Author Archives: Holly

Give us money, or the tree gets it

Life may not continue after death, but you’ll be comforted to know that Wesleyan keeps the guilt trips coming after you graduate. This slip came in the mail today from the Wesleyan Fund:

The Wesleyan Fund Wants You(r Money, Or We'll Kill This Tree)

Text: “Wesleyan solicits approximately 24,000 alumni, parents, and friends via postal mail at least once each year. Many receive additional mailings. By making your gift early, you can help save resources and contribute to Wesleyan’s commitment to environmental sustainability. As an added incentive, the money saved on donor mailings can go where it counts: financial aid, teaching, and campus improvements.”

Layin’ it on thick, huh, Wesleyan Fund?

RIP Tadd Gero ’08

There have been several emails received about the recent passing of Tadd Gero ’08. Tadd passed away Tuesday morning from a resistant strain of pneumonia. His mother shares that memorial services will be held for Tadd in October.

“On October 3 at 1 pm there will be a Memorial for Tadd in Hudson, New York. It’s being held at Time & Space Limited 434 Columbia Street an arts and theatre center that Tadd used to work at, thanks to the generosity of Linda Mossman, who was a second mother to him. Feel free to share any thoughts or memories of Tadd even if it is totally spontaneous and you’re moved to do so when there.”


[EDIT by Sheek, 9/8]

From an all-campus email:

I regret to inform you that Tadd Gero, a recent alum, passed away on August 17. Those of you in the classes of 2010 and 2011 may have known Tadd while he was here, as he graduated in 2008. Tadd graduated as a theater major after transferring from Simon’s Rock College. While on campus he was involved in campus activities including reporting for the Argus. Upon graduation Tadd worked as a reporter for The Independent Newspaper in Hudson New York and continued his involvement with theater.

A memorial for Tadd is planned for October 3rd at 1 pm in Hudson New York at Time & Space Limited 434 Columbia Street. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to TSL, P.O. Box 343, Hudson, NY 2543 in Tadd’s name.

See the Facebook group for updates.

Writing Internship Opportunity

Cottages & Gardens Publications ( is looking for an energetic editorial intern from the end of August/beginning of September through the academic year. The intern works closely with our small staff in our Westport, CT, office to help produce Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, a publication covering design, architecture and lifestyle trends. Responsibilities include researching editorial content, fact checking, compiling resources, captioning, coordinating some front-of-book columns and general editorial/administrative support. There are opportunities to write, help produce shoots, pitch story ideas and cover the design market.

Qualifications: Undergraduate English/humanities majors are encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate is a courteous, professional, self-motivated, detail-oriented individual who can manage work independently. A positive attitude and a genuine desire to understand the editorial process from start to finish are a must. Candidates must own a car.

Salary: Unpaid, but hours are flexible and students have the chance to work toward published clips and strong professional letters of recommendation. The ideal candidate will be available 12-16 hours a week for the entire academic year. We hope the intern excels so much during the first semester that his/her responsibilities naturally increase during the second.

How to Apply

Please e-mail resume and cover letter to Features Editor Sarah Firshein ’04 at Published clips, short academic essays, or any other materials that speak to your editorial and professional abilities are welcome. Qualified candidates will be interviewed by phone and emailed an edit test later on.

Odede ’12 Featured in Courant

A little late on picking this up, but Kennedy Odede ’12 was featured two days ago in the Courant:

Four years ago Wesleyan University student Kennedy Odede was living in the chaotic Nairobi slum where he grew up, in a 10-by-10-foot shack without running water, basic sanitation or electricity. But even there, in Kibera, a young man can get his hands on a computer.

And Odede wasn’t just any young man.

Had he been an urban American trying to lift up his neighbors, instead of a Kenyan slum dweller trying to save some lives, he might have been dubbed a “community organizer.” But Odede was, as his recollections imply, simply taking care of his poor branch of the family of man.

Amid the most desperate poverty in Kenya’s largest slum, where prostitution for girls often comes with or even precedes puberty, Odede had created a youth-based community center and was offering services for women and children with HIV/AIDS. He had made a difference, a few foes and a lot of friends.

But time was running out for the women and children, and Odede was running out of ideas. So he entered a computer search for “Kenya,” adding words like “aid” or “service” or “charity,” and eventually clicked on a Connecticut-based group called American Friends of Kenya.

Although the group was then only a year old, founding director Emely Silver of Norwich was used to receiving, and often rejecting, plaintive pleas for help from Kenyans. A former U.S. Air Force nurse and nursing instructor with a tart sense of humor, Silver has no time for dead-end modes of charity or aid. Odede, she recalls, “was the first one who didn’t ask for money.” He wanted advice about how to manage his projects in the slums.

