Harriot College’s Staff Council is holding a donation drive for the Pitt County Angel Closet. Each department and the dean’s office has a box where contributions may be dropped off before Dec. 8 (contributed photo)
In this season of thanks and giving, East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to helping the community’s youngest citizens. The THCAS Staff Council is hosting a donation drive, Nov. 13 – Dec. 8, with proceeds going to the Pitt County Angel Closet.
Each of the 16 departments in the college was given a box to decorate and place near their office, where individuals can donate new bibs, baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, underwear, socks and winter clothes for children of all ages.
“We thought a donation drive would be a great way to get people involved with a local organization,” said Amelia Thompson, chair of the council’s planning subcommittee. “The Angel Closet was in need of several items, and we thought that we could really make a difference for them this year.”
The goal of the council is to collect 500 items for the organization.
Dr. William M. Downs, dean of Harriot College, is particularly drawn to helping children.
On Nov. 28, at the half-way point for donations, Downs and members of the staff council will walk around to the departments and collect the items donated up to that point. Then, they will deliver those items to the Pitt County Angel Closet, with the final collection and drop-off occuring on Dec. 8.
It’s not very often that a movie’s appeal is in how dreadful it is. But that’s exactly how an East Carolina University film class is advertising its upcoming screening of “The Room.”
Often called “the worst movie ever made” or “the Citizen Kane of bad movies,” “The Room” is about a successful banker named Johnny, his deceptive fiancé Lisa and his best friend Mark. There’s also terrible dialogue, ridiculous subplots and unexplained framed photos of spoons.
The class will host a free screening of “The Room” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Hendrix Theatre as part of their coursework.
“The director sort of had no idea what he was doing,” said Dr. Amanda Klein, an associate professor who teaches FILM 4980, also known as Topics in Film Aesthetics: Trash Cinema and Taste.
“He made it in a way that made no sense, like someone learning a new language and misusing the words and terms,” she said.
Director, producer and star Tommy Wiseau gained a cult following because of the movie’s captivatingly odd elements. Most see “The Room” as his misguided, so-bad-it’s-good passion project. It also inspired an upcoming movie about its making directed by James Franco.
“It’s not about analyzing the film as a good film,” FILM 4980 student Susie Hedley said. “It’s about analyzing why it’s not, and appreciating the world that these bad qualities bring you into. And ‘The Room’ brings you into one hell of a world.”
Hedley said she was drawn to the Trash Cinema class in part because it gives credit to films that often aren’t deemed worthy of serious examination.
“Examining trash movies through an academic lens is like reading ‘Twilight’ in a literature course or studying Dothraki as a foreign language. It seems wrong somehow, because we’re taught to see these topics as lowbrow or lacking substance.”
But, as Klein pointed out, “It’s much easier to see film construction when you look at one that isn’t made too well.”
It can also be a lot of fun to watch. Similar to a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening, yelling and throwing things during “The Room” is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Viewers at the Thursday night screening will receive a goodie bag of projectiles including mini footballs, rose petals and spoons (the reasoning will make sense during the movie for the uninitiated).
“As for the audience, I can’t be sure whether or not they’ll love the experience, but I know it will get a strong reaction out of them,” Hedley said. “The first time I saw the film … mostly I was in shock the whole time.”
The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library at East Carolina University held its third annual Health Sciences Trick or Treat event on Oct. 27 throughout the library.
Anne Anderson, curator for the Country Doctor Museum explains how surgical instruments were used long ago. (contributed photos)
Attended by over 400 ECU faculty, staff, students and their children, who enjoyed participating a variety of games, crafts and trick-or-treating.
Occupational Therapy Student, Lauren Selingo, enjoys the many creative costumes worn by attendees.
“My four-year-old grandson had such a great time,” said Terrie Hamilton, instructor in the School of Hospitality Leadership. “The Laupus staff did a great job decorating their offices, dressing in costume and spending time with each of the trick-or-treating children. We even appreciated the dental students and their tooth brushes – it gave us a chance to incorporate health care into the experience.”
