Using Power for Evil: The Dangerous Ignorance of Trump’s Diversity Training Ban
Using Power for Evil: The Dangerous Ignorance of Trump’s Diversity Training Ban
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
On Sept. 4, the Trump administration issued a directive prohibiting all executive branch agencies from using government funds to hold diversity training for their employees. In a nation that is flooded with racial tension, this decision is extremely harmful and runs counter to everything that our country desperately needs to establish justice and harmony. The directive demonstrates ignorance of the problems plaguing American society, and, as a result, works to block any progress toward amending them.
According to Russel Vought, director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for the Trump administration, diversity training is problematic because it “seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.” Given how diversity training aims to educate groups of people about each other’s differences so they can work better alongside one another, this statement is both concerning and misguided. Diversity training is not designed to create division—it is designed to bring people together by enhancing people’s understanding of others’ perspectives and experiences. Moreover, values such as respect, cultural awareness, and unity are central to diversity training—so in opposing diversity training, the White House is vehemently opposing these values as well.
In defense of the Trump administration, some research has found that diversity training can be ineffective or even counterproductive at times. However, if the President and his team are basing their directive on this research, they would know that these negative effects can be overcome if training sessions are made voluntary (which eliminates the backlash that sometimes arises when people feel forced to attend mandatory training), or if diversity training is accompanied by other diversity-focused initiatives (creating employee resource groups, mentorship programs, etc.). Yet, the Trump administration has decided to forgo all diversity training without offering any alternative efforts that would promote a positive attitude towards diversity and inclusion within the executive workforce. Instead, the memo offers an empty statement that the President “intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed,” neglecting to identify any specific ways in which he will do that.
Diversity training can be extremely uncomfortable, as it requires its attendees to have difficult conversations; however, whether it is talked about or not, racism and prejudice exist in our society. By preventing executive branch employees from having these tough discussions, Trump is effectively choosing to ignore racial issues, which, in turn, prevents any improvements from being made. For the Trump administration, it is much easier to avoid discomfort by prohibiting discussions about white privilege and the critical race theory (both terms which the memo refers to using quotation marks, suggesting they are fictitious concepts).
Banning training that educates people about racism, discrimination, and prejudice allows these societal issues to go unaddressed. These issues are a part of our nation’s past and present. Unfortunately, thanks to our current leadership, it seems as though they will continue to be a part of our future as well.
Tangents & Tirades
Switch to Military Time
If you manage to make it through all four years at Providence College without incorrectly setting your alarm, consider yourself one of the few. The 12-hour clock system is unnecessarily confusing, and it can easily be the reason that you sleep through a class or meeting.
Although setting an alarm seems like a very simple task, it is far too easy to mistakenly set it for 8 o’clock at night instead of 8 o’clock in the morning. You may overlook the minor detail of switching the default option from p.m. to a.m., especially if you set your alarm at night while your eyes start to give up after a long day.
An easy solution to this is switching over to military time. After teaching yourself to stop keeping track of time in terms of a.m. and p.m., you will never run into alarm-setting issues again. Although this adjustment will take some getting used to, the 24-hour clock system will eventually become second nature, and it will even help you brush up on your math skills in the meantime by forcing you to do conversions in your head.
Even if you have never been guilty of setting the wrong alarm, it will not hurt to proactively make the switch. The 12-hour clock system is ambiguous and more complicated than it needs to be, and seeing that a more simplified system exists, why not take advantage of it?
—Kelly Wheeler ’21
“Normalcy” in Online Classes
Online class might seem like a luxury on a Monday morning at 8:30, as some could see it as an opportunity to stay in bed for as long as possible, lounge around, and simply log onto Zoom at 8:29.
This, however, might be a poor plan if you are hoping to make this year feel as “normal” as possible. Instead, it might be beneficial to act as if your class is in-person. Getting into a routine can be a great source of motivation to stay on track, even if most classes are in your room.
One example of this is simple: clothes. How we dress can determine the way we feel for the rest of the day. Although it is tempting to sit in sweatpants all day— and it might happen on more days than not— it might be wise to consider taking the time to pick out outfits that feel presentable. Oftentimes, feeling confident in your outfit translates to confidence in class. This is the case for in-person classes, so it is easily translatable to online classes.
