Opinion: Time to Break the Stigma of Mental Health

Within the last few years, a new kind of issue has developed across college campuses and the workforce. Students have been expressing concerns about mental health, a condition that has been increasing dialogues across campuses. “Mental health is super important and you need to take care of yourself” said Alyssa Hogancamp, a 2018 graduate of Marist College.

Marist College’s Health and Wellness Center

According to a study conducted by Penn State as reported by Boston University “more than half of the students visiting campus health clinics listed anxiety as a concern… The same survey found that 21.9 percent of students said that within the last 12 months, anxiety had affected their academic performance”. The statement is proven true when out of nine college-aged individuals interviewed, eight of them expressed mental health issues varying in degrees of severity from general anxiety to more severe disorders.

Something of concern for students is the lack of understanding of mental health for faculty and staff of their college. Students express concerns that members of the staff may not necessarily know how to handle situations of mental health. Heather MacNeil, a senior at Lynchburg College, stated “I don’t think the faculty or staff is necessarily trained all that well for mental health at my school. I think some are better at handling a situation than others just naturally”.

One major factor that influences an individual’s mental health is the era of social media. Social media has been known to have a perceived image through editing pictures in order to generate more likes or bigger popularity. Katie Kilcullen, a senior of Marist College explained “It’s just a huge comparison issue for me and I will see everyone’s “perfect” life and wonder why I am not like that”. Other students have seen its positive value. Caroline Edwards, a senior at Bridgewater College explained “These platforms have also enabled me to find ways to manage my anxiety, such as links to mediation podcasts, or daily affirmation posts”.

Students also expressed there is a stigma regarding mental health on campuses. One freshman explained “With unfair and inaccurate stereotypes, and shaming, it has made it so hard to spread awareness and educate people about the truth on mental health”. Others expressed that it was the reason they did not seek help in the first place. Theresa Carcaldi, a senior, explained “I don’t think it’s necessarily that Marist students hold a stigma, just society in general. People tend to umbrella all mental health conditions, when there are so many that are so real to people.”

With all of these factors, it is still important that people break the stigma of mental health. With numbers of students with mental health rising, it becomes very important to create an open dialogue between campus members, their peers and those in the outside community post graduation. Whether that is through a simple check in with someone that is know to have mental health issues to helping them get the help they need. To many, someone’s mental health is important to them and it is the importance of making sure they are ok that brings a form of happiness. One student explained “I didn’t have anybody to teach me that it was okay to have a disability and that I was not alone, so I want to make sure other people know they’re never alone”

To those reading this with a mental health issue, remember you are not alone. Help is available and an important tool on the road to recovery. At the end of the day, always remember that it is ok to not be ok.

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Mike Napolitano: An Alumni in Music and in the Community

When someone thinks of the Music Department, the first image in their head might be the music heard or the instruments played. However, one may not immediately think of those who operate behind the scenes ensuring the smoothness of the program. One of these people is Mike Napolitano ’04, MA ’17, a Marist alumni who has worked with the department since his graduation.

Mike (who members of the music department call Mikey) grew up down the road from Marist in Wappingers Falls. When recalling his music origins he explained “I went to high school down the road at Roy C Ketcham High School. I was in band, choir, chamber choir, wind ensemble and jazz band”. He graduated from Ketcham in 2000 where he went down the road to Marist College and studied communications. Yet what made his experience at Marist memorable was that of his time within the Music Department.

Mike Napolitano ’04, MA ’17 at his desk

Immediately when Napolitano was a freshman on campus, he started in the Marching Band and his love of music further grew. He kept heavily involved with the music department through the singers, band and other small ensembles. Yet it was his senior year that opened a brand new door. “It was my senior year. We had a blackout on the east course and I had my appendix removed” he chuckled “This meant I had to miss marching season”. He had an extended recovery because of the surgery, yet he contributed behind the scenes of the band helping Music Director Art Himmelberger work with the band. Because of this, he was able to find a job at the campus after graduation. After working in Human Resources at Marist for the fall of 2004, a position opened up which included organization of finances and course registrations, in which he was asked to join. “I was kind of picking up on the process while volunteering at the offices” he mentioned while explaining his transition from HR back to the Music Department.

