Westconn Dominates & Stirs School Spirit at Homecoming Game

By Lawrence Perry

The WCSU Homecoming game was surprisingly packed. The stadium was filled with supporters yelling like madmen and women. Maybe this is why our home team played so well. Playing against Worcester State, Westconn put up a very good performance.

The first thing of note was a tackle by Mike Quinn. It was still early; the teams were still feeling each other out. After a few minutes of gridlock, Westconn kicked the ball, and Chris Shizaar caught it. Worchester tried to come back, but couldn’t make any traction.

The game started at 6pm. 39 minutes later, Worchester had only scored 3 points. Westconn, meanwhile, already had 14 points. This set the tone for the rest of the night. After a few more plays that went nowhere, including an impressive tackle, the first period ended.

By period two, the crowd was getting into the game. They chanted “Defense!” and “WCSU!” At one point, the score went up to Westconn 35, Worchester 10. A supporter chanted: “Let’s go baby! I see you!”

The rest of the game was a blowout. Though Worchester made some good plays, which earned them 23 points, Westconn won with 49 points.

It was a fun game that even a non-football fan could enjoy. If the goal was to fill students with school spirit, the game succeeded.

The Amazon at Westconn

by: The Students of Professor D’Aries’ WRT 377W-O1 Course of Fall 2017


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The following article consists of the “Literary Event” personal opinion reflections/reviews from the Fall 2017 students of Professor D’Aries’ WRT 377W-01 course, The Writing Life. The editor has elected to make the minimum amount of edits in the attempt to preserve originality. Otherwise, reflections were written and published by the members of the class on BlackBoard.

Please keep in mind while reading direct quotes from Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodrigues-da Cunha, that he has only been speaking and writing in English for twelve months now.

To start off the article, D’Aries’ BlackBoard reminder for the assignment is posted first.

The reason that this particular class’ reviews of Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodrigues-da Cunha’s lecture, Indigenous Tribes and Languages of the Amazon Rainforest, on October 10th, are being published is because The Echo’s Editor-in-Chief/President, Alyssa/Lulu Meyers and Vice President, Sophia/Sophie Pizzo, are members of this class, and were subject to attend and review this event. In an act of community and togetherness, Meyers prompted the opportunity to put our required attendance to a more informal use.

More information on Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodrigues-da Cunha’s lecture can be found here: http://www.wcsu.edu/news/2017/09/28/amazon-indigenous-tribes-expert-to-speak-at-wcsu/



Howdy, folks!

As I mentioned in class, we will attend this lecture on Thursday, October 5th at 1:40 in the Student Center Theater: http://www.wcsu.edu/news/2017/09/28/amazon-indigenous-tribes-expert-to-speak-at-wcsu/. We will meet at the lecture, so be sure to come see me so I can mark you present.

Before class on Tuesday, 10/10, post a 250-word response to the lecture in this forum. This response will be similar to our reader responses in that I’m most interested in your analysis and critique rather than a summary. Be sure to include at least two quotes from the speaker.

And as Alyssa mentioned in class, anyone interested in contributing their response to a feature article in The Echo should contact her directly.

See you on Thursday!




Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodrigues’ lecture on indigenous tribes and languages of the Amazon rainforest was both fascinating and quite enjoyable. He talked about population numbers and numbers of languages. The videos he showed were peculiar but interesting to watch. They certainly had more information on them then I was expecting. I knew tribes like that existed and they are in need of help from the outside world, for food and proper medicine, but I was mostly under the notion that they were striving to preserve their way of life, without being kicked out by illegal foresters/minors or dying for their lack of food, medicine, and dangers of the jungle. Dr. Rodrigues didn’t really say anything about preservation, but I think it was intended when he said they needed help.

All people are people, but because of where they live, they grow to think differently, communicate differently, and just live differently than people in other places. “Human beings are all the same. Same hardware, but different software.” We’re built the same but wired a different way. And people like him wish to understand exactly how they are wired. “Each language holds information on the people who speak it.” And Dr. Rodrigues this information is well worth learning and understanding. That is why he does what he does. And he seems very passionate about it.

When he said that he had only been speaking English for no longer than a year, I was very surprised. His English isn’t perfect, but for someone like me, who has major difficulty learning a new language and remembering, that is quite impressive. My personal favorite part was towards the end when he showed us the translation of a few English words into a few different languages indigenous to the Amazon tribes. I liked echoing his pronunciation of the words.



If living in a rain forest means no unnecessary mass shootings and worrying less about what people think about you, then point me in the direction. I enjoyed Dr. Cunha’s lecture on indigenous tribes for the simple fact that it’s based on an appreciation for language and culture. Sometimes we get so embroiled in our own worlds that we forget to appreciate the small things, and I get the sense that in these tribes, they appreciate everything despite having little food and no health care and that just so happens to be their two major necessities. So I loved it when he said that everything is about nature in the Amazon rainforest while in America it’s all about money. I could agree; it’s all about money and power. What if we could live like the indigenous for a week? It takes something like that for some of us to really appreciate what we have, like a bed and hot water.

