No Love Lost in Nashville: Trump and Biden Spar in Final Presidential Debate
By: Hannah Langley ’21
On Thursday, Oct. 22, the United States waited in anticipation for the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Compared to the first debate, which CBS News called “a chaotic series of bitter exchanges and name-calling,” this debate actually presented arguments and was “civil, calm, sedate, substantive (at times) and, almost, even normal,” as stated in the New York Times.
Shannon Sullivan ’21, co-president of PC Democrats, stated her concerns for the final debate, saying, “I really do hope that this debate is productive and engaging. However, I feel discouraged after watching the first debate because it felt more like a reality TV show than a presidential debate.”
Kristen Welker of NBC News moderated the debate, making her just the second Black woman to moderate a presidential debate alone. Many praised Welker’s handling of the debate as she was able to control the conversation well, despite initial fears of a repeated presidential shouting match. In addition to Welker having good control over the conversation, Trump and Biden’s microphones could also be muted during their opponent’s responses to avoid frequent interruption.
Welker began the debate on the topic of COVID-19. Trump emphasized that the country’s mortality rate has gone down drastically since the beginning of the virus’s spread in the U.S. He believes the actions he took early on in the pandemic, such as closing America’s borders to China and other countries, as well as closing the economy, helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. He also stated there will be a vaccine released very soon, even as shortly as in the next few weeks, claiming, “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away soon.”
Biden refuted these claims, arguing, “Anyone who’s responsible for [the deaths of 220,000 Americans] should not remain as President.” He also argued against Trump’s claim that the virus will go away soon, saying that an estimated 200,000 additional people will die of the virus by the end of this year. “There’s not another serious scientist that believes this is going to end soon,” said Biden.
Trump also claimed that Americans are learning to live with the virus at this point, while Biden refuted, saying that people are not learning to live with the virus, but die with it, and encouraged the American people to continue wearing masks in order to prevent a greater spread.
The second topic of the debate was foreign relations, and specifically foreign interference with the current upcoming election. Biden stated, “Any country that interferes with American elections will pay the price.” Trump said that Russian interference would not be tolerated and that “there has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”
The conversation then shifted to both Trump and Biden’s own personal relationships with countries such as Russia, China, and the Ukraine, to which both men accused one another of embezzling money secretly. Trump admitted to having foreign bank accounts from before his presidency, but claimed that these accounts were closed. He also stated that the records of his tax returns would be released soon, and that the search for them has been a “phony witch hunt.”
Trump also spoke about the United States’ relationship with North Korea. While Trump argued that the Obama administration has an unstable relationship with the North Koreans, he said the United States’ relationship with North Korea is now very good and clearly there is no war, while Biden argued that Trump has been “pok[ing] his finger in the eye of all our friends” around the world.
Following this conversation, Welker shifted the debate towards health care. Trump claimed that the Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare, needs to be remodeled, which is what he has been doing for the past four years. Although Trump has not been able to terminate Obamacare, he has been able to do several things, such as eliminate individual mandates for those who pay for health care. Trump also claimed that no one with pre-existing conditions would lose their health care.
Trump called Biden’s plan for healthcare a socialized program that would cause the stock market to crash, but Biden argued against this claim. He stated that everyone should have the right to affordable health care.
Biden also stated, “I don’t see red states and blue states. What I see is American, United States.”
In their discussion about immigration and deportation, Trump made the argument that undocumented immigrants enter the country through illegal drug cartels, coyotes, and gangs, and only about 1% of those who are supposed to return to the border actually do so. Trump claimed that Biden did nothing to help immigrants except for building cages during the Obama Administration, but Biden promised to build a better immigration system, reminding viewers, “I’ll be president of the United States, not vice president of the United States.”
On the topic of race, Trump claimed, “Not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what I’ve done for the Black community” and that he was probably “the least racist person in the room.” He cited how he has invested a “tremendous” amount in the Black and Hispanic communities and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Biden, on the other hand, discussed how he recognized his white privilege, saying he never had to teach his children that they are “the victim no matter what.” He also stated that the infamous 1994 crime bill was a mistake. While Trump argued that Biden did not do anything to fix the bill during his eight years as vice president, Biden gave his thoughts on punishment: “No one should be going to jail for a drug problem, they should be going to rehabilitation.”
