Leaves Are Falling, I-84 is Crawling

by: Leslie Pizzagalli


Being a commuter and a first-time transfer student is no simple task, and those of us who take four wheels to Western in the morning (or afternoon… or night…) can agree that I-84 is no joyride.

Nevertheless, the vibrant walkway of leaves during the first few months of the fall semester make the stop-and-start travel a little more bearable. Sometimes, those extra added minutes taking the backroads to avoid the highway make it all worth it. A peaceful early or midday afternoon cruise to campus can add a surge of color to a tedious trip. Being a student who commutes from a town over twenty minutes away, the tiny road trip to class is not the only thing that takes some getting used to. However, time management is an important factor to take into account when dashing from driver’s seat to desk.

Only a month or so in and it is likely that a WCSU commuter student begins to learn that a precious morning coffee run may just turn that stroll to class into a sprint. Every minute counts when it comes to making it on time to class, and factoring in the unpredictability of the freeway throws a wrench into the (home)works.


Despite the usual stress of the rush, there is nothing quite like seeing a plethora of fall foliage on a crisp, colorful morning. When I am not hustling my way to class in the morning, I like to sit outside the student center under one of the numerous umbrella-shaded tables. The secluded setting is perfect for catching up on schoolwork and sightseeing the campus’ greenery.

The plummeting temperatures are approaching, but with this hot and cold yo-yoing weather, it is uncertain when I will have to pack up my backpack and head inside to locate a new homework hideaway. Until that unfortunate, chilly time comes, I will be outside basking in the changing of seasons.



Western Writing Students Share Internship Experiences and Advice

by Sophie Pizzo

terriblepictureofpanelwow.JPGProfessor Roche, left, with speakers Markus Elken, Michael Medeiros, and Victoria Arbour

When it comes to internships, students often have a lot of questions. Internships can seem like mythical creatures, ever-elusive in today’s increasingly competitive job market. How do you find the internship that’s right for you? How do you even get started? The “Internships in Writing” panel aimed to answer those questions for writing students.

The event started off with a presentation from Dr. Anthony Ciarleglio, director of the Cooperative Education Internship Program at Western’s Career Success Center, which is now located on the Westside Campus. Dr. Ciarleglio explained that internships a great risk-free way for students to gain experience in their field, while also earning academic credit and building their resumés. Dr. Ciarleglio also emphasized how writing students can get ahead: “I don’t know of any position that doesn’t require strong writing skills,” he said.

After Dr. Ciarleglio’s presentation, Professor John Roche (who says he is a “cheerleader for internships”) gave his own advice and moderated a panel featuring three Western writing students.

Victoria Arbour, a student in Western’s MFA program, shared her experience interning as a social media coordinator for FirstLight Homecare. Arbour found her internship through a family friend on Facebook. “This opportunity can come from anywhere…so keep your eyes peeled for these kinds of opportunities. You never know where it might lead to,” said Arbour. She found that her writing skills helped in producing content for social media. “You can do a lot as a writer,” Arbour said. “Be willing to expand.”

Michael Medeiros, a journalism major, currently interns with CBS News in New York City as part of their News Path division. Medeiros has been involved in writing on campus, and encouraged other students to take advantage of the opportunities that Western offers, such as writing for The Echo or reaching out when opportunities arise. “If you see an opportunity where you think, ‘I can put it on my resume,’ you should do it. You have to do it!” said Medeiros.

Markus Elken, a major in business and technical writing, initially applied to 45 internships without getting one. Then, after visiting Western’s annual Career Fair with copies of his resume, Elken landed a marketing internship with Odyssey Logistics that later turned into a part-time job. He learned that “having solid, marketable writing skills is really important, regardless of what field you’re going into.”

With advice from Dr. Ciarleglio, Prof. Roche, and fellow writing majors, students left the event with the newfound knowledge to seek out an internship with confidence.

ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) Catherine’s Advice #1

by: Catherine McConkey


One of the most exciting things about being in college is having the opportunity and freedom to do something different. My name is Catherine, and I am an international exchange student from Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Through this student-run advice column, I want to help anyone who is considering studying abroad in the future by sharing my experiences over the next few months.

I have the privilege of studying at Western Connecticut State University this year through the ISEP program (International Student Exchange Program). If someone had asked me this time last year if I would be studying in America, I would have probably laughed in their face. The thought of graduating at the age of twenty-one and then venturing out into the big, bad world was too much to bear, so I began to look into alternative ways to extend my time being a student. Studying abroad quickly became an option once I began speaking with students who had taken the same path.


