Runner Girl: How one Marist student became a viral sensation

If you’ve been following Marist Confessions for the past year, you’ve probably heard of “Runner Girl,” a mysterious figure who shows her enthusiasm for cardio throughout campus.

But who is Runner Girl?

runner girlI walked into Belle Hettie, a sophomore more widely known by her nickname, on the first floor of Lowell Thomas just after 5:00 p.m. while she was running errands. Uncharacteristically, she was dressed in jeans and a heavy coat. She seemed a bit taken aback that I approached her, but was unsurprised that I recognized her.

Hettie began her athletic career by swimming in high school before she switched to running. Although she does not run for the Marist track team, she trains for marathons and half-marathons, having completed her first one in June at Lake Placid. She calls herself a “very long distance”runner, and runs 12-22 miles per day, sometimes doing Ultra runs, which average 30 miles. When asked why she runs so much, she said that along with training for marathons, it gives her a large amount of personal fulfillment.

On the subject of being known as “Runner Girl,” Hettie did not know that her exercise habits were going viral until her roommate showed her tweets and Marist Confessions about her. She said, ït’s cool,” but did not seem overly enthusiastic about her title.

When Hettie is not running, she double majors in Psychology and English with a concentration in writing. I wanted to know what she plans on doing with this, but she had to run.

Hookah lounge provides a new kind of night out

zorona 2

After a while, the college bar and party scene can get old. Alternative things to do on weekends are often expensive or difficult to find, especially in Poughkeepsie. Zorona Hookah Lounge provides the perfect night out for college students too young to get into bars and too broke to check out the restaurant scene.

Hookah has long been a staple of Middle Eastern tradition that is gaining ground among young people. For those concerned about health, although hookah smoking has the same risks as any tobacco use, using it once in a while will not greatly affect you. Hookah bars are common in New York City; there are sometimes belly dancers and Middle Eastern cuisine at higher-end places. They are popping up in college towns as well. Zorona has a regional advantage in that they are the only hookah bar in Poughkeepsie and conveniently located near Marist, Vassar, and Dutchess Community College.

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Students for Liberty conference attracts the attention of Marist students

John Stuart Mill may not have been the single predecessor of modern libertarianism, but his barely 100 page volume “On Liberty,” in addition to finding a permanent place in my backpack, says, “There have been, and may again be, great individual thinkers in a general atmosphere of mental slavery.” Mill would have been floored if he were alive to see the growing movement of student libertarian organizations worldwide resisting that same mental slavery he referred to in 1859.

Used with permission; from the New York Conference Facebook event page.

Used with permission; from the New York Conference Facebook event page.

The 200 college students gathered at John Jay College of Criminal Justice last Saturday for the 2013 New York Regional Students for Liberty (SFL) conference turned the misconception that millennials are apathetic on its head. The conference included tables from liberty-oriented organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in EducationDrug Policy AllianceFoundation for Economic Education and several more. However the main attractions were the talks from professors, entrepreneurs, and economists. On the same day as the New York conference, similar ones were taking place in Dallas, Stockholm, and Chicago. Last year’s International Students for Liberty conference (ISFLC) attracted 1,400 liberty-minded individuals from all over the world to the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C.  Anthony Proto, a Marist sophomore who attended the New York conference with me, said “I didn’t know much about the libertarian party when I went, but I was curious because I was dissatisfied with the Republican and Democratic parties.” This dissatisfaction is fuel for the movement, and was echoed in almost every aspect of the conference. Libertarianism is entering the public’s consciousness and while candidates like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson do not pull in the percentages in elections that Republicans and Democrats do, the liberty movement is gaining ground.

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Coming Out Week raises questions about LGBT life at Marist

It would be an understatement to say that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues are some of the most pressing of this generation. Marist College is an interesting place to begin examining LGBT issues. Unlike neighboring schools Vassar College and SUNY New Paltz, Marist is not known as a haven for those who identify as LGBT. This does not mean it is an unsafe campus; several professors and students have gone through the campus ally training, to identify themselves as a safe outlet to discuss LGBT issues and issues in their personal life regarding sexuality. However, students and professors have mixed reactions regarding the LGBT experience at Marist. As sophomore Mackenzie Rothschild puts it, “It’s a mix of views ranging from full on homophobia to gay rights activism.”

Seen in Donnelly

Seen in Donnelly

Stephanie Parenti, a sophomore and president of the Marist Lesbian Gay Straight Alliance (LGSA) said that attendance in the club has doubled since last semester. Their Coming Out Party, a celebration of National Coming Out Week, had an impressive turnout. Students were not hesitant to share their stories of coming out as LGBT while straight students listened attentively. Parenti remarked that LGSA has gained a stronger presence in the school community with membership doubling since last year. To her, the remnants of Catholicism at Marist are not detrimental to the LGBT community. She also pointed out that there was a large Marist presence defending the LGBT community at Vassar when the widely known hate group Westboro Baptist Church came to their campus. Kaitlyn Clow, a freshman member of LGSA, also asserted that Marist is a safe campus and that the college is more accepting of non-straight sexualities than her high school. Brian Main, secretary of LGSA, pointed out that the popular Facebook page Marist Confessions frequently has students standing up to those who post homophobic confessions, and are supportive towards those who confess that they are questioning their sexuality. Despite this, all of these students seemed to agree that the LGBT community at Marist outside of LGSA meetings and events tends to remain underground.
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Campus sustainability group concerned about water bottle usage

Living in the Hudson Valley, you probably don’t think much about where your water comes from. The Hudson River has you covered at home, and water bottles are readily available at any convenience store. It seems contradictory that this community is full of water, yet Poland Spring, Dasani, and countless other bottled water brands are widely consumed.

Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Facility

Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Facility

Marist College’s Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) is looking to change this. The committee was started in 2007, commissioned by President Murray in order to, as co chair Steve Sansola puts it, “reduce costs, create efficiencies, and preserve resources” both on and off campus. You can thank them for suggesting the eco-friendly roof on top of Hancock that you probably heard about during your first campus tour, and for the red metal water bottle that you got if you were a freshman this year or last. Sansola was approached by committee member William Vrachopolous this year about the Take Back the Tap movement, which encourages students to drink tap water rather than buy water bottles. In order to do this, Vrachopolous plans on “petitioning students to tell SGA that we want to retrofit water fountains with water bottle filling stations, and have SPC stop providing bottled water at events.” Although he and Sansola understand that a full ban of water bottles may be unreasonable, they aim to gradually increase practices that promote sustainability. The only school that Sansola could name with a full water bottle ban in effect is the University of Vermont, which took five years to enact this policy.

 

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