired in Eastern’s Baird Library. Members of Eastern University and members of Temple Beth Shalom gathered together as a unified community. Dr. Modica opened the reception with opening remarks and warm welcomes to all. President Ron Matthews provided a thoughtful reflection that correlated the importance of interfaith dialogue, relating this to current events across the globe. Before attendees received their Sodexo-catered meal, Rachel Happel, Temple Beth Shalom’s Senior Director of Learning and Engagement, and Jaclyn Favaroso, CIF Alumni Association member, provided both a Jewish and Christian prayer. 

Unbeknownst to many attendees, David Feldman would be receiving an award upon being named a Northwestern Mutual Insurance Community Service Award recipient. The provider of this award, Northwestern Mutual, is a financial service company that awards $310,000 in grants to nonprofits nationally through its Community Service Awards. As the visionary of CIF, Feldman’s commitment to “loving thy neighbor” has garnered well-deserved appreciation. Luisa Wilsman, Vice President of Advancement, and Eastern University President Ron Matthews presented Feldman with a $15,000 grant which will help fund the continuation and progression of CIF. 

Feldman accepted this award with gracious words of commemoration towards his friendship with Dr. Chamberlain and celebration towards the future dialogues and relationships that will be established thanks to CIF. 

In addition to this award, the reception held a special presentation in order to celebrate the seventh year of CIF. A miniature version of Timothy Schmaltz’s “Christ Washing Peter’s Feet” sculpture was presented to Liria Chamberlain, Dr. Ted Chamberlain’s wife. Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham, friend and colleague of the Chamberlain family, and Dr. Modica presented Liria Chamberlain with a miniature sculpture with a plaque that stated: “Deep Friendships, Shared Learning, ‘Holy Envy.’” 

As the CIF reception came to a close, new CIF cohort members meshed with former cohort members. The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship’s origins are centered on the lifelong friendship between two people, and this friendship will continue onwards through the lives of current and future CIF cohorts.

SAB: We’re Looking for New Members!

If you’ve ever attended a bingo night, coffeehouse, festival or any weekend event on campus, you’ve very likely been exposed to the workings of the Student Activities Board. Commonly known as SAB (pronounced S-A-B, not sab), this club is actually a staff and student-led organization that plans weekly events for the student body at Eastern.

  As you can imagine, lots of work goes into being an SAB member, but the team dynamics and small benefits of joining are well worth the time and effort put into being a member of the team. A typical week for an SAB member includes balancing three major commitments: attending a weekly board meeting with the staff advisor and lead chair, a committee meeting and the weekly event. 

The most straightforward of these commitments to anyone outside of SAB is the weekly event. What you might see is the set-up and tear-down of each event (not to mention the event itself), but what you don’t see are the inner-workings of the board. These are the moments where we create what you see around campus every weekend.

The weekly meeting typically occurs on Monday nights at 10:00 PM for one hour to accommodate everyone’s other commitments and class or work schedules. In the meetings, the most recent event is discussed and critiqued in consideration of hosting it in future semesters. Subsequently, future events are discussed to notify all members of the event’s vision, plan, set-up and tear-down procedures. 

Committee meetings typically vary in length and frequency. In these meetings, specific events are fleshed out in greater detail among a group of 2–3 students. For example, our Dances & Entertainment committee met on a weekly basis to discuss the intricate details of the Spring Banquet such as what hors d’oeuvres would be served, what caricature artists to hire and other small details. The committee members are responsible for contacting third-party vendors or obtaining the necessary supplies for each event. The plans for their specific events are then presented at the weekly board meeting to the rest of the staff. 

As a student who has been on SAB for just under four years, I can certainly tell you that being a member is tiring and, at times, frustrating. However, being on SAB has allowed me to develop stronger leadership, time-management and planning skills all while serving the student body and fostering a stronger sense of community on campus. 

If you feel called to serve your community by planning and hosting weekly events on campus, I strongly encourage you to apply for SAB. Many of us on SAB are graduating or are unable to remain on the team next year, leaving a number of positions unfilled. While being a member gives you the chance to develop amazing skills to prepare you for the workforce, it also comes with great perks, such as free event admittance, a small scholarship and others. If you are interested in applying, please contact Sabrina Severe at stugage@eastern.edu. S-A-B on three!

“We think differently and that’s not a bad thing”: Autism Acceptance Month 2022.

Since 2011, April is annually recognized as Autism Acceptance Month (previously Autism Awareness Month). According to the 2021 10th anniversary Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s statement, “Autism Acceptance Month was created by and for the autistic community to change the conversation around autism, shifting it away from stigmatizing ‘autism awareness’ language that presents autism as a threat to be countered with vigilance.” Autism acceptance is about equitable belonging, not apathetic tolerance or self-righteous saviorism.

What is autism? It’s a developmental disability (known in the DSM as Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD) that some people are born with and live with for their whole lives. It’s heritable, not caused by vaccines (a popular misconception in some circles); it can’t be cured, reversed, or fixed (what Applied Behavioral Analysis—ABA—attempts to do), and while it can be masked to varying degrees, it is a permanent neurotype that affects everything about a person, from the senses to social interactions to emotions. The World Health Organization said in March 2022 that “about 1 in 100 children has autism” but that while “characteristics may be detected in early childhood, … autism is often not diagnosed until much later.” 

Autism is relatively common, and it’s very likely you have known many autistic people, diagnosed or not, over the course of your life; as such, it’s very important to understand this disability. Julianne Anemone, an autistic student here at Eastern, said that while mental health awareness for more common things like anxiety and depression is improving, “with autism [there’s a] spectrum of symptoms … it’s complicated[;…] no two [autistic] people are going to be similar.” Dr.  Thompson, the director of the College Success Program here at Eastern that exists to assist autistic students, said “because autism affects many aspects of how a person interacts with the world, it looks very different from one person to another.” Justin Rittwage, another autistic student at Eastern, said that the most important thing non-autistic people need to know is that “[autistic people] think differently and that’s not a bad thing.” Dr. Thompson also noted that it’s further important to know that the commoly-used “high-functioning [and] low-functioning [spectrum] is a simplistic and inaccurate way of looking at [autism]…some people are able to adapt well to their environment, but other people don’t see the effort that goes into that;” i.e. there’s huge amounts of effort to live and function to any degree for all autistic people.

There are also many misconceptions about autism. Dr. Thompson said that some of those misconceptions are that “autism looks a certain way, or that once you know one [autistic] person’s strengths and weaknesses [you can] apply [that] to others… One that bothers me the most is that autistic people aren’t capable of empathy…[there’s a] range of levels of empathy within the autistic community just as there is a range of empathy among allistics.” Rittwage recounted that “the biggest misconception is that we’re not intelligent. That’s how I felt my guidance counselors treated me in high school, and I wasn’t able to excel or reach my full potential until college… I didn’t think I was going to be able to perform as well as I did and I’m blown away by that.” Anemone said that “when most people think about autism they think about …[dramatized]examples like Shaun from The Good Doctor, [and] they think [other autistic people] aren’t really capable of doing much, but that is only really [the case] for the severe[ly disabled].”

Regarding support, Dr. Thompson noted carefully that “lots of neurotypical people are trying to do good and doing it from their own perspective rather than from the perspective of autistic individuals.” And it’s important to remember that many autistic people, especially those assigned female at birth and people of color, are un- or late-diagnosed—“signifiers of autism aren’t nearly as clear” due to different socializations than the DSM accounts for, which is “geared towards” white autistics assigned male at birth, Dr. Thompson continued. Anemone agreed, saying that “it’s important for autistic women to speak out about their symptoms, because autism is diagnosed a lot more in men compared to women.” And being undiagnosed “is problematic because it affects self-understanding and how [many] support systems and accommodations [you have access to],” said Dr Thompson. Anemone said “[it’s] important that people with … autistic symptoms … get help early enough they could also potentially have success in life.” Both Anemone and Rittwage said that CSP and other accommodation services at Eastern was the reason they chose this university. “Eastern has a pretty good autism program and that’s why I chose [it]…When I was choosing colleges I was only looking at autism programs…I also know that CCAS is a really good resource as well…[it’s a] robust system and it definitely has helped me out a lot, both academically and socially,” remembered Anemone; Rittwage agreed and said “[the] CSP program is there, that’s why I came here and transferred in; I needed a little bit more support…at my other college, they didn’t have that.” 