“This also provided an excellent opportunity for those of us on the main campus to visit the health sciences campus and explore some of what is offered there,” she added. “What a wonderful way to show my grandson that libraries are fun and exciting places.”
A costume contest was also held with the winners announced on Laupus Library’s Facebook page.
The Country Doctor Museum photo booth also offered families a chance to explore spooky archives and pose with some of the items from its collections.
Families pose for photos at the Halloween event.
To view photos from the event, costume contest and photo booth, visit the Laupus Health Sciences Library at ECU Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eculaupus/.
First-generation students are defined broadly (neither parent has completed a four-year degree) or narrowly (neither parent has any postsecondary education). With nearly one-third of freshman cohorts across the country designated first-generation, colleges and universities are building programs and resources specific to them and their needs. ECU is no different.
According to the 2014 Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) survey, between one-third and one-half of all first-time, full-time students entering ECU in Fall 2014 would be considered first generation students. For example, 55% of respondents to BCSSE indicated that no parent/guardian had a bachelor’s degree or higher and 33% indicated no parent had any schooling beyond high school. (Note: The 2017 BCSSE was administered during this past summer orientation).
ECU is poised to continue intentional program for first-generation students and their families in order to address the challenges and needs of these students. We begin by joining institutions around the country in celebrating first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on our campus.
Sponsored by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AACU), and ECU’s Division of Student Affairs, the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration is being celebrated nationally on November 8, 2017. As a first-generation administrator, faculty, staff, and/or student, we invite you to join us in celebration.
A textile exhibit, “Fold Unfold,” will be on display in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery on the campus of East Carolina University from Nov. 1 through Nov. 17.
An opening reception will be held 5-8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to coincide with Uptown Greenville’s First Friday ArtWalk, which showcases new exhibits and discounts at participating restaurants and shops.
Curators Susan Falls and Jessica Smith will discuss their collaborative research and the development of the project in a gallery talk, “Fold Unfold: When Coverlets meet Op Art,” on Friday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. in Speight Auditorium in Jenkins Fine Arts Center.
All events are free and open to the public.
Falls, professor of anthropology, and Smith, professor of fibers, both at the Savannah College of Art and Design, invited more than 100 artists from the U.S. and Canada to weave objects that could be folded and unfolded, and were the size of typical 19th century coverlets. The weavers were asked to consider the patterning of 19th and early 20th century American coverlets but to use a modernist color scheme of black, white and gray.
A slide show and catalog of each coverlet will accompany the exhibition.
Robin Haller, professor of textile design at ECU, has a piece in the exhibit along with other North Carolina weavers Dani Burke, Barb Butler, Cassie Dickson, Melanie Wilder, Deanna Lynch, Laura Magdycz, Gabrielle Duggan and Nicole Asselin.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. The gallery is closed for all university holidays. The center is handicapped accessible. Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Department of Disability Support Services at least two weeks before the event at 252-737-1016. For more information, visit www.ecu.edu/gray/gallery.
Contact: Tom Braswell, interim Wellington B. Gray Gallery director, 252-328-1312 or BRASWELLG@ecu.edu
East Carolina University biologist April Blakeslee and students in her lab have created a new exhibit on invasive species at the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington. The exhibit will be unveiled Thursday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m.
ECU biologist April Blakeslee and art and design student Kayla Clark have created a display about invasive species at the N.C. Estuarium in Washington. The exhibit opens Thursday, Oct. 26. (contributed photos)
Funded by N.C. Sea Grant with additional contributions from the N.C. Estuarium and ECU’s Department of Biology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, the exhibit highlights Blakeslee’s research on zombie crabs — mud crabs infected with a parasite that takes over their reproductive systems — as well as notable invaders such as lionfish and hydrilla.
“We hope that visitors will come away with a better understanding about invasive species and will be fascinated by this host-parasite system and also the important role that parasites can have in ecosystems” said Blakeslee. “They will also learn more about how each person can make a difference in preventing the spread of invaders by not releasing unwanted pets; cleaning boats of attached algae, plants and animals; cleaning boots — essentially, the message that every person can make a difference in conservation-related efforts.”
