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ECU News and Communication Services 1001 E. 5th St. Greenville, NC 27858 (252) 328-6481

NC GreenTravel Initiative names 100th sustainable-practice business

The ECU Center for Sustainability is a partner in the NC GreenTravel Initiative, which has named the Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market its 100th North Carolina business to be recognized for use of sustainable practices that save energy and protect the environment. The Umbrella Market is a Greenville farmer’s market that features locally-grown food and a free shuttle providing transportation.

Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability, is pictured with the travel care code, which encourage travelers to take a pledge to travel responsibly. The code was developed at ECU.

Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability, is pictured with the ECU-developed travel care code, which encourages travelers to take a pledge to travel responsibly.

The GreenTravel Initiative helps tourists locate lodging, restaurants and activities that will enable them to visit an area while making a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. The program began in 2011 as a joint effort between the ECU center, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, N.C. Department of Commerce and the Waste Reduction Partners.

Tourism-focused businesses apply for the program and are selected through a grading system that measures environmentally friendly practices used to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, recycle and protect the environment.

More than 50 million tourists visited North Carolina in 2013, according to the state Department of Commerce. Among those visitors, more and more are seeking out businesses that maintain sustainable practices. The NC GreenTravel Initiative helps by identifying those businesses.

“We know our tourism economy depends upon the protection of our nationally recognized travel offerings,” said Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability.

“It will only be enhanced by sending a clear message that North Carolina tourism providers are working hard to limit energy and water use, reduce waste generation, and still provide the quality vacation and business travel experience travelers have become accustomed to.”

For additional information on NC GreenTravel, visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/deao/ncgreentravel

For more information on the ECU Center for Sustainability, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-tecs/sustainabletourism/index.cfm.

For information on the Travel Care Code developed by the center, visit http://www.ecu.edu/news/travelcarecode.cfm.

 

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Fraser named chair, Foreign Languages and Literatures

Benjamin Fraser was named chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Science. Fraser assumed the role July 1, replacing John Stevens, who served the department as interim chair since January 2011.

Fraser

Fraser

Fraser said he felt fortunate to step into his new role for a department that “boasts a talented faculty who are excelling in all three areas of productivity: teaching, research and service. It is really incredible.”  He said one of his top priorities is to invest further in the existing strength of the department.

“One of the things I’m most enthusiastic about is the opportunity to be part of a large department with so many different language and culture areas,” he said.

“With Classics (including both Latin and Greek), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, we enjoy a very stimulating intellectual environment; a strong global sense of culture that you just don’t find in departments shaped around individual language and culture groups.”

Formerly with the Department of Hispanic Studies at the College of Charleston, Fraser earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Hispanic literature from the University of Arizona. He holds a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish from the University of Virginia.

Fraser is the founding/executive editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, senior editor of the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, associate editor of Hispania and co-editor of the Hispanic Urban Studies book series.

For additional information, contact Fraser at 252-328-0104 or fraserb14@ecu.edu.

– Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

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ECU honors student wins competitive scholarship, NOAA internship

Chris Thaxton

Chris Thaxton
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)

By Jessica Nottingham
ECU Honors College

For the second year in a row, an East Carolina University Honors College student has won a prestigious scholarship and internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Chris Thaxton, a junior from La Grange and an EC Scholar, has received the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, which provides $16,000 for Thaxton’s junior and senior years and a 10-week paid NOAA internship in 2015. He is one of 106 recipients from across the country.

Thaxton, who is majoring in biology and chemistry, intends to pursue a career in marine conservation.

“As an undergraduate, the research experience beyond ECU will be huge,” Thaxton said. “My original goal was to work at a university, but seeing NOAA from the inside, I now hope for a career with NOAA. This is a great resume-builder and networking opportunity.”

A frequent visitor to the coast, Thaxton said his passion for marine biology comes from a desire to preserve the destinations that have meant so much to him so that future generations may have the opportunity to enjoy them as well.

“Summers spent at the beach paddling through salt marshes, boating and fishing nurtured my love for the coast,” he said. “I decided to focus my love for the ocean toward coastal and wetland conservation—preserving them so that people can enjoy them like I have.”

