Redhawk Native American Arts Council Visits

images.jpgLocated in 337 of the Marist College Library, The Center for Multicultural Affairs acts as more than an office. Each day you will see a host of students entering and exiting the office as they speak with the administrative assistant, Pam, and counselors, Iris, Mary, Angel, Karen, and Terrance. But there’s more than that, there is coffee, snacks, and bonding that take places for the students which gives this place a home away from home feeling.

 

Marist CMA is more than an office but rather it is a resource. In addition to their direct support academic programs, they also provide programs and activities on campus that are open to anyone.

These events promote cultural awareness, leadership development, sustainability and even career exploration. Throughout every semester they host and co-host a series of events like the Hispanic Heritage Event, Vietnam Night, Indian Culture Awareness Night, The Global Fashion Show, and many others.

For 10 years, Marist CMA has been working to create an inclusive and welcoming community of which all students are welcome to join.

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Office for Accommodations and Accessibility, Student Affairs, Upward Bound, and the Diversity Council, and Human Resources, Marist CMA hosted the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council performance. The Red Hawk Native American Arts Council is a Grass-roots Not-For-Profit organization that was founded and is still maintained by natives from New York and New Jersey in 1994. Their purpose is to educate the general population about Native American heritage.

Iris Ruiz-Grech, the Director of Marist CMA said that she was excited that the event could have been rescheduled after it had to be postponed on November 15th because of the snow storm.

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Member of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dances as Marist students and faculty watch.

Her greatest hope for this event was that students would learn about the Native American culture. The event was filled with dancing and singing as well as a wealth of information about the indigenous people.

 

 

 

“The hope is definitely awareness about the beauty and contributions of our Native Americans here in the United States,” said Ruiz-Grech. “I think it is amazing to be able to bring awareness to all of us about their importance since they were the first people in what is now called the United States.”

The council taught the attendees about the difference of tribes and also urged the audience to help their efforts by taking action.

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Cliff Matias (far right) and other members of The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Cliff Matias is an artist, educator, photographer, hoop dancer, and actor for the Council. Matias is Kichwa and Taino. Throughout the performance, he sang, danced, and spoke to the audience.

 

When speaking about the importance of taking a stand he said that the use of Native Americans as mascots is highly offensive. He notes that universities have begun removing these mascots and so have some elementary schools although many remain resistant.

“In NYC, St. John’s University has changed their logo. So it is happening very slowly. It is only through conscious efforts and compassion and understanding of our young people, who are now moving into positions of change, we are seeing that these things are starting to take place,” said Mathias.

When pinpointing another specific change that he would like to see, he said that he believes that Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and countless cities have changed. I would love to see more people of color joining in this struggle for indigenous people. In America, there were so many other atrocities that [Christopher Columbus] he committed,” said Mathias. “What about the fact that he introduced the Transatlantic Slave Trade, so how come not more of our African-American brothers and sisters aren’t joining us in that struggle. So we would love to see more. Also, American young people in general coming to stand with us.”

Students who attended this event were glad that they did. Caroline Kirsten, a Marist freshmen, said that she has gone to programs in the past where Native Americans spoke about their tribes. Despite this, she said that she never heard about their current situation.

“The greatest thing I took away was an understanding of the lack of resources and the lack of awareness. I feel like that is something that should be brought up much more,” said Kirsten. Now with this new knowledge, I want to help bring awareness. If there was any action to do so, I would love to be apart of it.”

On it’s special 10 year anniversary, Marist CMA continues to host a wealth of performances and events that expose Marist students to new ideas and cultures. Be sure to check out more of their events in the near future.

 

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Best Buddies Host “Superhero” Event

Laughter and chatter filled the room at Marist on Sunday as Batman and Superman faces piled up on the table as part of the Best Buddies event. 

Best Buddies Marist hosted their superhero event where Marist students and their buddies could do a series of superhero-themed arts and crafts.

Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization that is dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of over 200 million people with both intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Best Buddies Marist is one of 2,500 chapters worldwide that exist within this organization.

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Pictured: Best Buddies Superhero Event

 

There was an overwhelming sense of community and friendship in Student Center Room 3104 on Sunday afternoon, as the students helped their buddies complete their activities so that they could be awarded with their certificate of completion.

 Marist students and buddies worked together to complete the crafts. These crafts included making a superhero symbol on a plate, making superhero masks, making wooden superheroes, and others. made as part of the Best Buddies Marist event.

The club works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The buddies are from the community and they are paired with Marist college students. The bond that is formed is unbreakable.

According to Melissa Fletcher, the Vice President of Best Buddies Marist, many students remain in contact with their buddies after graduation. She recalls that there are numerous members of the Class of 2018 who are now graduate students who still come back to the monthly events to see their old buddies.

Each month Best Buddies Marist hosts an event. In addition to this, they do events on campus to raise awareness and fundraise for the international Best Buddies organization.

Secretary of Best Buddies Marist, Bianca Gibbons-Morales, describes it as “a nice break in the flow of college to help other people.”

“The purpose of this club is to build these relationships and friendships between people with disabilities and the college students on campus. It’s mostly to get them aware of each other and to build friendships,” said Fletcher.

There are over 40 students who are a part of Best Buddies Marist. Of those interviewed, each described the club as one that is unlike any other.

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Pictured: Jon Newfield and Dave Wallace and their buddy, Joe

“The people that come to this event are just some of the best people in the world. They really bring positivity into your life, so it is really a great thing to do,” said new member and senior, Jon Newfield, “There’s a wholesome feeling that you get. It’s a great thing to do.”

“When you come into this club, it is just a happy environment. Everyone in here is always having fun, playing games, and being happy. Other clubs it’s more you do informational things, it’s not really interactions with people. This is very interactive,” said Fletcher.

