March 20, 2023
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The year 1968 marked the end of the Civil Rights Movement, a time when African-Americans across the United States came…
by Sarah McLaughlin ’23
March marks Women’s History Month, which can trace its roots back to Women’s History Week, first celebrated in 1978, and the original International Women’s Day, which was first celebrated in 1908 when thousands of New York City women garment workers went on strike due to poor working conditions and low wages. Women’s History Month was designated by the US Congress in 1980—a decade after Providence College began admitting women as students, and seven years before the establishment of PC’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.
“Women’s History Month is significant because it pushes us to uncover, make visible, recognize, respect, and celebrate women’s knowledge and contributions across time and space,” says Dr. Abigail Brooks, director of the Providence College WGS program and associate professor of sociology. “In truth, learning and teaching about women’s history should not be limited to one month a year…Still, Women’s History Month pushes critical awareness, teaching, and learning about women’s contributions.”
In the Women’s and Gender Studies program at PC, students study social and natural sciences, health sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Students learn and develop skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, and constructive dialogue. “Students are introduced not only to women’s contributions and struggles, but to gender as a critical category of oppression and analysis,” says Dr. Brooks, “and to the intersections between women, gender, race, class, sexuality, and other identities, categories, communities, and lived material realities that inform and shape people’s everyday lives, contributions, and struggles.” WGS majors often have other majors and minors as well, and students can pursue careers in law, health and medicine, social work, journalism, education and higher education, academia, business, and nonprofits.
Many students believe that the College has an obligation to do better in regard to women’s equality, rights, and inclusivity on campus. Here are a few testimonies from women students:
“As a woman in math and computer science, I feel like the math faculty and other math students have been extremely supportive and have not been biased in the fact that I’m a woman. But I will say that at some points, when I tutor specifically computer science, I get people who are surprised that I’m tutoring computer science because of my gender.”
“Being a woman at PC has its challenges. There are times when I am the only one of three women sitting in my economics classes; there are also times in my political science classes when the male students feel that they can speak to me differently than their male counterparts. But in terms of male faculty being supportive of my endeavors, I can’t say enough.”
“I am really reluctant to find misogyny in people. I like to always err on the side of ignorance and not malice. In my three years here, that part of me has decreased. Very very smart men, professors on campus, have said things that are really shocking to me and people I know.”
Dr. Brooks suggests that PC should incorporate “more feminist, intersectional material, research, scholarship, and contributions into course curricula.” She also recommends that PC reassess and expand the current diversity proficiency requirement. Additionally, diversifying faculty across all departments would be beneficial. Many students agree also that PC should better provide reproductive health care, including birth control, for faculty, staff, and students, as well as affordable day-care facilities and family leave policies for faculty and staff. Increasing, expanding, and improving resources and promotional support for women’s sports should also be on the College’s agenda.
In regard to the WGS program, Dr. Brooks is hoping to help the program transition to a department. They will be submitting their proposal by the end of this semester. “A key goal for Women’s and Gender Studies is to grow our student numbers, and to continue to expand and evolve in new and exciting ways into the future. Spread the word!”
by Joe Quirk ’23
The Providence College men’s ice hockey team has had a tumultuous season so far. After a strong start to the season that saw them in the USCHO top-20 and several victories over other top teams, the Friars finished off their regular season with a whimper. From Jan. 14 through Feb. 3, the Friars lost five straight games, knocking them outside the top-20 and potentially costing themselves a shot at the NCAA playoffs. The Friars hadn’t made the National Tournament since the 2018-2019 season, a three year stretch that marks the longest drought in the tenure of head coach Nate Leaman. The Friars may have had a redemptive shot with their final four games coming against ranked opponents University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University, however they went just 1–3 in those games.
The chances of the Friars making the tournament were slim. It was becoming virtually impossible for them to claim an at-large bid at this point. The NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament only fields 16 teams, including the conference winners. In order to get a ticket to the playoffs, the Friars would need to upset and win the Hockey East tournament. This would be no easy feat, as Hockey East is one of, if not the, premier college hockey conferences in the country. And yet, after back-to-back overtime wins, the Friars enter a semifinals match against BU on Friday, March 17 at TD Garden in Boston. This puts them just two wins away from a Hockey East championship and an NCAA tournament bid. While many players contributed to their last win, the overtime game-winning goal scorer Brady Berard ’26 was the hero.
Berard is the brother and teammate of New York Rangers prospect Brett Berard ’24 and has seen solid playing time in his freshman campaign at Providence. PC has been a family affair for the Berards, with their father, David Berard, also working for the Friars hockey program. But make no mistake, both Brett and Brady are good on the ice.
