Archive

October 2019

Browsing

By Lena O’Donnell
Visual Editor

I am white. I asked students of color on campus what they thought the school could do to better to approach racism and hate on this campus. I have also been thinking about a community mural, and asked students if it was something that could be an option for inclusion. But like I wanted to know whether it would be something for people to consider or just another idea pitched by a white person who thinks they can help? Here were some of their answers:

Diego Calderon ‘20 has seen how racism has impacted not only himself but other students on campus. “These stickers have been appearing since I was a freshman, and I am a senior now. So…” Curious about where this statement led I then asked what sort of approach the school should take to address these issues. “I think this is a conversation for white people to have amongst themselves about what they have to do to stop this type of ignorance.” When racism comes up in a conversation Calderon sees that things instantly get tense “Natural conversation and an actual dialogue does have to happen, not only for the St Mike’s community but probably for the surrounding communities as well.”

I pitched the idea of a community mural to Calderon, “What is a mural gonna do?” University of Vermont contains a beautiful mural in their Mosaic center on campus. Now alumni and other members of the UVM community of all colors are represented. When I visited awhile ago I asked students there what they thought, I heard nothing but positive feedback about the mural. “Art and music, and those types of outlets are always universal. They can connect humans,”Calderon said.

In Sebastian Morales’ ‘21 first year on campus he experienced racist, white supremacy posters put up around our campus. Our peers did not feel safe on campus at that time maybe even now they do not. Morales admired the way the school addressed it then “We had like a mini convocation thing and the Edmundites and the administration came together.” He said the message that came across during this convocation was, “We are not standing with this [racism and discrimination], we are standing with you guys.”

Morales liked the idea of a community art project. “I think a mural is a great idea.” As a Frida Kahlo enthusiast, he has seen the impact that art can have on a
person. “I think the more we fill our campus with art the better, bottom line.”

When the school addressed the issue campus-wide they set up a forum for students, faculty and staff members to discuss what had happened. Some few people showed up because it was on Friday, the final day before fall break. I was not able to make it, other students had already left. “I think that the school having meetings to discuss, for example, inappropriate stickers being posted on campus, is a good way to allow students to let their voices be heard,” said Felicity Rodriguez ‘22. “They [administration] need to reassure the students on campus that their safety is the school’s number one priority”she said. A response to the first meeting administration said “As we continue to build a culture of inclusion, we invite and encourage you to attend a second meeting on Wednesday, October 16 from 2:45-4:15 p.m. in the
Roy Room (3rd Floor, Dion Student Center) so that we can work together in listening and learning.”

Rodriguez said that a mural could help promote a sense of community and inclusion on campus and allow people who normally do not feel that they are recognized on campus know that they are being acknowledged and represented in some shape or form.”

Even though this is only her second year here Christelle Celestin ‘22 has still seen how the school approaches issues on campus. “I think instead of having pointless conversations over and over again the school needs to actually make actions against these issues” she said. She acknowledges the approaches of a physical experience can have on an individual. “The school needs to have the kids actually go out and meet people different from them. It’s one thing to talk but it’s another to actually try to get students to experience what it’s like to be different.” On campus we have options: attending International Coffee Hour on Wednesday afternoons in St Eddie’s lounge, opting for international housing, taking a classes like Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Media that address
injustices and how they impact our everyday life. Or visit the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services (CMAS) which you can find on the second floor of Alliot. On November 19 there will be the annual International Festival bringing together different people and their cultures with food, music, and dance.

We need individuals, not just students but faculty and staff too, to take responsibility for learning about other cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, races and even the history behind why they exist,” said Kayla Erb ‘22. “Without awareness of what the problem is and educated people to fix it, Saint Michael’s as a campus cannot move forward in creating a comfortable campus for ALL people living on it. An email will not suffice in making a home to anxiety-ridden students of color who are already uneasy about the predominantly white campus they reside on.” She also questioned whether a mural would be enough to make a change.

Another question to consider is where? Last year the school conducted a plan to paint a walkway with rainbow stripes to represent the LGBTQIA+ community. When it actually went into action it was placed in a small area of the sidewalk near the Bergeron Wellness Center. As someone who is a part of this community I thought it did nothing to promote inclusion, especially because it was not centralized on campus. I would hope that if this works we could get it on campus, where it can be seen and recognized.

When I first thought of this idea it stemmed from the Vermont Story Lab Summit that I attended just a few weeks ago. I met Jill Badolato, a “creative community builder.” She has helped get a numerous of art projects created all over Burlington and other areas in Vermont. Her passion for building a strong community was what got me to wondering if this could be something that could help us. Badolato also found ways to save money by recycling paints and other resources so that it would not break her budget. I will do further research with her to hopefully reach out to artists to get an idea financially of what we would be getting at.

What are your thoughts of the mural idea? How do you think the school should have addressed the issue? There will be a survey posted on our website, https://defender.smcvt.edu/. Let’s keep the conversation going so maybe it’ll lead to change. Staff, faculty, students and anyone else who has a word to say let us know what YOU think. It’s valid.

By Lorelei Poch
Environment Editor

 

My guitar stares at the back of my head. I have not picked it up in three weeks, even though I depend on it for relaxation. At 11:30 p.m., I have neither showered nor completed enough work. I am too stressed to start assignments early on, then end up with too many to turn in quality work right before they are due. It is only the eighth week of school…How did I let myself get here, AGAIN?

Students often feel they are running on a treadmill from appointments to meetings, trying to eat and sleep AND trying to have a social life. On a quest to find ways to overcome stress and get a healthy life back, I talked to a few experts in the area and here’s what they had to say.

“Routines help you function better, and then things get a whole lot easier,” said Brooke Lockwood-Cole, a local therapist in Burlington with 30 years of experience as a licensed mental health counselor. She emphasized the holistic approach to self-care, and identified crucial activities like exercise, mindfulness, and getting quality sleep.

Exercise
Exercise is “number one” to ensure students are in the correct mindset, feel healthy and capable, and take a break from worrying about their stressors, Lockwood-Cole said. “When students engage in physical activity there is a surge of serotonin and it makes you feel good about yourself, so it’s a centering thing,” Essentially exercise gets the juices in our brains flowing, thus promoting positive thoughts rather than lingering anxiety.

Some students use hobbies to reduce mental meltdowns. With a passion for dancing and contortionism, biology major Riley Sullivan ‘22 choreographs pieces using her six years of bending experience to uplift her spirits when academia drives her into overload. “I dance for class twice a week and I am getting credit for it. It’s so great,” said Sullivan.
Liam Galvin, mathematics major ‘20, often walks down to the Winooski dam, through the Gilbrooke reservation land, or around campus to escape from the academic environment. “I’ll start some homework and I’ll get kind of stressed because either it’s not going well or it’s just a lot of work, so I’ll take a break and clear my head to get some inspiration,” Galvin said.
Mindfulness Practices

Liam Galvin experienced sleep troubles his first year at college so he meditated before bed every night. Galvin reported, “I sit in the traditional meditation pose and count my breaths until I no longer focus on the numbers and let everything flow away,” he said.

Lockwood-Cole recommends meditation, breathing exercises, and counting because they are effective methods to calm the brain by focusing on the task at hand rather than the latter anxious, depressing or stressful thoughts. For example, when a student completes a breathing exercise of breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding it for four, then breathing out through the mouth for four both the emotional and cognitive brain engage and tune into the activity of counting versus recurring thoughts.

Sullivan turns to friends when she needs to take a break. “Otherwise we’d burn out super quick,” she said. “We’ll put on a face mask or read a book.” She emphasized when she is less stressed the quality of her work goes up

Sleep
“Seeing as I have had several years of sleep problems I will never underestimate how valuable sleep is,” said Galvin who, in order to get to sleep, meditates by counting. Lockwood-Cole recommends students should not only try to meditate to wind down, but also consider putting down phones and shutting off television, especially violent content, before bed to allow the brain to relax. She also suggests students try aromatherapy, making chamomile tea and using apps such as Calm or listening to guided Youtube meditations to establish a nightly bedtime routine. Exercise, mindfulness practices, and getting into a routine all allow the brain to turn off more efficiently.

Establishing a Routine
Galvin said his days are almost entirely scheduled which allows him free time to “say yes to almost anything on the weekends.” He ultimately reached this breakthrough by blocking out periods of time to complete his homework.

“It stresses me out not that I have a lot of work to do but that I am not organizing it as well as I could be,” Sullivan admitted. Where Galvin achieved his routine itinerary through repetition of his weekly events, Sullivan utilizes a written approach to create an agenda of her assignments. “I will sit down and make a list of everything I need to do and a timeline of when I should get things done. I’ll start by doing the easiest part so I will have motivation to do the harder parts,” she said.

Lockwood-Cole said the brain enters sleep more efficiently if students do just a few routine tasks. Her suggestions include planning ahead, going to places which prompt better study habits such as the library, and using an agenda book to write down assignments and their time commitment. She also advocates writing in a journal so the brain focus on sleeping rather than ponder ambiguous tasks. “Once students get into a routine they can feel centered and more in control,” said Lockwood-Cole. Not only can routines help students with physical health in the sense of losing less sleep, they can improve mental and emotional health by serving as a backbone of security and consistency in a college student’s life.

