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.


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.”


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. 


Hudson River Housing Loses Vital Grant

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Christa Hines sat in her quiet, isolated office on 313 Mill Street, pondering what the immediate next steps for her company would be. When asked about the fact that the Department of Veteran Affairs would not be renewing their annual grant, her response was exceedingly dour. “That’s correct”, Hines said. She replied with a simple “no” when asked if she had been in direct contact with Veterans Affairs. In her responses, one could easily pick up a somber, defeated tone. In a way, she serves as a personification of the views of both her organization and the community at large, as a force that provides a great many services for a large number of people now faces an incredibly murky and uncertain future.

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4 ways to make a difference during the holidays

With finals approaching and the craziness of the holiday season beginning, it is imperative not to forget about the importance of giving. This year, count your blessing and turn your christmas list into something that makes a difference in the lives of those in need. Here are a few simple ways to make a global difference during the holidays:

1. Buy One, Give One

In need of a winter hat, some new glasses, or a pair of fresh kicks? There are various organizations that follow the “buy one, give one” philosophy, allowing shoppers to make an impact with each purchase. Since the philosophy took off in 2011 with Tom’s “One-for-One shoe campaign, companies have joined the bandwagon by targeting their markets to shop towards a cause. Here are few you might not know about:

Warby Parker offers up stylish, quality eyewear – glasses and sunglasses – at a reasonable price. The best part: for every pair purchased, they donate one pair to someone in need, through their partner, VisionSpring. Harley Chase, Marist Senior was seen rocking Warby Parker frames on campus.“Give one, get one brands are a great idea to spread awareness, and I appreciate that these companies acknowledge their social corporate responsibility,” says

Smile Squared is a buy one, give one company that highlights the often overlooked importance of items we might deem mundane, like a toothbrush. Smile Squared offers a high-quality, biodegradable toothbrush to a child in need for every brush sold.


Hats delivered in hospitals by college superheros

Love Your Melon is an apparel brand run by college students across the country with the mission to give a hat to every child battling cancer in America. For every hat sold, another hat is donated in person to hospitals nationally by Love Your Melon college ambassadors dressed as superheroes. There are even Love Your Melon ambassadors on campus at Marist. Lily Hickey, a Marist Senior joined the program with 20 friends to spread awareness about the company it’s mission. “Cancer has affected far too many people in my life, as well as the lives of countless others. Jumping at the opportunity to start something in the Marist Community that could make a difference for those facing cancer was no question” says Hickey. You can select “Marist College” at checkout to support their group.

2. Give a Microloan 
I’m sorry, what? That’s right. Think less about your student loans for a second and more about the spare change in your pocket right now – it has the potential to reach someone in need and make a significant personal, community and economic impact. Microfinance companies have popped up around the world to help give money directly to people who not only need it most, but also have the least amount of access to loans. Microcredit is an extension of very small loans called microloans, which give money to impoverished borrowers who typically lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history.
It is simpler than it sounds: the operation is designed not only to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, but also in many cases to empower women and uplift entire communities and economies at the same time. kiva-slide-001
Organizations like Kiva and Zidisha are just two of many microfinance companies that allow you to scroll through specific people in need of loans, like “Yusuf, in Nigeria, in need of help to buy food and clothing, eliminating the pressure to sell maize for low prices” (KIVA) or “Jasmin, in the Philippines, who needs help to buy new supplies for her sewing machine.” (KIVA). Kiva also sells Kiva Cards which are essentially gift cards you can give to friends and family to empower them to help those in need. With the card, you choose a borrower, make a loan, get repaid, and repeat. It is the only gift that lets you truly keep on giving.

