By Lorelei Poch
Environment Editor

It wasn’t long ago when I used plastic bags to carry my products out of Target and Ziploc bags to carry snacks. I still purchase products that are shipped from across the country or world. Three months ago I bought a bath mat off of Amazon shipped in excessive packaging over wasteful, long-distance transportation. When I study abroad I will fly via commercial airlines. But now I am committed to contributing less and knowing more.

People say they care about the environment. The integrity of our earth. They worry about dangers and ambiguity in the future. They call themselves environmentalists and activists. Yet they throw aluminum cans in the trash dumpster, don’t research how to dispose of waste properly, and continue to purchase single-use products made with no intent of reuse or re-purposing.

I’m not the president of any club. I am no environmental studies major or minor. I am no hippie who showers once a week and drives an electric car, though I wish I did. I am a junior at St. Michael’s College, frustrated and disturbed by the lack of genuine activism in our generation and apathy toward saving our damn planet. Earlier this semester I attended a tour of the Materials Recovery Facility in Williston. Before this, I knew little
about what belongs in our blue bins and what to avoid because it can never be reused or recycled. I learned what to throw away and what to refrain from buying at all costs. But only together can we make a considerable impact and fight for our future. If you worry about what the next 10 years will look like, you need to be active in local legislature and push for change NOW, not later. Being an activist doesn’t mean you have to get
up every weekend at 7 a.m. to hold a sign downtown. There are students already banded together, motivated for change, whom you can join to stimulate progress.

On Sun. Nov. 17, I joined 170 other students, from middle school to grad school, at the Vermont State House in Montpelier to represent 44 delegations (schools) and participate in mock local legislature to encourage the government to act now on the global climate crisis. We voted unanimously to pass the Young Vermont United Climate Declaration which included the encouragement of state education on how to protect our earth, the conservation of natural areas and protection against erosion, reduction of transportation emissions, and advocacy for and support of local farmers implementing sustainable practices.

Join us on Fri. Jan. 10 in the Vermont State House to deliver a signed Climate Declaration to Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, who will decide whether or not to pass the bill created by Vermont youth. Your presence will show our elected leader that youth care and will fight for our future.

If Greta Thunberg can be on a boat for 15 days to avoid the emissions of greenhouse gases from one commercial airplane, we can learn what not to buy, how to properly dispose of what we purchase, and easy ways to reduce waste and emissions. No one is perfect, but it is our job to act NOW on the global climate crisis and do everything that we can to contribute less to climate change.

Don’t be a wimp. Do the RIGHT thing; educate yourself and reduce your carbon footprint now.

By Haeleigh Lange
Staff Writer

As the International Festival filled Tarrant Recreation Center with the smells from the kitchens of different countries, people looked up curiously at flags from around the world as they walked by. Drummers danced around, pounding on their instruments and singing along as the music beat throughout the room.

As the nine women in the K-pop group moved together, laughing with one another, and dancing in sync with the music, clapping and shouting from students could be heard throughout the room. Dressed in baggy cargo pants, crop tops, and sneakers, they slid and wove between each other, quickly going in and out of formations, as they glided and jumped with the high energy music.

Korean pop, “K-pop”, has exploded throughout the world in recent years, making its way to America and onto St. Michael’s campus. Due to K-pop becoming popular, students from abroad and American students use it as a way to connect with one another. “I’m from Japan and K-pop is a thing in Japan and people listen to K-pop regularly,” said Momoka Okamura, Vice President of Diversity Coalition. “I am really shy and get frightened on the stage and I wanted to do something really challenging for myself.”

According to The New Yorker, the Korean pop genre of music started getting popularized in America around six years ago when the song “Gangnam Style” hit the billboard charts.

“We started practicing two months beforehand, twice or three times a week,” Okamura said. “We are comfortable talking with each other and if there is something that needs to be fixed, we can talk with each other and help each other.”

“It used to be just my favorite songs and my interest but now I could connect with many people. K-pop is a kind of communication tool for me,” Haruka Miyajima, an international student from Japan said.

