Beacon Bicycle Menorah celebrates members of the community

This week, Beacon Hebrew Alliance (BHA) and BeaconArts partnered up to bring the community Illumin8tion, a public menorah-lighting ceremony located in Polhill Park.

This year, Illumin8tion presented the Beacon Bicycle Menorah, a giant menorah in which the “candles” are comprised of bicycle tires wrapped in colored lights. According to the Dutchess Tourism website, each night is dedicated to honoring different members of the community. The first night, which was last Sunday when Hanukkah began, was a celebration of the town’s educators, but on different nights of the week Illumin8tion will honor activists, first responders, volunteers, and other notable members of the community.

On Wednesday, the lighting was dedicated to the children of Beacon. Children and their parents gathered around the menorah and sang ‘This Little Light of Mine.’  The kids then formed a line leading up to the menorah, and passed the newly lit bicycle tire down the line to place atop the menorah. The activity was meant to show the children how they can work together to bring light into the world.  Then, the group recited prayers around the menorah. .

According to Ellen Gersh, the cantor from BHA, the idea for bicycle tires came from a local artist named Ed Benavente.  Benavente does a lot of work with recycled materials; in particular, he frequently uses bicycle parts in his art. Gersh said that Benavente first came up with the idea for the bicycle menorah about four years ago. Since then, the menorah has gained popularity throughout the community. Benavente even traveled to Washington D.C. to give a smaller bicycle menorah to President Obama during his tenure in office.

The event is meant to be a celebration of hope and light.  The Dutchess Tourism website reads, “Hannukah tells us that we can hope against all reason and sometimes, we will prevail. Sometimes, the mighty will fall before the weak, and sometimes, just a little bit of fuel will get us through the darkest night — or even eight of them, if need be.”

Illumin8tion will conclude on the last night of Hannukah on Sunday, December 9th.  BHA and BeaconArts will host a community Hanukkah party at 11, followed by the menorah lighting at 5:30. The final night will be a celebration of the community’s artists and musicians.

“I love seeing the community come together,” Gersh said. “In times of darkness, we have to have hope.”

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Women’s soccer caps off successful season

After losing to Siena 2-0 last Wednesday, the Marist women’s soccer team wrapped up an impressive 2018 season.

According to GoRedFoxes.com, the team finished with a 9-8-2 overall record and a 7-3-1 record within the MAAC conference.  The Red Foxes made it all the way to the MAAC semifinals before getting toppled by Siena.  Their loss does not discount the team’s regular season success.  The team improved on their 2017 regular season record of 8-8-3, and Coach Leigh Howard won MAAC Coach of the Year in her first season with the team.  The team’s website points out that  Howard was the first Marist women’s soccer coach to win the award since Katherine Lyn in 2011.

The team is losing five seniors this year (Kristen Reilly, Hope Quinonez, Alexis Prisco, Tori Flaherty, and Sarah Hasselkamp), but they will have plenty of young and promising talent to  build upon for next season.  Quinonez believes that this senior class has left a positive, lasting impact on the underclassmen.

“Being a part of the Marist women’s soccer team is an honor and something they will learn to cherish as their time comes to an end,” Quinonez said. 

Coach Howard commented on the senior class’ resilience and ability to get results on GoRedFoxes.com.  “To be able to do that with a new staff, and to go through some of the turnover they’ve seen in four years speaks volumes about them as people,” Howard said. 

Quinonez shared some of the most valuable lessons that soccer has taught her over her 18-year career.   “I think the most important lesson it has taught me has been to never take anything for granted and enjoy every single second you get to be on that field,” Quinonez said.  Quinonez was sidelined for half of the season with an ACL injury, but she is still tremendously grateful for the opportunities that soccer has given her and the success that the team has experienced this past season. 

Quinonez also commented on some of her favorite moments from this past season.  Specifically, she mentioned her game-tying goal against Yale.  “There is no better feeling than scoring a goal and lifting your team up when they need it most,” Quinonez said.

The end of the season is, by nature, a reflective time for players.  It is an especially nostalgic time for seniors.  For most of them, it will be their last time playing soccer competitively.

“Might be cliche, but all good things come to an end,” Quinonez said.  “I would not change my four years as a Red Fox because my time has shaped me into the person I am today, and has prepared me to face anything that comes my way in the future.”

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Source: GoRedFoxes.com

Anti-Semitic Flyers Spark Concern on Campus

Students were upset and disappointed by the anti-semitic flyers that were found in academic buildings on campus last week.

Director of safety and security John Blaisdell said that the incident occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 8th, when Marist security received two calls reporting a

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Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/10/10/anti-semitic-fliers-found-uc-davis

 suspicious person on campus, as well as offensive and anti-semitic flyers that were found in Dyson Hall and the Lowell Thomas Communications Center.  The flyers depicted the newly confirmed Supreme  Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as several Jewish senators including Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer.  The senators had the Star of David printed on their heads, while Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had the phrase “Good Goy” printed on hers.  The bottom of the poster read, “Every time some anti-white, anti-American, anti-freedom event takes place, you look at it and it’s Jews behind it.”

