On the evening of Thursday, Dec. 5, around 50 students and community members waited in the Farrell Room, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate, they wrote on cards to declare their commitments to combat racism. Students were busy writing before Rebecca Haslam, an assistant professor in the Education Department spoke up to introduce the discussion : “This all of our work, this is all of our problem, this impacts all of us,” Haslam said.
“We wanted to do something sooner rather than later in order to “show up” literally and metaphorically for Students of Color on campus,” Haslam said, before reading aloud an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr’s letter from Birmingham Jail. “We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied,” she said. After they stepped outside to the Teaching Gardens, where they spoke their commitment while lighting a candle.
“It was great to see my peers take time out of their busy schedules to recognize and participate in the efforts the Ed department is making toward a more inclusive, welcoming, and aware community, said Mallory Bauer ‘21.
Connor Vezina ‘22 also came in support representing the Diversity Coalition. “I really appreciated what the Ed department did. I’ve been waiting for faculty to become more involved and I think this was a great first step to make the campus as a whole more aware that actions need to be taken,” said Vezina.
The event wrapped up with singing around their commitments that were placed on a string of lights. Elementary Ed Professor John Tapper led the singing while strumming his guitar. All the written commitments are displayed around the third floor of St. Eds.
Suicide. One word and anyone who hears it mentally flinches. We all know what it means and what it implies and we shudder when we’re forced to talk about it. It’s a topic that reaches more people than many, meaning it should be easier to talk about, yet it isn’t.
Knowing someone who dies is a difficult thing to go through, and I know from personal experience how the absence reaches more people than the person who is gone would expect.
When one of my high school classmates killed himself, people from all over the town came together. Even people from neighboring towns and cities who knew him or even knew of him showed up at many of the services offered to grieve his departure.
In his life, he touched so many people and all of them felt the effects of his death. One person can have a lasting impact on someone and when that person passes, all the people they have interacted with are affected as well. So many people who had all split off on branching paths of life all are affected in the same way when someone decides to kill themselves.
I have seen the tragedy firsthand on multiple occasions.
One would think that in a society where we have access to social media boards and discussions, we would be more open to the ideas of reaching out for help when we experience feelings of depression or begin to contemplate suicide. Instead, there seems to be an online environment that encourages suicide and in a way that glorifies the systemic problem.
How often has someone scrolled through their feed and seen a post about how, “If I kill myself then technically the problem would be gone,” and chuckled. It’s become casual to humorize the topic in order to avoid any sense of awkwardness that may arise. We’ve all heard things like this, and although we may laugh at first it is a laugh of discomfort. When we move on from the surface concepts of these jokes there is a real epidemic that is being ignored. It’s easier to jibe about suicide than it is to acknowledge the reality of the situation. Knowing what I know about the topic, I always feel guilty for laughing and guilty for playing along, just because it is easier.
It’s in this awkwardness that makes it taboo to seek help. In her TED talk, “Casually Suicidal” Sarah Liberti, a student at Adelphi University, shares her experience with this taboo topic with her friend. This friend had told her before that people who want to commit suicide are better off dead. When Sarah comes to this friend for emotional support in her depression and suicidal thoughts, her friend abandons her and essentially encourages Sarah to do it. Seeking help only brought Sarah to a dead end.
But if her friend had been more accepting and educated about the ideas of suicide, then maybe there wouldn’t have been a barrier in the discussion in the first place.
Help is always available, with hotlines and services almost everywhere to seek out if someone is feeling depressed. But not everyone utilizes these as much as they should. I should know because I used to know many people who were too conscious of their image to admit that they needed help. They put on a strong face and made it impossible to tell they were even struggling in the first place.
They lived for so long with all their emotions and insecurities bottled up inside until they eventually consumed them and they couldn’t take it anymore. And now they’re gone, and they didn’t have the strength to admit that they needed help.