In addition, it is important to take proper notes and focus in class. Although there are many distractions around, including phones and other tabs on a laptop, it is important to stay focused on the Zoom screen, as if you were in class. Be sure to participate and actively engage to make the most of your education. Just because the location of your class may have changed, this does not necessarily mean expectations have.
—Julia McCoy ’22
Writer vs. Writer: Is the Recent Petition to Fix Ray’s Food Effective?
Kelly Wheeler ’21
In light of the recent insect and glass-related incidents at Raymond Dining Hall, an online petition has been created to boycott Ray. Although specific demands are not listed, the petition is putting pressure on Providence College for “better food and a healthier environment.”
The petition has amassed over 2,200 supporters within several hours. Given the fact that 4,139 undergraduate students attend Providence College, this number is significant, and it may just be large enough to motivate the College to take action. Granted, this petition is not restricted to PC students, as some parents and alumni have expressed support via their signatures. However, the petition has only been circulating for a few days, so it is likely that this number will continue to grow during the upcoming weeks.
Petitions are often scoffed at for being ineffective. However, change is never accomplished by staying quiet. The supporters of this position are using their voices to urge the College to take action. Aside from Alumni Hall Food Court and Eaton Street Café, Ray is the only dining option that students have on campus. It is unacceptable that students are scared that they will find bugs or other objects in their food when eating a meal at the College’s main dining hall. Students are paying an exorbitant amount of money for their meal plans, so they should not have to inspect their food constantly before they begin eating. If students do nothing and passively allow this unacceptable pattern to continue, what would motivate the College to reevaluate their dining services?
If nothing else, the petition provides a platform for discussion about the dining services provided at PC. Both students, alumni, and parents have made comments on the petition website discussing their experiences at Ray. Conversations need to be had about what is going on at Ray. If people do not make their grievances known or share their feedback, PC will never know what they are experiencing.
Although it may seem small-scale in comparison to other forms of activism, participating in a petition is a good way to advocate for change regarding the recent dining incidents at Ray. When it comes down to it, it is always better to advocate for change and fail in the attempt than to do nothing at all.
Andrea Traietti ’21
Without a doubt, Raymond Dining Hall has improvements to make. Between undercooked chicken, bugs, mice, and now glass and parasitic worms, students have detected and reported a number of serious quality control problems. These issues are a threat to students’ health, and they need to be addressed. However, the recent petition circulating amongst students, parents, and alumni is not the most effective way to bring about change.
The first problem with the petition is its lack of clarity. The description listed on the petition site explains that Providence College is currently on a low-level plan with Sodexo. Citing how PC’s level is only slightly above the level used in prisons, the petition seems to be calling for PC to buy into a higher quality plan with Sodexo—but nowhere in the petition does it actually say this is the goal.
Is the goal to force PC to switch to a different food supplier entirely? To introduce new quality-control measures at our existing level? There is no explicit goal cited in the description.
Then, at the end of the petition, it asks respondents to boycott Raymond Dining Hall. A boycott of Ray, however, would unfortunately not work for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, Ray is the only dining hall on campus that is swipe-based and does not require FriarBucks. In general, but especially at this point in the semester, students do not have enough FriarBucks to boycott Ray completely.
Aside from the monetary issues, a boycott seems ineffective if the goal is to bring attention to Sodexo’s food quality. The other dining halls on campus, Alumni Hall and Eaton Street Café, are also run by Sodexo. Eating only at these places does not send the message to PC’s administration that Sodexo is the problem.
Lastly, it would be far more effective if efforts at reform, which are desperately needed and long overdue, were framed in a constructive, rather than overly critical manner. PC and Sodexo alike will be more responsive to specific feedback and ideas from students and parents about how to make improvements than to continued discussion about the problems the school is facing.
Furthermore, PC is already well aware of the issues at Raymond Dining Hall, as their response to recent issues has indicated. Simply continuing to list out examples of low-quality or unsafe food will not help this situation. However, specific feedback and suggestions can help give the College ideas about what students really want and how to move forward.