Best Buddies Marist leaves a lasting impact on all parties involved.

 

“These events brighten my day because it is truly heartwarming to see the positive impact I have on a buddy by simply setting aside a part of my day to spend time with them,” said freshman, Caroline O’Handley.

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Pictured: Caroline O’Handley, Marist freshman, with her wooden superheroes

Athletes Donate Pumpkins

Marist Student-Athletes donated pumpkins to the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.

This was the sixth year that student-athletes participated in this event. All donated pumpkins benefit the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie which is a residential care facility home for abused and neglected children who live in the Hudson Valley Region. Last year, the Children’s Home served 350 children and their families.

“The past few years we have donated over 100 pumpkins, this year we expect to have over 150 pumpkins to donate,” said Ali Kenney, the Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement of the Marist Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement.

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Pictured here: The pumpkins collected during the Peer Mentor Event in the Press Box at the Women’s Soccer Game vs. Siena

The purpose of the Marist CSAE is to provide academic support services that not only assist student-athletes while they attend Marist, but also grooms them for life beyond their college careers. Of the many academic support services that Marist CSAE offers is the Peer Mentor Program where freshmen student-athletes are paired with upperclassmen who are members of other sports teams. These upperclassmen serve as a resource for incoming freshmen and help them to adjust to life as a student-athlete. There are several events that the peer mentors and peer mentees do together, including decorating pumpkins.

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Pictured here: Shawna Gilson, junior, student-athlete peer mentor

“Painting the pumpkins allowed for a great opportunity to bond with our mentees. I really enjoyed seeing how they all came out. It’s nice to do something for the community and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Shawna Gilson, a junior peer mentor on the Marist Women’s Rowing Team.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Marist CSAE hosted an event where peer mentees and mentors could drop off their pumpkins and watch the Marist Women’s Soccer Game versus Siena. The smell of fall Apple Cider and Apple Cider donuts filled the entire press box and there was a sense of camaraderie present. As fellow student-athletes supported each other, they also came together to showcase their own pumpkins and to see others, all for the well-being of the local community.

“It’s a chance for our mentors and our mentees to get together and decorate a pumpkin together. In addition, we have all of our student-athletes from all sports donate and decorate pumpkins that we donate to the Children’s Home for their annual pumpkin walk which will take place on Saturday,” said Kenney.

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Pictured here (Left to right) Andrew Burns, Alexander Hogue, Brian Henderson members of the Marist Cross Country/Track Team

“I think that this event is pretty cool because it gets Marist involved with the Children’s Home down the road. It puts Marist into the community of Poughkeepsie and allows us to get involved that way,” said Alexander Hogue, peer mentor and a junior on the Marist Cross Country and Track Team.

The Marist CSAE has a strong relationship with the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie because community service is an integral part of this organization.  In 2016, the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Marist CSAE with the “Outstanding Collegiate Philanthropy” award. In addition to this, during the 2017-18 academic year Marist student-athletes completed 2,510 hours of community service.

Marist CSAE organizes numerous community service projects throughout the academic year by running events like the Girls Scouts Sampler, Special Olympics, White Ribbon Campaign, Walk Against Hunger and Valentines for Vets. They also organize volunteering at places like the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum, the Vassar Warner Senior Residence, and local elementary and middle schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poughkeepsie Gets Greek Culture

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Pictured: Member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church preparing loukoumades

 

Located in the heart of Poughkeepsie, the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church hosted it’s bi-annual Poughkeepsie Greek Festival.

This four day event held at the Hellenic Community Center attracted over 10,000 people. This festival is a celebration of the food, music, and the culture of the Hellenic people. The proceeds of the event went to the church’s programs.

 

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Pictured: Andrea Miller, long time member of Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church

 

Andrea Miller has been a member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church for over 45 years and has been a part of the festival since its inception. “The fact that the Greek community comes together and we work for weeks ahead of time baking and cooking, it’s apart of our heritage,” stated Miller. “The fact that this event has been going on for over 40 years proves that it serves its purpose.

People attending this event feel like they are being immersed into another culture when they attend this festival. Many locals attend every year because to this, it is not an event that can be missed.

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Pictured: Millbrook students dancing to traditional Greek music

Although there was no live music and dancing featured at this event attendees danced together to the music the DJ played. This showed the camaraderie as members of the community learned how to dance to Greek music.

“I come every year, twice a year, and I have been for over 15 years. This is not an event that I can miss,” said Yolanda Harris, a Poughkeepsie native. “I like some of the music, I just like being out and seeing different people, different cultures, different races, and I also like to go into the shops that they have here to see what is different from my heritage,” said Harris.

To add to the overall authenticity of the event, the festival this weekend focused on the food.

John Giogakis, is the president of the Parish Council at Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church, and has been working at this event for four years. “People come for our Greek food, everything here is handmade, made to order, and people love the food,” Giogakis stated.

This focus proved to be successful as attendees raved about the quality of the food.

“It has really good food. The atmosphere is extremely inviting, I have been to other Greek festivals but this is by far the best one,” said Frank Davis, Boston native who came to Poughkeepsie just to attend the festival.

Among the food options were, gyros, greek fries, souvlakis, loukoumades, and other traditional Greek food.

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Pictured: Greek fries that were sold at the festival

“It was Greek, very Greek. The food is very similar to the types of foods that I eat at home,” said Cady Anderson, a high school student at Millbrook High School.

This unique event showcases the Greek culture to the local community. Every year it attracts more people and becomes more popular.

“Basically the purpose of this event is our Greek heritage, and giving it to Poughkeepsie. The fact that over 10,000 people have come in four days is truly amazing,” said Giogakis.