Transforming Campus Culture

This past year, Marist has sought many physical improvements to its campus, but now, administrators are after atmosphere of the college.

Ranklin & Associates Consulting, a consulting group specializing in college settings, has been contracted to conduct this survey. Ranklin & Associates has previously conducted similar climate surveys for schools like Syracuse University and Ithaca College. They are responsible for working with Marists’ faculty, staff, and students in order to thoroughly complete this survey.

David Yellen, Marist President, addressed the Climate Survey in a letter to the campus. He said, “I consider this climate survey to be an investment in the College’s future, an opportunity to have a positive impact and help create a more inclusive campus.” He also believes that Ranklin & Associates will “ensure full transparency and to provide a more complete perspective.”

But what is a campus’ climate? When many hear the word climate they think of our

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A slide from the Marist presentation on Campus Climate

earth’s climate, instead of on a smaller scale by considering the climate of our community. Campus Climate is defined by Marist faculty as “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.”

The climate of a campus is measured by “personal experiences, perceptions, and institutional efforts,” as defined by Ranklin & Associates. Thus, this is the perfect opportunity for students to voice their true, anonymous opinion of Marist College. However, although many students have been unwilling to fill out the survey. The reason seems not be because they don’t care, but that they don’t want to find the time to take the actual 10 minute survey.

In a last minute effort, faculty and staff have pushed for students to complete the survey, in order to get a full and accurate reading of Marist. Weather it be handing out candy to survey-completers on election day, or sharing the survey in class Facebook groups, there has been a huge push for survey completion.

Assistant Dean and Lecturer, Professor Molly Reddish, gave students class time to complete the survey, if they wished. Although they were not forced to take the survey, giving busy students a chance to contribute their opinion on their own institution is beneficial for not only themselves but also the college as a whole.

In order to gain a complete understanding of the campus’ climate, staff and faculty at Marist were also given a separate survey.

The climate survey is now closed, but upon assessment of the survey, Ranklin & Associates  will provide “ a report narrative of the findings based on cross tabulations selected by the consultant; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of quantitative data; and content analysis of the textual data.”

This survey is a step in the right direction for Marist, and will better the campus for future classes to come.

The Eight-Legged Threat on Campus

Marist Alumni, Mary Beth Pfeiffer, came back to her roots last Wednesday, Oct 17, to speak about the growing issue of Lyme Disease and climate change.

Speaker Pfeiffer, a former investigating reporter at the Poughkeepsie Journal and author of her book Lyme, spoke largely about how although climate change has directly impacted the number of ticks and tick borne illnesses in the nation, there are still doctors that will still hesitate to diagnose a patient with Lyme.

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Pfeiffer’s book, which was sold at the talk.

“Science is telling us that ticks can now live where they once have not” said Pfeiffer, who believes that the recent issue with ticks can be attributed to a combination of climate change, and government funding refusing to be spent on lyme disease and ticks.

Pfeiffer compared the illness of Lyme Disease to the AIDS epidemic, and how, although Lyme patients are not “dying by the score,” there could be thousands of deaths that could have not been diagnosed as lyme disease, but are related to tick borne illnesses.

Stepping into the Nelly Goletti Theatre Wednesday night, at first glance, it seemed as if the theatre was filled with students simply attending because they were assigned to in class, but eventually, it was clear that over half the room had been personally impacted by Lyme Disease.

“I have had Lyme disease for years, and have spent thousands monthly on treatment, and I have had doctors that I still have doctors refusing to treat me for Lyme,” said a visitor, who preferred to remain anonymous.

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Author Mary Beth Pfeiffer

Marist College, is often known for its beautiful open grass lawn, and nature setting. Although standing in the grass, looking at the Hudson River, is an popular pastime for Marist students, are they in danger for contracting a tick borne illness right on campus?

According to Pfeiffer, based on research she conducted, Dutchess county is known as one of the top tick-infested counties in the nation. Although this danger, caused my minuscule, eight-legged bugs, seems not to be as large as a threat as AIDS, Lyme Disease is still a large issue that lacks awareness and can often unknowingly impact students right here on campus.

“I’m here to paint the big picture of Lyme Disease,” said Pfeiffer. It is time to be aware of how ticks can impact the lives of many, even right here on campus.

Bringing Designer Clothing to Campus

Rent the Runway (Rent the Runway), a high-end designer clothing rental program, has expanded their business and hired Rent the Runway College Ambassadors at Marist College to promote their program.

Rent the Runway is a high-end clothing rental service where customers have the chance to rent items monthly or even just for special events. This program once attracted an older clientele, but is now reaching out to college students. The Marist College Rent the Runway ambassadors are a new group to campus and have expanded from one ambassador last semester to five this semester. Junior, 20, Dylan Skinner, the Campus Coordinator for Marist Rent the Runway ambassadors, describes Rent the Runway as “Rent the Runway is an entirely new way to shop. There are so many people that want to experience high quality, designer pieces but cannot afford it. Rent the Runway allows you to do this! Not only are you saving yourself money by renting instead of buying, but you’re also being sustainable.”

As a Rent the Runway ambassador, Skinner is able to rent four free items a month and in return promote Rent the Runway. Receiving free clothing is a huge perk of this program, but many participants are fashion majors who are also excited to put a program like Rent the Runway on their resume. Skinner, who is also the designer and founder of Dylan Skinner Designs, spoke about how this experience will impact her future, “It is teaching all of us how to work on a team and spread awareness for a brand and cause that we can all stand behind…I truly feel as though we are all thrilled to be involved and work for a company that is so progressive and rewarding.This definitely gives me a better understanding for the type of environment I’d want to work in when I graduate: inclusive, dynamic, fun, and driven.”

Who wouldn’t want to save money and be sustainable? The fashion industry is infamously known to produce more waste than any other industry. Rent the Runway solves this problem by offering clothing as a service not a product. However, a clothing rental program can often be costly for students on a budget. By having a Rent the Runway ambassador program at Marist, students are able to have the opportunity to receive discounts and even free rentals from the Rent the Runway ambassadors, making wearing high end clothing more attainable.

Sophomore, 19, Rachel Maculloch, a Rent the Runway ambassador at Marist, explains how difficult it may be to shop on a college budget. “Designer brands are so expensive, and for some spending all that money for one event can seem unreasonable. Rent the Runway makes it so easy because you can rent items for so much less than if you actually bought them.” Marist College is home to many fashion merchandising and design majors, so having a program like this on a fashion school campus is a great opportunity for girls who love labels to shop on their college budget.

As the Rent the Runway program is gaining traction on campus, ambassadors are reaching out to other clubs like Fashion Inc. and Marist Ethical Fashion Initiative to gain awareness of the program and even offer Rent the Runway apparel and discount/free rental codes. However, reaching out to clubs doesn’t always attract the whole campus; ambassadors often use their personal social media presence to post about their program, the clothing they receive, and even offer their discounts to their followers.