Another part of the lecture that stuck out was when he said that between us and the indigenous tribes we have the same hardware (feelings, bodily needs) and a different software (he speaks one language, I speak another). No matter where you’re from, we have this common link: a need to survive. Also, the roles of females and males are similar. Women take care of the home and the men work outside the home; they hunt.  We’re all just trying to survive. What also stood out to me, and most likely to everyone else, was the video of the young man wearing the bullet ant gloves, per ritual. I found it intriguing; painful to watch but intriguing, considering that’s what it takes for a boy to become a man, and it makes him a better man too.

The fact that this young man never complained made me feel like a total wimp for having complained all throughout my service in the army.

Again, I really liked listening to Dr. Cunha. I hope to attend another lecture in this series.

PS: I need some of that magic tea! (I forgot what it’s called. I think he called it miracle tea.)



Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodrigues-da-Cunha presented, with exceptional enthusiasm, a look into the lives of various indigenous tribes. Having spent four years living among a few different tribes, Dr. Rodrigues-da-Cunha has vital information on the communication, survival and cultural aspects of living in the Amazon rainforest. One concept that Dr. Rodrigues-da-Cunha repeated is “we have the same hardware, but different software.” We may look the same or very similar, but we have vastly different perspectives and ways of thinking.

It was interesting to learn that there are so many indigenous people in the world. It is insane to think that 69 tribes do not have any contact with the outside world. It is also sad to know that they need protection from governments that do not even admit they exist.

Another concept that Dr. Rodrigues-da-Cunha made clear is that living in the rainforest is hard. He admitted that he had trouble adapting to the diet and even lost three teeth while there. I cannot imagine living in a place where food was not guaranteed and dental hygiene was not certain. He mentioned that the indigenous people depend on nature the way we depend on money. I think sometimes we need to be reminded of the luxuries we benefit from here.

I thought the videos he presented really drove home his points. It was interesting to see a glimpse into their world. Watching the video of the ants in the gloves was eye-opening. There are so many complex aspects of the lives of people we never think twice about. Dr. Rodrigues-da-Cunha ended the presentation with a powerful thought: “Loss of language is loss of humanity.”



I have to say that presentation was very exciting to listen to. The Professor who presented was one of the most eccentric and interesting people I’ve heard talk before. I knew of the Amazonas region from watching an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix, wherein an ex-hippie acid head decided to become a chef and now runs one of the top 10 restaurants on the planet. It seems that everyone to come out of that area, in my limited two-example experience, is a wild tree person to which everything is “amazing, trust me.” Hearing about indigenous peoples in trouble always irks me. These cultures, as archaic and primitive as they are, are really beautiful and should be treated with respect. The entire foundation of our civilization can be traced back to people like this, and in typical modern human fashion, we exploit them and destroy their homeland for our own gain. The language discussion was cool in of itself, but still, I am always drawn to the fact that I wish they would just take care of these people. The Brazilian government, in some cases, refuses to acknowledge their existence so that they can continue to log the forests. Maybe I’m just a hippie in this sense, but I’m not sure. It seems pretty straightforward to me that these people should be cherished and kept safe for as long as we can. If it all comes down, my money would be on them to make it through, not any of us modern folk.



Learning about indigenous tribes/cultures in the Amazon was quite interesting, to say the least. The guest speaker was incredibly intelligent with his research and very informative. I was also amazed at how quickly he learned our English language so quickly in just one year, after spending the first four years of his life in the rainforest. This experience overall made me really appreciate the American way of life, and not to take the small simple things for granted. Thus, it seems as if the tribes that reside in the Amazon almost thrive on what little resources they can harvest. By this is mean they pretty much make do with what they have and seem relatively happy to live the life they do. Seeing such scarce conditions, however, made me sad because if members of the tribe become ill they do not have the proper treatments to cure the specific illness that can rapidly spread ending up fatal for most. Further, although he greatly appreciates the culture he came from, which is completely respectable and understandable, I question the thoughts of him saying he could adapt back to that lifestyle. Finally, the two quotes or two statements that stood out to me throughout the whole presentation were the following: ” A life without suffering is a life that is not worth living.” (in regard to the coming of age ceremony for becoming a man). Also in correlation with that painful ceremony, “The Amazon tribe Satere Mawe the young males wear gloves filled with hundreds of bullet ants.” Watching the short video clip of this experience, was even painful for me to watch, justifiably cringeworthy!