The EC Scholars program, the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship offered at ECU, requires undergraduate research and encourages students to engage in conferences, study abroad opportunities and internships. Thaxton will be studying marine biology in Australia this fall. He interned at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort last summer.

“We encourage our students to seek scholarships and internships that broaden learning as they prepare for their life’s work,” said Dr. Marianna Walker, dean of the ECU Honors College, where the EC Scholars program is housed.

Thaxton attributed receiving the scholarship to his specific research interests and what he learned in a visit to NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center lab in Beaufort.

“Chris is an exceptional student whose hard work was recognized in his selection for the very competitive Hollings Scholarship,” said Dr. Tim Runyan, an Honors College faculty fellow who encouraged Thaxton to apply. “While meeting with NOAA researchers at the Beaufort lab, it was clear to me that he was dedicated to the field of ocean conservation.”

Thaxton could be placed at any NOAA office for his internship, but he hopes for an assignment in Alaska or San Francisco to study wetland restoration next summer, he said.

Thaxton is the second consecutive ECU Honors College student to receive the Hollings Scholarship. Thomas Vaughan, a senior atmospheric science major, is completing an internship in Hawaii this summer.

More information about the ECU Honors College and EC Scholars program can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/honors/ or by contacting Jessica Nottingham, coordinator for marketing and recruitment for the Honors College, at nottinghamj@ecu.edu or 252-737-4625.

 

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East Carolina Heart Institute earns top rating

The East Carolina Heart Institute has received the highest quality rating awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

The society database is the national report card that compares the quality of cardiac surgery programs across the country. Historically, only 12-15 percent of hospitals receive the three-star rating, which is the highest quality category.

In the current analysis of national data – from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 – the cardiac surgery performance at the institute rose to the highest quality tier, earning the three-star rating.

“When a surgeon or a doctor starts to discuss an operation, the three-star rating will give the patient some repose, satisfaction and solace that they are going to an institution that has high quality, great outcomes, and combined with our patient satisfaction rate at the heart institute, that they will have a good family and patient experience,” said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine.

“We are all about quality. We are all about the highest level of outcomes. We are about patient satisfaction. We are about technology. We have it all here at this heart institute.”

In 2013, the heart institute ranked among the top 14 percent of Society of Thoracic Surgeions programs earning the three-star rating for coronary artery bypass procedures.

The overall bypass quality rating of three-stars measures top performance in four categories:  risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted morbidity, use of the internal mammary arterial conduit and appropriate use of all medications that have been shown to improve long term survival. The risk adjusted mortality rate takes into account patient severity, because of underlying health conditions such as stroke, kidney failure, infection and prolonged time on a ventilator.

Additionally, the heart institute achieved a three-star rating for aortic value replacement, ranking them among only 3.2 percent of STS participating programs.

The East Carolina Heart Institute is the first in North Carolina devoted exclusively to improving the state’s health status through cardiovascular health service delivery, research and education. The institute is a partnership between Vidant Medical Center and East Carolina University, with facilities housed on both medical campuses.

Private practice physicians throughout the region are also an integral part of the heart institute.

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ECU alumna publishes story of life since paralysis

ThePromiseFriedmanThe ECU community is familiar with the tragic story of Rachelle Friedman of Raleigh, who was paralyzed from a swimming pool accident at a bachelorette party in 2010. She would never walk again but she never stopped moving forward.

She became a motivational speaker, an advocate for the disabled and an inspirational role model. Now she’s also an author. In “The Promise,” Friedman tells her story, beginning with the night her life changed.

She confirms, as has been reported, that the five girls at the bachelorette party “made an unspoken agreement to never reveal the name of the friend who had pushed Rachelle into the pool–and their bond has remained unbroken.”

A true love story, “The Promise” chronicles Rachelle’s relationship with Chris Chapman ’05 ’08, their struggle with her paralysis and rehab, the physical challenges of intimacy, and ultimately, their fairy-tale wedding.

Friedman recently was interviewed by Katie Couric and Oprah and discussed her book on NBC’s Today Show, HLN, ABC News, Reddit, and Huffington Post.

Friedman is scheduled to appear at a book signing on July 12 at Greenville’s Barnes & Noble.

“The Promise:

A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship”

Available from Amazon

211 pages

Hardcover, $18.60

Kindle, $9.99

- Steve Tuttle

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