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March 2020

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By Elise Lemay

Health and Wellness Editor

For Sarah Donahue ‘20, being involved with MOVE is all she’s ever known at Saint Michael’s College. As a freshman, she began her position as a student worker in the office. Right away, she got involved volunteering in the 16 different local programs MOVE offers. “Because of MOVE, I’ve met so many amazing people on campus and off campus. I still think about the people I met on my service trip in Louisiana everyday.”, said Donahue, who has led various MOVE programs and is a mentor for DREAM. For her, and many students at the college, MOVE has been a transformative part of their college experience. 


PHOTO BY HANNAH BISHOP
Cady Willows, Whitley Draper, and Henry Haddad build snowmen in the 300s field on Feb. 22, 2020 as a part of Best Buddies, a mentoring program for adults who have spei- cal needs. Best Buddies is one of five mentoring programs offered by MOVE.

Budget Cuts 

As St. Michael’s College faces budget cuts, departments across campus, including MOVE, have been affected. “We reduced our budgeted salaries expense in MOVE by 33 percent. This required our department to restructure certain job responsibilities among remaining staff”, said Rev. Brian Cummings, S.S.E., Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry in an email. 

Those budget cuts meant that the  assistant director position, held by Fr. Michael Carter, S.S.E. ‘12, is now half-time. It also meant ,utting the part time international move coordinator position. “A component of our planned staff restructuring and program offerings this year also took into account the planned semester leave of one of our department employees,”,Cummings explained. as Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Community Service Lara Scott was on maternity leave during the fall 2019 semester. 

Without the international coordinator, three international service trips that previously ran to India, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic were cut. Historically, two trips per year ran . “There are students who are very clear with us that they plan ahead in their academic experience to go on one of our international trips,” Scott said. “When I think of that, the impact feels really deep seated. A student’s learning is impacted, a student’s personal and pre-professional growth is negatively impacted by us not being able to offer as much as we have in the past.” 

For Scott, the impact is significant. “ MOVE programming, particularly our service trips, can be quite transformative for a lot of our students,”, said Scott, who has worked in the MOVE office for the past five and a half years. “So without some of those, that opportunity for transformation, for perspective gaining, for connections, growth in service and justice, all of that gets missed or is not available for students.”

Participation Numbers

This year, participation numbers in MOVE programming have decreased. Insert number here of local programs have been cut. Two domestic service trips were cut as well. However, Scott says that the decrease cannot be linked to budget cuts alone. “Our participation numbers this year have been lower than they have been in the past two years, not by a huge amount. There’s not a statistical significance that points to the budget,” she said, adding “I think there are a lot of factors.” 

So what is the cause of lower participation numbers? It may be a result of fewer students at the college in general, Cummings explained??. Two domestic extended service trips were cancelled because of low application numbers. This came as a surprise to Cummings. “It is hard to accurately figure out why such a drop in demand occurred but obviously with fewer students on campus we expected a decline in applicants which we incorporated in our planning by initially reducing domestic trips by four.” The MOVE staff did not foresee this,  “Overall, we did not expect the decline in applicants to be as steep as it was and we hope it is an aberration.” .

The Future at MOVE 

Looking ahead, Scott said she  hopes for a new full time assistant director position to be added. “It is really important that MOVE continues to be staffed the best it can be so that we can meet the needs of our students, meet the needs of our community partners, and provide opportunities that we know tare transformative and have deep meaning for students.” Specifically, Scott would like to have three full time positions in MOVE,  though she doesn’t know if they’ll get there anytime soon due to the recent cut of the International coordinator position. 

When it comes to participation numbers rising, Scott is focusing on factors outside of budget cuts. “We’re just really paying attention to what’s working for students and what might not be,” she said. The office is looking at new ways to conduct sign-ups for students, and spreading their marketing outreach across campus.  “We’re capitalizing on what we can control to increase our numbers again.” 

Beyond Campus 

MOVE exists as the significant coordinator of service on campus. For many, however, it means so much more. “MOVE is so much more than volunteering and hands-on community service, people sometimes forget that we advocate for social justice issues as well.”, said Donahue. 

