In the news

 “Trinity College, which faces a $10 million deficit, is looking just about everywhere to cut costs. Even a giant white tent that has shielded spectators and graduates during previous outdoor commencement exercises will be missing Sunday. At a cost of $19,400 to rent and put up, the tent is being dispensed with by the liberal arts and science college. A council of faculty, staff, students and administrators has found a way to balance the school's budget, including a pay freeze for faculty and other non-hourly employees. ‘It was very painful," college President James Jones Jr. said. ‘We have done this, and we have not terminated a single employee, which is mind-boggling.’ The college, which enrolls 2,400 students, also was able to avoid eliminating programs, he said. ‘We tried to be absolutely certain the academic mission of the college is preserved,’ Jones said …Trinity is hardly alone as college budgets nationwide have been strained by declining investment income in a slumping stock market and rising costs in health insurance, technology and building construction. Thomas Mitzel, a chemistry professor and member of Trinity's budget council that has met weekly to find ways to cover the deficit, said the pay freeze ‘went over better than I thought with faculty.’ Part of that was due to a largely open budget review, he said. Officials said the pay freeze might be temporary because the college hopes to come up with an additional $375,000 in savings, enough to afford modest raises.”

“Trinity College cuts costs to avoid deficit”
Hartford Courant, May 21, 2005

“More than 500 graduates received degrees from Trinity College in a cloudy, chilly, outdoor ceremony on the Hartford campus … ‘It's not that bad,’ graduating senior Ravin Ratan, of Lexington, Mass., said in a light drizzle as spectators began filling the picturesque, tree-lined quadrangle in front of a statue of Bishop Thomas Church Brownell, the school's founder. ‘When I came here [four years ago],’ Ratan said, ‘I pictured [commencement] being in front of the bishop, under the trees.’”

“Advice And Commencement”
Hartford Courant, May 23, 2005

“A Trinity College senior in search of a thesis that would do more than gather dust, Mark Witt asked himself an unusual question: ‘Why hasn't anyone built a really cheap fan stove?’ Witt, 22, had read that the pollution caused by wood cookstoves kills an estimated 1.6 million people a year. After a little research, the mechanical engineering major realized that not very many people were paying attention to this problem – so he decided he would. Late last year, he set out to design a stove that would pollute less, but would be affordable to the one-third of the world's population who now cook over open wood fires … The results shocked even him: Carbon monoxide levels were down 75 percent compared to open fires, and particulate matter levels dropped by 96 percent. His stove boiled a liter of water 8 percent to 10 percent faster, too … Lance Smith, Witt's adviser on the project, said he was impressed with the student's drive. ‘He's very self-motivated: He goes out there and tries to make things happen,’ Smith said. ‘It's unusual for someone with engineering training to work on making woodstoves that are low cost and not very profitable. He came in and . . . tried to meet a need and improve on what's been done before.’”

“He made a cheap stove – for a reason”
Boston Globe, May 31, 2005

“Research suggests that if secularism were a religious denomination, it would be one of the largest and fastest-growing in the United States today. The number of people who say they have no religious affiliation has grown since the early 1990s to nearly 14 percent of the population. This trend has surprised researchers, given the political and social impact that religious values have had in America in recent years. A new program at Trinity College, the Institute for the Study of Secularism and Culture, will begin in July to delve into the struggle between religious and secular values in society. It is believed to be the first academic institute devoted to the study of the history and development of secular values. Barry Kosmin, a sociologist who has conducted major studies of religious identity in the United States, will be the institute's director. Secularism demands further study, Kosmin said … because it underlies intense public debate, but is not well understood. ‘It's an issue for our times – at the personal level and the public level – that has to be looked at in some detail,’ Kosmin said in a telephone interview … ‘It's a very intriguing question – our mission is to bring more light than heat to the subject.’ The institute is being funded with a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the Posen Foundation of Lucerne, Switzerland, which has underwritten earlier research conducted by Kosmin.”

“Rise of Secularism to be Examined”
Hartford Courant, June 15, 2005

”While most of his Trinity College classmates have left campus to enjoy summer break, Joseph Wzorek is staying behind, toiling in a chemistry lab. He calls himself lucky. Ever since he was a freshman, he has been among a handful of students spending their summers at the Hartford campus doing the kind of scientific research usually reserved for graduate students at large universities. By the time he starts his senior year this fall, he will have a head start on a thesis on a process for creating synthetic molecules that can be used in commercial applications such as the production of anti-carcinogenic drugs. ‘None of my friends at other colleges do any sort of research like this. I find myself kind of lucky,’ said Wzorek, 20, of Southwick, Mass. When he finishes the project, ‘he will have done the equivalent of most master's degrees,’ said chemistry Professor Thomas Mitzel, Wzorek's adviser. Wzorek is one of about 80 students getting free housing and stipends of $3,500 each to stay at Trinity for a 10-week program doing research in fields such as chemistry, biology, physics and engineering … ‘That's what sold me on Trinity,’ said [Katharine] Spencer, who will be a sophomore in the fall. "It's really rare that you get a special program to go right into that research from your freshman year.’"

