Author

defenderkwilliams4

Browsing

By Janvier Nsengiyum

Opinion Editor 

When I need a solution for something, or a conscience, the Bob Dylan song  “Blowin” in the wind” pops into my head. When I hear the lyrics “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” and “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see”? I feel liberated. Every line is powerful; while there is a feeling of sadness, there is also a yearning for possibility and having a conscience.

This brings me to the problem of diversity. Let’s face it, Saint Michael’s College suffers from lack of diversity and it affects the campus environment and everyone in the community. With the current political climate and social issues surrounding racism, students are more likely to fall victim to indoctrination. In such a situation, racism is normalized and begins to feel permissible. The lack of awareness around inclusion perpetuates this  environment.  Let me tell you why diversity matters.

      I am a black student, I live in Aubin Common. Every day, I like to take the elevator from fourth floor to the first and I walk through the glass hallway that connects Aubin and Dion. But when I open the door that allows me into Dion family center, when I look at the students situated in the studying room and those on the right in the Make space my mind goes,  “Everyone is white. ”And I think they are probably staring at me as I walk by to Einstein’s. I find it hard to be in the moment because I feel self-conscious, like there is a light being pointed at me.

      It’s very obvious. When I walk into Alliot,  look at the dining tables occupied with mostly white students I also  think, “It’s always the same every year.”   

Sometimes there’s a double consciousness which can make your life difficult.  I am a  black man in the eyes of white people, therefore I become a symbol of limits; meaning that my presence becomes a negation for how one defines oneself as an American.  This double consciousness coined by W.E.B Dubois is very important in understanding the experience of black people. Imagine a group of black men walking through Dion or in Alliot. For those who have never seen them they might view them as the outsider. As Dubois once said “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

He captured my everyday experiences walking in this environment. As a black student when you start making eye contact, you notice everyone staring at you. Thus, you begin to see yourself through a double lens–through your history as a black man, including stereotypes, and as an American, including being a student. 

Think about what Toni Morrison once said:  “Take away the gaze of the white male. Once you take that out, the whole world opens up.”  How do you turn off the gaze? I would want to keep the gaze insofar we are gazing at the same world; whether I am invisible in your eye, the object of disgust, or the thing that negates your existence, I exist in the same world.

It’s true that everyone wants to feel comfortable and safe. In fact, most of us are insecure. But we have to understand why we’re insecure. If you never try to talk to a black person or anyone different from you, how are you going to grow? We need to step out of our worlds and gaze in one world. The answer is blowin in the wind, all you have to do is listen and understand and don’t turn your head and pretend you know.  

By Nate Imbergamo

Between tuition, recreation, and textbooks, Saint Michael’s College can be an expensive place to attend. With these expenses in mind, it begs the question, what kind of knowledge do students have about their personal finances? Financial literacy is not a measure of wealth but rather it is how much one understands their own personal finances.      

Dealing with personal finances is something that all college students will inevitably encounter. Business, accounting, and economics majors often take classes throughout their time at St. Mike’s that may allow them to gain more financial literacy. Although these majors inherently include financial literacy, other majors at St. Mike’s may never cover even the most basic concepts of finance.   

Outside of classes associated with minors, is the personal finance class taught by professor Thomas VanDzura, instructor of accounting. “From their vantage point they found this to be a life skills course,” said prof. VanDzura about students’ views on the personal financial planning course. The personal finance course is available online over the course of six weeks in the summer and teaches students the basics of personal finance such as budgeting, renting, and various types of insurance to purchase. 

Photo by Erin Hammer
Allison Luedtke, Assistant Professor of Economics next to the letter board in her office in St. Edmund’s Hall. Luedtke reccommends using budgeting apps as step one for finacial literacy.

But what if you can’t take the class? For students that are inevitably unable to take the personal finance course, “Organization can be more than half the proverbial battle,” says prof. VanDzura. While there is a course specifically for personal finance, students possess other ways to become financially literate. 

