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Music Club records “Song of Love” for girl with special needs

Caldwell University’s Music Club recording a song for little Aubrey Brooks through the Songs of Love Foundation, a national nonprofit organization.
Caldwell University’s Music Club recording a song for little Aubrey Brooks through the Songs of Love Foundation, a national nonprofit organization.
Caldwell University’s Music Club recording a song for little Aubrey Brooks through the Songs of Love Foundation, a national nonprofit organization.

Listen to song here !

Caldwell, N.J., March 19, 2018 – They raised the roof in room 202 in the Student Center the evening of March 5. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members lifted their voices to give a little girl with cerebral palsy and seizure disorders some joy.

Arranged by the university’s Music Club, the group recorded a song for little Aubrey Brooks through the Songs of Love Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that creates free, personalized original songs to uplift children and teens who are facing tough medical, physical or emotional challenges.

Miriam Edelstein, a recent music education alum and former Music Club president, was excited to bring the program to Caldwell after having worked on fundraising for the project for the last two years.

The CEO and founder of Songs of Love, John Beltzar, said he started the organization in 1996 when the idea popped into his head as he was walking down the street. He asked himself how he could use his talents “not for commercial success but rather to make the world a better place.” He encouraged members of the group to think about how they could also use their talents to help make a better a world. If you do that, he said, “then it is impossible to feel like a failure.” Since 1996, Songs of Love has provided music for 23,000 children.

Finally arriving at the day for the taping was “surreal” for Edelstein. It was rewarding for her to look around the room and see everyone smiling and sharing in the passion she has for the project. Edelstein wants to pursue studies in music therapy. “It can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Beltzar had just written the song that morning, incorporating the information he had about Aubrey including her parents, her sisters, and her cute kitties, Franklyn and Gregory.

Beltzar recognized the talent in the room and challenged Caldwell’s singers to record more innovative lyrics, which they did. 

Eric Dieterle, a communications major with a minor in music, said it was a beautiful experience. “The song is great. I think she’s going to love it.”

The organization is dedicated to Beltzar’s twin brother Julio who died in 1984 and who had wrote and recorded the composition “Songs of Love” two months before.

To learn more about Songs of Love, go to: https://www.songsoflove.org/.

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J.P. Morgan exec tells business students to combine “science, art and heart” in their careers

J. P. Morgan executive Alma DeMetropolis hosted a roundtable for Caldwell undergraduate and graduate students at her company’s Summit, New Jersey headquarters on Feb. 23. She is pictured here (front row, second from left) with Associate Dean of Caldwell’s School of Business and Computer Information Systems, Professor Bernie O’Rourke (front row, second from right) and the students.

Alma DeMetropolis to be honored at university’s scholarship gala

Caldwell, N.J., March 19, 2018-  You have to “laugh and smile and give off positivity, even if you have a bad day; that’s what attracts people,” said J.P. Morgan executive Alma DeMetropolis. At a roundtable at her company’s Summit, New Jersey, headquarters Feb. 23, Caldwell University undergraduate and graduate students received invaluable professional advice from DeMetropolis.

As New Jersey Market President for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and New Jersey Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, DeMetropolis provides executive leadership across the firm’s lines of business as well as community and employment engagement. She will be honored at Caldwell University’s Presidential Scholarship gala on April 20 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.  DeMetropolis remembers well what it was like being a college student ready to embark on a career, so she is passionate about sharing her insights with young people.

“Communication is incredibly important. This is a people’s business,” she told the students. When interviewing, don’t underestimate what a thank-you note can do, said DeMetropolis, recalling that her company recently wanted to hire a candidate but that the person lost out on the job after failing to write a thank-you note.

DeMetropolis, who was the first in her family to go to college, said that as a little girl growing up in Brooklyn she lived in an orphanage for several years. She returned home, attended a public high school in Brooklyn and graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a minor in accounting. Her original plan was to go to medical school, but she was a bit of a “math geek” and soon found herself working at J.P. Morgan. She started during the first Persian Gulf War, and her first assignment was to analyze J.P. Morgan’s risk exposure to sovereign countries. She began working with the CEO and the CFO and received an assignment in London, dealing with the emerging euro. For the last 26 years, she has served the company in many capacities including international assignments in London, Zurich, Paris and Latin America.

J. P. Morgan executive Alma DeMetropolis provided professional advice to Caldwell undergraduate and graduate students at her company’s Summit, New Jersey headquarters on Feb. 23. She is pictured here at the end of the table with Associate Dean of Caldwell’s School of Business and Computer Information Systems Professor Bernie O’Rourke and the students.

“Be proactive,” work hard and deliver, and bring humility to the job, said DeMetropolis. She encouraged the students to reinvest in themselves and their education as they pursue their careers and to keep current. “There’s an art to who you are.” IQ, EQ (emotional intelligence) and LQ, “the love portion,” are all important characteristics to bring to the table, and employees should work on all of those fundamentals.   “If you marry the science, the art and the heart of what you are doing,” people will want to work with you and will trust you, she said.

Mehruz Shafana, an accounting and financial economics major from Bangladesh, said the roundtable was one of the most interactive sessions she had attended. “She was a big inspiration,” said Shafana. The information DeMetropolis provided, such as the advice to pay attention to details and to send thank-you notes, was particularly helpful, said Shafana, especially since she is an international student and is still learning about U.S. business protocols.

Will Levier, business administration major,   had interned at Morgan Stanley in New York City in the summer and was glad to learn there are opportunities in the suburbs that would make the commute into the city unnecessary. He was interested in hearing about  DeMetropolis’s international business experiences. “I just think from a global perspective in the industry there are a lot of opportunities to be had for employees and entry-level students.”

Brandi-Lee Brochu,  a financial economics major, appreciated the discussion about financial health and the importance of young professionals starting to save early for the long term. “Hearing her speak about it and taking what we learned in the classroom and bringing it all together really shows you that we are preparing for life outside of Caldwell.”

Hritesh Regmi, a master’s in business administration candidate, was enthused to learn about DeMetropolis’s work in the community and about J.P. Morgan’s commitment to philanthropy. “It was so refreshing to hear about it,” he said.

DeMetropolis has been involved on the boards or councils of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the Liberty Science Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Nature Conservancy in New Jersey. J.P. Morgan’s philanthropy commitments are in areas such as economic empowerment, workforce readiness training, affordable housing and Rising Tide Capital, which provides financial backing and coaching to small businesses.

Professor Bernie O’Rourke, associate dean of the School of Business and Computer Information Systems, was pleased to bring the diverse group to the meeting. The cohort group included sophomores, juniors and seniors, master’s candidates, international students and students with a variety of majors including financial economics, accounting and marketing. “She had a point of view for all those different perspectives,” said O’Rourke. “She offered good advice on interviewing, skills and analytics and the importance of working together in teams.”

The Caldwell University Presidential Scholarship Gala will be held Friday, April 20 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange. The reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow.  For information contact Lori Funicello at lfunicello@caldwell.edu or 973-3226 or go to  https://www.caldwell.edu/gala2018

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Women’s Basketball Earns At-Large Bid to NCAA Division II Championship For Second Straight Season

INDIANAPOLIS Ind.- The Caldwell University women’s basketball season continues as they earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Championship for a second consecutive season. The Cougars were selected as the #5 seed in the East Region and will face the #4 seed St. Thomas Aquinas College in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Championship on Friday. Stonehill College will serve as the host site for the East Region Championship.

Stonehill secured the top seed in the East Region and will host the Regional Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championship game. The Skyhawks will face the #8 seed in the region in Southern Connecticut St. University on Friday. The Caldwell-St. Thomas Aquinas winner will face the Stonehill-Southern Connecticut winner in the regional semifinals on Saturday.

The remainder of the East Region features the #2 seed Bentley University against #7 Jefferson. The University of the Sciences secures the #3 seed in the region and will take on #6 LIU Post on Friday.

The Cougars have continued their successful run as they posted their ninth consecutive winning season with a 24-6 mark. Caldwell, under the direction of first-year Head Coach Torey Northup-Jones, has guided the program to their ninth season with 20+ wins and their third in a row with 20 or more victories. The Cougars finished in second place in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division with a 16-3 conference record.

Senior Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, N.Y.), a CACC First Team All-Conference selection, leads the Cougars this season with 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game. She is second on the team with 59 three-pointers. Senior Sharell Sanders (Dorchester, Mass.) earned CACC Defensive Player of the Year honors and Second Team All-Conference recognition this season. She is averaging 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.9 steals per contest. Senior Karlie O’Driscoll (Sharon, Mass.) is chipping in 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while senior Maura Kelty (Barrington, R.I.) is posting 9.7 points per game and leads the team with 6.8 boards per contest.

The season continues as the Cougars will compete in their second NCAA Division II Championship on Friday, March 9. They will face #4 seed St. Thomas Aquinas on the campus of Stonehill at 7:30 pm.

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Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance

Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance.
Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance
Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance
Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance
Art Therapy Students Provide Day of Service at Vision Loss Alliance

Caldwell, N.J., March 6, 2018 – – Graduate art therapy students used their academic and creative backgrounds to help empower men and women with vision loss in the art-making process at a day of service. Led by Traci Bitondo, a Caldwell alumna and a counselor and art therapist at the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey, graduate and undergraduate students worked with the clients at the VLA’s offices in Denville on Feb. 22.  They led the clients in making mandalas using a plethora of craft materials and objects such as scrap textiles, fabrics, ribbons, burlap, cotton wool, pinecones, seashells, playdough and more.

Jennifer Albright and Laura Stypulkoski are interning at the VLA and they facilitated the group project. Stypulkoski said it was an incredible experience to see the art therapy process done “almost solely by feel, by how the clients felt when they grabbed materials” or how the materials were described and communicated.“I was thrilled to see how enthusiastic the students were in engaging the VLA students in art-making,” said Bitondo. “The energy in the room was amazing, and all the conversations and art-making were truly inspiring,” said Albright.

Genaya Palmer said the experience reminded her of the multi-sensory quality of art materials and art making. “Art is not only visual but also involves tactile perception and motor skills.”

Graduate student Samantha Castellano’s partner for the assignment was a 97-year-old Army veteran with total vision loss. “He was friendly, kind and excited to engage in the art-making process…because he relied on his sense of touch alone, I offered materials with interesting textures.” The man was extremely proud of his work and expressed to Castellano how he was excited to show his friends what he had made.

In working with a person with visual impairment, Castellano said she experienced what art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer identified as a “third hand.” “I was a support; I did not create the work for him but instead was an aid for him to carry out his art-making process…it was a truly humbling and rewarding experience.”

Since many of the clients had not participated in artwork for years and doubted their abilities, it was particularly empowering for them to realize what they could do. “The clients put a lot of thought and enthusiasm into the work,” said Albright. The graduate students learned quite a bit too. “As an art therapy student I believe that creation is a personal journey, and by allowing my partner to take control of the process, something truly beautiful was created,” said Castellano.

Natashia Collins, LPC, ATR-BC, ACS, ATCS, a faculty member in the mental health counseling and art therapy specialization program, also coordinated the service day.


Featured News, News

“Food, Animals, and the Environment” lecture at Caldwell University March 20

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 23, 2018 – “Food, Animals and the Environment” will be the focus of a talk presented by Dr. Yanoula Athanassakis , director of New York University’s Environmental Humanities Center, 4:30 p.m.Tuesday March 20 in the Alumni Theatre at Caldwell University.

The presentation is part of the Department of Theology and Philosophy Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. lecture series and is being co-sponsored by the university and the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public School District. It is free and open to the public.

Dr. Athanassakis’ will share her research and thought on how the arts are engaging and fraught with ethical issues of environmental degradation, specifically through literary representations of food production and animal consumption. She will address practices of consumption—the implications of the food we eat and the systems we support, and how art aims to disrupt habitual patterns of disengagement.

Dr. Athanassakis, assistant vice provost for academic affairs at NYU, is also author of Environmental Justice in Contemporary U.S. Narratives (Routledge 2017). She teaches in the departments of Environmental Studies, Animal Studies, and English at NYU.

The Sister Maura Campbell lecture series is named after Sister Maura, who was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell. She was a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher, and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years. For further information call 973-618-3931.

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Faculty Feature: Kyle Bennett Turning Thoughts into Action

Kyle Bennet, philosophy professor at Caldwell University, giving a brief talk about philosophy.The vast nature of philosophy drew Kyle Bennett to the discipline. “The thing that I love and enjoy about philosophy is that it studies everything,” he says. “I see philosophy as a tool belt that equips us with reasoning skills and how to ask good questions. It helps us do what we want to do in more coherent ways.”

He wants others—including those who have no interest in philosophy—to see how philosophy can improve their daily lives and how everything they do affects others. With that goal in mind, Bennett has published his first book. “Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World” aims to reach a variety of readers and to spark a discussion about Christian practices and their effectiveness for all people, even those with no religious affiliation. The book invites readers to see how spiritual disciplines can improve their interactions with people, animals, the environment and society as a whole. Bennett promotes the idea that spiritual disciplines have a positive influence on all aspects of society and every facet of life, from eating to sleeping. “Can we improve the way we talk and think, and ought we to do so?” he asks.

“There is a profound tension right now in civil society regarding the nature and purpose of religion,” he says, “but I want to ask anyone who’s reading my book, are these good practices period? Do these help us become better human beings?”

Bennett’s path toward an intensive focus on philosophy included a broad range of study and experience across the United States. He received his undergraduate degree in youth ministry and philosophy at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and then worked as a youth minister and associate pastor in Orlando, Florida. He became a pastor but shortly after realized that he didn’t feel equipped to address some of his congregation’s concerns and questions and that he needed more formal education.

A passion for learning and a desire to apply deeper conceptual understanding to personal and professional life took Bennett from the East Coast to Pasadena, California, where he pursued a master’s degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He initially believed his education would end there, but his professors had other plans. “I just really wanted to get a little more academic training and continue to be a pastor and work in a church,” Bennett says. But at the insistence of his professors and mentors, he completed a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion at Fuller.

Bennett’s intellectual pursuit solidified his place in the academic sphere. After working as an adjunct professor at multiple institutions in California, he relocated to New Jersey where he is now an assistant professor in Caldwell’s Department of Philosophy and Theology. Bennett’s approach to teaching is anything but ordinary. “I don’t really lecture. I don’t really present,” he says. While he appreciates the atmosphere of rigorous lectures, he does not push his preferred style of learning onto his students. “I realize that a majority of people don’t learn that way.” Instead he employs a pedagogy based upon conversation and personal guidance.

The nature of philosophy as an academic discipline lends credence to Bennett’s unique take on teaching. The subject poses a dilemma: How does one teach how to think and what it means to think? Bennett’s solution is to lead by example. “Intellectually, I like to hold people’s hands and walk with them,” he says. To teach his students how to think, he thinks himself in front of them. He uses modeling techniques to articulate his thinking process in order to show his students how to compose their thoughts and then to articulate them for the greatest impact.

Bennett often encounters students who question the value of the subject in their own fields—from business, to nursing, to English. “One of the reasons I love philosophy is that it attends to all of those things,” he says. His teaching highlights the humanity of his students and reminds them they are not only students of a discipline but members of a much larger political and professional society who can benefit from learning the foundations of thinking and doing. Senior Martin Djikanovic took Bennett’s Introduction to Philosophy course and found it so interesting that he decided to take the Philosophy of Law and Philosophy of God courses. “His teaching intrigued me,” Djikanovic says. “He provides interesting reading material and teaches us to go in depth with it.” Djikanovic, a business finance major with a sport management minor, also appreciates that Bennett has encouraged students to attend the Sister Maura Campbell lecture series with accomplished scholars and theologians. “We write reflection papers and learn to think critically about the topics.”

Bennett wants students to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of life, and Caldwell University is the right place to pursue this goal. Bennett says his teaching style embodies and aligns with the university’s mission statement. “I believe in the education of the whole person. So it’s not just intellectual, but it’s spiritual, it’s aesthetic—shaping the whole person, professional, and member of political society. That’s how I’m interested in educating,” he says. Besides preparing thoughtful professionals, Caldwell University forms people who make sound ethical decisions. “There are many universities out there that don’t care about moral formation. I love that Caldwell puts that first and foremost, because that’s how people should be educated.”

Bennett’s involvement with the university goes much deeper than his passion as a professor. He is also the program director for the Spirituality and Leadership Institute (SLI), an opportunity for high school students to explore theological foundations and to inquire into the deeper meanings of morality. “The most basic goal we have is helping them see that within religious texts and practices there is wisdom to be found—wisdom about being human and being a good human being,” Bennett says.

The five-day Spirituality and Society Seminar held in July on Caldwell’s campus is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment. Together, Bennett and the SLI staff and students take a close look at what it means to be a virtuous person in daily activities and at how good habits supported by theological texts can form virtuous leaders in society.

During this program, students hear stories from professionals, enjoy fun activities—from ice cream socials to mini golf—and are shown how morality extends into every part of life. Bennett takes this lesson a step further by examining how online interactions can also be avenues for students to cultivate virtuous behavior and to uphold respectable morals. “How do we shop online? How do we talk online?” he asks, emphasizing how his students achieve a wider understanding of spirituality not only from the work world and in everyday tasks but when posting online and texting others. The SLI is a “training ground” to shape students into better persons, professionals and members of political society.

Bennett’s next book will focus on physical gestures. The way people use their bodies in relation to others has a connection to being a good neighbor. From the rolling of eyes to the shrugging of shoulders, Bennett wants to encourage people to think critically about how their presence and presentation help, hinder or harm society with others. “I want to see us become better neighbors. We all want to have good neighbors. And being a good neighbor requires being sensitive to how you present yourself and are received by others.”

—Catherine Stansfield

Things you might not know about KYLE BENNETT

  • He has three children—a 9-year-old, a 3-year-old and an infant.
  • He quit baseball to play basketball at Geneva College.
  • He writes poetry and his favorite poet is Emily Dickinson.
  • He loves playing darts.
  • He loves to read children’s books.
Featured News, News

Students Take Part in Lenten Advocacy Call-In Campaign for Dreamers

Caldwell University students contacting their federal representatives to urge them to support Dreamers.
Caldwell University students contacting their federal representatives to urge them to support Dreamers.
Caldwell University students contacting their federal representatives to urge them to support Dreamers.
Caldwell University students contacting their federal representatives to urge them to support Dreamers.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 27, 2018 -Students at Caldwell University had their first experience in advocacy work Feb. 26 when they contacted their federal representatives to urge them to support Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents when they were children.

The call-in day was spearheaded by the U.S. Bishops including Archbishop of Newark, Joseph Cardinal Tobin. The bishops encouraged all Catholics to join in the day and spur their representatives to support a bipartisan, common-sense and humane solution for the 1.8 million Dreamers.

CU Catholic Relief Services club members Danielle Shiavone, Yaskayra Gonzalez, Joe Severino, Jessica Cusimano and Brooke McPherson gathered in the call center with Colleen O’Brien, director of Campus Ministry, as they contacted the lawmakers. “Calling our senators and representatives on behalf of Dreamers today is a way of using our voice to advocate for those who are on the margins of our society. This is a simple way of enacting change in our world and we can do it right from our own phones,” said O’Brien.

