Telling Our Marist Stories

By Eliza Patterson

Marist Stories, created by the Marist Circle, is an Instagram account that was created to bring attention to everyday students at Marist College. Often the students who are recognized on campus are very well-known and impressive to the student body and faculty, however, what about the students who are equally as hard-working and not recognized? Marist Stories seeks to reach out to many different kinds of individuals of a variety of backgrounds to show the diverse talents and accomplishments of students.

Since the fall of 2016, Marist Stories has grown from interviewing students on campus with a specific set of questions, to expanding this format in the form of an authentic, personalized interview. Over the course of this year we not only interviewed students during the school year, but carried Marist Stories into the summer with the Summer Session conducted by Eliza Patterson.

As the 2017/2018 school year progresses, Eliza Patterson and Kerry Tiedemann hope to make Marist Stories an even more successful initiative on campus. We believe that it is vital that the community acknowledges these students and their stories, and are looking forward to meeting many more students at Marist College.

@MaristStories on Instagram

@MaristStories on Instagram

By Eliza Patterson

Name: Maureen O’Malley

Hometown: Syosset, Long Island

Class Year: Junior

Major: History and Adolescent Education

Q: If you weren’t going to pursue a career in your major, what would be your dream job?

A: I wanted to be an astronaut for a really long time, but I was a science major when I first got to Marist and that didn’t work out well at all, so I dropped that quick. But, I’d still love to be an astronaut.

Q: Who is someone you look up to and why?

A: I look up to my brother because he’s very even-tempered, like it takes a lot to make him extremely happy (which is kinda sad), but it takes a lot to make him angry, it takes a lot to make him sad, but he’s a very good judge of character, he’s a very level-headed person, and I trust his opinion a lot on things, so I always wanted to be that person for someone else, looking to me for answers, or looking for me to help them. So, I definitely appreciate him in that aspect.

Q: What was the best and worst stage of your life?

A: I used to be a very chubby little kid. I was rather overweight until junior year of high school, so I did lose a lot of weight. So I’d say that around sophomore year of high school was a very awkward time for me physically. I had no idea what style I had: because I was in Catholic school, I never had to dress myself, I was always in a uniform. So I had no idea what to wear when it came to not wearing a skirt and a blazer. And then a good time of my life was when I came back from Mexico last year, I was on such a high of happiness where I was skipping around everywhere.

Q: What would you tell your freshman year self, today?

A: You’re not stuck. You may meet a lot of people and think those are your friends and those are the people you need to be with 24/7 and just that, no matter what situation you get into you don’t need to stay in it. I feel like a lot of people panic and think “this is the major I’m in” or “this is the housing I’m in” and “these are the friends I’m with” and that there’s nothing else for them, but you can change and do whatever you want to do. If college is supposed to be about experiencing, you should take in the experiences that you can and do a lot of different things and have fun.

@MaristStories on Instagram

@MaristStories on Instagram

By Kerry Tiedemann

Name: Jiachen Liu

Hometown: Xi’an China

Year: Junior

Major: Fashion Merchandising- Product Development Concentration & a minor in Graphic Design

Q: When did you move to America?

A: I moved to America when I was fifteen and went to high school in Massachusetts. I stayed with a host family for three years before coming to Marist. I’ve known my host family since I was seven. I definitely miss China, especially the food and my family. But that’s about it.

Q: Besides class, what else have you been up to this semester?

A: I work at Marist Poll and I also have an internship at Alice and Olivia. It’s a visual merchandising internship, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The things I’ve learned in class are so different from what I do in my internship. I thought visual merchandising was just displaying the items and doing the windows but it actually involves a lot more than that. I actually participated in the fashion show this year. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

Q: Favorite current trend?

A: I actually don’t follow trends. I think you should develop your own style. You should not let trends control you. You should wear what you feel comfortable and confident in. That’s all that matters. At the end of the day I just do my own thing.

Q: Ideal dream job?

A: I would do anything that involves being creative.

Q: What is your favorite song?

A: Toxic by Britney Spears

@MaristStories on Instagram

@MaristStories on Instagram

By Eliza Patterson

Name: Abby Ritson

Hometown: Simsbury, Connecticut

Class year: Senior

Major: Psychology and Special Education

Q: What are you doing at Marist this summer?

A: This summer I am doing the Tarver Internship Program. I am one of seven interns who are working at a non-profit in Poughkeepsie. I am an intern at the Children’s Home and spend my time building life skills curriculum for adolescent youth. So basically I’m teaching teens life skills I don’t have haha. Shoutout to my fellow Tarvers!

Q: If you weren’t going to pursue a career in your major, what would be your dream job?