In regards to climate change, Trump claimed the U.S. has “done an incredible job environmentally” and that Biden’s plan is “an economic disaster.” Trump stated that Americans, especially Blacks and Hispanics, are “employed heavily” in the oil industry and removing these jobs, as Biden wants to do, would hurt the economy. Biden refuted this claim, however, saying his environmental plan has been backed by several environmental and labor groups, and his plan would create millions of jobs and trillions of dollars.
To conclude the debate, Trump stated that Biden’s election would cause “a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen.” Biden stated, “I represent all of you, whether you voted for or against me.”
Both Sullivan and Charlie Dumon ’21, president of PC Republicans, agreed that this debate went much more smoothly than the first one held back in September. “The President did a great job in Thursday’s debate, and I think the moderator was much better as well,” said Dumon.
Sullivan was also happy with the outcome of the debate, saying, “I think this debate was a lot better than the first in all aspects.” She continued, saying, “I think I got much more out of this one and actually learned something about the candidates.”
While this was the final debate before the official election on Nov. 3, Americans still have time to decide whether they will vote for Trump or Biden, either in-person or by mail-in ballot.
Let’s Be Alone Together: PC Offers Peer Support Group
by Hannah Langley ’21
During such uncertain and unprecedented times, beginning college can seem somewhat daunting. Not only do freshmen have to deal with adjusting to college life this year, but they also need to do so in a safe way in order to keep themselves, their roommates, and others safe and healthy.
All of this combined can be somewhat stressful and can impact one’s mental health in a negative way, which is why the Student Advisory Board (SAB) for Mental Health and Awareness has created Quarantine Buddies.
The program allows for peer-to-peer support between freshmen and upperclassmen for emotional or mental health during periods of self-isolation and quarantine. For many students, quarantine has become a reality that needs to be faced, and this isolation can become difficult to cope with on one’s own in a new environment.
Through the program, student volunteers from various clubs and organizations on campus are assigned as mentors to freshmen. These volunteers are there to help freshmen in any way possible, helping them to not only to navigate through college life, but also through any stress and anxiety they may feel due to COVID-19.
Hannah Keough ’23, a member of Providence College’sC’s Active Minds and campus ministry, mentioned how she knew she wanted to get involved with Quarantine Buddies when she heard about it. “I wanted to do it because I can imagine how lonely it will be to be completely isolated for 14 days and how one person checking in on you could mean a lot,” said Keough.
Another volunteer, Kevin Schwalm ’21, president of the Board of Programmers (BOP), mentioned how he has currently not been assigned a freshman because there are currently more volunteers than freshmen. He sees this as a positive thing, however, saying, “it really shows how other Friars are willing to help out.”
Emily Mastrioianni ‘21, another member of BOP, also noted how she saw the number of volunteers as a real testament to the PC community. “Although I wanted to be a part of it right away,” she said, “Iit blows me away to see that so many members of our Friar community are stepping up to be a friend to those who need it.”
Keough stressed how she hopes this program will not only act as a resource for those in quarantine to still experience life at PC, saying, “I hope that people who are quarantined will still feel connected to the campus community and see that you’re never alone in Friartown, even when you’re physically isolated.”
Quarantine Buddies has only started recently, so freshmen students who are in quarantine or who want someone to talk to in general are still welcome and encouraged to apply. Volunteers are also still welcome. To apply, contact the SAB for Mental Health and Awareness.
Establishing a New “Peck”ing Order: PC Student Develops New Networking App
by Hannah Langley ’21
As college students, something most of us have probably dealt with before is the difficulty of connecting with fellow classmates and students. Whether it be trying to create group chats for a class project or Venmo a person for dinner the night before, Providence College students can all relate to the difficulty of connecting in an easy, organized way.
To help solve this problem, Patrick Callahan ’22 has helped develop a new app called “PeckApp” which, as Callahan describes it, “is a mobile contact sharing app based on the idea that there needs to be a way to connect across platforms of communication quickly and simultaneously because nowadays people communicate through so many different mediums.”
With the help of two fellow students – Nick Tolimieri from Vanderbilt University and Zach Cmiel from Northwestern University – the three sophomores noticed during their freshman year that it became difficult to connect with people they were meeting across multiple platforms. “You might have someone’s Snapchat because you got added into a group but you don’t have their phone number when you need to call them,” said Callahan, “Or you might have to text a new person asking them what your Venmo account is because you have never sent them money.”
Callahan explained how the app works, saying, “When users create a PeckApp profile, they add in any contact information they desire such as their phone number, email, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Groupme, Venmo, or a custom URL. Once their profile is created users select which of their contact information they would like to share and it creates a custom PeckApp QR code. This QR code can be scanned by other PeckApp users to “peck” someone else.”
