Still a Work in Progress

by jmccoy3 on May 6, 2022

Editor's Column

Nicole Patano ’22



One of the first times I was on Providence College’s campus as a prospective student, more than four years ago, then-president of the College, Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P., gave a speech before parents and guardians which has stuck with my mom to this day. She, despite having already been through the college selection process with my two brothers, thankfully had a notebook with her to take notes of what she heard and saw throughout the day. During Fr. Shanley’s speech, she wrote down one phrase, which made its way into my high school graduation speech and my way of life: “It doesn’t matter if you’re diverse if you’re not inclusive.” 


This statement was one of the main reasons I committed to PC. Above all else, I did not want to go to a school that flaunted its BIPOC student admissions rates but had blatantly different college experiences for its BIPOC and white students. While I would not consider my high school self an activist, I have always cared very much about my fellow human beings. It makes sense then that I would be looking primarily at Catholic colleges for my undergraduate education. 


What many who know me and who are involved in social justice work at the College may ask is: Why PC? It is not untruthful to say that we are not an exemplary example of inclusivity. So did Fr. Shanley lie when he emphasized the need for inclusivity over diversity, suggesting that despite PC’s unimpressive diversity, it is an inclusive campus? I don’t think so. He may have believed that it is, or he may have just been telling parents what they wanted to hear, but I do know that while the College may not be inclusive, it tries to be. It just does not always succeed. 


If I have learned anything during my time at the College, it is that there are some things you may think you know, some you may never know, and more still which you wish you did not know. In these instances, I have come face-to-face with my hubris, my curiosity, and my ignorance, respectively. I may never know why I decided to consider PC as an option, and I may curse the very day that I did, but I do owe this institution a great deal. Thinking about how much I have grown since freshman orientation, I could not have imagined being where I am right now: in charge of the entire student newspaper (though not for much longer), preparing to say goodbye to an incredibly loving (and surprisingly large) group of people, and waiting for a documentary featuring an interview with me to be released (any day now!).


As I worked to improve the College during my time as a student, I had the unintended consequence of improving myself. In addition to becoming a better debater and critical thinker, I would like to believe that I am a better person now than I was in Aug. 2018.  

Gotta Scoot, You Gotta Scurry Down to Smith

by John Downey '23 on April 22, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Gotta Scoot, You Gotta Scurry Down to Smith

9 to 5: The Musical Sees Success During Opening Weekend

Nicole Patano ’22



If you saw Providence College’s production of 9 to 5: The Musical, you probably spent the past two weeks wishing the show’s musical numbers would “Get Out and Stay Out” of your head. It is rare that every song in a musical is a hit, but when they are all written by the “Queen of Country,” Dolly Parton, such is only to be expected. And with the vocals of a star-studded cast including Halle Pratt ’22, Kate Salvato ’23, Emma Lindsay ’25, Alex Cannon ’22, Analisa Pisano ’23, and Nick Bullock ’22, this musical was destined for greatness. 


The cast, crew, and production team thought of everything, from a pre-show film created by John Chatfield ’19 to paper flying out of a malfunctioning printer to a portrait of CEO Franklin Hart Jr. (Cannon) hung up in his office. Even the speakers were “disguised” as ’70s-themed decor. 


9 to 5 is the first live musical the theater, dance, and film department has been able to put on in two years. After much anticipation, many hours of rehearsal, and a few hiccups along the way, the cast and crew got to celebrate the fruits of their labor on opening night, April 8. 


It was clear right away how much work and passion went into creating the production. A tale of adversity in the office set in the 1970s, 9 to 5 is still just as necessary in light of the #MeToo movement and the anniversary of 50 years of women at Providence College. What better way to celebrate feminism and women than by putting on a musical starring three take-charge women who overcome sexism and mysoginy in the workplace? Unfortunately, while the comedy musical has a happy ending, audiences must endure the boy’s club, “locker room” talk, and Hart being a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” throughout the entire first act. Even the solution does not come through changing the hearts and minds of the men, rather through deception, scheming, and just a handful of illegal acts. 


