Know How to Use a Computer? You can help in Nepal!

Kim Diver sent around the following message for those who want to lend a hand to relief efforts in Nepal.

Want to help with relief efforts in Nepal after Saturday’s Magnitude 7.8 earthquake? Or learn how to contribute to crowdsourced crisis mapping in general?

Special WesGIS/Mapping workshop:

Introduction to Relief Mapping for Nepal

When: Friday, May 1, 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: Allbritton 204

Who: Anyone in the Wesleyan community who is interested in helping out by tracing (digitizing) objects from aerial photos. No GIS experience required.

We’ll introduce tools that you can use to contribute toward relief efforts in Nepal through mapping. We’ll get you registered, provide a hands-on introduction to mapping using, and show you how to find lists of mapping tasks that need completion (following the basic outline presented a New satellite images and tasks are being posted daily and there is still much work to be done.

Please RSVP at Feel free to forward this message on to colleagues and students.

Questions? Contact Kim Diver at, Phil Resor at, or Jason Simms at

Cathy Lechowicz Day!

Cathy Lechowicz, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the commission.
Cathy Lechowicz, right, displaying her award with William Dyson, chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane Ciarleglio, executive director of the commission.

Mayor Dan Drew proclaimed Tuesday, April 28 Cathy Lechowicz Day in Middletown! Many Wesleyan students, staff and faculty make enormous contributions to Middletown, and so it’s wonderful to see one of our colleagues recognized for her profound dedication to the community. Recently, the Connecticut Commission on Community Service and the Office of Higher Education announced the recipients of the 2015 Community Service Awards, and Cathy Lechowicz was singled out for her great work.

In a letter nominating Lechowicz for the honor, Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, pointed to her work with the Center for Prison Education and the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

Under Cathy’s direction, the Center for Prison Education “has flourished,” he wrote.

“The Center now provides a program in the women’s prison at York as well as the men’s prison at Cheshire. In the 2013-14 school year, 54 students were taking classes. Over 20 professors (mainly Wesleyan, but others as well) have taught classes ranging from Molecular Biology to Political Philosophy, and always at the same level as they teach these classes to their undergraduate students. Additionally, over 130 Wesleyan undergraduates have served as teaching assistants, writing tutors, research interns, and workshop facilitators. Finally, the Center has been extremely successful securing funding.”

Rob also wrote of Lechowicz’ achievements at Green Street.

“In three years, Cathy has achieved incredible results: Wesleyan’s financial contribution has been cut almost in half, total visitors have more than doubled, student involvement has more than doubled, and faculty involvement has tripled.”

Fearlessly Working for Change

This past weekend I got to spend some time with two young alumni who are fearlessly working to change the world. Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner Odede ’09 were back on campus (Kennedy is a trustee), taking a brief break from their leadership of Shining Hope for Communities. The two founded this organization when they were undergraduates, beginning with a school for girls and then a women’s health clinic in Kibera, Kenya.

Kari and I had seen them on television a couple of weeks ago in a segment of the PBS documentary A Path Appears. The film, created by Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, documents the work of change agents in various parts of the world. We were particularly moved by footage of the women’s health clinic, named after Johanna Justin Jinich ’10, a Wesleyan student who was murdered almost six years ago. Johanna’s memory is not only kept alive —  her spirit of care and energy is reinforced every day in Shining Hope’s good work in Kibera.

Here is a brief clip from the organization:


Jessica and Kennedy were talking with Bob Patricelli ’61, P’88, P’90, who has been key to establishing the Center for Social Entrepreneurship named in his honor. Many Wesleyan students at the Patricelli Center are learning the skills they need to build sustainable organizations that will make a positive difference in the world. They will be joining a long tradition of Wesleyan students who turned their education toward “the good of the world.”

You can find A Path Appears on iTunes, and you can learn more about Shining Hope for Communities here and here.

Movember and Men’s Health

Recently Jesse Galganov ’17 came to see me to tell me about his efforts to raise money to combat several major issues in men’s health: mental illness, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. It’s called the Movember effort. Jesse has already raised big bucks in previous years, and you may see tangible signs of his persuasive powers: lots of guys with moustaches.

Here’s the scoop:

The Movember Foundation is the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health.

We achieve this by challenging men to grow moustaches during Movember (the month formerly known as November) to spark conversation and raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

The Movember community has raised over $550 million to date and funded over 800 programs in 21 countries. This work is saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

Meaningful strides have been taken toward achieving our goals, but there is more work to be done. We’re committed to raising vital funds and awareness to improve the lives of men and their families.

What can you do to help besides experimenting with facial hair? Join the Wesleyan Movember network, dontate to their charities and raise awareness about men’s health.



You can find out more about Movember projects here.



Please Support Middlesex United Way

This is the time when I ask the Wesleyan community to respond generously to requests to support the Middlesex United Way. Although all of us have many organizations we support, our gifts to United Way raise Wesleyan’s collective voice in support of programs that help our neighbors in need. Wesleyan faculty and staff have long been known as contributors to this community endeavor – a tradition meriting renewed effort. Our goal this year is $130,000 and 50% participation – an ambitious and worthy goal. Those of you who are out of town and want to support these efforts can look here.

When you give to Middlesex United Way, your dollars stay close to the campus community. United Way’s local volunteers distribute your dollars to help neighbors in need – neighbors such as 60 Middletown families at risk of homelessness who remained in their homes thanks to one-time assistance through the Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Prevention Fund. Our dollars have helped the Women & Families Center’s Sexual Assault Crisis Services support more than 800 people, and have contributed to school readiness programs for young children in all 15 towns in Middlesex County. In addition to providing vital assistance locally, Middlesex United Way is an effective catalyst for change, bringing many organizations together to improve all our lives.

This year’s campus United Way campaign also will feature an online auction running from Nov. 1 – Nov. 15. If you can provide goods, gift cards or services, please contact Karen Warren (

Changing lives in this way depends upon our support, and your gift matters. Every gift, at any level, matters. If you are continuing your support, thank you. If you are considering a gift for the first time, I hope you will respond with a generous heart.