Dr. Rodrigues’ lecture on the Amazon Indigenous tribes was very interesting. While I’ve heard and studied very few indigenous tribes in a few anthropology Dr. Rodrigues shared a lot of new information. For example, he shared with us a lot of numbers when it came to population and the number or tribes and languages. It was shocking to find out that at one point in time there were at least 6 million indigenous people living in Brazil, it was even more shocking to find out that as of today there are less than 900,000 indigenous people. While this is an understandable fact as Rodrigues shared with us that as many as 69 tribes have never had any sort of outside contact with the world around them. So much so that when these tribes do come into contact with others it is almost impossible to communicate with them. He further explained that many of these tribes are trying to ask for help as they do not have access to basic human necessities such as food, clean drinking water, and medicine. Dr. Rodrigues shared with us that the lifespan for many of the indigenous people is between 40-50yrs old. Learning this amazed me simply because in America 40-50 years of age is still considered to be quite young. Overall the lecture was very interesting and I learned a lot.



Overall, I thought the lecture was boring.  The speaker had interesting things to say, and I enjoyed the videos that he showed the audience throughout his presentation, but when he was just talking to himself I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer I would have to sit there until the speech was over.

I don’t think this is the speaker’s fault, exactly, because he was clearly passionate about what he was talking about.  Maybe I just wasn’t as invested because he wasn’t talking about aspects of these tribes that I was interested in.  Yes, the languages they speak are important but I found myself being more drawn to the social dynamics and gender differences.  I was interested in what the men of different tribes used to cover their penises and how even though they live life naked the women still sit in a way that hides their vaginas from view.  I was interested in the fact that, despite having minimal contact with other kinds of people, the tribes’ women still fall into basic gender role stereotypes that we see in our own society: the men go out and the women stay home to cook and care for the children.  Some things really just don’t change in the world, huh?

The bit at the end when the speaker had some words in the tribes’ languages up on slides for us to repeat was amusing for the time that we did it, but I can’t say I remember anything about it besides laughing at myself for butchering the pronunciation.

Maybe this lecture just wasn’t for me.



On Thursday, Oct 5, I attended the lecture on “Indigenous Tribes and Languages from the Amazon Rainforest” presented by WCSU World Language Professor, Linguist, and Anthropologist Dr. Alvaro Fernando da Cunha. The lecture was captivating, soul-wrenching, and thought-provoking. The indigenous tribes are in danger and close to extinguishing.

Dr. Fernando da Cunha explained why, with personal stories, images, videos, and facts.

His storytelling method was geared to capture the audience’s heart, and invite, inspire, and engage students to become future participants in the research, study, and preservation of these sacred tribes.The professor stressed the commonality of internal emotions between these untarnished tribes of the Amazon, and human beings throughout the world. All humans feel. He then explained the daily struggle to survive within nature, and the survival techniques used with the utilization of medicinal plants, natural fibers, and skills necessary to live near a river, or a mountain. Survival within a specific habitat has been learned and mastered through a lineage of multi-generational adaptation. Longevity and survival within the rainforest will, at best, reach

The professor stressed the commonality of internal emotions between these untarnished tribes of the Amazon, and human beings throughout the world. All humans feel. He then explained the daily struggle to survive within nature, and the survival techniques used with the utilization of medicinal plants, natural fibers, and skills necessary to live near a river, or a mountain. Survival within a specific habitat has been learned and mastered through a lineage of multi-generational adaptation. Longevity and survival within the rainforest will, at best, reach fifty years. Malaria, other diseases, malnutrition, and parasites shorten the lifespan.

The domestic and hunting tasks within the tribes adhere to the male-hunter, and female- child tending and home keeping chores paralleling the anthropological patterns of Homo-Sapiens, and other early prehistoric tribes. Task responsibilities and chores within the tribes are viewed equally, without a gender directed dominance. Women determine male sexual partners. In this realm, the women have more control.

A final portion of the lecture focused on the spoken languages. There are 305 indigenous ethnicities, and 274 indigenous languages in Brazil. From those 274 indigenous languages, there are many variations amongst the different tribes.

I appreciated the storytelling narrative of Dr. Fernando da Cunha. He was sharing his personal story of living amongst these people and passionately invoking audience members to share in the study of these special tribespeople that have lived apart of an electronic- frenzied society that rarely, or barely has the time or opportunity to stop and see the natural world.



On October 5th, Western’s departments of World Languages and Literature (WILL), History, and Social Sciences hosted Dr. Alvaro Rodrigues-da-Cunha, of the University of Sao Paulo and University of Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a post-doctoral researcher of anthropology and linguistics as they pertain to the native peoples of the Amazon Rainforest. Dr. Rodrigues spoke at WCSU’s Midtown campus Student Center Theater, delivering a lecture titled “Indigenous Tribes and Languages of the Amazon Rainforest”.

Dr. Rodrigues, a lively speaker who engaged his audience with fervor and friendliness, spoke of the great cultural diversity both endemic to the Amazon and present, through centuries of colonization and cultural exchange, throughout the nation of Brazil—the largest country in South America, which contains most of the Amazon, and houses most of its tribes.

He also spoke of the continued fragmentation of these cultures.

While European colonization, which began in the late 1400s, represented the initial, and perhaps largest overall, disruption to the forest’s tribes, today most indigenous Amazonians are threatened by the dual presence of loggers and drug smugglers, as well as global warming.

