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Friends, family, and staff reflect on the man who makes them ask, “What would Lou do?”

By Mirando Maiorino

Staff Writer

“Who Loves Ya,” “It’s All Good,” and “More to come…”are a mere handful of the unmistakable sayings, or Lou-isms, as students and faculty call it, of Lou DiMasi, St. Michael’s College’s Director of Resident Life. After nearly 39 years of working on campus, DiMasi will retire in December. True to his modest form, Dimasi declined to speak to reporters about his tenure at the college. Nonetheless, his legacy has touched the hearts of his co-workers, students, and family.

“Growing up in Somerville, MA, my dad could always be found out at the park shooting pucks or any game he could get his hands on. He even played professional for three years after being a standout player at Norwich University,” said Margaret DiMasi, resident director of Canterbury Hall. “Lou created the hockey program back at St. Mike’s back in 1982, only two years after he first came to St. Michael’s College. He was the hockey coach here for 25 years, and still holds the only Division II National Championship Title.”  DiMasi would later become a resident director, and eventually be promoted to his current title of Director of Resident Life, where he helps students work through residential issues such as roommate disagreements, alcohol and drug problems, and future housing selection anxieties.  While known as very stern in his disciplinary actions, DiMAsi often says  “There’s no bad kids, only bad decisions,”aiding students without casting judgement on their character.

“I knew right away that Lou was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back,”  wrote Megan Ohler, director of residential operations & systems and Associate Dean of Students who started at the college in 1995.  “I’ve gone from being supervised by Lou, to working beside him as a colleague. From day one, I heard the philosophy he lives by, ‘there are no bad kids, only kids who make bad decisions’ and I knew he was all about meeting students – anyone actually – where they were at without judgment and inspiring them to be better than they thought they could ever be.”

Ohler said she feels more people should know about DiMasi’s “compassionate soul.”

“There isn’t a day in Student Life where Lou doesn’t have a zillion situations going on … but when you’re the one sitting in front of him, you would never know that.   When you talk to Lou, you are his priority. You can feel his sincerity and concern for any individual in his words as well as his actions.   There is nothing he wouldn’t do to help you to get to the next point in your life.”

“When I came to the school, Lou was one of the first people I met as an incoming first year,” said Liam Cahill, ‘20. “He knew that I was probably nervous and anxious about starting this next chapter of my life, so to help he gave me his card with his personal phone number on it. I know that this was a small gesture but it meant so much to me to know that someone was looking out for me. Lou always had that ability to make light of tough situations and make students feel at ease.”

Brian Lee, Assistant Dean of Students since 2001 has worked with DiMasi for almost two decades. “He always reminds us, ‘You know, we’re here for the students. What can we do to make their days better and their experience the best it can be?’ We are all supposed to work our hardest in order to benefit the student,” said Lee, “Every morning, no matter how busy the office is or how much he’s running around, he always takes the time to stop and say ‘Hey, how are you?’ or ‘How are things going, honestly?’ to students. He’ll always take the time to check in on them despite his incredible work ethic, and that has to be one of the things I’ll always take with me when moving forward in my career.”

With his eyes staring up at his office light as he reminisces about his friend and mentor, Lee finally concludes with a smile, “While work is work and it needs to be done, Lou always cares about the person first, and always focuses on them first before anything else, which to me is really something to be admired. ”

To many, DiMasi seems dedicated to St. Michael’s College on all playing fields, whether that be hockey, residence, or the students themselves.  Even family, as some would say. According to his daughter, DiMasi has accepted St. Michael’s as his own family like that of his own flesh and blood. “I think seeing what the community St. Mike’s is and always being a part of it has been through my dad. It’s always been a goal of mine to work in Res Life and assist students in any way I could, all while learning anything I could first hand from Lou.”

Margaret DiMasi said that her father is someone who loves people and the connections he makes.  “St. Mike’s has been a true home for him over the past 39 years, and even now there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t ask myself ‘…what would Lou do?’

