Oct. 11, 2011

In This Issue
MWCC Launches Second Decade of Civic Engagement
MWCC's Green Society is Helping Others Live Green, One Water Bottle at a Time
MWCC's North Central Educational Opportunity Center Awarded TRIO Grant
Recent Works by Alumna Janet Dupuis on Display in the East Wing Gallery
State's Top Digital Crime Sleuths Visit MWCC
Upcoming Events
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AnchorMWCC Launches Second Decade of Civic Engagement

Student participating in civic engagementTen years ago, MWCC launched a Decade of Civic Engagement. Since then, MWCC students logged more than 150,000 hours of community service and service learning hours. With a wide range of services valued at $3.6 million, it is no surprise that the college is a nationally recognized leader in civic engagement.


As the first decade comes to a close, MWCC will carry on the legacy. At the start of this academic year, President Daniel M. Asquino officially launched the Second Decade of Civic Engagement.


"We believe that students who become engaged in their communities stay engaged in their communities. The second Decade of Civic Engagement is now underway. I could not be more proud of the achievements made during the past decade, and look forward to the many significant accomplishments that are yet ahead," he said.


"With such success over the past decade, it was only a natural progression that we continue on to the Second Decade of Civic Engagement," explained Fagan Forhan, director of Experiential Learning Opportunities & Civic Engagement. "And we are absolutely thrilled to do so!"


During this second decade, students will focus locally and globally through service learning projects, volunteerism and other outreach initiatives overseen by the college's Center for Democracy & Humanity.


"We are striving to give students a broader lens of civic engagement and democratic practice," Forhan explained. MWCC is proud to participate in the burgeoning, national community college initiative, The Democracy Commitment, as well as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project.


MWCC's Second Decade of Civic Engagement will introduce students to the "7 Revolutions," a project from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that educates students about the seven global trends facing the world throughout the year 2030. The "7 Revolutions" curriculum is currently in an introductory stage at MWCC through a First Year Experience course taught by Associate Professor Maureen Provost. Ultimately, the goal is that every MWCC student will learn about these trends by the time the Second Decade of Civic Engagement is completed. The seven trends of anticipated revolutionary change include: population; resource management and climate change; technological innovation; the development and dissemination of information and knowledge; economics; the nature and mode of security; and the challenge of global governance.


The Second Decade will also increase service and experiential learning. Through service-oriented internships, student will gain an understanding of how their work impacts the world around them. "Our students are sent to places where there is a real stated need in our community. We want to give our students the tools and opportunities to be successful," Forhan said.


A continuation of the Future Philanthropist project also will be implemented. This project is a mini-grant initiative made possible by the Boston-based Highland Street Foundation. The project allows students to become grantors by awarding funds to nonprofit organizations for various community projects. Not only does this provide students with an opportunity to give back, but it also gives the students a sense of empowerment that they can implement change.


The Center for Democracy and Humanity is rolling out many more initiatives for the Second Decade of Civic Engagement with opportunities for students to learn and grow. Currently, as the decade kicks off, a community service learning course, led by Associate Professor Julie Capozzi, was implemented this semester, and plans are in place for a speaker series and other activities. The next 10 years will provide numerous opportunities for students to learn about the many issues facing the world and do their part to make a difference.


"Community Colleges provide an open access for anyone to get an education," Forhan said. "We want to empower our students through civic engagement so that they can understand how they can change their community and the greater world."


   - Angela Marini 
Pictured: Civic engagement has become a hallmark of Mount Wachusett Community College. Carly Armstrong-Champ and Paige Aube were among the incoming freshmen who recently assisted with campus beautification projects as a service component of the seventh annual Leadership Camp.

MWCC's Green Society is Helping Others Live Green, One Water Bottle at a Time

Members of the Green Society at new water cooler bottle filling stationMWCC's Green Society is making another splash toward sustainability with a new addition to the Gardner campus. The new water cooler and bottle filling station, located in the Commons area near the financial aid office, is part of an outreach campaign to provide students, faculty, and staff with an alternative to plastic water bottles.