During his time at Marist, Napolitano got involved with the Band service fraternity known as Kappa Kappa Psi. When asked about his involvement, he described it as such “When I became a member in 2002, our founding fathers graduated out. it left us with four members and we had to step up and become leaders”. He served as the role of President and upon graduating served as the Chapter Sponsor for Marist. Yet his impact on Kappa Kappa Psi expanded far beyond that of Marist. He explained “When I became chapter president in 2003, we had a visit from one of our chapter presidents … It was that introduction to what the national chapter provided me helped me understand that what we have on our campus is somewhat greater and larger” This individual became his mentor as he helped expand the fraternity’s role on campus.

In 2011, he further got involved and chartered a Kappa Kappa Psi Alumni Organization which supported initiatives in the area. “Once that happened,” he described “there was a little bit more exposure for what I do in the community that came to be noticed”. He expanded his horizon and worked with the National Alumni Association of Kappa Kappa Psi. He then served on the National Council and was getting national attention with getting an Outstanding Alumni Award to Marist’s chapter being recognized on a national scale. He eventually moved off from the Alumni chapter board and became a District Governor in 2016 (an overseer of chapters across the Northeast United States).

Finally, when asked what his motto was regarding day to day life, he explained four words: do better, try harder. “We can be the best that we can be and sometimes we falter but we are contributers to a greater cause [musical excellence]”. Through his time at Marist and working with the National Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, Napolitano learned that by understanding people have a greater role in the greater good of music education, progress and achievement is brought to those around you. It is that that has made Napolitano an important aspect of the Marist College Music Department.

Candidates Establish Themselves on the Debate Stage

Students hoping to be the next student body president had an opportunity to speak to the student body Thursday night at SGA’s Presidential Debate. Each candidate and their vice president discussed their plans for the upcoming school year and reflected on changes that took place with the current administration.

Students hoping to be the next student body president had an opportunity to speak to the student body Thursday night at SGA’s Presidential Debate. Each candidate and their vice president discussed their plans for the upcoming school year and reflected on changes that took place with the current administration.

A view of the stage before the debate

This election has three candidates from different backgrounds, diversities and interests on campus running for the office of Student Body President and Executive Vice President. The winner of the election will. Candidates include juniors Pamela Armas and Louis Higuero, juniors Mark Palmer and John Sasso and junior and sophomore Joe Sarci and Roda Mohammad. The debate was moderated by junior Tara Guainamo and Political Science professor Dr. Elizabeth Kaknes. The topics discussed range in a variety of topics from future administration to analyzing the newly approved Strategic Plan.

One of the most discussed issues of the evening was that of priority points. Some candidates were in favor of removing the system and moving to a lottery system. Mohammad mentioned “Marist has some of the best housing of all campuses. We have to remember that some people are living without a roof over their head. If where you are housed is the most pressing issue, people need to get their priorities checked”. Some candidates discussed a hybrid system of priority points and lottery. Palmer stated “By having priority points, it encourages student engagement on campus”.

Other issues of the night included discussions regarding Title IX training and the rise in sexual assault on campus. The Marist Circle reported that “two dating violence offenses, two instances of fondling, and six rapes on campus in 2017– an increase from the 4 reported for the previous two years”. Since the report, it has been a highly controversial topic on the campus and within the community. When asked about this, Sasso commented “The best way to address it is through education, you need to educate people on not only the detriment but the consequences, what you are putting that person through”.

Candidates Mark Palmer and John Sasso

Students also had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. When sophomore Leo Ruiz asked about what the candidates are going to do regarding disabilities on campus, Armas commented “I had a peer that is in a wheel chair that has to turn her desk around and she said it was too expensive to get a wheel chair accessbible desk. We need to make sure issues are being heard”. Palmer and Sasso also resonated that they plan to address this issue while also establishing a priority registration system for those students with disabilities.

Throughout the evening, discussions of campus issues from student life to faculty were debated and argued by the candidates. And after hours of opinions and thoughts, it will be up to the general public to cast their ballots and elect their choice of candidate.

There are three candidates who are running for the position: juniors Pamela Armas and Louis Higuero, juniors Mark Palmer and John Sasso and junior and sophomore Joe Sarci and Roda Mohammad. The debate was moderated by junior Tara Guainamo and Political Science professor Dr. Elizabeth Kaknes. The topics discussed range in a variety of topics from future administration to analyzing the newly approved Strategic Plan.