This year, being able to practice more and being as close as they are made the performances that much better, said Carolina “Lia” Christ ‘21, “I feel like last year was kind of a mess, we didn’t really know what we were doing and this year we kind of learned from the mistakes we made.”

By Matthew Pramas
Managing Editor

I’m stuck in loves gone past.

This couch is warm and so are the dim outdoor lights that dangle above my head and face the collection of records and the trinkets and trash we never got around to throwing out.

It’s finals season and I’m caught with stress and inaction, stuck thinking about the past instead of the work due too soon.

But all these obligations, all this love around me is in the present. Occasionally, I move around the room, around to the future and worry about feeling stress and discontent.

As students, we’re faced with the challenge of finding a healthy balance between our personal desires and our obligations at school.

Director of Student Life Outreach and Assessment Catherine Welch calls balance the essence of life.

“I think it’s something that you start to learn how to do in college and it’s lifelong,” said Welch.

As the advisor for the campus organization Active Minds, a national non-profit seeking to raise awareness about mental health for college students, Welch said that figuring out a healthy balance evolves over time.

“I really do believe that we’re all life-long learners and so what works for us at one point in life, may not work for us five or 10 years from now.” She said she stretched herself thin in college, studying tirelessly and getting involved in many things. It wasn’t until later that she discovered running and the equilibrium it brought her.

As fall semester ends, it’s important we try to create and maintain a healthy balance between our academic obligations and cultivating relationships.

I’m in a cycle of self-sabotaging behavior as I sit here, on this couch, looking forward and listening to nothing but the sound of refrigerators. I’m teetering. Unbalanced. Like most of my friends.

Mark Lubkowitz, the chair of the biology department, said personal and professional obligations are cyclical. “There are times where I have heavy obligations [at work] and there are times I have heavy obligations at home” Lubkowitz said. “In the perfect world, they’re asynchronous.” But he said that doesn’t always happen.

He tries to be 100-percent attentive with whomever he’s dealing with, whether his students or his children. A universal balance can’t be set for everyone, said L.J. Nieulant, a Career and Leadership Coach at Burlington’s FromWithin Coaching during a conversation in Durick Library. It comes down to personal choice derived from honest self-reflection.

“Everybody is differently wired. The amount of what you can handle in whatever balance there is, or non balance, that’s where everyone is different,” Nieulant said. “It also depends on the choices you make,” he said.
Nieulant said he works with a broader age range and with more men than in the past. “There’s a whole shift going on, it seems like [people are] taking more responsibility for their life sooner and younger,” he said. But it’s still hard to create balance.

I’ve struggled with this, too. I’ve wasted time that I wonder could have been better spent. The silence in this room with all the quiet objects and soft humming of refrigerators and the smell of old dust comes as a brief solace on a peaceful night. I look up to the lights hanging above my head and picture a spherical and clear sky with no obligations, no hopes or wishes, just a life. But I hope it never does.

By Meg Friel
Executive Editor

I was sent to Catholic school from the age of kindergarten. My Irish Catholic father and Italian Catholic mother had already baptized my sister and me, and figured that the slap of a nun’s ruler or soap in the mouth that they experienced as kids in Catholic school would only traumatize us enough to instill morals that children in the public schools weren’t so lucky to receive.

Most of the morals I was taught in school came from the 0-60 method of using hell as a scapegoat for all means of discipline. While we memorized the golden rule and recited our 10 Hail Marys in cult-like fashion, we harbored an overwhelming sense of dread we would commit a sin. I would start to feel the back of my neck grow hot after taking a paper clip off of my teacher’s desk without asking, silently praying that somehow God would forgive this seventh commandment slip-up.

Small instances like this started to creep up on me until eventually I found it difficult to sleep. I dwelled over what I could possibly be sent to hell for, pausing for a second to hope that Jesus would consider “crap” as the gray category of curse words. This came to a peak in the sixth grade when the principal locked us in a room, surrounded by pictures of Jesus crying, Jesus bleeding, Jesus nailed to the cross and what I swore was a thought bubble that said, “Megan, why did you do this to me?”