Autism is an enormous spectrum of different symptoms, comorbidities, disabling factors and experiences; no two autistic people are the same. It’s deeply personal, and while there is an autistic community—since the world is set up around neurotypicals, you can find the people whose brains work similarly—it can be hugely important to an autistic person’s sense of self. Anemone remembered, “when I was younger I was more severely autistic, [and] luckily because my mom noticed…I was able to get the services I needed to be able to get to where I am now. I want to be an inspiration for other people…I hope to be an advocate, and say that autistic people can do anything that other people can do.” And Rittwage said, “I’ve heard people say that they want to cure autism, and I would not want to give it away in a million years, never. You have struggles and hurdles, but it’s a specific life experience. If I was neurotypical, I wouldn’t have to jump as many hurdles and I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Where Did the Trees Go? Answers to Student’s Questions about the Environmental Changes on Campus.

If you’ve been strolling around Eastern’s campus lately, you might have noticed that trees have been cut down in several places on campus, most notably in front of Sparrowk residence hall. You may also have noticed that the sign declaring Eastern a nature preserve next to the Sparrowk bridge is missing. Many people have expressed frustration and confusion at this development. Eastern is often lauded for its beautiful campus, but is that changing?

Grounds Manager Marcus Von Hertsenberg met with me in an interview to discuss the changes happening around campus. “Rest assured, all the changes that are happening are all positive,” he said, prefacing our interview as he handed me a labeled manilla envelope full of detailed print-outs to supplement the information provided below.

Bradford pears were recently added to the noxious invasive plant list; while they are a colorful flowering species that looks appealing, they’re often deeply damaging to native species and environments. On Feb. 9, 2022, the ban on sale and cultivation took effect. According to Von Hertsenberg, Eastern is “phasing in process with other native plants” and replanting with native species, all “going in line with regulation and code.”

When asked about the replanting process, Von Hertsenberg said, “As of this year already, we have four trees that have already been put in.” One was a donation provided by Susan Weber, an alumna from the class of 1968, which was planted by the water wheel. There have also been two sycamores and a cypress planted. The Grounds Department has also received approval for funding devoted to the replanting efforts; the tree company that the university works with, Shreiner Tree Care, has also donated redbuds, which are a native species. The replanting will take place throughout the spring, now that the cold has broken.

Regarding Eastern’s status as a nature preserve, Von Hertsenberg stated that “We’re still very much a nature preserve.” Unfortunately, the signs were vandalized and stolen, but that hasn’t stopped the conservation efforts that the Grounds Department has been working on. In 2002, the Growing Greener Grant was established and backed by John Monroe to confront the issues on campus related to ponds and invasive species. However, the preserve area was treated as a boundary line, and from 2002 to 2018, “weeds and invasives took over and led to extreme deforestation,” Von Hertsenberg said. Since October 2021, his department has been working on water control on the paths as well as dealing with watershed issues. 

“There’s been a lot of extreme efforts from my staff and my department in, as we call it, reopening Eastern and a lot of good has come from that,” Von Hertsenberg said. They’ve been focusing on sustainable conservation efforts. “Every single thing has been safety-minded and these naturalization efforts have been outstanding. Everything that has gone into the ground in the last two years has been native-based.” For example, many of the wood chips around campus, such as the chips by the painted rock, are recycled from storm damage.

Von Hertsenberg also highlighted an exciting project that the Grounds Department is tossing around: Operation Walton Restoration. The Grounds Department wants to bring the area around Walton pond to its original aesthetic appeal before invasives took over. His team, which includes Peter Bogdon, Tim Vorwald and Sara Petrondi as well as support from Plant Ops members Jeff Gromis and Tony Patricco, have been working tirelessly to make our campus not only beautiful but also sustainable and ethical. Next time you stop and notice how lovely the place we live and learn is, consider sending a thank you note to the Grounds Department for their deep-rooted attention to both beauty and environmental justice.

The Clubbies: A look at the award show that celebrated Eastern’s student-run clubs.

This year was the first annual Clubbies Awards, which celebrated the achievements of various clubs on campus. The event was catered by Sodexo and featured several live artists as well as the presentation of the awards.