The water bottle station, which was funded jointly by the Green Society, the Student Government Association and a $1,000 grant from the United Way Youth Venture, is environmentally friendly because it allows people to refill reusable water bottles. In just a few weeks, it has already saved nearly 400 plastic water bottles from being used. "It's turning out to be a great compliment to other sustainability efforts at MWCC," said Rosemary Mruk, treasurer of the Green Society.


Students from the Green Society researched and presented an action plan and budget to the United Way Youth Venture and members of the college community last spring to receive funding for this project. The UWYV provides opportunities for young people throughout the region to create their own positive social change. The process is non-competitive and open to students ages 12 to 22, said Kumar Raj, United Way Youth Venture Coordinator.


To help raise money for replacement filters for the water station, the Green Society soon will be selling reusable, stainless steel water bottles.


"We are excited to see how the campus receives the new water cooler and bottle filling station, and we hope that this station can pave the way for more on campus," said Professor Tom Montagno, advisor to the Green Society.


In the future, the Green Society would like to see a water bottle station on each floor of the Gardner Campus, as well as at the satellite campuses in Leominster and Devens.


"At MWCC, we don't just want people to 'Go Green,' " said Owen Despre, president of the Green Society. "We want them to 'Live Green.' "


   - Angela Marini 


Pictured: Members of the Green Society, Rosemary Mruk, treasurer, Jesse Roberts, vice president, and Owen Despre, president, demonstrate the new water cooler and bottle filling station at the Gardner campus.


MWCC's North Central Educational Opportunity Center Awarded TRIO Grant

The North Central Educational Opportunity Center at Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded a TRIO grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue providing 1,000 adults in the region with comprehensive services to successfully transition into postsecondary education.


MWCC was awarded $230,000 for the first year of a five-year grant, for a total of $1.15 million. The EOC, housed within MWCC's Division of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development Division, was created in 2002 through U.S. DOE funding, with additional financial and in-kind support from the college.


The EOC program serves 1,000 adults from throughout North Central Massachusetts at MWCC's Leominster and Gardner campuses. Two-thirds of the participants are low-income, first-generation college students. The center provides client-centered services that are tailored to the learning needs of each participant, including assistance with applying to the public or private college, university or vocational school of their choice, applying for financial aid, and academic and career counseling.


"As a federally funded program, we are able to help people go to school no matter where they want to go to school, whether it is Mount Wachusett, one of the state universities or a career training program," said Valerie LaPorte, director of the North Central Educational Opportunity Center. "We've seen a rise in our numbers over the last couple of years and a lot of that has been generated by the unemployment in the region; people whose jobs have been shipped overseas, or their workplaces have closed and they need to retrain. We're here to provide career counseling and help them determine which direction they would like to go in based on their interest and what they'll need to do to retrain to enter that field."


New initiatives in the grant funding include additional support services to veterans and their dependents, and a financial literacy component, which will incorporate workshops conducted by Leominster Credit Union at the Leominster campus and workshops conducted by GFA Federal Credit Union at the Gardner campus. In addition to LaPorte, the EOC team includes Assistant Director and Educational Specialist Holly Kreidler-Phaneuf, Community Outreach Counselor Kathy Lewis, and Yong Saddler, who provides administrative support.


The grant was announced Oct. 6 by the U.S. Department of Education as part of a $46.9 million allocation to TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers in 44 states, as well as Puerto Rico. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.


"A college degree or postsecondary certificate has never been more necessary for success in the global economy, and TRIO programs will help increase the number of people who pursue postsecondary education, by helping them learn about the admissions process and how to find financial aid," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated. TRIO and other programs are making an essential contribution to meeting President Obama's goal of having the highest percentage of college graduates by the end of the decade, Duncan said.


For more information or to schedule an appointment with the North Central EOC, call 978-630-9823.