It could have been prevented, all of them. The issue arises in the fact that people in our digital society chose to humorize the situation because it makes them feel weird because it makes them mentally flinch. With so many young people on the internet who may or may not possess suicidal thoughts, we can expect to see future increases in suicides of college-aged students.
So long as it remains taboo to talk about your faults and seek help, nothing will change. Suicide may be an epidemic as of today, but it is preventable so long as we take the right actions and make a change. Be the type of person, in real life and online, that instead of humorizing the topic, reach out to those who need it. Instead of making it a taboo conversation, make it something that we should be proud to talk about.
People should be able to say, “I got help and now I want to live” instead of shedding tears at their friend’s funeral. My final word to anyone reading this is that if you yourself are feeling any suicidal thoughts or if you know someone who might, It is okay to seek help. It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, and when you finally admit to someone else that you are, you’ll feel so much better.
I couldn’t say it to my friends and classmates who have killed themselves, but I can at least say it now.
“Classes are so small here that teachers really notice when you’re not there, and it reflects poorly on your effort. Then if you ever need help later in the semester, having not been in class can really work against you. It’s important to make being present in class a priority ”
“Socially, reaching out to upperclassman can really help. Seniors aren’t as scary as they may seem.”-Jacob Kent ‘20
“I thought I could just apply the same study habits I had in high school to college, which involved me doing everything last minute and procrastinating. Second semester, I realized I needed to get it together and manage my time better. I started trying harder and made sure to plan out time to get my assignments done before the night they were due, then I handled my classes much better.” -Madeleine Morse ‘20
“You’re going to stress over work, we all do, but you have to just sit down and get through it anyway. Most of our parents are out working hard to be able to pay to put us through college, so doing the best you can in classes is returning the favor” -Jake Brodbine ‘20
“Don’t take it so seriously. Be more present in your experience. We live in a beautiful state, appreciate the nature that’s out there. Appreciate time with your friends. You’re not going to remember some quiz you had in business class, verses a real experience. Go into the mountains, go into the city.”
“Having patience with yourself that you’re not going to have a bunch of friends and things are going to be figured out in the next two weeks. Patience. You think everything is supposed to be figured out right away, and it’s not.” -Todd Wright, Director of the Adventure Sports Center
“I thankfully figured out that everybody was at least a little stressed out in social situations, so that helped me. Everybody is an awkward weirdo and everybody feels awkward, uncomfortable, and anxious staring new conversations, and new social experiences.”
“I would definitely tell my freshman year self that ‘this is not representative of college, this is just an unpleasant transition time, and that will get better.”
“You’ve got to come to class, even if you’re in a miserable place, and feel like can’t do anything. Even if you just sit there. Even if you’re behind on work. No matter what, the first thing you should try to do is get to class. We’re going to be supportive and in most cases be more than willing to help you. You have to communicate.” -Allison Luedtke, Professor of Economics
“I worried a lot about my appearance, I always felt fat. I always felt like I didn’t quite fit in, or other people seemed to be more put together than me. I look back now and think to myself
‘What was I worried about? I think it’s an age where you just never feel quite right all the time. I wish I could tell myself ‘you’re really cute, stop worrying about how you look’.”
“I’m a huge advocate of talk therapy and all those professionals that can help you with those big questions and whatnot.”
“I knit all the time. That always helps calm me down and focus. Finding a hobby that takes your mind off things is something I would suggest to cope with stress.” -Jane Kay, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics
On Wednesday, November 20 the Civil Rights Alliance gathered stu-
dents together in front of the chapel to remember the lives taken by acts
of violence against transgender individuals. Father Michael Carter led
the group in prayer which was then followed by poems and audio of spo-
ken poetry in condolence of the lives lost. Those who attended took turns
reading the names of victims who passed away this year.
Finding yourself sometimes means finding your place
By Victoria Bradford
Best place to clear your thoughts: Battery Park (Off of Battery Street)
I bet you thought I’d say Waterfront Park. Surprise! Battery Park is so underrated but
the views are hard to beat. It’s a great place to people watch, if that’s your thing, or just
sit on a bench and take it all in. A recent study done by the University of East Anglia in
England reported the bene t of spending time in nature for overall health. “People liv–
ing closer to nature had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact,
one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace signi cantly
reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.”
