Marist Poll Gears Up For Midterm Elections

As nationwide midterm elections approach, the Marist Institute is of Public Opinion (MIPO) has increased polling for media partner, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Since March, MIPO has polled twelve states about the upcoming elections.  Most recently, releasing the poll results for Indiana, Missouri and Texas.  MIPO has also released the results for Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania. In the coming weeks MIPO will be polling in nine other states as well.

The Founder and Director of MIPO, Dr. Lee Miringoff, noted the organization “hasn’t broken out of electoral mode since 2016…because so much has been going on.”  However, he did mention that in the past “4 or 5 months” they have revved up their polling in light of the upcoming midterm elections.

Student-workers at the Marist Poll, tasked with cold calling citizens to take surveys, have felt an increase in their workload due to the election season.  Emma Bussetti, 21, a student worker at the poll, said, “Typically we do a poll one week, and then we have three or four weeks where we don’t work.  But now, we’re polling every week.”  

Each poll comes from a sample of one thousand participants who are asked a series of survey questions over the phone.  Surveys include a variety of questions regarding gender, age, race, income, political affiliation, and likelihood of voting. According to the Marist Poll website, “Data collection is typically conducted over a three to five day period depending on the sample size, length of the questionnaire, and incidence of the target population.”

On top of polling for the midterm elections, MIPO has performed various national polls, as well.  Most recently, MIPO released a public opinion poll about President Donald Trump in conjunction with National Public Radio (NPR).

The results of these polls are used and disseminated by MIPO’s partners, NBC and NPR.  MIPO began their partnership with NBC in 2011, or since “the Romney Campaign” as Miringoff puts it.  Previously, MIPO has also completed polls for the Wall Street Journal and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

MIPO has also been busy with the release of their new Podcast series, “Poll Hub”, which features Lee Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, Barbara Carvalho, Director of The Marist Poll, and Jay DeDapper, Director of Innovation at The Marist Poll. Maringoff stated, “Since last August, we’ve started doing podcasts…and we just did our sixtieth.”  He went on to explain that each episode is about twenty to thirty minutes long, and has included distinguished guests, such as political journalist Harry Enten and New York Senator Charles Schumer.

The Marist Poll is located on the third floor of the Hancock Center on the Marist College Campus in Poughkeepsie, New York.  The organization currently employs over 300 Marist students.

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Fall Semester Generates Mix of Emotions for Freshmen and Seniors

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Almost a month since move-in day, the Fall 2018 semester has sufficiently sunk in and so have emotions about the school year ahead. Between moving into Marist for the first time as a freshman and preparing for the last year at college as a senior, both underclassmen and upperclassmen alike experience an array of emotions.

For freshmen, it is the adjustment process to a new school in an unfamiliar place with a different environment. For seniors, it is the thought of stepping out of the “Marist bubble” after getting accustomed to it for three years.

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Student volunteers help out on move-in day to transport student belongings from campus parking lots to their on-campus housing. 

Making the transition from high school to college can seem daunting for most first-year students. In order to help assist incoming students, various parts of the Marist community are involved from move-in day to student orientations and welcome week events. Marist sports teams as well as the Marist Band traditionally help the incoming freshmen members to the team/organization who move in early due to summer camp/training. “I would definitely say that the water polo team has helped me the most adjusting. The other girls on the team have been so helpful and supportive.  They made this process 100 times easier for me,” said incoming freshman Gabrielle Gervasi.

As for the graduating seniors at Marist, the start of the fall semester ushers in a range of feelings from happy, sad, and everything in between.  While some are planning to further their education by applying to grad school, others are seeking out employment opportunities as they prepare for the final lap before entering the working world.

“I want to go to grad school to get my PhD in toxicology, but if not, I’ll probably take a year off to get more research/lab experience,” said senior Beatrix Bradford.

“If I don’t have a job, I already have a possible internship for May,” said senior Niccole D’Arco. “I’m just going to play it by ear and try not to let it stress me out too much,” D’Arco added.

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A countdown device on display in Donnelly Hall serves as a visual reminder for senior students as graduation day approaches. A similar device can be found in Dyson Center.