By Hannah McKelvey

Staff Writer

On Friday morning, students broke ground on the new Native Tree Nursery in the grassed areas between Alliot, Joyce, and Dion Hall. 

Trees planted at the nursery will start their life under student care, and will then move across Route 15 to St. Michael’s Natural Area, where they can grow on their own; creating a unique dynamic of a restoration conservation process. The plan is to plant trees specifically chosen for the Champlain Valley, obtaining the saplings from Burlington’s Intervale Center, a local conservation nursery.

Anna Beach (left) and Olivia Hansen (right) add dirt to one of the beds on Friday. (Photo by Matt Heller)

Students from Trevien Stanger’s Ecological Restoration class started the process by making tree beds, putting down landscape fabric, cardboard, and mulch to get the area ready for trees. “[Cardboard] will add organic material to the soil and help it regain nutrients because the soil that is on campus is not necessarily beneficial to tree growth because it’s only had grass on it,” explained Ethan Brookner ’20.

“This project will allow students at St. Michael’s to do more placed-based education, utilizing the natural area as a classroom to continue to build our relationship to it as a site and as a place,” Stanger said.

One goal for this project is to get more people involved with the Center for the Environment, the St. Michael’s Farm, and the Natural Area. “It will allow folks right on their daily paths to stop and learn more about what’s going on and hopefully even consider getting involved,” Stanger said.  

Members of professor Stanger’s Ecological Restoration class shovel dirt and woodchips to prepare beds for the Native Tree Nursery last Friday. The trees, which will be planted this Friday, will spend time under the care of the Center for the Environment and environmental classes before eventually moving to the Natural Area across Route 15.  
(Photo by Matt Heller)

By having the Natural Area and the St. Michael’s Farm on the other side of Route 15, it makes it hard for students not involved in environmental programs to know what the school has to offer. Professor Brian Collier’s Ecological Art class will be participating by making signs to give people a baseline knowledge about the site. Ecological Art “is a genre of artworks that address or work directly with ecological systems, ecological restoration, and environmental issues through interdisciplinary, often collaborative projects,” Collier said. His class will also unveil a surprise contribution to the nursery that the campus will have to wait to see. 

As for the future of the Native Tree Nursery, trees will be planted on Friday. If you want to get involved, head over to the site in between Alliot and Joyce starting at 11 a.m. Students and faculty will be there until all the trees are planted. 

By Talia Perrea
Visionary Editor

A lot has happened over the last four years on this campus. Professors, staff, and students have come and gone. But we like to live under the assumption that the community remains supportive of each other.

The recent stickering of campus with white supremacy language echoes past incidences. A few years ago, the administration sat us down in the chapel and told us steps were being taken to keep us safe. As a result, we now have a Diversity Coalition on campus. But, in light of recent events and ongoing microaggressions, a form of racism in which the protagonist might be unaware of what they’re doing, students are left wondering if anything has really changed at all.

In light of ongoing microaggressions, students are left wondering if anything has really changed at all.

Each year our marketing team is trying to recruit internationally and students of color. They market St. Mike’s as a safe space, but many students say those words with quotation marks. Is the “safe space” that many people call home, really safe for everyone?

The world is wrong. Racism shouldn’t exist, but it does. St. Mike’s should be a safe space, but it isn’t. Along with the mandatory sexual assault and drinking courses that we take, there should be a mandatory course on racism and microaggressions as well – but there isn’t.

On the most recent incident public action that occurred happened almost a week after the stickers appeared, in a venue that couldn’t even hold half the student population, as if the administration predicted that no one would show up to a meeting right before a two day break. The meeting once again promised us a safe space.

We don’t want to be told we’re safe, we want to be safe. The college needs to come out and make a public statement, not only to the campus community, but to Burlington, that they won’t stand for these incidents — and they need to prove it.

The Defender staff often asks if we’re representing the St. Mike’s community as a whole. Do we have diverse representation in our articles? Are we doing enough? If not, how can we do more?

At the end of the day, we collect and compile the cold hard facts, so that anyone can pick up the paper and figure out what’s going on around
campus. It is our responsibility as journalists to say when something is wrong, but it’s not enough.

We can only hope to raise awareness about what some students face every single day, and not just when a sticker goes up.

Black lives matter is more than just an earworm. It represents a story that most people on campus can’t even begin to imagine. A story that directly affects our college. A story that needs to be told. The cover story of this issue of the Defender has displayed the facts, but it only scratches the surface. These stories need to be told by the people experiencing them.

Use this publication, the voice of the college, to tell your stories. We’ll provide a platform and any assistance you may need. We’ll be a support system to help you tell your story, and we’ll try to help you find a way to feel
safe while doing so.

If the administration isn’t doing enough to encourage change, then it’s up to the students, faculty, and staff to shake off their apathy.

We encourage you to submit your opinions on what the college should and could be doing. If we all work together, we can truly make St. Mike’s a safe space again, story by story. If the students speak, The Defender will listen, and the community will respond.

By Rusul Mustafa
Contributing Writer

I was only nine years old at the beginning of the American-Iraqi war, but I vividly remember every single detail. My family and I were eating dinner at the table on a March evening in 2003 when all of a sudden, we heard an alarm indicating an American bombing on the Iraqi military. Since then, the Iraqi people have not lived in peace as attacks like this from different parties continued until now, sixteen years later.

We had to leave everything at that moment and hide in a small underground room that my father set up to protect and prevent us from hearing loud noises caused by the bombs. The war lasted only one month before America took complete control over Iraq, and everything drastically changed. I remember the time my father and I went out to deliver food to our neighbor—a family tradition—when we saw two American military tanks standing 15 feet away from our house. Not only did the Americans not let us go, but they shot their guns in the air to scare us into making us go back inside our house. After five years of a complete and total mess, America finally withdrew, but not without leaving unknown, unskilled, and uneducated people to govern the country upon their leave. These are some of the worst times for Iraqi citizens.

According to the American government, the purpose of the invasion was to provide the Iraqi people a better life by eliminating their dictator at the time, President Saddam Hussain. Most people assume that the American government did Iraq a favor by invading it and providing new people to govern the country and its sources, but unfortunately, the truth is totally different. I lived in Iraq up until 2016 and struggled, like any other Iraqi citizen, from the lack of basic life services such as electricity, employment, and good education. Most Iraqis were in a complete shock because we know our country is very rich due to the oil that we have. Perhaps that’s the real reason behind the United States’ invasion of Iraq anyway: personal economic interest. The situation in Iraq was so severe that my brothers and I were not allowed to leave the house except for school because our parents were so scared that we could get kidnapped or killed by unknown forces. Although several elections happened in order to elect a better government, forgery of the election documents always occurred to keep the existing
Iraqi government intact.

My family left Iraq in 2016 to find a better life for ourselves. My middle brother left to Sweden while my father, mother and I came to the United States. Unfortunately, my older brother could not leave because he and his family did not get approval to travel. I made sure to stay in contact with him all the time. The situation almost stabilized between 2017 and 2018, but the lack of basic life services and poverty still exist till this day. Although many small protests have happened demanding these services, the government never responded.

On October 1, another peaceful protest started demanding the same simple things, particularly employment but, this time the Iraqi government, especially the new American and Iranian-supported prime minister Adel Abud-Al Mahdi, responded with violence: Tear gas, bombs, live bullets, and snipers were attacking innocent people only because they wanted simple things. Violent videos on social media showed the suppression. But then the prime minister cut off the Internet and attacked TV platforms live-streaming protests, completely isolating Iraqis from the world, some of them imprisoned at home, others dying in the streets. My parents and I could not get a hold of my brother until three days later he called to say his family was “ok as long as they stay at home.” This is the same phrase that our parents told me and my siblings sixteen years ago during the American-Iraqi war.

A whole new generation came, and Iraq never changed only because of a corrupted government supported by powerful countries. In the last few weeks, one hundred protesters, who went out with no guns to demand their rights, the same rights that we never got even after 16 years of the United States withdrawing from Iraq, were killed, almost 4,000 were injured, and 500 were arrested. They were young ranging between 20-24 years old and some of them were under 15 years old. Watching these violent videos makes me feel powerless and even guilty. Had I remained in Iraq, I would have been there fighting for my rights amidst all these protests. I may be one of the lucky ones who’ve escaped, but there are still hundreds of Iraqi people who did not.

It’s no surprise that the American people are completely ignorant of what’s happening in Iraq, and that’s what I want to bring your attention. Even though social media has been filled with videos and pictures of these protests, world leaders have not intervened to stop the Iraqi government from killing its own people, news channels are not broadcasting these events as a matter of importance, and no one around me seems to be distressed. After 16 years, Iraq suffers from the same turmoil it faced before and increasingly after the US invasion.

Enough is enough: we will not settle down until our voices are heard; we will not stop until our rights are returned; we will not stop until every member of the Iraqi government pays for these violent attacks.

Please—become aware of the situation and help spread the message showing the violence of the Iraqi government. Please— help us get our country back.

by Miranda Maiorino
Staff Writer

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have reached a “record high” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the people most infected are between the ages of 15 and 24.

That means the 1.7 million cases of chlamydia, 580,000 of gonorrhea, and 35,000 of syphilis reported in the last year have hit college campuses hard.

“Sex is everywhere on campus, and it’s not going to stop.” said Michael Richard ’21. The causes for such high risks on campus aren’t clear, however there are some common themes.