Recent Works by Alumna Janet Dupuis on Display in the East Wing Gallery

An exhibit of recent works by MWCC alumna Janet Dupuis will be on display in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center from Oct. 14 through Nov. 17. An artist's reception will take place on Friday, Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.


A lifelong resident of Gardner, Dupuis attended local schools. After graduating from MWCC, she went on to study at Anna Maria College, Framingham State University and Fitchburg State University, where she received her master's degree in Arts Education. Dupuis teaches visual arts at Narragansett Middle School in Baldwinville and is an adjunct faculty member at Anna Maria College, where she teaches art history and mixed media studio courses.


A versatile and eclectic mixed media artist, she works freely in many styles, approaches, and moods- ranging from lyrical naturalism to calligraphic abstraction. Her thematic material is inspired by color, light and the feeling that each place creates.


Regular gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Pictured: "With Heart," mixed media by Janet Dupuis.

State's Top Digital Crime Sleuths Visit MWCC

Mass Digital Evidence ConsortiumCriminal Justice Department Chair Reed Hillman welcomed members of the Massachusetts Digital Evidence Consortium to the Gardner campus on Sept. 21. The gathering brought together experts from throughout Massachusetts working in the field of cyber crime investigations and electronic evidence that now pertains to virtually all investigations.


With widespread use of cell phones, computers, navigational systems, social media sites and other technology, law enforcement can now extract evidence and vast amounts of information to solve crimes of every nature. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of cases today have some type of digital evidence.


Consortium members attending the business meeting included Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ralph, chief of the Cyber Crime Division for the state Attorney General's office;  David Papargiris, director of the computer forensics lab for the Cyber Crimes Division; and Massachusetts State Police Sgt.  Jude Buckley, of the state's Digital Evidence and Multimedia section.


Hillman, former commander of the Massachusetts State Police, plans to invite members of the consortium back to the college to speak with students enrolled in the Criminal Justice and Computer Information Systems programs.


Pictured: From left, MWCC Criminal Justice Department Chair Reed Hillman; Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ralph; David Papargiris, director of the Cyber Crimes Division's computer forensics lab; and Sgt. Jude Buckley of the Massachusetts State Police Digital Evidence and Multimedia section.

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Upcoming Events

An Empty Place at the Table, a display created by the Battered Women's Resources Inc. of Leominster, commemorates the lives lost in Massachusetts over the past year as a result of domestic violence. The display can be viewed in the upper Commons area through through Friday, Oct. 14. The display consists of a formal dining room table set with two plates for each victim, one with a name and the other with a brief description of the murder. This event is in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and is sponsored by the Student Life office. 


The Road Home coverThe LaChance Library will host author and MWCC adjunct professor Wanda Pothier-Hill for a reading from her debut novel, "The Road Home," on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Commons. She will also take questions from the audience and sign copies of her book, which will be available for sale. The setting of this work of fiction takes place from the hills of Western Massachusetts, to the back roads of Montana, and the streets of North Central Mass. Pothier-Hill tells a story of a young woman's journey across the country to escape violence and addiction, while searching for truth and healing.

Theatre at the Mount continues its production of BEEHIVE the 60's MUSICAL. Break out your go-go boots for Beehive, a musical journey through the 1960's beginning with the tall and sticky beehive and ending in the long, flowing hair of the Age of Aquarius. Relive music's golden era and an empowering time in history with The Name Game, The Beat Goes On, Respect, Natural Woman, My Boyfriend's Back, One Fine Day, To Sir With Love, It's My Party, Proud Mary, Downtown and more! Performances will take place Oct.14 and 15 at 8 p.m. and Oct 16 at 2 p.m. Evening admission is $20 and matinee admission is $15. For tickets, contact the TAM box office at (978) 632-2403 or online at  

A Fitness and Wellness Center Open House will take place Saturday, Oct. 15 from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. The open house will feature tours of the 65,000 square foot facility, free classes and workouts on state-of-the-art equipment, information about membership options and services, and free two-week trial membership for new members and for past members whose membership has expired for 180 days or more. The center's amenities include a 25-yard indoor pool, new training and cardiovascular equipment, locker rooms, racquetball, basketball and volleyball courts, a nursery and playground, classes for children, swim lessons, aqua aerobics, weight reduction and management, and more than 50 group exercise classes led by certified trainers. For more information call 978-630-9212.