These are serious problems for groups of people already beleaguered by the hostile environment of the forest itself, most Amazonian natives already living lives much shorter, on average, than those of first-world people.

Yet, as Dr. Rodrigues was quick to point out, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon are just as human, and so just as deserving of respect and dignity, as we are here, in a technologically-advanced society. Indeed, we have the same basic necessities despite our cultural differences, a glaring fact which continues to be ignored by those who persist in destroying the Amazon.

I think he put it well when he said, “We have the same hardware and different software.” In other words, we have the same bodies and brains, but different ways of carrying out our lives.

Regardless, for many of the tribes of the Amazon, the primary struggle—one existential in nature—is that of basically defenseless peoples, most without any weapons other than bows and clubs, having to defend themselves against encroaching loggers, remorseless forces acting on behalf of large, greed-driven organizations. In the process, many distinct languages, spoken nowhere else in the world, have perished along with the tribes.

As Dr. Rodrigues stated, “Each language holds the unique reality and knowledge of those who speak it.” If that’s the case, then we have lost many realities, and countless amounts of knowledge, since the arrival of Europeans to the shores of the Americas. So, if we wish to preserve the unique wisdom of the peoples of the Amazon Rainforest, then we had better work to preserve the languages of those peoples; thus we must protect those people themselves, and the forest that they call home.



“Amazing,” is an adjective and exclamation that the presenter continuously used throughout his presentation. “Amazing,” is how I will describe my experience attending this lecture on Indigenous People in in the Amazon Rainforest. While the presentation itself was fascinating, I found the presenter’s passion and energy thrilling. His obvious interest and investment (which I was not surprised, but excited to discover is something intimately important to him) drew me in more than anything else. He wanted us to see what he saw, to understand what he felt and saw. Instead of putting the information before us and hoping that a few words on a PowerPoint would be enough to absorb his lecture, he made us – or, at least he made me – feel involved and included as if we were part of the presentation; part of the presenting.

He told us, in regard to all human beings, that, “we have the same – the same – hardware, but we have different software. Yeah, [it] is amazing. The same hardware – necessities, emotions… There’s no difference about them and us. There’s none.” It would have been simple to say that we are the same and leave it at that, but he kept making a point to repeat it and make the thought stuck. At first, during the first few times when he would refer back to this concept, I would think about how I, personally, could understand it. I have heard similar things, about all of us humans being the same, and sometimes I would be able to grasp the concept, but rarely would I ever feel it. It is my belief that the presenter put a lot of thought, passion, effort, and feeling into conveying and promoting this – for lack of a better word – vibe. Eventually, I think I started to feel it, or at least feel and/or empathize with his feeling of this connectivity, unity, whatever it was that hit and stuck with me.

Oh, and I want that magic tea that prevents period pains, please and thank you.



To me, the most memorable and impactful part of this lecture was the presenter himself. Right from the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Alvaro Fernando Rodriguez-da-Cuma was enthusiastic and radiating positive energy. He expressed his hope that students in the crowd, in five or ten years, would take his place on the stage, presenting their own lectures and research. It was refreshing to attend a lecture with such an enthusiastic presenter– it was evident that Dr. Rodriguez-da-Cuma has a passion for the Amazonian tribes.

At face-value, the lives of the indigenous Amazonian tribes are such a polar opposite from what we consider to be modern/”advanced” society. Watching the first video of indigenous tribe members making contact with more “modern” people was interesting. As people living in what we consider to be modern times, our exposure to people living in nature or without technology is usually through history textbooks or documentaries. We forget that these tribes are still existing and thriving and that they are living cultures. That’s why I found Dr. Rodriguez-da-Cuma’s work so profound– he is dedicated to making sure that these people and their languages are not forgotten, even when the rest of the world likes to pretend that they don’t exist.

My biggest takeaway from the presentation, ultimately, was the phrase Dr. Rodriguez-da-Cuma repeated several times: “We have the same hardware, but different software.” Even throughout cultures that are so vastly different, we are all humans trying to meet the same needs.



Safety First! (A Safe Sex Talk)

by: Stephani Narvaez


WhatsApp Image 2017-10-17 at 1.18.31 PM

(From Left to Right: Cara Mackler, Jordyn Wilson)



Students being sexually active in college is not likely a shock to anyone. Resident Assistant, Jordyn Wilson, a sophomore at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) majoring in Criminal Justice with a focus on Correctional Law, organized a student event called “Got Consent?” on Tuesday, October 2nd, in residence housing, Pinney Hall. With guest speaker, Cara Mackler, an assault prevention educator from The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, they educated the resident students on how to have sex the “right way,” meaning consent and including a discussion of sexual assault.

“I believe everybody on campus has sex, but nobody really knows what it means to be having consensual sex,” said Wilson on the subject of sexually active college students at WCSU. “We need to know how to have safe sex, know our resources, know who’s there if we get sexually assaulted.”