Best place to treat yourself: Ben and Jerry’s
Church Street Marketplace
Okay, I get it. A trip to Ben and Jerry’s is the most cliché Vermont experience, but hear
me out. This is really the spot to go and reward yourself or when you just need a pick
me up. A nice scoop of Phish Food can really brighten a day. Like Tom from Parks and
Rec famously said… “Treat Yo Self!”
Best yoga studio: Sangha
120 Pine Street
There’s no place more calming and welcoming than Sangha Studio’s downtown Burl–
ington location. As an added bene t, it’s accessible yoga. You can become a member for
$60 a month, or drop in for a class for as little as $10. As a college student, yoga class–
es can be out of my league after spending way too much money at Dunks but Sangha
gives me a chance to really work out my stress in a healthy way. Also, savasana is a life
changer. You should try it some time.
Best place to unwind: Muddy Waters
184 Main Street
Muddy Waters is one of the rst places I take people who visit me. The dark and relax–
ing atmosphere is hard to beat. If you need some extra motivation during your study
sesh, there are sweet rolled up notes in the stone walls. Breaks are so important for our
mental health, and here is a perfect place to take some time to reevaluate over a warm
cup of coffee. Give the raspberry hot chocolate a try!
Best superfood place: The Vermont Juice Company
77 Main Street
The Vermont Juice Company isn’t just a place for Instagram worthy acai bowls. There
has been a surge of psychology studies on the gut brain axis. The Vermont Juice com–
pany emphasises that eating well can have a positive effect on our mental health! You
can get wellness shots, cold pressed juices, cleansers, and other superfood meals here. So
head down to Main Street and get those nutrients!
Living on campus, I keep a curious eye on a number of relationship “types.” There’s the couple that keeps a safe distance: grab breakfast in Alliot together before going to class, spending the afternoon with their friends, or spending some time slaving over study notes in McCarthy. Then there’s the “attached at the hip” type. After dating for a few months, the couple feels as though they can’t live without each other. They’ve surrounded their lives with their partner as they see their friends start to fade away. When you live on the same, relatively small, campus, share the same friends, maybe even the same classes, how do you keep a sense of self in a relationship?
Codependency is a term often used in relationships, even platonic, when describing one partner relying on another person for who you are, said therapist Steve Langehough, who works in Burlington, Vt. Codependency can be seen in a constant need for communication with your partner, isolating your friendships, and only revolving your life around your partner – losing yourself in your partner.
Is this you?
Think: do you feel a constant need to text your partner? Do you feel like you can’t live without your partner?
Do you feel like you have no one to turn to besides your partner? “I love being around you” can soon turn to “I can’t live without you” if not careful.
Codependency is one end of the spectrum, opposite to independence. Interdependency means being able to maintain your independence but being able to grow and benefit from your partner.
Interdependency can look like being able to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling or what you’re going through, but not emotionally exhausting them. Being able to maintain a relationship with your partner, but feeling fulfilled in your life outside of that relationship.
“Codependency requires you for my existence. Interdependency says, ‘I’m a healthy human being. I matter, I count, I have strength, but I can accomplish more with you,” Langehough said. “I’m an acceptable person without you,
but I’m even better with you. Each of
us can accomplish more individually
when we’re with each other, but even
if we aren’t with each other, we each
Codependency becomes apparent when at least one of the individuals in the couple feels as though they can’t live without the other. This, says
Langehough, stems from fear.
“Fear takes many shapes,” Langehough said. “It can be fear of being alone, it can be fear of not being attracted to anyone else, it can be fear
of not being important. That fear can
count for low self esteem, ‘I’m nothing
One way to recognize where one stands in their relationship is to look at “intimacy styles,” said visitng assistant professor of psychology Sarah Nosek. An intimacy style is a measurement of where your capacity for intimacy or successful relationships lies. This is determined with a 6-part questionnaire that will result in one of four intimacy styles, ranging from from isolation to merger.