One of the most discussed issues of the evening was that of priority points. Some candidates were in favor of removing the system and moving to a lottery system. Mohammad mentioned “Marist has some of the best housing of all campuses. We have to remember that some people are living without a roof over their head. If where you are housed is the most pressing issue, people need to get their priorities checked”. Some candidates discussed a hybrid system of priority points and lottery. Palmer stated “By having priority points, it encourages student engagement on campus”.

Other issues of the night included discussions regarding Title IX training and the rise in sexual assault on campus. The Marist Circle reported that “two dating violence offenses, two instances of fondling, and six rapes on campus in 2017– an increase from the 4 reported for the previous two years”. When asked about this, Sasso commented “The best way to address it is through education, you need to educate people on not only the detriment but the consequences, what you are putting that person through”

Students also had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. When sophomore Leo Ruiz asked about what the candidates are going to do regarding disabilities on campus, Armas commented “I had a peer that is in a wheel chair that has to turn her desk around and she said it was too expensive to get a wheel chair accessbible desk. We need to make sure issues are being heard”. Palmer and Sasso also resonated that they plan to address this issue while also establishing a priority registration system for those students with disabilities.

Throughout the evening, discussions of campus issues from student life to faculty were debated and argued by the candidates. And after hours of opinions and thoughts, it will be up to the general public to cast their ballots and elect their choice of candidate as the next student body president.

Broadway Deals and “All That Jazz”

Students at Marist College were given the old razzle dazzle through Marist SPC’s trip to see Chicago this past Sunday. Through these trips, students get the opportunity to see a Broadway show, explore the city and be exposed to new cultural experiences.

A view from the Ambassador Theatre where students saw Chicago

Marist College gives students an opportunity thrice a semester to see a Broadway show for $25 This ticket includes the ticket to the show and bus transportation to and from Marist into the city. In comparison, the Washington Post lists that the average Broadway ticket is estimated at over $100. It would be an understatement to say these shows are popular. Students like Emily Jones, 22, explained “This [the ticket sale] was one of the deciding factors in me coming to Marist”. Other students like Gianna Figueroa stated “I learned about it freshman year through talking to upper classmen and have gone on every one ever since”.  

With tickets going on sale at the end of the week, some students lined up early to get the tickets. Caroline Fiske, 21, explained that she arrived to purchase the tickets at 3:15, one and a half hours before tickets even went on sale. With the show’s popularity gradually increasing, lines for shows have also grown large. Following the Chicago trip, the SPC’s trip for Phantom of the Opera sold out an hour and a half of original sale time.

Students were photographed waiting in line to buy tickets for the shows

With the increasing popularity of the tickets, a high volume of students attempt to get the tickets. As a response, SPC has taken new measures to ensure that all students have a fair and equal opportunity to see the show. As of the Fall Semester, students have the opportunity to return tickets should they be not able to attend. Furthermore, students not on a waitlist have the opportunity to purchase tickets same-day of the trip should tickets remain unsold. Finally, anyone who did not return a ticket and did not show for the trip will be unable to attend a future trip. When asked about this, students were aware of the policy and thought it was very beneficial. Catherine Feren, 21, stated “Its fair for students who actually show up, and only hurts those who are delinquent. It’s part of being accountable for your responsibility”. Paul Ippolito, 21, thought differently explaining “It depends. Like if someone gets sick and someone buys the ticket, it’s beneficial. If not, it isn’t helpful. Its fifty-fifty”

The updated ticket policy

The trips do come with their downfalls. To some like Ippolito, the ticket sale times can be inconvenient. “I work during activity hour” he explained, “I could get pushed over if they’re sold then”. Other theatregoers wanted more time afterwards. “I wish we had more flexibility” said Figuero “We are only given an hour and a half in the city. For it to be advertised would be helpful”.

Apart from that, the trips are primarily praised by students. Fiske explains “I really do believe that $25 is such a good deal for Broadway shows. Especially when you get the physical ticket and see the real price on it compared to the price that you paid for. That is always such a beautiful moment that I cherish”.