When it comes to having sex, Mackler discussed how consent is important to obtain. She spoke about the “Yes Means Yes” movement, explaining that “[it] is a new movement about waiting for someone to say ‘yes’ before continuing to have sex.”

Mackler also spoke to the Pinney Hall residents about different ways victims may respond to sexual assault, stating how “victims’ responses are different.” An example of a possible victim response she gave to the audience was how “someone might engage in more sexual activity after the assault, to regain the control that was taken from them when they were sexually assaulted.”

Examples Mackler provided on how to properly help sexual assault victims were suggested, such as asking victims questions such as, “Are you ok?” or “How can I help?”

She ended the event with a true and false quiz, assuring we left the room informed.


Currently, the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury hosts “Girl Talk,” a free and confidential support group for women on the WCSU campus, which meets every Tuesday from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, in room 105-C in Higgins Annex on the Midtown Campus. It is not too late to sign up!! (For more information email Cara Mackler at cara.m@wcogd.org.)

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, a nonprofit organization,  provides free and confidential services including domestic violence and sexual assault services, individual and group counseling. They help not just women, but any gender as well. Their main office is located at 2 West Street, Danbury, CT and right here at the mid-town campus in Higgins Hall Annex, Room 105-C.


WCOGD Websites, Social Media, and General Contact:

www.wcogd.org Main Website

womenscenter@wcogd.org General Email

www.wcsu.edu/womenscenter Women’s Center of Greater Danbury On-Campus at Western Connecticut State University

https://twitter.com/WCofGD Twitter

https://www.instagram.com/thewomenscenterdanbury/ Instagram

https://www.facebook.com/The-Womens-Center-of-Greater-Danbury-140116302702053/ Facebook

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzQ1PuDxUNYw0v91aWjT7w Youtube


WCOGD Midtown Campus Location and Number:

Higgins Hall Annex, Room 105-C

(203) 837-3939


WCODG Westside Campus Location and Number:

Campus Center, 3rd Floor, Room 300E

(203) 837-3939


WCOGD Main Offices Off-Campus Location and Number:

2 West Street, Danbury, CT

(203) 731-5200


WCOGD 24-Hour Hotlines:

Sexual Assault: (203) 731-5204

Domestic Violence: (203) 731-5206


*ALL services are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL*

Clarence, the Human Behind Humans of WCSU

by Briana Stiger

“That’s another important thing to know in life; that people are here to support you regardless if you even know them or not.” Clarence Pacete

     “As a graduate,” Clarence Pacete mused, “I feel like I’ve grown a lot from freshmen to senior year.  Humans of WCSU changed who I am. I feel much more confident, stronger, and I gained so many new connections with everyone. I feel like I am part of a bigger family.”

   Clarence Pacete, a social work graduate, and founder of the Instagram account, Humans of WCSU, is passing on the legacy he started his junior year onto The Echo Newspaper- for which, we are extremely grateful. In meeting with me, Pacete revealed that he feels bittersweet about moving forward. Though he is excited to graduate, at the same time, he is reflectively melancholic that he will not be able to be surrounded with the physical presences of all of the people he has met through his Humans of WCSU page.

     The ultimate goal originally for Clarence, with Humans of WCSU, was to empower the college community and to show the diversity of the campuses through the stories that have been told so far.

  “I think the goal has been achieved and I am very happy that I can say that,” said Pacete, “my hope is to make a larger goal to provide a better perspective of Western through the eyes of the people here on campus.” Pacete’s passion with Humans of WCSU is derived from benefiting not only the campuses but the people who inhabit them.

     Thankfully (for our team here at The Echo), Pacete is confident in passing on the torch to The Echo Newspaper. He is optimistic by the Echo’s enthusiasm to continue Humans of WCSU as a team. “A team is a better option than an individual.  Time is valuable as it is and after meeting with everyone, I have no doubt that the Echo would make a great team,” confided Pacete.

     We at the Echo are very thankful that Clarence is entrusting our team with the legacy he began here at WCSU and are very excited to see how far Humans of WCSU will go.

     “Thank you to all who have taken the time to talk to me, who I featured, the new Echo, and to my friend and co-founder, Niko, for giving me the opportunity to talk to you guys about all of your stories and how important it is to the community to make the goal of Humans of WCSU come true,” said Pacete, “with every new year comes with a new batch of stories waiting to be told.”

            *A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: To truly show our thanks and appreciation to Clarence for allowing us the chance to continue his work, I have arranged for the ending of Briana’s sincere article to be a special surprise for Clarence. Not only that, but this article is being published on the day before graduation (and we at the Echo would like to congratulate the graduating seniors of 2017). To send off both Clarence and this article, we would like to share a warmhearted thank you and goodbye from Niko Frascone. Niko has helped our dear friend, Clarence, with his Humans of WCSU exploits, and will be helping to continue Clarence’s work by joining us at The Echo in our collaborative efforts with the Humans of WCSU account. However, before we give you Niko’s thanks to Clarence, we would like to thank Niko for joining us and being willing to keep the end of this article a surprise from his friend. Thank you, Niko. We look forward to working with you next semester.