“More often on campus I hear about unsafe sex much more than I do safe sex,”said Richard, a gender studies major.

In the National Center of Health Statistics (NCHS)’s study on condom use in different age groups out of 9,321 men, condom use declines as men leave adolescence and enter their 20s. In fact, 53.5 percent ages 15 to19 consistently use condoms with every sexual engagement. However, that number lowers to 29.5 percent of men 20 to 24.

One reason that the use of condoms is so low, said Richard, is simply that people don’t want to ruin the moment. “There’s a certain spontaneity to sex that makes it where people think ‘Why stop if we don’t have a condom?’ and as a result you get more people testing positive for diseases.”

This isn’t the only reason college students are at a higher risk of contracting STIs. Some blame St. Michael’s College’s unwillingness to make contraceptives available on campus, which stem from Catholic traditions.

“As a whole, the point of view of the society of St. Edmund’s is in line with that of the wider Catholic Church which would essentially be in opposition to contraception due to the belief that human life must be respected in all of its stage.” said Father Michael Carter, campus minister and instructor of religious studies.

“Bergeron would be the best place to have it, but the school refuses. It could help out that one or two that want to practice safe sex,” said Richard.

There are still plenty of ways one can limit their risk of contracting STIs at college, said Mary Masson, Nurse Practitioner and Director of Bergeron Wellness Center. She cites that “abstinence and consistent use of condoms” as key ways to prevent transmitted diseases and infections.

“All the Nurse Practitioners here provide safe and confidential care, and we are proud of our students who take the time to take care of themselves,” Masson wrote in an email.

“We are here to provide information only, to perform physical exams and testing, or both. If [students] don’t prefer to have testing done here, we will happily refer them to an off campus provider in Burlington. There are many options!”

By Matt Pramas
Managing Editor

It’s 8:30 p.m. on Main Street, on an August Friday after I clocked out of my job as a Church Street streetsweeper. I’m loitering outside the small claims court like all the city freaks.

A paper bag wrapped around the tallest beer I could find rests in my left hand and a slice from Mr. Mikes is in my right. It’s a divine evening. The summer sun is setting in all its orange and red glory across the lake and over the mountains.

It’s a simple but pleasurable existence, living in limbo between being down and out on the street and walking my well-groomed pooch to Outdoor Gear Exchange for some overpriced hats. The underbelly is an interesting, often enjoyable place to be.

It wasn’t a hard day, just a day like many before and many more to come. The streets weren’t too messy and they’re cleaner now after I made quick work of the litter: the crime of the people.

It started at 4 p.m. in a musty basement room where my equipment rests: a trash truck, a golf cart, piles of garbage bag packages, a couple of spare brooms. The floor’s stained with sitting water and the air of past cigarettes smoked. A faint smell of garbage. Some oil. An ashy floor and the sharp echo of squealing tires taking turns too quickly in the parking garage reach me after the drivers fly around a bend, trying to escape before the two–hour free limit hits.

It’s seven minutes past start and I’m lounging in an old office chair, greasy and ash-burned, and I decide to rise from the dead and saunter up the wet stairs and find myself below a ledge, on the bricks an 18 year old girl was splattered on just a short time ago.

She killed herself at 1 p.m. at the beginning of all the festivities, in front of all the fools and fun. The fire departthat remains is a puddle, just like the ones I wade through in the garage.

Yours truly reliving the old days as Church Street maintenance worker. The streets are a little quieter now than during the bustling summer Fridays with people flocking to spend.

And the people of this beautiful and emotional world beat on with indifference.

It’s an uphill battle to clean the streets that keep these stores and restaurants populated, but I like being out and about, where the people are. I know my work. Not everyone does.

Wielding a broom and a dust pan, nothing more, I start in the alleyway by that piece of shit mural, picking up a wrapper or two, three cigarette butts or more.

And then I hit the streets for good as the sun beats down on me.

The freaks are all around me. It’s the Festival of Fools, the weekend long event that brings all the street performers, the skinny sun-tanned ladies and their meathead boy-toys to my territory. I’m the sheriff here. I patrol these blocks. I drive a golf-cart, in case you were wondering.

It’s busier than usual. There’s stuff littered around and the confetti the performers use for their grandiose finallies flutter around me. I say hi to Steve. Steve sells art and I buy a geometric extraction painting once I realize I can’t afford to buy three.

Head up, arms out and a beach glass necklace dangles over my burgundy Church Street Marketplace shirt as I walk left and right down and down, past the spectators and fools. This is my living for the summer and I do it for pay.

There’s shit to pick up every now and again. I can’t walk through the thick crowds so I work around them, observing them as they observe the spectations.