He mentioned, too, that even those who do not have the app downloaded can still scan the QR code using their normal cameras, allowing people to connect in a simple and efficient way.
When the PeckApp was first released in May 2019, the three knew they had to come up with a name. Originally, their idea was to have users bump their phones together to transfer information, so they thought the word “peck” captured this quick exchange. “Even though users no longer bump their phones into each other,” said Callahan, “we stuck with the name because we love how it can be used as a verb.”
While Callahan admits he is not the most “tech-minded individual,” he said he was fortunate to meet Cmiel, who had extensive experience and skill with coding and technology. “Zach is the sole developer on the team and is a tech wizard,” said Callahan. “We are really lucky to have a talented guy like him on the team.”
Even though Callahan is not the developer of PeckApp, he talked about how he has learned a great deal since beginning to create the app 17 months ago. “I have learned so much about marketing, product development, small businesses, startups, and networking through working on PeckApp,” said Callahan.
To showcase PeckApp to the PC community, Callahan is planning on hosting a table at the Career Expo on Wednesday, February 19. He also explained how he is planning on utilizing the app throughout the event, saying, “I have been working on making all of the attending companies PeckApp profiles, which include their phone numbers, social media profiles, emails, websites, and any other useful information. We are then creating custom PeckApp QR codes that they will be able to display on their tables.”
His hope is that the PC community, especially students, will download PeckApp in the future, as it allows them to have the ability to “share exactly what they want, when they want, with who they want.” He stated, “PeckApp allows PC students to network and socialize in a new way that is useful to anyone they come into contact with.”
While he is not sure what will come out of this in the future, Callahan said he is just really enjoying the experience and learning through the process. He encourages the PC community to download PeckApp, which is available on all iPhone and Android devices.
Featured Friar: Victoria Haak ’20
by Hannah Langley ’21
Looking back four years ago, Victoria Haak ’20 probably would have never guessed she would end up becoming so involved at Providence College. Haak knew early on she wanted to be a biology major, but where she was going to pursue this interest, she was not sure. “Throughout the college process, I knew what I wanted to do, but I had no idea where I wanted to go. I applied to Providence College before I visited and did not expect it to be my final decision.”
However, Haak now ultimately knows why she decided to come to PC. She said“I chose Providence College because of the Friar Family,” and she has been an extremely active part of the Friar family ever since.
Since that decision four years ago, Haak has become involved in various clubs and organizations on campus, including working as a residence assistant (RA), orientation leader (OL), and the editor-in-chief of the PC yearbook since her sophomore year. She works as a social media ambassador for PC, and as a lab manager in Fr. Nicanor Austriaco’s, O.P., research lab. Haak is also the president of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), a member of the pre-health honors society (Alpha Epsilon Delta), and a member of the research honors society (Sigmi Xi).
When asked what Haak loves most about being an RA, she says it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. As a hall RA in Meagher Hall, Suites Hall, and currently McVinney Hall, Haak stated, “Being an RA has given me the opportunity to be an advisor to first year students, to be a support system, and to grow as a person. I have seen some of the lowest and hardest times in a student’s time at Providence College, but I have been able to see the growth that results from these experiences.” She said she feels blessed to see her residents grow and is proud to even call some of her former residents’ friends.
Not only has Haak become great friends with her residents, but she has also formed connections with her fellow RAs over the years. “The countless people I have met through being an RA is one of my favorite things, those being the residents and the other RAs,” Haak stated. “No one quite understands what you have to deal with as an RA except for other RAs, so it brings us extremely close. I want to thank all of those RAs who have been there for me.”
As an OL, Haak has also formed close connections and bonds with students and leaders. When talking about the various great qualities her fellow leaders have, Haak stated, “My fellow orientation leaders all have different styles and personalities which taught me the love and acceptance among the orientation staff. You want students to feel welcomed and supported once they stand on campus.”
Haak acknowledges that many people dread orientation, but she does not mind it, saying, “As an orientation leader, you have the opportunity to make something mandatory into something extraordinary,” which is something she is very proud of as in being an OL.
Haak leads a busy lifestyle as a biology major and RA during the year, but she still finds time to partake in activities she is passionate about. Haak began working on the PC yearbook, Veritas, in her freshman year and became the editor-in-chief during her sophomore year. “Coming into college, I knew being a biology major would take a lot of my time,” said Haak. “Something I did not want to lose was my creative side. Yearbook became my creative outlet.”
Haak also uses her free time by giving tours around campus as a member of the Friars Club. Joining Friars Club in her junior year, Haak is appreciative of the fact that it allows her to not only interact with students already at PC, but to meet and talk with perspective students and families, as well. “I have so much pride and excitement every time I put on my jacket to give a tour or stand at a post,” stated Haak.
“This club has allowed me to share my love for our school and show prospective students what it means to be a Friar. Being able to show someone the place where they belong and where they can be at home surrounded by the people they love is something that I am blessed to be a part of.”
As Haak closes in on her final semester here at PC, she talked about how she is not ready to leave the Friar Family yet. However, she is thankful and appreciative of all the memories she has been able to make over the past four years. Between Late Night Madness, Black and White Ball, Senior Ring Weekend, the spring concerts, and even working late nights in Fr. Nic’s lab, Haak would not take any of it back.
As Haak departs from PC in May to pursue a job in research before attending medical school for pediatrics, Haak is looking forward to seeing “who takes over after me, who will follow in my footsteps.” When asked to give advice for freshmen, and especially biology majors, Haak responded, “Find your passion and find people who share that same passion. Never give up. Not every path is the same, but we can all accomplish what we set our minds to.”
Since she is from Buffalo, NY, Haak is extremely appreciative and thankful that she has found a home in PC. “Having my family close to eight hours away,” Haak stated, “I would not have been able to survive college without the love and support of the Friar Family. Providence College has become my home, and I love meeting past Friars, current Friars, and prospective Friars. I am grateful and blessed to be able to call Providence College home, and those who are here, my family. ”
Haak would like to thank her family in Buffalo, her friends, and all those who have pushed her to do more and to continue working hard.
Ruane Friar Development Center Unveiled for Student Athletes
Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/TheCowl
by Hannah Langley ’21
Providence College boasts an impressive Division 1 athletic program and has recently created the facilities to match it. This weekend, PC unveiled the Ruane Friar Development Center, a new facility specifically designed to promote not only the training, but also the health and well-being of all student athletes at PC.
The unveiling was held as part of St. Dominic’s Weekend on Saturday following the Friar 5K, giving alumni the opportunity to go inside the new facility and get a first-hand look at how PC has grown since their time on campus. Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., Robert Driscoll Jr., associate vice president and director of athletics, Ed Cooley and Jim Crowley, head coaches of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and Michael Ruane ‘71, benefactor, alumnus, and now namesake of the new center were all present at the unveiling.
Each of the speakers noted that the new center is extremely high tech and is now currently as nice as any other training facility found at other big state schools and institutions. “This building is a replication of what Friartown is,” noted Driscoll in his speech, emphasizing the fact that PC is slowly evolving into a bigger and more advanced college that is being recognized more and more by larger institutions.
The building could not have been built without the support of PC’s alumni network. Coach Crowley noted the level of support at PC, saying he was both extremely humbled and stunned by it. Not only is there a strong alumni community, Crowley said, but also a strong student athlete community at PC. “We needed to get the facilities to match the people,” said Crowley, “and this center builds the already strong community our student athletes already have.”
Coach Cooley emphasized this idea of community saying, “All our players, they’re the reason why we’re here.” He continued, saying, “We are a family and there’s function in family. It is us. It is we. It is together. It is family. We are the Friars.”
Michael and Elizabeth Ruane have donated much to the school in the past, but it was through their donation that the new athletic facility could be built. “No one has been more generous at PC than Mike and Liz Ruane,” said Shanley, “and we cannot thank you enough.”
Michael Ruane spoke at the unveiling, saying that this center is just the beginning. “I look at this development center as a start of a dream, and a dream is a small pillar of a vision.” Ruane continued, explaining that a vision takes hard work, passion, and teamwork by saying, “If you’re not looking at a vision with teamwork then you haven’t set a high enough goal. You can achieve beyond what you thought was possible.”
Shanley noted one of his favorite parts of the new center is the statue found on the steps outside the main entrance of the building. The statue memorializes Joe Mullaney and David Gavitt, two of PC’s most successful men’s basketball coaches. “The number one lesson Dave instilled in me,” Shanley said, “was building a legacy means getting the right people,” and Shanley believes the PC community and staff involved with the creation of the center exemplify that.