Tip I: Location is key when considering studying abroad.

From what I understand, many international students spend their time traveling around their chosen exchange country of study. Since arriving nearly two months ago, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is, “Why did you come to WCSU?” The answer? Western is a fantastic university with a large selection of media courses for my major. However, it does help that Connecticut state has been a good location for traveling.


(Danbury, Connecticut)

 After being lucky enough to travel to the United States on two past occasions, I knew I wanted to explore more of the East Coast. When thinking about your international location, take into consideration the country’s climate, language barriers, and travel expenses. When traveling to Connecticut, I was able to get a direct flight from Dublin to Hartford, saving me a lot of stress and money. It may not be possible to get to your chosen location in one flight, so if that is the case for you, I suggest leaving enough time for connecting flights, figure out train/bus links ahead of time, and do not be afraid to ask people for help!

My first two months as an ISEP student at WCSU have been two of the best months of my life.  Along with other international students at the university, I have had the chance to experience American society in some of the greatest ways possible. Though to be honest, during the beginning of my international exchange, I did experience a massive culture shock. From food portions, driving on the other side of the road and adjusting to people constantly saying, “Bless you!” every time I sneezed.

Sometimes, it all feels like it really is like a movie!


Tip II: But seriously, culture shock is a “thing.”

To help adjust to your new home, make sure you research your designated country/state and reach out to people before you arrive. I made it my mission to contact as many people from Western as I could, including other international students, my housemates and The Echo, WCSU’s student-run online newspaper. I instantly felt more comfortable and confident about arriving and the fear of not knowing what was on the other side of that plane journey slowly began to fade. Picture1.png

(Western Connecticut State University Homecoming Game 2017)

Make sure you get involved to help understand the culture, it’s a great opportunity to experience new things, make friends and it is also really fun. Studying abroad is a chance to do things and go places you would never be able to, were you to stay in your home country. One of my most significant involvements in American culture so far was attending the university’s Homecoming football game. Homecoming was a great chance to feel like a ‘proper American,’ though I feel that none of the international students exactly understood the rules of the game, why it was so long, or why there were so many people on the field.

While I have learned so much about the American culture already, I have also had the chance to make connections with and teach other students about my roots and where I come from.


Tip III: Plan your trips in advance.

One of the greatest advantages to studying abroad is the places you will go. I have had the opportunity to visit New York on more than one occasion, Newport Rhode Island with the PAC (Program Activities Council) community, Washington, DC, and I am currently planning to travel to Boston and Canada. What I have learned from these experiences is that the key to a good trip is planning.

One night, my fellow international students spent and I spent a few hours planning trips for us to take this semester. By simply using Google Maps, we were able to identify what close by cites and attractions interested us, as well as how long it would take for us to travel there. We even looked into websites that help with travel issues, such as comparing the prices of hotels and their cancellation policies. Many of the hotels we took into consideration offer free cancellation on room reservations, which is great when your plans are likely to change.

Remember, you are a student, so it is important to manage your money, especially when on a trip. In cities like New York, it is very easy to spend a lot of money – trust me, I have been there! There are many ways to save money, including looking for cheaper food alternatives such as eating at, or ordering from diners and fast food outlets. You can also save by familiarizing yourself with public transport, rather than paying a taxi service. In big cities, it is also great to walk from location to location to better take in the environment and enjoy every second of it!


(New York City)

Tip IV: You can study abroad, too.

If the thought of studying abroad interests you, now is the time to look into it. The ISEP services have recently opened their applications and posted information about the program on their section of Western’s university website. Donna Warner, the International Services Co-ordinator for Western Connecticut State University, can help with any questions and inquiries about the programs offered. I am also here to answer any questions you may have, whether you are a student from WCSU looking to study outside of the United States, or an international student who is about to, or is considering studying abroad. My advice articles for The Echo’s advice column will be filled with the best advice I can give about making the best of your study abroad experience, check in with me in a few weeks for some tips on packing, choosing your courses, and how my adventure progresses!


For More ISEP Information:

Donna Warner, International Services Coordinator:
University Hall, Room 303
181 White Street Danbury, CT 06810

WCSU’S International Student Exchange Program Website:


Or, feel free to leave comments, questions, etc. below and I will do my best to get back to you!