Even though DiMasi will leave St. Mike’s for good, purple and gold still run through his veins. Megan Ohler notes, “He’ll still be living right down the road, so we’re almost positive he’ll occasionally stop by for a coffee or lunch,” Ohler said.

What you’re missing in Nicolle Hall

By Meg Friel

Executive Editor

Nine o’clock at night on Saint Michael’s College campus means students filing in and out of dorm halls, making a last minute Cumbies run for a late night study snack, or Father Ray quietly sneaking out of Nicolle Hall to break into Alliot for his nightly ice cream treat.

A dozen priests live together on two floors of Nicolle Hall, each individual room equipped with a “living room” area, a bedroom, and a private bathroom. Located to the right of Alliot, Nicolle Hall has housed priests since 1963, and still maintains its essence with minimal changes since its beginning.

“You know who the first person to move in was? Me!” said Father Richard Vanderweel, S.S.E. “I moved in Labor Day of 1963. Physically, Nicolle Hall hasn’t changed much. It’s pretty much what it was. Except that they plopped the Welcome Center in front of us. We can’t find parking here either.”

When you walk Nicolle Hall through its connecting doors to Alliot, on the left you enter the prayer room, where every night at 5:10 the priests gather for their 10 minute evening prayer, or Vespers, except on Sundays, when the brothers begin Vespers at 5:00 to allow themselves more free time.

“It gives us a little extra time to shoot the bull,” said Father Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. “Some guys will have a drink. Then at a quarter to six, we’ll have dinner, sit around, chat. Father Brian, he can be pretty wild. After that, most guys go to our rooms and watch TV.”

After Vespers, the brothers sit down for a drink, their fridge stocked with Coke, ginger ale, and a shelf for beer.  On a recent Wednesday night, the brothers shared conversation while eating cheese they joked about smuggling from Canada, laughing while they unwound from the day. After this, dinner is served in their private dining room. The meal is made specially for them by two Sodexo workers, and tends to be a step up from the usual stir fry or hamburger station one would find in Alliot on a Wednesday night. Wednesdays and Sundays the food is “enhanced,” with dishes such as stuffed peppers or chicken and pasta with a creamy sauce.

“We usually try to get together for community time,” said Father Lino Oropeza, S.S.E. “After prayer, we gather in our living room and we talk to each other about the weather, Brexit, the fire in California, you name it. It can be detailed conversations, or it can be really silly. When we’re together, we’ll just play pranks on each other or mock each other. It’s never bad or ill intended. It’s love.”

While Nicolle Hall itself has its rare mishaps, such as a recent toilet overflow, living with 12 men has its own quirks, said  Father Lino, one of the younger brothers in the group.

“The walls are thin, and the guys are going deaf,” said Father Lino. “They watch TV or listen to music really loudly. I live across from Father Paul Kocher, and he has this audio system that has a really loud bass, so when he listens to TV, it’s all I hear.”

“As far as the walls, you really can’t hear your next door neighbors,” Father Vanderweel said.

“Father Michael lives above me, and once in awhile I hear him, when I have my hearing aids in.”

The group also tends to pick up the habits of one another. Their routines are set in stone and recognized by the rest of the brothers.

“Father Ray goes out every night at 9:00 to get ice cream in Alliot,” said Father Lino. Father Paul Koucher comes to pick up the New York Times in the bookstore every morning. Some of the guys have breakfast at 7:00 in the morning. So, you can tell if someone isn’t feeling well if they’re not at breakfast at 7:00.”

“There are pluses and minuses,” said Father Brian Cummings, S.S.E. “I like living there because I’m living with other people. You know, I’ve got 11 other men living with me. Father Ray is across the hall, I hear his radio. We listen to the same music, so I enjoy listening to his radio. My and Father Michael Carter bedrooms are adjoined, and sometimes he’ll hear me at night when I’m having nightmares. We’ll joke about that.”

For many of the brothers, living with older and more experienced priests gives them a mentor to look up to. Father Lino said they often learn from one another and enjoy living with each other because of the sense of family it gives them.