A fundraiser for Veteran Homestead, Inc., Destination Destare: Celebrating Comrades, will take place Monday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Cafe Destare, 320 Main St., Fitchburg. MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, state Senator Stephen Brewer and Gardner resident Patricia Lasky will be recognized for their service and commitment to veterans. Enjoy refreshments music, good company, a silent auction and more. Admission is $25 and tickets can be purchased online or at Enterprise Bank's Leominster and Fitchburg branches, Worker's Credit Union on Main Street in Fitchburg, the MWCC President's office, and through Kettle Travel. Veteran Homestead, a nonprofit organization, operates the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center, located on MWCC's Gardner campus.


President Daniel M. Asquino and the Board of Trustees will dedicate the Gelbwasser Chemistry Lab in memory of Professor Emeritus Herman Gelbwasser during a ceremony Thursday, Oct. 20. The dedication ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. at the entrance to the lab, room 213, on MWCC's Gardner campus. A reception will follow in the Murphy Conference Room. Professor Gelbwasser taught chemistry and mathematics to generations of students from the college's nascent years until his retirement in 2010. RSVP to Lois Cox at 978-630-9101 or


The Pied Pipper LogoTheatre at the Mount will present "The Pied Piper" on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. This play within a play teaches children about having a good attitude, and the importance of keeping promises, told through the story of Hamelin and its rat problem. The swinging title song, the toe-tapping duet, You've Gotta Have Two, and the fun-for-all, We are the Rats, are all included in this entertaining show. All tickets are $5. For tickets, contact the TAM box office at (978) 632-2403 or online at  


The MWCC Multi Sport Team Fall Backwards Sprint Triathlon will take place Sunday, Oct. 23, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Fitness & Wellness Center.The sprint triathlon is the third of three events hosted by the team this year. The sprint triathlon will begin with a 3.64 mile run, followed by a 14.85 mile bike course, and finishing with a 300 yard pool swim. The event is sanctioned by USA Triathalon.


Students interested in a career in Radiologic Technology are invited to attend an information session on Monday, Oct. 24 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Murphy conference room at MWCC's Gardner campus. The session will provide information about the career as well as the transfer agreement between MWCC and Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. As part of this agreement, area residents have the opportunity to complete core courses and electives at MWCC, before attending QCC to complete the courses in the rad-tech program. Similarly, QCC students interested in pursuing a Physical Therapist Assistant degree are able to take their general education requirements at QCC before transferring to MWCC for the PTA portion of the program.


Discover MWCC and College Majors Expo will take place Thursday, Oct. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Commons. Learn about certificate and degree programs, explore college services, hear from alumni, meet with representatives from admissions, financial aid and career counseling, talk with professors and tour the campus during this free event. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 978- 630-9110 or email


MWCC's annual Scary Karaoke will take place Thursday, Oct. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the North Café. Come join in on the "spooky" fun. There will be snacks, $100 cash door prize every hour and cash prizes ($100, $70, $30) for best costumes. The event also features a "Build a Monster" station. Sponsored by CATS and the Student Life office, the event is free for all MWCC students, faculty and staff.


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: A.S. Nursing at Gardner Campus: Oct. 12, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204; A.S. Nursing & Practical Nursing Certificate at Leominster campus: Oct. 13, 5 to 6 p.m., Leominster Campus, Lab 3; Practical Nursing Certificate at Gardner Campus: Oct. 18, 2 to 3 p.m., room 204; Clinical Laboratory Science: Oct. 17, 4 to 5 p.m., Health Alliance Leominster; Complementary Health/Physical Therapist Assistant: Oct. 13, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; Dental Hygiene: Oct. 19, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or email


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Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at 978-630-9547. 


Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College