Wishing Wells: A start-up starting up

I sat down a few days ago with Brent Packer ’15 and Tavo True-Alcalá ’15, the two co-founders of Wishing Wells, an up and coming water bottle filling station startup. Wishing Wells reduces plastic water bottle waste for big events on campus and is soon looking to expand with a bigger team and a larger impact.   wwell_crop

 Brent (L) and Tavo (R), just two great dudes doing really cool shit. 
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sheninagans: What are Wishing Wells?

Tavo: Wishing Wells are portable water distribution stations that provide chilled, filtered water for events like football games or reunion and commencement. The goal is to reduce the amount of disposable water bottles that people use at events like that. All you need is ice and a hose connection. It’s great.

Brent: The reason that this came about is because Wesleyan, and a lot of other universities across North America, have committed to reducing, or eliminating water bottle sales on their campuses.  Wesleyan has been really great about that, you won’t find bottled water in Weshop or anywhere else.  But the one area where they’ve had a lot of trouble was with these large outdoor events, reunion and commencement and football games are the main ones.  They needed a way to hydrate people without breaking the commitment they made of being a bottled water free campus.  They knew there would be a solution out there.  They had some expensive ideas, like renting water bottle filling stations, but they thought there could be an easier and more cost effective way to do that.  So two years ago they sponsored a competition.  A bunch of students, with no engineering background, put together some designs. And our team, which was Tavo, Nina Gerona, Madeleine O’Brian, and myself just scrappily put together a plan and won the competition. Then our design was built with the help of Dave and Bruce in the machine shop and since then, Wishing Wells have saved 10,500 water bottles, mostly from the past two reunion and commencements and a few other events.

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What are you doing with Wishing Wells right now?

Pro-Fraternity Actions During Homecoming

c/o Rosy Capron

c/o Rosy Capron

It’s not just radical student groups who can use banner drops for activism. Two large banners were hung outside of DKE today, promoting a pro-fraternity message: “Frats Not Fiction” and “276 High Street: DKE Owned/Operated For 147 Years…And Counting”.

It is not clear if this was done by current students or perhaps returning alumni. Either way, it is clearly timed to get attention during Homecoming, when there are many alumni, though not necessarily a whole lot of students, on campus.

In addition to these signs hanging from DKE, a small plane flew over the football field during the Homecoming game, carrying a banner that read “Wes Picks Our Bros? Fascism. Look it up.”

Homecoming Weekend Events and Dining Hours

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How ironic is it that the one day when it’s totally accepted to dust off our Wesleyan apparel and wear our school colors (props to the people who do that normally), it’s Fall Break? It’s a big athletics weekend for Wes vs Amherst. Not only is the football team playing Amherst today, but also the field hockey and men’s and women’s soccer teams (there’s also a volleyball game against Middlebury). That’s fives games during which we can wear our Wesleyan shirts (and kick other NESCAC schools’s butts)!

While it’s weird that homecoming weekend is when many students are off campus, according to Alex Sakhno ’15, who’s on the football team, it’s purely a coincidence. Wes’s homecoming game happens every fifth or seventh week of the year and it just so happens that this year it’s during the fifth week and also Fall Break. He’s still expecting a large crowd, though, since mostly alumni, parents, and Middletown residents come to games. Also, it’s Middletown Day today so lots of family friendly events will be happening concurrently (like a bounce house and face painting) and there will probably be some great dogs and little children around. If you want to watch Wes football play against Amherst, the game starts at 1:30 PM and will be live streamed here. For other Homecoming weekend shenanigans, check out the full schedule of weekend events.

For those of you still on campus, here are the relevant on-campus dining hours for Fall break. Usdan, Weshop, and Red & Black Cafe are your best bets (also Neon Deli, other Middletown spots, and cooking for yourself):

Submit to METIS, Wesleyan’s Undergrad Classics Journal

Ali Rosenberg ’15 writes in:

If you’ve worked on anything related to the ancient world in the past year, consider submitting to Metis, Wesleyan’s undergraduate classics journal! Submissions can include papers, photos, translations, creative pieces, or any and all things having to do with Rome, Greece, ancient archaeology, Julius Caesar, the Colosseum, or Brad Pitt’s performance in Troy.

Send all submissions to wesleyanmetis[at]gmail[dot]com.

Submission window: October 17 – November 30

Film Series Special Event: Top Hat

Join us for an old-fashioned night at the movies: a 35mm screening of the 1935 Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers picture Top Hat, preceded by a newsreel, short, and cartoon from the era — just like it would have been seen in its original release.

The most successful of the Astaire-Rogers films, Top Hat sees the two singing and dancing, flirting and bickering, as comedic and romantic mix-ups take them from London to an exquisite Art Deco rendering of Venice (as only Hollywood could build it). The score boasts a wealth of hummable Irving Berlin favorites, including “Cheek to Cheek” and “Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain).”