Tangents & Tirades
Viral Pelosi Picture: Making a Point about Political Representation
Last week, a photo of Nancy Pelosi standing and pointing at President Trump during a White House meeting went viral. President Trump captioned the photo on Twitter “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” and the Democratic speaker of the House quickly fired back by making the shot her cover photo on Twitter. As phenomenal as the picture is, however, it is also an extremely concerning one.
Rightfully so, the picture has gained attention, and Pelosi has been supported by many since its release for her bravery to stand up to Trump in difficult and tense situations. This is not the first time that one of Pelosi’s interactions with Trump became viral. Her sarcastic clap during Trump’s State of the Union address last year and her confident exit from a White House meeting in December of 2018 (photographers caught her strutting out of the office and pulling down her sunglasses) went almost instantly viral, and resulted in more than a few meme adaptations.
Pelosi’s strength and poise in these moments makes her a leading example for politicians to follow, but more importantly, for women everywhere to look up to and emulate. But it is precisely Pelosi’s status as a woman that makes the picture equally as concerning as it is inspirational.
Pelosi is the main focal point in the picture, but looking into the corners, nearly every other person sitting around the table and in the room is an older white male. While we should continue praising Pelosi, it is critical that we highlight and question why there were not more women in the room in the first place.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, author of Lean In, and a leading women’s rights activist, has said, “We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.” Sandberg is right when she says that we need more women at the table, and this White House photo is a perfect example.
The United States is a diverse country, and half of the people living here are women. Our representative leadership absolutely must reflect that if we want to achieve equality.
—Andrea Traietti ’21
Blue Book Blues
In the wake of midterm season, memories of exams haunt students. Many of these memories are tainted by one thing in particular: the dreaded blue book.
Blue books are commonly used in classrooms for students to record their test answers, especially when tests include writing components.
Blue books are admittedly a convenient tool for professors to use when administering an exam. The stapled booklet prevents pages of a student’s work from going astray and its cover page ensures that every student’s work is identifiable.
Blue books, however, have many flaws.
The pages of the booklet are extremely thin, and this can lead to two different—but equally frustrating—consequences. First, pencils frequently break through the pages because they are so fragile. This is especially likely to happen during testing, as students often apply a significant amount of force to their writing instrument due to the pressure of the ticking clock. Alternatively, should a student choose to write with an ink pen instead of a pencil, they will be dismayed to discover that the ink will bleed through the pages.
Also, blue books are only used when it is time to take an exam; they are never used for anything pleasant. Therefore, these booklets are associated with stress and apprehension. A student’s stress level may rise simply at the sight of a blue book as they go into an exam.
Although blue books may be practical, professors should reconsider using them in their classrooms. If the utterance of the word “blue book” is enough to send shivers down a student’s spine, it may be the case that they are not the best option when it comes to exams.
—Kelly Wheeler ’21
If PC had the money for one major renovation or new building on campus, how should they use it?
by Andrea Traietti ’21
If Providence College had the money for only one major renovation on campus, they should use it to renovate the older academic buildings on campus. When it comes down to it, PC students are really here for one reason: to learn.
While dorm renovations or new fixtures on campus might be nice, the current status of the residence halls and the looks of campus are not getting in the way of students’ education. The outdated technology and unaccommodating spaces in some of the older academic buildings, however, serve as a consistent barrier to learning.
Specifically, the Feinstein Academic Center and Accinno Hall need updating. The first problem with the classrooms in these two buildings is the space. In both buildings, tables and chairs, or in some cases chairs with attached desks, are crammed into tiny rooms. These rooms are filled with the maximum number of students in most classes, making an already small space feel even smaller.
Even worse, many of the classes in these two buildings are centered on class discussion: history classes, theology classes, even foreign language classes where students’ primary task is to speak, to name a few. The tightness of these classrooms makes it impossible to move desks or chairs to make the room more conducive to class discussion. This results in some people being confined to the ‘outer circle’ and not being able to participate, or others not being able to see the chalkboard or projector.