3. Start a campaign
When your friends and family, significant other or parents start bugging you about what is on your Christmas list, don’t go searching the web for cool gadgets on Amazon that you definitely don’t need. Instead, think about what you might already have that others might need. Start a campaign to raise money for a cause you feel passionate about – from wildlife preservation to world hunger. You can use GoFundMe to create a page and an easy link to send to all your loved ones. If you have a specific charity in mind, you can even make a page that sends money directly to the cause. There, they can donate money in lieu of buying you a horrific sweater you’d never wear or a necklace you’d have to pretend to love. This past September, a boy used his birthday to raise $1,290 on GoFundMe for bullet-proof vests for the local police dogs. Learn about his story here. Some charities even give you an option to start a campaign directly through their website, like charity:water and St. Jude.

4. Skip Secret Santa 

The Secret Santa tradition is often shared amongst friends, families, and even in the workplace. The finite moment of unveiling who you must purchase a gift for can be dreadful: What do they like? What do they need? How much do I spend? The entire ritual can add unnecessary stress to the already hectic holidays. “If you get someone you don’t know then you have to resort to guessing their taste or getting something generic,” says Erin Marcinkiewicz, a nursing student who found herself in 3 different Secret Santa groups last winter.


“School in a box” UNICEF gift

Here’s an alternative to the painstaking task of secretly buying someone a bottle of wine or set of lotion or bubble bath they will likely re-gift next year: pool together the money each person would have spent on a gift and vote on a charity to send it to. There are countless local, national and global organizations in need. UNICEF has a section on their site that highlights inspired gifts.This allows you to look for specific gifts (within different price ranges) needed for various causes around the world. Once you choose the gift and personalize a card, UNICEF says that “Each lifesaving gift is sent to where children need it most, GUARANTEED.” ( Lisa Richards, a secretary at a small dental office in Morristown, New Jersey opted out of Secret Santa last winter and together with her coworkers, purchased a UNICEF inspired gift called School in a Box for about $200. One of those kits meets the needs of 1 teacher and 40 students to carry on classes for 3 months in a conflict-affected country. “I would trade every Christmas gift I get if it means making that much of an impact.” says Richards.

With the season of giving upon us, it is time to choose how you will make a global impact this winter!

Is Black Friday worth all the hype amongst Marist students?

Some say that once Thanksgiving is said and done and you are in a food coma, the Holiday season officially begins. And what better way to begin the holiday season then the combination of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Electronics, clothes and furniture drop by 20, 30 and even 40 percent leaving shoppers rushing to get the best deals. Continue reading

10 ways to celebrate the holidays in the Hudson


Sinterklaas as Represented in Netherlands/Dutch Holiday

1.Sinterklaas! (Rhinebeck) This Dutch tradition brought over from the Netherlands, will be celebrated on December 5th, 2015, in Rhinebeck. This re-creation held in the Hudson valley includes a massive parade, a cookie tree, and Dutch bakery treats. “Every year we witness Sinterklaas at our restaurant across the street. It’s always interesting to see the crazy costumes in the parade, and be a part of the vibrant atmosphere” said Lily Hickey, an employee in the Rhinebeck area. Bringing an old tradition to the Hudson valley is a fun and different take on Christmas that definitely differs from the norm.

2. Watt Christmas Wonderland (Goshen) A massive estate located in Goshen, has been open since 2005 to exhibit extensive Christmas decorations as well as illuminating light displays. During December the mansion that was once haunted in October is turned into a Christmas wonderland offering a small drive through Christmas town.

3.Taconic Advent (Milan, Taconic Range) What has started this past Sunday is the Taconic Advent Lantern display. This is a 26 day event in which each day lanterns will be lit and released to represent 26 days of Christmas. On the first day, one lantern was released, the second day two lanterns, and so on and so forth. The final day will be Christmas Eve in which 26 lanterns will be released at once and sent high into the air.

4.ERDAJT Holiday Light Display (LaGrangeville) Seen on ABC, FOX, CNN and CBS news, is the house belonging to the Gay’s, a five person family that puts on a massive Christmas light show every year. With a provided playlist that accompanies the light display, visitors can drive through and watch the light display from the warmth of their cars. “The Display is computerized and there are 1080 individually controlled items outsides. As Lou Young put it on CBS last year, we have an entire vistas of lights” said Timothy Gay, the owner of the home and father of the family. “We will have our 9th marriage proposal at our display this year”. This massive light display offers multiple show times through the holiday season that you can find here.

