Tangents and Tirades

by jmccoy3 on March 24, 2022


Fashionably Unequal: How Fashion Treats Women Differently 

Christina Charie ’25

Two-inch inseams. Bodycon dresses. Cheeky bikini bottoms. The list is incessant. The fashion industry continually projects these trends on women once the temperatures rise. While no one should be ashamed of showing their shoulders, the fashion industry leaves women with few options. A pair of women’s bermuda shorts is a distant memory from years ago. However, dress codes and conservative mindsets blame women for their buying habits when it is not necessarily a choice. 

Men do not have the same advertising pressures. A crew neck shirt with basketball shorts is perfectly acceptable to society for men. Meanwhile, women squeeze into ribbed baby tees and bike shorts, and shopping becomes impossible when juggling dress code restrictions, proper fit, and trends. Why do women have to wear ridiculously uncomfortable clothing to be considered fashion-forward? 

Ultimately, the fashion industry is sexualizing women. While an excessive emphasis on modesty can cause body image issues, the other extreme is also abhorrent. Sheer mesh dresses seen on supermodels present women as objects to be desired. The clothes distract from the intellectual and emotional value women have to offer while holding dangerous perceptions of the ideal female physique. With more women at the forefront of industries such as law and science, the fashion world remains in the past.  

The same principle extends into the cosmetic industry. Acne needs concealer. Wrinkles need creams. Lips need filler. There is no limit to the resources women need to put into appearances. Women are no longer objects for others to admire. It is time for the fashion industry to support women, rather than tearing them apart.  


Promiscuity in Rap

Sienna Strickland ’22

It is growing increasingly impossible to turn on the radio, browse TikTok, or scroll through Youtube’s trending music section without encountering sexually suggestive or vulgar content. Promiscuity in music, particularly mainstream music, is not new; sexually suggestive songs have been around since humans have. However, during a month in which we reflect on women’s achievements and social progress, it is important to ask ourselves if the overwhelming prominence of sexual themes in modern, mainstream music made by women is a step in the right direction. On one hand, women making music about their own bodies and promiscuity is a self-reclaiming of their own sexual agency, co-opting the trend of males being exclusively allowed to rap or sing about women’s sexual appeal. However, there are more dimensions to this question than liberation achieved through a normalization of both genders expressing and exploring sexuality in their music.

The practice is anti-feminist if it is forcefully reducing female artists to this “hot-selling” subject matter, excluding them from exploring others, and reducing them to their anatomy as well as what they do with it. Hearing messaging that women are primarily valued for their overt hyper-sexual appearances, attractiveness to men, or sexual skills can be negative for girls bourgeoning body images. Also, the music industry is full of old-money, ancient, out-of-touch men in suits dictating what these women talk about. The autonomy women have gained to openly express their sexualities is a positive, but when they are coerced by market incentives and contractual obligations to express themselves sexually, exactly how much agency they really have in this transaction gets called into question.

Women are certainly sexual beings, but they are also much more than that. During this women’s month, we must consider what true “liberation” of women is. It is not only an unabated expression of their sexual selves (that have historically been demonized), but also an exploration of other aspects of womanhood, femininity, and female creativity that are not produced for the monetary or sexual gratification of men, but for the genuine self-expression of women.

A Democracy of Hypocrisy: The Existence of the Electoral College Exposes Contradictory Ideals

by The Cowl Editor on November 12, 2020


This map displays the number of electoral votes granted to each state based on populations sizes. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Democracy of Hypocrisy: The Existence of the Electoral College Exposes Contradictory Ideals

by Sienna Strickland ’22

Opinion Staff

Last week, the American public watched anxiously to see who would prevail in the presidential election—a victory earned by securing at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes. In this election, Joe Biden won the majority support of the Electoral College, and it just so happens that he won the popular vote as well. Although this was the case for this particular election, electoral votes and the popular vote do not always align; a candidate can win the presidency even if they do not win the popular vote, so long as they garner 270 votes from the Electoral College. In consideration of this fact, the question arises: is the United States’ voting system flawed? After investigating the history behind the creation of the Electoral College, it becomes clear that our nation needs to reevaluate whether this system allows for true democracy. 