There, the principal lectured us on the agony we put Jesus through because Zach couldn’t resist throwing a rock at the stop sign on the walk to gym class. From then on, our every mistake would be documented and filed away until the weekly meeting.

My parents switched me to public school, morals be damned.

Things lightened up and eventually, in the midst of my teenage rebellion, I made the executive decision to no longer believe in hell. Nevertheless, I continued to carry the baggage that took shape in the form of an angel and devil on my shoulders. This turned into a mild case of anxiety that has followed me since my childhood. I think the need to overcompensate for Adam and Eve’s original sin left me an overachieving yes woman, still worried over every mistake I’d make. Today, it’s still difficult for me to brush off the small things my friends seemed to have no trouble forgetting, like putting a “20% off” sticker on a pair of shoes not on sale. Cut to me crying in bed, praying for forgiveness. My Catholic guilt is a relentless companion that, although tamed, still always resurrects.

I’m not writing this op-ed in hopes of taking down the Catholic church. I believe religion is a sacred thing for those who abide by it, and I won’t say that my relationship with God is abolished. I’m grateful for my experience with the Edmundites on campus, who’ve been nothing but welcoming to me, and given me a sense of community.

I question, however, my inability to separate church and state of mind. I see this as a common trend in the world of former practicing Catholics, as my aunts, uncles, and parents relived their days in Catholic schools, uncomfortably laughing while they make jokes of hearing the approaching nun’s rosary beads in their nightmares despite not having gone to church in years.

Although I’m not sure I’ll ever fully rid myself of Catholic guilt, or even that I want to, as sometimes I secretly think that maybe it is the cause of all my (sometimes tiresome) morals, I do know this: There is no way in hell I’m sending my kids to a Catholic elementary school.

By Erin Hammer
Staff Writer

Photo by Declan Donahue
Emily Lussier ‘22 wearing the Lussier legging. Included are Colomont Inc. CBD products.

Struggling to maintain a polished and appealing account can lead to the downfall of the sponsor, said Emily Lussier ‘22. Sponsored by LAKI Sportswear and CBD company Colomont Inc. sponsorship does not affect her school work life as much as it does her free time, with having to perfect and strategically plan out what to post on her social media she said. LAKI is a sportswear brand for both men and women. Earning a commission for each product bought, using her promotional code, on top of additional discounts has helped her to expand her interest in the brand. This principle applies to Colomont Inc., Vermont CBD company, as a result of Lussier using many of their CBD products such as a muscle cream to help with her joints.

Photo by Hannah Bishop
Alexyah Dethyongsa ‘22, giving out free TikTok printed items to students on

“I am awkwardly known as TikTok girl on campus,” said Alexyah Dethyongsa ‘22, a representative for the app TikTok. “I was eating in Alliot one time and a boy I’ve literally never seen before goes, that’s the TikTok girl, she gave me a cup one day.”

Dethyongsa is one of many student sponsors on campus who uses social media and other platforms to promote products. They either major in a topic that relates to the business, personally use of the products, or want exposure in the world of marketing.

A year ago Dethyongsa’s friend, employed by Fuse Marketing Company, mentioned that Saint Michael’s did not have any TikTok representatives. Dethyongsa mentioned that she chose TikTok “because it’s something that my little sister does, and I know it’s funny,” adding that she makes TikToks frequently with friends. She went through a formal interview where she learned her responsibilities. Being a sponsored representative now, she has used a sprayable chalk on the sidewalks, bought coffee for students, helped out at the late-night grill, and even tailgated at a soccer game. Dethyongsa does get paid in addition to the free merchandise she receives. The challenging parts of her sponsorship included planning out events with logistics and the time consumption from contacting businesses in order to schedule events.

Photo by Declan Donahue
Matt Demmler ‘21 sporting his brand RedCon1. A supplement company that makes protein powder, pre-workout, etc.

