Controlling Drinking Culture on College Campuses

Binge drinking. The words are daunting and extreme, and yet the term is more commonplace in society than one would think. It is defined as one’s consumption of five or more drinks in an instant. The place where it is found most is college campuses, and for many it is the initial exposure to alcohol that is the most dangerous.

The current law in the United States forbids anyone under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol. The law was instituted in the 1980’s, and raised the legal age three years from what it was before. However, according to some, the law has only hidden the problem from those who can properly model the responsibility. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fifty-four percent of college males and forty percent of college females reported that they take part in binge drinking during the school year.

Marist, like thousands of other institutions across the United States, has on campus-housing, sports teams, and a prominent bar culture; and the culture doesn’t begin when you turn twenty-one, it begins much earlier.

Out of ten graduating senior interviewed on the Marist campus, nine reported having acquired a fake I.D. before their second semester of freshman year. An anonymous Marist College freshman reports being at the December raid of local Hyde Park bar, Darby O’Gills. “I got ticketed the night it got raided. I had my fake I.D. taken, and I had a second at home. I have gone back to Darby’s since then a couple times, but each time is a little scary, because I’m really hoping nothing like that happens again.”

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Photo courtesy of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce

When coming onto a college campus, emotions are high and there is a great amount of excitement. Often, students are being exposed to alcohol for the first time, or at least in more frequent circumstances. Those who are not used to it are more likely to drink dangerous amounts.

“As a resident assistant, it is surprisingly much more intense when you are assisting underclassmen,” says Marist College senior Thomas Heidcamp. Heidcamp is serving his third year as an RA in the lower Fulton Townhouses, where most students are 21 and in apartment-style housing as opposed to dorms. “Often times when kids are underage, the pressure to drink in excess is more prominent, especially in a dorm where it’s a collective culture. I think maturity also plays a huge role in handling alcohol, so if the drinking age was eighteen, we may be able to solve problems with early exposure.”

Heidcamp says the number one concern as an RA is safety. If a student is drinking underage and put in a dangerous situation, they are less likely to call for help due to the consequences of breaking the law. For instance, students may drink in excess and may not call an ambulance for themselves or others if experiencing alcohol poisoning. “When someone drinks themselves into danger, it is important they aren’t too scared to call 911”.

If alcohol is integrated into American culture the way it is viewed it European culture, college students would not feel the collective pressure that comes with the drinking experience. By returning the drinking age of eighteen, the effects of alcohol on the American collegiate experience would be less important and less prominent. In the United States, an education is only part of the college experience.

It is argued by the Journal of Public Health Policy that the drinking age was raised in 1981 to stop fatalities in traffic accidents between young adults, ages 18-21. However, cars have gotten safer as technology has advanced and authorities have cracked down on drunk drivers. But what about the deaths that occur due to recklessness not behind the wheel, such as alcohol poisoning, date-rape drugs, or sexual assault?

While the small window between the legal age of driving a car and consuming alcohol is slightly alarming, it would be a step towards integrating alcohol and normalizing it in American culture. Just as domestic states and other countries have done with the integration marijuana, lowering the drinking age could decriminalize alcohol in American society and make the enjoyment more commonplace and less intense. The overall safety of college campuses would be better off if students are exposed to alcohol in previous settings. “It’s just an idea, but from my experience, I don’t think [lowering the drinking age] would hurt as much as it would help,” says Heidcamp.

Frasca Saves Best for Last in ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Marist College’s spring musical is a show that comes from an age as golden as the girl who plays it’s lead. Hello, Dolly! will premiere in the Nelly Goletti theater on Feb. 27, and play through March 3. Liana Frasca, a senior journalism major, will bring the role of Dolly, a widowed match-maker, to life. This coming-of-age Broadway musical is fun, bright, and true to the time it was made. “On top of manipulating these relationships and looking out for herself, Dolly is such a huge personality and she is a strong woman,” said Brian Powers, a senior who is appearing in his eighth and final show with Marist College Club of Theater Arts. “Liana is going to do such an amazing job”, said Powers.

This will also be Frasca’s final performance with MCTAA, and according to her cast mates, she has saved the best for last. “We all knew Liana was talented, but I don’t think anyone knew she was this talented. She is so perfect for this role.” said senior cast mate Quincy Brown, who is playing Cornelius Hackl.