A: I would love to be a field trip coordinator, like a fun field trip coordinator. But if that doesn’t work out, a high school special ed teacher would be good.

Q: Who do you look up to and why?

A: I know you probably get this a lot, but my mom. Not only is she my rock, but she is also one of the coolest ladies around. She just got back from a backpacking trip in the Appalachian Mountains. She’s always challenging herself and I really admire that about her.

Q: What is the scariest thing you have ever done?

A: Fly to South Africa alone, not knowing anyone, at age 19. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, so far.

@MaristStories on Instagram

@MaristStories on Instagram

By Kerry Tiedemann

Ankofa Billips, President of the Black Student Union.

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Class year: Junior

Major: Business Marketing with a minor in Studio Art

Q: How often do you switch up your hair color?

A: I never really thinking about what I’m doing with my hair but it’s the first thing people notice about me. I guess it was wild that I had teal yesterday and blonde today and I’ll probably be black like next week. Hair is an accessory. It's fun. I don’t really have to be responsible with it, because I can just cut it off and start again. I know it will grow back. I’m in college. Why not?

I think my identity and who I choose to be every day of the week is very fluid so when I change my hair it’s like a new stage of a different period. I need to keep moving forward and evolving.

Q: What is it like to be the president of the Black Student Union?

A: Being president is not a me thing, it’s a we thing. I think what’s cool about being president of BSU is that I get to create a platform for the members to say what they want to say and do what they want to do. We want to talk about what is important to each other and what will make us better people. We are in a place with so many different people and different mindsets so it’s important to take advantage of that.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: I would love to spend the rest of my life having a creative space for the young youth where they can learn how to market their craft so that it can be a job rather than a hobby. Unfortunately a lot of artists don’t have the means to take it seriously or people don’t take them seriously. (™)

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Declaring a Transgender Bathroom Policy: Where Does Marist Stand?

By Michelle DeMartino and Caroline Fiske

The biggest issue with the declaration of a transgender bathroom policy “is not a moral issue,” said Dr. Ferrer-Medina. “It’s a money issue.”

Down the long hallway of Donnelly’s basement entrance and in the lobbies of New Gartland buildings A and B lie the gender-fluid bathrooms of Marist College. 

Dr. Patricia Ferrer-Medina, the chair for the LGBTQ Sub-Committee of Diversity Council, says that Marist does not “officially” have a transgender bathroom policy. The council aims to educate the Marist population about the struggles of the LGBTQ community. Ferrer-Medina did mention, however, that Marist did make bathroom accommodations for one particular student’s needs.

“We did have a student that needed some accommodations last year, and accommodations were given to the student,” Dr. Ferrer-Medina said.

However, the transgender bathroom policy at Marist has remained unclear, with many unanswered questions: Why are the locations not on Marist’s website? 

“Because of its history, Marist is a traditional school. So when things don’t happen, it takes a long time for them to see the need for change,” Dr. Ferrer-Medina said.

To compare, Fairfield University, a nearby college which declares itself Jesuit and Catholic, displays its transgender bathroom policy on its website, with their nine locations on the campus. Marist’s transgender bathroom policy is absent from its LGBTQ Resources page.

In the past, when Marist decided to compete against Duke for its basketball team, four LGBTQ alums wrote letters to President David Yellen expressing their negative feelings regarding this event. LGBTQ Marist alums did not believe that Marist was taking positive steps towards a safer LGBTQ community. 

One thing is clear: while gender-fluid bathrooms exist at Marist, the transgender bathroom policy remains “officially” undeclared.

This map below shows the two locations of the transgender bathrooms on the Marist College campus. 

Pink= Basement of Donnelly Blue= Lobbies in New Gartland buildings A and B

Pink= Basement of Donnelly

Blue= Lobbies in New Gartland buildings A and B

Marist Senior Tracks Growth in Women's Studies

By Dominique Mcintee 

Passions and academics converge at Marist. Our student climate plays on curiosity and exploration, enabling us to pursue our interests in and out of the classroom. For Molly Scott ’17, this environment catalyzed her inspiration to create “Women at Marist 1960-Present,” an interactive timeline of women’s activities at Marist from past to present; it serves as a vital and unique resource for both professors and students.

What began as a research idea for her introductory course transformed into a comprehensive yearlong project that merged her academic learning and true passion for the subject itself. Scott’s exhibit is designed to track the development of the women’s studies program as well as female students and faculty members. Scott notes that similar projects across different universities, San Diego State College in particular, inspired her, as the school is recognized for implementing the first women’s studies program in the country. Working with ancient newspaper clippings, antiquated editions of The Circle, and other research, Scott incorporated an array of sources to produce a cohesive and clear showcase of her understanding of and love for the subject.

Molly Scott, '17 

Molly Scott, '17 

Scott possesses both fervor and determination when it comes to women’s studies, now known as women, gender, and sexuality studies, at Marist. She embraces her keen knowledge on these subjects to convey that this track has contributed to her reaching academic goals and personal growth; however, Scott did not recognize this as her true passion until later on in her freshman year.

“When I first enrolled at Marist, I was a biology major, but after a couple of semesters, I realized I was miserable. When I switched to my English major, I decided to declare my WGSS minor because I had always wanted to, but was not able to before,” Scott remarks.

Scott’s passion has blossomed ever since, manifesting with each opportunity she continues to seek within this study. She finds her minor thought-provoking, providing a level of independence and challenges that allow her to think critically of what she calls “the boxes we construct for men and women.” Her passion stems from what she has learned, such as the concerns and unique facts that build cultural resonance and impact. Scott comments that “there are so many issues facing women, people of color, and the LGBQT+ community. Sexism and rape culture, systemic racism, and homophobia are all issues that are affecting people every day in covert and overt ways.”

“A lot of women will say that they have never personally experienced sexism, but the thing is, they just aren’t aware of the ways which sexism can manifest [itself]. Women’s studies courses can help us recognize our own personal privilege, and how these issues can affect others,” Scott adds.

Scott’s project has enabled her success and opened new doors. Scott’s project was offered space in the James A. Cannavino Library as a physical exhibit. With her project now featured on Marist's website, Scott has been honored on the Marist WGSS homepage and at the 25th Annual Women & Society Conference held at Marist in Fall 2016. In addition, her exhibit helped her gain a summer internship at a local non-profit, along with rewarding, positive feedback from her professors and peers. More notably, Scott comments on how the project shaped her as an undergraduate student and as a young woman.

“The exhibit helped me become a better researcher, collaborator, and presenter. I sincerely feel more confident in my abilities, and I’m excited to continue doing similar work in the future,” she says.

Scott will soon graduate and leave Marist to embark on a new journey, where she’ll find new passions but always maintain a special bond with her undergraduate WGSS work. For now, she hopes that her exhibit remains paramount and influential.

“I just hope people find this research interesting and useful. I would love for a student to use my timeline to inform their own research on topics they find interesting,” she comments. “I hope that my work inspires students to take on similar projects, and expand on my own findings.”

Old Faces, New Places: Melissa Conlon

By Megan McCormack

Name: Melissa Conlon

Class Year: 2016
College Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Advertising and a second major in Studio Art

Current Location: Long Island, NY

What was your first job out of college, and what is your current job?

My current job is actually my first job! I am a Junior Producer for an experiential advertising agency, Grandesign Media.

What do you miss most about Marist (or college in general)?

In general, I miss my life being in one place. In college, your job was your academics so you went to class and since you [lived] on campus there was no major commute every morning and night, and I lived with all my friends so it was never hard to hang out or hard to make time to do something fun in your free time or on the weekends. The work-personal life balance is a learning curve that takes some knack in the real world.

Outside of the close-knit proximity of living among friends and the Marist community, what I miss most about Marist specifically is the Hudson Valley. That view of the river while studying in the library, weekend trips to the Farmers Market and small-business shops in Rhinebeck, and all the hiking trails or historic places you could explore on an afternoon. I may classify myself as a city girl, but I think my heart is more in the open space of the outdoors.

Melissa Conlon, '17. 

Melissa Conlon, '17. 

Tell us a little about your current job and how Marist prepared you for it.

I chose Marist because of its commitment to a Liberal Arts education, and that expansive curriculum has yet to fail me—I doubt it ever will. Those core classes are worth it!

Currently, as I mentioned, I am a Junior Producer in the Experiential Media industry. This falls within the Out-of-Home Industry (think billboards, bus shelters, subway stations, etc.), but we’re niche in what we do. We create and deliver unique brand experiences. From fabricating custom pop-up shops, large scale PR stunts (our agency was recently featured in AdWeek for our work for Kong: Skull Island), and buzzworthy prop installations to custom event creation. So basically, if you’re outside of your house and you run into something buzzworthy that is sponsored by a brand, then it’s Experiential, and that’s what I do. Day to day I am usually diving deep into proposals and brainstorming creative never-been-done-before ideas, and then once a client decides to move forward I switch gears to executing and bringing the idea to life.

For a media that is quite new to the advertising industry, it requires having “a little knowledge about a lot,” as Joanna D’Avanzo, my advertising professor, used to tell us, and that is where my Marist education prepared me. Because of my core classes, various extra-curricular opportunities, and travel abroad experiences, I am well versed in plenty of culture and schools of thought, so I’m always drawing inspiration and support from these for my proposals and projects.

What is your favorite part of your job now?

I absolutely love the unconventionality of my job. Yes, I go to an office almost every day (when I’m not on site at an activation) and answer endless amounts of emails, but the ideas I bring to life and the projects I work on are completely out-of-the-box. Grandesign is about doing the impossible and the never-been-done-before, so I love the open-endedness of creativity that is involved, and that the work we do isn’t passive; people (consumers) actually interact with our work rather than just looking at a print ad, a commercial, or [a] billboard.

Launch of LifeWTR, which Melissa and her team helped produce at this year’s Super Bowl.  Melissa Conlon, '17.

Launch of LifeWTR, which Melissa and her team helped produce at this year’s Super Bowl.  Melissa Conlon, '17.

What’s the best part about life after college? The worst?

The worst part of life after college has definitely been no longer living among my best friends, as I mentioned. The work-life balance is definitely a learning curve, as I mentioned, so even though you’re not committed to homework, studying, or a September to May schedule, you take on bigger responsibilities that require time and effort outside of 9-5 and when you do have free time the people you want to see are no longer just in the next room or next door.

The best part has been actually putting a paycheck to my passions! You spend four years studying, having internships, and building a toolbox of skills and experience, so to have been hired in my industry right out of school has been super rewarding. In my first 6 months I’ve seen my own ideas come to life, and I feel like I’m on the right track.

What’s one thing you wish someone had told you about post-grad life? What’s something surprising?

I wish someone had told me that it gets better sooner than you think. Those first couple of weeks and maybe three months were like culture shock, and I felt lost and consumed with mourning leaving Marist and my comfort zone—I had obviously made it a home and had a great four years if I missed it that much. You feel like you’re out floating between being a college student and being an “adult.” However, once you settle into your new routine, you kind of realize it is not bad at all, and that you’re a “real” person with a sense of purpose and a place to be every day and a drive to contribute to something bigger. There is a feeling six months into post-grad that is along the lines of, “I made it. I am here. Let’s do this.”

Surprising… how fast your student loans come due? (Haha, just kidding…) Surprising would be how prepared you actually are, and that new grads are looked to because of [their] fresh ideas and perspective. You’ll keep learning from your coworkers and the world, but you know more than you think you do when you start working. But never stop looking to those beside you and above you. Ask questions and keep pushing yourself.

Do you have anything you’d like to tell current seniors as they prepare to graduate?

Just enjoy it—I’m truly envious of you! I won’t preach to you about how lucky you are but promise me in the middle of the craziness, the fun, and those last days, you’ll take a moment to look around and take it all in, whether it be from the Adirondack chairs by the library on a random afternoon at sunset, as you descend the LT quad towards the green commencement area, or just sitting at your kitchen counter gossiping with your housemates after a normal day when you should be doing homework. Those last couple of weeks are moments you don’t get back but you’ll relive every day, so commit the moments to memory.

What’s your dream job? 

Chief Creative Officer. I want to one day oversee my own creative team, endlessly collaborate with them, and create something that makes others say, “I wish I thought of that.”

Article originally published on the Marist Career Services website.

Marist Joins ATI

By Caroline Chan

Marist College has recently joined the American Talent Initiative (ATI).  According to President David Yellen via email, ATI is “a consortium of top colleges and universities committed to expanding opportunity and access to higher education.”

This movement was founded by 30 of the leading colleges in the nation – including four Ivy League schools (Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale).  On the official website, ATI is defined as a “Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported collaboration between the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R, and a growing alliance of colleges and universities dedicated to substantially expanding opportunity and access for low- and moderate-income students.”

ATI realizes that the nation can also benefit from helping low and moderate income students graduate from top institutions and increasing their chances for long-term success.  According to ATI’s website, “[o]ur nation and our economy benefit from cultivating and supporting talented young people from every zip code and income level. Growing disparities in household income make equal opportunity for all talented Americans one of our nation’s most important goals, and ATI seeks to be part of the solution.”

While there is no formal application process to become one of the colleges included in ATI, Yellen took actions to express Marist’s interest in the collaboration.  “I reached out to the president of Princeton and expressed our interest and they took that right up.  We discussed it and they invited us to be part of the next group that joined,” Yellen said.

However, the conversation between presidents wasn’t the only reason that Marist was invited to join.  “[The board of ATI] had a list of the…300 colleges in the country who they considered to be eligible and…we were on that list already,” Yellen added.  “It was just a matter of discussion about the parameters of the goals and our commitment to the shared goals.” 

“We’re really honored to be selected and participate,” said Greg Cannon, chief public affairs officer at Marist.  “[ATI] aligns well with the Marist approach, which is increasing accessibility but also supporting students once they’re here and making sure that they graduate in a reasonable amount of time.”

ATI’s overarching goal is to “expand access and opportunity for talented low- and moderate-income students,” according to the website. The website further specifies that ATI hopes to attract, enroll, and graduate an additional 50,000 lower-income students at the 270 colleges and universities that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years by 2025. 

“It’s one thing to help get students into college,” Cannon said.  “[It’s a] greater challenge to help them get through it and make sure that they get a degree.”

Marist will have to work on the financial aspect of helping enroll low-income students.  “The big challenge, frankly, in significantly increasing the numbers of low-income students here, is on the financial aid side,” said Yellen.  “[We’ll have to] devote more of our regular resources to need-based financial aid…We’ll also make it a real priority in fundraising, as we launch a new strategic plan.”

Yellen pointed out that the board and staff of ATI know that some schools are in a better position, financially, to help lower-income students.  Those such schools can afford to offer full scholarships to students who need them.

On the other hand, some schools don’t have the large endowments and other financial resources, so it’s harder for them to help low-income students out.  “[ATI is] taking a very flexible approach looking for people who are committed to the overall goal and we’ll strategize together how to reach it,” Yellen said.

Cannon agreed, noting “that a school like Marist, which, we don’t have the financial resources that Harvard or Yale of Stanford has, but we do have the success in graduating large amounts of students in a small amount of time.”

There are three primary areas of goals that ATI would like to achieve.  

The first area of focus is to create “[a] sustained national campaign to raise public and private sector awareness about the incredible talent in low-income communities and create momentum among higher education leaders to act on improving access and success for lower-income students,” according to ATI’s website.  This goal is currently underway as schools such as Marist who weren’t part of the original thirty have started to hear about and join ATI,

Additionally, ATI isn’t meant to temporarily adjust the system – it’s meant to be a catalyst for a long term, beneficial change.  Another major activity is “setting aspirational, measurable goals…and sustaining that increase thereafter,” according to the ATI website.  

Yellen agreed, confirming that “the goal is for this initiative to be sustained, long beyond 2025 – it’s more about changing all of our collective cultures to commit more resources to low-income students over the long haul.”

ATI’s third area involves “research and knowledge-dissemination…to identify and promote replication of effective practices and elevate ATI member efforts.”  This goal focuses on sharing what ATI schools have done to help low-income students get a great education, so that other institutions of higher education can be inspired and this initiative can continue to spread.

Marist has already taken steps to increase diversity on campus.  “Marist has been on a positive trajectory for the last decade, in terms of diversity, broadly, including socioeconomic diversity,” Yellen said.  “So we know what it takes to be a more diverse campus and that involves active recruiting efforts…We’re going to do things we do very well, but we’re going to increase the numbers and we’ll need to ramp up that support.”

Needless to say, broadening access to higher education to low and moderate income students will help those students.  “We want to make a contribution to the social good of the country,” Yellen continued.  “To achieve the American dream – to see your children do better than you did…requires access to really high-quality higher education.”

Cannon added (and acknowledged that this reflected Yellen’s email), “There’s this pool of untapped talent out there and it’s a shame to let it go to waste.  You have very bright students who are either not going to college or are going to an institution that is just not well aligned with their potential.  That’s a waste for them and it’s a waste for the nation.”

As the president of the college, Yellen is also looking out for Marist’s best interests and any opportunities to better the school.  “To the extent ATI becomes known nationally, to be an early member of this extremely prestigious group of colleges and universities, would only be good for our reputation.”

More broadly speaking, Yellen also indicated the benefits that diversity has in an educational environment and sense.  “America’s demographics are changing and you’re not going to be doing a good job of educating your students unless they’re exposed to a broad range of people reflecting incredible diversity in the U.S.,” Yellen said.  “I think it’s a great enhancement to the learning environment, to have as diverse a student body so people get to know and learn from people from different backgrounds…We just think it’s morally and socially right to be a diverse campus.”

Origins of Hip Hop: Black History Month Event

“You are now about to witness the strength of hip-hop knowledge.”

Dr. Steve Peraza, professor of history and social studies at SUNY Buffalo, concluded the celebration of Black History Month at Marist College on Feb. 24 with “The Origins of Hip Hop.” He presented the importance of hip-hop in black culture as well as his own life.