While becoming involved in the world of fitness, Matt Demmler ‘21, said that for a few years now he has been working for GNC, a nutrition health store. “This led me into the world of supplements,” said Demmler, resulting in him becoming a RedCon1 ambassador. Supplements caught his attention because of the access it grants to those interested in obtaining their fitness goals. Demmler said that the fitness industry has become “saturated” and many fitness influencers do not know much about what they are promoting. Instead they do it for the money and free products, not truly believing in the product. Ethical choices are not made all the time. “What is best for other people,” said Demmler should always be considered. “The perks are helping other people and the discounts are also nice!”

Photo by Declan Donahue
Alexis Comeau’21, holding one of the yerba mate Guayakí drinks.

As an Environmental Studies major, Alexis Comeau ‘21, was drawn towards Guayakí because of the way they follow through on their missions. “One of the big commitments that they have is environmental stewardship,” said Comeau. When a brand lies about following this mission it is called “greenwashing”. She said they grow their own yerba mate, a plant related to holly. Her experience drinking yerba mate she said,“ gives you a euphoric feeling” along with “giving you the mindset of conquering the day.” Guayakí is, committed to being net-zero carbon, meaning there is no carbon footprint left behind during the transportation and creation of their products. As a member of the leadership committee of Green-up “it allows me to bring in an alternative way to bring in people to meetings,” said Comeau. “If a student resonates with a specific company then they should reach out so they can represent and receive the perks of being an ambassador.”

What does the school have to say?

Saint Michael’s is not aware of many of these student’s involvement with companies. “I do know that student athletes can not accept sponsorships due to NCAA rules,” said Kerri Leach, Director of Student Activities/Assistant Dean of Students. While the sponsorship may not be school-affiliated, an effort can be made to work with on-campus activities. Following this half of the sponsors are not paid by their companies rather they are shipped free products to use themselves and give to others. Many products include clothing with the brand’s logo printed on and the specialized products themselves.

By Doug Babcock 

Recently, St. Michael’s College Public Safety organized a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) class that was free and open to all women on campus, students and employees. This national program has been taught in schools, towns and businesses across the country for many years, empowering women with tools and training to protect themselves. St. Michael’s has five certified instructors and works with area police departments to bring this training to campus and others in the area. We offer this class every semester.

Recently we found a picture of one of our flyers with a note on the back, which said, “Why don’t we have consent classes for men??” This is an important question, and I’d like to address this question and the mindset around it directly.

The college conducts a number of trainings, outreach and engagement activities around consent, healthy relationships, respect, positive decision making and more. The class we were offering is just one of many opportunities to learn about various aspects of the issues of sexual assault, as well as other misconduct and negative social attitudes and norms.

Moreover, Public Safety supports the college mission of educating students not for life at Saint Mike’s, but for life. The skills we teach, like the R.A.D. program and the Active Threat Response, are not about what happens here. While these and other bad things are possible here, there is a greater likelihood that somewhere in students’ lives after St. Michael’s that they may encounter a dangerous situation. We want to give you tools for life. 

To be frank, the sexual assault reports we receive on-campus rarely involve the type of attack and violence that the R.A.D. class is designed to teach about. However, the more tools, the more mindset training, and the more confidence a person has in their life, the greater the chance they have to reduce or prevent harm in a variety of circumstances. 

Unfortunately, we had to cancel this semester’s R.A.D. class due to a lack of interest. Additionally, we heard that the comment on the flyer was also posted online. My hope is that the comments and conversation did not deter people who may have otherwise been interested in taking the class and missing out on a skill that may have helped them later in life.

If you have any questions about this training program, other efforts around sexual assault awareness, prevention or response, or other safety programs on campus, I ask and encourage people to ask us directly. The Student Life Office, the Title IX office and Public Safety all exist to help our students learn and navigate both life here at St. Michael’s and to grow and succeed safely in the world now and after you graduate.

-Your Partners in Public Safety. 

Doug Babcock is the Director of Public Safety at Saint Michael’s College. 