“The Clubbies was a brainchild of mine,” SGA President Xeyah Martin said in an interview. He felt that the clubs at Eastern weren’t appreciated enough, given that they are “the heart and soul” of the school. He pointed out that students pour hours and hours of free labor into these clubs, and he “wanted to give a thank you to clubs for all that they do.”

When he first got the idea, Martin reached out to the staff that make sure clubs run smoothly on campus: Krista Barnett, Sabrina Severe, and Stefan Martyniak. All of these staff members worked together with Xeyah to organize the event.

In order to determine which clubs received awards, a survey was sent out. According to Martin, “there was a total of 57 responses, which is not representative of the greater community or clubs.” Martin admitted to being disappointed with the number of responses; “I was expecting 150-250,” Martin said. However, he found that the clubs that were very active and engaged did turn out well.

The hardest part of putting everything together was the categories, according to Martin. He, along with other SGA members, separated them into two groups: the ones he thought of and the student engagement ones, which were based on metrics like the age of clubs and their reported weekly participation. “I wanted to come up with categories that were diverse yet meaningful,” Martin said. He also tried to determine what categories naturally formed due to what each club tended to fall into.

Overall, Martin thought that most of the clubs seemed to enjoy the event. They liked the food and the performances, and the response on social media was very strong. Besides the representatives from clubs receiving awards, the event was also attended by staff and administration of the university; President Matthews did the welcome address.

When asked if the Clubbies would contine, Martin responded, “Preferably, but I won’t be here.” He added, “You can lead the way, but you can’t force people to walk down that path.”

Eastern’s Lack of Security Measures: A security audit of the campus reveals that Eastern isn’t as safe as many students think.

Before I arrived at Eastern University, I was under the impression it was one of the safest college campuses in the area. However, I completed a security audit of campus as an assignment for my senior seminar that told me otherwise. There are six major entry points on campus that have little to no security measures set in place, in addition to several lamp posts not having working light bulbs. The lack of security measures set in place on campus is astounding and makes me fear for the safety of my peers.

To start, let’s examine Eastern University’s original entrance by Doane. The only security measure in place there are the yellow posts placed in the middle of the lane to prevent cars from entering campus. However, anyone on foot could still enter campus between the gaps or by using the archway to the far left of the gate. There are no cameras, gates, lamp posts, or areas for anyone to check-in. Situated directly next to it is the parking lot to Doane Hall. Of course, all the residence halls are equipped with cameras and key card access points, but there are no external security features, particularly in the parking lots adjacent to the residence halls, such as gates, security cameras, or checkpoints.

On the other side of campus, there is an open bridge to campus from a public park. Again, there are no street lights, cameras, or gates to ensure student and staff member safety, despite this bridge being directly across from Kea-Guffin, Hainer, Gough and Gallup halls. The parking lot behind these halls also has no gate or a security checkpoint despite being connected to Eagle Road. Therefore, anyone could park their vehicles and walk around the campus without students or staff members being aware.

Another major entrance point to Eastern’s campus is located by the athletic fields and the gymnasium. While this entrance is much more secluded than others, there are still no lights, gates or keycard access points monitoring who enters campus and when. The only form of security that is sparingly provided is two or three students directing traffic during home games. Finally, we have the main entrance to Eastern’s campus. As we all may know, it has no gate, no security check-point, or keycard access to campus. Yet, this entrance to campus is connected to Eagle Road, and is just a few hundred feet from one of St. Davids’ busiest intersections. Still, Eastern prides itself on security features and student safety.

Let’s cut to the chase: Eastern University does not prioritize our safety. The most telling signs of this are the lack of security call-boxes, security gates and checkpoints. A number of my peers have expressed similar feelings. A peer who wishes to remain anonymous said, “my paranoid brain cannot take the lack of security here… We are a Criminal Minds episode waiting to happen.”. Considering that we have six entrances to campus that are obvious to the public and none have security features, I strongly agree with what my peer said.

For a university that centers their mission around faith, reason and justice to make such fraudulent claims about their campus and student safety is frustrating and suggests to the student body that they are not a priority. Eastern University must do better at securing campus and protecting the students who have chosen to study here.

Pie a Professor: Students are setting up a “pie a professor” fundraiser to raise money for IJM.