“MOVE is not your narrow definition of volunteerism or community service where we simply bake a meal and drop it off and that’s that. We have four significant pillars: service, justice, reflection, and spirituality.” said Scott, “And we work really hard to embed all of those throughout all that we do.”  “MOVE is so much more than volunteering and hands-on community service, people sometimes forget that we advocate for social justice issues as well.”

Working in the community, MOVE focuses on “meeting immediate needs in the community as the community defines them.” Scott added, “ We are ultimately working towards justice. We’re working toward making social change in our community on a deeper level with every service opportunity we offer.” 

By Leanne Hamilton

Executive Editor

Imagine you are  walking down the street hands tucked in your pockets when you notice a woman walking towards you. A bleeding nose, is shaking, and isn’t wearing appropriate clothing. Do you immediately take action and come to her aid and intervene? Do you immediately believe that she has been assaulted? Keep that in mind. Now imagine a man is walking toward you in the same condition:bleeding nose, shaking, and torn clothes. What is your reaction to him? Do you cross to the other side of the street? Do you think he’s gotten himself into a fight? Maybe you ask if you can help, but still keep your distance? Do you ever think he is fleeing from his partner, who has just assaulted him?


ILLUSTRATION BY LEANNE HAMILTON

For some men, the last scenario is real. According to the  National Domestic Violence Hotline statistics, nearly 10 percent of men  have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by their partner and have reported a related impact on their day-to-day function. Nearly half of all men and women in the U.S. have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Half of male victims (52.4 percent) reported being raped by an acquaintance and only 15.1 percent by a stranger. About 6 percent of men experience sexual coercion in their lifetime, while 11.7 percent of men experience unwanted sexual contact. I spoke with David O’Leary, a registered psychotherapist that has worked with cases of male domestic abuse, for some more information on this quiet epidemic. “The very idea in society that men could be abused in a relationship, the connotations in society, means men are far less likely to reach out for help or even admit to themselves what they’ve experienced,” said David O’Leary, a registered psychotherapist in Burlington who has worked with both men and women who have suffered from sexual abuse . “I’ve worked with maybe 570 women and about maybe 10 to 15 men. These ratios show that.”

 The concept of masculinity within our society, the expectations of men around this concept of masculinity, definitely play a role in men’s hesitation to reach out, O’Leary said, explaining that he has often heard men talk about what is expected of them, about always having control, and defining their corner physically or mentally.

     “What happens when you need to assert your power and control in a relationship that is asserting power/control over you?” O’Leary said.  For men, that can be complicated by societal assumptions. If the abuser is a woman, it causes questions of doubt in the male partner. “Is  this even happening? She’s a man I’m a woman, maybe she’s just having a bad day.”      

Men who have reached out for help, have mentioned that they didn’t know where to go. “If we look at the language around domestic violence, it’s women helping battered women. In 2003, the Violence Against Women Act was established. A man searching for what to do next may find this language specific for women and find that they’re out of luck,” said O’Leary. 

Changing the language can help to start the conversation that support is out there not only for women, but men as well. This conversation can be brought to campus as well, through different concepts and discussions within courses. “My initial reaction is that we talk about violence against women but there’s men that experience this too and it’s not really talked about, said Meg Schneider ‘22, a student registered in the Mena and Masculinity course at St. Michael’s College. “Showing the statistics, even if the numbers seem kind of low, it’s still enough to [show]that this does happen and is a problem.” 

“We talk about toxic masculinity in class and what kind of culture that creates that men feel they need to be dominant,” explained Schneider. “If something like this were to happen to them it might make them feel weak. I think that makes them feel like ‘oh maybe I’m not masculine enough’ and not report it.” 

Even if abuse of men has not been happening on campus, Schneider feels it should still be part of our campus conversation. “Obviously this happens and if this isn’t a conversation, no one is going to want to talk about it,” said Schneider. “I work with Active Minds and we have been trying to do something around men’s mental health and that could be a part of the conversation because topics like this affect mental health.” 

Schneider added that  the Violence Against Women Act, should be expanded to include men.  “ it’s bad enough that someone should have to go through this, but it’s even worse when they feel there is no support out there for them.” 

