Post-graduation Problems: Where’s the Prep

There are clearly many aspects to being an independent and adept adult. College is an incredible opportunity to gain some of those valuable skills, especially for a particular career path. However, knowing how to do a specific job is not the only thing that constitutes being a successful adult. Institutions like Marist College should require financial literacy classes for their students so upon leaving college, they are completely prepared and confident to enter the real world.   

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The Marist College mission statement says, “Marist is dedicated to helping students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Although Marist provides students with many learning opportunities in the classroom as well as with study abroad programs and internships, some students feel the college does not do enough. To be a self-supporting and competent adult, there is much more than just the academic and social experience. After college there are bills and student loans to pay, apartments to rent and taxes to file. As a student, the pressure to find a job after college is frightening along with being thrown into the real world.

Although two years away from graduating, Matthew Dwyer ‘21 does not feel he is prepared for life after college. His main concerns are finding a job and paying off student debt. For a way to be more equipped in the real world, Dwyer said, “Give us a course in college.”

Dwyer is not alone in his trepidations and confusion about paying off student debt, rent and credit cards. In the US there is a deficiency in financial literacy among college students. According to Lendedu, only 17 states in the US require high schools students to take a personal finance class. Going into college students are lacking knowledge about saving and the student debt they will need to pay.

Furthermore, Lendedu conducted a survey among 455 college students about personal finances. In their 2016 College Students and Personal Finance Study, only 8 percent of college students would give themselves an “A” in terms of successfully managing their finances and money, while 41 percent would give themselves a “C.” In the same survey, 58 percent of students said they are not saving money and 81 percent said they do not have an emergency fund.

Some of the responsibility does fall on parents to be teaching their children about saving money and making smart financial decisions. Parents and teachers are some of the most influential people in individuals’ lives, so they should be encouraging teenagers and young adults to take interest in their financial matters.

Once in college, institutions like Marist should want to fully prepare their students for life after school. Requiring a class dedicated to teaching about paying off student debt, mortgages, down payments and credit cards would be incredibly helpful. It would also be in the best of Marist to want to create financially savvy alumni. Individuals with more savings would probably be more likely to donate money back to Marist than those who not setting aside money.

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In Lendedu’s survey, 43 percent of college students could not identify one significant difference between a credit and debit card. Having a strong understanding how to manage personal finances is critical to succeeding in building a prosperous and rewarding life. Therefore Marist College needs to offer courses for students to learn ways to handle their finances. In Lendedu’s survey, only 34 percent of students reported they have taken a personal finance class in college, while 21 percent of students have not taken a personal finance class but are planning to take one, and 45 percent of students reported they have not taken personal finance class and do not plan on taking any.

Along with many other college students, Marist students are nervous and concerned about the obstacles that arrive after college. There is much confusion and stress surrounding student debt, rent and credit cards. It would be extremely beneficial if Marist required students to take a personal finance course and fulfill their claim that Marist provides students with the tools for success following college.

Valley Cafe Adds Flavor to Tuesday

On Tuesdays, Marist College students are swapping their meal swipes into the Dining Hall for tickets into the Valley Cafe. With a different menu each week, the Valley Cafe provides students with a unique lunch and enjoyable atmosphere that keeps students returning.

“I go every week,” Caroline Friske ‘20 said. “Whenever I’m free on Tuesday, I’m here.”

Friske along with her friends, enjoy the fun variety of grilled cheese sandwiches at the cafe on Tuesday, April 23. “The grilled cheese creates a nostalgic feeling,” Friske said. “I always ate grilled cheese as a kid and it makes me very, very happy to get that feeling back.”

The theme this week at the Valley Cafe is “Grilled Cheese,” which is a yearly favorite according to student intern, Elie Christoforides ‘20. The menu includes Tomato Bisque Soup, Chicken Bacon Ranch Grilled Cheese, Brie and Pear Grilled Cheese and even a vegan grilled cheese.

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Furthermore, each week the Valley Cafe has a new theme that is chosen by student intern, Elie Christoforides. “I’m the Valley Cafe dude,” Christoforides said. He has been interning with Sodexo for three years and his role includes organizing and planning the Valley Cafe. Originally recruited to help Chef Anthony develop themes and menus each week, Christoforides is now the imagination behind the menu. “Dining services thought there was a creativity that was lacking and I was hired to be the second-hand man of Chef Anthony and give that boost of creativity,” Christoforides explained. After Chef Anthony resigned, Christoforides now decides the themes, which are either invented himself, suggestions from students or ideas pitched from clubs.

“We look at suggestions from students and we get a lot of requests from clubs,” Christoforides said. Students can either email or text Sodexo any suggestions, comments or criticisms about the Valley Cafe. Sodexo also collaborates with clubs frequently, including the Italian American Society, Fox Pride and Asian Alliance. “Whenever we get a club, I’ll make sure to talk to the leader and tell them how it works to create a menu. Sometimes they want me to make a menu and other times they’ll make their own,” Christoforides said.  