Blaisdell said that security was dispatched, and that the officers found the suspect rather quickly.  He was described as a man wearing a dark hoodie and rubber gloves carrying a satchel.  Initially, this person had no interest or desire to speak with the officers.  However, they followed him and continued to ask him what he was doing.  He eventually cooperated and claimed that the flyers were part of an “educational outreach” effort. 

The officers told the man that he was not welcome as a guest or to hang flyers, and that if he returned to campus he would be arrested.  The individual was not a Marist student, and Blaisdell  said that they have no reason to believe that he has any affiliation with the school. 

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the same flyers were spotted at Vassar College and Dutchess Community College, as well as UC Davis in California.  Blaisdell said that Marist security has been working with Vassar and Dutchess regarding the issue.  He also noted that incidents like this have happened in the past. 

“They’re generally flyers or information that don’t promote an inclusive community,” Blaisdell said.

While security handled the situation quickly and efficiently, students are still concerned about the intruder and about the dissemination of hateful rhetoric on campus.  Rabbi Boruch Zelouf, who serves as the Chabad Rabbi for Marist students, said that he was disappointed and surprised that something like this would happen at Marist.  He also said that students have come to him to talk about how the incident emotionally impacted them.  However, Zelouf emphasized the importance of responding with positive action and togetherness rather than fear and discouragement. 

“It should not put us in a state of despair, but it should push us  forward,” Zelouf said.

Lauren Vicenzi, the Vice President of Marist Hillel, was also shocked and disappointed by the fliers.  Vicenzi said that Hillel held a meeting  the day after the incident happened.  They all agreed that Marist handled the situation very well, and that this is part of a much larger societal issue.  Like Rabbi Zelouf, Vicenzi also wanted to handle the incident in a positive and constructive manner.

“We took it as an opportunity to solidify our community,” Vicenzi said.  “The Jewish population at Marist is significantly low, which isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it can make you feel isolated.” 

Students of all religious backgrounds found the fliers to be hurtful and alarming.  “I’m not Jewish, but I still think it’s pretty scary that something like this happened on our campus,” said senior David Cyganowski. 

The Jewish community at Marist wants to make the best out of this negative situation.  “We don’t fight hate with hate,” said Rabbi Zelouf.  “We fight hate with positivity and increased light.”

Marist Abroad Introduces Freshman in Dublin Experience

Marist’s study abroad program is one of the college’s crown jewels, frequently lauded on tours and during info sessions.  This year, the international office will tack on another addition to Marist’s already impressive arsenal of international programs: the Freshman Dublin Experience.

The Freshman Dublin Experience (FDE) is a program that allows incoming freshman to spend their first year of school studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland.  The abroad office advertises that FDE is “designed for highly motivated freshmen who wish to pursue foundation course work in a study abroad environment while also allowing for a cultural exploration of Ireland.”  The features of the program are a testament to this statement.  Students will live at Binary Hub, which is 20 minutes away from Dublin Business School (DBS), where classes are held.  The program also includes excursions to Northern and Western Ireland.

Marist’s international programs have garnered national praise, but the administration at the international office believes that first-year programming is an increasingly important component of international education.

“Well-developed programs that offer students facilitated experiential and intercultural experiences are known to support their intercultural development [and their] ability to apply what they have learned to practical concepts,” says Gavin Webb, the director of international programs at Marist.

Webb also notes that the abroad office is happy with the reception of FDE.  “We’re very pleased with the interest in this new program,” Webb says.  “We currently have 28 students participating in our inaugural year.”

Marist already offers the renowned Freshman Florence Experience (FFE), but Webb says that FDE will offer programs that FFE does not.

“The program in Dublin compliments that of Florence since it offers coursework in majors such as IT & computer science or education that aren’t on offer in Florence,” Webb says.

There is a laundry list of young and bustling cities in Europe, but Marist Abroad felt that Dublin was the ideal destination for this new experience for a number of reasons.  For one, Marist already has established partnerships with institutions like DBS and the Foundation for International Education (FIE).  Students who have studied in Dublin before have also praised the city for offering a welcoming, friendly environment.

“I would say my favorite thing about Dublin was the general kind nature of the people,” said Jack McElduff, a senior who spent last fall at Griffith College in Dublin.  “They really welcomed me with open arms.”  He also said that the kind nature of the people allowed him to make friends quickly and easily, which is especially important for incoming freshmen. 

McElduff also noted that Dublin is a very navigable city.  “It’s an easy city to walk around in, and there’s no subways so that kind of helps you explore,” McElduff said.

The transition from life at home to life at school can be difficult for any new college student.  However, these students will have to adjust to college life in a foreign country, which can be especially overwhelming and nerve-wracking.  Marist Abroad has taken this into account, and has emphasized that there will be plenty of resources and support for these students. 

“Dedicated staff from Marist, FIE and DBS are there to support students through their academic and intercultural experience, and cultural adjustment to life in Ireland,” Webb said.  Of course, the adjustment to life in Poughkeepsie will also be challenging, but Marist Abroad has incorporated a re-entry phase of FDE that will allow students to critically reflect on their experience while integrating to life on Marist’s campus. 

“It’s a very brave thing for anybody to do, to study abroad as a freshman,” said Jean Hinkley, the coordinator for all first-year programs at Marist Abroad.  “If that’s your first introduction to college… I just think that takes a lot of courage.”