Top to Bottom: a typical, but quiet day on Church Street. It’s always interesting to watch people defowel the very space I clean for them

Some of the usual suspects hang around, looking for spare change, smoking and reaching arm deep in recycling bins to find a redeemable can.

A cheap joke for 25 cents. A beautiful song and an amusing conversation. I’m a medium in this fragmented world
of rich and poor, freaks and morons. The birdman walks by in his Miles Davis sunglasses, his three wheeled bike and his repurposed trash turned to treasure.

The schizophrenic talks to herself on a perpendicular street.

They don’t like her hanging among the marketplace. The young drunks stumble in and out of crowds.

A sign says “Homeless Lives Matter” by a man dealing Pokemon Cards on a blanket and someone flying past on a bike throws him a bag of tobacco. “No papers, but there’s a little shag.”

Spectators walk on. And so do I. Beggars never ask me for change, but we talk sometimes. “What’s up man?” I’ll ask. “I’m Straight chillin,” I’ll reply.

“You find the best stuff in them cigarette packs, man,” one of the regulars says to me as I peek inside a pack before sweeping it up. “I’ve found money, weed.”

“All the best stuff,” I reply smiling back at him and his friend just trying to get a buck for a fuck-up.

“All the best stuff,” I hear back.

And the crowds are captivated and so content.

It’s evening once again and I realize that summer dusks on a bench don’t get better than this. The beer and the pizza help me digress from an existence of sweeping these Burlington streets and picking up garbage and shoveling shit.

“This is a great life,” I say to myself as a fellow vagrant, Dan I think his name is, sets down near me to smoke a bowl and have a sandwich. We’re on the same page somehow, this mid 30s man and I, seeking some refuge after work, both in public, yet invisible to every passerby.

In a flash, I’m back in the afternoon sun and Church Street is just a little cleaner in time for a child to spill some crisp and delicious popcorn on the sidewalk. Somewhere, a dog shits.

“That’s the hardest working person on Church Street,” a mother says to a daughter. That makes me feel a little warmer on this balmy afternoon, also a little foolish.

“Hey man, why don’t you sweep us all up. We’re just trash,” someone in a group of rail hogs says. They ride the rails and come and go, making a life on empty cattle cars and sidewalks.

Another evening, another wrapper swept from the red bricks of Church Street, another garbage bag, another sip, another bite, another day waning towards twilight.

“Does that thing have a horn?!” I hear a pedestrian say before slamming my golf cart’s brakes, glaring and saying clearly, “No it does not!” And everyone goes on as they were, waiting for the next peak, the next thing that gets ‘em by. It’s the ebb of the people. The sun sets more. Cars move by left and right as they have for years. Tourists and locals pass, going about their business, talking about their corporate lives, their little gossip and the funny fools as they try to soak up the last moments of sun.

And finally everything is over. For now. Just a beer and slice, waiting for my friends to show up among the freaks and fools and morons and everyone while I watch the god-like sun sink behind the Adirondacks.

By Matt Pramas

Managing Editor

It’s a typical weekday evening at St. Michael’s College. As the sun creeps out of the sky, the regular buzz of students on campus begins to slow. When 11 p.m. rolls around, some students are tucked away in bed, but many move to common areas like Dion Student Center to socialize, work and grab a bite to eat. 

     Dion and Durick Library have become meccas on campus for St. Michael’s students when other areas of the school have shut down for the night. 

     Take a walk through Dion in the late hours of the night and you will see groups of students huddled at tables talking over homework, others socializing, and some running through flashcards. 

     On a recent Thursday night at 11:20 p.m., a  line of people waited at Einsteins Bros. Bagels to order food while others wait in anticipation for their buzzer to go off. 

     “At this time of night, I’m usually getting back from practice and taking a shower. After practice my heart is racing so fast from workouts that I can’t fall asleep,” said mathematics major and Women’s Ice Hockey player Abigail Dirks ‘21 as she made her way through Dion at 11:35 p.m.

     Closer to midnight, first-year students Lily Friesen, Myles North Andrew Rothauser and Colin Radican sat around a table together as they chatted and shared a laugh about video games.  

     “We come here every Thursday after Gaming Club. I’m either doing homework or watching videos at this time of night. I like to come here when my roommate is sleeping” Friesen stated.

     “I’m here every day, second floor” North said. 

     Between the four of them, they all typically go to bed between 11 pm and 4 am. In general, they said they have found ways to make staying up late work for their lifestyles.

          Dirks described the atmosphere of people in Dion at this time as, “pretty relaxed, just hanging out. Some are really intensely doing their work.” 

     At midnight, students gather for a game of ping pong or pool, others hide away from the noise in the private study areas as some lounge out in the radio broadcasting room as they play music and chat about sports.