      And now, without further ado:

The Great Adieu

by Niko Frascone

    Through Humans of WCSU, I have learned a lot about myself and have grown as a person. This magnificent process would not have been possible were it not for this amazing club. Clarence Pacete built Humans of WCSU not only to emulate what Humans of New York accomplished but also to bring its purpose to our campus and create a sense of community. I believe the greatest difficulty surrounding college for most people is being able to branch out and have your voice be heard somehow, some way. Through all of the classes that we take through our college career, it is almost ironic that we still are unable to have our true voices be heard. To me, this was the goal of Humans of WCSU and Clarence nailed it on the head.

      With Clarence’s help and offer to continue supporting the growth of the Humans of WCSU movement, we both learned that regardless of what town someone is from, or what major they are studying under, at the end of the day, we all want someone to listen to what we have to say. Allowing anyone on campus to have a free-flowing forum to put their story out in the view of the public eye is an incredible feeling. This medium that we have created is something of another magnitude. I feel beyond fortunate to be a part of expanding our reach further across campus and to those who want to be heard. To those who have been featured on Humans of WCSU and to those who may wish to be featured in the future, the one piece of advice I can give is to not be afraid of making the leap towards sharing their story.

     The beauty of humanity is that of uniqueness. No two people are the same and Humans of WCSU encourages everyone and anyone to come to us with their stories and tales. We are the ears of the population of the college’s students and staff.

       This is neither a goodbye nor a farewell, but a great adieu to a long-lasting legacy that will continue to resonate through Western Connecticut State University. Clarence has been a great mentor to me, as well as a great role model to not only myself, but to those on campus that he has taken the time to speak with and listen to. I am happy to continue my friend’s legacy in bringing change to WCSU’s campuses, housing a close knit family that many student and staff have and can greatly benefit from, adding to the college experience and to their lives. Thank you, Clarence, for leaving a massive impact on not just me, but on all of us; we could not have come this far without you!

Best of regards,

Niko Frascone










“Beneath the Olive Tree” Director Inspires at Film Screening

By Sophie Pizzo


Director Stavroula Toska, third from left, with Dr. Theodora Pinou, far left, Dr. JC Barone, middle, and his students.

Last Wednesday, WCSU and the Macricostas Family Foundation hosted a screening of the award-winning 2015 documentary Beneath the Olive Tree, directed by Stavroula Toska and produced by Olympia Dukakis. The screening was organized by Dr. Theodora Pinou, Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, and was followed by a Q&A and reception with the film’s director.

Beneath the Olive Tree tells the story of women who lived in concentration camps during the Greek civil war– a part of history that most of the world, including Greeks themselves, remain unaware of.

In 1940s, the Greek people were made to sign a “Declaration of Repentance”, denouncing communism and declaring their support for the government. Anyone who resisted signing this document- men, women and children alike- were put into concentration camps on remote Greek islands, where they would be subsequently beaten, tortured, and even killed for being associated with the Resistance.

Beneath the Olive Tree focuses on a group of Greek women, now in their 80s, who kept journals of what really happened in the camps and hid them, buried in tin cans underneath an olive tree on Trikeri Island. In the present day, the women make yearly visits back to the islands where they were held prisoner, and share stories that inspire strength and speak to the resilience of women.

When director Stavroula Toska first learned of the women’s concentration camps, she knew had to share their stories.

“I was completely taken by the stories of these women…as a Greek woman myself, I had never heard of any of these stories,” says Toska, who now lives in New York. As the film progresses, Toska learns of her own personal connection to this untold chapter in Greek history. She knew that, no matter what, she had to make a documentary to share with the world.

“I was an ameteur when I first started with this, so I didn’t know what lights to buy, I didn’t have the money to buy the best sound equipment. I was like, I don’t care. I’m just gonna go and I’m gonna dive in and do it, and whatever happens, happens,” says Toska, who spent the course of five years researching and traveling back and forth to Greece to film “whenever [she] had time and money to go back.”

Among the audience were Dr. JC Barone’s film students, with whom Toska shared advice on getting started in the industry and pursuing their projects. While she discussed issues of networking and fundraising, Toska stressed the importance of being persistent and having faith.

“I always say that no matter what, you just keep going,” says Toska. “In hard times, when there’s no money, there’s no people supporting you…it’s that faith that you have in yourself, and in your project, and that commitment that you’re going to see this through, even if it takes six years.”

As the Q&A ended, Toska had another parting message: “Greek women are such badasses!”

Beneath the Olive Tree has been the recipient of several awards, including the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Award for Innovative Filmmaking, the Santa Fe Film Festival Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature, and the IndieFest Film Awards Award of Merit. Toska continues to promote the film through screenings and film festivals, and is currently working on directing and producing for future projects.