Politics and morality aside, the cast and crew put on an undeniably good show. More impressive than the complex and involved set changes between nearly every scene was the ability of each actor to fully embody their character’s personality. Pratt brought out Violet’s awkwardness and assertiveness, portraying the inner battle between her insecurities as a single mother and her confidence as “One of the Boys.” Lindsay nails the role of the shy and clumsy Judy, but when it comes to her singing, she always takes care of business. Salvato fills Parton’s stilettos well, proving that she is no “Backwoods Barbie.” Finally, Cannon goes above and beyond to run Consolidated Industries, even shaving his facial hair for the part. It is no question that the cast all “Shine Like the Sun” on stage, even while dealing with dark topics such as sexual harassment, sexism, and blackmail.

Fortunately, if you could not attend 9 to 5: The Musical during opening weekend, you are in luck: Violet, Doralee, Judy, and company will be back on the grind at Consolidated come April 22. You can see them hustle and bustle at 7:30 p.m. on April 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. on April 24. Tickets are available for purchase on the TDF website.

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

by jmccoy3 on April 21, 2022

Editor's Column

Nicole Patano ’22



Things Are Not Always What They Seem

So Treat People With Kindness, Dammit


Mental Health Awareness Month, a nationally celebrated effort to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, kicks off in just over a week. 

In perfect timing for this month, I recently had the opportunity to read How to Go Mad Without Losing Your Mind by La Marr Jurelle Bruce and meet the author in one of my classes. At the center of Bruce’s work is a call for radical compassion, a will to care for and commitment to feel with the “madpersons,” “freaks,” “weirdos,” and “unReasonable others.” Radical compassion goes beyond empathy. When you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, Bruce says, you are inevitably “leaving them existentially barefoot all the while.” 

With this year’s awareness campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month being “Together for Mental Health,” now is the perfect chance for members of the Providence College community to learn how to extend radical compassion to everyone on our campus and beyond. Whether it be the student falling behind on their classwork or the homeless man talking to himself on the street, all people are deserving of radical compassion. No matter how inconvenient or detestable it may seem, we must learn how to extend radical compassion to anyone and everyone.

Mental Health Awareness Month comes on the tail end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which warrants a conversation of its own. With women in college experiencing sexual assault at three times the rate of women in general, it is likely that you know a woman at PC who has been sexually assaulted. It is well documented that sexual assault survivors, regardless of gender identity, are at greater risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, anxiety, and eating disorders. Thus, we need to treat everyone we meet with sensitivity and compassion, regardless of what we know or think we know about them. 

Radical compassion requires that we not only extend compassion to those with mental illnesses who conform to normal society—the people who are able to blend in undetected. It also requires us to care for the depressed person who has not showered in two weeks, the anxious person who has not responded to your messages, the suicidal person who drifts off during lectures and conversations, and the person with an eating disorder who makes a mess of the communal bathroom. 

It is not enough to empathize with people you relate to—in other words, those who wear the same sized shoe. Radical compassion is radical for the very reason that it necessitates caring for people who appear completely different from you. Realizing that your humanity is bound to theirs and that their mental health impacts overall health is truly radical, and undeniably necessary.

We Are Here, and We Are Queer

by jmccoy3 on April 21, 2022

Editor's Column

Nicole Patano ’22



We Are Here, and We Are Queer

Finding Our Purpose at an Institution That Rejects Our Identity


This week marks the fourth time that SHEPARD has held a week-long series of events to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community. It is no secret that making such a week possible was a Herculean feat, requiring grace, patience, and understanding from all those involved. 


In my last editor’s column, I discussed the negative reception of coeducation and how women on campus can understand their purpose at a college not made for them. In light of this week and my personal research on how topics surrounding the LGBTQ+ community have been handled in The Cowl, I want to use this space to discuss what the existence of members of the LGBTQ+ community at Providence College means. Like women, this institution was not built with us in mind. And like women, we have had to consider what it would mean for our safety and comfort to come to PC. But, unlike women, we also have to consider what it would mean for our safety and comfort to come out at PC. 


Luckily, I can pick and choose when and to whom I come out because of the nature of my identity. For most members of the LGBTQ+ community, however, to live authentically and genuinely necessitates some form of explicit or implicit coming out.