“Sharing and living with our brothers is our first ministry,” Father Lino said. “So, caring for the others and making sure everyone is well is our ministry. The community offers that opportunity.”

“What’s nice about being in a community is that you can engage in conversation and learn things from the men that are older,” Father Brian said. “There are men who are scholars in philosophy and theology and they’re very smart guys. They have strong academic interests, and they’re very well read. I learn a lot from the guys. “

While many of the brothers actively work on campus and in the surrounding community, the community aspect of the brotherhood comes together in the heart of Nicolle Hall.

“It helps to just have someone to laugh with, to sit down with, to share your frustrations once in awhile,” said Father Lino. “At the end of the day, you’re tired and you want to sit down and have a beer with someone and just talk.”

By Meg Friel
Executive Editor

“Again?”

Students, faculty and staff overwhelmingly responded to the news of white supremacy stickers being posted around campus, with an echo of incidents they have seen before.
St. Michael’s College and colleges in the surrounding area woke up the morning of Saturday, September 28, to stickers posted across campus from the white supremacy group, Patriot Front, boasting phrases such as “Reclaim America,” or “Keep America American.” This is the second time in recent years that white supremacist messages have emerged on campus. In February 2018, students found flyers posted on campus with messages saying, “It’s okay to be white.” This time, the stickers spread across campus left messages like, “Not Stolen, Conquered,” with an image of a map of the U.S. The stickers were removed immediately, says Doug Babcock, head of Public Safety, but students of color were shaken.

While these incidents were traced back to outside groups who came onto campus and also posted to other campuses in the area, many students say that microaggressions and racism occur in classrooms and in residential halls, leaving some students feeling unsafe on their own campus.

“People couldn’t sleep alone,” said co-president of the MLK Jr. Society Adrienne Rodriguez ‘21 of the 2018 incident. “We needed a buddy system. There was a group of like, 10 minorities, and we went around and took the flyers down.”

In response to the stickers incident this month ,the administration sent two emails to students, and held a community discussion on Friday Oct. 4 at 12:15, the day before October break began. About 40 students, faculty, staff and administration sat in Eddie’s Lounge, with chairs to spare. Students aired their frustration of the timing and date of the discussion, as many students had already left for their long weekend.

“I think it’s a great thing that they’re holding this meeting but listen, it’s been a week, this should’ve been done Monday. Now we’re having a meeting on Friday, but that’s when everybody’s leaving. At 12:15, who’s going to go?” Rodriguez asked.

“It just feels like nobody really cares what we’re going through,” she said. “This weekend, President Sterritt didn’t reach out to me. There’s only so much that one whole school email can do. Like, come talk to us. Come to the center [Center for Multicultural Affairs]. Show us that you care.”

President Lorraine Sterritt was present at the meeting, chiming in that “one student feeling unsafe is one student too many.” However, concrete plans as to what the administration will be doing to protect student’s safety are yet to be announced.

“With regard to students’ daily life on campus, we continue our quest for inclusion by listening, communicating, educating, and raising awareness,” Sterritt wrote in an email. “The administration cares very deeply about all our students. We want all of our students to be safe and to feel safe; to be respected and to feel respected.”

Dawn Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Affairs, chose to have the meeting on Friday as she didn’t want to postpone the meeting until after fall break.

“I wanted to gather people together to support, listen and support one another,” Ellinwood said. “I wanted the discussion to happen prior to October break and preferably earlier in the week, but I could not make it happen.”

Some students said this year’s response mimics what they saw in 2018, not only from the administration, but from the community of Saint Michael’s as a whole.

“The culture of the campus allows for those things to happen, and there’s not going to be some sort of uproar, or call for response,” said Marlon Hyde ‘21. “Everybody’s not going to immediately band together and say ‘Hey, this is wrong.’ People know that that isn’t going to happen here, especially when it comes to racism, because it doesn’t affect everyone equally.”

While the stickers demanded attention, more common microaggressions — subtle discriminations against members of a marginalized group such as a racial minorities– happen every day, Hyde said. They usually go unnoticed.

