Fall Semester Closing Notes and McCann Center Update

As the semester comes to a close, there are lots to reflect on about this past semester and also things to look forward to for the upcoming spring semester.

One of the biggest things happening around campus this semester was the renovation at the McCann Center. With construction starting over the summer and a projected completion date set for the fall of next year, there are lots to look forward to for students who will still be around.

Darren McCormack, Associate Atheltic Director For Facilities and Operations, shared that the renovation is on schedule for a fall 2019 completion date.

“The renovation appears to be on schedule,” McCormack said. “Pylons, which will support the new building, have been drilled into the bedrock and the foundation has been laid down.”

From there, the framework of steel will be installed around the building, which should be completed around the middle of the spring semester. After that is completed, the building will be enclosed with walls and ceilings going up shortly after.

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Ariel view of McCann Center, from goredfoxes.com

The new building is going to contain many new features for current and future students to enjoy. Some of the highlights of the new building are going to be two new weight rooms, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. The one on the first floor will be reserved for student-athletes only, while the one on the second floor will be for the general student body.

Additionally, there will be artificial turf and additional meeting rooms for teams and other conferences/groups on campus as well as well as additional performance spaces for the dance ensemble and other performing arts groups on campus.

Perhaps the most notable addition will be a second basketball arena that will allow for more flexible scheduling for basketball practices.

As far as the facilities that are open now to students, such as the north and south field fitness, not much is going to change.

“We don’t anticipate that we will be changing the hours,” McCormack said. “Right now everything should stay the same.”

As of now, on basketball game nights, all of the facilities in McCann will be shut down, with students being able to utilize the South field fitness center.

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McCann Center Rendering, from goredfoxes.com

The Athletics Department has also been providing updates on their website, goredfoxes.com, where renderings for the new additions are also available for viewing.  

On the academic side of the semester, the Registrar has said that registering for the spring semester went well. All of the processes for registering for classes will remain the same for the foreseeable future.  

“For those students who have not completed their schedules, they may still come into the Registrar’s Office to do so,” said Kathy Coomes, Administrative Coordinator at the Registrar, in an email.

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Michelle Obama Takes Memoir on the Road

Former first lady Michelle Obama and moderator Michele Norris addressed the crowd at TD Garden Saturday night.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

Looking around TD Garden, one thing strikes you about the crowd that is assembled on this particular Saturday night. It’s not the normal crowd for an arena that’s home to both Boston’s professional hockey and basketball teams.

Instead, the crowd is mostly female and extremely racially diverse. Their reason for being here is completely different: to see Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming, come to life.

Along with her book release, Obama also announced a tour to go along with it, where fans can gather to hear her stories in her own words. Boston is the fourth stop on her tour that started in her hometown of Chicago.

Boston holds a significant part in the Obama family storyline, where the discussion of Barack Obama running for president. Here in this exact spot, Barack gave his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote speech which spiraled a discussion of Obama running for president.

Michelle, grounded as ever, didn’t think anything of the speech. Even afterward when all the chatter started, she didn’t think anything of it and was skeptical about Barack running for the presidency.

Everyone knows how that story turned out, but not everyone knows Michelle’s story.

In her memoir, Michelle talks about growing up on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois in extremely tight quarters with her brother and parents. It follows her through her schooling, with her being stubborn at a very young age.

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Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble

In kindergarten, Michelle’s class had to read colors spelled out on index cards that their teacher held up. On the first try, Michelle got every word except for the last: white. Two of her classmates got all of them with their reward being a gold sticker. The next day, Michelle wanted to prove herself.

“The next morning in class, I asked for a do-over,” Michelle shares in her book. “I was quick to claim my trophy, though, heading home that afternoon with my head up and one of those gold-foil stars stuck on my shirt.”

That spirit followed Michelle through her college years at Princeton and Harvard University and when she hit the workforce.

That is until a man named Barack Obama came along and changed her perfectly laid out plans.

“He was the king of swerve,” Obama said at TD Garden on Saturday. That swerve led him all over the country, eventually landing in Chicago while Michelle was working at the same law firm that they met at.

The swerving led them all the way to the White House.

One of the hardest days was when the Obamas were leaving the White House before Trump’s inauguration, for different reasons other than the obvious one.

Michelle shared a story of how the night before, Sasha, their youngest daughter insisted on having one last sleepover with her friends in the White House.

At the last minute, Michelle was trying to “push crying girls through the doors”. She was so frantic that she didn’t have the time to reflect on the last eight years in that house.

It didn’t hit her until the helicopter ride over Trump’s inauguration crowd when she let herself go.

“I had been crying for thirty minutes,” she said.

When she saw the crown from the ariel view something else hit her though, this time about the crowd.

“There were people of all ages and all backgrounds, and, the crowd…,” Michelle paused, then whispered the last little bit. “It was bigger.”  

Alzheimer’s Walk Held At Walkway

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On Saturday, the Dutchess County chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held their annual walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson.

The walk starts over on the Highland side of the Walkway and then is a total of two miles, but you can either walk for a longer or shorter distance.  

For an overcast day, the walk had many volunteers and many walkers show up for the cause. Sue Serino, a New York State Senator, and Karen Smythe, a candidate for the New York State Senate were among the many participants at the walk. Music was played by 92.9, a local radio station, to get the walkers ready for the two-mile walk ahead of them.

David Sobel, the President and CEO of the Hudson Valley chapter, was also in attendance. Sobel is in charge of overseeing both the Dutchess and Ulster County walks. “My job is to make sure that we work year-round to get teams together,” Sobel said. “We try to make sure they do as much fundraising as possible.”

For fundraising, each walker sets up their own page on the Alzheimer’s Association website and then can post the link to their page on their social media platforms or email the page to friends and family where they can make donations. If a walker raises more than 500 dollars, they are part of the Champions Club. People can register for the walk on the same day, and no donation is necessary to walk.

Shortly before the walk started, emcee of the event shared with the crown that over $16,000 had been raised by the participant of the walk.

Sobel also shared that the walk would not be possible without the efforts of its many volunteers.

“We host a kickoff event and have monthly meetings for our volunteers,” Sobel said. “We also send them out into their communities to meet people affected by this disease.”

Many of the volunteers have their own connections to the disease and volunteer as a way to spread awareness about the disease throughout their communities.

After the walkers check in and get their wristbands which enables them to participate in the walk, they can go pick out a flower. Each color flower represents a different connection to the Alzheimer’s disease. Purple meant that you knew someone who has died from the disease and orange meant that you had the disease yourself. Either before or after the walk, people placed their flowers in stacks of hay.

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Local vendors such as Simple Gourmet and local police and fire stations donated food and drink to the cause for the walkers to enjoy either before or after the walk.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a national organization that helps raise awareness through its local chapters through its walks and their volunteers. The money that the walkers raise all go towards finding a cure for this disease.