While Brett has established himself as a star in Friartown, Brady has come in to write his own legacy in his freshman campaign. He has seen decent ice time as a freshman, albeit with a small role. He started his season solidly, with two assists in his first five games, but since had failed to tally a point. Brady would go the remainder of the season without a goal or assist. That is, until last Saturday. When the Friars faced Northeastern University in the Hockey East tournament quarterfinals, the game was a must win for the Friars. They fell in a 1–0 hole early, but tied the game in the second period and remained in gridlock through the third–until four minutes into the overtime period. College hockey overtime periods are just five minutes long before then going to shootouts. While goaltender Philip Svedebäck ’26 has been outstanding this season, shootouts are very tricky and a dangerous bet when your season is on the line. Berard alleviated that fear when he re-directed a puck that was sent off the end board by Guillaume Richard ’25. Berard’s first collegiate goal also netted him Pro Ambitions Hockey East Rookie of the Week on March 13.
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In spring 2022, PC Dining announced its plans for Eco To-Go, a program that allows students to use reusable to-go boxes in Ray instead of wasteful single-use containers. While the initiative is supported by many students, others complained that it is inconvenient. Considering the significant environmental impact of paper and plastic, which these containers are made of, this is an ignorant complaint given our current ecological state.
While some may argue that these boxes aren’t environmentally harmful because they can be recycled, this is not the case. It is important to reduce our consumption before recycling, which is why the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” is in this order. First, we’re supposed to reduce, then reuse, and finally recycle, meaning that recycling is not the solution.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018 only 8.7 of plastic was recycled, leaving plastic in landfills and oceans. There is a significant impact of plastic pollution on our marine ecosystems. It’s estimated that every year, eight to 10 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans. The effects of this are devastating, as plastic breaks down to form microplastics, which many small organisms mistake for food. This is also an issue in terms of biomagnification, as organisms who consume these organisms indirectly ingest this plastic. This is one of the reasons why scientists have recently discovered microplastics in human blood for the first time.
by David Salzillo Jr. ’24
This article might be upsetting both to regular viewers of Hallmark movies (if such people really do exist) and to children who still believe in Santa Claus. To the latter group, I offer my sincerest apologies.
Ah, Christmastime—the season for caroling, hot cocoa, and…bad Hallmark movies. Why humanity must suffer through that last one is a mystery. Yet here we are: the filmmakers (one uses that term VERY loosely) behind these cinematic travesties are at it again.
Technically, they were at it again long before now. Hallmark’s chief executives seem to believe that Halloween marks the first day of the Christmas season. Forget waiting until after Thanksgiving; forget about waiting until the first of November. These people have managed to outdo those infamous radio stations that play Christmas music 24/7 from November to January. Ugh. Doesn’t Hallmark have any sense of shame?
Now, if the movies were halfway decent, maybe some of this shove-it-down-your-throat-until-you-die-in-a-Christmas-induced-coma consumerism could be forgiven. But alas, trying to find a halfway decent Hallmark movie is like trying to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Where does one even begin? How about with the filmmakers’ complete lack of effort? Seriously, do they care about what they are doing, insofar as it is not bringing them a paycheck? Don’t they understand that snow on someone’s clothes will melt after a few minutes, as opposed to staying there for an entire scene? And don’t they understand that people generally swallow after drinking coffee? If you ever have the displeasure of watching some of these movies, you will be able to find countless other egregious errors like these. It does not take a Francis Ford Coppola or a Martin Scorsese to get these things right.
Then there’s the incessant presence of hot chocolate, cookies, and bake-offs. The bake-offs in particular irk me: I have never seen nor been to a bake-off in my life, yet somehow they always manage to be a central plot point of Hallmark’s Christmas programming. They would make you think that bake-offs are a fixture of the average American’s life. They have to keep up that small-town aesthetic.
This brings up another falsely represented aspect of Hallmark movies: their inane platitudes about small-town life. To be sure, I don’t hate small towns, nor do I hate people who like small towns. Living in a big city is not paradise on Earth. Yes, big cities have pollution, traffic, and, worst of all, people. But must their messaging be so clumsy and obvious? By the way, where are the homeless people in these small towns? Where is the trash? Most people have been to enough small towns in their lives to know that they have not eradicated poverty and garbage.
And don’t get me started on those corny love stories or that stupid derivative rom-com music that plays whenever the main love interests of the stupid plot first meet in the stupid way that they always do. Couldn’t these writers come up with a better way for the true loves to meet, without the clumsily concocted pratfalls? Hallmark characters appear more accident-prone than even the worst of klutzes.
But why bother getting so upset about this? Because I am upset for you, dear reader. I am upset that you must be subjected to this for the next three months or more. As the great writer Ralph Ellison said, “who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?”
Or maybe not. In that case, try to develop better taste in movies.