Student Safety, A Priority
Rodriguez describes Halloween of 2018, when she felt an act of discrimination was handled underwhelmingly by staff and administration.

“A student dressed up like a terrorist, wore a Muslim headdress, had an accent, a bloody axe, and wore the Koran in the other hand,” Rodriguez said. “I had multiple bias reports put in, like, in the teens. They sent him away for a weekend and moved him closer to where I’m living. They didn’t even tell him to take the costume off. He walked out of the student life office with it still on. I think that made all of my faith in the administration and public safety completely go away.”

Ellinwood said that staff works hard to try and eliminate these situations, even developing a Bias Response Team and protocol in order to try and immediately respond to situations such as these, and prevent them from happening in the future.

“Since I have been on campus, I have been working with a very dedicated group of staff and faculty on diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus,” Ellinwood said. “We have new systems in place because of this work, new systems such as the Bias Response Team and protocol. This work has been and needs to be continuous and I am dedicated to making sure our campus continues to move forward.”

The most recent published security report recorded nine race bias incidents in 2018, but only four were classified “determined.” Although these incidents are reported, students expressed at the community discussion that they feel that the topic of racial bias isn’t discussed enough.

“Student safety should always come first. Pub safe does absolutely nothing for people of color here,” Rodriguez said. “This administration just sweeps us under the rug. I get that we’re such a small percentage, but if you’re going to bring up diversity in the school, you need to freaking care.”

“I have heard students of color express their concerns and they relate other times and incidents that have also had significant effects and impacts on their feelings of safety,” Babcock said. “Many of those incidents and concerns are outside of Public Safety’s sphere of influence. We are one part of the campus, and we have our work to do, but all other areas of the college are also engaged in educating and addressing these issues for us to truly make progress.”

Microaggressions — the subtle racism
Some students of color say they experience small acts of racism and microaggressions on campus every day. Research done by the psychology departments at Marquette University and Victoria University shows a link between microaggressions and increased levels of depression and trauma among minorities.

“I was in a meeting yesterday, and we were talking about filling a position on campus,” said Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts Traci Griffith. “Someone else in the meeting asked where we were advertising and if we were hoping to attract diversity candidates. The response to that was, ‘Yes, we’re advertising, but we really want to make sure we get someone who’s qualified,’ – as if someone who is a diversity candidate is not qualified. There’s this element of, we need to justify, or qualify, this group of people. Those kinds of things happen all the time.”

“It’s sad to say, but it’s kind of the Saint Mike’s experience,” Hyde said, mentioning that he experiences microaggressions frequently. “Nobody cares about race or racism until an event like this happens, that’s our culture. The one thing that makes us talk about race is when we have these incidents.”

Politics and racism on campus
“I know a lot happened the last election year, so I’m kind of worried for next year,” said co-president of the Diversity Coalition Connor Vezina, ‘22. “I heard personal incidents where someone wrote ‘Trump’ on someone’s door because they were a person of color. It’s scary. This is supposed to be a place that’s safe for everyone, but that’s just a violation.”

“We like to tell ourselves that St. Mike’s is this warm, welcoming community and that people rally around each other in times of trouble and that we’re so open and welcoming to difference in our community, and I think in a large part that’s true, but I think that some people don’t always have that experience.”

“I feel the most for the students, particularly for the first years, who may not have experienced this in years past,” Griffith said.

In 2018 the full-time instructional staff at Saint Michael’s was reported to be 90 percent white, according to The Integrated PostSecondary Education Data Systems report, or IPEDS. Out of 94% of undergraduate students for which the school has race and ethnicity data, only 15.6% of those classified as a race or ethnicity other than white.

“It’s so noticeable how white this campus is,” Hyde said. “It really hits you in the face. You start to realize certain things as you go year by year. When you’re in the room, what type of music that they play vs. when you’re not in the room. Why is it that when I’m there, it’s hip hop, R&B, Drake? When I’m there, it’s a little more slang, a little more of an urban language, but when I’m not there, it’s a totally different tone.”