“I totally picture women right off the bat; women as the victim, men as the perpetrator” said Cierra Pierce ’20, r also taking the Men and Masculinity course. “In our class specifically we try to remember that men can be victims too. I think I would be surprised at first [to find the man is actually the victim] but then correct myself and think, “Yes, Cierra, men can be victims too.” 

“Manning up and being tough, and not crying definitely keeps [men] from reaching out,” Pierce said.. “I don’t think masculinity should just be tough, emotionally closed off, don’t cry. If men actually have the capacity to be emotional and be vulnerable, to let themselves cry, I think that is more masculine because it takes more strength and more courage to be that vulnerable,” said Pierce. 

The conversation of domestic abuse be it physical, sexual, or emotional, may be heavily geared towards female victims, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be shifted to include other perspectives such as males as the victim, or transgender people.  Anyone can find themselves in a toxic relationship, some signs of abuse are more subtle than others. “Ask yourself, does it feel right? Do I feel I am always second in this relationship? Do I think less of myself because of this relationship? If you answer yes to most of these questions, you have recognized a pattern of what is not right and it’s time to reach out,” s O’Leary said. If you are unsure of what is abuse, check out the sidebar in the bottom right corner for some subtle signs you may not recognize.

By Janvier Nsengiyumva

Opinion Editior

You might have worked hard to get into college, and love the idea of college, but you might also find yourself lonely and isolated once you are in college

Erica Nwadike ‘22, said that as a student of color, she mainly surrounds herself with other students of color, and she feels detached from white students. “I feel like my white classmate or counterparts weren’t really connecting with me as how it used to be [in] Boston [where] I am surrounded with diversity. “I feel lonely when I am in class and I am like the only black student in there, especially being the black girl. Most of my classmates are dudes, and I come in and they just like “Oh there is the girl, she is a person of color and a very interesting long name, last name because I am Nigerian, they don’t know how to pronounce my last name.”

 When she feels lonely, Nwadike goes out to find her friends and do something to keep herself busy. An academic journal done by Barbara Thelamour, Crystical George Mwangi, and Ijeoma Ezeofor on diversity in higher education, which is titled “we need to stick together for survival”: black college students’ racial identity, same-ethnic friendships, and campus connectedness”. They found that social belonging theory shows how the environment plays a significant role in subjective experiences of connectedness. Thus campus environments can have a harmful effect on black students feeling like they belong. This study indicates that African American and African, Caribbean and students who hold strong racial backgrounds are not as connected to their campus, although this lack of connection is even higher for African American. Thus, there is closeness among students of color or those who share similar backgrounds . Another study by Crystal Ibe at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill confirms this study, she found that black students have a higher risk of experiencing racial discrimation and exclusion. Thus, due to this anxiety being in a predominantly white campus, black students seek to help and support one another. Many psychologists agree that there are psychological difficulties that contribute to a student of color feeling lonely in classrooms while being in a predominantly white environment. Nwadike was surrounded by diversity and it was not surprising that she would find herself only connecting with students from her background because in this study, there is an emphasis on having what black faminist referred to as “safe space” for students of color. This term describes the place where marginalized students go to in order to feel safe and avoid the the “gaze and frequent prejudices of members of privileged groups”.

When Alexander Leandry arrived on campus as a first-year he too had a hard time making friends. “When I first came to campus, even after I did SOAR which was really great, I made great friends. I was very afraid when I had to talk to people because it is such a close community I was afraid to say something wrong, make a wrong joke or just not know what to say,” he explained. “So for the longest time I felt very insecure when I first came here because I was so afraid not just what other people think but how I would think of myself and if I were to become more lonely”. 

 Leandry felt like other students didn’t understand him and mostly felt lonely. He was unfamiliar with the students living with him. “Whenever I go back to my room because on my floor it’s just a bunch of you know sporty white kids and they all talk to each other, but whenever, I walk through they just kind of look at me and don’t say anything. I don’t connect with anyone on my floor, I don’t know a single one of their names at all”. According to  Brianna Suslovic at Smith College, she studied problems concerning racial loneliness; Suslovic observes loneliness is often experienced by students of color in more intense manner, especially when they find themselves in a situation where they are “the only” or the ‘first.’ As the ‘only’ or the ‘first,’ surrounded by whiteness, feelings of ambivalence, grief, or rage in not-belonging emerge”.

 Arriving at college, students are forced to make new friends and sometimes the process can cause one to feel insecure and afraid. This experience of loneliness such as being away from family and friends is common to all first year students according to a psychological study on the aspects of loneliness experienced by college students, in this study by Jerie Kull Wood, students who experience separation from home develop the feeling of doubt, confusion, and anxiety. 

In our survey,  we asked students to respond to the question if Saint Michael’s college is an inclusive environment. Most students expressed concerns for cliques and people being closed off and others thought it’s about finding your group. In this anonymous responds, this is what they said; 

“people are unfriendly towards anyone not in their cliques”, 

“it can be very clique-y and closed off socially”, 

“I think depends on a lot different factors, but I do find that once people find their friends, they tend to want to stick with them and not branch out or include new”

“Depends on many factors including where you live, what class you are, what race you are”

“Cliques everywhere:

“We say we are close-knit community, but we aren’t, the campus climate is bad and needs to change”

Only a few students in this survey said “yes” and “great” on the campus being inclusive, but most express similar concern, including for the most part the growing trend of cliques.

          In asking whether they find it hard to make friends, one of them said “no because he was fortunate enough to be in a sports team” which gave him a lot of friends. Another student express the on-going concern by saying it’s impossible because too “clique and alcohol induce climate”

 In the survey, students also said they often feel lonely in the Dining Hall, on the weekends, in winter or “most of the time”. What do they do about loneliness? A few said they never felt lonely , but others said they watch movie”, “try to get off campus a bit”, other students said they would isolate themselves further in their room or try to distract themselves by being productive, put their head phone on, sleep, cry, go on their phones, texts other friends, and drink. Among all the students who took the survey. In those 24 responses, 79.1 percent admitted that they felt lonely on campus and 20.83 percent said no. 

Sarah Klionsky, one of personal counselors at Bergeron Wellness center agrees with the connection between social media and loneliness. She added, “Many students struggle with loneliness. It is a normal part of human life to sometimes experience loneliness. Some researchers speculate that this increase in loneliness in college students today relates to the influence of social media.  We are having less face to face interactions with each other, which exacerbates feelings of loneliness”. 

 Often associated with the elderly, loneliness  is even more prevalent among college students who are often dealing with social change and social pressure. A study by Cigna, an American worldwide health service,  shows that the loneliest generation of adults is generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s,

In the study on 48,000 undergraduate students, 64 percent responded to the 2017 college survey and reported feeling very lonely for the last past year. Thus, from those who reported feeling extremely lonely had experienced a sense of isolation.

Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D, a sociology professor at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, thinks that students should not spend too much perfecting loneliness, but developing tools to appreciate solitude. She observes that students are becoming more anxious, depressed and stressed out when arriving on campus. Thus, this is thinks to the lack of meaningful connection; she goes on to say that students are “sleeping with their phones, pulling their phones out when they don’t want to appear alone, texting peers and romantic interests because it’s “easier,” and their increasing discomfort and anxiety with face to face conversations all reveal this loneliness”.

There is always a solution for overcoming loneliness at Saint Michael’s College.  Peter Valentine associate professor for classical and modern language and literature, “starting college in the first year is a significant transition for all students . In my first year seminar classes students often report feeling like it can be difficult at first to find new friends, or to be comfortable with their housing situation, [and] figuring out who to eat with in Alliot for lunch or dinner. “ 

“ Winters are long in Vermont, so it’s harder to be outside where people can gather socially if you didn’t grow up skiing or spending time outside you might not want to do those things, and then you might feel more isolated,”Vantine added. “ we have a lot of great things we can do with our phones and laptops,[but] they can also be extremely easy to keep ourselves busy with ourselves, infinite feed.” there’s actually so many interesting things going on campus, I would really encourage students to try to participate in things outside their classes” 

Luke Heath, one of the counselors at Bergeron Wellness Center expanded on, “while party culture tends to be loud and can seem like fun, it’s actually quite normal for young adults to realize they would rather spend their Friday night differently. Many prefer to connect in small groups, connecting with more quest activities, etc.. The thread is that, whether it be a party or two people talking or watching a movie, people enjoy connecting with people.”