One thing Shanley pointed out was that the statue includes Gavitt’s figure sitting on a bench, and next to Gavitt is an empty spot. Shanley hopes that for now the spot will offer as an incentive to visiting alumni, families, or perspective students to sit there and take pictures with the statue when they visit the school. He did say, however, “My hope is that someday there is going to be another figure there: Coach Cooley.”
The building features equipment and facilities such as a new men’s locker room, lounges, a large weight room, a cryogenic room, a theater, saunas, massage chairs, high definition equipment, and game regulation sized basketball courts.
More details about the new center’s function will come in the following weeks.
Science Complex Opening Kicks Off St. Dominic’s Weekend
Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/TheCowl
by Hannah Langley ’21
Besides being known for its liberal arts education, Providence College also boasts its science department, which offers a large variety of science-based majors. This past Friday, September 28, PC officially unveiled the new Science Complex to the public as part of the celebration of St. Dominic’s Weekend.
The unveiling began with a speech from Kelly Page ’93 titled “Beyond Blackboards and White Coats: An Uncommon Career in Science.” Page was asked to give this speech as part of the Anna E. Lavoie Memorial Lecture Series, an annual speech and dedication that began last year.
Page was not only a biology and chemistry double major, but was also part of PC’s rigorous Liberal Arts Honors Program. She currently works as the vice president of the German oncology business unit at Takeda Oncology, a growing and successful pharmaceutical business.
In her speech, Page emphasized that her current position is not where she started and, most importantly, is not where she saw herself when she graduated. Page talked about how during her senior year at PC, she decided she did not want to attend medical school, which had been her original goal, and instead came out of college to work for a family friend at Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
It was here that Page realized there was more to the field of science than, as she put it “blackboards, teaching, and lab coats,” or, in other words, teaching or working in a laboratory for hours on end.
She explained the different categories of the pharmaceutical company, which includes research, development, and commercialism, and explained how she realized how many departments were actually included in each of these categories.
“There are so many other opportunities you never knew existed,” said Page, emphasizing the idea that she didn’t figure out what she was truly passionate about until later on in her career. “You don’t always know what you’re going to do,” Page continued, “science is just the foundation.”
In 1999, Page’s life was dramatically altered by the diagnosis of three of her loved ones, including her father, with lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which acts to fight diseases in the body.
It was at this time in her life that Page decided she wanted to work in oncology, the study of cancer, and help in the development of drugs that fight cancer. “My passion became to find the cure for cancer,” said Page. This passion then led her to become the project manager of oncology at Pfizer and, later, the same position at Takeda Oncology.
Page talked about why she loved being a project manager, saying, “The cross-functional nature of the team excited and energized me about my job.”
She also shared that her interest with project management and the business aspect of pharmaceuticals intrigued her, leading her to the decision of returning to school to graduate with an MBA in project management from the University of Rhode Island in 2002.
Page also talked about why she was more interested in the business and commercial end of the pharmaceutical industry than other roles, saying, “Commercial is where you make the drug accessible, and I liked that better than the internal work.” She continued, explaining, “A lot of what I do is think of what patients need and what caregivers need.”
Page says the impact of her work is what makes it so exciting for her every day. She explained how she chose the pharmaceutical industry, saying, “It comes down to the impact you have. The broad reach is unmatched by any other industry.”
Not only did Page talk about her experience beyond PC, but she also mentioned how what she learned at PC impacts her today.
“People would tell me I ‘think differently,’” Page explained, and she attributed this to her liberal-arts based education. “Civ teaches you how to integrate ideas, which is exactly what you do on a cross-functional team,” said Page.
She encouraged the science majors present at the speech to use the skills they learn at PC in their careers throughout their lives.
The speech was then followed by a blessing, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and a dinner in honor of the new Science Complex.
Dr. Charles Toth, associate professor and chair of the biology department, noted his enthusiasm for the new facilities. He said the renovation was long overdue, and is excited for the improvements that are to come in the next few years.
PC Welcomes Dr. Shan Mukhtar
New Director Discusses Goals of Reaching Out to PC Community and Beyond
By Hannah Langley ’21
Following the completion of Moore Hall at the end of last year, Providence College has been searching for a new director for the Center for Inclusive Excellence at Moore Hall. After a rigorous interview and selection process, Dr. Shan Mukhtar has been selected as the director for the Center at Moore Hall.
