AQ Blues: Residents Connecting Over Shared Wi-Fi Issues

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019


Students can find the HelpDesk in the lower library for any technical problems.
photo courtesy of

by Peter Mazzella ’23

News Staff

While sophomores have been making connections in Aquinas Hall, their devices have been losing connection. This has caused frustration among residents who wish to use their devices in the comfort of their own room. 

Aquinas residents have been very adamant about their poor connection to the internet, complaining that streaming services buffer sporadically, making it frustrating to watch or stream anything.

Aquinas resident Owen Delaney ’22 spoke about the issue, stating, “I had to leave my dorm because I couldn’t load my homework. It becomes a problem when it interferes with my schoolwork, and you can’t get anything done because you lose connection so often.” 

Matthew Williams ’22 is also irritated by the lack of service in his room. He explains that these problems are limiting not only his academics, but also his ability to enjoy his downtime. Williams explains, “It seems that everywhere else we go the Wi-Fi and service are fine. Living in an outdated building, the least that should be expected is a decent Wi-Fi connection to do homework.” 

Many students acknowledge there is a problem with the Wi-Fi but do not know who to contact or what to do about it. 

After learning about the complaints and issues, HelpDesk information technology manager Jim Rizzo let the technical engineers know that there was a problem in the hall. 

He sent over two Senior Network Engineers, Terry Baron and Fritz Excellent. They went through the hall testing connection in different areas to help resolve the issue. 

While it was mentioned that over the last four years they have spent $1.5 million rewiring each dorm and establishing a stronger connection, there are rooms that do not experience the same level of strength. Students who are experiencing issues with their connection should contact the HelpDesk as soon as possible.

The problem was resolved by putting hotspots, or access points, in the rooms that receive a dull connection. This not only improves the strength of the Wi-Fi connection in individual rooms, but the hall in general.

The process of setting up an access point or hotspot in the room was seamless. After moving a few desks around and plugging in a wire, the connection was established, and, within minutes, there was a visible difference.

Rizzo commented that most of the time, complaints are never taken into consideration, which is why the information technology (I.T.) department often does not  know about these problems. “Unless we receive calls,” he said, “we do not know that there are issues in specific buildings, as we can see there are tens of thousands of devices connecting to our wireless networks without issue.”

The biggest problem is that students may not know the right resources to reach out to if there is an issue with their wireless connection. Rizzo emcourages students to call the HelpDesk, located in the basement of the library at (401) 865-4357 or email them at

Providence Remembers

by The Cowl Editor on December 7, 2017


PC Community Recognizes Lives Lost in 1977 Aquinas Fire

by Sabrina Guilbeault ‘18

News Editor

photo courtesy of

This Wednesday, December 13 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Aquinas Fire that took place in 1977, and like every year since the tragedy, Providence College will be holding a memorial mass that Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

The fire took the lives of 10 women living on the fourth floor of Aquinas Hall.

“There was an over-whelming sense of sadness and disbelief as to what had happened. It was so horrific,” said Jacqueline MacKay, director of Parent Programs at PC, who at the time of the fire was the only student counselor on campus. “People were comforting one another and I can still remember feeling a tremendous sense of helplessness.”

Although the tragedy occurred almost half a decade ago, multiple members of the PC community lived through the night like MacKay, including Father Brian Shanley, O.P., who was a student at the time.

“I remember the night vividly, and I remember the incredible sadness that just descended on the campus,” said Fr. Shanley in Promise of Providence, the centennial video created last year by Mike Leonard ’70 & ’00Hon. “I remember the next day they canceled classes and brought us to Alumni, and Fr. Peterson said that mass and preached, and I don’t remember what he said, but I remember sitting there and thinking, ‘somehow we’re going to get through this.’”

Today, a memorial plaque can be found outside of the original Aquinas Chapel that lists the names of the deceased, as well as a quote from Fr. Peterson’s original sermon after the fire. The plaque reads: “In memory of those whom God called to Himself and of those whom God called to show Himself to others by the love they showed one for another.”

MacKay explained a mass has been said every year on the anniversary of the fire, and 10 roses are placed inside St. Dominic Chapel—one for each life lost.

“The College community came together on so many different levels to support one another,” said MacKay. “When something like this happens it is natural for people to feel a terrible sense of helplessness.”

MacKay explained her role as a counselor during the aftermath of the tragedy, and as it was 40 years ago, there was not a lot of literature on grief and loss, but appreciated the support she received from the community. “I remember very fondly a group of student leaders who reached out to me in very special ways,” she recalled. “They drove me to the hospital, took me to wakes, even cooked me dinner at one point.  I will never forget their kindness to me.”

The fire took place during the reading period before final exams. Exams were postponed to after winter break after the College was closed for a month.

According to a New York Times article published in 1977 and from conversations with alumni who lived through the event, Aquinas Hall was able to pass an annual fire inspection that September, even though it lacked features such as sprinklers and fire escapes because it was built under prior codes and had been upgraded since. The fire resulted in multiple national headlines and saw many buildings across the country upgrade their fire codes.

MacKay explained that Fr. Peterson, the College’s president at the time, moved into the dormitory and lived there for a year after the fire. “He provided so much love and care to the students living there,” she said. “His presence in that hall was comforting to all members of the college community.”

“As Catholics we believe in the communion of saints, and the souls of the departed are still in relationship with us,” said Father Dominic Verner, O.P., when asked how today’s Friars (who were not yet born when the fire took place) can still reflect and remember the lives who were lost. “Just as we are called to love our brothers and sisters of this Earth, we are called to love our brothers and sisters who are no longer with us,” he said.

“I truly believe that our faith, our Dominican presence, Fr.  Peterson our president, and so  many more  are  what got us through a traumatic and painful time,” said MacKay. “The fire is part of the history of the College and has had a profound effect on so many lives, in so many ways.”

“When we remember this tragedy we offer our prayers to those souls who we are still united with, along with their family and friends who are also united with,” Fr. Verner said. “Many times throughout the years, I think about the lives we lost and as the anniversary approaches I say  a special prayer for their families,” MacKay said. “There are no words to describe my feelings towards a community that came together to love and to heal.”

All members of the campus community are welcomed to attend the memorial mass on Wednesday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel.