Hughes Represents Kids of Special Olympics in NYC Marathon

Senior Caroline Hughes was making her way down the Verrazano Bridge alongside 50,000 other runners on Sun., Nov. 4, when it hit her that she was not running her usual route on the Walkway Over the Hudson, but was participating in the New York City Marathon.

Although always an athlete, Hughes picked up running in college as a way to clear her mind and destress. Only four years later, she trained for her first marathon entirely by herself, and finished in an impressive 5 hours and 47 seconds.

“Running next to complete strangers who also have a passion for running was such an unbelievable motivation,” Hughes said. “It was really, really awesome.”

Hughes first began training last summer, but it became harder to increase her mileage when she returned to Marist as the school work piled on. During mid-semester break, however, Hughes finally had time to pick up the pace, and ran 18 and a half consecutive miles, her longest distance yet. After break, she hit the gym for strength training, and, with only a few weeks to go before the big day, focused on getting enough sleep and eating properly.

Hughes’ decision to run the marathon was inspired in part by the children she works with at Windham Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, where she volunteers in the winter. Many of the students she teaches there are a part of Special Olympics, an organization that helps children and adults with mental and physical handicaps participate in sports. While preparing for the race, Hughes fundraised alongside 15 other runners on the Special Olympics Team, collectively raising over $70,000 for the organization.   

On that Saturday before the race, Hughes picked up her race number at the NYC Marathon Expo, where she saw runners of all different shapes and sizes, speaking a wide array of languages. The night before the race, she was sent a heartfelt video from her friends and family,  who wished her luck. She also received a letter from a Special Olympics athlete with Down Syndrome, in which he thanked her for her fundraising efforts. By 11 a.m. the next morning, the day of the race, the few fears Hughes had experienced were well out of mind, and she was ready to go.

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Hughes poses outside the NYC Marathon Expo

At the starting line, Hughes’ was greeted by the sound of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” a special moment she said she will always remember. Neon signs in hand, her friends and family were scattered along the route, cheering her on. As she ran throughout the city’s five boroughs, Hughes noticed how although the crowds changed, each brought something new and exciting to the race, and every bystander, even members of the homeless, were there to support her.   

“As a runner, I was running alone, but I never felt alone,” Hughes said. “There was just so many people cheering you on, even if they didn’t know you. It was such a moving experience to see all of the different people supporting you. It really unified the entire city.”

Hughes recalled mile 21 as her most challenging, but mentally related her pace to her route back home, to remind herself that she had completed similar distances before. For further motivation, she thought of the kids of Special Olympics, who had already gotten her this far.

When she reached Central Park, she realized she was almost done; after passing her family one last time, she crossed the finish line only a few miles away, and was instantly overcome with emotion.

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Hughes finished the NYC Marathon, her first, in 5 hours and 47 seconds.

“It was just a really unbelievable feeling, to know that I had just completed a marathon,” she said.

Despite the long day, and the lingering dehydration and leg pain, Hughes returned to Marist later that night. Her own reward for the once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment? Hughes skipped her 8 a.m. the next morning, and slept in until her 11 o’clock class.

“I didn’t want to give myself too much time to rest,” she said. “I had to keep going again.”

Hughes said her favorite part of the experience was running along 1st Avenue to “Empire State of Mind,” while passing her friends and family. In the future, Hughes intends to run more marathons, but wants to race in other cities to see how their environments differ from New York’s.  

“At the end of the day, I was extremely proud of myself, because I was able to set a goal, and stick to a commitment, regardless of other things going on at the time,” Hughes said. “[Receiving letters from Special Olympic athletes] showed me that I am very blessed to run for something that is bigger than myself. It was really special, and something that I’ll never forget doing.”  

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Marist College Welcomes Home Former Red Foxes

Poughkeepsie, New York- The Marist College Campus Green was filled with people of all ages smiling, laughing, and catching up on Saturday, October 20th during an Alumni Weekend event.

 

Past Red Foxes filled the campus exploring the new buildings, talking with old professors, and sharing their favorite college memories with current students.  Every year Marist hosts an Alumni Weekend/Homecoming that welcomes back all graduates of Marist. Events that are held include a football game, barbecue, food and beverage vendors, class pictures, and much more.  