“Trinity Program Is Part Of Trend To Let Undergraduates Do Graduate-Level Research”
Hartford Courant, July 5, 2005

“Sitting in his office at Trinity College, [Associate Director of Institutional Research and Planning] James Hughes explains his vision of a family gathering a couple of hundred years from now: One family member is a cyborg, another is outfitted with gills for living underwater. Yet another has been modified to live in a vacuum. ‘But they will all consider themselves as descendants of humanity,’ he says. At no point in the interview does Hughes peel off his face to reveal a set of wires and blinking lights. Nor does he roll up his sleeves to expose super-strong mechanical limbs. Bearded and bespectacled, he looks pretty much the way you might expect a professor of health policy to look. But as executive director of the World Transhumanist Association, he’s one of the leaders in a movement that sees, in the next 50 years, a world where flesh fuses with mechanics and brains with circuitry. He recently published ‘Citizen Cyborg’ … a book that has made waves in academic circles and urges the need to prepare for this future. Transhumanism, a theory that has been kicking around for a few decades, envisions a “post-human” phase where technology will bring us beyond human capabilities. Intelligence-boosting brain chips, extended life spans and even immortality are all part of this vision.”

“Professor believes cyborgs are people, too”
Nashua Telegraph, (NH) July 24, 2005

“A Swiss-based foundation is giving $2.8 million to Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., to study the rise of secularism in the United States and around the world, and its implications for politics, religion and culture. The five-year grant will fund the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, at Trinity's Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life. The project is bankrolled by the Lucerne-based Posen Foundation, which previously funded the American Religious Identification Survey in 2001 that documented a doubling of the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation. That survey found the number of American adults who claimed no religion grew from 14 million to 29 million in the 1990s. ‘We owe it to ourselves and future generations that secular ideas and phenomena are clearly understood, so that people can make informed choices,’ the foundation said in a statement.”

“Connecticut school to study roots and growth of secularism”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 23, 2005

“Trinity's Cinestudio has carved out a niche by billing itself as a film fanatic's paradise. It hosts a number of festivals each year, like last month's Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival … And while other theaters aggressively push the treats at their concessions stands, Cinestudio strictly forbids drinks and food inside the theater. That way, the racket of Raisinets wrappers won't distract anyone from the film … ‘We don't sell food,’ [Cinestudio manager Jim],Hanley says. ‘Some people say you're shooting yourself in the foot. But some people appreciate it when everybody's not munching and your feet don't stick to the floor.’ And movie choice is important. While Cinestudio audiences want a challenge, he says, the theater's not in a big-enough city to veer too far off the cutting edge. ‘You have to be careful and test the waters and gently bring them to something that they wouldn't normally see,’ he says.”

“Art Of Movie Marketing: Smaller Theaters Have To Devise Quirky Ideas To Compete
With Multiplexes, Such As Serving Sunday-Morning Mimosas”
Hartford Courant, July 31, 2005

”Gentlemen, start your robots! In the interests of science–and our geekier readers–we scoured the globe for robot competitions and came up with a list of five of the most interesting and most bizarre. We excluded ‘battlebot’ derbies (buzz saws are so 1999!) and any competition that allowed the use of remote controls. The competitors in these gentler battles are expected to run mazes, put out flames and even play soccer entirely on their own. Of course, if you intend to enter, expect to spend some cash. Robots for local competitions cost between a couple hundred and a few thousand dollars. For international competitions, where universities and professionals compete, the hardware alone can cost over $80,000. Location: Hartford, Conn. Date: April 8-9, 2006 First Place Prize: $300 for first place What: Robots travel through a maze in an attempt to find a burning candle and extinguish it. Most of the robots use small fans to put out the flame, but new rules offer a time deduction for more innovative methods. Water, shaving cream, baking soda and snuffers have all been employed. Why: Founder Jake Mendelssohn had the idea of creating a robot that could go through a burning house, locate the fire and put it out. Of course, these robots don't even come close to achieving that goal. The competition has become more of an educational tool according to organizer David Ahlgren, a professor at Trinity College. ‘There are no fixed solutions for this,’ he says.’”

“RoboCompetitions”, July 29, 2005,

“Minority contractors who staged a protest Monday accusing Trinity College of not employing enough minority-owned businesses in the construction of its new $15 million sports complex would have a better case if: The project was receiving government funds that required the school to set aside a portion of the work for minority firms. Those who complained had not even attempted to bid on the work. Monday's demonstration was staged by members of the Greater Hartford Minority Construction Council. Given that its membership failed to take even the basic steps that might have supported claims of being excluded from the project, the council looked as if it were trying to shake down the college and Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, the project's developer. Requests for bids on this project were widely advertised. Yet only one of the many companies that solicited work was minority-owned (it was hired). As should be evident from the size of the budget for this project, there was little room for any contractors other than the lowest qualified bidders. Unless specifically required by regulation or ordinance, minority hiring - even in Hartford - is not an entitlement. In this case, about $3 million is coming from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which made no hiring demands. The rest of the funds are being raised privately by Trinity. Trinity and the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance are being unfairly criticized. They played by the rules. Several years ago, when the neighborhood alliance and the college collaborated to build the $100 million Learning Corridor, a significant portion of the budget was dedicated to employing and training minority workers and hiring minority-owned businesses. No one complained then. And no one should complain now.”

“Minority Hiring Not A Given”
Hartford Courant, August 5, 2005

“Sometimes it's tough for colleges to be good neighbors, especially when their needs and wants are at odds with those of surrounding communities. But many colleges and their students have strong relationships with nearby residents. Several are featured in a new book called Colleges With a Conscience: 81 Great Schools With Outstanding Community Involvement (Random House). The four-year public and private institutions were selected on the basis of their willingness to use scholarships to reward community service, their institutional support for community-service programs, and their level of student activism, among other criteria …The 81 colleges were chosen by the Princeton Review and Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 900 colleges committed to advancing social responsibility and public service on their campuses. Among those highlighted are: Trinity College (Conn.), whose more than 200 community partnerships include some with neighborhood-advocacy groups, social-service organizations, and key players in the arts.”

“New Book Focuses on Service-Minded Colleges”
Chronicle of Higher Education, August 5, 2005

“Waving patriotic placards, Muslims from across the state denounced the murder of innocent people Friday and said they, and not the terrorists who kill indiscriminately, are representative of Islam. Worried the crimes of a few extremists might distort the Muslim faith for many Americans, participants attending a rally at the Capitol said they took a day off to combat stereotyping by bringing together Muslims of all walks of life to protest atrocities committed in their religion's name … Speaker after speaker exhorted the crowd of 150 or so, which occasionally broke into periodic chants, to not let a few terrorists hijack a religion with more than 1 billion adherents globally. ‘The ideology of hate cannot be defeated by silence and fear,’ Sohaib Sultan, a Trinity College chaplain, said to his audience who had braved Friday's muggy heat. ‘The ideology of hate can be defeated through courage and action. Speaking truth in front of tyranny is the greatest spiritual struggle we can undertake.’ Organizers said they planned the rally after last month's bombings in London to offer a competing image of Muslims flashing across television and computer screens in recent weeks.”

“State Muslims Rally to Denounce Terrorism”
Waterbury Republican, August 6, 2005

”For officials at Trinity College, the timing was unfortunate. Several grants that paid for many of the college's well-regarded neighborhood outreach programs were to expire in June just as the college found itself in the middle of an unexpected fiscal crisis. A committee of minds convened and weighed what to do. Trinity can't afford to keep them going indefinitely, they agreed. But the school also couldn't afford to let those programs expire … And so, quietly, the college decided to merge some urban programs and fold their costs into the school's thin-stretched operating budget for the current fiscal year - a year in which staff and faculty will see no pay raises and tuition costs will rise. ‘If an institution has a number of programs which it views as being good programs, you have to provide an external review of those programs and decide how and whether to continue them,’ said Paula Russo, vice president of planning, administration and affirmative action who also chaired the review committee. Though no urban programs have been eliminated this year, the very existence of a report on their merit has reverberated in the world outside the college gates … ‘I don't see it as pulling back [from Hartford], I see it more as recalibrating,’ said John Dougherty, associate professor of educational studies at Trinity.”

“A Close Call For Community Programs:
Trinity College Preserves Neighborhood Outreach Efforts”
Hartford Courant, August 11, 2005

“Nearly half of college students in a recent survey reported that at some point in time they were so depressed that they could not function. Nearly 15 percent of college students reported that they had been diagnosed with depression. About 10 percent reported that they had considered suicide at least once. There are more than 1,100 suicides on college campuses each year, making it the second-leading cause of death, after accidents, among students … And although stress has always been a part of collegiate life, there is evidence the burden of mental illness has gotten worse in recent years. Experts keeping tabs on the campus mindset say that whether someone is in college or not, the 18-to-24 age range represents one of life's most jarring transitions: the beginning of adulthood … Psychologist Randolph Lee, director of the counseling center and associate professor of psychology at Trinity College, has been on the job for 36 years. He believes that daily life is speeding up in general and that, paradoxically, many students are poorly equipped to deal with the added stress because they've been overprotected by their still-hovering parents. ‘[Students] have a harder time dealing with the roadblocks when they come up - they're kind of flummoxed,’ said Lee. ‘We do have to let our kids go, and we have to let them screw up.’ At the same time, he acknowledges that students now graduate into a post-9/11 world of homeland insecurity and economic uncertainty. ‘There are more consequences to screwing up now,’ he said.”

“Freshman Jitters Should Be Taken Seriously”
Hartford Courant, August 24, 2005


back to top

Return to eQuad table of contents