Men’s Basketball Wins Bracket in Belfast

On November 26 the men’s basketball team traveled to the Emerald Isle in the hopes of taking home the gold in the second annual Belfast Classic, the only college basketball tournament in Ireland. 

The tournament, hosted in Northern Ireland’s capital, was put on by the Sport Changes Life Foundation (SCLF) in partnership with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (BHOF) and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). 

The two bracket tournament included eight college basketball teams, all from the United States. The two brackets were called Samson and Golitath, named after the two cranes that helped build the R.M.S. Titanic, which was constructed in Belfast. 

Marist was placed in the “Samson” bracket alongside Dartmouth, Long Island University-Brooklyn, and University at Albany. Senior guard Brian Parker recalled, “It was funny to step onto the court in  Ireland to play a team from New York.”

Marist won the first game against Dartmouth 76-58. They then continued on to play LIU Brooklyn, who they defeated 70-53, making them the champions of their bracket. The last time the men’s basketball team won a November tournament was 2001. 

Parker scored 18 points in the first game, and 15 in the second. Parker’s exceptional playing was recognized and he was awarded MVP of the Samson bracket. “It’s always a great feeling to celebrate a win with your teammates,” commented Parker. “It’s also cool to be able to say we’re undefeated in Europe.”

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Corinne McGovern displays a photo she took of Belfast.

Cheerleader Corinne McGovern remembers the moment the buzzer sounded, declaring Marist had won their bracket. “Everyone on the team had huge smiles on their faces,” she said, donning a grin of her own. 

One image that stood out in both Parker’s and McGovern’s minds was seeing all the Irish fans waving Marist banners and pom poms. “Even though we were in a huge arena, seeing all the Marist gear made me feel like we were back in McCann,” said McGovern. 

According to Darren McCormack, Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and Operations at Marist, who traveled with the team to Belfast, both the basketball players as well as the cheerleaders and dance team members participated in clinics with local schoolchildren. 

The clinics were organized by the Sport Changes Life Foundation, a charitable nonprofit that aims to help children in disadvantaged communities realize their potential through organized sports, specifically basketball. 

McCormick believes one of the foundation’s hopes in organizing the Belfast Classic is to advertise their Victory Scholar Program to college athletes because “Basketball is present in Ireland, but not prominent.”

The Victory Scholar Program, a scholarship programs that allows American student athletes to travel to Ireland and Northern Ireland to coach youth basketball teams while earning their master’s degree.

“Their motto, ‘Sport changes life,’ is something I think all of our athletes could connect with,” said McCormack. “I think it was good for the athletes to do a little community service and see how they can impact the lives of others.”

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Composting 101: Bananas and Buckets

Every morning, the smell of coffee fills Tess Cimino’s apartment, marking the beginning of her daily routine. The senior removes the coffee grounds from the machine and puts them into her compost bucket: a small container in her freezer full of organic food scraps such as banana peels, egg shells, and apple cores. 

Cimino first began composting while participating in the Marist in Manhattan program in the spring of her junior year. She kept a compost bucket in her freezer then brought it to a local farmer’s market each Sunday. “My mom thought I was crazy keeping my trash in my freezer,” chuckled Cimino. 

Over the summer both Cimino and fellow senior Aaron Tod were visiting other college campuses that had composting stations, which inspired them to bring the practice to Marist. “It’s so  interesting to think about how we can give new life to our old waste,” mused Cimino. “It’s an ongoing evolutionary process.”

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Senior Tess Cimino holds her compost bucket.

Since returning to campus for their senior year, Cimino and Tod have begun creating a composting pilot program. The pilot will first focus on the Foy Townhouses, where students will be given a few three gallon buckets to collect food scraps suitable for composting. 

Once the buckets are full students will bring them to the dumpster with their normal trash, and the grounds department will collect it. When the compost becomes soil, it will be used on campus.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a widespread composting program that’s in sync with  Marist’s values and sustainability plan,” said Tod. 

While some students may already compost at home, the method of composting Cimino and Tod are proposing is different according to Richard Feldman, Associate Professor of Environmental Science. “It starts with a feeder material that stimulates the growth of yeast and fungi, and it’s anaerobic, meaning it doesn’t use oxygen,” Feldman explained. 

Students will be given this agent, called Bokashi, to combine with their food scraps. Bokashi ferments the food scraps and reduces methane, the gas responsible for foul odors, making it suitable for indoor composting. 

The choice to give students Bokashi was a purposeful one. A compost with Bokashi, “Will take meat, dairy, and even bones, which is a benefit because it further simplifies the process for students” said Feldman. 

Tod added, “The type of composting we’re trying isn’t necessarily the fastest way, but it will be the easiest for students to adopt.” 

The next step for Cimino and Tod is educating and gaining support from students. To do this Cimino and Tod plan to host workshops to teach students how to compost. “At this point it’s mostly about getting students to be aware of the waste they’re creating,” commented Cimino. 

The biggest challenge the two seniors face is ensuring their composting program continues after they graduate in May. Steve Sansola, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, revealed a few students began a composting pilot three years ago with the Upper Fulton residences, however it didn’t last due to a lack of interest. “We have everything in place, we just need enough student interest and commitment,” said Sansola.

If students who don’t live in Foy want to participate in the pilot, Cimino recommended they collect food scraps in their freezers then dispose of them in the receptacles that will be located next to the dumpsters in the Foy parking lot. “When it comes down to it, composting is so simple,” said Cimino. “It’s just one extra bin but it can make a big difference.” 