Most faculties at school agreed that because of this growing trend on loneliness, that it’s important for students or those who hold social edge to develop an open environment for those who feel lonely, by making it easier for students who are learning about friendship or relationship to integrate and transition. Thus, allowing an inclusive environment for students who present different social backgrounds–namely race, gender, and sexuality. 


By Victoria Bradford

Visual & Design Editor

When Greg Delanty was a boy growing up in Cork, Ireland, every member of his family would wear a sprig of shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day. “It was fresh shamrock and you’d wear it on your lapel,” he said, lighting up with the memories. “My mother used to send it to me for years,” even after he moved to the United States 33 years ago.

In Ireland, March 17 is about acknowledging the people of the past who went before us, Delanty explained.“We’re only here for a short time ourselves, and they made our lives possible.”

That’s a big contrast with many college students, who see March 17 as a time of Guinness drinking, pub crawling, and craic. Something most Americans don’t know is that the common celebratory traditions did not originate in Ireland. It has become a day associated with drinking, partying, and wearing green. 

Saint Michael’s has a number of folks from Saint Patrick’s birthplace, including President Lorraine Sterrit who was born and raised on the east coast of Northern Ireland, before taking her Irish lilt “across the pond.” On March 17, she said you will see her on campus in green celebrating her heritage. Although she enjoys the celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic, she said, “I like the fact that it’s celebrated here even by the people who are not Irish.”

 different parts of Ireland, different backgrounds, how they came together here and celebrating their own individuality as an Irish person. And what’s good about being Irish. He also mentions that it is a much bigger day here in the United States than the country of origin. He wants people to remember that Irish people wouldn’t drink to celebrate, a common myth. It was to get through the hard times they had to endure, whether that was during the famine or the troubles.

This year, March 17 falls during spring break. Liam Galvin ‘20 and Becca Stouges ‘19 each said they both spend their St. Patrick’s Days with their families watching parades. My neighborhood is full of Irish-Americans,” Galvin said.

Stouges said she also enjoys Irish food, such as corned beef, soda bread, and anything with potatoes, with her friends and family. 

At the core, what is important is the celebration of the Irish heritage and spending time with friends and family, Delanty said, whether you are in Ireland or elsewhere. He said, “Well, it’s different for America. But it has to be different because it’s a different country. It’s a different take. It’s a different world. It is different in its complexity and its in its background because they have different things to celebrate but the same as identity in being Irish and managing to get through at all.”
You also shouldn’t feel too bad about taking advantage of the Irish food that is served. Guinness and soda bread are good, it’s hard to argue that. Slàinte!

By Hannah McKelvey

Executive Editor

Are you one of the 43 percent of eligible voters who did not make it to the polls for the 2016 election? With Super Tuesday just past, and the 2020 Presidential Election quickly approaching registered voters, have a lot to think about when it comes to this upcoming election.

Why should you vote? Professor Jeffrey Ayres of the political science department had answers to three questions that often pop up from reluctant voters

Why should I vote?

Voting is one of the main ways to develop a sense of political efficacy, meaning you feel like it’s worthwhile getting involved. Voting is still an effective way to collectively make a statement on the public desire for change or support on key policies.

How do I get informed?

One way to not be informed is to watch cable news, the best ways are to read a couple of key newspapers, try to attend a candidate campaign, and talk to your friends and family members.”

Does my one vote really matter?

Collectively votes are going to make a really big difference. I’m from Virginia originally, and there was one seat that was separated by one vote. So your vote does matter, especially at the local matter and the state level.

The Defender surveyed the community about the upcoming election. Of the eighty-nine participants responded to the survey, eighty-seven responded that “yes” they will be voting in the upcoming election. Two responded that “no” they will not vote.

Participants explain WHY they will BE voting?

Because I feel oppressed on this campus and in the entire state so it’s the only place I can express my true opinions and beliefs INFORMED voting is essential to our democracy. Even though you’ll never agree with a candidate 100 percent, it’s better to get some of the policies and priorities you find important rather than none of them if you don’t vote. We can’t be passive.