5.A Frosty Fest (Ulster Park)  What normally hosts haunted hayrides, and headless horseman tours is now an event filled holiday light spectacular. Located in ulster Park is Frosty Fest, an event including Candy Cane Lane, a drive thru enchanted forest, a magical mansion, a 3-D walk through tour, and more.


Marist Christmas Tree

6.Marist Christmas Tree (Poughkeepsie) Although the tree was lit this past Sunday, the light display is something to drive by and witness any night of the week. “I was at the tree lighting, and I try to drive by it when it gets dark anytime I can. We see them putting up the lights for weeks in advance and it really is incredible to look at” said Kelsey Zappora, a student at Marist College. The massive tree display stays lit until after Christmas

7.A Holiday on Huguenot Street (New Paltz) Located at the New Paltz Reform church on Friday December 4th is an evening filled with hourly evens on Huguenot Street. Starting with a street holiday tour at 4pm and continuing with pop up shops, performances by the church choir, a massive Christmas tree lighting, and ending with a free concert from the Big Blue Band. The vent continues into the weekend with multiple hourly events that you can register for here.

8.Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit festival (Wappingers Falls)  Celebrating its 11th anniversary. Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit festival includes holiday tunnels, twinkling light displays, an enchanted forest and much more. Named one of In Car and Travels top 20 Christmas events in America, this festival includes massive events that incorporate old Christmas themes and various walk through villages. Open Friday Saturday and Sunday through Dec 27th with tickets available online.

9.Holiday Lights in Bloom (Orange County Arboretum)  Located in Goshen on Cornwall is a free program that incorporated Holiday lights with beautiful flower displays. Throughout December the arboretum will be in full bloom with garden themed Christmas lights displaying a variety of flowers, trees, and insects. The various gardens offer a different take on the holidays as it incorporates the beauty of spring with the illumination of the holidays and winter. “We like to visit it ever year” said Kaitlin Bond, who lives a town over from Cornwall. “It’s a quick trip from my house, and it’s just an easy free thing to do on a Sunday night”.

10.Christmas on Colden Hill (Newburgh)Similarly to the ERDAJT holiday light display is this animated light display which is open to the public every night in December. Visitors can tune in to 102.5 FM during the running of the show, and listen to the accompany music that goes with the light display. This display is an easy and inexpensive activity to help get you in the holiday spirit any night of the week.



7 reasons College Students cheer for other Universities

There are many different reasons a student at a specific university may choose to root for another team at a different university as opposed to their own. After a lot of polling and on-the-street questioning I was able to come up with seven reasons why college students go to one University and cheer for the teams of another.

Over this Thanksgiving break I was able to spend some time with old friends and journey the short twenty minute ride into the City of Philadelphia, as well as the Rutgers and Jets football game.

While bothering many different human beings wearing different teams at both tailgates as well as the Marist tailgate last weekend my seven most common answers are listed below.

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Who is behind the sushi counter? A cultural virtuoso

In the Marist cafeteria, 4:00pm is a meticulously organized time – a calm before the storm, when the cafeteria workers are preparing dinner and bracing themselves for the slew of hungry students soon to arrive. “We are pretty busy!” answered JoJo Naing from behind the sushi bar, when I if he could spare a minute for a few questions. His wife, Thin Thin, was feverishly setting up the ginger, wasabi and soy sauce station while he checked the rice cooker. JoJo and Thin Thin are happily married – and you can tell. Together, the couple works six days a week serving the Marist students their very own delicious sushi, from tuna avocado to California rolls.IMG_3398 (1)