Tonight / 8 p.m. / Goldsmith Family Cinema / Free

Football Team Loses… in the late 1800s

the football team on November 27, 1885 in New York, before losing to Yale 61-0 (from Wesleyan Special Collections & Archives)

the football team on November 27, 1885 in New York, before losing to Yale 61-0 (from Wesleyan Special Collections & Archives)

Wesleyan isn’t really known for its athletics, despite our sports teams being pretty good. (I think… why–when I know nothing about sports–do I keep doing this?) This year’s scheduling probably isn’t helping matters: homecoming has been conveniently scheduled during fall break. In any case, in honor of tomorrow’s homecoming game against Amherst, wherever you are to experience/ignore it, here’s a look into Wes Football’s (pretty embarrassing) early history, including a spectacular 136-0 loss to Yale and a triumphant 26-0 win… against New Haven High School.

Middletown Day!

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If you’re sticking around this weekend to support the football team (and field hockey! and soccer! and volleyball! and the cheerleaders!) and connect with visiting alumni, why not also spend some time getting to know your neighbors? On Saturday, Wesleyan will host the Second Annual Middletown Day, where community members are invited to join Wes alumni, students, families, faculty and staff for some family-friendly fun. There will be a bounce house, face painter, and balloon artist, and the Middletown High School band will perform at halftime. Admission to the football game is free for Middletown residents, Wes students, and children under 12.

Place: The *Spirit Tent* on Andrus Field
Date: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM (football game at 1:30 PM)
Homecoming Schedule

New Haven Band Shouts Out to “Wesleyan’s Best Dressed”

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Put this in the “odds and ends” column: The name of the band is Sorority Noise. The song is “Wesleyan’s Best Dressed.”

And yes, you should absolutely listen to it. No, they’re not a Wesleyan student group, but a punk band that went to the University of Hartford; they released an album called Forgettable on Bandcamp this past May. The song itself is actually hella catchy, a fuzzy-guitar-based tune (check the rocking solo near the end) with eager drums and lo-fi vocals, and it should be dropping officially on Bad Timing Records on November 4th as part of a split EP with Boston band Somos, as per Stereogum. That website also says the song “sounds a lot like the buttoned-up, anxious students that might attend the titular university.”

I reached out to Sorority Noise’s guitarist/vocalist Cameron Boucher for a quick explanation about the origins of the band and what inspired “Wesleyan’s Best Dressed.”

Ensemble Dedalus: COUNTING TO SEVEN


From Jason Brogan MA ’15:

The Experimental Music Group presents Counting to Seven, a new large scale work written by Tom Johnson for Ensemble Dedalus (France). Seven voices count to seven in about 30 different languages from all over the world. Each piece explores a way of counting as well as a language sonority giving birth to a new musical form. From Okinawa (dialect from Japan) whispering words to Malinke (Africa) rhythmic patterns with additional small percussions, each continent is represented. Counting to Seven receives support from the French Institute, French Government (DRAC), Région Languedoc-Roussillon and SPEDIDAM. Professor Neely Bruce will offer an introduction to the music of Tom Johnson.

Date: Today
Time: 8:00 – 10:00 PM
Place: CFA Hall
Cost: Free

Have you registered to vote?!

If friends, family, and Lil Jon haven’t yet convinced you to register to vote or get an absentee ballot, now – yes, right now! – is the time to make a plan to vote.

If you want to vote in Middletown, you MUST re-register, even if you registered in Middletown last year! This is because your voting district and poll location are determined by your on-campus street address – NOT your mailing address at 45 Wyllys. If you have a valid DMV ID from Connecticut, the process is fast and all online, and it must be done by Tuesday, October 21. If you don’t have a valid DMV ID from Connecticut, the Registrar of Voters will need to receive your form by mail by October 21, meaning you would have had to send it today, so instead you’ll take a 10-minute stroll to the Registrar’s Office (245 deKoven Drive) to deliver it in person by Tuesday, October 28. On Election Day (November 4), the Office of Community Service will have vans running between Usdan and the various voting polls. If you hail from Connecticut and are registered for your non-Wesleyan home, you need to either vote by absentee ballot or drive to your local voting poll. (Register here!)

The registration deadline has passed in several places, including New York and Massachusetts, but there’s still time to register by mail or online in a few states, such as California. Some states are still accepting in-person registrations, so do some research if you’re heading home for fall break. Of course, if you’ve registered in another state and can’t be there on November 4, you’ll need to apply for an absentee ballot and, once you’ve received the ballot, send it so it arrives by Election Day (though this deadline changes state by state).

Election Season brings with it questions of not only how to vote but also why, especially when it comes to voting in Middletown, and especially when it comes to midterm elections. If you don’t get warm-and-fuzzies from just “fulfilling your civic duty,” here’s some food for thought that might pull you to the polls: