UB Helps Victims of the Indian Earthquake

By Michael McCarthy

The University is taking the lead in coordinating a fundraising effort in Fairfield County for victims of the earthquake in India. Derrick Alex, from the Admissions office, and Judie Clough, from career services, are the contacts for donations.

The government of India and the state of Gujarat, where the earthquake occurred, have requested donations of money, as opposed to clothes. This is because it would cost more to send the items and delivery to the correct area is problematic. The two governments will be working in conjunction with National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA) in Washington, DC, a national umbrella organization for various Indian groups.

All donations will be hand-carried to India by the president of NFIA and the head of a national Gujarati organization and turned over to a local non-profit group in Gujarat that is directly involved with assisting the victims. Presently, the military has contained the area and there is very limited access. The exact date of delivery is not yet set. Communication, however, has been established between the two groups.

On campus there are three areas for donations: the Admissions office on the sixth floor of Wahlstrom Library, the Career Services office on the second floor of the Student Center, and Marina Dining Hall. Hitesh Patel is making the donation boxes and has offered to head the on-campus campaign.

Both Alex and Clough are trying to poll the Indian students here at UB to determine if anyone has lost family and/or homes. At present they have not found anyone. Clough will be contacting other schools in the area and has been given the names of some businessmen who may be able to help. However, she wanted to add that she would welcome any person or group that would like to join Alex and her.

"I would really like to stress the fact that 100 percent of the moneys will go directly to the victims," said Clough. Anyone in the University community or the community at large wanting to donate may send checks to UB, care of the office of Administration and Finance. Checks should be made out to the NFIA Earthquake Relief Fund.

UB, Fairfield University, and the Bridgeport community will be working together to keep track of how much money is taken in for the relief effort. The deadline for donations is Thursday, February 8. Clough will then mail the moneys to NFIA who will incorporate the UB contributions with other donations. NFIA has already raised $29,000 in donations from the DC area.

A total of $3001.79 was raised and delivered to NFIA. The breakdown is as follows: UB students, faculty and staff: $771.79; the community: $705.00; Fairfield University students, faculty and staff: $1225.00; Fairfield University Greek student club: $300.00.

UB Honors the Ambassador of Turkmenistan

By Maya Atanassova

On December 6, 2000, the University of Bridgeport honored His Excellency Saparmurat Niyazov, president of the Republic of Turkmenistan. The Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the United Nations, Ambassador Aksoltan Ataeva, accepted the honorary degree on behalf of the president of Turkmenistan at a convocation luncheon at Waldemere Hall. University President Neil Salonen and his wife, Rebecca, hosted the event. Among the guests that attended the luncheon were Dr. Stoyan Ganev, president of the New England Center for International and Regional Studies; Chris Corcoran, director of public affairs; and James Garland, associate vice president for university relations.

The event marked the start of new educational cooperation and cultural exchange between the University and the Republic of Turkmenistan. Upon bestowing the degree, President Salonen said that UB is proud to be one of the most culturally diverse universities in the U.S., and that he would be proud to welcome students from Turkmenistan as well. The visit was followed up by Dr. Ganev’s exchange visit to Turkmenistan, where he participated in a United Nations conference and signed an agreement on cooperation between the State University of Turkmenistan and UB. The agreement outlines the general framework for exchange of students and faculty between the two institutions. Dr. Ganev commented, however, that concrete steps are yet to be planned.

Known as "the Kuwait of Asia," Turkmenistan is the world’s fourth-largest producer of natural gas, and the most influential Caspian Sea country. A peaceful policy of neutrality and non-intervention in a region torn by political and religious conflicts has established Turkmenistan as a regional bridge-builder between Russia and the Caspian countries. "We are the only nation who has formal diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, and whose neutrality has been recognized by a UN resolution," commented Ambassador Ataeva.

Upon receipt of the honorary degree, Ambassador Ataeva said that it has been a great honor for her to receive recognition from the University of Bridgeport, whose broad international outlook has provided her with valuable experience and knowledge.

UB Ranked Fourth Highest Tax Generator in City

The University of Bridgeport continues to have a major economic impact on the city of Bridgeport, with UB responsible for contributing over $3.6 million dollars a year to the city in the form of PILOT and Pequot moneys, according to recently published reports.

This places the University of Bridgeport in fourth place among the city’s top tax- revenue generators. Bridgeport Energy, People’s Bank, and Wisvest occupy the top three slots respectively. Four of the city’s top seven tax-revenue generators, including UB, are located in the South End.

The PILOT program, or Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes, is money which municipalities receive from the state based on the assessed value of tax-exempt institutions such as universities and other not-for-profits. Pequot funds are allocated by the state in a similar manner but at a much lower rate.

The Connecticut Conference on Independent Colleges (CCIC), which released the figures on UB, will soon release an updated report detailing UB’s and other private colleges’ economic impact in Connecticut.

The University of Bridgeport has a yearly economic impact of $63.5 million on the state, according to the CCIC 1997 figures.