Microaggressions range from subtleties such as these, to students being blatantly called the n-word.

“That’s why I don’t go to parties anymore (because people call me the n-word),”said co-president of the MLK junior society Jaron Bernire, ‘21. “I only say the n-word to my black friends because we’re all black. But when I hear a white person say it, I’m like, ‘Come on. Where’s the education there?’ I have to deal with race so much more here than I did in high school. Like, three times more.”

What happens inside the classroom
People of color at Saint Mike’s feel these microaggressions extend from outside of their campus culture to inside the classrooms. From the lack of diversity within faculty, to racial bias from faculty and students, these concerns contribute to the feeling of disclusion for minorities on campus.

“Sitting in the classroom is already more than enough to realize that, this is kind of lopsided,” Hyde said. “But when topics come up, and you yourself kind of realize, ‘I might be the only one that really understands this topic on a deeper, much more personal level.’ If we’re talking about race, even if nobody looks at you, you feel like the target is on you.”

“I think I’m targeted,” Bernire said. “I’m the only black person in all of my classes, or there’s only one other minority in other classes. Whenever we talk about race in class I’m like, ‘Jesus Christ, what are these people going to say?’ I’m scared to speak up in class. I feel like that’s what the teachers and the administration wants us to do, [teach students about their race]. When I leave, they have to make the next group of black people do that. It’s just a cycle.”

Some students and faculty of color still feel as though race isn’t brought up enough in the classroom, and even when it is, it’s often not well handled.

“A lot of times in the classroom, professors and other students expect students of color to speak on behalf of all people of color, which is an unfair place to be put in,” said Vanessa Bonebo ‘21. “I don’t think that all teachers know how to handle acts of racism and discrimination in the classroom, they just brush it off. I think faculty needs to be retrained on how to handle these situations.”

Students say they often feel used for marketing, however, once they’re accepted to Saint Michael’s, they’re left in the dark.

“I feel like this school wants more money than to help out the students more,” Bernire said. “Like, you’re trying to put black or hispanic people on the brochures just to get people to come, but as soon as you get us, past orientation, they’re like, ‘We don’t have to worry about them anymore.’”

In an effort to correct this, an “engaging diverse identities” requirement was added to the LSC curriculum, and the administration is actively working to bring in faculty of color.

“If you can count the faculty of color on two hands, that’s a problem,” Griffith said. “But that’s Vermont, so I don’t know that the expectation is any different. I think we try, and I think it’s gotten better in that we definitely have more classes that address things other than Western European culture. We have an “engaging diverse identities” requirement in the curriculum, so I think we’re working at trying to decentralize or at least expand our sphere of education.”

Vezina believes that white faculty, staff, and administration may be unaware of their oblivion to microaggressions due to their lack of experience around race.

“I know they do trainings, but I think it takes a lot of personal experience to catch and understand things,” Vezina said. “I think they lack in experience because this school is predominantly white.”

“There are faculty and staff members that care about students of color very deeply, but as a whole, I’m not sure that Saint Mike’s really takes us into consideration,” said Bonebo. “We’re just a number to boost diversity, not like they actually care about us being here. ”

In order to fix the problem, administration must recognize the problem, says Vezina. Students of color can no longer stand on their own on these issues of race and microaggression.

“Part of the work that needs to be done is helping develop the tools to confront and address these situations as they occur in the world,” Babcock said. “We (as a campus) continue to push Saint Mike’s to be better and set the example in many areas but problems will still exist in the world beyond our borders.”

“I don’t think the problem comes from them being white, I think it comes from their lack of awareness,” Vezina said. “They’re white, so it doesn’t affect them in the way it does to us. I can’t fault them for it, but I wish they were more aware and more willing to speak on these matters. Everyone needs to have a voice in this situation, or nothing will change.

“It can’t just be the people of color. We’re not enough people.”

By Lorelei Poch
Environment Editor

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criminology, health science, and public health offer alternatives

By Meg Friel, Executive Editor

In addition to eager first years and a trickle of new staff, three new faces are moving into St. Michael’s College this year: the majors of public health, health science, and criminology, along with a change in the studio art major.