“The first thing you should do is find a budget app…those are really good for building a budget, which is step one for financial literacy,” says economics professor Allison Luedtke. There are many budget apps students can download for free on their phones. “Mint” is one of those apps and it comes from Intuit, the same company that created “QuickBooks” and “TurboTax”. While there are many budgeting applications, “Mint” has the most personal finance management merit behind it.

“Your focus right now in your early to mid-twenties should be figuring out what you love,” said prof. Luedtke when asked about college spending such as recreation and travel.

A common misconception is that being good with personal finances means one limits their spending greatly. “The intent of budgeting is not to say you can’t treat yourself. You can, but you just want to track it and monitor it so you can do it wisely” says prof. VanDzura on the topic. By tracking and observing your personal finances as they are now, you will be able to see if you have room to spend or alternatively, if you need to reduce expenses.

Financial literacy can be overlooked by many students due to its seeming complexity but, simply being observant of current spending habits is a huge step to becoming financially literate.

By Kendall Anthony

 Cassandra Falone and Brianna Purcell watch from the sidelines at Winooski Middle School, signs in their hands, as they watch their young middle school mentees play an intense game of basketball that goes up and down the court. Through the STRIDE program, Falone and Purcell have been given the opportunity to mentor middle school athletes throughout all of their years at Saint Michael’s, and its effect is noticeable in both parties.

At the start of its founding, the STRIDE program has provided Vermont girls with the resources they need to succeed in the sports world that all too often seems to be working against them. According to the STRIDE website, more than half of girls will drop out of sports by the age of 17. One of the subprograms, “Sisters in Sport,” pairs up a girl from Winooski Middle School with a basketball player on the women’s team at Saint Michael’s. Each season, the teams take turns watching each other’s practices and going to a game.


Photo By Shannon Bollhardt
On January 7, the Saint Michael’s women’s basketball team finish an afternoon practice with their Sister in Sports mentees of Winooski Middle School’s basketball team.

“Even beyond basketball they look up to us,” said Cassandra Falone ’20, shooting guard for the SMC women’s basketball team. Both Falone and her teammate, Brianna Purcell ’20, point guard, have been involved in the program for each of their four years on the team. “I think it just makes you feel valued as a person. You get to see that it’s comfortable, and you feel like a family where you can just be yourself” Purcell explained, speaking of the effect the partnership has on the women’s team and the middle school girls.  “We do a scrimmage against them. Sometimes they beat us which is pretty cool.” While Winooski has one of the most diverse school systems in Vermont, comparatively it also has higher levels of need. Over half of the students in the middle school alone qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

“It’s always very rewarding. I think them hearing us say ‘oh you can’t go to Saint Mike’s unless you go to class’ kind of made them think a little bit more about school and not just playing basketball.” explained Falone. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (the same age as many of the middle school girls in the program) were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26. Speaking on Bryant’s influence in the sport, Falone said that “young women can see that they are valued and important, and capable of success just like men’s players. He was able to pave the road for his daughter’s success, so if we, as mentors, to the Winooski girls are able to do remotely as much for young women as Kobe did, we will be more than successful. He is a role model for the mentors in our program.”

Leslie Wright, the founder of STRIDE and Sisters in Sport, “They’re on each other’s teams, and it just supercharges the athletic experience for these girls. It’s just remarkable that you can see the positive influence on the girls.” Wright explained. “What I have seen is girls’ self-esteem being built up. It also builds their ability to advocate for themselves.” For non-athletic students looking to get involved with mentoring, the MOVE program at Saint Michael’s has several options.

Your Adventure, Abroad
By Jackson Stoever

Studying abroad can be quite daunting at first glance. Students on campus embark on this journey each semester and it is often, the first time students are leaving the country. The nerves and intimidation sometimes scare students off the experience and affect us all before we head off on this new adventure. I hope to be studying abroad for myself this coming fall and these emotions have dwindled with me for the past few months. To seek a reassuring voice, I was able to meet with some fellow Purple Knights who have recently returned from their studies while abroad.

While interviewing them for a video interview, the tremendous insecurity I had felt for the entire Study Abroad process disappeared and the excitement that replaced it was indescribable. If I am able to take part in half the experiences that my peers have, that will be accomplishing enough. Perhaps students that joined me in the fear fest that was previously mentioned can take refuge, knowing that our classmates took the same path as us.