 

Current students were reminded about many changes; one being that Marist was once an all male school, as the last class of that era walked around with green baseball caps to show off which class they were.  

 

Many alum were excited to network with current students and offer advice and tips for their future.  Kelsey Donohue ‘13 offered advice from her own personal experience. Donohue spent a semester in Washington D.C. at American University through the semester program Marist offers.  Although skeptical about the possible outcomes of her semester away, she was thankful she accepted the opportunity and was overwhelmed with joy due to her achievements. “Take every opportunity Marist has to offer.  Apply for things out of reach even if they seem like a stretch. You are capable of making that reach and succeeding,” said Donohue.

 

So what exactly has changed at Marist?  Tom Spratt ‘68 said, “Donnelly Hall was our cafeteria.  There was also a bar in the basement of Champagnat Hall which is where I worked.” Many Alum stopped in the admissions office and reminisced about the time it was a dorm.   Some even mentioned Donnelly Hall was once where mixers with Mount Saint Mary College students were held. The boys would dress up in their best clothes and head to the Brown Derby on Friday nights; much different from the current Friday night outings most Marist students take part in.

 

Some Alum are also parents to current and prospective Red Foxes.  “Marist is a family place. It’s more than a community, it’s a family” said Grace Ritter ‘18, looking at her dad John Ritter ‘84, catching up with old classmates.  It is not rare for families to be filled with past, present, and future Red Foxes. The Marist instagram page is constantly filled with pictures of baby Red Foxes.

 

Current students were eager to hear from their friends who had just graduated.  They wanted to know what the “real world” and graduate school was like. They were all relieved to hear that the graduates were enjoying their jobs, new cities and homes, and the friends they had made.  It also gave them a sense of reassurance which was highly needed after midterms week which was the week before. Many recent alum expressed their excitement for their new lives but also sorely missed their time on campus.

 

Many students also were interested in networking and speaking with older alum.  They had their resumes ready incase an internship opportunity appeared. William Clooman ‘68 shared his story of being the first President of the Alum Association Search Committee and worked on the board when former President Murray was hired.

 

Alum were excited to post their pictures on social media and share their annual Red Fox memories with the rest of the world.  Captions of posts included “the boys are back in town,” “Marist forever and ever,” and “always and forever a red fox.”

 

Current students strolled around campus smiling at how happy all the alum seemed to be.  “It comforts me knowing that even after we graduate, we will still be just as excited to be here on campus.  Marist is more than a college, it’s our home,” said Lindsay Barton ‘20.

Historic Graveyard Tour returns at St. James’ Church

It was 8 p.m. on a Friday evening and the weather was chilly at 40 degrees. The 200-year old graveyard at St. James’ filled up with an eager crowd holding lanterns. People of all ages attended, dressed in their winter gear. The tour was about to begin.

St. James’ Church in Hyde Park kicked off their 9th season with their annual Historic Graveyard Tour. Originally a run up for the bi-centennial church celebration in 2011, the tour has remained a popular event for many years. In fact, 200 people turned out for the first tour that the crowd had to be split into three groups. “My family and I look forward to the tour every year. I’m always amazed by the production. It’s definitely one of the biggest highlights for the church,” said parishioner Stephanie Carson.

The tour consisted of approximately eight actors stationed in different parts of the cemetery. Each of the actors played characters who were buried at St. James’ Church. Around half of the actors are parishioners, and half are not. Every year has non-coincidentally turned into a different theme for the tour. One year the theme was slavery, while another year the tour concentrated on disabilities. This year, the focus was on those who were connected to the First World War. The script is written by a committee of parish volunteers who plan months in advance for the momentous parish event.

The crowd followed the dark path of the graveyard, led by a host for the hour. Each actor described their character’s background and major roles they took on in life. Dressed in costume of the era, characters ranged from Red Cross personnel, soldiers, lieutenants and even chefs to President Roosevelt.

The host for the evening, Russell Urban-Mead led the crowd in an animated voice and took the group to each stationed actor. A family affair–Urban Mead’s wife, Wendy was the director of the tour this year. Smiling, he sat in a church pew before the start of the 8:00 p.m. tour, enthusiastic for the evening. “It’s an exciting time for our parish where everyone comes together to work on the tour. There is a lot of history that many people do not even know about, just in front of our eyes in the 200-year old cemetery,” Urban-Mead admits.

The Rev. Chuck Kramer has been at St. James’ Church for 21 years. He made his debut appearance as an actor in this year’s tour. Kramer played Ogden Livingston Mills, U.S Secretary of the Treasury during Herbert Hoover’s presidency. Kramer was the first actor for the evening, and passionately depicted the spirit of Mills with his gestures and keen storytelling.

Recounting the intention of the tour, Kramer sat in his office, filled with books, sacred embellishments and bright colors. “There are three goals of the tour. One is to entertain. One is to inform and one is to inspire,” Kramer said.

Partakers of the St. James’ Historic Graveyard Tour can expect to be educated on major roles individuals played during World War I. It is a night to learn about the lives of the souls who rest in the church’s cemetery.

Kramer is proud of the impact the tour has left on people for the past eight years as well as the light it sheds on history. “The tour makes people come alive in a way that tugs at   the heart and has people thinking ‘wow.’ It engages both the funny bone and the heart,” Kramer said.

The tour runs for three weeks in October on Friday and Saturday night’s starting at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds go to the on-going ministry and outreach of the church.

(from left to right) Pete Bedrossian, playing the role of (William) Gerald Morgan.

Andrew William Gordineer, 21, playing the role of William T. White.

Reverend Chuck Kramer in his parish office at St. James’ Church.

 

 

Beaten, Battered, Bruised: Marist Sports Injuries

Action and excitement packed the stands at the Marist Red Foxes vs. Dayton Flyers football game. Fans roared from the stands as athletes made daring catches at the end zone, followed by the blares of the Marist Fight Song emanating from the band. One enthuastic fan nearly tumbled over the rope barrier as he congratulated a player following his game-winning catch.

Despite all the activity and fanfare that make any sporting event fun to watch, there have been reports of six to 10 concussions, six to eight ACL tears, and three to four fractures in the Marist 2018 fall athletic season.

Data on the specific number of injuries is not clear due to ongoing testing on recent injuries, according to Jeffery Carter, the Coordinator for Sports Medicine at Marist.

Carter explained that there have been approximately 200-300 injury reports made to the Athletics Department this fall, but a majority of injuries reported are those such as bruises, sore muscles, and other minor injuries.

He additionally stated that each year the number of injuries that Marist athletes endure fluctuate inexplicably.

“I would say that recognition of injuries is always getting better so that might be a reason for an ‘increase,’ but the overall rates haven’t increased here at Marist, or Division I as a whole,” Carter said.

Carter believes the number of injuries is actually decreasing due to the installation of new turf.

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Jeffery Carter, Coordinator for Sports Medicine at Marist College

Since 2004, male and female college athletes reported approximately 12,500 injuries per year to the NCAA and the National Athletic Trainer’s Association.

The NCAA presently does not require sports teams to release injury reports, according to an SB Nation article. But this may change due to the legalization of sports betting.

Dr. Justin Feldman is a physical therapist and owner of Feldman Physical Therapy & Performance, with locations in Poughkeepsie and Fishkill. Feldman has treated student athletes for almost 12 years with clientele from Marist and other local colleges such as Vassar College, Dutchess Community College, Mount Saint Mary College, and West Point.

Feldman has had student athletes visit his office for concussions, ACL tears, and ankle sprain injuries so far this fall.

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Dr. Justin Feldman, physical therapist and owner of Feldman Physical Therapy & Performance

He also listed many factors that may contribute to the rise in sports injuries among college students, one of these being that the student specialized in their sport while they were too young.

“By the time they hit college, [the students] have been doing only that sport year round for too long and the stress adds up,” said Feldman. “Also, their bodies become less adaptable, and therefore more at risk for injuries.”

He additionally listed sleep deprivation as another factor in injuries related to athletics, stating that student athletes, “aren’t great at the rest and recovery aspect of sports.”

Feldman also advised student athletes to get eight and a half to nine hours of sleep each night and to work on strength and conditioning in the gym.

“I see too many athletes that don’t do the strength and conditioning part, and that sets them up for injuries,” he said.