What, then, does it mean to be met with disgust or revulsion when you hold your partner’s hand (or even to just use the gender-neutral ‘partner’)? Or to be told by a professor that they will not respect your pronouns and will continually use your deadname despite you begging them to stop? Not to mention the fact that the College has limited resources, if any, for students who need specific mental health services or medical care as a result of their identities. 


Being told that we are “intrinsically disordered” or that love looks like conversion therapy is a tale as old as time. We are taught that our identities are not something to be proud of. What of “Friar Pride”? “PC Pride”? To attract applicants, the Student Alumni Ambassadors asked in Morning Mail: “Do you love to wear your Friar pride on your sleeve?” I can firmly state that I am more proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community than I am to be a member of the Friar Family. 


Yet, after nearly four years at the College, I chose to stay. I still do not believe that my transferring would have been the answer to the problems at this institution, even though it would have been easier on me. Even more bold of an assertion is that I do not believe LGBTQ+ identities are incompatible with Catholic teaching. 


How do we best care for students who have likely doubted that God loves them? How do we achieve cura personalis, or care for the whole person, as other Catholic colleges like Georgetown University and Saint Peter’s University have? Rev. James Martin, S.J., offered 10 pieces of advice to college presidents at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities conference in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 2, 2020. The College would do well to consider this advice: Begin with the God-given dignity of the human person; Never forget how much LGBTQ+ people have suffered; Welcome LGBTQ+ youth groups, programs, and centers; Bring together your entire school; Remember that words matter, and so do signs and symbols; Stand with the LGBTQ+ community; Work closely with your local bishop; Educate yourself and your school; Listen to transgender people in humility; During a crisis, discern and make a preferential option for the LGBTQ+ person. 


Until the administration takes this advice, though, it is up to us to make the College a safe and welcoming place for all students, especially LGBTQ+ students. We should not pretend to be something we are not—like the infamous “LGBT? Choose PC!” video—but we can take simple steps to ensure the academic and emotional wellbeing of all community members. Whether that be dropping a class with a professor who offhandedly remarks that marriage is only between a man and a woman or dropping a friend group which uses the “f” slur, do whatever you need to do to survive at PC. Hopefully, one day, you will be allowed to thrive. 

Blue Light

by The Cowl Editor on April 21, 2022


by Nicole Patano ’22

a broken lightbulb
Photo courtesy of


Past the student center she walks,

a ringing in her ears.

Her name is spoken in whispers 

by the boys she met last year.

The ones who took the chance to kiss her

and then left her alone to cry silent tears. 


Beyond their voices, another sound,

steady as a thrum.

It presses down upon her neck,

presses like a thumb.


It transports her back to that hateful night,

when she wished upon a star

for someone to make it stop. 

Now hearing it is like tearing open a scar,

or feeling a blister pop.


She knows that after hearing the “beep,” “beep,” “beep,” 

she will not be able to sleep.


All because of that hateful night 

And, gone unanswered, that one blue light.


Unseen No More: Student Exposes BIPOC Experience at PC

by npatano on April 21, 2022


Rarely does a presentation of a single student’s undergraduate research have such high attendance, including the president of the College and the provost, that the venue runs out of seating. But rarely is there a student with the dedication and commitment to complete a two-year long research project, seemingly unrelated to his two majors, beginning in his freshman year and during a global pandemic. Justin Babu ’23 is just that student. 

In 2020, Babu, a biology and secondary education major, approached the director of the Black studies program and an associate professor of sociology, Dr. Zophia Edwards, with a research proposal. Babu, recognizing that BIPOC students at Providence College have a “vastly different experience” than the average student at PC based on his own undergraduate experiences, wanted to show this difference quantitatively. 

To do so, Babu created a survey with questions based on the HEDS Consortium Campus Climate Survey and the Brown University Climate Survey. Each question was optional to promote confidentiality, protect participant anonymity, and create a sense of trust among participants. Babu sent this survey out on April 7, 2021 via several departmental mailing lists. In just three days, Babu received 50 percent of the total responses received during the survey period (230 responses). By the end of the survey period, Babu had received 461 responses, approximately 10 percent of the PC undergraduate population. Edwards stated, “It takes whole offices with multiple people to do the work that Justin has done, by himself, in just two years.”