Mukhtar is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and has a Ph.D. in Race and Ethnic Studies from Emory University. She left her previous position as Assistant Director of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Emory University, as she was intrigued by the prospect of PC’s new open position. “I saw [this position] as an opportunity to build something from the ground up,” said Mukhtar, which enticed her to apply and makes her excited for the future of the Center.
Currently, Mukhtar’s plan for the Center is to use it as a cultural space that, as she explains in her vision statement, “promotes diverse interactions and facilitates community-based social change at Providence College.” Mukhtar continues by stating that she wants the Center to “becom[e] a place where community members can work together to address issues related to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, socioeconomic status, immigration…, cultural and faith traditions, and political ideology.”
One of Mukhtar’s largest ambitions and goals for the Center is to create a space that is not only comfortable, but also inviting and intellectually engaging for everyone at PC. “There is no such thing as a politically neutral place,” Mukhtar commented, “but I want to create a space where people can have common values and appreciate others’ humanity.”
In an effort to do this, Mukhtar has become involved in clubs, meetings, and organizations on campus. Her goal is to work with these groups and individual students to create intellectually stimulating events and create engaging conversations. One event she is particularly excited for is a public disputation. She hopes such a debate will exemplify how people can have open conversations about controversial topics and disagree, but in a civil way. She explained, “By using creative arts to have conversations about different and interesting topics, it will help highlight how similar we all are.”
One thing Mukhtar wants to emphasize is the fact that she wants the Center at Moore Hall to be a comfortable space for the whole PC community and she is open to any and all feedback on what to change to make this happen. “This is an opportunity to build something from the ground-up, so it can be dynamic,” Mukhtar explains. She continues, saying, “This is my vision, but it’s not the vision. I want to create something cohesive, and I want the students to know they’re being heard.”
Mukhtar explained her vision of creating participatory and community-based work that helps the need of not only the PC community, but the surrounding Providence and Rhode Island area as well. “Community-based work is a process,” she explains, “it requires talking to people and making yourself available.”
Mukhtar continued by elaborating on what her idea of community is, saying, “I look at community as diverse, not uniform.” She stresses the idea of looking beyond what we consider our groups to be and recognize the diversities that exist within these groups. “Unity doesn’t mean uniformity,” Mukhtar said, “[sometimes] we forget to examine and reflect on who we are.”
Mukhtar also encourages students to step beyond the boundaries of the PC campus and experience the city. “The more we engage with city life,” Mukhtar stresses, “the richer everyone’s experience will be and the less isolated we’ll feel.”
Mukhtar is looking forward to working with the PC community, both on and off campus, to create and build relationships.
Friars Give Back to the Greater World Around Them
by Hannah Langley ’21
Assistant News Editor
Providence College organizations, classes, and students are heavily influenced by the Dominican tradition to serve not only the community, but the world around them.
This summer, different groups of PC students, along with PC staff members, were selected to serve in areas of Guatemala and Jamaica. Through working with both Catholic organizations and local communities, these students had the opportunity to grow not only in worldly experience, but also to grow emotionally and spiritually.
The trip to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala was led by Fr. Dominic Verner, O.P., and Heidi Fraitzl, campus minister. The two staff members, along with nine PC students, worked with the Mission of San Lucas on serving the rural Guatemalan community around them. Projects included construction work on elementary schools and homes, as well as helping to create fuel-efficient stoves.
The students also learned about the culture of San Lucas from the people that live there. “We visited a woman’s center where we learned about daily tasks, such as washing clothes, carrying wood, and making traditional food,” recounted Brooke Douglass ’21, one of the students on the trip. “We also visited several villages around the Lake Atitlan Region,” said Douglass.
The group was also able to experience Mass with the San Lucas community. On the Feast of Corpus Christi, the group got to experience a Eucharistic procession through the streets. Douglass talked about this, saying, “It was the most beautiful display of faith and love I have ever encountered.”
Another group of students was sent to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Led by Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., and Dr. Richard Barry, adjunct professor of theology, 11 students were selected to work with a division of the Mustard Seed Communities.
While there, the students worked with children with disabilities, most of whom were also orphaned. The PC students worked with these children daily, helping with meals, working on educational enrichment, playing games, singing and dancing, and praying throughout the day. “Most of the children were non-verbal,” mentioned Kelli Jenney ’19, one of the students on the trip, “but would still love to smile and dance and laugh with us.”