Carter and his staff of certified athletic trainers also offer resources to college athletes when they sustain injuries.

He and his team will rehabilitate injuries that occur during any type of athletic participation, including club and intramural sports, oftentimes both with members of the Marist staff and a local physical therapist.

Carter stated that prevention of serious injuries occurs at multiple levels, including “overall safety and awareness of fields and courts; pre- and post- activity stretching and flexibility work; pre-participation physicals and health history reviews; working with our strength coach to identify weakness [and] deficiencies that can be corrected with exercises, etc.; and education and instruction with coaches to identify risky drills, etc.”

Ellie Petraccione, a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team, suffered from a fractured sesamoid bone. She stated that, throughout her rehabilitation process, her athletic trainer at Marist consistently checked with her pain levels and ensured she was progressing well towards recovery.

“I am so thankful for my experience [with the athletic training staff] because I felt valued and important,” said Petraccione. “Every single athletic trainer knew who I was, what I was going through, and they were always willing to help.”

Carter is currently working to add additional staff members for the Division I, Club, and Intramural sports leagues to further help injured athletes.

He said, “I think the only thing I would add is that although our staffing is minimally sufficient, we as a department could offer better care and more services if our staffing numbers were increased.”

 

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.”

“Frankenstein” Revived Through Storytelling and Visual Art

Despite the otherwise light atmosphere of the Marist College Art Gallery, its graphic contents can only be described as bleak, eerie, and haunting. Directly opposite the display’s unique mixture or grays and blacks are 10 chairs on which visitors can sit and contemplate the work; no matter which chair is sat in, however, the painting’s phantom acrylic eyes always seem to follow.

These paintings make up only one part of Professor Tommy Zurhellen’s “Frankenstein: Könfidential” exhibition, a project that combines traditional storytelling and visual art to recreate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

“My first impression walking into the gallery was that of feeling tremendously cold,” Professor Zurhellen’s student Kevin Hudson, a senior, said. “The room was spacious, and the cool/monochrome color scheme of each of the paintings created this feeling. I believe Professor Zurhellen was creating a strong introduction through intense feelings of discomfort.”

Professor Zurhellen’s decision to pursue a recreation of the original Frankenstein was prompted by the 200th anniversary of its publication this year. Despite its age, the professor believes its central themes of creation and ethics are as timely as ever.

“[Frankenstein] is 200 years old yet the writing is still fresh and new,” he said. “It’s creepy and spooky and dark and weird, and it could have been written yesterday.”

Professor Zurhellen’s narrative is told in serial form and split into 24 episodes, mirroring the number of chapters found in the original work. Each week one installment is released, accompanied by a visual art graphic that pertains to the story’s timeline. The artwork was created by Hyeseung Marriage-Song, a New York-based artist the professor collaborated with for the project.

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The painting that accompanies Chapter 1: In the Cemetery

“Once people understand that it’s a celebration and recreation of the original story in a collaborative way, they get it,” Professor Zurhellen explained. “It takes a little bit of imagination to get the whole project, but once [people] do, they love it.”

Like the original work, Professor Zurhellen’s project centers around Victor Frankenstein and his vicious creation, but the similarities stop there. In “Frankenstein: Könfidential,” the doctor is a Jew living in Nazi-Germany during the final months of WWII.

The new narrative opens much like the original version, with American Capt. Robert Walton’s cryptic letter to his younger sister Margaret, which is provided as part of the exhibition, complete with rips, creases, coffee cup stains, and a US Army Examiner Stamp.

“The inclusion of this letter in the exhibit was really cool to see as it brought Zurhellen’s story to life among the accompanying artwork,” senior Sarah Howard said. “It looked like a real artifact that you would see in a historical exhibit in a museum.”

Many of the characters within “Frankenstein: Konfidential” are taken from Shelley’s original work, like Dr. Frankenstein’s childhood friend Henry Clerval, but are infused with Professor Zurhellen’s personal twists. Others, however, are entirely based on actual historical figures. One painting depicts the character “Lilo,” who was involved in the resistance movement against the Nazis during the war, and the story’s antagonist is based on real-life Gestapo agent Robert Mohr.