In addition to requests, Christoforides also tries to incorporate special occasions or holidays. “I think when we first started doing grilled cheese, it was National Grilled Cheese Day. It’s become an annual thing because it was so popular the first year.” If there is no specific holiday or partnership with a club, it is up to Christoforides to invent a theme. Last year, the cafe had a lunch titled, “Netflix and Grill.” The dishes were all inspired by movies or television shows such as “Ratatouille,” fruit salad from the “Wiggles” and the infamous spaghetti in “Elf.”

As a result of the interesting themes, the Valley Cafe provides students with a variety of dishes that they cannot eat elsewhere. “The Dining hall has its limitations and there’s a cap to what they do on the regular bases. Because the Valley Cafe is weekly, there’s more room for creativity,” Christoforides said.

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Moreover, the most challenging part of creating a theme is to avoid being redundant and also pleasing everyone, Christoforides explained. “It’s just one menu, so it’s going to be hard to attract everyone. There’s people that come weekly, sometimes they’re vegan or vegetarian and sometimes there are new people coming to eat for the first time,” Christoforides said. “It’s about making sure that throughout the year there is a balance between creativity and delivering the basics of a meal.”

The components of the each weekly menu include a soup, salad, three main dishes and at least one or two vegan options. Every dish is also distinctly labeled for students with allergies. Christoforides said about 50 percent of the ingredients are locally sourced within a 200 mile radius of Marist College, which supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint. “It is named the Valley Cafe because the food is coming from here in the Hudson Valley,” Christoforides said.  

Serving students fresh and fun lunches, the Valley Cafe invites all students to taste new cuisine they cannot eat anywhere else. Students like Friske truly enjoy their weekly routine of lunch at the Valley Cafe. Friske said, “I literally don’t take 11 o’clock classes, just so I can be here.”

New Club Hopes to End Stigmas About Sex

As students peruse the rows of club posters at the Activities Fair, they begin to notice a new club, STARR. All the officers of Students Advocating for Reproductive Rights as well as students, are excited to see the club finally sanctioned for the Spring 2019 Semester.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says president Kelsey Beresheim.

During her sophomore year at Marist, three seniors approached Beresheim with the idea of starting a club to bring awareness to sexual health. There was no particular club advocating for sexual education at the time and the students wanted a place to address the topic and bring awareness.

Beresheim explains they began with a series of “underground” events. During one event, students placed going-out survival kits outside dorms. These kits consisted of water, snacks and condoms.

Now a junior, Beresheim is delighted to see STARR become an official club. The first general members meeting is this semester, which is pretty exciting she says.

The mission of STARR is to create a safe community to address the issues of sexual health and reproductive rights on campus. The club wants to bring awareness about the importance of sexual health and eliminate any stigmas surrounding sex.

“I definitely think sexual health is an important issue because it really affects college students and students should have a place to talk about it,” says Beresheim, “We always hear about STDs being a problem on college campuses so we wanted to do something more.”

According to Washington and Lee University, one in four college students has an STD. The Center for Disease Control also stated Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease on college campuses. In 2017, 1.5 million cases of Chlamydia were reported and about two-thirds of those cases were among individuals 15-24 years of age.

With the alarming number of STDs on college campuses, STARR hopes to help students prevent the spread of more diseases. “Education is key,” says Beresheim. Knowing how to practice safe sex is incredibly important. Beresheim plans to bring guest speakers to the campus to discuss sexual health and reproductive rights. STARR wants to educate students about safe sex and provide them with resources such as free condoms.

Learning about safe sex is crucial for students but it can also address other issues. Beresheim explains, “Sexual health can also stem into relationships, such as domestic violence. Someone might not even know they’re in an abusive relationship.”

In addition to bringing awareness about sexual education, the club also hopes to break any stigmas about reproductive rights. “Unfortunately there are stigmas around sexual health but STARR can combat those,” says Beresheim.

Erin Connolly, the secretary of STARR, agrees the club will be able to clear misconceptions about sex by educating and bringing awareness to students. “Sex in general is a taboo subject,” Connolly says. “It is important to talk about sex. A lot of people downplay it, but it is really important.” She believes the club will be able to foster a community on the Marist College campus, opened to talking about sex.

As well as discussing and answering questions about sexual health, STARR hopes to provide students with a variety of resources. Connolly says the club will inform students about birth control options, including Planned Parenthood and its services. “The club is also for sexual well being,” Connolly explains, “We also want to remind people to get screened and stay healthy.”

For its first semester as a sanctioned club, STARR is hoping to organize a variety of events. Along with bringing in guest speakers, Beresheim wants to create more going-out survival kits, host a potential movie night and reach out into the community. The club has been in contact with the Vassar Chapter and hopes to collaborate with other colleges as well, such as Bard and the Culinary Institute.

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Students signing up for STARR at the Club Fair on Feb. 6. Free condoms were also available to take.