The groups left for Guatemala and Jamaica on May 26 and returned June 2. Before this, in early March, the chosen students had weekly classes, as well as a day-long retreat, to learn more about where they were going to serve. “We study Catholic social teaching and theological ways of approaching these trips,” said Robert Pfunder, associate vice president for mission & ministry, “[as well as] understanding the larger scope of what goes on in an international service trip, especially from a cross-cultural context.” “We also learn about the particular mission of the two organizations,” said Pfunder.
When the groups came back, they spent a day going over the time they spent in these countries, what they learned, and how they grew mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “A lot of it is about building relationships,” commented Pfunder. “We hope it’s a chance for them to learn about the community,” Pfunder said, “but we also hope it’s a chance for them to build their own relationships with God.”
Maria Rosa Sciancalepore ’20, a student leader on the trip to San Lucas, commented on her own experience with the trip, saying, “[It] has been one of the best experiences I have ever encountered.” She continued, saying, “The people are welcoming, loving, and always so excited to see students willing to volunteer to better a community that is a thousand miles away from home.”
Fr. Peter Martyr also talked about his experience in Jamaica, saying, “It was amazing for me to see how much the students threw themselves into the lives of the residents. I was blessed in many ways seeing how God’s grace was touching not only the residents but also the students.”
Preview: Providence College Hosts Relay for Life
Colleges Against Cancer Plans for a Day of Relay
by Hannah Langley ’21
In one way or another, cancer has affected almost everyone today. In response to this, Providence College’s Colleges Against Cancer is holding its annual Relay for Life event, a fun-filled day of activities aimed at raising money for cancer research.
Relay for Life is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that helps to not only promote cancer awareness, but raises money towards cancer research in the effort to “save lives, celebrate life, and lead the fight for a world without cancer,” as stated on the Relay for Life website.
This nationwide event is held at various schools and in various communities through the effort of people and students, like Rachel Fischer ’18 and Megan Yaeger ’19, who care deeply about finding the cure to this terrible disease. With the help of the PC administration, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, Fischer and Yaeger have been able to continue the tradition of holding the Relay for Life at PC.
Throughout the day, activities such as lawn games and fun races will be taking place, as well as performances from entertainment clubs, including PC’s A Cappella Club, the Dance Team, and Motherland Dance Group. There will also be open exercise classes, such as Zumba and yoga. One difference in this year’s relay, Yaeger mentioned, was the decision to have it throughout the day, rather than overnight, as has been done in the past. Yaeger believes that by having the event during the day, it will “bring a new, refreshed energy to the event and hopefully bring in more participants.” She says they are “excited about the change and hopes the PC community is as well.”
To promote awareness and participation in the event, tables were set up in Slavin Student Center and Raymond Dining Hall throughout the week, where students could learn more about how to register and donate. Any previously registered student who raised $100 or more was invited to a special event on Wednesday night where they received a Relay for Life T-shirt to wear to the event.
Many students have already registered and even created teams for the event in an effort to raise money towards cancer research. For many students, such as Kelly Galeota ’21, fundraising and taking part in the event has a special meaning. “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was five-years-old and diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer throughout her body a year and a half ago,” explained Galeota. “Relay for Life means so much to me, because the community gets to come together as a team to support all people who are fighting this horrible disease.” Galeota’s mother, Sue, is just one of the many people affected by cancer, and PC’s Relay for Life will help benefit not only her life, but the lives of many.
PC’s Relay for Life will be taking place on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Smith Lawn. Students can still register for the event for $20, which will go towards the donation to the American Cancer Society, by signing up at http://www.relayforlife.org/PC.
Big Campus Clubs Share Their Election Processes
A How-To Guide on Interviewing for Club Membership
by Hannah Langley ’20
With so many clubs and organizations on campus, it can be hard to choose which ones are best suited for each of us. Some of the most popular and involved clubs on campus include Friars Club, Board of Programmers, Board of Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Congress, and Campus Ministry, all of which invest time into making the Providence College experience the best it can be. Each of these clubs has a unique interview and selection process, and while the chances of becoming a member of one of these clubs may seem difficult, it is not nearly as intimidating as some might think.
Interviews for Friars Club have already ended for freshmen and sophomores, but interviews for juniors will be held on Feb. 20 and 22. Applications for BOP will be made available from mid-February until spring break. Those looking to apply for BMSA should look out for Red Polo Day, which is similar to the Coffeehouse events held by Friars Club and BOP, later this semester. Applications for Student Congress will be available, most likely, in April. Campus Ministry began accepting applications on Jan. 30.