Jojo and Thin Thin are originally from Myanmar, but left their homeland 10 years ago due to the serious ongoing civil conflict there. “There is no peace in my country”, Jojo stated. Along with their two daughters, the Naing family now resides in Hyde Park where they have their own sushi restaurant, KT Sushi. Occasionally, you can even find their daughters behind the counter, helping their parents by rolling out sushi or preparing rice. The two more or less communicate with the Marist community with the help of a translator, but can get by in casual conversation with the students. “They are always smiling, and I can tell they love what they are doing!” says Marist freshman Kevin Stewart, who admits to eating from the sushi bar almost daily. Continue reading

New media hub aims to transform Marist news

It is sometimes difficult to get beer-guzzling, party-hopping college kids to care about what’s going on in the world. It can be even more challenging to get them to pay attention to what’s happening on their own campuses. But in an effort to improve the way students get their news, administrators in the communications department at Marist College are hoping a new converged media platform will do the trick. Continue reading

Alumni weekend shows current marist students their potential futures

Marist College played host to all of its graduates recently, as the annual alumni weekend commenced in Poughkeepsie.

Along with a football game tailgate that did not seem to end until well after the actual game ended, there were many activities and events that were put on for the former Red Foxes. The Marist College Dance Ensemble performed a routine with alumni, while the Marist College Ultimate Frisbee team had an alumni game. On top of that, many alumni ventured to their old favorite spots, such as the waterfront, walking bridge, and even their academic buildings that are still left standing. No matter what each alumni did during their visit to Marist, they all agreed on one thing: it was good to be back on campus.

Current Marist students were able to have a different perspective of alumni weekend. On top of being able to reunite with old friends that have moved on from college already, Red Foxes were able to get a short preview of how their life could be after graduation.

Year by year, it seems like college student’s vision of their future becomes more and more narrow depending on how close they are to having to graduate. Therefore, by the time they are in the midst of their senior year, students focus, along with their anxiety, excitement, and stress turns almost exclusively to what they hope to be doing directly after receiving their diploma from Dennis J. Murray.

Some graduates opt to continue their education career and head to graduate school, where they can enhance their skillset even further before applying for the job that will become their profession. Recent Marist graduate Gillian Foss is one of these students. Foss is now attending graduate school at Iona College after graduating from Marist in the class of 2015 with Magna Cum Laude honors.

“The graduation application process was similar in some ways, and completely different in other ways from an undergraduate college,” Foss said. “Depending on the school and the program, you’ll need to take the GRE’s, which are like any standardized test only to a higher degree.” Foss advised students that “forming relationships and making good

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate Gillian Foss enjoys her graduation day in May of 2015.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate Gillian Foss enjoys her graduation day in May of 2015.

impressions with faculty members is extremely important, especially in a larger college setting. You’ll need two-to-four professors that you feel know you well enough to write a recommendation for you, so those relationships should develop throughout your undergraduate experience!”

Foss explained that she has been enjoying her new life at graduate school very much thus far, partially because she gets to focus on the academic study of her choosing. “There are no more core or interdisciplinary courses,” Foss said. “Just classes that are entirely centered around your field. I’ll be getting my M.A. in Public Relations, and so far I’m planning for my thesis to focus on international and non-profit P.R. and development.” One scary thing about graduate school, however, is that there are no more easy courses. “Doing well in every graduate course is essential because the whole purpose is to attain a degree of better comprehension in that academic field,” Foss said. “That keeps me doing homework almost constantly.”

Foss now lives just outside of New York City with two other Marist graduates, one of which is also attending graduate school at Iona College. The three of them made the trip up to Marist for alumni weekend together. “Not too much had changed for me because I graduated so recently” Foss said. “But I think that is almost what I liked best about the weekend. It felt like coming home.” Foss later added that “seeing the new science building’s process was really neat. That is going to be an incredible building once it is done.” Despite loving her time at graduate school and being in New York City, Foss loved her visit to Marist College.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate John Herman on graduation day.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate John Herman on graduation day.

The other option that graduates have is to launch themselves directly into the industry of their choosing and start their career right away. Marist College class of 2015 graduate John Herman has taken this route. “I accepted my job as a Program Manager at Lockheed Martin in March of my senior year,” Herman said. “The job search for me went a little different than most because I worked with many members of my current team during an internship. Around January or senior year, my now manager reached out to me and informed me of an opening on his team.”