“Intimacy is sort of the one you’re going for, you’re in good shape, you’re able to relate to your partner, but you also have a sense of your own identity and willing and able and enjoy sharing,” Nosek said. “Merger is where you’re putting the needs of your partner, or whoever you’re intimate with, above your own. This is the identity type where you can get lost or lose yourself.”
The added mixture of stress from classes, worry over the future, and the task of trying to find yourself can make codependency at our college age all the more difficult.
“I think part of the difference is, as someone is growing, you’re trying to find yourself,” said Active Minds Advisor Catherine Welch. “You’re separating yourself potentially from the beliefs you grew up with, and you’re trying to figure out what you believe, and what you stand for. You’re figuring out these things for the first time, and that’s a lifelong journey at any age.”
At any age, however, maintaining independence is necessary to stay out of the bounds of codependency. What happens if your partner leaves? Langehough asks. “What if I don’t have the sense of independence, that I can be complete without my partner, that allows me to be a better partner?” Lange- hough said. “Without that independence, if something happens to my partner, then mental illness and mental breakdowns can
Langehough shares some of the ways that a couple may approach addressing their codependency and how to correct it.
“The first step is saying, we don’t want to be like this anymore,” Langehough said. “Then it’s, okay, if we don’t know how to do this on our own, who can we ask to help us. Let’s do some research and see if we can find some strategies and steps. There are some couples who are in that point of codependence where, in order to get healthy, really require a third person to step in.”
This advice can apply for all kinds of relationships, even platonic.
“You might turn to a friend and kind of want to work through all of your problems because you feel comfortable with them, but I think there is that chance of overburdening them,” said Welch. “It’s important to feel like you have friends to turn to, but also for the friends to be able say, ‘I feel like it would be beneficial for you to really go speak with a professional or someone that could help you that’s beyond my expertise.’
When the State of Vermont Natural Resources Board approved the plan to demolish Founder’s Hall last month, it did not give the green light for the school to start taking down the original building of Saint Michael’s College right away. After the November 12 approval, a 30-day appeal window began.
Sara Dillon ‘77, who heard about the plans to tear down the building about a year ago, said she was speechless when she found out and will appeal this most recent decision.
“Once you knock down that building and it’s gone, I think you’ve really lost the soul of the college,” Dillon said.
In her request for party status, Dillon said that the school has neglected the building and that an independent and objective assessment of the Founder’s was absent. However, in 2009, Hartgen Archaeological Associates conducted a report on the building, determining it to be in poor condition with major deficiencies. Additionally, Joel Ribout, Associate Director of Facilities, said a 2011 report on the building was conducted by an outside structural engineer, a mechanical engineer, and an architect.
Founder’s Hall, built in 1904, was once the entire college. In recent history, the administration has occupied offices on the first floor, with students living on the other three. The building has been vacant after administration’s departure this past summer.
In 2014, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation reviewed the project and recommended to the Act 250 program that it would have an Adverse Effect, Not Undue. According to Laura Trieschmann, State Historic Preservation Officer, this means that the demolition will have adverse effects regarding historic resources, but essentially, there weren’t any alternatives.
Act 250, Vermont’s land use and development law, seeks the “Not Undue” status by mitigating adverse effects. In terms of Founder’s Hall, this means saving and restoring the Annex, as well as preserving the cupola. According to Trieshmann, a restoration of the building would essentially be a reconstruction. While reconstructions aren’t rare, they do degrade historic integrity and can be costly.
According to Ribout, Founder’s demolition will cost around $750,000 and will be conducted by Casella Waste Systems. With additional permitting and engineering fees, the total project cost will be around $1 million. This is significantly less than a restoration of the building, which, Ribout said, would cost between $10 and $20 million.