Educational Nonprofit for Students Struggles to Find Visibility

In a small auditorium in New York City’s Union Square, the sound of pounding rain competed with the clacking of laptop keys. Max Robins, President and Executive Director of the Center for Communication, stepped up to the microphone, and students of every age tore their attention away from their screens to listen.

Robins introduced himself, his esteemed panel, and the topic of that night’s discussion: Storytelling Through Virtual Reality. Robins ended with the Center for Communication’s mission statement, “We want to open the doors for the next generation of diverse media leaders” said Robins.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, The Center for Communication is a nonprofit centered around providing free seminars for students during which they can listen to and meet influential leaders in the media community. The Center offers between 25 to 40 events per year, all free for students.

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Storytelling Through Virtual Reality event on Oct. 11

Prior to becoming the president of the Center for Communication, Robins worked as a journalist,  a childhood dream of his. “I wanted to write for great magazines and newspapers, but that world has shrunk now,” said Robins.“But, it’s ever-changing.”

Marcelle Hopkins, Co-Director of Virtual Reality and Deputy Director of Video at The New York Times, was one of the panel members. She revealed to the student audience, “Every job I’ve had since graduating college didn’t exist when I was a student.”

During the seminar Hopkins spoke to students about the importance of learning to tell a story. She claimed anyone can learn to use the technology necessary for virtual reality, but not everyone can tell a story well. “Events like these are important because they show students what’s out there for them, what they can do.”

One problem the Center for Communication currently faces is outreach. Farrah Thomson, a student at The New School in Manhattan, saw a flyer for the event and decided to go. “This is my first time going to one of their events,” said Thomson, “but I want to attend more in the future. I’m surprised the organization isn’t promoted more.”

One upcoming event Robins is particularly excited about is the Diversity and Media Career Summit on November 19. Based off the popular Women and Media Career Summit the Center has hosted for the past two years, the day-long event features keynote speakers, panels, and workshops. “We decided to create this because we have seen a growing need for diversity in media careers,” said Robins.

Past seminar topics have included journalism, filmmaking, public relations, publishing, and First Amendment issues. “We want to break down barriers between students and the industry,” Robins commended. “We encourage people to be lifelong students.”

In the future the Center for Communication hopes to offer events across the United States and, eventually, internationally.

Robins’ favorite aspect about the Center’s panels is the wealth of knowledge displayed before him. “If I run a panel, not only am I learning from the speakers, but I’m learning from the questions our attendees ask,” he explained, “The students inspire me with their eagerness to learn.”

 

Office of Safety and Security Considers Modern Personal Safety Technology

The Office of Safety and Security is currently testing Ripple, a personal security device, with a select number of students and Resident Assistants making emergency call boxes a thing of the past. 

About the size of a Scrabble tile, Ripple is a small, discrete, wearable button with bluetooth connectivity and GPS. If clicked once, a Ripple dispatcher will call the user’s cell phone. This  could be used if a student wants to stay on the line with someone while they walk alone at night.

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Ripple device on Smith’s keychain.

If Ripple is clicked three times it indicates an immediate emergency situation, and emergency vehicles will be sent to the user’s location.

Users can customize their Ripple settings to include a photo, medical information, and specify what kind of emergency vehicle they’d like dispatched in an emergency situation. 

Brian Dolansky, Associate Director of Safety and Security, reports the students testing Ripple are “using it more than they ever used an emergency call box.” 

Resident Assistant Owen Smith has been testing Ripple since August and thinks the new technology is “a great idea. Just having Ripple makes everyone feel a little safer, even if we don’t actively use it.”

The potential implementation of Ripple comes at a time when Marist students are assessing their personal safety. In the spring of 2018 senior Samantha Hesler conducted an anonymous sexual assault awareness survey in which she asked, “Is there any place on campus where you feel unsafe? Why?” Out of the out of the 108 survey responses Hesler received, six cite they feel unsafe because of a lack of emergency call boxes, frequently known as blue lights.

On campus there are 27 emergency call boxes total—19 on the east side and 8 on the west. Hesler believes, “If you’re going to have a blue light system, you need to have it across campus. You can’t half-ass the blue light system.” 

Dolansky reasons the number imbalance, “Probably had to do with the evolution of the college…there are more on the residential side because that’s where most students are at night.”

According to data gathered by the Marist Office of Safety and Security, the emergency call boxes were activated 28 times between 2012 and 2017. Of those 28 calls, only three were students asking to be escorted home by security. Five were people requesting a jump start or other car  assistance. 

“I’ve been doing this for 17 years and call boxes rarely get used,” says Dolansky, “If something isn’t being used, it’s hard to justify keeping it. But on the flip side, you can’t put a value on potentially saving someone’s life.”

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Emergency call box near underpass

Deb DiCaprio, Vice President/Dean of Student Affairs, says Ripple is, “a much better way to go in terms of personal safety. We can only guess where blue lights should be. If someone gets in trouble in one spot and we put a blue light there, someone else will get in trouble in another spot. Students can use Ripple when and where they need it, they don’t need to look around for a blue light to get help.” 

“There’s no one safety solution, no one technology, so we’re overlapping technologies by keeping the call boxes but testing Ripple,” says Dolansky, “The future of Marist security is not a static thing. We’re always looking for ways to improve and protect our students.” 

The Office of Safety and Security is not currently planning to remove emergency call boxes.