Speaking of projectors, the second major barrier to academic success in these buildings is their lack of modern technology. The technology that is there does not consistently work and is outdated compared to the equipment in the new science complex. The technology used in the science complex and business school has set a new standard for how rooms should be equipped, and any building that is lacking should be updated to meet this new standard. After all, smart classrooms open the door to new and creative ways of learning.
While there will always be other concerns about residence halls or ways to beautify PC’s campus, updating the older academic buildings on campus would be the most practical and worthwhile use of funds because it would directly improve PC students’ academic experience. And in the end, learning is the most important part of being at college.
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
Although we are very fortunate to attend a university with many state-of-the-art facilities such as the Science Complex and Concannon Fitness Center, there is always a need for renovation at Providence College. Admittedly, several academic and residence halls are overdue for touch-ups. However, if PC were to acquire funding for some sort of transformation on campus, the College should apply it toward the creation of a new student parking lot.
Student parking at PC is extremely limited. Permits are only available to juniors and seniors, and the number of parking spots available to this fragment of the student body remains insufficient. Thus, a lottery process is used to decide which students are able to purchase a parking permit. Unfortunately, the odds do not end up being in the favor of many upperclassmen.
This creates problems for countless students. Although some students enter the parking lottery simply to enjoy the luxury of having a vehicle on campus, many students have a serious need for one.
For example, many upperclassmen have off-site internships or student teaching placements in the Providence area. PC does not provide transportation for these opportunities, meaning students without cars need to find their own way to get there. Many carless students carpool with other students who have vehicles, but issues can result if the drivers are unreliable or they do not have a schedule that is identical to those of their passengers.
Additionally, students that live in on-campus apartments with kitchens typically have modest meal plans (or none at all), so they need to go grocery shopping to purchase food. Doing so can be very inconvenient without a car on campus. Although the RIPTA stops at Shaw’s, it can be difficult to lug bags of groceries onto the bus.
Also, students use their cars on campus as a means of transportation when long weekends or holiday breaks come around. Students often want to go home at these times, but if they were not granted a parking permit, they may be unable to do so if no one is available to pick them up at PC.
Even students that emerge victorious from the lottery process find themselves frustrated with parking on campus. James Galvin ’20 said, “I was lucky enough to get a parking pass my junior year. But parking spots are so limited on this campus that people would park in the student lots even though they didn’t have permits. Because of this, the lots would fill up and I would have nowhere to put my car. I often had to park in visitor parking as a result, and I ended up getting a ticket one time for doing so.”
In conclusion, there is a significant need for more student parking at PC. So, should PC get money to build or reconstruct something on campus, the College should dedicate it to alleviating the large discrepancy between the supply and demand for student parking on campus.
by Marie Sweeney ’20
Each year, Providence College is becoming more popular, and each accepted class has grown exponentially in the past several years. However, the College has failed to accommodate the growing number of students in its outdated residence halls.
This has led to forced quads in both freshman and sophomore housing, forced room changes to accommodate students coming home from abroad, and various other problems. If PC were to receive an unlimited amount of money to update or renovate an aspect of campus there is no doubt that it should be allocated to renovate current residence halls and build new ones to fix this housing issue.
Being comfortable on a college campus is one of the most important aspects in ensuring students stay at their respective school. A student’s living space is a major factor that affects that comfort level. If they are not comfortable in their living space, it can have a negative impact on their life as a student.
The College must listen to the needs of students and prioritize them over other campus renovation projects. The popularity of the school starts with the students and if the students are not happy, the entire school will reflect that.
Coming in as a freshman and being forced to live with three other roommates in a small room can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. It can also lead to further roommate problems. The College needs to allocate money to the building of a new residence hall, especially because the incoming classes are continuing to grow.
As for the quality of the housing, some of PC’s residence halls have been the same since the 1980s, and they look that way. Halls such as Aquinas, McVinney, St. Joe’s, and more desperately need renovation. PC is becoming a widely known and popular school and it needs to keep up to date with its residence halls, which will certainly have an impact on incoming students and parents.