Starting April 4 through April 6, students will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite professor to get pied in the face. A group of students are hosting a fundraiser to raise money for the EU chapter of the International Justice Mission. The fundraiser is being run by Jayme Fisher, Keilah Cook, Melody Sweeney, Will Cunningham and Camryn Mcwilliams.

According to IJM president Gracie McBride, “Eastern’s chapter of IJM works to support International Justice Mission’s global work against human trafficking through prayer, education, and financial support. IJM’s mission is to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.” All the funds raised will go directly to support Eastern’s IJM chapter.  

During the first week of April, specifically April 4, 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., students will be able to vote for a professor they would like to see pied in the face.  The students running the fundraiser have reached out to professors across campus to participate.  Thus, there is a list of candidates (i.e. professors) that students will be able to choose. If the professor’s name is not listed, then students cannot vote for that individual. The top three professors with the most votes will be pied in the face at the end of the week.

There will be a table located in Walton lobby staffed with students, so others can vote. The voting system will be $1 a vote.  Students can vote for a professor any number of times as long as they pay the fee. Thus, if a student wants to vote for a professor five times, then they can donate $5. 

At the end of the three day period, Fisher, Cook, Sweeney, Cunningham and Mcwilliams will tally the votes. On Monday, April 11, the three professors who received the most votes will be pied on the face. 

If students wish to watch their favorite professor get pied in the face, the main pie event will be located at the Walton Patio on April 11 at 3 p.m. 

AWP Conference 2022: Several Eastern students attended one of the largest national conferences for writers.

From March 23rd to the 26th, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) met for their first in-person national conference since 2020. This year, AWP’s national conference met in Philadelphia—the first time it’s done so. 200 events were offered at the conference, along with a book fair with “editors, small presses, publishers, and literary magazines” from all over the country. It took place at the Philadelphia Convention Center. In addition to its in-person conference, there were also more than 100 events available online since they had “a successful virtual conference in 2021with over 6000 attendees.”

This year, a number of writing students from Eastern attended with their Professor Rebecca Gidjunis, who also is Managing Editor of a journal called Saturnalia Books. Saturnalia was present at the book fair all weekend. When  asked to speak about the conference, which Gidjunis has attended multiple times, she said “I love that I can connect with my community of writers and friends from grad school.” This is a large yet tightly-knit community, and many attendees know each other from school, just like Gidjunis,  and they come to the conference every year and recognize faces and names, or interact with well-known writers and publishers on social media. 

A number of the journals represented at the conference this year were from universities with undergraduate and master’s level audiences. Some of these universities were Rutgers, Wilkes, NYU, Columbia, UChicago and the University of Arizona. There were also larger organizations like American Poetry Review, Pen America, The Writer Magazine and Poetry Foundation. Representatives from each journal or publisher came with their most recently released books for sale, along with free merchandise, and set up their booths in enormous rows for attendees to meander through for hours. 

Most of the journals and publishers at the conference focus their material on poetry, essays and short stories, but some housed photographers and nonfiction/fiction authors as well. A few more advertised genre-bending material. On the opening day of the conference, the 23rd, AWP hosted Toi Derricotte— the “celebrated poet”—for their keynote address, and the other events throughout the three days featured talks and panels on a broad variety of subjects like “Ask an Agent Anything,” “Exorcising our Demons: Mental Illness in YA” and “Poets Theater.”

In attendance, one could clearly sense the atmosphere of creativity and community throughout the massive book fair and in the myriad events and panels. Most attendees were young, in their twenties and thirties, as were most of the representatives from journals and publishers. Though some genres found there are not generally regarded as art forms by the general public, like non-fiction or essays, one could be convinced of the artistry in all kinds of writing disciplines just by taking a few steps into the main room of the conference center. It was certainly a gathering of creatives, artists who are on the front of society, pushing it forward and stretching our minds. There was also a discernible spiritedness hovering over the whole three days. “After successfully reimagining the conference as a virtual-only space for 2021, returning to an in-person gathering this year brings a new sense of excitement and anticipation. The AWP staff has worked hard to achieve a safe in-person conference while still providing that wonderful, interactive virtual offering for those who join us online,” said AWP executive director Cynthia Sherman. 