I believe that the more people who vote, the better. The whole point of having a democratic republic in the first place was so our voices could be heard, and it takes some power away from those in charge. I vote because so many others around the world pray every day that they could have a say in who their leaders are.

Apathy is one of the biggest threats to our democracy, and young people especially need to get out and vote. If you want your values represented in government, you have to vote.

Participants explain why they will NOT be voting.

I will be exercising my right to vote by not voting.

Because my father told me so.

When the participants were asked who they would be voting for the results came out as follows:


38 Trump

25 Bernie Sanders
7 Pete Buttigieg
7 Elizabeth Warren
3 Michael Bloomberg 2 Amy Klobuchar
2 Unsure
1 None of the above 1 Currently undecided 1 William Weld
1 Joe Biden

By Kit Geary

Staff Writer

Ashley Turner ‘21, born and raised in Monkton, Vt., remembers seeing Bernie Sanders every single fourth of July at a neighboring town’s parade. Sanders attended even into her high school years as he began to gain attention for his presidential campaign for the 2016 election.“As the years went on and Bernie got more popular everyone would try to take pictures with him at this parade,” Turner said. “It was like having a celebrity there, even though he came every year beforehand.” Sander’s would always make a point to shake the hands of his supporters who were spectators of the parade. Smiling and waving, he would lead a crowd of followers holding his campaign signs.

Sanders so far has won the Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa primaries, falling to Joe Biden in South Carolina’s. Bernie Sanders currently leads the polls according to a CBS News Battleground Tracker/Yougov poll, showing him at 31 percent compared to Biden’s 19 percent and Elizabeth Warren’s 18 percent. Nationally Sanders’ has accumulated a huge amount of supporters, but are Vermonters still behind their senator as he pulls their state into a national spotlight? Did his grassroots campaigning from previous years upkeep Bernie mania in Vermont?

His grass roots campaigning methods did not start with local parades, it started with local college parties. My uncle, Michael Geary 83’, used to share stories about hosting him on a few different occasions. “Bernie in the early 80s was the mayor of Burlington and used to come to the parties at my apartment on North Union Street”, said Geary. Bernie needed to find a way to reach the college age demographic, and this was his tactic. 

Bernie Sanders’ roots with Vermonter’s run deep. And his reach also includes Nicholo Mamaril, who has lived in Vermont for two years now and originally immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines. As a Navy Veteran and a member of the middle class he said he finds himself in agreement with many of Sanders’ political values. “We need a politician to protect the environment and protect the people, in terms of social justice issues and in terms of economic matters,” Mamaril said. He thinks Sander’s had a good run as a Senator and that him being president would benefit the entire United States. “Bernie is not only thinking about Vermont, especially when he debates about economics and health care, he has the whole country in mind” Mamaril said

People assume that Bernie has Vermont’s vote locked in considering the state’s fairly liberal status. “Bernie represents one of, if not the most, left state in the country” said Professor Patricia Siplon, professor of political science at St. Michael’s college. Yet, this liberal state has a Republican Governor, as well as many Republican voters. Will these voters side with Bernie? 

Siplon said she anticipates that Bernie Sanders will not only have the Democratic vote in Vermont, but possibly the Republican one too. “I think it is likely he will get some Republican votes. Look at Phil Scott’s support as a moderate Republican. This support may extend to Bernie as well,” Siplon said. Phil Scott openly criticizes President Trump and still maintains support from his Republican base. When it comes down to Vermont Republicans voting, Siplon said she thinks they will cast their ballot for Sanders over Trump. 

Sanders will be in Essex Junction Super Tuesday for a rally, in hopes of winning over Vermont’s vote. “Bernie mania is definitely a Vermont thing,” Turner said. “ I think we are super proud to have had him as a senator for so long, and he’ll have been a candidate in the last election and this election” Turner said.

By Garret Donnelly

Staff Writer

Why do I support Bernie Sanders? Because I have a deep respect for his person.

I remember in high school the first time hearing about him, I was perplexed that there existed an honest politician. Before that, I was gearing up for a life of power over principle.