PC must prioritize the comfort and contentment of its students over other projects that need major funding. The lack of student housing and the poor quality of available housing reflects badly on the college’s understanding of student comfort in their living situations. By funding a residence hall project, PC will not only acknowledge and excite current students, but will also further attract incoming students to make PC the best it could be.
Phillips Memorial Library
by Katherine Torok ’20
The Phillips Memorial Library is nothing spectacular when compared to its neighboring buildings: the Ruane Center for the Humanities, the Science Complex, and Harkins Hall. Its boxy exterior made of dull bricks, dark windows, and sand colored concrete feels outdated and mundane compared to the beautiful architecture which surrounds it.
While Ruane and the Science Complex are relatively new in comparison to Harkins and the library, their architecture mirrors Harkins and makes the string of buildings feel cohesive.
The library, on the other hand, feels out of place. It first opened on January 6, 1969, and feels like it came straight from the late 60s and early 70s. Though it is connected to Ruane, the two feel completely different. This is especially apparent when walking from one building to the other through the small Inter-Hub. You transition from walking on dull geometric carpet to sleek tile, toward welcoming natural light. Natural lighting is essential; instead of being subjected to the harsh lighting that emits from the grid-like concrete ceiling of the library, the beautiful windows from Ruane allow for warm light to shine through on sunny days.
The library does have some great study spaces nestled in the corners of the second floor. Yet, they are often occupied due to their panoramic windows which let in an abundance of welcoming natural light.
This is why so many students choose to study in the Slavin Center or the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies; the ambiance is warm and inviting thanks to the massive windows located throughout each building.
Aside from adding more windows throughout the library, it is also essential for the College to invest in different furniture on the first and second floors.
While the basement has bright, fresh, and modern furniture to encourage collaborative group work, everywhere you look on the first and second floor on the library is filled with the same chestnut colored wood.
The desks, tables, chairs, couches, and bookshelves are the same. Switching up the furniture or mixing different styles would be a fun and energizing change. In addition, the geometric carpet could be switched out for something more neutral.
Overall, the Phillips Memorial Library is good, but it could use some freshening up, both inside and out.
The addition of windows, installation of new flooring, updating of furniture, and a possible exterior makeover would create a more inviting environment and ultimately encourage more students to spend time doing work there.
There is no need to rebuild a new library, just continue the updates from the IT department upwards and outwards. As a result, the academic buildings of upper campus would look more cohesive and unified.
Should “Friars Hold Doors”? Considering the Safety Implications of a PC Mantra
by Andrea Traietti ’21 and Kelly Wheeler ’21
“Friars hold doors.” On Providence College’s campus, it is more than just a saying tossed around lightly or mentioned during tours; it is embodied not just in the physical action of holding the door open, but in extending a helping hand to other friars when they need it.
Although it is a kind gesture, the tragic incident this past weekend has revealed that, in some cases, holding doors might be hurting more than it is helping. While the saying is intended to ensure that members of the PC community are there is help each other, it could be putting some in unnecessarily dangerous situations.
On Sunday, Sept. 15 at 2:04 a.m., Lt. Eric L. Croce from the Office of Public Safety sent an email to all students containing a safety alert. The message stated that “on September 14, 2019, a female non-student reported that she had been sexually assaulted in an on-campus residence hall dorm, during the early evening hours by an unknown and unidentified college aged male who then left the area.” A follow-up email from Koren Kanadanian on Sept. 17 updated students that the man in question had been identified after an investigation by the Office of Public Safety. According to this second email, the assailant, like the assault victim, was not a PC student and steps have been taken to ensure that this individual will not be allowed back on campus.
It is unclear how either of these individuals—both non-students—were able to enter a PC dorm in the first place. It is entirely possible that the students could have been registered guests staying with a PC resident. That way, they would have access to a specific PC dorm through whichever PC students they were staying with.
On the other hand, it is also possible that one or both of these individuals entered the dorm the same way most PC students do: someone else held or opened the door for them. All day long, as students come and go from their dorms, they hold the door for each other. The same goes for weekend nights, as students head into other dorms to meet up with their friends.