“Teach me,” he wrote to Silver, who was immediately smitten.

What Odede got was an adopted “grandma,” as he now calls Silver, and a partnership with American Friends of Kenya that will be on full view this month in Kibera when he and his partner, Wesleyan University graduate Jessica Posner, open the slum’s first school for girls.

Wesleyan’s Kenyan Connections?

So how do you connect dumpster diving to Kenya to Wesleyan? Well, CNN today featured a great article about a New York chemistry teacher, Jude Ndambuki, who spends a good portion of his free time scouring local trash for scrapped computer parts to repair and send back to his home nation of Kenya. In return, he only asks that the schools that receive the equipment plant trees to help fight the massive soil erosion affecting the countryside.

The article reminded me about a friend of mine and recent alum Jessica Posner ’09. Along with  Kennedy Odede ’12, the pair have been spending their summer in Kenya building the Kibera School for Girls. Jessica’s thoughtful blog has been highlighting just how desperately resources are needed over there. As she describes handing out uniforms last week:

The highlight of this week was today when we distributed uniforms to all of our students.  For all of our students these uniforms were the first brand new clothes that these children have ever been given.  In addition, uniforms are the only clothes that most of our children have.  The excitement as 45 little girls tried on uniforms, traded sizes, swapped styles, and paraded around was incredible.  The happiness from parents, students, and teachers alike was simply uncontainable.

The Kibera School gladly accepts both financial and in-kind donations. If you can salvage some computer equipment or stumble upon a box of crayons, consider shooting Jessica an email at or checking out the Help Kenya Project. (For those going back to school, Staples has some ridiculously cheap deals like 1 cent notebooks that you may also consider donating, either to Kenya or a local school in need.)

Open Letter from the Eclectic Society

Eclectic has posted an open letter to the Wesleyan community on their website.

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Open Letter from Eclectic:

First, we want to thank you for your support so far. There are almost 700 signatures on the petition to overturn the House Hosting Ban. Musicians, event organizers, WSA members, faculty, enthusiastic students, and alums have expressed unease with the SJB and the administration’s actions in this case.

Unfortunately, President Michael Roth rejected our formal appeal. Before break, we were hesitant to release a factual public statement before we had gone through the provided channels of appeal, out of consideration for the pending status of our appeal, and the individual students implicated therein. Now that we’ve exhausted formal channels, President Roth is back from Asia, and we are all back from break, we turn to you.

Here are the facts as we see them: on December 8, the last day of classes, there was a party at our house. A neighbor called in three noise complaints in a row, with the intent of getting the event shut down. Some Eclectic alums had come to visit, and, disappointed that the event was stopped, moved upstairs to the Gote room with a smaller group of people. That gathering too was broken up, and the vast majority of guests left. An individual Eclectic resident started to play music in his room later, with no more than 10 friends. Public Safety stopped him. The SJB charged the Society as a whole for these infractions, despite alums and hosts’ willingness to take individual responsibility for their actions.

Our objection to this punishment is manifold: We were given an abbreviated hearing rather than a full hearing, but given a punishment that can only be dispensed by the full SJB. We believe that Assistant Director of Student Affairs Scott Backer, rather than the SJB as a whole, decided upon this ban. In the flurry of meetings that ensued with Backer, Dean Mike Whaley, and President Roth, Backer was inconsistent. The SJB sanction dated 2/26 specifically banned “performances, gatherings, parties, or any events”. After students expressed shock on Wesleying and other forums, Backer hastily sent us a new letter, back-dated to 2/26, with revised wording restricting “social events, parties, concerts, or other events that fit the requirements of the Social Event Policy”. Furthermore, Backer first told us that he was punishing irresponsible event hosts rather than Eclectic; however, in his formal “Rationale” for the punishment, he cited untried individual infractions of both members and non-members all the way back to September. He particularly alluded to guests who showed up intoxicated to our ticketed, non-alcoholic events, and required medical assistance. We are surprised to be punished for assisting students, none of whom were Society members, in what we thought was compliance with University expectations.

The student body and our Society are being antagonized for unrelated incidents that took place over a long period of time, rather than any specific, punishable incident. We believe that this punishment undermines the legitimacy of Wesleyan’s judicial system. Most importantly, we strongly believe that the punishment is overly broad, punishing not only Eclectic, but the Wesleyan student body: the dedicated hosts, musicians, organizers, and attendees that make Eclectic, and the Wesleyan campus, what they are. 70% of student-run events are scheduled to take place at Eclectic this semester. We hold Scott Backer accountable for his misled intent to squash student social life, just as he was misled when he suggested prohibition of alcohol on campus last year. We hold Michael Roth accountable for overlooking our appeal in favor of blind trust, despite the established appeals system.