“Hip-hop is critical. It provides a national platform for an art form that is identified with race,” Peraza said. “It’s also impactful as a unifying force within the black community as well as bridging the gap between black communities and other communities of people.”

Marist Circle reporter, Brian Edsall,  with Dr. Peraza

Marist Circle reporter, Brian Edsall,  with Dr. Peraza

Peraza spoke of the transformation of hip-hop throughout different generations, which he defined as the Old School Era (1970-1983), the New School Era (1984-1991), and the Mainstream Era (1992-present). He defined these generations through songs such as Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, Run-D.M.C.’s King of Rock, N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life, and Drake’s Hotline Bling.

Peraza also spoke adamantly against the history of violence within hip-hop. He particularly cited the conflicts between the East Coast and the West Coast, which included the deaths of iconic rappers Tupac Shakur and Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace in 1996 and 1997, respectively.

“It became authentic to be tough and to even be violent. Authenticity should not mean that much. It would be better for hip hop if artists could just be artists. The violence isn’t productive for hip-hop or society as a whole,” Peraza shared.

This art form has had a tremendous impact on black culture. Peraza personally confirmed this by attesting to how hip-hop had saved his own life. 

“When I was in high school I got into rapping…I believed that a rap career was going to be a viable option for me, so I didn’t care much about my decision to leave school,” Peraza said. “Really soon after, I started to notice that my raps were weakening because I wasn’t in an environment where I was learning, growing my vocabulary, or being challenged to write.”

He laughed when recalling how he returned to school in part because he wanted his raps to improve.

“I wanted to start writing again and be as creative as possible with my raps,” reflected Peraza. “I credit hip-hop for really driving my passion to put words onto paper and be the best writer I could be.”

Peraza emphasized how his story and the lessons he learned are much different than the rhetoric that many rappers use, which is to abandon education for the dream of becoming famous.

“If skills in rap can help you get into school, or help you to communicate effectively in different settings, then I think it’s a really helpful tool,” shared Peraza. “That’s really how I see hip-hop. It’s a skill or a craft that you can develop that’s going to lead you into another context where you can apply some of those skills or talents.”

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Danisha Craig, eBoard member of the Black Student Union at Marist, was extremely impressed with the presentation and the knowledge she gained from it.

“Learning about the dynamics of important genres and how they transform through generations has been a subject that I have gained interest in,” said Craig. “There was more participation at this lecture than I’ve seen at Marist in a while. I usually don’t talk at lectures, but the speaker’s questions for the audience were so open that I decided to voice my opinion.”

Individuals of all age groups were in attendance. This added perspectives from different age groups in a presentation which covered generational shifts in hip-hop, leading to some friendly debate between older faculty members and younger students.

When asked about who the best rapper alive was, Peraza had a definitive answer. “Eminem. He has mastered the skill of rapping. I haven’t heard any other rappers that have been able to match his skill level,” Peraza stated.

New Gartland Tackles Race, Culture, and Gender at Marist

By Sarah Franzetti

“From its stone and brick exterior to its carpeted halls and suites offering sleek kitchens, spacious rooms, and spectacular river views, [New Gartland] is drawing raves from its residents, as well as the rest of the Marist community,” a statement on the Marist College website reads, referring to the new North End campus housing. But as the construction deadlines grow closer, students might be ‘raving’ about something other than the views of the river. 

Recently, the college approved a “multicultural floor” for the newest building in the Gartland complex. According to the Marist housing application, the floor is open to anyone who is interested. The floor aims to “bring together students of all backgrounds, cultures and identities in a welcoming and inclusive environment,” a statement on the application reads.  

Veronica Grech, ’19, whose mother, Iris Ruiz-Grech, is the director for the Center for Multicultural Affairs, explains that the center has an intercultural council that will be very involved in the process. “Its purpose is to have a place where people can go to be around people of all different backgrounds and where students can go talk to their peers about questions they might have but didn’t know how or who to ask,” Grech said.  

Courtesy of Marist College

Courtesy of Marist College

But according to some students, this multicultural floor sounds more like the college is grouping certain students together and keeping them separate from others, which appears to be the opposite of multicultural. 

“They shouldn’t exclude just one floor. I want to meet other people,” said Gianlucca Massa, ’18, a transfer student who lives in New Gartland Building B. Massa, who moved to the US from Peru when he was seven, worries that although the application is open to everyone, it will create a segregated environment. 

Carlos Moreno, ’19, from Venezuela, agrees with Massa. “Every floor should be ‘multicultural,’ not just one floor, and everyone should have an opportunity to learn and live with people from other cultures,” Moreno said. “It’s actually beneficial: you learn from other cultures, you get out of your bubble.”

