ECOPC Kicks Off Earth Week with Eaton Street Clean-up and Clean Plate Challenge
In the week leading up to their annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 22, ECOPC hosted a variety of different events, including their Eaton Street Clean-up and Clean Plate Challenge. For the clean-up, the club recruited eight volunteers to pick up litter on the yards, driveways, and sidewalks along Eaton Street. Supplies such as trash bags and gloves were provided by The 02908 Club, who typically send out their own clean-up crew after weekend parties.
The volunteers spent about one hour picking up litter, primarily cans and bottles, staying away from the significant amount of broken glass that littered the street. They plan to host another clean-up with Bio Society, this time at a beach, to close out their Earth Week festivities.
One volunteer expressed her frustration with the blatant disrespect for the property and the community. “What was surprising to me was how it wasn’t just littering and single-use drinks, but it was also clearly deliberate destruction of property…like a TV, or the fact that people put bottles and cans right under people’s tires.” Many volunteers were similarly disgusted by the sheer amount of trash, especially the shattered TV they came across on the sidewalk and the trash going down the drains.
Another volunteer brought up the apparent lack of concern students have for cleaning up after themselves. “What was really disturbing to me was the parking lots between the houses. They were completely covered in cans, bottles, and other trash. There had to have been thousands that no one had the courtesy or care to pick up. I found it really striking, but I think it’s an unfortunate reflection of the culture at PC, and how we don’t value sustainability as much as we should.”
“My thoughts were more like, wow, people can’t walk their dogs here because of all the glass,” another volunteer said. “It’s not safe anymore because of their littering.” Another added, “It’s disrespectful to people who live and drive on the roads regularly that aren’t just seniors.”
Aside from the clean-up, ECOPC also held their second Clean Plate Challenge of the year in Raymond Dining Hall this Tuesday from 4–8 p.m., where they measured students’ leftovers before they were thrown away or composted. Approximately 162 pounds of food scraps were measured by the club during this short four hour period, about 2.5 times more waste than their last event in the fall.
Through this challenge, ECOPC hopes to raise awareness about food waste, and how it’s easy for students to decrease their waste by taking smaller portions. However, many students expressed frustration towards the dining hall’s large portion sizes given at stations that are not self-serve. This is a concern that Sodexo is currently addressing with their staff.
In addition, on Thursday, ECOPC hosted a worms and dirt dessert table in Ray. They hope to see a large turnout at their Earth Day celebration this Saturday, as well as improve environmental awareness on campus through their events.
Providence College Students Play Hardball: Chris Matthews Visits Campus for “Pizza and Politics” Election Discussion
by Sarah McLaughlin ’23 and Christina Charie ’25
Former host of MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews, came to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 2 to have lunch with Providence College political science students and faculty and participate in a “Pizza and Politics” event in the Guzman lecture hall. Matthews has also worked as a Capitol police officer, staffer for four Democratic congressmen, Carter’s presidential speech writer, and Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. In 2020, Matthews retired from his show following accusations of sexual harassment from former guests. He formally apologized for his actions and chose to step down. In September, he returned to MSNBC as a political analyst.
Matthews answered questions at the event facilitated by Dr. Adam Myers and Sarah McLaughlin ’23. Following the facilitated discussion, students in attendance had the opportunity to pose their own questions to him.
The discussion largely focused on the 2022 Senate and Congressional elections, pre-election day. Dr. Myers opened with a general question of what to expect from this election cycle. Matthews emphasized the importance of a few issues in particular: interest rates, gas prices, food prices, and inflation.
Matthews also expressed strong opinions about various candidates running for the Senate, including Dr. Oz (R-PA), Herschel Walker (R-GA), and J.D. Vance (R-OH). Matthews voiced concerns about Oz’s statement surrounding government involvement in abortion procedures. Though he thinks the cost of living will be a more decisive issue in this year’s elections, Matthews believes that abortion will become a more prominent issue in subsequent elections as more people become impacted by bans instituted after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Matthews referred to Oz as a “sleazeball” and noted how he is “from the shore,” meaning the Jersey Shore, rather than being a native Pennsylvanian. However, he also pointed out how John Fetterman (D-PA) was not the best candidate choice for the Democratic party, especially considering his recent health issues.
Pennsylvania was one of the tightest races we’re seeing this year in the Senate race, but Fetterman came out victorious with 51 percent of the vote and flipped the seat.
Matthews described Walker as “a joke” in his campaign against incumbent senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and he called Vance a “fraud.” Georgia and Ohio were also key races in determining which party took control of the Senate. Vance defeated Tim Ryan (D-OH) with 53 percent of the vote in Ohio, while Warnock and Walker will face a runoff election on Dec. 6. since no candidate received over 50 percent of the vote. Matthews noted that this policy was historically intended to prevent African-Americans from winning elections in Georgia. This race between Warnock and Walker is the first Senate race in Georgia history between two black candidates from opposing parties.
McLaughlin asked Matthews if he had any thoughts on the tight race we’re seeing here at home, in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional district, between Allan Fung (R) and Seth Magaziner (D). Some Rhode Islanders have expressed concerns that Fung would cut social security, but Matthews believes these fears to be unfounded, as Fung would be “a fool to take it away” and lose the elderly vote, on which he relied. Magaziner has since emerged victorious in the race, receiving 50 percent of the vote.
Dr. Myers asked Matthews about how the media landscape has changed throughout his career. Matthews’ insight into Washington is unparalleled given his approach to political commentary. The former broadcaster knows politicians from both sides of the aisle very well, given his willingness to present individuals from all viewpoints on Hardball. He argues that Americans could benefit from more programming like this today instead of shows like Tucker Carlson’s, where TV personalities simply confirm the audience’s preexisting viewpoints. Matthews noted that President Biden refused to appear on Hardball because he did not want to be challenged on his perspectives and actions.
McLaughlin asked Matthews about the changes he has witnessed in both the media and politics regarding diversity. Matthews noted how despite a lack of women’s involvement in the past, women now constitute nearly half of the Democratic Caucus. He expressed optimism that “we should have a woman president soon.”
Students also had the opportunity to ask questions towards the end of the discussion. Christina Charie ’25 asked Matthews what type of barriers women face within American politics. Matthews noted that the number of women in the House of Representatives is rising. Additionally, women account for almost half of the Democratic Caucus. Matthews also noted that women perform well in coastal areas because their economies include industries that provide women the opportunity to prove themselves, such as merchandising and accounting. Ranching and mining economies do not necessarily afford the same chances for women, Matthews stated. Ultimately, Matthews believes that America should have a female President in the near future, noting that he believes Americans would have been satisfied with a Klobuchar presidency.
Matthews does draw the line regarding the 2020 Presidential election. During the discussion, he boldly declared that “anyone who is an election denier is unacceptable” as a political candidate. In Matthews’ life, he cannot remember a candidate who refused to tell their supporters about losing an election. Americans still believe that former President Trump won the election because he refused to admit defeat in Matthews’ assessment.
A prominent theme the discussion stressed was the importance of participating in our democracy: “If you [don’t] vote, then why are you here?” Matthews asked the audience. He asked for a show of hands on who votes, and most students expressed that they had already voted or planned to vote in the midterm elections.