The men who established America were a ragtag bunch—at least, compared to their formidable cross-Atlantic opponents—who were forced by the urgency of their treacherous insurgency to be quick on their feet, lest they lose their heads.

After achieving an unlikely victory over the British in the Revolutionary War, the founders were not out of the woods. Rightfully weary of unrepresentative monarchical rule, but also historically aware of the grave dangers of unruly democracy, they were tasked with something seemingly impossible, and as we will explore, inherently contradictory as a result: finding a happy balance between the two extremes. The strong central authority that a monarchy provided was necessary, but the democratic diffusing of power amongst the people—to avoid the catastrophic uprisings that crumble oppressive systems—was too.

In other words, America, although a democracy on paper, is not really a full-fledged democracy in practice, as it gives people a say, but not too much. This would not be a scandalous opinion to the founders if they were to hear it; this inconsistency on their part was intentional. Perhaps the most overt example of this purposeful contradiction of America’s self-purported democratic values is the existence of the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is an institution which insulates the presidential election from coming into direct contact with the American people, and is full of electors that the American people do not themselves elect to represent them.

To understand why this institution exists, we must first understand the following: America is a tale of two approaches—revolutionary ideals, met with conservative implementation. If the Declaration of Independence is a revolutionary document, then the Constitution is a restrictive one.

At the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, a mere four years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, delegates met to discuss matters of America’s governance. Here, at the event in which the Electoral College was first created, these two approaches were on full display.

At the time, no other nation in the world directly elected its chief executive, so this radical resolution raised red flags amongst some of the delegates; America had already pulled off the feat of the century in successfully seceding from Britain, so it did not want to push its luck.

Dr. Joseph Cammarano, political science professor at Providence College, who is teaching a seminar called “President as Elected Monarch” in the spring, discusses the creation of the Electoral College as a contradictory compromise the delegates themselves were not overly-pleased with:

“It is very specifically, intentionally undemocratic, and was very clearly put in as a compromise, primarily to prevent the direct election of the president. It was put in because of the elitist notions of faithless electors, who thought it their duty to protect the outcome of the presidency from the masses. It is among the least democratic parts of our constitution.”

The Electoral College was a last-minute resolution, essentially scraped together by a group of tired men desperate to come to an agreement. One question remains: why did they believe direct election was so radical at all? Dr. Cammarano touches upon their motivations by labeling them as “elitist.”

With bodies still coating the battlefields and the ink fresh on the parchment, America was in a vulnerable position not only as a newborn nation, but as one that doubled as a democracy. Although we commonly accept democracy as one of the best modes of government, this was not always considered to be the case. Pure democracy, or citizens having complete say, has been critiqued since antiquity for being ruled by people too uneducated to make informed decisions for themselves, nevermind the nation. This rationale surely fueled such elitist assumptions, but were reasonable concerns for America at the time considering that significant portions of the population were illiterate. 

Now, centuries later, this is no longer the case. We are privy to improvements in our educational system, voting laws that have granted more access to our citizens, and have valuable hindsight our founders were not privy to. We are not in the same crucial timeframe they were. Instead of curbing the weight of the citizen’s vote, we should invest even more in our education systems, including civic engagement.

The Electoral College is in need of modification if it is to remain a part of our nation’s presidential election process. If we are to keep the Electoral College, there should at the very least be more transparency regarding who these electors are, and at most a process for us to elect our electors. If we do not, calling ourselves a republic—a government in which representative officials are elected by the people—is simply inaccurate.

The Problem with Political Debates: First Presidential Debate Was Symptom of Larger Disease

by The Cowl Editor on October 16, 2020


by Sienna Strickland ’22

Opinion Staff

In a country more politically divided than ever, there is one thing the American populace (and even foreigners for that matter) can agree on: the presidential debate was an utter embarrassment. It does not take an expert polls statistician to measure the public’s evident discontent with the debate. All it takes is a quick scroll through any social media platform to observe the data firsthand. 