Although a few of the students said they were nervous at first, once they got into the process they agreed that it was fun making a difference as a group.  “I liked how we were all together,” said Severino. Schiavone said she felt good about standing up for an injustice. “We are supporting fixing it.”  Cusimano said it was important for Congress to hear from students and understand they care about an issue that affects other students. Gonzalez appreciated when there was a live person on the other end of the phone when she made one or two of the calls.

On Feb.26 the Supreme Court ruled that it will not take up the DACA case which means DACA will continue at least temporarily.

For further information go to http://www.rcan.org/archdiocese-newark-participating-226-national-call-day-dreamers or


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Crystal Lopez: Guiding Students in the “Res Life” Classroom  

Residence Life Director Crystal Lopez 3rd from left with students Lamar Chang, Joshua Santana, Justice Baskin, Aida Osmeni, and Anamika Sharma Paudel.

Residence Life Director Crystal Lopez 3rd from left with students Lamar Chang, Joshua Santana, Justice Baskin, Aida Osmeni, and Anamika Sharma Paudel.

When Crystal Lopez helps students fix their academic regalia at graduation, she is celebrating more than their degrees. Many see commencement as a chance to pay tribute to student academics, says the residence life director, and she and her staff share in that, but they are also reveling in how the students have grown in their life skills. “We teach outside the classroom; that’s what student affairs is.” That education can include anything from conflict resolution to understanding cultural differences to how to work out a roommate disagreement or learning to do laundry properly. “Yes, I have had some students walk around with pink attire” (from dye bleeds), she says.

College is a time to learn responsibility, independence and how to become a global citizen. “By instilling the core values that we teach at Caldwell,” respect, integrity, community and excellence, students are building skills that will benefit them in their jobs, in their communities and within their families, says Lopez. “I think that is what is different about working at a Catholic higher education institution—being able to instill those kind of ideas, morals and values.”

With 600 beds in three residence halls, Lopez oversees a residence life program that encompasses four areas: residential education, including programming, student policy, training and development; conduct, including examining and adjudicating violations; operations, including maintenance and preventive measures; and security, including emergency response.

Lopez began her career as a resident assistant while studying criminal justice as an undergraduate at Rutgers University-Newark. By the time she was a senior, she was an assistant area director. “I was running a 385-person freshman hall, and it was an awesome experience.” Planning to become a lawyer, she applied to graduate school and received a fellowship to study for a master’s in criminal justice and a graduate assistantship to work in residence life. As she became more immersed in residence life, Lopez realized she wanted to pursue a career in student affairs rather than in law. Early on when she had to work through feelings of apprehension because of being in a leadership position at a young age, she would remind herself that God had a bigger plan for her. “Those were things that I had to get over because it was about my students.”

After receiving her graduate degree, Lopez worked in residence life at Georgian Court University and then at St. Peter’s University where she was the assistant director of housing operations.

With a “nontraditional” academic route, as she describes it, her criminal justice background has given her a unique perspective since much of her work focuses on safety and security for students. “It allows me to be vigilant and at the same time compassionate while working to ensure that students get due process. I am understanding and knowledgeable about a system and how it works, which allows me to teach my students.”

Lopez deals with many issues “rooted in conduct,” providing her with teachable moments to engage with students and to help them mature in their decision-making.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president of student life, says one of Lopez’s strengths is her desire to educate students in how they make choices. “She has a genuine, compassionate heart and wants to see students succeed.” In addition, says Sister Kathleen, “she has a great strategic mind” and works well with parents.

Lopez is passionate about sharing best practices with her colleagues at other institutions and has served on national boards. She was the youngest president in the history of the Mid-Atlantic Association of College and University Housing Officers and is still on the organization’s board.