“I will be working full-time and I plan to live in Manhattan,” senior Victoria Fetzer said, beaming. Despite her enthusiasm, Fetzer still feels anxious thinking about life after Marist. “I am lucky to have a job for after graduation, but I’m a little nervous to go into the real world.”

When asked, students were not short of words to describe their feelings of starting the fall semester. Nervous. Scared. Excited. Anxious. Overwhelmed. These five words were reiterated by both freshmen and seniors alike.

“I was most afraid of the workload,” said freshman Avery Homer.

Though D’Arco spoke of a similar sentiment about the school year, her uncertainties were directed elsewhere. “I’m scared of not being prepared enough for post-grad life.  I feel like I need an extra year of student experience,” said D’Arco.

Like a majority of college students everywhere, Gervasi cited overcoming homesickness as a huge part of the adjustment process. “I was most worried about being so far away from my family. Texas to Marist is over a thousand miles away, so that kind of freaked me out in the beginning,” said Gervasi.

Marist seniors knew those feelings. After reflecting on their own experiences, they shared advice for their freshman self in hopes of calming current freshmen year college fears.

“I can’t believe how fast college went. I feel like I was just a freshman,” Fetzer said with a laugh. “I would say don’t worry too much and just enjoy every second because it goes by so fast,” added Fetzer.

As students continue on the course of the semester, one feeling seems to resonate with Marist freshmen and seniors alike: excitement for what is to come.

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. 

 

Returning from Freshman Florence Experience creates a tough transition

Strolling the cobblestone streets, passing by Renaissance works of art, eating some of the finest cuisines, and enjoying the bustling city’s nightlife are a few privileges that students abroad enjoy in Florence. This lifestyle becomes a reality for freshmen choosing to spend their entire first year abroad. In nine months, these 18-year-old students have become Florentines. They have spent two semesters chatting up the locals, becoming café regulars, traveling Europe–all while forming close relationships with peers. But what happens when this magical year abroad ends? It is time to return back to America and pick up as a sophomore at Marist in Poughkeepsie.

Instead of eating in a quaint trattoria with the freshest food, students are now eating in the dining hall. The days of walking to class with street musicians serenading them are over. Now, the group is walking to class in a sea full of strangers.

Marist College implemented the Freshman Florence Experience over 10 years ago as a way to grant first-year students a unique cultural experience while pursuing foundational coursework. The program has been running for over 10 years, remaining a popular path to take.

An average of 40 students per year, partake in the program. “With 40 students, allows a strong relationship with faculty, and the student cohort members themselves,” said Alex Tom, associate director of international admissions.

Joseph Campisi, the assistant professor of philosophy in Poughkeepsie has taught in Florence for two semesters. He sits in his Fontaine office, starkly contrasting to his space in the historic, Renaissance city. Campisi enjoyed the tight-knit group that was formed between the “FFE’s.” “You have a fewer number of students, and so they all get to know one other. It creates a neat classroom experience since everyone is all friends with each other,” said Campisi. This is a blatant contrast to classes in Poughkeepsie, where a student often does not know anyone in the room.

Former FFE Aaron Todd explains one challenge of breaking away from the FFE group and trying to meet new classmates. “We were going from a super friendly, familiar environment–then returning back as a sophomore, the rest of the students already established their friends and weren’t as open to meeting people,” Todd noted.

Florence is a unique place. Therefore, there needs to be a differentiation between the year abroad and life at the New York campus. “Italy is not going to be Poughkeepsie and the second you start thinking it is, you are going to absolutely hate it here,” confessed Jackie Gruber, former FFE. It is important to remember that the two cities are clearly, not the same. Alex Tom (aforementioned) is an alumnus who participated in FFE. “When you come back from a year overseas, initially you think ‘wow Poughkeepsie is not Florence’ but that is obvious. There are more opportunities in the New York area that you’re not going to get in Italy,” Tom reassured.

Another difficult adjustment is the lack of nightlife for freshmen. FFE’s are legal to drink in Florence. But when they come back to New York, all of that changes. “I always worried about the social aspect for students returning back. They were of legal age to go to bars and clubs in Florence. When they get back they’re going from 60 miles per hour to 3 miles per hour,” Campisi said.