These three new majors hit the curriculum this fall and are available for all students to declare, but not for everyone to begin taking introductory classes. Public health and health science are under way in terms of classes, with new courses now associated with the major, including anatomy physiology, a course in ethics and psychology of health and illness. However, criminology courses won’t be available until next fall. Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffery Trumbower who oversaw the new majors being added, and said he considers them another factor in St. Michael’s re branding.

“Public health comes in two versions, a BA and a BS,” Trumbower said. “Students coming in and existing students are able to declare them right now. Criminology is something that was just passed by the faculty and the board of trustees.”

The new majors have a sense of familiarity on campus already. Criminology, for example, is related to the crime and justice minor at St. Michael’s. Students looking to involve themselves in more specific fields of crime, such as law enforcement, often had no choice but to declare a major such as in sociology or psychology. Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair Robert Brenneman helped piece together a plan for the criminology major and propose a course list for the new major, detailing six new courses in addition to those already in effect that fall under the umbrella of criminology.

“After a few years of fielding questions and advising students who were interested in law enforcement, I decided that we needed to try and serve those students better,” Brenneman said.

“Spring of 2019, the administration came to me and said, ‘We would like to explore a criminology major; how much work and resources do you think we would need to do that well?’ I came up with a back-of-the-envelope sketch of what we would need, and then I spent the summer creating a proposal with specific courses.”

In the past, if students at St. Michael’s had an interest in pre-med, they would typically choose a major such as biology, according to Associate Professor of Biology Paul Constantino. Now, students are able to choose the health science or public health major.

“There was a real desire by students, especially prospective students that were coming here, about a health science major,” Constantino said. “Even though we’ve been very successful in the biology students going through, a lot of students who were coming here wanted something that was more tailored towards medical school or vet school. “ He also mentioned that many students expressed interest in a program around public health so they instituted the major.

In addition to these three majors being added, the studio art major also changed to an “art and design major,” incorporating more elements of graphic design, and integrating a relationship with the media studies, journalism, and digital arts department (MJD).

“We’ve long had an art major, and students can still do it but we’ve changed the name of it to art and design, and we now have a new graphic design course that’s required in it,” Trumbower said. “We’ve been searching for a full time person who is going to raise the level and number of courses we have in design, and that person is going to serve both the art department, but also MJD. We want students from each program to visit the other. It’s a new focus on that major, and it’s a new emphasis on, in addition to studying traditional art, design and graphic design in a very formal way.”

Trumbower said he hopes to keep the liberal arts aspects of St. Michael’s prioritized, while still attending to students’ needs and adapting to the demands of an ever-changing career climate.

“One of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education is that you’re able to be adaptable later,” Trumbower said. “We still want that. At the same time, we’re recognizing that offering things that have this more specific connection to a career path will help us attract students.”

By Meg Friel, Executive Editor

As St. Michael’s confronts diminishing enrollment, we applaud many of the school’s efforts — from hiring a new vice president for enrollment and marketing, to rebranding. Even the new rented purple bus is worth noting. Other efforts, however, don’t deliver. In an age where social media dominates the eye of the phone holder, the “Nominate a Knight” campaign is not enough.

Alums and current students are asked to “nominate a Knight,” or encourage a high school student to look towards St. Mike’s. We don’t think this is enough. And apparently, we’re not the only one. Searching #nominateaknight on Instagram, an empty page stares back. The “Nominate a Knight” movement is half-hearted, something that the marketing team put together in a fingers-crossed kind of way In reality, we’re not sure many students are willing to publicly serve as ambassadors for St. Mike’s. Being in college, there’s a struggle to keep close relationships with the best friends from high school, much less the freshman we merely smiled at on our way to class.