     “I can’t concentrate in my room, and the library is too far of a walk, and it’s cold out. Also, I have people here in my class so I can study with them,” said pharmacy major and member of the men’s soccer team, Ryan Rogge ’23 as he studied for his chemistry quiz. 

     “It’s unexpectedly lively here. ‘’ Rogge said.  

     Munching on cheese fries at one of the many sitting areas in Dion, Megan Doherty ’21 adds that she enjoys Dion’s versatility at this hour.  “I can come here at night for almost anything. If I’m looking to eat, or hanging out with my friends, or even study.” 

     KnightSafe driver, Lucy Chin ‘21, finds herself driving students around campus until 1a.m. Chin and other drivers wait for students to call for rides through the late night. Chin does not mind being in Dion late at night working because of the calming and quiet atmosphere at this time.

     A short walk over from the Dion Student Center you’ll find the Durick Library. On a recent Wednesday night, around 11:00 p.m. many students still occupied its quarters. With few tables left vacant, only a soft murmur of voices could be heard, with nearly everyone in there focused on what they were doing. 

     “It’s quiet here and I can focus and not be distracted by the things in my room, which tends to happen especially when it gets this late at night. I like it more than Dion because I get very distracted in there, it’s a lot more serious atmosphere here,” stated Lexie Lembo ’21 as she worked on school work at a table on the first floor at 11:07 p.m.

     Up on the third floor, senior Jordan Monbuquette utilized one of the many whiteboards found throughout the library to draw up an outline for her essay. 

     “Personally I like studying in the library because it has an older vibe to it, like a study room, being surrounded by books and everything. I like to use the whiteboards in here and I like to put myself in one of the classrooms downstairs sometimes because there is a big space where you can be alone” stated Monbuquette ’20.

     “It’s nice because everyone that is here is here because they have a lot of work to do, so it’s nice to be surrounded by people that also really need to grind and be focused. Here it’s very intense and all about academics, which helps keep me motivated” said Monbuquette. 

     Weekdays the Durick Library is open 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Voicing her opinion on the hours of operation for the library Monbuquette stated, “I like to get up at 5 a.m. on occasion to do homework, and the library doesn’t open up till 8 a.m. If it were to be open that early I would definitely come here to do it. It would be nice for it to be open 24 hours. I think students would really take advantage of that.”          

       Lizzie Blanchard ’21 states “My brain can’t function late at night. I can’t stay up late because then I can’t wake up in the morning. I need at least eight hours of sleep and I know I won’t be able to function the next day if I’m not well-rested.” 

by Matt Heller

Executive Editor

Protests in Hong Kong have meant changes for St. Michael’s students who hope to get an internship through the Freeman Foundation this summer. Over the past two summers, St. Michael’s has sent students to Hong Kong, but due to ongoing protests over an extradition bill that would allow authorities to send citizens to mainland China, the committee that oversees the internships decided to send students to Singapore next year. 

“I think Singapore is still going to be an outstanding opportunity for students to get real-world workplace skills for eight weeks in a major international city,” said professor Jeff Ayers, a coordinator for the internship program.

While Tokyo was a top option to replace Hong Kong, Singapore was chosen due to the 2020 Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo.  

While no one knows if the protests would turn violent during the time the students stay in their internships, the committee didn’t want to take chances. “It’s not about what I think or what we think. It’s what parents think,” said professor Robert Letovsky, who also coordinates the program. “We can’t control perception.” 

Sophie DeFries, a senior biochemistry major, spent her time doing pharmacological research at the University of Hong Kong. While the protests didn’t affect her daily life, it did play an impact on some decisions. 

“For example, on the weekend we had to be diligent about what we were doing and where we were going or else it was easy to get stuck in sticky situations. One time we accidentally found ourselves at the same MTR station that had a protest surrounding it,” said DeFries. 

This past summer, 11 students from a variety of majors spent time interning for businesses, nonprofits, and universities. 

The experience went beyond his career interests, Diego Calderon, a senior business major who interned at a tech startup, said. “There are many social cues and norms that students need to experience in order to be open and adaptable to a more globalized world.”

Letovsky said he is hoping 10 or 11 students will be sent to Singapore from May 31 to August 1, 2020. 

The application, which is due on October 25, is open to all current sophomore and juniors who will have spring 2020 residency on-campus. 

Students receive 4 credits, and St. Michael’s waves the fee for a summer course. Most of the $7,000 scholarship allotted to each student goes to the Academic Internship Council, which helps place students into their internships and houses them. Most airfare charges can be covered within this budget as well.

Questions?  

Contact Professor Robert Letovsky, rletovsky@smcvt.edu   

Or

 Director of Study Abroad, Peggy Imai, pimai@smcvt.edu 

——————————————————————————————————————————

Thailand trip canceled due to air quality concerns

Political tensions in Hong Kong caused the Global Citizen Internship Program to switch its location to Singapore, but it is not the only study abroad program at St. Michael’s that is dealing with locational issues. 