While the transition from abroad is quite the adjustment­–it is possible. Marist faculty try their best to make FFE’s feel comfortable. Three days prior to the semester beginning, orientation is held. “We do a lot to try to help the sophomores acclimate to campus here. We talk about the different resources available and each student is paired up with a mentor/former FFE,” said Jean Hinkley, coordinator of the Freshman Florence Experience.

“We would do things to acclimate, like have picnics by the Hudson River with the FFE’s,” Gruber said. It is a stark contrast to eating pizza on the Ponte Vecchio, overlooking the Arno River. However, creating some kind of familiarity helps FFE’s transition and resume their college careers back in the United States.

Abroad photo

Enrollment Changes Causes Admissions to Work Harder

Poughkeepsie, New York- Enrollment at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York has varied greatly; causing a quick response in the Admissions office to ensure the revenue does not change and to keep the institution in good financial standing.

Applications for admission to universities and colleges nationwide has increased the past few years but the yield, or the amount of students who actually attend the institutions, has gone down.  “There are many reasons as to why this is happening,” says Nicole Radasso, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Marist College. “We have noticed that prospective students are panicking and applying to more schools to ensure they have more options.  They are keeping financials in mind more so now than ever before also,” said Radasso. The student demographic at Marist College is made up of 46 states and 65 countries.

Marist College has increased their acceptance rate throughout the years to try and match the same number of students enrolled in the freshman class each year.  Although the acceptance rate now stands at 45% it is still fairly below the national acceptance average which stands at 68%, making the institution a “selective school.”  Roughly 11,000 students apply to Marist College each year and around 1,300 will be accepted with a slightly lower number actually enrolling.

So what else is Marist College doing to protect the enrollment?  “We’re doing well, we are looking into the future for different programs, and we are doing everything we can to enhance our undergraduate program,” says Radasso.  The college has met their projected enrollment number each year and that is what is needed to “keep the business running,” according to Radasso. Enhancing the graduate programs, the amount of scholarships the institution can offer,  and increasing the amount of programs offered are just a few ways the school is working to keep the revenue at the right rate.

Junior, Emily Marold, said, “although I now have more knowledge about tuition and the debt it can put you in, I still would never regret my decision to attend Marist.  It’s costly, but it’s for a good reason. It just motivate me to look for more scholarships and be a better student to obtain the academic scholarships.”

Marist Knocks Down the Wall

Poughkeepsie, NY- Immigrants at Marist and the subject of immigration is not something typically explored within the student body. On November 8, 2017, in the Henry Hudson Room on 3rd floor of Fontaine at Marist College, the presence of Dan Buzi, Dr. Maria Höen, Anish Kanoria, Ignacio Acevedo, and Renee T. Oni-Eseleh commanded the attention of the student, faculty filled audience.

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Marist Is Not Excluded From Rape, Sexual Assault

[Edit, 12/16/17: A picture of SNAP safewalker routes was removed upon request by the Security Office’s SNAP program due to concerns about on campus safety.]

[Edit, 12/17/17:  Pictures of the SNAP procedural manual, except for its cover, have been removed.]

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – When Marist’s Office of Safety and Security published its 2014-2016 crime report this semester, students were shocked to discover the following statistics that took place over those three years: 12 total rapes, one fondling, three aggravated assaults, one domestic violence case, and seven dating violence incidents.

Students who sought out this information were shocked, but based off the lack of observable student activism or discussion, a large majority of students remain unaware of these statistics.

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Marist’s Ethical Fashion Initiative Club, Changing the World One Garment at a Time.

As of 2017 The Business of Fashion has ranked Marist Fashion Program as 38th globally in their annual ranking of fashion schools, but how much are these students learning about the ethical aspect of fashion.  In 2016, alumni Rebekkah Coclasure started her senior year of college with one goal in mind, to startup the Ethical Fashion Initiative Club.  By the end of her senior year she had succeeded, but has anyone stopped to wonder where are they now?  With that stood other looming questions, what have they done for ethical fashion and where are they headed for the future? Continue reading