By Joshua Marshall

When Senator Bernie Sanders said in November’s Democratic debate that “Saudi Arabia is not a reliable ally,” he was echoing the sentiment of many Americans. According to a Gallup poll from February, only 29 percent of Americans had a favorable or mostly favorable view of Saudi Arabia (compared to 69 percent for our other key ally in the Middle East, Israel). 67 percent had an unfavorable view, a number that has been steadily growing over recent years. Egregious human rights violations, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and a rejection of liberal democratic values have all alienated the Kingdom from the increasingly self-conscious and humanitarian minded American public. 

More than this, it is the carnage of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen that has damaged its image and imperiled its alliance with the United States. Stories of school buses being destroyed, food shortages, and images of the mounting human costs of this protracted war have dampened Americans’ willingness to support the Saudi regime. In early 2019, with the conflict dragging on, Congress passed a resolution seeking to prevent the sale of $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Senators and representatives from both parties spoke about the horror in Yemen and the need to end American support for the Saudi led war there. 

All of this, however, ignores a simple, if uncomfortable truth; Saudi victory in Yemen is in the interest of the United States. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have sought to dislodge the Houthi movement, which holds power through much of northwestern Yemen. The Houthi, funded by Iran and North Korea, is a group in a broad proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia that has raged since 1979. As Iran seeks to assert itself as the predominant power in the Middle East, it has funded numerous groups in hopes of destabilizing key U.S. allies in the region. Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi, among others, have received funding and support from Iran, which hopes to benefit from the chaos it sows. 

Whether we attribute Iran’s actions to the aggressive pursuit of further power or see it as the crusade of a fanatical regime bent on spreading its faith, the end result is the same; Iran has devoted blood and treasure to a policy designed to systematically undermine the influence and power of its existing regional competitors. Iran wants to establish itself as the preeminent power in the Middle East and has pursued this goal by starting and prolonging conflicts across the region. 

It is plainly in the interest of the United States that Saudi Arabia succeeded in this front of the proxy war. We can, and should, seek to restrain the regime in its attacks on civilian targets. Such attacks are not justified and do far more harm to Saudi Arabia than the Houthi. The Trump administration’s deferential attitude towards Saudi Arabia is unwise, but so too are the rash calls to cut the Kingdom loose in a region that is in dire need of stability. We must prepare ourselves to face a growing Iran, and the key to that will be to ensure a strong and cooperative Saudi Arabia that can stand as a bulwark against Iran. 

Even if one is opposed to the fight against the Houthi, it remains within the interest of the United States to build close relationships with the Saudi government. Assuming the worst-case scenario comes to pass, in which Iran has succeeded in developing a nuclear weapon and has the capability to use them, the natural Saudi reaction will be to follow suit. Before long, a region full of wealthy and technologically developed states with few domestic impediments pursuing their own security policies will be developing weapons of mass destruction in the most dangerous arms race imaginable. The only thing that could stop it is the security guarantee of the United States. We cannot afford a fearful Saudi Arabia that acts like Erdogan’s Turkey, alienated from the west and resentful for a string of perceived betrayals.

Our best bet rests with a strong Saudi Arabia willing to work with us in the interests of defeating our common enemy.

Joshua Marshall is a first-year International Relations minor from Hillsborough, NH with an interest in foreign and domestic politics. He is the senator for the class of 2023. 

By Emma Shortall
Multimedia Editor

Therapy isn’t for everyone. At least, I decided it’s not for me.

When I was in seventh grade, my mother took me to a therapist. I didn’t want to go in the first place. My mother sat next to me trying to fill my therapist in on what was going on in my life–a suicide attempt, a sense of having no one in my life who could help. But I felt this was going nowhere. I could handle it on my own. I knew my life was not good but what could this lady do for me? She didn’t know anything about me at all.

Being forced to go to therapy makes you resist. I was stuck in this experience that I wanted no part in. I was in middle school and someone had called my parents telling them I seemed off. They took note and instantly I was signed up for therapy.