Student Body President Brandon Heard, ’17, feels conflicted about the multicultural floor. He makes the point that perhaps the floor may be Marist recognizing its own faults and trying to correct them. 

“It’s a double entendre: since campus isn’t inclusive, let’s make a place where people feel welcomed, orlet’s make campus more inclusive since a floor like this could divide it,” Heard said. 

Courtesy of Marist College

Courtesy of Marist College

While it would be great for students to have a place to come together, feel safe, and be able to talk about things they might otherwise not feel comfortable to discuss, the question still remains: will it not further the racial and cultural divide among our students?

And Heard brings up another point as well: race isn’t the only thing dividing this campus. 

“When it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc…the world beyond that floor doesn’t necessarily foster inclusive environments,” Heard said.  

It seems that New Gartland has found itself at the center of not only a controversy around race, but one on gender as well. 

When approached to potentially be interviewed on the progress of the New Gartland buildings, the construction team working on the project declined to comment, although they had no trouble commenting on the gender of those who were reporting. 

“We’re not buying any Girl Scout cookies,” one worker said, laughing. The men said they were unable to speak with any of the media without first consulting with the college. 

Caroline DeWald, ’19, who actually is a Girl Scout and is employed by the organization, felt offended by the comments not only as a woman, but as a proud Girl Scout. 

“He is using Girl Scout cookies in a derogatory manner. The selling of Girl Scout cookies should not be used against women—it’s female entrepreneurship,” DeWald said.

Marisa Prezioso, ’19, who witnessed the construction workers making these comments, says that besides being “extremely sexist and rude,” “he [the construction worker] is in an environment where it’s okay to degrade women because he’s surrounded by men all day.” Prezioso believes that if like-minded people stick together, comments like this won’t get shut down, because there is no mixing of views, beliefs, and backgrounds. The same may be true for the multicultural floor: to limit “culture” and “diversity” to only a certain area of New Gartland could potentially give way to situations like the one with the construction worker.    

New Gartland has been consistently described as one of the nicest places to live on campus with its brand new rooms and beautiful views of the river. But it seems that for many Marist students, pristine views won’t be enough to sell New Gartland as the place to be. As construction wraps up on the final building, students are demanding that they be built not only with lead and steel, but with compassion and an open-minded agenda as well.

Ashley Haynes: President of Black Student Union and a Leader in the Community

By Michael K. Conway

Marist College football begins every game after the playing of the national anthem. A small group of students just outside of the end zone take a stand by kneeling on the ground. At the head of this small but dedicated group is Marist senior Ashley Haynes, president of the Black Student Union (BSU).

Bearing the heavy burden of being the face of the BSU, Haynes looks to build a strong relationship with the Poughkeepsie community through youth encouragement and their presence on Marist’s campus. “The mission of the Black Student Union aims at unifying people through education, exposure, and immersion of the various and diverse forms of black culture and identity. We will act as an advocating voice for underrepresented students at Marist College,” Haynes said.

Courtesy of Marist Athletics 

Courtesy of Marist Athletics 

Her prowess as the head of the group distinguishes her as a physical and academic leader who represents the ideals of Marist College. “We set an example for the black community that hard work and perseverance will help you accomplish your dreams. I am able to be a leader in the community by participating in many volunteer opportunities in the community, and taking a stand against injustices through protesting and marching,” Haynes said.

The BSU is an important institution for black students who may feel unrepresented among the Marist community. This is not to say that Marist College does not represent or reflect the interests of the black students, but with a “Black or African-American” population of 3.2% and a “White” population of 78.9% (as of 2015 according to it is important that black students can have an organization to celebrate their identity on campus. “An example of this is Hair Talk meeting that we conducted allow men and women to educate one another on Black hair and its many entities,” Haynes said. As president of the BSU, Haynes has been able to transition her leadership techniques and skills into another facet of her life: track and field. 

As co-captain of the track and field team, Haynes described her role: “As the only black captain for the track and field team, and one of the few black captains overall, I use this position to help other black-athletes excel, and I also strive to be a great representation for my people. My continuous hard work and dedication are what rewarded me with the captain position, and has allowed me to show other student-athletes that if you work hard enough, you can obtain the same position.” From the BSU to the field and into professional life, Haynes is ready to make another transition out of college.

Haynes is getting ready to cap off her career at Marist and apply what she has learned to the professional world. “As the President of the Black Student Union I was able to learn a lot about myself. When I took on the President position I was too confident with myself, but over the year I found that I was born to be a leader. I was forced to break out of my comfort zone and engage with people whom I had never thought I would interact with,” Haynes said.