Most students living on campus can attest that they have seen someone locked out of their dorm, waiting to be let in. Hardly any PC student would see that person and not let them in. And even fewer would give it a second thought after doing it.
But perhaps they should. Even if both of these individuals were registered guests of PC students, this incident should serve as a reminder, and as a warning, that holding doors—an action most PC students do every day—could be dangerous in the wrong situation. PC RAs even tell their residents at floor meetings that they should not open the doors to their dorm unless they know the people they are letting in.
This is not to say that you should never hold a door again. “Friars hold doors” is arguably a central part of the PC community. If you are returning to your room and notice that the person who sits next to you in Civ is trying to gain entrance to your dorm, you should feel comfortable helping them out.
However, if you do not know whether the person you are contemplating holding the door for is a PC student, it is worth it to simply check in with them to see who they are and what they are doing in your dorm. Maybe their response would reveal that they do not attend PC.
On the other hand, however, if you notice something suspicious or if someone standing outside is making you uncomfortable, it is far better to be safe than sorry. If the student really goes to PC, they can find another way in.
It may seem rude or unneighborly to refrain from holding a door when you notice someone a few steps behind you approaching it, but in the end, this can prevent a lot more harm than simply being perceived as impolite.
Safety alerts like the ones sent by Lt. Croce and Chief Kanadanian tend to evoke feelings of fear and helplessness. Students may find themselves worried that something like this may happen again, but they think that it is out of their power to prevent future incidents. Although the Office of Public Safety is devoted to protecting the Providence College community, safety is not exclusively their responsibility.
Tangents & Tirades
Normalize Mug Carrying on Campus
If you take a look around campus on any given morning, you will notice an abundance of students carrying travel mugs to bring their coffee, tea, or other hot beverage to class. Although travel mugs are a commonly used vessel, they are not the only option.
A much smaller population of students prefer to fulfill their beverage transportation needs with regular mugs. However, these students often have to weather strange looks from people as they walk around with a mug in hand.
Mug-carriers seem to be misunderstood at Providence College.
There is a certain feeling that results from sipping out of a mug, a unique feeling that cannot be felt when using a travel mug. Travel mugs have narrow openings, causing you to take less satisfying sips and blocking the pleasant aromas of your drinks from enhancing your experience.
Also, some versions of Keurig machines are not tall enough to fit a travel mug underneath. Therefore, in order to prepare yourself a drink, you must first brew your beverage into a mug and then transfer it over to a travel mug.
Not only does this require a lot of effort, but it also creates more waste that could be avoided if you decide to enjoy your beverage in a mug.
In a world full of judgment and divisions, let’s not add to the hostility of it all by making mug-carriers on campus feel unwelcomed.
—Kelly Wheeler ’21
Capturing the Moment
College is such an exciting and memorable time in one’s life, so why not document it? Taking photos is a way to stay connected to moments in your life that matter to you. This allows you to look back and appreciate your experiences and how things may have changed as time flies by.
We are lucky enough to live in a time in which cameras are always at our fingertips, so we should take advantage of our ability to take photos of all the exciting, fun, and beautiful moments in our lives.
This is especially true during one’s college years as people are constantly changing, getting involved in new things, and meeting new people. Therefore, taking pictures makes it easy to reflect on these memorable times and to remember connections with others.
This generation is criticized for always being on their phones, constantly taking pictures, and posting on social media instead of living in the moment. However, it is possible to still live in the moment while digitally capturing memories in photos that will last forever and can make life more fun and memorable. Also, pictures do not have to be taken just for the sake of posting them.
As college years fly by, one should take as many photos as possible before graduation to collect fun and exciting memories with your lifelong friends.
—Marie Sweeney ’20
Tangents & Tirades
Give Bingo a Go
Everyone has hobbies to occupy their time when they are not in class. Although many students enjoy playing sports or creating art, fewer students think to enjoy a game of bingo in their downtime.
Typically held in McPhail’s, the Office of Student Activities & Cultural Programming hosts weekly bingo on Thursdays for all students.
Multiple rounds are played each night, allowing for several students to leave with one of many exciting prizes based on that week’s theme.