Approximately 90 percent of the survey respondents were undergraduate students, 10 percent were faculty, and just over one percent were staff and administration. Of the survey respondents, 75 percent identified as white and 25 percent identified as people of color, which Babu emphasized is a “really important statistic” considering people of color are often severely underrepresented in campus climate surveys distributed by the College. 

Based on the survey results, Babu was able to compare the responses of BIPOC respondents to all respondents, representative of BIPOC members of the PC community and all members of the PC community. 

The first questions Babu included were intended to measure participants’ satisfaction with the campus climate and diversity of PC. BIPOC respondents expressed more dissatisfaction with the campus climate than white participants, but all participants expressed dissatisfaction with the diversity of the College.

Regarding participants’ sense of belonging, acceptance of their identity, feeling of opportunities for success similar to their peers, and feeling that they receive the same recognition and praise as their peers, all metrics were lower for people of color than white participants. Similarly, questions relating to how valued participants feel by PC community members found that people of color feel less valued by administrators, faculty, staff, and students than the average person at PC. 

Babu explained how these results must be taken into consideration when deciding on new policies at the College. 

Babu also sought to understand trends in and rates of discrimination at the College, as well as people’s understanding and use of reporting processes. He found that the most common forms of discrimination experienced by people were on the basis of their race/ethnicity, physical appearance, and gender/sex/sexuality. Disturbingly, he found that more than 90 percent of people who reported experiencing discrimination did not report the incident to campus officials. The reason for this number can only be partly explained by Babu’s survey; a majority of respondents did not know how the reporting or investigative processes worked, and a majority found the reporting systems to be insufficient. 

Babu reminded his audience that “behind each of those numbers is a person.” Given that PC is a relatively small community, it is likely that everyone on campus knows or has interacted with someone who has witnessed or experienced discrimination. Citing the College’s mission statement, Babu asked, “As a campus, are we truly committed to the flourishing of each individual person?” 

In the spirit of James Baldwin, Babu explained that although this project makes it seem like he has a “hidden agenda” against the College, “I love PC. I wouldn’t do this project if I didn’t have Providence College’s best interests at heart.” Babu believes that these data, and the testimonies which he will collect during phase two of the project, must be at the forefront of all DEI initiatives “if we are going to promote this image of the Friar Family or this…Beloved Community at Providence College.” 

The first steps Babu suggested the College can take to achieve these goals are 1) creating greater transparency in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; 2) creating greater accountability within data collection and recordkeeping of bias incidents through an ombudsperson and/or chief diversity officer; and 3) creating trust between IDEI and historically underrepresented groups on campus. 

Regarding step one, Babu described how difficult it was for him to obtain campus climate data as it is not publicly available. When he reached out to professors with his project idea and survey, many asked him for his data when he concluded with the project, suggesting that there is an interest in this kind of information. More than an interest, Babu stated, there is a need; campuswide access to campus climate data is “how we can best make policies at the College.” 

Following Babu’s presentation was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. Dr. Rahsaan Mahadeo, an assistant professor of sociology and Black studies, asked about the 90 percent of people who did not report their bias incidents and whether that may be because they lack faith in the system. Mahadeo explained that people may see bias reporting as an attempt to “treat a disease with a symptom of the disease” as it can often be an additional site of racialized violence. 

Babu responded that the data collection is necessary for our campus, but the way the College currently does it can be improved through the use of an ombudsperson or another impartial party. “I would recommend for kind of this floor-to-ceiling remodeling of IDEI and these bias reporting systems,” Babu said. Ultimately, he stated that both data and testimony are necessary to assess and understand these issues.

Jessica Gilman ’23 asked Babu if he had any recommendations for how students with privilege, particularly white privilege, can create a more welcoming environment, since 46% of bias incidents were committed by students. Babu explained that he did not really have the answer, but he emphasized that we must hold the perpetrators of discrimination accountable: “If we hold these perpetrators accountable, it demonstrates that the College has deemed these behaviors unacceptable.” 

Drawing on the data that showed 30 percent of bias incidents were committed by faculty, 10 percent committed by administration, and 10 percent committed by staff, Dr. Ashley Smith-Purviance, an assistant professor in the Black studies program and public and community service studies department, asked how we can prevent our students who witness and commit bias incidents from becoming teachers, professors, and police officers who commit bias incidents. Earlier in his presentation, Babu addressed the concerning statistics around discrimination coming from faculty, staff, and administration: “We are putting these people in places of power such that they can lead every student at Providence College to academic success.” Unfortunately, that does not always seem to be the case, and certain students, whom Babu calls the “outliers,” are most at risk as a result. 

Babu hopes that the main takeaway from his presentation is that we are all stakeholders at the College, and we all have a responsibility to push the needle forward if we want to see improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

PC Prof Publishes First Book

by npatano on April 21, 2022


Today at 6 p.m., the Black studies program is hosting a book launch to celebrate the publication of Akeem Lloyd’s book You Are Seen, You Are Heard, You Are Loved. In addition to teaching T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. in the Black studies program, Lloyd is a youth inspirational speaker with AkeemSpeaks and the CEO of A Leadership Journey. He believes that to understand how the organizations and his debut book came into being, one must understand his experience. 

Lloyd was raised by his grandparents in Atlantic City, NJ, who taught him indispensable lessons that made him who he is today. When Lloyd started preparing for college, he participated in the Education Opportunity Fund at Rutgers University-Camden. EOF helps young people who do not have the financial resources to go to college with financial, academic, and career support. 

Along with approximately 40 other people, Lloyd spent the summer taking classes similar to remedial high school classes. He soon found that he was not prepared for them and was told by his math teacher that he would fail out of the program. This was the first time that Lloyd realized he had the opportunity to be the first person in his family to graduate from a four-year institution, and he did not want to squander it. He worked hard for the remainder of the program and was able to go to college. Lloyd explained that this moment and the whole program “changed the trajectory of my life.” After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in African American studies from Rutgers in 2010, Lloyd received his master’s in urban education from Temple University. 

In 2016, AkeemSpeaks was launched to help Lloyd share his story and his truth with young people. AkeemSpeaks has allowed Lloyd to “work with young people [and] support young people in a way that I never imagined.” He realized that through his conversation with the youth, he could figure out what their challenges were and what they were actually experiencing. What became his “driving force” and the purpose of his work was the mental and emotional health of young people.

In the same year he began AkeemSpeaks, Lloyd also had the opportunity to go to South Africa to be part of a leadership team from an organization that was based out of Boston. This was the first time Lloyd traveled out of the country as an adult, feeling like this was “about to be the biggest adult experience I have ever had.”  

Lloyd became apprehensive when he learned that he would have to raise money because he had previously struggled to raise funds for another program he was working on. His grandmother told him, “If you really want to go, give yourself a chance.” This gave Lloyd the motivation to fundraise despite his original apprehension, and “before I knew it, I was able to raise enough money to get me to South Africa.”

When he arrived, Lloyd realized that in a group of at least 20 to 25 people, there were only three people of color and he was the only Black man. Despite the trip ultimately being a success for Lloyd, he could not stop thinking about what this meant for the opportunities available to “the young people who look like me.” Lloyd recognized this trip as a resume booster for the white youth who were fortunate enough to attend and will be able “to talk about how these experiences helped shape them, helped educate them, [and] helped prepare them.” Leaving South Africa, Lloyd started wondering what it would mean if the young people who look like him had this experience. 

When Lloyd brought his idea back home, he and his friends immediately decided to start fundraising: “We are going to give ourselves a chance.” 

Lloyd described the beginning stages of A Leadership Journey like “we’re building the plane as we’re trying to fly it.” As they were fundraising, they were also meeting twice a month about what ALJ needed to be. Lloyd knew that the organization needed to have “a holistic approach” and that it “needed to be more than just a travel program.” After they decided this, next came the group’s values: equity, access, health and wellness, and education. 

ALJ focused on youth aged 13-18 because “those populations don’t always have access to opportunities like the one that we wanted to provide.” However, “in order to give them access,” Lloyd stated, “we also had to make it equitable.” Lloyd did not want families to put themselves at a financial disadvantage in order to have their children participate in such an experience. Education was the most important value of ALJ, with the understanding that “education doesn’t always have to be classroom-related.” 

In June 2017, ALJ took their first cohort to South Africa, and this was when Lloyd realized that “A Leadership Journey really needed to be a thing” for young people. 

10 months later, ALJ took its second cohort to South Africa and received 501(c)(3) status; “and ALJ was now a thing.” In 2019, the third cohort went to Kenya. 2020’s trip could not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But last year, the fourth cohort from ALJ managed a successful trip to Ghana. 

With AkeemSpeaks and ALJ now thriving, Lloyd found himself “being encouraged to think about taking a chance in the classroom as a teacher.” Even though he had been encouraged for years by his mentors, Lloyd did not think that it was for him. Despite this, Lloyd’s experience with youth development and teaching began when he was just 14 as a peer mentor at the Boys & Girls Club in Atlantic City. Teaching became more important to Lloyd’s work with ALJ, as part of his responsibilities were programming and curriculum building. 

Lloyd first considered becoming a professor after speaking at an event hosted by the global studies department at Providence College. He met and stayed in contact with the leaders of the event, trying to “connect global studies and ALJ in a way that we could collaborate.” After mentioning his desire to teach, Lloyd was put in contact with Dr. Zophia Edwards, director of the Black studies program and an associate professor of sociology. Edwards “provided a space [for Lloyd] to talk about what I already had going on” and was looking into how Lloyd could become a professor. Dr. Trina Vithayathil, chair of the global studies department, made this dream into a reality. 

Vithayathil invited Lloyd to serve as a community fellow for her class “Comparative Race and Inequality,” giving him the opportunity to co-teach a college class in the global studies department. This was the first step to Lloyd becoming a professor, his “launching pad.” Lloyd was approved to be the professor of a curriculum that he designed himself, which he is teaching this semester on the topic of T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.

In November 2021, Lloyd began writing You Are Seen, You Are Heard, You Are Loved. The idea for the book began in 2018 as he began his workshops by telling young people “I see you, I hear you, I love you.” He felt that it was not only important for him to say, but for them to hear. 

Lloyd was inspired to begin writing after he received praise from his friends and colleagues on another book he was wrapping up and after seeing the statistics on how COVID-19 exacerbated the challenges young people were already experiencing. He stopped working on the other book “to help move this conversation forward in a positive way, in a very intentional way.” He thought, “If this book could help move this conversation forward, then I’m going to write it. And so I did.” 

Lloyd explained that the book’s title is a “universal message” for everyone to feel seen, to feel heard, and to be loved. He wrote it, however, keeping in mind that the majority of communities served by AkeemSpeaks were predominantly students of color. “I want every young person who feels as though they are invisible because they feel like a social outcast, or they feel isolated, to be seen in the stories that are written in the book.” He also hopes to inspire young people by giving them something to believe in, “something to hold onto.”

While You Are Seen, You Are Heard, You Are Loved was written with young people in mind, Lloyd hopes it reaches adult audiences as well. Lloyd hopes that parents and guardians read his book to provoke conversations surrounding wellness; to encourage more involvement; and to “break the cycle, break the stigma, [and] start creating a new, positive narrative around wellness.” He believes that lawmakers who read the book should be provoked to do more, to move this from conversation to written laws with financial support behind them. 

Lloyd emphasized that “this book isn’t about me.” While he used pieces of his own story that aligned with the stories and anecdotes he used, he wanted to “amplify the voices of young people.” By including bits of his story, though, Lloyd is saying, “No, I’m not just speaking on this because I see it, I’m speaking on this because I lived it.” 

Everything in the book falls under the three chapters, titled, “You Are Seen,” “You Are Heard,” “You Are Loved.” One of Lloyd’s favorite parts of the book is a compilation of the struggles and challenges that young people in his workshops have faced. It is his favorite part because “of how authentic they are.” If the stories do not show you that this is real, Lloyd explained, then “maybe these real pieces of paper with real challenges on them will.” 