For Frasca, this part and the responsibility it carries has been a long time coming. “I started doing shows in ninth grade and haven’t stopped since,” said Frasca. “Landing this role has caused a major shift in my perception about acting. I’m learning to take emotional risks.” Compared to some, she is still rather new to the game of acting, despite this being her sixth main stage performance at Marist.

In her final performance, it’s only the experience she has gained as an actor over the past eight years that shows. “You cannot believe how perfect she is for the role,” said Powers. “The past four years our grade has been incredibly strong. Liana has been type-casted as very small, principle roles. But this show, she is really able to show her strengths and how far she has come. She is really able to show how amazingly talented she is. No one could have been cast better.” With blonde hair, a bright, unmistakable smile, and a personality that outshines any physical attributes, Liana is taking on this 1964 musical with confidence. Dolly Levi is one of the most iconic roles in Broadway history, previously portrayed by Hollywood veterans such as Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Booth and Carol Channing. “[Dolly] is a self-made woman whose career is built around her intelligence, wit, and charisma…she’s really one of the most complex characters I’ve been lucky enough to play,” said Frasca.

Tara Kinsella, a senior playing Irene Malloy, is excited to see all of the elements come together in the show, but makes it clear that the main element is Frasca. “Liana is truly one of the most effortless performers I have ever seen,” said Kinsella. “She captures Dolly’s essence through her humor, tenderness and confidence throughout the show. She understands what it means to be honest on stage and how to communicate with an audience.” In a show that is so heavy on costumes, music, and dancing, Liana has learned what it means to be honest in a character. Kinsella credits Frasca’s performance in her ability to bring the audience through the story with her, despite external, theatrical distractions. “She’s very expressive,” said Frasca, referring to Dolly. “Whatever she’s feeling, she shows it in her whole body. It’s been an awesome learning experience getting out of my head and into my body for the sake of the character. She’s very different from me in that way, and I have a lot to learn from her.”

In just a few weeks, what Frasca has learned will come to life on stage in what will be her final show at Marist College.  What she’s most excited for? Sharing the spotlight with her cast mates for a final time. “It’s especially cathartic, because I’m sharing the stage with some of my absolute best friends.” Reserve your tickets now at http://www.marist.edu/box-office, and see Frasca take her final bow in Hello, Dolly!

“Upstate” Charm of a Theater with the Same Name

As you pull out of Marist College, you can turn two ways.

Turning right will take you in the direction of the Poughkeepsie Galleria Mall, a shopping center that houses one of the country’s 558 Regal Cinemas. The theater is a dime a dozen, with uniformed staff members and police officers guarding the back entrance in case of any high-schooler induced chaos. It offers a copious number of showtimes for films like “What Men Want,” “Aquaman,” “Escape Room,” and more.

Turning left will greet you with a scenic and winding 25-minute drive to Rhinebeck and its crowned jewel, Upstate Films. Showtimes begin around 3:00 p.m., on most days, at least. It is so delightfully modest and valued that its size of facility and staff is misleading. The town is one that shuts down around 6 p.m. It’s pristine and pleasing; that’s the way everyone likes it. It also wouldn’t be what it is without this particularly charming entity.

“I mean, there’s no question that Rhinebeck without Upstate would not be Rhinebeck,” said Joel Griffith, an employee of Upstate Films for 23 years. “Because it’s unique and because it’s not a chain… it’s local flavor. You can go to a Regal anywhere in the country and everything is the same… this is not a commercial experience.”

Founded in 1972 by Steve and DeDe Lieber, Upstate Films has been a staple in the culture of Rhinebeck for 47 years. Since the beginnings of the humble, non-profit arthouse theater, the Liebers has expanded to two theaters, another housed in an old church in Woodstock. Their screens have doubled from one to two in Rhinebeck, giving them the opportunity to showcase more of the art that inspired them to start this project in the first place.

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The Woodstock Theater, housed inside an old church

In 1972, Rhinebeck was nowhere near what it is today. Now, its main stretch of road is filled with shops that are pictured next to the dictionary definition of the word “kitsch.” It’s the type of town that TV-producers love to film in and people love to say they’ve been. It wasn’t always. Once, there was a tavern and a few shops that would be accessed on occasion by those close by.

“Rhinebeck really only had a couple stores… and [the town] was like, ‘well, either try a Chinese restaurant or a movie theater. We’ll try it for, like, a year, maybe. That’s their story,” Griffith said of the Lieber’s, his bosses for two decades. “They didn’t do the Chinese restaurant, obviously.”

The decision has worked. Beyond the aesthetic appreciation of their community, the film community as a greater population has congregated from bordering towns. It’s a humble home for these moviegoers, one that acts as more of an experience than anything else. Membership nears 3,000, because of the people’s desire to, according to Griffith, “see good movies” and the Lieber’s desire to show good movies.

“They want to show good movies. They want to show movies that are thought-provoking, and beautiful, and from all over the world,” Griffith continued. “All the mall movies are the same. Whether it’s Iron Man or Spider-Man, it’s just a lot of explosions. For the cinephiles, this is the place.”

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.”

Redhawk Native American Arts Council Visits

images.jpgLocated in 337 of the Marist College Library, The Center for Multicultural Affairs acts as more than an office. Each day you will see a host of students entering and exiting the office as they speak with the administrative assistant, Pam, and counselors, Iris, Mary, Angel, Karen, and Terrance. But there’s more than that, there is coffee, snacks, and bonding that take places for the students which gives this place a home away from home feeling.

 

Marist CMA is more than an office but rather it is a resource. In addition to their direct support academic programs, they also provide programs and activities on campus that are open to anyone.

These events promote cultural awareness, leadership development, sustainability and even career exploration. Throughout every semester they host and co-host a series of events like the Hispanic Heritage Event, Vietnam Night, Indian Culture Awareness Night, The Global Fashion Show, and many others.

For 10 years, Marist CMA has been working to create an inclusive and welcoming community of which all students are welcome to join.

On Wednesday night, in collaboration with the Office for Accommodations and Accessibility, Student Affairs, Upward Bound, and the Diversity Council, and Human Resources, Marist CMA hosted the Red Hawk Native American Arts Council performance. The Red Hawk Native American Arts Council is a Grass-roots Not-For-Profit organization that was founded and is still maintained by natives from New York and New Jersey in 1994. Their purpose is to educate the general population about Native American heritage.

Iris Ruiz-Grech, the Director of Marist CMA said that she was excited that the event could have been rescheduled after it had to be postponed on November 15th because of the snow storm.

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Member of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dances as Marist students and faculty watch.

Her greatest hope for this event was that students would learn about the Native American culture. The event was filled with dancing and singing as well as a wealth of information about the indigenous people.

 

 

 

“The hope is definitely awareness about the beauty and contributions of our Native Americans here in the United States,” said Ruiz-Grech. “I think it is amazing to be able to bring awareness to all of us about their importance since they were the first people in what is now called the United States.”

The council taught the attendees about the difference of tribes and also urged the audience to help their efforts by taking action.

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Cliff Matias (far right) and other members of The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Cliff Matias is an artist, educator, photographer, hoop dancer, and actor for the Council. Matias is Kichwa and Taino. Throughout the performance, he sang, danced, and spoke to the audience.

 

When speaking about the importance of taking a stand he said that the use of Native Americans as mascots is highly offensive. He notes that universities have begun removing these mascots and so have some elementary schools although many remain resistant.

“In NYC, St. John’s University has changed their logo. So it is happening very slowly. It is only through conscious efforts and compassion and understanding of our young people, who are now moving into positions of change, we are seeing that these things are starting to take place,” said Mathias.

When pinpointing another specific change that he would like to see, he said that he believes that Columbus Day should be changed to Indigenous People’s Day.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and countless cities have changed. I would love to see more people of color joining in this struggle for indigenous people. In America, there were so many other atrocities that [Christopher Columbus] he committed,” said Mathias. “What about the fact that he introduced the Transatlantic Slave Trade, so how come not more of our African-American brothers and sisters aren’t joining us in that struggle. So we would love to see more. Also, American young people in general coming to stand with us.”

Students who attended this event were glad that they did. Caroline Kirsten, a Marist freshmen, said that she has gone to programs in the past where Native Americans spoke about their tribes. Despite this, she said that she never heard about their current situation.

“The greatest thing I took away was an understanding of the lack of resources and the lack of awareness. I feel like that is something that should be brought up much more,” said Kirsten. Now with this new knowledge, I want to help bring awareness. If there was any action to do so, I would love to be apart of it.”

On it’s special 10 year anniversary, Marist CMA continues to host a wealth of performances and events that expose Marist students to new ideas and cultures. Be sure to check out more of their events in the near future.

 

Michelle Obama Takes Memoir on the Road

Former first lady Michelle Obama and moderator Michele Norris addressed the crowd at TD Garden Saturday night.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

Looking around TD Garden, one thing strikes you about the crowd that is assembled on this particular Saturday night. It’s not the normal crowd for an arena that’s home to both Boston’s professional hockey and basketball teams.

Instead, the crowd is mostly female and extremely racially diverse. Their reason for being here is completely different: to see Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming, come to life.

Along with her book release, Obama also announced a tour to go along with it, where fans can gather to hear her stories in her own words. Boston is the fourth stop on her tour that started in her hometown of Chicago.

Boston holds a significant part in the Obama family storyline, where the discussion of Barack Obama running for president. Here in this exact spot, Barack gave his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote speech which spiraled a discussion of Obama running for president.

Michelle, grounded as ever, didn’t think anything of the speech. Even afterward when all the chatter started, she didn’t think anything of it and was skeptical about Barack running for the presidency.

Everyone knows how that story turned out, but not everyone knows Michelle’s story.

In her memoir, Michelle talks about growing up on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois in extremely tight quarters with her brother and parents. It follows her through her schooling, with her being stubborn at a very young age.

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Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble

In kindergarten, Michelle’s class had to read colors spelled out on index cards that their teacher held up. On the first try, Michelle got every word except for the last: white. Two of her classmates got all of them with their reward being a gold sticker. The next day, Michelle wanted to prove herself.

“The next morning in class, I asked for a do-over,” Michelle shares in her book. “I was quick to claim my trophy, though, heading home that afternoon with my head up and one of those gold-foil stars stuck on my shirt.”

That spirit followed Michelle through her college years at Princeton and Harvard University and when she hit the workforce.

That is until a man named Barack Obama came along and changed her perfectly laid out plans.

“He was the king of swerve,” Obama said at TD Garden on Saturday. That swerve led him all over the country, eventually landing in Chicago while Michelle was working at the same law firm that they met at.

The swerving led them all the way to the White House.

One of the hardest days was when the Obamas were leaving the White House before Trump’s inauguration, for different reasons other than the obvious one.

Michelle shared a story of how the night before, Sasha, their youngest daughter insisted on having one last sleepover with her friends in the White House.

At the last minute, Michelle was trying to “push crying girls through the doors”. She was so frantic that she didn’t have the time to reflect on the last eight years in that house.

It didn’t hit her until the helicopter ride over Trump’s inauguration crowd when she let herself go.

“I had been crying for thirty minutes,” she said.

When she saw the crown from the ariel view something else hit her though, this time about the crowd.

“There were people of all ages and all backgrounds, and, the crowd…,” Michelle paused, then whispered the last little bit. “It was bigger.”  

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.”  

Marist singers help bring Christmas spirit

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Each and every pew is filled at Redeemed Christian Fellowship on Saturday afternoon. Individuals patiently wait in a dimly lit room for the Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols. People are dressed in their winter coats, flipping through the pages of the program, minutes before the start time. Soon, an echoing chant fills the room. The service is about to begin.

The Ecumenical Service of Lesson and Carols features Marist singers, Chamber String Ensemble, Handbell Choir, and Campus Ministry. It is a 25-yearlong tradition that started out small then blossomed into a large event. It began as a tiny ceremony in the college’s chapel with just a few of the singers. Then, the event grew sizable enough that it had to be moved to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church located on Mill Street.

But eventually, the service needed an even bigger space to accommodate the large turnout every year. Moving the event to Redeemed Christian fellowship on Cannon Street was the answer. The space can hold a crowd up to 800 people. Inside there are several rows of brown, wooden pews, golden arches above the altar, and stained glass windows throughout the church.

The service commenced with a prelude, “The Oxen,” sung by the freshman women’s choir. The attention was on the choir who stood in the front of the room dressed in long, black gowns. The handbell choir then started to chime in. The bells were rung in a way that instantly set the tone to the Christmas spirit.

“It kicks off the Christmas season and it’s an opportunity to celebrate the beginning of Advent which is presented in the early readings,” said Campus Ministry Director Brother Frank Kelly. “As the service goes through– it progresses to the birth of Jesus. So the event is just a really nice bridge from Advent to Christmas.”

During the ceremony, the crowd listened intently to carols such as “O Come, O Come, Emanuel,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Silent Night.” Sarah Williams, the director of choral activities conducted the choir, wearing an adorned, grey evening gown. She moved her hands rapidly while mouthing the lyrics, as the singers astutely followed her gestures.

“I’m beyond proud. Students that harness their love of music and give it as a gift –are the next generation of greatness,” said Williams.

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Choral Director, Sarah Williams looks onto the crowd just minutes before the service starts

Later in the service, the crowd participated in an “illumination.” Everyone held a candle that was distributed at the door. Usher men lit the candle of the person sitting on each end of the pew. Then, that person turned over to light the candle of the individual sitting next to them. It was a domino effect.

The lights were turned down low. Soon, the whole church transformed into a sea of lights with candles shining in the air. The orchestra played an instrumental, peaceful tune to set the mood.

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The “Illumination”

Brother Frank Kelly concluded the service with a closing prayer. The ending hymn was “Hallelujah.” The audience was invited to come up to the altar to join in on the singing. About 20 members of the crowd took the opportunity.

“It’s a really good event for everyone who comes to church and they get to experience all the songs we sing and get to sing along if they know the songs too,” said Marist singer, Brittany O’Reilly.  “We always do the traditional lessons and carols–it’s a packet of all these different songs that everybody knows. So it’s really exciting.”

Members of the crowd left, smiling. They chatted about the service that helped them get into the spirit of the holiday season.

“The service was beautiful and I enjoyed hearing the talented singers and musicians in this room. It really put in perspective for me, the true meaning of Christmas,” said parishioner Thomas Gordon.

 

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.” 

Study Abroad: “Complex but Worth it”

Colleges and Universities across the globe offer numerous study abroad programs and even encourage this form of study.

“I think it is important for young adults to get out and see the world.  So many of us are stuck in a little bubble without even realizing it,” said Maya Guzman, Marist College Junior.

Colleges and Universities aren’t the only types of schools that offer overseas programs.  Many high schools offer the opportunity as well through a certain Rotary club.

“I was so young when I decided to leave my home for a year to study in Brazil.  I had barely just turned 16 years old and I walked onto a plane knowing I wouldn’t be home for a year; it was the most surreal moment of my life.” said Christina Schumchyk, Stony Brook University Junior.  “I just knew there was more to see. I come from such a small town and I felt so isolated, I knew I needed to get free and explore,” continued Schumchyk.

According to research conducted by NAFSA, roughly 325,339 U.S. students studied abroad for college credit in 2016.  The enrollment increased by 3.8 percent from the previous year.

https://www.nafsa.org/Policy_and_Advocacy/Policy_Resources/Policy_Trends_and_Data/Trends_in_U_S__Study_Abroad/

The Power of International Education organization conducted research that concludes more women than men study abroad each year with an approximate 70 to 30 ratio.  There is also a higher number of undergraduate students going abroad compared to graduate students with a rough 90 to 10 ratio.

https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors/Data/US-Study-Abroad/Student-Profile

So where are these students going?  The U.S. Study Abroad Data from the 2017 Open Doors Report claims about 12% of students choose to study in the United Kingdom, nearly 11% in Italy, and 9% in Spain.

“Going to London was important to me because it seemed to be the most centralized destination.  I figured from there I had pretty easy access to every other country and city I wanted to visit, which is exactly what I did,” said Erin Greco, Siena College Graduate.  

“I would do it all over again and I am a huge advocate for current students going abroad.  There is nothing like it.” said Greco.

Rachel Thayer, a Junior at Marist College, described the process of going abroad “complicated but worth it.”  “There is just so much that goes into it and so much I didn’t fully understand. So many government documents are needed and you really have to take everything into consideration.  I mean you are leaving your home country for a full semester.” said Thayer.

Thayer expressed that the process shouldn’t discourage students from traveling and studying abroad.

“Once you are here, once you sit in a class, once you are eating your first meal, it all just falls into place.  You take a sigh of relief and just feel grateful for the opportunity.” continued Thayer.