What truly feels like good marketing is not to nominate a knight, but instead, show WHY St. Mike’s is magical. Good marketing isn’t cheesy, but genuine. Scroll through our Instagram and smile at the photos of student athletes marching their way down Church Street as a part of Pride festivities; quotes from roommates and friends of their real St. Mike’s experiences; profiles of professors that have helped us grow over the years. These photos are the heart of St. Mike’s. A social media presence such as this, with interaction with their audience, is strong.

We need to use, exploit and expose, all of the things that are keeping us above water in order to attract more incoming students. Show students interacting with professors. Show friends laughing as they cook dinner together in a townhouse, run-down but alive with love, before they walk out to sit on their beat up patio chairs outside as they chat with their neighbors down the row. Take us on a live tour of the campus, to all of the cracks and crevices where we find peace throughout the day. These are the things that make St. Mikes real, and make us never want to leave.

 

By Meg Friel, Executive Editor

In a tucked away corner of the Durick library basement, hiding between cream colored shelves stretching far above my reach and filled with dust coated books and tired looking boxes, I found myself sitting in front of one especially tired looking box, labeled “St. Edmund.” Although St. Edmund died in 1240 near Pontigny, France, he remains at St. Michael’s in both spirit and in the flesh.

Relics, pieces of sentiment kept from a saint, can range from places a saint has visited, articles of clothing they have touched, or if you’re really lucky, parts of the saint themself. The archives play home to dozens of artifacts from yearbooks to old football trophies, but if you look hard enough, you can find pieces of flesh from St. Edmund himself, encased in layers of protective plastic and boxes, delicately preserved despite the hundreds of years since St. Edmund’s death.

“It’s a little piece of flesh, which we call a first class relic,” said Rev. David Theroux, S.S.E. “If it’s touched the body of a saint, it’s a second class relic. There’s a lot of second class relics out there – first class relics are more rare.”

Archivist Elizabeth Scott takes me through the rows of shelves, scattered with carefully lain journals and seemingly endless rows of folders thick with notes from faculty meetings collected over the decades. Scott’s eyes land on the box labelled “St. Edmund” and we find our way back to her work table. Delicately placing the box in front of me, Scott smiles as she begins to unveil the relics. The small, speck-sized pieces of St. Edmund’s body sit encased in beautifully detailed glass and velvet. One relic of St. Edmund that stands out – a cylinder-shaped container no bigger than my forearm, carries significantly larger pieces of flesh and underneath, a signature from a bishop stating it’s legitimacy.

“That one right there, that is Saint Edmund’s (skin) – that isn’t the oldest piece here, but it’s pretty old,” Scott said. “That is actually from his body, it’s skin and ribs.” The pieces of flesh are kept within glass and plastic containers, carefully keeping the frail pieces of pale skin preserved.

“From a religious study point of view, Edmund was pretty significant in terms of the development of spirituality,” Father David said. “Edmund was involved in resolving it and bringing it to a peaceful conclusion as archbishop of Canterbury. He was a great saint at the time.”

The relics have been collected over a number of years, however, one of the most memorable relics came to St. Michael’s in the 1950’s – Saint Edmund’s arm.

“The arm used to be on campus, and it went from France to America,” Scott said. “They had some new cloth made for it. They used to take the actual body (of the saint) on saints days and people would venerate it. The arm became detached. The arm had been separated for quite some time when the Edmundites sold Pontigny, and they got permission to bring that arm to America.”

“There’s all kinds of stories as to how the arm came off and how it got out of France,” Father David said. “We like to tell the story of one of our priests smuggling it out — that’s not the case, but it’s a good story. It was a time when the saints, relics or pieces of their bodies would be disengaged from the body and used as a relic someplace else. That seems to have been the case with Edmund, as there’s a whole set of relics in the archives here.”

Although in 2002 the arm found a new home in Mystic, Conn., it used to be kept in the chapel here on campus, on full display for anyone who wanted to pray to it.

“The arm was on campus through the late fifties early sixties,” Scott said. “It was in the chapel. People could go in and kneel and venerate the arm.”

The relics now kept in the library are available to students to view. Sign up for an appointment through the St. Michael’s College website under the “Library” tab.