ECU art and design graduate student Kayla Clark was instrumental in the design of the exhibit, Blakeslee said. “The exhibit is truly interdisciplinary, bringing art and science together for educating about an important conservation issue.”
The zombie crab parasite is a kind of barnacle, called Loxothylacus panopaei or Loxo for short, that is native to the Gulf of Mexico but is now being found along the east coast as far north as Long Island Sound. Blakeslee and her students dubbed the infected crabs zombie crabs because they continue living but are reproductively dead. The parasite also affects the crab’s behavior, causing it to protect the egg sac as if it were the crab’s own young. The protective behavior is found not only in female crabs, but also in males, which would not normally exhibit such tendencies.
By hijacking the mud crabs’ reproductive system, Blakeslee said the parasite could have a dramatic impact on the population. She and a team of researchers are monitoring mud crab populations in eastern North Carolina to assess and track the spread of the parasite.
The N.C. Estuarium is located at 223 E. Water St. in Washington. For more information visit www.partnershipforthesounds.net/nc-estuarium.
First-round voting was recently held for the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, a campus-wide event put on by the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
Nearly 700 East Carolina University students and faculty cast approximately 2,000 votes in the first round of the inaugural Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, which recently took place in the sculpture garden between Mendenhall Student Center and the Joyner Library. Fifty-seven student teams pitched their ideas, products or dreams and put them on display during this open-air, tradeshow-style event.
Junior Ze’Ondre Slade, along with partner Klinterica Mitchell, formed one of 57 student teams to participate in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.
The challenge is the signature business pitch competition sponsored by the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship. The entire ECU community was invited to participate, as long as one member of the team was an ECU student. Teams from the College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and Technology, College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences participated in the event.
Junior Zeondre Slade, a criminal justice major, and junior Klinterica Mitchell, an education major, are co-partners in a venture called SPLASH Learning Center. Both want to combine their passions that started as internships in their hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Their goal is to open a learning-based destination for children that is a safe and secure environment.
“With me working in law, I can use those skills that I have learned throughout my college experience to work in the business,” said Slade.
Sophomore Taylor Hicks entered her existing business, Simple & Sentimental, in this year’s Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. If she wins, that money will go to “serve her clients better.”
Twelve teams, six chosen by ECU judges and six chosen from first-round voting, will move on to the second round. From there, five teams will advance to the third and final round and will be paired with individual mentors to help further develop the business concept. The competition concludes in February of 2018 with a total of $20,000 to be split between the first, second and third-round winners.
Taylor Hicks is a sophomore from Winston-Salem. As a freshman in 2016, Hicks started a company called Simple & Sentimental, which provides unique, hand-lettered products. She was an interior design major, but as it began to grow, she switched her major to business administration. The company currently has an Etsy account that has made more than 2,000 sales since opening. Hicks and her company participated in the challenge’s first round, and if she wins the competition, she already has plans for her winnings.
“We would develop a new product line to serve our customers better,” said Hicks. “We figured out what our customers like, and we need to keep going in that direction.”
Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business, attended the challenge’s first round and was very encouraged with what he saw.
College of Business Dean Stan Eakins meets with one of the 57 student teams who participated in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.
“The variety of ideas, products and stories that were on hand was incredible,” said Eakins. “I’m glad these ECU students saw firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit that’s alive and well at the university.”
“We had a number of goals we wanted to accomplish with this challenge,” said Dr. Mike Harris, director of the Miller School. “First and foremost, we wanted to give these future entrepreneurs an outlet to get their ideas out there and an opportunity to make those ideas come alive.”
Harris also said that the challenge was a chance to educate ECU about the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and how its resources are available to anyone at the university.
Round two of the challenge will feature five mentors who will choose five teams based on a five-minute pitch and responses to a three-minute Q&A session. The Miller School will mentor a team based on the popular student vote from round one. This round will take place Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5-7 p.m.
According to Harris, there will be another challenge next year.
Laupus Library will open the art exhibit “Visions in Wood: Carved Creations,” on Oct. 3 in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery on the fourth floor of the library. On display through Dec. 9, the exhibit showcases a collection of relief carvings by Dr. Leonard “Leo” Trujillo, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University.
The 2017 fall semester exhibit is part of the library’s ongoing “Art as Avocation” series that showcases and celebrates the artistic talents and self-expression of faculty, staff and students from the Division of Health Sciences.
“Laupus has a long history of showcasing the hidden talents of our health sciences faculty in this series,” said Beth Ketterman, director of Laupus Library. “Dr. Trujillo’s work is masterful and our hope is that those who view these pieces will gain an appreciation for his craft and expertise, and reflect on how the process of creation gives us insights into our own humanity.”
Log cabin by Dr. Leonard Trujillo. (contributed photo)
Trujillo’s work is reflective of a lifetime of learning the art of carving and love for nature. He recounts his desire at an early age to carve figures out of wood to create three-dimensional illusions in his works.
He will sometimes carve a piece only to study a certain aspect of the carving process. Beginning with a solid plank of wood, Trujillo uses mallets and a multitude of gouges, chisels, riffles and sandpaper leaves, to transform the wood into lifelike images of trees, old barns, nature scenes and once in a while, people.
“The hardest part of the carving process is having to stop and prepare the wood for the work that you are about to do,” he said. “That can take days out of actual carving time.”
In 2013, he built his first studio, doing all but the electrical work. Filled with sharpening machines, vacuum systems, special track lighting and carving gouges lined throughout the multi-stage workspace, it’s easy to see this is far from a getaway spot. He also refuses for it to be referred to as a “man cave.”
“I carve because of the pleasure it brings me, and truly take delight in the way people react to my work,” he said.
Presently, Trujillo isn’t competing in carving club shows and competition. “When you work towards winning a ribbon, you lose the pleasure of carving and it becomes work rather than pleasure,” he said.
An opening reception will be held on Oct. 3 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and will include a presentation by the artist. The event is open to the public.
To learn more about this exhibition series or if you are interested in showcasing your work, visit
The College of Business and its Miller School of Entrepreneurship (MSOE) wants to enhance ECU’s entrepreneurial culture.
The inaugural Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge is a three-round competition open to any student enrolled in the 2017/2018 academic year, as well as alumni who have enrolled students on their team.
Total prize money to accelerate winning business ventures is $20,000 with $12,500 going to the grand prize winner. $5,000 and $2,500 will be awarded to second and third place winners, respectively. Payment will be delivered to the winners as they achieve pre-approved milestones. Other in-kind prizes will be awarded.
The Miller School of Entrepreneurship team includes Vickie Glover, front; and in back, from left to right, Dennis Barber, Corey Pulido and David Mayo. (Contributed photo)
“We are excited to bring an opportunity to all of ECU that will highlight promising student entrepreneurs across campus,” said Dr. Mike Harris, interim director of MSOE. “The students will engage with the MSOE for coaching and resources to accelerate the growth of their award-winning ideas.”
Round one is an open-air forum for participants to showcase their ideas and ventures. This poster session is Oct. 17 from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden outside of Mendenhall Student Center. Student passersby will get three tickets to allocate to their idea (or ideas) of choice. Twelve teams will move on to the second round based on student popular vote and input from ECU college representatives.
Round two will feature five mentors who will choose five teams based on a five-minute pitch and responses to a three-minute Q&A session. The MSOE will mentor a team based on the popular student vote from round one. This round will take place Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5 – 7 p.m. Location TBD. Six teams will move on to the final round.
Round three (and final round) will be held during National Entrepreneurship Week Feb. 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Murphy Center. The six finalists will present a five-minute pitch followed by five minutes of Q & As. A keynote speaker will address the finalists. A panel of university and community entrepreneurship leaders will choose the winner.
Established in 2015, the MSOE serves as a regional hub for preparing students to take an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset into their communities. To date, MSOE faculty has worked with approximately 349 students and 28 business clients. Students have recorded more than 6,000 hours of fieldwork.
Student teams who want to participate in the Challenge can register here.
Additional information about the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge can be found at the Miller School of Entrepreneurship website.