We will continue to look to you for support in the coming week, and will keep you posted on our plans. Already, the Sound Co-op has expressed their solidarity with Eclectic and the student body, and disappointment with the administration’s complacency. We welcome any suggestions you might have for additional ways of communicating to the administration that student social life is not dispensable.


The Eclectic Society

Deep FryDay

Tomorrow, on Friday October 3, Keep Wesleyan Weird will be holding a deep fry sale.

We’ve got a deep fryer–it’s called Fry Daddy. We’ve got chocolate bars. We’ll deep fry anything else you bring us [within reason–no babies]. $1. Usdan bottom floor. We’ll be open 11 – 8. Come by and deep fry something!

Date: Friday, October 3rd
Time: 11am – 8pm
Location: Usdan

Google’s Project 10 to 100th

Big thinkers of Wesleyan, listen up. Got a great idea that could change the world? Recent alum Paul Cao ’08 has a tip for you:

I am writing to let Wesleyan folks know that Google is putting $10 million on the line to implement 5 ideas that would “help as many people in the world as possible.” It is referred as Project 10 to 100th. And the idea selection works via user-submitted ideas (and an optional YouTube video), from the submission pool, the Google panel will select 100 ideas and post on their website for the general public to vote for then, the twenty semi-finalist. Out of these 20, the Google panel will select five 5 final idea to implement.

This is perfect for any Wesleyan social entrepreneurs who are looking for funding in the range of $2 million.

The deadline is October 20th, 2008–Click here for more information.

Wesleyan Mountain Justice Coalition Meeting

Fresh from the inbox:

The first meeting of the Wesleyan Mountain Justice Coalition will take place tonight (Wednesday) at 8pm in the 200 Church Lounge. We will be talking about our next steps in our campaign against Bank of America!

We will be discussing setting up meetings with administration, finding alternate banks, bringing in speakers fighting mountain top removal, and anything else we can think of!

Date: Wednesday, October 1st
Time: 8pm
Venue: 200 Church

A Message from WesVotes

Fellow Students,

Approx. 15% of our campus voted in the 2008 Presidential Primaries (sources: Middletown Registrar of Voters, APSA). This is shameful. We hope you agree. The GENERAL ELECTION IS ONE MONTH AWAY AND REGISTRATION DEADLINES ARE FAST APPROACHING.

Decades from now, people will ask you what part you played in the election of the first African-American President or first female Vice-President … Make sure you have an answer for them.

The WesVotes Consortium (100% non-partisan) can help you vote more easily. Despite incredible support from the administration, we still need you to volunteer 15 minutes of your time.

Class of 2009 … you are getting beaten by underclassmen … badly. There are already volunteers in almost every Frosh, Sophomore and Junior hall/house. The senior class is just getting started.
Classes of 2010-2012, ask around, you already have a Hall/House Captain who can get you the forms, envelopes and stamps you need.

-Voting Absentee: If you’re already registered at home and would like to make your vote count there instead, there is VERY LITTLE TIME LEFT. In order to do this (in most states) you have to print and mail in an “Absentee Ballot Application” before your state’s deadline. (See your state’s deadline here).
-Voting in Connecticut: If not voting in another state, Wesleyan students eligible to vote can still register in Connecticut (Before October 21st)!!!

“House Captains” (1 per residence) It’s easy! Just ask your housemates where they want to vote. To volunteer just email your name, house location, and WesBox# to
“Street Captains” (1/2 per street) Want a more important role? Get a friend and team-up to make sure each house on your street has its own house captain. They’ll be telling you which forms they need and answering questions. To volunteer just email your name, house & street location, and WesBox# to
Want detailed instructions for these positions? Click here!

Finally, Volunteers, please attend a mandatory 10 minute training session this week.
They run twice a day beneath the main staircase in Usdan. Here are the times:
-TODAY, Wednesday (Oct. 1st) – 5pm & 8pm
-THURSDAY, (Oct. 2nd) – 5pm & 8pm
-FRIDAY (Oct. 3rd) 12 noon & 3pm

Thank you,
Chris Goy ‘09, Marcus Warmington09, Liza Conrad ’10, Saul Carlin ‘09, & Karl Grindal ‘09
WesVotes Board Members