Whether it is an assortment of snacks from Grocery Bingo or Providence College gear from Friar Fanatics Bingo, the payout can be very rewarding.
Even if you experience bad luck, you can still win in other ways. Free food is available every time, ranging from pizza to donuts to desserts.
Additionally, bingo night is a great way to catch up with friends. There are countless opportunities for you and your friends to recap your weeks in between rounds.
Bingo night is also the perfect venue to make new friends, as you can bond over the shared agony of losing by one square.
If you have a big exam on Friday, bingo is an excellent way to break up the monotony of studying the night before.
Even if you have an 8:30 a.m. class on Friday, celebrate the end of the week with bingo. You will return to your dorm early enough that you will not sleep through your alarm the next day.
Although you may not decide to become a regular, give bingo a try at least once this semester. Even if you do not win, you will still have a lot of fun.
—Kelly Wheeler ’21
Sustainability at School
There is a new wave of products being introduced to the public as we become increasingly more concerned with saving the environment from man-made issues. So how can we continue these efforts on Providence College’s campus?
Having a reusable water bottle is a great first step. Wherever you are on campus, there is a water bottle filling station within just a few feet. Reusable water bottles, therefore, become an essential, as they provide easy access to water and less need for single-use plastics—a true win-win situation.
Another easy way to make your daily routine more sustainable is by bringing a reusable cup to Dunkin’ or Ruane Cafe. This small effort of creating less waste will surely add up over time.
Remaining environmentally friendly in the dining areas on campus is also fairly simple. To continue maximizing your opportunities on campus, consider using the reusable cups in Alumni Dining Hall and avoiding plastic cutlery.
Always keep an eye out for groups on campus that advocate for environmental improvement. Most notably, PC Go Green is at nearly every campus event handing out metal straws and informational packets on ways to help out.
Recycling is also encouraged on campus. Each room is provided with a recycling bin and each trash room in the residence halls is equipped with a large recycling bin. Be sure to separate your trash from items that can be recycled in order to do your part to help our campus be as green as possible.
—Julia McCoy ’22
Writer vs. Writer: Exams or Essays for Finals?
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
Asst. Opinion Editor
As finals week approaches, stress and panic loom in the air around campus. Finals can come in many different forms, but most professors assess their students’ absorption of knowledge throughout the semester by way of either final examinations or final papers. Although neither option is particularly desirable, there are many reasons why exams prevail as the more pleasant option of the two.
When you sit down to take a final exam, you must complete it within a two-hour time frame. You do not have distractions like cellphones, laptops, and talkative friends around you to compromise your concentration.
This forces you to focus and be productive, and once you finish working hard for those two hours, you are done. Courtney Salinsky ’20 said, “Even though exams are very stressful—especially the night before—once you take them, they’re over and you immediately feel a huge relief.”
Papers, on the other hand, can take an untold number of hours to complete. You are bound to waste several hours scrolling through your social media feeds when you get bored or worse, develop writer’s block. Once you finally get all your ideas on paper and meet the mandatory word count, you must then devote a considerable amount of time towards editing your work. The writing process can easily become prolonged, and as a result it can be an extremely painstaking experience.
Additionally, professors often grade final papers more rigorously than they do exams. Professors know that students are pressed for time when they are taking exams, so they are much more lenient when grading them. With papers, however, professors realize that students have access to endless resources and have copious amounts of time to complete them. Therefore, professors have higher expectations for the final product, and they are more likely to deduct a disproportionate number of points for minor blemishes.
Every student has their own personal preference when it comes to finals. However, when you factor in the procrastination, distractions, and high expectations that come along with final papers, finals week is considerably less excruciating when professors stick to giving final exams.
by Marie Sweeney ’20
Papers and exams are very familiar and frequent assignments to the average college student, especially in the midst of finals week. Although everyone has their differing opinions and preferences in terms of assessment, writing a paper is more enjoyable and beneficial to a student and is a better assessment of critical thinking and overall learning than taking an exam.
Not only are you able to use a wide variety of resources when writing an essay, such as books, the internet, and more, but essays also allow for more creativity and critical thinking. There are no strict right answers when it comes to writing an essay, especially because you have the ability to support your points with evidence.