By Ashley DeLeon

Amidst intensifying frictions between the United States and Iran after the murder of Major General Qassim Soleimani, it is important to shed light on the continuum of American militarism and to demystify gray areas and false information circulating the media. As consumers of media, it is important to possess the ability to differentiate between “fake news” and reality in association with political affairs. This article will address common misbeliefs and misconceptions surrounding the current tensions between the United States and Iran, discrediting fallacies that have been woven into mainstream media.

On January 3, 2020, major news outlets reported that Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani had been killed via a targeted drone airstrike. This occurred 48 hours following a Twitter feud between Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Donald Trump. Trump taunted Khamenei with a statement alluding to an undertaking of “full responsibility” for any casualties of U.S troops in facilities abroad. Two days after Khamenei boldly responded, “You can’t do anything,” Soleimani and other military officials were killed at the Baghdad International Airport.


Following his death was an immediate declaration from Iran forewarning an intense retaliation against the United States, targeted primarily towards the U.S military’s presence in the Middle East. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-allied Hezbollah movement, stated on Sunday, January 5th, that targets include “…all the U.S. military bases in the region, their warships, every single general and soldier in our lands. It is the U.S. military that killed Haj Qasem and they must pay the price. We do not mean the American people.” Nasrallah adds, “There are many U.S. civilians in our region — engineers, businessmen, journalists. We will not touch them. Touching any civilians anywhere in the world will only serve Trump’s policy… The true, just retribution for those who conducted this assassination is an institution, which is the U.S. military. We will launch a battle against those killers, those criminals.”


Preceding this statement came a plethora of social media hysteria over a potential
military draft as #WorldWarIII trended on Twitter following the news of Soleimani’s death. Social media users have reported an abundance of memes, videos, and misleading information relating to the current political climate in Iran appearing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. As social media serves as a breeding site for “fake news” and misinformation, it is important to debunk many of the myths surrounding the current political situation in order to remain well-informed consumers of media. The information presented is accurate as of January 16, 2020.


False: Iran plans on attacking the United States in the near future, killing citizens and leaders.
Fact: Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hezbollah movement, projected attacks on U.S military members and bases in the Middle Eastern region. He stated that American citizens will not be targeted. In a previous statement made by Ayatollah Khamenei on February 8, 2019, broadcasted by Global News, the Supreme Leader projected attacks against President Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton.


False: U.S troops in Iraq are currently being withdrawn from the region.
Fact: On January 6, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that despite the surfacing of a letter
suggesting the evacuation of troops, the letter was unsigned and misaligned with the current U.S
policy. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, clarified that although the phrasing of the letter “implies withdrawal,” this is not the case. Milley continues, “It was a draft, unsigned letter because we are moving forces around and we have increased helicopter movement in Iraq.”


False: The U.S will most likely implement a military draft.
Fact: Theoretically, the implementation of a draft is possible. However, it is unlikely to happen.
According to Davis Winkie, a project archivist for the Veterans History Project at the Atlanta History Center and North Carolina National Guard serving officer, “It would take an act of Congress signed into law by the president for the Selective Service Administration to go back in action and call people involuntarily to military service.” He continues by stating that the activation of a draft is primarily meant for extreme emergencies, noting that a full-scale warwith Iran would not be enough to reactivate the draft.


False: The crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 occurred due to aircraft
mechanical/technical issues.
Fact: According to security camera footage verified by The New York Times on January 14,
2020, filmed 4 miles from Iran’s military site near the village of Bid Kaneh, two missiles had
been launched 23 seconds apart and struck the aircraft, with an initial strike disabling the
transponder.


Brewing tensions between the United States and Iran have correlated to a spike in misleading headlines and misinformation in mainstream media, convincing readers that military attacks on the United States are set to transpire and that military drafts will be reactivated. While becoming more conversant with political affairs, media consumers can begin to recognize misconceptions in “fake news” reporting and become truly educated on the issue at hand.


Ashley DeLeon ‘23 is a Media Studies major and student writer for the Marketing &
Communications Department at St. Mike’s.