In the event that the building stays, Dillon has ideas such as turning it into an admission center or an archival display, even if this costs $10 or $15 million.
“Further annoying me, [the administration] pitted the students against the building. I’m not against the students, I just think it’s a separate stream of money,” Dillon said. While there are historic preservation grants available through the state, they are capped at $20,000.
The Society of Saint Edmund offered communal support for the demolition. A letter signed by Superior General Very Reverend David G. Cray says that the Edmundite contribution to the school has been spiritual and intellectual, not architectural, and the heart of the college is in the people, not the buildings.
“I think it’s unfortunate that we’re at this point, talking about a historic building this way, but I get the challenges. The priority is to educate, not preserve buildings, and it’s very difficult to do both,” Trieschmann said.
While she couldn’t think of any specific examples of colleges tearing down their original buildings, Trieschmann said it’s not necessarily a rare occurrence. She mentioned that the University of Vermont and Middlebury College are regularly challenged to provide maintenance to their historic buildings to meet current standards.
“A lot of schools are short changing their maintenance so that it’s costing them more to fix a building than it should. They’re having to look and say, ‘Is this a building we can either deaccession or do we just have to tear it down?’” she said.
Dillon will have until December 12 to appeal the decision. If granted party status, she could request a public hearing and shift her argument to the merits of the building as opposed to why she should be considered an interested party.
As the building continues to stand unoccupied, the school still has to heat the inside to prevent burst pipes, Ribout said. As time goes by, it will become more and more evident that the building is not being used.
“Having something sit there and become apparent that it is not coming down, I think is worse than having it come down now,” Ribout said. In the absence of a successful appeal, Ribout hopes that the building would be down in March and the cupola would be preserved in place by the spring.
That’s the last thing Dillon wants to see.
“If they go ahead and demolish it, I will be very, very angry for a very long time because it all seems so unnecessary. That’s poor planning over a long period of time and poor management, in my opinion,” Dillon said.
Conflicting voices over cupola preservation
Ribout said the college intends to preserve the cupola, the structure found at the top of Founder’s as well as on the college’s logo. However, without a full understanding of its condition, the school has agreed to work with the Division for Historic Preservation on a restoration project that would act in the interest of both parties, and therefore satisfy stipulations of the Act 250 permit. This means that if the cupola is not in good condition, complete preservation may be compromised.
Trieschmann said the cupola is to be saved and preserved. If not, she said it would re-open the permit. In the November 12 land use permit issued by the state, one section states that the school should remove the belfry (cupola) in a way that it can be preserved and viewed by the campus community. It also says that the school should consult with VDHP for a final preservation plan.
On November 22 and 23 Katherine Ort, ’20 presented her senior seminar project “Trapped.” The show was a 40 minute long movement piece written by Talia Perrea, ’20 about anxiety. This show depicts what it may feel like to experience an anxiety attack through movement with no spoken dialogue in the show. Ort, Perrea, Patrick Richards, ’20. Charles Thompson, ’20, and Madeline Shanley, ’22 all starred in the show.
Stuck in a snow rut? Not sure you’re a winter person? As the snow creeps in it’s easy to lock yourself inside to escape the cold. But even if you don’t know how to ski or snowboard, there are plenty of fun, outdoor activities to stay physically and mentally healthy during these colder months. Here are five ways you can get outdoors and moving this winter season.
“We do ice climbing, mountaineering, and snowshoe trips for the spring season,” said Adventure Sports Center student-instructor Stephen Higgins ‘20, emphasizing that you don’t have to have any experience to go on these trips. “You come in, you pay anywhere between 5 and 15 bucks depending on which trip you go on and that gets you all the gear.”
“If you can walk, you can snowshoe,” said Eben Widlund, the assistant director of the Adventure Sports Center. “Ice climbing and mountaineering are a little more technical but not any more physically challenging.”
The Adventure Sports Center has a variety of equipment for every outing, always included in the single outing fee. “If people are interested in getting out on their own, most of the equipment you would need to go out snowshoeing is available for rental,” Widlund said.