Campus Ministry Leadership includes many social, service, and spiritual activities that students can get involved with at PC and in the surrounding community. There are a total of 62 students involved in Campus Ministry this year–a president, vice president, 22 members on the council, and 38 peer ministers. To become a part of Campus Ministry, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors can fill out an application that includes a series of reflection questions. Applicants are then interviewed by members of Campus Ministry, and finally selected by the members of the club. Following this, students can become involved in various service opportunities, such as Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity. They can also become peer ministers and FaithWorks leaders. Shannon Grady ’18, vice president of Campus Ministry, became a member of Campus Ministry Leadership during her sophomore year. She talked about her own personal experience of being a part of Campus Ministry, saying, “I’ve made my best friends…formed deep connections, and grown in faith.”
Friars Club is in charge of giving tours of the campus, as well as working special events and hockey games. The club consists of 76 students, including 37 new members each year – 14 freshmen, 13 sophomores, and 10 juniors. The interview process begins by filling out an initial application and writing a 250-word personal statement. The application is then given to a three-person interview committee, comprised of members who do not previously know the student. The applicant is then asked a series of questions, evaluated by the entire club, and then, if selected, placed on a specialized committee. These committees are held responsible for working specific events, as well as giving tours to prospective future Friars.
Kyle Fitzsimons ’18, chair member of the elections board, mentioned that there is no “specific mold” they are looking for in an applicant; they are simply looking for students who “work well with prospective students and their families, as well as alumni and faculty.” Shane Sturtevant ’19, assistant to the chairs of the election committee, explained how all active members of the club participate in the interview and election process, making the selection of new members “completely democratic.” Fitzsimons loves Friars Club because of the “family mentality” of those in the club, and because “each member is cared for, loved, and supported.” Sturtevant talked about how one of his favorite parts about Friars Club is seeing the high schoolers he gave a tour to come to PC . “Knowing that I had a part in how they ended up here makes it all worth it and is a feeling that is so incredible,” say Sturtevant.
Student Congress also holds an important responsibility at PC, as they address campus needs and issues raised by students. Currently, there are around 100 students involved with Student Congress, including an executive board, nine elected members from each class year, and students assigned to various committees. For freshmen, sophomores, and juniors running for election, the process involves attending an Ethics Review Meeting, obtaining 50 signatures from students, and campaigning. To become a committee member, students only need to fill out an application and are then interviewed. Brett Canzano ’21 became a member of a Student Congress committee last semester and already loves it. “I really like spending time in the office and talking with people I never would have met outside of it, such as people in other grades. Congress has given me so many new friends, and I’m so happy for that,” he said. Devon Guanci ’19 said, “I enjoy working with my peers to make positive changes on our campus, as well as having frequent opportunities to meet with members of the administration and students from other clubs.” Conor Glendon ’18 also mentioned how his favorite part of Student Congress is all of the people he has met. He said, “As a freshman it gave me a chance to meet seniors I would otherwise have never crossed paths with and likewise as a senior with freshmen I would have never met.”
BOP is another prominent club at PC that helps plan events for the student body. The club consists of 10 different committees and an executive board. Each year, the club opens applications to freshmen and sophomores, accepting about 10 students from each grade. After filling out an application and writing a short creative piece, students then sign up for a small group interview, where the interviewers can get a general sense about whether or not they want to see the applicant return for an individual interview. This personal interview consists of a panel of four members from the executive board and one faculty member from Student Activities. Libby Jancsy ’18, president of BOP, mentioned why she loves this club, saying it gives students a chance to “meet new people and do something fun on campus.” She said, “We are truly a club that is dedicated to making students feel welcomed and safe on campus, and helping them find a home in Friartown.”
BMSA oversees other clubs and organizations at PC that promote and concentrate on cultural awareness. Some of the clubs and organizations BMSA supervises are Afro-Am Society, Asian-Am Society, Gaelic Society, Students Organized Against Racism, and the Motherland Dance Group. To be a part of BMSA, students can either apply to be on the executive board of the club they are affiliated with, or they can join the BMSA committee. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors can apply to be on the BMSA committee, where they will then be placed on one of five committees–social, outreach, diversity, marketing, and events. Joining one of the committees involves a three-step process. First, students must fill out an application, then they are interviewed by the current chairs of each of the committees, and finally are interviewed by the current members of the BMSA executive board. Marcie Mai ’18, president of BMSA, said her favorite part about the club is “being able to share [her] passion about social justice issues with…the PC community.”