Yes, my first major was computer science: the plan was to become a mogul and use my own money to fund my political endeavors so that I wouldn’t compromise my values by taking campaign donations. But Bernie gave me hope; he didn’t have a well-connected or rich family and he stayed resolute throughout the years.

Then how did he do it? Grassroots fundraising. I didn’t know such a strategy was tenable before him. Impressed by his integrity and far-reaching influence without a need to appeal to existing power structures, I began to be convinced by his ideas as well. Without being shameful about it, a lot of the reason I’m at St. Michael’s College is because I got a decent amount of money to come here. I want to get my doctorate, and I’m sure that I’m capable, but the question is really more about whether I can afford to go back to school. That’s why Sander’s college plan is so attractive to me; it is probably the only way I will be able to have the kind of life that I want.

I want to become either a doctor of law or philosophy and enter politics to be able to save this country. I don’t come from the kind of family that can get me there on their own. In a sense, Bernie has preempted the fact that he is old by making his movement out of young people. He gives us hope not in him, but in ourselves and us together. We know he won’t be here forever, so that’s why we see it as important that we care, too, so that when he’s gone what he stood for can still go on. In a sense, that’s another good reason why Medicare for All is such an important policy to me. I want tobe able to live long enough to carry the flag, and I know from personal experience what it looks like when medical bills take over your life. Everybody probably has this story of their grand- parent’s last few years in and out of hospitals, only for the bills to be passed to your own family once they die. I don’t go to the doctor as frequently as I should. When I’m sick, I generally just self-medicate and sleep it off. I do the same for nearly all health issues.

I don’t know if I’m dying today, and you probably don’t either if you can’t afford to find out. Everybody needs Bernie’s plan because no one can afford emergencies out of pocket. I don’t think it’s so radical to take care of people. After all, why do we have society? It’s to make our lives collectively easier. I am willing to put in the effort, long-term, so that I can help people I don’t even know. Are you willing to help me do that?

Garrett Donnelly ‘21 is a Philosophy major at St. Michael’s College. He plans to vote in his state’s semi-open primary and the general in November.

By Kaitlyn Williams

Online Editor

I sat down for the first class of the semester. I was ready to learn and prepare for a class of listening to the syllabus. After a rough previous semester with my mental health, I was ready to start anew with a fresh positive look. Then the professor called my name and accompanied it with a “You have lost a lot of weight”. Immediately, my stomach sunk.

Despite how good the intentions of the professor may have been, the damage had been done. I felt a wave of anxiety surge through me, reminding me of all the things I hated about my body. Self-consciousness rose as I began to think about what my classmates made of the comment. Had they all been thinking that too? Did I look bad before? Was it that noticeable?

Without knowing it, this professor resurfaced years of anxieties that have grown with me. I have struggled with an eating disorder since I was 15 years old.

Eating disorders aren’t always something that you are able to see, and you never know who may or may not be suffering from one. At the time of the comment, I had been eating very little due to severe anxiety that squelched my appetite along with times of binging and purging.

The professor went on to call other names, but meanwhile, my discomfort kept growing throughout the class, and I struggled silently with an anxiety attack trying to understand why the prof thought that it was appropriate to say that to me in front of a class.

Making comments about someone’s weight is off-limits. This professor remains one of my favorites, but that does not change the fact that what she said was not acceptable and will never be acceptable – especially coming from a professor in a classroom that this college tries to make a safe space.

I remember the first time someone commented on my weight in high school. After losing a lot of weight, another girl in the hallway stopped me and told me I looked great and asked if I had lost weight. At the time I was flattered and satisfied that someone noticed that I had lost weight, but at the same time that encouraged my eating disorder to go even further. Complimenting some- one’s weight loss is something that you shouldn’t do as you don’t know what someone has been through.
In society, there is so much pressure to look a certain way. Media portrays the idea of an ideal body where you have to be thin — but not too thin — and curvy — but not too curvy. These are unrealistic standards that are constantly put on both men and women for their bodies. Media encourages eat- ing disorders through seeing the lives of social media stars and also constant photoshopped images appearing in your feed. I’ve seen it not only affect me but my friends. While scrolling through their Instagrams I’ll hear them say “she’s so pretty”, or “wow I wish I could have her body”. When I try to tell them that they look great the way they are they just refute it because they don’t look like this person that they deem the ideal.