It’s really important to find something to do during the winter here if you don’t ski or snowboard. The three winters before this year have been filled with me learning how to ice climb and getting to the point where I can teach other people how to ice climb,” Higgins said. “We live in Vermont and it’s a really beautiful place.”
For only $65, students get access to Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington as well as two guest passes a month to try it with a friend during the academic year. The Learn to Ski and Ride program is an affordable option for those students who wish to join the ski and snowboard community. For only $50, this Sugarbush program includes two full-day lessons, rentals, lift tickets, and (at the end of the program) a free season pass.
Ice Skating: $5
Local ice arenas also offer public skating hours for a low price. The C. Douglas Cairns Recreation Arena in South Burlington and Leddy Park Arena in Burlington both offer public skating for only $5 and $3 for rentals.
For students who don’t or can’t ski or snowboard and feel trapped in snow and homework, they have to be creative when pondering activities to do outside. “I had knee surgery my Freshmen year and couldn’t snowboard for a few years,” said Kenzie Day ‘21. “Me and my friends bought really cheap sleds at Walmart and went sledding a few times at the huge hill at the Burlington Country Club. It was wicked fun.”
SMC Intramurals plans to offer Wally Ball, Basketball, Soccer, and Floor Hockey for the upcoming Spring semester. Sign-ups begin in January. The link to sign up is on the SMC Athletics website under Intramurals. Join as an individual or with friends to make a team!
By Hannah McKelvey Contributing Writer Have you ever looked in a mirror and not liked the way you looked? Perhaps your hair looked askew, you did not like the way your jeans fit, you hate your prominent forehead, or maybe you were not feeling yourself. These thoughts pop into my head almost every single time I have looked into a mirror. So a few years ago, I refused to have a mirror in my room.
It initially started with laziness. I had moved into my sophomore year dorm, I was living alone, and it was during the dark times when Target did not exist in Vermont, so I didn’t go out looking for a mirror. As the days passed, not constantly checking myself in a mirror, I started to notice how much less I put myself down.
I would stand in front of the mirror and pick and probe at all of the places that I thought had too much fat or that I was too pale because you could see the small spider veins on my thighs.
Mirrors surround our everyday lives, whether we know it or not. They hang in our bathrooms and throughout our homes, and reflections flood our computers, phones, windows, and screens. Constantly looking at myself and realizing I do not fit the ideal body that our media and society portrays created a toxic relationship between myself and how I look.
This unrealistic expectation that society sets for us pushes younger and younger girls to have unrealistic expectations when it comes to body image. The average woman is 5’4” and 170 pounds. The average woman model is 5’10” and 110 pounds. It makes a lot of sense that our society has a body image issue when you really think about it. Too many people long for a different body then the ones that they have. They want to be skinnier, taller, shorter, they want a different nose.
Back in 2011, blogger Autumn Whitefield-Madrano started a mirror fasting challenge. She went one month without looking at any reflective surface because she realized she was spending a lot of time worrying about her appearance. After a month, she started to believe that she didn’t have to worry about how she looked to be a functioning human.
While new studies in England show that mirror fasting is only a temporary fix, it does give light to fix a problem that seriously needs addressing. The studies show for a person to accept themselves fully, they should look into mirrors and have a positive dialogue about how they look; like giving yourself at least one compliment every time you look in the mirror.
For me, living without a full-length mirror two full years has provided a way to detach from how I look, and not worry whether I fit into societal beauty standards. I can put on an outfit and simply walk out the door. It no longer crosses my mind whether an outfit matches or how a pair of jeans fit.
Whether you try a mirror fast or try looking into the mirror and complimenting your body, I hope you eventually love yourself and body because everyone is beautiful. I have a long way to go to fully accept how I look and who I am. But I feel invigorated by the fact that I no longer criticize my body every single time I face a full length mirror.
Hannah McKelvey ’20 is a Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts major.