Certificate Program Empowers Students, Develops Leadership Skills

As the sound of upbeat, instrumental music filled the room, muffled voices turned quiet and students shuffled silently inside for the Emerging Leaders Program’s (ELP) first live-stream broadcast of the semester, last Tuesday night. The broadcast was one of 19 events offered in ELP’s Fall 2018 Workshop Series aimed to provide students with various opportunities to define, discover, and develop their leadership skills.

The speaker of the hour was media personality and heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, professionally known as Dr. Oz. In his speech entitled, “Live Your Best Life from the Inside Out,” Oz spoke about the importance of mental and physical resiliency and advised students of stress management techniques to improve health and wellness. Oz also discussed his non-profit organization HealthCorps that he co-founded with his wife.

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Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks to a crowd of NSLS society members at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

“The first telecast was not what I expected. I was pleasantly surprised to be moved by Dr. Oz on many occasions throughout his speech,” said junior Caitlyn Abrahamson. “He has generated some thoughts in my own mind about what I can do to make healthier lifestyle choices.”

Last Tuesday’s broadcast kicked off the first of three others scheduled and marked the fourth ELP event of the semester. The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) organizes the broadcasts. In recent years, the NSLS has hosted a wide variety of esteemed leaders such as Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Anderson Cooper, Emmy Award-winning television personality and journalist, and Barbara Corcoran, real estate entrepreneur and star of “Shark Tank.”

ELP first emerged at Marist in 2004 with 35 students participating in a weekend Leadership Retreat but changed to a non-credit leadership certificate program the following academic year. In 2006, after forming a partnership with the NSLS, the Marist Chapter was founded with 67 members. This semester, 326 students attended orientation as part of the induction process into the NSLS. “This is a huge increase from last fall,” said senior Brittany Hampton, the President of ELP’s Executive Board. “It is actually the largest number Marist has ever had [join in a single academic year].”

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Handouts/note guides provided during ELP workshops.

Included in the line-up of speakers this fall is Marist President Emeritus, Dr. Dennis J. Murray and key executives from Target Corporation, many of whom are Marist alumni and former ELP members, as well as other faculty, alumni, and administrative presenters.

Senior Lauren Vecchio, who attended three workshops so far, claimed that each provided valuable skills for different facets of life ranging from implementing “practical financial issues” and preparing for the workforce and professional life to understanding and formulating our individual narratives.

Students who complete five or more workshops throughout the academic year receive an Emerging Leaders Certificate, which can be earned on an annual basis. Those seeking to become an Inducted Member of the NSLS can learn more here. Last spring 2018, 217 students received ELP certificates and 112 were inducted into NSLS.

Students can register for the remaining workshops and telecasts within my.Marist.edu, subject to availability.

“One thing I’ve learned from being a general member of the ELP/NSLS is that you never know when or where you’ll encounter something that will change the way you think forever, so get out there and experience as much as you can!” said Vecchio.

Hampton shared a similar sentiment stating that although sometimes it may be easier or harder to connect with some speakers than others, “it is important, and interesting, to hear each speaker’s story so that you can decide which leadership styles you like best and form your own style. Hearing their stories also makes you aware of all the different types of leadership styles that are out there,” said Hampton.

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Athletes Donate Pumpkins

Marist Student-Athletes donated pumpkins to the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.

This was the sixth year that student-athletes participated in this event. All donated pumpkins benefit the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie which is a residential care facility home for abused and neglected children who live in the Hudson Valley Region. Last year, the Children’s Home served 350 children and their families.

“The past few years we have donated over 100 pumpkins, this year we expect to have over 150 pumpkins to donate,” said Ali Kenney, the Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement of the Marist Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement.

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Pictured here: The pumpkins collected during the Peer Mentor Event in the Press Box at the Women’s Soccer Game vs. Siena

The purpose of the Marist CSAE is to provide academic support services that not only assist student-athletes while they attend Marist, but also grooms them for life beyond their college careers. Of the many academic support services that Marist CSAE offers is the Peer Mentor Program where freshmen student-athletes are paired with upperclassmen who are members of other sports teams. These upperclassmen serve as a resource for incoming freshmen and help them to adjust to life as a student-athlete. There are several events that the peer mentors and peer mentees do together, including decorating pumpkins.

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Pictured here: Shawna Gilson, junior, student-athlete peer mentor

“Painting the pumpkins allowed for a great opportunity to bond with our mentees. I really enjoyed seeing how they all came out. It’s nice to do something for the community and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Shawna Gilson, a junior peer mentor on the Marist Women’s Rowing Team.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Marist CSAE hosted an event where peer mentees and mentors could drop off their pumpkins and watch the Marist Women’s Soccer Game versus Siena. The smell of fall Apple Cider and Apple Cider donuts filled the entire press box and there was a sense of camaraderie present. As fellow student-athletes supported each other, they also came together to showcase their own pumpkins and to see others, all for the well-being of the local community.

“It’s a chance for our mentors and our mentees to get together and decorate a pumpkin together. In addition, we have all of our student-athletes from all sports donate and decorate pumpkins that we donate to the Children’s Home for their annual pumpkin walk which will take place on Saturday,” said Kenney.

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Pictured here (Left to right) Andrew Burns, Alexander Hogue, Brian Henderson members of the Marist Cross Country/Track Team

“I think that this event is pretty cool because it gets Marist involved with the Children’s Home down the road. It puts Marist into the community of Poughkeepsie and allows us to get involved that way,” said Alexander Hogue, peer mentor and a junior on the Marist Cross Country and Track Team.

The Marist CSAE has a strong relationship with the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie because community service is an integral part of this organization.  In 2016, the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Marist CSAE with the “Outstanding Collegiate Philanthropy” award. In addition to this, during the 2017-18 academic year Marist student-athletes completed 2,510 hours of community service.

Marist CSAE organizes numerous community service projects throughout the academic year by running events like the Girls Scouts Sampler, Special Olympics, White Ribbon Campaign, Walk Against Hunger and Valentines for Vets. They also organize volunteering at places like the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum, the Vassar Warner Senior Residence, and local elementary and middle schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

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.

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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.”