If you’re interested in submitting to any of the above-mentioned journals or publishers, please find them online, as their timelines for submissions update regularly and often. Visit the AWP website for more information about the annual conference.

Sources: AWP 2022 (press release), Rebecca Gidjunis

ETHELS: The club’s spring party!

On Thursday, I had the privilege of attending ETHELS’s swing dance party. Because I was attending that night as a reporter and not just a dancer, I will attempt to be as impartial as possible—although I think ETHELS is one of the best clubs on campus (sorry, I had to slip that in).

  As all reporters should, I got to the event a half hour late, and the party was already in full swing (no pun intended). It was a Greek mythology themed party, and so the walls were hung with greenery and handmade symbols of various Greek gods, and many toga clad individuals were waltzing around the room. Honestly, some of the costumes were quite good, and some were very authentic. I am thinking of the bare chested toga wearer in particular. 

  As a reporter should, I immediately went to the snack table to sample all the food. I want it to be noted that they had some of the best grapes I have ever tasted. I don’t know if they were Greek, I don’t even know if they were organic, but they sure tasted good. While I was gorging myself with grapes, the dancers continued to whirl around the room to very Greek songs like Rockin’ Robin. The party was very dimly lit. The only light came from the little lights strung from the ceiling, and so it was difficult to see anything. Actually, the first time I danced, I crashed my partner into someone else. All reporters should try to fully understand what they are reporting on, and I took this motto to heart by trying to dance with as many people as possible. Sadly, as I said, I arrived late, and because it was dark, it was hard to remember who I had and hadn’t danced with, and so I cannot say I danced with everyone, but I did try my hardest. I tried for almost half an hour to dance with the Waltonian photographer, but he is the most stubborn anti-dancer I have ever met. I would have sworn he was a Baptist, except for the fact that I know he is Orthodox.  

At one point in the evening, I got to dance with an actual dance major. When I apologized for my bad dancing, or more accurately, the non-existence of my dancing, she said, “As long as you’re moving, you are dancing.” I am not sure if this quote is a profound insight on the nature of dance, or if it was just a half hearted attempt to make me feel better about myself. 

All in all, it was quite a wonderful party, even if I failed at getting drunk on the non-alcoholic grape juice. Near the end of the evening we danced a chaotic Greek wedding dance, and by the time I left, I was feeling quite Greek. If you missed it, too bad for you; events like this are not things you run across on a weekly basis. 

 

Mural Club: Check out Eastern’s newest club!

There’s a brand new club on campus! The Art and Mural Club, started by Alecia Espinosa, had its first meeting on Thursday March 10 and has been meeting each Thursday at 7pm in Hainer Basement since then.

Espinosa has been passionate about art all her life, even attending a high school dedicated to the arts. When she came to Eastern, she heard about the art club that previously existed on campus, but when she found out that it no longer met, she started her own.

“I just want people with art abilities to come together and have fun and create some type of mural at some point,” Espinosa said. The first week that the club met, the members worked on paintings of a sunset, and the second week, each member was free to create their own painting. On Thursday the 24th, Espinosa hopes to begin planning the club’s mural, which would hopefully be installed in one of the residence halls.

One of the main things Espinosa wants to do with her mural is promote inclusivity. “A good mural would be inclusive to every type of major, class, and student life in general,” she said in the interview. While Espinosa has experimented with many different forms of artwork such as mosaics, glasswork, graphic design, and photography, painting and designing murals is her favorite type. 

Espinosa shared that while art is a big part of her life, she’s currently pursuing a major in psychology. She’s from Philadelphia, and she’s a freshman here at Eastern. She’d love to attend other clubs, but she hasn’t done so yet, and she works in the registrar’s office. Espinosa calls herself a “very social, extroverted person,” which is perfect for someone who wants to bring people together in a new club.

Espinosa’s vision for the club is “somewhere where people can come to paint and relax, a space that people can talk about what they like to do.” According to Espinosa, “Art helps you express yourself. Not everyone can express themselves through writing, so it can help you express what you’re feeling or what you like.”

In the future, Espinosa could see the club extending beyond murals and painting to other types of art, such as printmaking, but she still has some boxes to check to make the club official and to get funding from SGA. If you love art or you’re interested in exploring a new way to unwind, check out the Art and Mural Club this week!