Western’s screening of the film was made possible by the Macricostas Family Foundation and the Center for the Study of Culture and Value.

For more information on Beneath the Olive Tree and Stavroula Toska, visit http://oramapictures.info/wordpress2012/three-candles#!/three-candles.

Destinee Carey: Evolves Both On and Off the Field

By Dan Dovale

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Western Connecticut State University senior, Destinee Carey,  from New Milford, Connecticut, was born to play and dominate the sports world of Women’s Lacrosse. Carey found her destiny in the fifth grade, “as soon as I started playing, I knew it was something I would continue for a very long time. It became my favorite sport and ultimately the one I chose to pursue.”

This pursuit began with passion, work ethic, and pure will power. Motivated by coaches, parents, and teammates, there is no limitation to Carey’s aspiration. As she has found both personal and team success here at Western Connecticut State University, she has also seen growth in herself while reminiscing back on her high school days.

“The biggest area where I’ve grown is my mentality and attitude,” she said. “With the rise of competition in college, I quickly learned that my mentality will shape my ability to succeed as an athlete. So, I learned to adapt a winning mentality, which has helped me succeed through every good and bad day I experience as an athlete.”

Not only has this growth been a necessity on the field, but maybe even more so, for off the field. The challenges and sacrifices that await a student athlete are often times overlooked and discredited. College itself can create mountains for students to climb in preparation for the next phase of life.

“Often time’s people do not realize that you spend your whole day in classes, go to practice or games, eat and then trying to find time to get all of your work done, is a vicious cycle.” Carey said, “Hard work and time management are the two most important things when it comes to being a student athlete. It’s an adjustment to juggle school and sport but you can make it work and still be successful.”

Although the daily process may get tiring and overwhelming, Carey has not once felt a moment of regret towards any single action that has led her down this path. 

“This whole experience for me has all been worth it. Through it all, every practice, test, game, assignment, I learned something new and being a student athlete has given me the tools needed in order to be successful in life,” Carey confidently explained. “I think this sport has taught me great things, it has shaped me into the person I am today and taught me how to be the best person both on and off the field.”

As she prepares to finish out this last season as a Colonial, she will continue to be appreciative and thankful for this sport and how it has evolved with her, even after she graduates. Moreover, while Carey holds an athletic resume that is bound to stitch her name in WCSU Women’s Lacrosse history, she remains hopeful this is not the end for her athletic career.

As for life after graduation, Carey said she, “hope[s] to become a graduate Assistant Coach somewhere to continue with lacrosse, to help teach and show other players that this sport can bring a lot of great things for them, too.”

From fifth grade to her senior year of college, Carey has pursued her greatest passion and reached levels of success that can only be met through mentality, work ethic, and will as strong as Destinee Carey’s.  From the received enthusiasm on our latest article on Carey, we at the Echo have found it to be clearly evident that this (hopefully soon to be) Assistant Coach has been much loved be the community and will be greatly missed.

Chasing History: Western’s Destinee Destined for Greatness

By Dan Dovale

There’s an aspect of sports that doesn’t receive the same recognition and respect as others do, which is; Women do this too. Men are shown the most love and attention when it comes to athletics, it’s widely more popular and seemingly appreciated.

The Connecticut Lady Huskies have been popular due to being dominant, winning championships and the never before seen 111 game win streak which gained a little bit of everyone’s attention. But how often do we hear about or gain interest in women’s soccer, WNBA, women’s lacrosse, etc. What will cause a change in the eye of the public?

“I think there could always be improvements when it comes to this. I would love for there to be more attention/love for women’s sports, women’s lacrosse and I know that with success this will all come,” Destinee Carey said.

Carey, a senior Women’s Lacrosse player at WCSU is enjoying some success of her own during her college career. Several WCSU WLAX career records are in jeopardy due to Carey’s pursuit. She’s nearing the points (258), goals (205) and free position goals (39) records. She’s within striking distance of each as she’s registered 254 points, 200 goals and 36 free position goals.

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When an athlete finds success in the chase of their dream, many wonder what prior sports figure did they mold their game after, or what role model they looked up to for inspiration which helped influence them in this journey? The expectation is a celebrity, athlete or someone seen on the television while growing up. What’s overlooked is, that person may just be that athletes first love, the love that came before the sport, the love who is her greatest supporter to this day.

“My Father has been my biggest influence both on and off the field,” Carey said. “He’s been my biggest motivator, my biggest fan in all 11 years I’ve played lacrosse and I know without him I wouldn’t be half as successful.”

Since entering the program surpassing these records was a long term goal of Carey’s and as she’s destined to do so, it brings on a, “surreal feeling,” but one that will show, “all this hard work and dedication will truly have paid off,” she said.

Although setting a goal of such high standards, Carey never let it affect or differentiate how she played and approached team success; “I never played with the intentions of breaking records, I played to win games and try to win a championship. Playing for Westerns Women’s Lacrosse we always say ‘play for the girl next to you.’”