In October, she traveled to the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia, where she was a representative for the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International and presented on a panel at the first international congress of student affairs led by the National Association of Student Personnel–Latin American Caribbean Commission (NASPA-LAC). She joined others on
a panel including NASPA President Dr. Kevin Kruger on “High Impact Practices: Strategies for Student Success,” focusing on retention issues. The topic was “second nature” for her since she sits on Caldwell’s retention strategic planning committees and has been involved in the sophomore retention program. She spoke about Caldwell’s special-interest housing, which includes the service wing in Rosary Hall where students regularly participate in volunteer projects.

The workshops in Colombia provided professional development. The trip was a welcome spiritual experience too; she deeply appreciated the country’s Catholicism and had the chance to visit the famous Montserrate, a church in the mountains, with a shrine to El Señor Caido (the Fallen Lord), built in the 1600s.

A native of Bloomfield, New Jersey, Lopez is a second-generation Hispanic. “I’m super proud of my heritage, being a Latina woman, and understanding what that means and what that beautiful culture brings to America.” She has found it heart-wrenching to talk with her relatives in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. She has been collecting coupons to put together care packages to send to her aunts, uncles and cousins on the islands. “It’s difficult to hear about your family not having access to everyday things. I’m blessed to be in a situation where I can help them significantly.” Her “couponing” started out as a fun project to buy things for her apartment but became a mission to purchase items for those in need. “When I talked to my aunt in Puerto Rico, she told me the pop tart I sent in the care package was the best-tasting food she had in a
long time.”

Lopez is excited to be a part of CU 2500, the university’s initiative to reach an enrollment of 2,500 by the fall of 2022. Serving in leadership has enabled her to work effectively on Caldwell’s plans. “I understand the process of decision-making at a cabinet-like level and therefore find it easy to implement changes expressed to me by my supervisor, Sister Kathleen.”

Even when she faces challenges, Lopez knows God is at the center of her work. “He often guides me when I have to make tough decisions since most of them don’t just affect one person but an entire community.” On tough days, her students and her faith keep her going. “God is a constant reminder to me of why I do my job every day.” He has a plan, she says, for her to lead and serve students and guide them through their development as young adults. “I am humbled and grateful for the calling.”

Music News, News

7th Annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp and Caldwell Rocks Rhythm Section Workshop

Feb. 13, 2018 – Caldwell University will hold its 7th annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp July 16-21 and Caldwell Rocks, a one-day rhythm section workshop Sat. July 14.

The percussion camp is open to students ages 13 and up.  The students are immersed in the percussion world and have the opportunity to participate in ensembles and clinics, interact with music professionals, and take a trip to New York City to see a show.  The week culminates with a concert on Sat. July 21 for family and friends.

Over the years, world renowned drummers and percussionists who have performed on Broadway and toured nationally, have presented a variety of percussion styles at the camp.  They include Grammy winners Andres Forero (Hamilton) and Mark Guiliana (David Bowie) as well as Tommy Igoe (Performer, Author, Educator) Joe Bergamini (Broadway) Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel) Dom Famularo (The Global Drum Ambassador) Rolando Morales-Matos (Lion King, Ron Carter) and Dennis DeLucia (DCI Hall of Fame).

Daily activities include drumset, world drumming, classical percussion, percussion ensemble, ensemble rehearsals and master and technique classes. No formal audition is required for the camp. Early registration is recommended. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The one-day Caldwell Rocks workshop is open to all guitar and bass players, keyboardists and drummers.  Students will learn from and perform with a professional rhythm section.

The combination package tuition for the percussion camp week and the Caldwell Rocks workshop is $850.  The percussion camp only tuition is $699, which includes lunches, snacks and transportation and a ticket to a New York City event.  There is a 10% discount for the combination package or the camp only, if tuition is paid in full by June 1.   The residential option tuition for those who would like to stay on campus is $1,275 which includes all meals and housing. There is a $75.00 discount for the residential option available with a 20% deposit made by May 1.  The Caldwell Rocks workshop is $179, which includes lunch and snacks.

Download the brochure and application form on the Music Department page.

For additional information contact Dr. Nan Childress Orchard at Nchildress@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3587.