I was a swimmer. But every practice seemed to destroy me. The physical exertion allowed me to release all of my pent up worries and anxiety. It gave me time to process what was in my head. I couldn’t swim a lap without having to get out of the pool because I couldn’t breathe from the hyperventilation of my crying. It was visible that I wasn’t okay. I was suicidal, I was depressed, and I had anxiety. Everyone noticed.

I eventually became known as the “suicide girl” on the team. When I got home I would squirrel myself away in my room so my parents wouldn’t notice.

I didn’t hate therapy, but I didn’t think it was helping. I liked talking with the therapist but I felt nothing was changing in my life. And it wasn’t just the therapist. I was also meeting regularly with my school guidance counselor and a social worker. Nothing was working. I was still depressed, I was still suicidal, my anxiety wasn’t any better. So, I stopped.

I was talking to someone who didn’t know me, and they were listening, but only offering informational support, not the emotional support I needed. The therapist would suggest ways to deal with anxiety, but none of them worked. I just needed her to listen.

I came away from this many months-long experience with nothing. I learned no successful coping mechanisms.

Eventually, my life did get better. I stopped the routine of swimming, the scrutiny of tough coaches, and I made new friends. I started working. I was able to take a mental break from my main stressors. But none of this came out of therapy, it came out of me changing what I was doing.

Therapy didn’t work for me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for everyone. My sister goes and loves it, same with my friends.

I need more positives in my life, and therapy made me dwell on what was going wrong. During my sessions, I would talk about what was going on in my life, and it would force me to remember all the bad in my life, not the good. Bad always overpowers the good thoughts in my brain, and for me, that wasn’t what I needed.

I need a support system consisting of friends and family. I like having a personal connection between the person I’m telling my life stories to. There is an element of trust that I never fully built with my therapist, guidance counselor, or social worker.

There is a fine line on what I tell my friends and family. I never want to burden anyone with my problems. This isn’t their job to listen to my problems. I know when people tell me their problems, I feel a sudden urge to help them and it begins to stress me out when people dump everything onto me.

I still have what I call “relapses” of depression and suicidal thoughts. If my support system goes down then so do I. My family, including my parents and sister, are the ones who are always there.

Coping is hard when I’m still trying to figure out what the best strategies are for me. That’s not just because I don’t go to therapy. Everyone needs to figure out what their best coping strategies are, and it’s a process of figuring out which are good and bad for you. Right now, whenever I’m stressed out, hanging out with my friends really helps. Just chatting, watching movies, going shopping, anything helps.

So every time I’m feeling down all I hear is, “You should go to therapy,” and every time I tell them no. I promise I can do it myself. Therapy isn’t for me.

The point of this article is not to discourage people from therapy. Therapy does work, it works for my family and friends. This is just my story.

By Molly Humiston
Contributing Writer

Some athletic programs try on coaches like a new pair of shoes. Other programs keep a coach as if it were their favorite pair regardless of how well they fit. I have experienced both in ten years of field hockey. For my first years playing I had seven different coaches, one for each year I played prior to college. The field hockey program in my hometown has suffered immensely with no consistency and little funding to anchor it among developing athletes. Like new shoes on a shelf, coaches came and went.

I had thought that this lack of consistency would be the greatest hiccup in my athletic career.

I was wrong.

A consistency in staff can also be the demise of a program. I know because it is killing mine.

The team itself changes every year. But every year the coaches remain the same, regardless of the previous year’s poor scores and our ever-growing mountain of aspirations relinquished.

For more than 21 years the same core coaching staff has stood on the sideline. Not even an assistant has changed. For the first five years, the program posted winning seasons and a full rotation of players, but for more than a decade, the program has maintained a losing record.

The trend exists across the athletic landscape at St. Michael’s, where the coaching staff remains unchanged even after years of losing records. Are we, the athletes, to blame, the coaches who guide us, or the college that sponsors us?

We’ve fallen into a defensive rut, and after denying 10 times as many shots as we take, the ball inevitably meets the boards with a definitive thwack.