Marist Home to English Athlete Extraordinaire

By Alyssa Hurlbut

With 20 seconds remaining of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, nearly every eye in England was glued to the television. Shops were closed and workdays halted. Pubs were packed to the brim, decorated with British flags and painted faces that overflowed onto the streets of London.

“I was sitting on my dad’s shoulders at a pub. They weren’t even checking ID’s, they were just letting everybody in,” Max Darrington, 6 years old at the time, reflects.

At Telstra Stadium in Sydney, Australia, the ball (Quora) left the scrum and landed in the hands of English rugby player Jonny Wilkinson. Wilkinson dropped the Quora between his two boots, drove his right foot up, and sent the ball flying between the two goal posts.  

Darrington (Fourth from left) and former rugby teammates. Courtesy of Max Darrington.  

Darrington (Fourth from left) and former rugby teammates. Courtesy of Max Darrington.  

“Dropped Goal England! Oh my. Sean. What a call. It’s all over. That was the penultimate kick of the game. And England have Won. The. World. Cup.” The Guardian headlines read.

Darrington, a rising junior at Marist, recounts that moment as “the best English sporting triumph of my life to this day.”

“That was one of my first sporting memories,” he says. “It became a very big deal in England.”

But as the members of the 2003 English Rugby World Cup team made history, Darrington himself was taking his first steps into what would become an impressive career of top-level athletics.

Growing up in Ipswich, England as the son of a former professional rugby player, Darrington’s life was largely shaped by sports. At the age of 12, his talents won him an all-around athletic scholarship to Millfield Preparatory School–a nationally acclaimed school known for its athletics in England.

At the start of his days at Millfield, Darrington impressed as a multi-sport athlete. Juggling competitive field hockey, cricket, rugby, and tennis, his days were colored with practice after practice.

“I was probably best at cricket compared to everything.” Identified as one of the most talented rising cricketers in England, he was invited to take part in England’s Bloomfield Festival—a competition from which national team scouts recruit.

While he was gaining national recognition in cricket, he made his mark in rugby as well. Like many English athletes his age, he had developed an early love for the sport, one that far exceeded cricket, field hockey, and tennis.

“It was a team sport and I played it with all of my mates, which was the primary reason I played it,” he recalls. “I was just lucky that I went to a school that was one of the best in the nation for the sport.”

Darrington enjoyed a wealth of success in the early stages of his rugby career. Just as in cricket, he gained recognition on a national scale, and in 2013, he collected a national championship with his team at Millfield.  By the age of 15, he was playing with some of the best players in England, many of whom went on to play the sport at the international level and collect world cup titles for England.

As any athlete knows, with great success comes great sacrifice. Darrington’s career was plagued with injury upon injury, among which included three shoulder dislocations, three broken collarbones, eight concussions, and a number of broken fingers.  

“The game of rugby is incredibly physical,” Darrington says. “Playing at such a high level was daunting, seeing as there were always scouts coming to the games. And I was always scared coming back from those injuries.”  

The majority of the injuries were a result of rugby, but they quickly affected his cricket and tennis performance.  By the age of 16, Darrington’s multiple concussions forced him to abandon cricket.

Not too long after, the rugby injuries conquered that sport as well. Late in his career at Millfield, and on the brink of playing the sport on a national level, Darrington was forced to hang up his rugby uniform.

“It was very sad,” he says. “It was hard on my dad, too, being a former English rugby player. Seeing me drop the sport was rough.”

But with tennis still very much alive, Darrington was prepared to shift his focus.

“I liked winning…It was more the fact that I had sort of gone bust on rugby, so tennis looked like it was going to be the way forward.”

And when he captained his Milford school to win the national school’s tennis championships, his future in tennis was reaffirmed.  

In 2015, after his recruitment videos generated interest from American schools such as Cornell, Yale, and Georgia State, Darrington committed to play Division I tennis at Marist.

Reflecting on his days at Millfield, Darrington looks back with great appreciation and admiration for the role that athletics played in his life.

“I’d say sports completely shaped my characteristics…I’m quite self-discipline which I picked up from Rugby, quite an easy to get along with guy because I played a lot of team sports, and that shaped who I am today.”

While academics may have been lost in the mix of practices during his prep school days, he has more than recovered in college. An honors student with a double major in business and finance, Darrington has made Dean’s list for each of his semesters at college. He continues to manage top-level athletics while maintaining All-Academic standing in the MAAC conference.  

“For people growing up in the world of sports,” he says, “I would tell them to do everything whilst your young, but when the right time comes, focus on what you enjoy most.”