Lloyd emphasized that You Are Seen, You Are Heard, You Are Loved is necessary at PC so that PC students can be more honest about what they are feeling and advocate for more services and support on campus. While Lloyd mainly works with people under the age of 18, he opens his book with a quote from a college freshman to demonstrate how applicable its lessons are to even college students who may act like they have everything figured out or that “everything is alright when it isn’t.” 

At the end of the book, Lloyd encourages his readers to use the #mystorywill to share positive affirmations and stories with him and a community reaching thousands of people. Lloyd hopes that someone can read how people responded to this prompt on social media and be inspired. 

You can purchase You Are Seen, You Are Heard, You Are Loved on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, or Once you make a purchase, reach out to Lloyd via social media so that he can send you a gift as a token of his gratitude.

To Eat or Not to Eat? The Choice May Not Be Yours

by John Downey '23 on March 3, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

To Eat or Not to Eat? The Choice May Not Be Yours

Film Review of The Platform

By Nicole Patano ’22

Hay tres clases des personas: los de arriba, los de abajo, los que caen. Such is the way in “The Pit,” a vertical prison imagined by writers David Desola and Pedro Rivera and put onto screen by director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia in The Platform (originally, El Hoyo). The Pit consists of at least 333 levels, with two prisoners on each level. Every day, a platform filled with a decadent array of food lowers from level zero until it reaches the last level, at which point it returns to level zero, always with no food remaining—only bones and broken bottles. 

At each level, the prisoners have two minutes to eat whatever they can; all food or scraps must be returned to the platform when it lowers or else the prisoners on that level will be boiled or frozen alive. By the time the platform descends 50 levels, most of the food has already been consumed or defiled by the 98 people above. Those on the higher levels—los de arriba—gorge themselves without thinking of those on the lower levels—los de abajo. The only exception is when those at the top step, spit, urinate, and defecate on the food in an attempt to make it inedible for those below them. 

At first, these acts seem to be completely senseless. It should not affect anyone who has already eaten if the people below them get to eat, right? Unfortunately (though sometimes fortunately), levels are reassigned each month. It matters not your age, race, class, gender, or crime—you can move from level 132 to level eight overnight. Gaztelu-Urrutia smartly places all of the action of The Platform in The Pit to show that regardless of who you are outside in the real world, once you enter The Pit, everyone is the same. 

The Platform is an anti-capitalism film. There is the obvious distinction between the people who run The Pit and the people who live in it; however, there is the added distinction between those at the top and those at the bottom of The Pit. The interesting dynamic in The Platform is the fact that the people within these categories change every month. Yet, you can clearly see how people adjust to their level, either acting with increased greed or desperation, always selfishly. Though one thing remains constant: they feel a sense of superiority over those below them and a sense of resentment towards those above them, even if they were in the same spot just one day ago. 

Empathy does not exist in The Pit. It really is every person for themself, which is why most people bring weapons as their one allowed item into The Pit. Even when some prisoners attempt to get others to ration what they eat in order to get more food to the people on the lower levels, violence and threats are the only effective means of persuasion. Those at the top refuse because they feel as though they deserve to eat better after being at the bottom or to prepare themselves for being at the bottom. Those at the bottom refuse because they need to eat all that they can to survive. 

Beyond its commentary on capitalism and power, The Platform is a fascinating look into individual responsibility and morality. What role can the individual play in destroying or reforming an unjust system? The film suggests that while individuals can only do so much, cooperation between individuals is necessary to make life in an unjust system survivable. Though, paradoxically, people must die in order to make the system survivable. Is it possible to ensure everyone in The Pit (or in society) can survive? The Platform suggests that the answer is “no.” In an unjust society, some must die so that others can live—hence, los que caen, those who fall. 