In 20 years, SMC field hockey has tallied an overall record of 169-200 (wins-losses) with the 2019 season not yet included. Our season, with its ever-hopeful motto of “Find your fire,” was burdened with losses to teams we expected to beat. Our internal flames fizzled with each loss.

Following games, my team still gathers around in a semi-circle with expressions that vary from detached, sad, and angry to hear the same phrases once more: “Lots of learning today!” “Best game yet!”

The message never changes.

Our coaches, who no longer know how to guide us, let us down. This is not to say that the coaches are inadequate, it is rather that they are no longer the right fit.

Without funding and support, athletics can’t grow, coaches can’t improve. If they want to attract players, the college needs to invest in athletics.

Growing up, the news constantly reported coaches being cut from programs, both professional and collegiate, because they weren’t producing results. Even with teams that reel in wins, the core staff often includes change, introducing new perspectives and experience.

My team has had many talented athletes, but their ability to apply talents can only go as far as they are guided and given the chance to grow. This is the role we expect coaches to fill.

We play our hearts out, denying shot after shot, still hoping we might win, but the undercurrent of that hope is us wishing that we won’t be crushed.

The fire goes out.

Success for athletes comes in many forms, but the one that matters most in the longevity of a program, is winning. When the losses pile well beyond the wins the only way to tip the scale is to change the point of attack.

We need the college to put loyalty aside and open the doors to new coaches who can give us a chance of reclaiming what it means to be a Purple Knight. Athletes are the mouthpiece for their programs, give us a reason to be proud of them.

Molly Humiston ’21 is a Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts major, and a part of the field hockey team.

By Tynan Reed
Staff Writer

It might only be the first week of December, but we have already made the walk from Alliot to the academic buildings with snow at our feet and the cold wind in our faces.

When you think of winter, snow usually crosses your mind. From having to shovel the driveway or get in your truck to plow the streets, snow means different things to different people.

Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley’s, connection to snow led to international recognition. He lived in Jericho, from 1865 to 1931. In his teens, he had a fascination with ice crystals. This would lead him on his lifelong mission to photograph snowflakes. By the time of his death, he had taken close to 2500 photos, nearly all of them single or groups of snowflakes. You can see some of his photographs in a small museum in Jericho.

Like Bentley, some people, snow is a part of what they do for a living. Snow is essential for the Adventure Sports Center at St. Michael’s College because it provides opportunities for the activities that the center can run during the wintertime.

“Snowshoeing, ice climbing, and backcountry skiing are what we offer and without snow all three of those are difficult,” said Eben Widlund, assistant director of the Adventure Sports Center.

Widlund said that there have been seasons when they did not have any backcountry ski trips due to the lack or unpredictability of the snowpack. From a personal viewpoint, his commute to work takes a lot longer than he would like when there is substantial snow. Yet, he still has a very personal connection with snow, loving winter sports such as ice climbing and mountaineering, even though he has been involved in multiple avalanches in Smuggler’s Notch.

While people are at odds with the state of today’s climate, snow still has a beneficial impact.

“Snow in an environmental state is incredibly important to environmental science,” said Madaline Shanley ‘20, a sophomore environmental science major.. “The fact that snow happens is huge, and for animals everywhere, it is vital. When we talk about snow keeping the water cycle going, that is one of the main things that makes it super important to me,” Shanley is also a skier and says that skiing has given her a lot of happiness throughout life.

English Professor Joan Wry teaches a freshman seminar about snow and ice, which she calls the “snow seminar.” In the course, students learn about snow and ice through examples such as polar expeditions and the impact of climate change. Additionally, students get to go on a class trip to the Snowflake Bentley museum and the snowmaking center for Smuggler’s Notch.

“My own experience has been influenced by a family connection with the ski industry over the past 40 years, as my husband worked in ski area management in Vermont as well as in the Sierras and Eastern Arizona. He retired two years ago after 30 years as vice president of Smugglers Notch, Mountain Operations,” said Wry.

In Wry’s class, students gain an understanding of snow formation in nature and the science behind snowmaking at ski mountains. However, Wry said that what snow means to someone is based on their understanding and experience.