Herman was able to secure the job well before graduation, which definitely relieved most of the stress that comes with graduating. Now, Herman is several months into his new life as a working man. “As a Program Manager, I oversee an initiative to lower energy demand on Long Island and make residential homes more efficient. The job is challenging, but knowing the positive impact it has on both the environment and people’s lives is incredibly rewarding,” Herman said.

Herman also made the trip up to Marist for Alumni Weekend. “Even though it has only been a few months since I had been on campus, there was still a very different feel,” Herman said. This is “mostly because of the new building, which already looks close to completion, as well as the new outdoor basketball courts, which I am extremely envious of.”

Seeing how well Foss and Herman are doing so shortly after graduating, graduation definitely seems like it could be easier to handle than it currently seems for Marist seniors. However, the big picture still looms above every action that a college student makes. Marist College Class of ’95 graduate Jennifer Daly is a great example of not only where current students could be in twenty years, but also how a career change is never out of the question.

Graduating from Marist with a degree in Communication, Daly began her career in Boston with an internship at WHDH, a news station close to her home. About a year later, Daly moved to Charlotte, North Carolina upon being hired as both a satellite producer and field producer by NBC News Channel, which is NBC’s affiliate feed service. “I worked for them for about eight years in various capacities,” Daly said. She worked for NBC News Channel “in both Charlotte and New York, and then also Washington D.C.”

Clearly a very mobile person, Daly also traveled extensively while working in all three of those cities. “I did lots of big events over the years, such as political conventions and the Olympics,” Daly said. “I went to three Olympics: Athens, Beijing, and Torino.”

Daly would move again soon enough. “In 2003 I left NBC News Channel to go back into local news,” Daly said. “That’s when I came to Hartford and the Hartford NBC station. I was executive producer of special projects, which meant doing investigative stories that would promote health and consumer things that were mostly aimed at sweeps periods, so I’d build a sweeps calendar and all that sort of stuff.”

During her career as a producer, Daly did a variety of different things. On top of covering three Olympics

Jennifer Daly at Gray Media Group.

Jennifer Daly at Gray Media Group.

Games, Daly served as Executive Producer for the NBC owned and operated stations in Rome when Pope John Paul II passed away, lead the coverage of debate and election night for the Northeast, and was pool producer for the resignation of Connecticut Governor John Rowland. Perhaps her biggest achievement, however, was receiving a regional Emmy award while serving as Executive Producer of “Destination Education,” which was a children’s program. All in just over a decade, Daly certainly procured a loaded resume.

Daly eventually became tired of the hectic life that is being a producer and decided that it was time for a change. In 2009, Daly left the news life and turned towards Public Affairs. It was “a big decision to finally get out of the business,” Daly said. Switching fields twelve years into her professional life, Daly shows that one never has to be stuck doing something that they no longer want to be doing.

“I had an opportunity to start working at Gray Media, which is a Public Affairs firm,” Daly said. “We support state lobbying efforts with media support, so if a client is trying to get a bill passed or trying to raise an issue, we help them do that with media, so it’s my job to turn that topic into something interesting for a television report or a print reporter.”

Marist College has changed drastically since she graduated from the school in 1995. Considering the new additions of the Rotunda, Hancock, Lowell Thomas, the Music building, and everything else, the campus looks completely different. Most of the dorms were built after her graduation as well. According to Daly, when she was in school the best dorm that a senior could score was a Gartland Townhouse. Considering that Gartland is now being torn down to be replaced by the Marist’s soon-to-be newest dorm building, it is easy to see how things have changed.

All in all, Marist alumni are making strides in the professional world. On top of the campus’ immense change in the past twenty years, Marist is becoming a much more intriguing school with many exciting opportunities. This makes the diploma Marist students get that much more valuable. Soon, current Marist students could be sharing stories that are similar to these!