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October 2019

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By Justin Madison and Lorelei Poch

“I feel like I’ve been conditioned where if I don’t get a good parking spot right outside it is a pain in the butt, but honestly it’s a nice walk,” said Maddy Gemme ‘21. “Sure it’s annoying you’re not right outside your building but it could be a lot worse.” She struggles to find spots close to Residence Hall 4, where she lives, but recognized a silver lining. Gemme uses her car three to five times a week for grocery and other shopping, getting to Sloane and work, but admitted when her car is further away she is less likely to drive. That disincentive might have a beneficial consequence if it helps the environment.

Some 881 students own a car on campus, according to Services and Engagement Coordinator/Dispatch Supervisor Stacy Bessette. Although Antoni Fensterer ‘21, said his academics were not affected, he feels frustrated when he cannot find a spot located close to his room. “I typically only use my car on average two or three times a week, but I don’t use my car as often as I normally would due to parking difficulties” he said.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Any time a gas-powered car is running it is emitting some air pollution,” said Doug Facey, biology professor and Chair of the Sustainability Committee. “Part of that is carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change, and other components of auto exhaust that are bad for human health and the environment as well,” Facey said. Multiply the emissions from Fensterer’s vehicle by 881 and that amounts to staggering amounts of harmful exhaust concentrated to our campus.

“I think it’s lucky to get a spot right outside our building, but I mostly park at the 2’s. When I come back from photoclub or work around 9 I have had to park near Hodson or Dion even,” Gemme reported. “But I check myself and I realized we live on a very small campus and have to walk three extra minutes, it’s not a hike,” she added. “Knowing that there is a no-idling rule in Burlington, I think about that often. Also I hate paying for gas so I don’t keep my car on for long if I don’t have to.”

Parking passes range from free to $50 to $100 depending on where students would like to park and with prices so affordable students might be unintentionally using their vehicles less, thus producing less emissions into the atmosphere.

“Only use a car when necessary,” Facey said as he outlined potential solutions to modify the amounts of exhaust released on our campus. When traveling around on campus, walk or bike to omit emissions and get some exercise, he said. “It is not good for the car to sit unused for long periods of time, or leave the car engine running while the car is parked.

By Erin Mikson
Staff Writer

If you happen to be walking through the second floor of Alliot on a Friday night you might stumble upon a small group of girls, also known as Girl Talk.

On a recent Friday the group of five played Uno, made tea, and chatted. The topics ranged from Korean pop to how to use a tea press.

“I heard of Girl Talk through word of mouth,” said Vicky Luciano ’21. “It’s a safe space for me to just hang out with friends, talk to people, and it’s just a fun thing to do to destress since I’m always busy,” Luciano said.

“The hope is that people feel comfortable talking about things,”said President Jessie Anderson ’21 said, emphasizing that she wants the group to be a safe space for everyone. “If they have a concern they would like to talk about, I want them to feel like they have a place to do that. It’s important to have that place to chill with other girls,” Anderson said.

The atmosphere of the club is calm and welcome. During meetings the members can be seen playing games, chatting, and listening to various types of music, from Latin to Beyoncé, depending on the week.

“You don’t have to be a constant member, I don’t want it to feel like you have to come to this every week,” said Anderson. “I will be here every week even if nobody’s here. I just want that space to be there in case someone needs it.”

President Jessie Anderson ’21 and her twin sister Vice President Jessica Anderson ’21, said they try to make the meetings open and flexible. Each individual person has a say in what they are looking to do within the club activities. Jessie is hoping to expand the number of members in the club. “When I came to St. Mike’s Girl Talk was a much smaller group, if you didn’t know about it you wouldn’t even know it existed,” Anderson said.

“The meeting could be planned out, but we could also talk about something completely different for the whole meeting. It changes to whatever everyone else wants,” said Faith Shive ‘23.

During the rest of October, there will be a “slay the stress away” meeting where they will be doing eye makeup on Oct. 18. There will be a mystery murder theme meeting on Friday the 25th. In November, some of their meeting themes include “Let’s Talk – Microaggression on Campus”, and an international Thanksgiving.

In the future, Girl Talk is hoping to get funds from Student Government so that they can take this club to off-campus locations, [have] meals at meetings, and tee shirts. “If we were to go off campus, we don’t want to have people pay, it also might limit who will come,” Anderson said.

“We hope that more people hear about the club and know that other women on campus want to support one another,” Anderson said.

Girl Talk meetings happen every Friday night at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Alliot in the Center for Multicultural Affairs.

By Mara Brooks
Staff Writer

In a small lecture hall at the University of Vermont Tuesday, Chief Don Stevens of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe presented the film Nebi: Abenaki Ways of Knowing Water to students and community members. It was one of many events to make Indigenous Peoples’ Day and indigenous culture a greater part of the campus community. “I am here to educate on our way of thinking, which shouldn’t be any different from yours,” he told the crowd of 15.

October 14 marked the first celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Vermont, officially replacing the holiday that Americans have known as Columbus Day. The story of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas has been a cornerstone lesson in United States history but as his widespread acts of genocide against indigenous peoples have become more prominent in mainstream American consciousness, six states and more than 50 cities have adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor the first inhabitants of the Americas who have often been erased from United States history. The movement first took off in the 90s, when South Dakota replaced celebrations of Columbus with a “Native American Day.”

A Newsweek poll published this month found that about 79 percent of American college students avidly support this transition.

Hayley Jensen ‘22, a core leader for MOVE’s Civil Rights Alliance, applauds the change. “I feel like it’s very timely. The United States is trying its best to acknowledge its troubled past and it’s important to recognize our entire history. Our history isn’t all sunshine and daisies like we learn in elementary school.”

Many students, such as Momoka Okamura ‘21, see the day as an opportunity to celebrate and honor the multiculturalism that makes America unique. “In my country, Japan, we don’t think much about diversity because not a lot of people are aware of the fact that Japan is no longer monoethnic. America in comparison to Japan has a lot more diversity, but I still see a lot of problems here with people not accepting different races and cultures. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a more ethical way to celebrate this diversity.”

The newly named holiday provides opportunities for Native Americans and others to honor and embrace indigenous roots.

Even beyond the community at large, Chief Eugene Rich of the Missisquoi Abenaki Tribe points out that the holiday resonates most strongly with young tribal members, who are taking the day as an opportunity to reclaim their heritage that the generations before often tried to hide. “They are coming out now and saying ‘Hey, this is something to be proud of.’”

Rich stressed that this is but one step in reestablishing natives’ roots in Vermont while educating the public on the importance of their culture. “We need to now focus on what makes us unique. Encourage people to ask questions, keep everything moving forward and educate the public.”