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From left to right: “Lilo,” “Ode to CDF,” (Below) Capt. Walton’s letters to his sister, “Henry Clerval”

“Adding that kind of historical flare [to the characters] helps make the story feel more authentic,” Professor Zurhellen explained.

“I think that Zurhellen is trying to reinvent the Frankenstein story in a new light and give it a newer and more current life,” Howard explained. “I got the sense from the exhibit that he wanted onlookers to question everything they previously knew about the original Frankenstein story, as well as dispel their concept of reality to really transport themselves into the world he has created.”

Since its grand opening on Sept. 27, the exhibit has garnered positive reviews from The ChronogramHudson Valley Magazine, and The Poughkeepsie Journal, among others. Much of the project’s success, Professor Zurhellen said, is owed to his collaboration with Marriage-Song.

“Trust in the power of collaboration [because] you’ll get something that normally by yourself you’d never get,” the professor said. “You get more than just your own work. It’s almost easy, because someone else is working just as hard [as you] and you create something no one else would ever think of. [This project] wouldn’t have happened unless these two powers came together and did something unique.”

In November the exhibit will appear at the Gowanus Industrial Arts Complex in Brooklyn, in front of a much larger audience. Once all 24 installments of “Frankenstein: Könfidential” are released, Professor Zurhellen plans on grouping the chapters together into a printable version.

 

 

 

 

Marist and Health Quest Partner to Form Medical School

What began as mere rumor became reality on Wed., Sept. 12, when President Yellen confirmed Marist College’s partnership with Health Quest to form its very own medical school.

“The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine aspires to become a nationally recognized leader in technology-enabled medical education,” President Yellen stated in a campus-wide email. “This unique partnership will push the boundaries of healthcare by focusing on where medicine is going, not where it has been.”   

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Robert Friedberg, President & CEO of Health Quest, and David Yellen, President of Marist College, at The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine announcement at Marist College

According to the statement, Marist will be added to the list of only 151 other MD-granting medical schools in the country, and the school will become the first of its kind in the area between Albany and Westchester County.  

Health Quest is a nonprofit organization made up of hospitals and healthcare providers primarily in the Mid-Hudson Valley, whose four award-winning hospitals include Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital Center, Sharon Hospital, and the Vassar Brothers Medical Center.

The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine will be constructed on an l00,000-square-foot area within Poughkeepsie’s very own Vassar Medical Center, only a 5 minute drive from Marist.

“In many ways [the Marist Health Quest School] can help programs that are already here on campus,” explained Dr. Stephen Katz, Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Department. “It could benefit the psychology program, the business program, [and] people in the economics department who are involved with medicare and medicaid [because] now they’ll have a direct access line to that sort of information.”

Dr. Katz described the placement of the medical school on the Vassar Brothers campus as “appropriate,” as much of a medical student’s clinical work and patient care is done within local hospitals.  

Although the decision to go forth with the medical school was shared with select staff and administrators over a year ago, the recent announcement shocked many students.

“I was actually very surprised but excited [when I heard about the medical school] because this is a major accomplishment for Marist and its pre-health students,” said Kristina Thompson, a senior Biology Major with a pathway in Public Health. “This medical school now offers an opportunity that students have not had before.”

School of Science Dean Alicia Slater, who assumed the position on July 1, participated in the tail-end of the negotiation meetings with Health Quest, and believes the school’s completion will bring benefits to both Marist and the surrounding community.

“I hope that the school is going to attract more graduate [students] from across the country, and raise the national profile of Marist,” she said. “We’re going to see a lot of interaction between the faculty here on campus and the medical school students so that we can help produce medical care providers who are broadly trained.”

According to Dean Slater, the Marist Health Quest school will operate with a little more independence than the other departments because of its partnership with Health Quest.

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The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine building concept

Both Dean Slater and Dr. Katz proudly noted the fact that the college’s new doctoral  program for Physician Assistants saw its first graduating class have a 100 percent pass rate for its certifiable exams, making Marist’s decision to open its own medical school all the more timely.

“Marist has been highly supportive of our PA program; they have invested enormous resources, and given us enormous administrative support, and have helped us have a very successful new program,” Dr. Katz gushed.  “I have no doubt that Marist will insist on making [the medical school] a good program too.”

 

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.