On the other hand, exams are much more concrete and specific. Most of the time, especially for multiple-choice questions, there is strictly one right answer that can cost you a substantial amount of points if you fail to choose it. In an essay, you have much more room for error. Furthermore, essays grant students more time to develop their ideas, whereas exams require a time limit that can be difficult for some students who need more time to develop their thoughts.
Another benefit of an essay is the ability to read over your work and even have others edit it for you. Sometimes professors will offer the option of allowing students to ask questions regarding the prompt and in some cases, they will offer to check over your paper before it is due to give you feedback on your draft.
Caroline Mallon ’20 stated, “I prefer papers because they give you more room to show how much you know about the subject and to back yourself up, which is usually impossible in most exam formats.”
Although every student is different and some may strongly prefer taking an exam over an essay, there are countless reasons why essays are a much better form of assessment of students’ learning that more professors should consider.
Writer vs. Writer: Alumni Hall Food Court or Eaton Street Café?
Alumni Hall Food Court
by Bridget Blain ’19
When Providence College students are asked about the best dining options on campus, the first options that most likely come to mind are Raymond Dining Hall and Alumni Hall Food Court. Eaton Street Café is not likely to be your first thought.
This is because the food and drinks offered at Alumni have more variety than Eaton Street Café, and because Alumni is more conveniently located. Alumni gives students the opportunity to take a break from the repetition of the food provided at other dining options on campus, which makes it much more preferable and popular among PC students.
One of the reasons Alumni is preferred by students is its location, especially for students who live on campus. Slavin Center is a popular spot to either do homework or relax with friends, so it is convenient to get a meal at Alumni while you are there as well. For students who do not have any classes in the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies, it is not likely that they will go out of their way to go to Eaton Street Café.
Eaton Street Café does not provide the same type of atmosphere that Alumni does. You can’t go to Eaton Street Café and sit in a booth with all of your friends like you can at Alumni. The atmosphere of Alumni encourages students and faculty to sit down and take time to relax for a moment, which can be really helpful when the semester becomes stressful, especially around midterms and finals.
For students with meal plans, the Take3 option at Alumni is also a great way to take a break from eating the same food every day at other places on campus. There are plenty of options available to satisfy whatever craving you have at Alumni while the options at Eaton Street Café are rather limited. Because there are not that many dining options on campus, variety is crucial.
When it comes down to it, the social atmosphere that Alumni provides and its various food options make it the best option for getting food on campus.
Eaton Street Café
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
One of the most polarizing debates among students at Providence College erupts over whether Alumni Hall Food Court or Eaton Street Café deserves to be called the premier dining facility on campus.
Although Alumni has a lot to offer, like the convenient Take3 option and the themed station, Eaton Street Café is ultimately worthier of the title.
The variety of foods available at Eaton Street Café simply can’t be beat. Not only does it have a grill menu from which students can enjoy burgers, chicken sandwiches, and steak and cheeses, but the café also has Sandella’s inside of it. Sandella’s offers an array of items that cannot be found at Alumni, such as delicious flatbread pizzas and burritos.
The quesadillas at Sandella’s are also a unique option, as they include chicken. This is a major perk for meat-lovers like me who feel disappointed by the protein-free quesadillas at Alumni.
Also, the Eaton Street Café offers breakfast options, whereas the meals served at Alumni are limited to lunch and dinner. Students can grab their breakfast sandwiches in between their morning classes, or they can even enjoy one at nighttime if they are craving breakfast for dinner.
Eaton Street Café also has a late-night window open between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays. This is very convenient for students who get hungry while staying up late to study or socialize. Also, Alumni is closed on Sundays, so their hours of operations are much more limited than those of Eaton Street Café.
Finally, another advantage Eaton Street Café has over Alumni is that it has some grocery items available for purchase. This allows students to buy things like eggs or milk right here on campus instead of having to venture off campus to do so.
Although Alumni is a very strong contender, there are countless reasons why Eaton Street Café prevails over Alumni in the fight for the title of the best dining option on campus.