Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
To some, the phrase “Human Library” might sound more like something out of Beauty and the Beast than an event held at Providence College. Images of fantasy aside, the Human Library is an annual event hosted by Students for Social Action that took place this past Sunday. The Human Library is an international organization committed to breaking down barriers and dismantling stereotypes through the sharing of stories.
At Human Library events, participants can listen to stories from human “books,” or volunteers, who wish to share their unique life experiences. Volunteers at PC’s event represented a diverse range of experiences such as, what it is like to grow up with deaf parents, working in the healthcare field, being a first generation American and college student, and living with a brain injury.
The mission of Human Library is incredibly important. In a time where communication through technology is the norm and people appear to capitalize on differences, the opportunity to speak face to face with someone with a different perspective can be invaluable. The event promotes empathy and tolerance in a way that cannot be replicated on social media or even in a real book. As PC strives to create a more inclusive community on campus and educate tomorrow’s leaders, events like Human Library can prove to be a true asset.
-Gabrielle Bianco ’21
Friar Students Already Give
This past week, the Providence College community came together for the 24-hour giving event, #FriarsGive, in the hopes of reaching a goal of 3,989 donors for each of the 3,989 PC students. Parents, PC athletics supporters, Friars of the last decade, PC alumni, as well as current students were all challenged to donate and participate in spreading the word of the event through social media.
While no one can deny the importance of charitable donations to support PC’s mission and its students, should students really be asked to make donations on top of the annually increasing rates of tuition and room and board paid every semester? Although the #FriarsGive website states, “Your participation as a PC student, not the amount of your gift, matters,” the various campus-based events, as well as the food and prize giveaways directed towards students definitely place at the least some sort of expectation on the part of the student body to make a gift towards the school.
While we cannot deny the reality of PC as being a tuition-driven educational institution, we can focus the efforts of #FriarsGive towards the charitable donations of members of the PC community who already graduated. What kind of financial position are college students in to make any more of a donation than what is already required of them to attend PC in the first place?
Instead of celebrating the number of student donations made during #FriarsGive Day, why don’t we instead take a moment to recognize the growing number of PC students who will be in mounting debt by the time they graduate? It’s time to shift the focus of #FriarsGive donation efforts away from PC students.
-Sarah Kelley ’18
More Mental Health Awareness
Last Wednesday National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) sponsored an event called “Inside Mental Illness.” The discussion itself was enlightening and humbling as members of the community shared their struggles with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
However, it was disappointing to see that not every single chair in the Fiondella Great Room was occupied. Providence College holds these events for students to attend, and it is troubling and saddening to see how few college students take actual advantage of all of the resources the campus provides. In fact, these events allow for students to recognize mental illness symptoms in not only themselves but also in their roommates and close friends.
If more students attended these events they might learn that certain behaviors —like sleeping too often or drinking too much—may be signs of something more serious. Campus events like these are important because mental illness is prominent in society and it is not going anywhere.
According to a spring 2015 report by the American College Health Association, two-thirds of students who are struggling do not seek treatment. One in four adults experience mental illness in a given year. That can be you, your roommate, your significant other, or anyone. It’s important for students to attend these events so that they can bring awareness to themselves and to those around them. The stigma needs to end!
-Laura Arrango ’20