The Education Abroad Network canceled the Thailand 2020 semester trips to Chaing-Mai over air quality concerns. While this wasn’t St. Michael’s decision, Director of Study Abroad Peggy Imai said problems like this sometimes occur, but instances such as Hong Kong and Chaing-Mai are quite rare. While the school still could have sent students to Hong Kong, the Academic Internship Council recommended against it.

“Our level of risk aversion is higher than some other institutions,” Imai said.

While student safety is the school’s top priority, other factors such as whether insurance will cover a program, also plays an important role in decisions. 

By Emma Shortall
Multimedia Editor

Momoka Okamura ’21
When she first came here from Tokyo, Okamura was convinced by a friend to join Diversity Coalition. Okamura was promoting international students to engage with American students through the group events hosted. She also works to get American students to engage with international students. She now is the Vice President of Diversity Coalition.

Nell Criscione ’21
As a class officer for all four years of high school, she organized events and fundraised. During her senior year of high school, she was elected as the senior captain of her field hockey and ice hockey teams. Criscione is the captain of the women’s field hockey team.

Paul Olsen
Paul Olsen is an associate professor of Business Administration and Accounting. He teaches classes such as Leadership, First-Year Seminar: Peace & Justice, and Business Communication. Olsen said he was always an organizer, but it wasn’t until he started teaching he viewed himself as a leader.

Shane Coughlin ’20
Coughlin’s first big leadership position was his high school first-year class president. Here he became the firstyear class president of ’21. He’s an RA, member of SMC First Generation, the Student Government Association Executive Board, and is a part of the Code of Ethics Committee for Hudson, N.H, his hometown.

When entering college, some students seek a path toward leadership. Here are the voices of three student leaders and a faculty member who teaches about leadership to provide more insight.


Momoka Okamura’s Advice

What qualities make a great leader?

“I think that it’s important to keep harmony inside a team…I create an environment that’s ready for everyone to cooperate with each other.”

How will your current leadership position help you in the future?

“You’ll learn methods and theories and then when you go out in society in the future you’ll apply this knowledge to actual situations. It’s like you practicing here, so you can make mistakes but it’s okay. Everyone will be there to help and of course, those teammates and professors are going to help you, but in the future, when you’re working for companies you’ll have more responsibilities.”


Nell Criscione’s Advice:

Why should others want to be leaders?

“I think it’s really good for people to be leaders, so they have confidence in what they’re doing and feel empowered. I think being a leader, whether you’re shy, loud, outgoing, it just gives you confidence.”

Do you have any memorable experiences being a leader?

“Just making sure everyone is doing okay and feeling good about where we’re at makes the team more unified. I think just being a leader of the team and making sure that everyone’s comfortable doing what they’re supposed to be doing is good enough for myself.”

What does leadership give you?

“Leadership gives me confidence. It helps me with my problems solving skills. I think what I’ve learned in college and as being a captain of a sports team is how to work with people but also how to take charge and make a quick decision regardless of what other people think. So, all the skills that I’ve learned from being a captain at St. Mikes will also carry over in my life.”

Professor Olsen’s Advice


Why should others want to be leaders?

“I always say to my students I don’t care what you care about but care about something and then try to affect change in that way. If you’re passionate about it and can communicate it effectively I think you can really rally people around something you want to be changed.”

How can others be leader?

“I think it’s a matter of focusing on the task you want to get done but also focusing on your followers, showing concern for them. I try to do that as a teacher. We’ve got a job to do, but I can also show concern for them, show an interest in their lives. Share and celebrate their successes.”

What qualities make a good leader?

“Admitting mistakes is a really important quality for a leader. We all make mistakes, but for a leader to acknowledge that followers say, ‘I can identify with that because I’ve screwed up too.’ As opposed to saying I didn’t do it…I make mistakes every day, some are little, and some are big. I own them. It humanizes you and it’s important.

Shane Coughlin’s Advice

Why should others want to be leaders?
“We all certainly have the potential to be leaders. You don’t always see leaders in leadership positions, but I think throughout our lives we have the opportunity to step up and have a positive influence regardless of what position we’re in. Something as simple as living with your suitemates and conflict arise, you could be a leader and step up and propose a solution and help somebody else in need. I think there are so many different opportunities to be a leader in a sense and it doesn’t strictly have to be confined to a position.”

What qualities make a great leader?

“I think being willing to think, in terms of the needs of the group [as a] whole, over sometimes your self needs. You recognize what needs to be done and get it done.

You are not going to inspire people if you are not passionate about what you do and are excited about what you’re doing. Honest, hardworking, I think those are all important attributes.”