Consistency may be the most important attribute in sports and it’s one she has mastered. The consistent improvement in her first three years at WCSU stands out. The jump in goals of 77 in her sophomore year after netting 38 her freshman year, shows she earned that trait. A junior year where she scored 52 goals and was named team offensive player of the year, it just adds to a resume of a special talent.

As she continues to chase down history and is on the verge of passing it, when the time comes, as she’s calling her Dad and expressing the sentiments of feeling “flooded with emotions, honored and privileged.”

It’ll remind her of the first time she put on the Colonial jersey, all the blood, sweat and tears, the sacrifices, going the extra mile while believing in herself and her dreams. And ultimately when she walks off the field for the final time and removes the only collegiate jersey she’s ever worn, she’ll have also accomplished the ultimate goal of, “wanting to make an impact on this program.”

Her name will forever be stitched in Western’s Women’s Lacrosse for her historical achievements and ability to raise the bar within the program. And when all is said and done maybe her impact is much more than just the program at WCSU, but adds a step to the ongoing climb that women’s sports is faced with, in receiving the due they’ve earned and deserve.

Clothesline Project: Bringing Awareness to Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

By Elizabeth Phillips

If you happened to walk by the Student Center at Western’s Midtown campus on last Tuesday March 21st, you may have been asked if you would like to decorate a t-shirt. This was the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury’s Clothesline Project. Inspirational messages and pictures were drawn by students on white t-shirts and then hung in the student center for all to see. Their hope was for the messages on the shirts “to inspire others,” as Campus Counselor/Advocate Jill Daddona explained.

As of today, the shirts are still hanging in the Midtown Student Center lobby.


In 2007, Western Connecticut State University and The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury signed an agreement for the Women’s Center to provide domestic violence and sexual assault outreach services to the Western community. Through projects, such as the Clothesline Project, they hope to trigger other students into reaching out for help and knowing that they are not alone with what they have endured. The Women’s Center’s main goal: “To stop violence and bring support to survivors of domestic violence,” as Child and Campus Counselor/Advocate Melissa O’Connor stated.

They offer support to not only victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but also to those who have family members who have been victims, as well as anyone who has been affected. Further, the center is not simply for women, but men too, and every age is welcome. The counselors are there to help and everything is kept confidential.

If you are a victim or know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault and would like to meet with one of the counselors they are located on the Midtown Campus in Higgins Hall Annex room 105 C and on the Westside Campus in the Campus Center, 3rd floor, room 300E. For more information on the center, its counselors, and the programs and support they offer, visit their web site – http://www.wcsu.edu/womenscenter/.

24- hour hotline:

Sexual Assault: (203)-731-5204

Domestic Violence: (203)-731-5206

Journalist and Lawyer Visit WCSU to Fight for Free Speech

By Briana Stiger

The Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG) has decided to take matters into their own hands regarding this nation’s First Amendment. CFOG has been promoting National Sunshine Week (March 12-18, 2017) which is a national effort to bring awareness to the significance of freedom of press for the sake of public access to knowledge.

For National Sunshine Week, journalist Jim Smith and journalist and lawyer Thomas Scheffey visited Professor John Roche’s News Writing class at Western Connecticut State University on Thursday March 9th. During their visit, Smith and Scheffey discussed the history of the First Amendment as well as the different ways students can protect their rights to free speech.  



Smith and Scheffey talking to Professor Roche’s class on Thursday March 9th.

Scheffey shared with the class an encounter that challenged his right to free speech as a journalist.  He was reporting a story in Nebraska involving the murder of an entire family.  After the arrest, a confession of the suspect had been recorded.  Scheffey was told last minute by government officials that he could not publish the story of the confession because the suspect had the “right to a fair trial.”  Despite this claim, Scheffey decided to publish the story anyways.  There is this misconception where the law makes us believe that the law or the government have the final call however, that decision to speak is ultimately up to the editor.


Also during Scheffey and Smith’s visit to Professor Roche’s class, Smith discussed the right to freedom of speech outside of the realm of journalism. He specifically emphasized it is important for students to understand where the line is crossed with practicing their free speech rights.

Smith shared a story about high school students in the Vietnam war era who would wear black wristbands in protest of the fatalities from the war.  The wearing of wristbands was a peaceful protest but the school district challenged the students’ right to free symbolic speech.  However, “speech not turning into violence is to always be protected,” says Scheffey.  

As times goes on, the amendments that originally founded our country are continuing to be misconstrued.   Scheffey and Smith very much stressed during their presentation that we all have to be observant of the government in order to protect our right to free speech.  “These are the public liberties and the public needs to be unendingly vigilant to protect them,” says Pearlman, “and that begins with education.”

For more information about Connecticut Foundation for Open Government and its dedication to freedom of speech rights, contact Mitchell Pearlman at (860) 881-3517 or see http://www.ctfog.org.