Nostalgic Homage to Homecoming Week

by: Leslie Pizzagalli

Western Connecticut State University’s Homecoming Week Street Fair held on October 7th at the Westside Campus had passersby hopping — or should we say hooping, skipping, and jumping down to The Echo’s table for a good time.

Not only was there an abundance of food trucks, booths filled with activities, and bouncy castles, but thanks to The Echo, hula hooping contests were in full swing. As far as the victors, there were some seriously nostalgic goodies to be won. Slinkies, mini paddleball, bubble wands, and Play-Doh were only a few of the addicting childhood-reminiscent handheld gadgets given out during the Street Fair event. Students, staff, friends, and family members of all ages alike were eager and excited to participate in hula hoop contests to win these 90’s inspired throwback trinkets. In addition to the youthful, colorful toys, other trinkets such as fidget spinners, gel pens, and tiny hats were also offered as grandiose rewards to be won.

Even WCSU’s mascot, Colonial Chuck, joined in on the festivities; regardless of being unable to fit into any of the three hula hoops The Echo supplied!


With the new university semester in full swing, students are busier than ever between class time and the workload. Any and all leisure time is cherished with such packed schedules, and a break like Homecoming Week is always an enjoyable opportunity to get college goers outside and exploring what Western has to offer.

By attending the street fair, The Echo crew’s hoped that with the help of their vibrant, neon colored knickknacks and flashy prizes to bring a splash of fun color and bittersweet nostalgia to the WCSU community. Furthermore, they also intended to bring awareness to the fact that the student-run newspaper is regularly searching for writers and contributors to The Echo, as well as introducing its lively club members to their intended and potential audiences. Each person who passed by the club’s table was informed  The Echo being a student-run newspaper offered exclusively online, and that anyone would be welcome to be a part of the sixty-two years (and counting) of publications at Western Connecticut State University.


More Photos and Videos from The Echo’s Street Fair Table:




The In-Cider Scoop: Apple Cider-making at Western


By Lauren Tango

It’s that time of the year: pumpkin patches, hay rides, brisk air, and of course…apple cider! There is certainly something about this time of the year that brings communities together by enjoying traditional outdoor activities such as these. On Tuesday, October 17th, Dr. Thomas Philbrick and his Evolution & Natural History of Land Plants students hosted an event on campus demonstrating the production of apple cider.

The process is quite simple: first, the whole apples are dumped into an apple mill to be ground and collected into a cloth bag. The milled apples then head into the apple press and the cider is collected into a bucket. The apples that are used for cider are typically “rejected” apples, meaning that they were too small or misshapen to be sold in stores. At this event, there were about 600 lbs of apples used, and every member of the biology class was hands-on in the process. There was one cider press that was creating basic raw apple cider, and another press that would be heated with added spices to give the cider an extra kick. 



Dr. Philbrick also brought a touch of history to this event by using original cider pressers from the 1800s that he had rebuilt over time. Over the last 10 years that he has been making cider, Dr. Philbrick and his wife have also hosted cider festivals at their home where the entire neighborhood is invited to come witness the process of cider-making and enjoy the finished product at the same time.

As students rushed to their classes, they could not help but stop to take a second look at what was going on due to the enticing aroma of the freshly milled apples. This was an open event for the public and students at the university, and it was definitely a hit. It was a crisp, sunny and beautiful fall day during this event: the perfect equation to enjoy a nice fresh cup of cider!

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










Western Students on Ice

By: Sophie Pizzo

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 1.38.22 PM

Western Recreational Services hosted a free open skate for Western students at Danbury Ice Arena last Friday.

Directly after the Danbury Titans game, students hit the ice from 10 pm to 12 am, with music, free refreshments, and skate rentals provided. Shuttle service was also available to and from the arena.

The ice was brimming with students of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned skaters. Though there were a few falls and bumps along the way, the night was full of energy and fun.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 1.38.36 PM

The free skate was part of Rec After Dark, which provides opportunities for Western students to get together for fun night-time events. Past events have included a free skate session last semester, as well as a “Glow” event featuring laser tag, glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and Zumba in Berkshire Hall.

“It was really fun to go back and ice skate after last semester,” said Sarah Hoffkins, a junior at Western. “I really hope that it keeps going on!”

For more information about upcoming WesternRec events, including Rec After Dark, visit http://www.wcsu.edu/recreation/.