I know that it is not realistic to believe that social media will change overnight, but I don’t think that it is ridiculous to hope that as a society we can take steps to change things for the better. If everyone is a little bit more mindful of what they say, the world could be a much more friendly place for everyone.

By Laura Hardin

Staff Writer

Can you think back to a time when you could not fall asleep but instead find yourself staring between the ceiling and the clock, frustrated and waiting for sleep to come? For some people, this is a nightly occurrence. For many people with insomnia, your mind knows that it is tired, but your body cannot seem to sleep. To Alex Muskat ’20, it is “being really tired but wide awake at the same time.”

ILLUSTRATION BY LUCAS KIRSCH
A tired student desperately attempts to count sheep in order to get some sleep, but due to insomnia, counting sheep just isn’t working for him as the clock strikes 3 o’clock

So, just how many college students really suffer from insomnia? According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 9.5 percent of university students across the country are diagnosed with chronic insomnia and an estimated 38.2 percent suffer from insomnia but go undiagnosed. A separate study from The US National Library of Medicine found that three out of five college students in the US suffer from chronic fatigue.

Liam Galvin ‘20, knows insomnia. “A bunch of people suffer from sleep related issues, but they do not really notice them, or they consider them to be not as big of a deal as they should. In specific, I think that a bunch of people have very unhealthy sleep schedules that lead them to binge sleeping. They push themselves not to sleep and then have to keep up with sleep debt. The issue with those kinds of habits is that they are way harder to break than any negative short-term issues that sleep debt might cause,” Galvin says.

We all know that sleep is very important, but you still may be wondering, “why should I care about my poor sleeping habits?” On February 17, Albert S. Hardy, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, gave a lecture at Saint Michael’s College on insomnia and the dangers of poor sleeping habits. He said you cannot make up for that lost time of sleep and lack of sleep can be very dangerous.

“If you are awake for 19 hours, you have the same performance behind the wheel as someone who is legally drunk,” Hardy explained during his lecture, “the cost of this to society is huge, there are over 1.2 million sleep deprivation related accidents a year.”

Cognitive abilities are not the only thing affected by sleep deprivation; cardiovascular effects from sleep deprivation are also a big problem. “During daylight savings time when we spring forward and lose an hour of sleep, 1.5 million people have a spike in heart attacks,” Hardy said. “When we gain an hour in the fall, that number falls.” Sleep deprivation can have drastic effects on your health. Seek help if you suffer from sleep deprivation. In the end, “Any medical condition that warrants accommodations can be granted, pending approval from your primary care provider,” states Damir Alisa from the Bergeron Wellness Center.

By Vicky Castillo

Contributing Writer

Firstly, I want to express how grateful I am to go to a school where certain individuals within administration are not only dedicated to fulfilling students’ needs and addressing our concerns, but who are also doing their best to organize events and implement structural changes within the college.

That being said, there is plenty of room for improvement since many of our students of color feel like not enough is being done to make them feel safe, valued, and welcomed on this campus.

One of my largest criticisms of the Day of Learning and Reflection, Feb. 18, 2020 is that seemed to be focused on educating white students about racism, which sort of alienated students of color who felt that this day was not for them and that they had nothing to learn from it; nor did it make a difference in celebrating diversity or addressing the concrete issues of racism that occur and have occurred on campus. One major improvement would be making sure students of color are extensively involved in the planning process of major events like these, and not just the few students of color who are on the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, because they cannot speak for all of their peers.

Although it is not the responsibility of students of color to be on the front lines educating our white students and faculty about racism, we still must be open to working together against racism. Yet, I need to stress the importance of white students understanding the daily struggle of being a student of color on a campus in which 82% of the student body and 90% of faculty and staff are white, and the impact it would have on our entire campus culture if white students and faculty were cognizant of the racism that does exist on campus and were committed to not only working on their own biases and education, but were committed to standing up for one another when microaggressions and other subtle manifestations of racism occur.

You only have to be aware, kind, and courageous enough to speak up. I think that is something everyone is capable of.


Vicky Castillo ’20 is a member of the Civil Rights Alliance.