In addition to the primary message of The Platform, there is a secondary plot that viewers are introduced to early into the film: a mother who rides down the platform each month, desperate not for food but her child, whom she believes to be somewhere in The Pit. No children are supposed to be in The Pit; such a policy is meant to make The Pit a humane place. What would it mean if a child were discovered by those who prepare the food every day but who are not fully aware of how what happens to the food once it leaves level zero? You will have to watch The Platform to find out—though the ending may not leave you satisfied. 

Rating: 5/5 stars

When the Phone Rings, Answer It

by jmccoy3 on February 18, 2022

Editor's Column

When the Phone Rings, Answer It

by Nicole Patano ’22

While the phone in The Cowl office is fully functional, it gets almost as much use as the fax machine (which probably has not been used in over 10 years). If I am not in the office, the phone does not get answered. Though, to be honest, even when I am in the office, the phone does not always get answered. I am a firm believer in the old (circa 1979) adage that if it is important, the person will leave a message. 

Despite how nervous talking on the phone makes me, I will admit that seeing the glowing red indicator brings me an unreasonable amount of excitement. Who could be calling today? Someone requesting a copy of The Cowl? Spam? From the single message I received on Jan. 28, all I knew was that the person’s name was Frank Sullivan, he was a member of the class of 1965, and he wanted to speak to me. 

What began as a call to connect The Cowl with one of the Providence mayoral candidates turned into a coffee date spent poring over Providence College’s 1965 yearbook and discussing the history of both the College and local community. I left Seven Stars Bakery with the yearbook (to borrow), a LaSalle Academy class of 1961 baseball cap, and, most importantly, an arsenal of information to better understand what the College was like in the ’60s. Father Vincent Cyril Dore, O.P., was president of the College, students were trying to avoid the draft in whatever ways they could, and the men’s basketball team went 24-2 in the 1964-65 season. 

Frank told me that

The Punxsutawney Phil of Friartown

by jmccoy3 on February 11, 2022

Editor's Column

The Punxsutawney Phil of Friartown

by Nicole Patano ’22, Editor-in-Chief

In the past 135 years, Punxsutawney Phil and the groundhogs before him have predicted six more weeks of winter 104 times. Feb. 2 of this year was no exception. While we should not allow a prognosticating rodent to determine our seasons (especially when he is wrong 60 percent of the time), there is still something significant about Groundhog Day. However, it may have more to do with the film than the annual celebration. 

Groundhog Day tells the story of Phil Connors, a weatherman who becomes trapped in a time loop while reporting on the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, PA. Connors is forced to relive Feb. 2 over and over again until he gets it “right.” Meant to be a light-hearted comedy, Groundhog Day has garnered some pretty serious interpretations: Punxsutawney as purgatory, Punxsutawney Phil as Jesus Christ, the movie as economic theory or a metaphor for psychoanalysis, and so on. 

I like to think of Groundhog Day as a metaphor for everyday life. While you may not have the opportunity to redo the worst days in your life, you are expected to learn from them and become a better person. You can live each day independently of all others, and you can even live each day as if it will be your last; however, will that help you obtain happiness or achieve your life’s purpose? What does it mean to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? And what does it mean to live completely selfishly, thinking only of yourself, sometimes at the cost of others?

At the end of every day, ask yourself: Is today a day I would want to repeat? Then ask yourself how you could have made that day better than it was. What could I have done differently? 

Now, as I approach the end of my time here at Providence College, I wonder how I would answer these questions. Would I want to repeat my last four years at the College? Probably not. Ideally, I will wake up on May 23 in my bed at home, unbookmark Sakai and Cyberfriar, and go about my new life as a PC alumna. If I were to go to bed on May 22 and wake up on Aug. 23, 2018, there are a lot of things I would do differently. Honestly, if I were to wake up on June 21, 2018, the advising day for political science, I could find even more things to do differently. I could probably go back to when I first talked to my freshman-year roommate, when I first posted on the Class of 2022 Facebook page, when I first applied to PC, etc…

While I would not want to relive my time at PC, I think I would redo it until I got it “right” if I had the chance, especially knowing what I know now. However, we do not have the luxury of living in a fantasy time loop. When one day ends, the next begins. We may often think a do-over would be the best way to improve our lives, but maybe, just like Punxsutawney Phil, we are wrong about this, too.