As opposed to being informative, insightful, or substantive in the slightest, the debate instead played out much more like a WWE mudslinging fight—with the scripted dramatics to match. On Donald Trump’s side came his predictable propensity for interrupting those who are talking, often with inflammatory and sensational remarks. On Joe Biden’s side came subtle smirks and snickers that reeked of smug condescension. From both came refusals to address missteps they have made in the past.

Although the candidates’ childish behavior was certainly the biggest takeaway of the night, comparing their conduct does not get us very far, especially if we wish to revise the clearly flawed debate process in the future. Incivility is a symptom of the larger problem, a system that not only allows this type of conduct in our debates, but also inevitably produces it.

In order to understand how disastrous the debate was, we must understand what these debates purport to accomplish. The point of presidential debates is to help educate those watching understand how to make informed political decisions. Unfortunately, the current state of affairs makes this nearly impossible. 

Debates, which should involve participants engaging critically with the issue at hand, have rather become a combative contest which ends with a shiny prize: the presidency. The word “debate” is therefore an egregious misnomer for what is essentially a glamorized contest which is substantively empty at its core. 

The same revolutionary advances that have been made in the fields of political campaign communication technology that seem undoubtedly beneficial on their surface, are a seriously double-edged sword. Polls are more accurate than ever before. Analysts are able to break down demographics with machine-like efficiency. Campaign outreach has also soared to new heights with the invention of social media, allowing candidates to bypass traditional media, which has continued to be full of curious and critical journalists analyzing the candidates’ claims.

The campaign has more control than ever before over the narrative it chooses to spin, and this power is certainly exploited. The problem is therefore not just the increase in incivility, but the decrease in authenticity. An iconic example of this comes from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, in an interview with The Breakfast Club, during which she tells the Black hosts the food item she must have at all times is hot sauce. Charlemagne tha God responded, “Are you trying to pander to us right now?” To which Clinton answered with a nervous yet maniacal giggle: “Is it working?”

The candidates we see debating have a team of analysts and public relations professionals chirping in their ears   who have carefully dissected what their target demographic wants to hear, as opposed to what the moderator has specifically asked of them. This is because, in the game of politics, an unpolished response is a dangerous one. Campaigns do not want to invite any scrutiny—they want support, they want votes. 

Trump supporters want digs at Biden, and they are distrustful of a career politician who is a part of what they perceive to be a corrupt establishment. Trump’s analysts knew this, and delivered. One of Trump’s most common digs toward Biden was how the former vice president accomplished “nothing” in his 47 years of public service. 

Biden’s supporters want someone to tell the chatty president to finally “shut up”; they want someone who is serious about running the government. Biden’s strategy therefore included dismissing Trump as ridiculous, with  perhaps his most memorable line of the night being: “Will you, shut up, man?” He spoke more to the American people than he did directly to his opponent, because his supporters do not see Trump as someone worth engaging. 

All of this is orchestrated: every strategy, movement, comment, and attack. The way the game of politics is played is fundamentally artificial, posing a huge problem for a system of government that needs more transparency and nuance to conduct conversation properly. In addition to the insincerity comes the format of the back-and-forth insults as opposed to forming coherent responses. Both concepts contribute to a debate format that ultimately fails the American people by neglecting to deliver informative content.

On top of the insincerity plaguing American politics is the waning field of journalism. It is an unreasonable expectation for regular Americans to fact check every claim made by candidates independently, nevermind analyze their ramifications. This is the job of the media, commonly coined “the watchdog” of the republic. 

Unfortunately, journalism is a dwindling field, as it is both underfunded and understaffed. It has resorted to accepting money from anywhere it can, including political advertising. It is reported that essential local media outlets give voters less news in order to make way for more political propaganda, as that is what pays the bills. When a news network suffers from being understaffed, the populations of the areas that network covers subsequently suffer as a result, remaining largely ignorant of potentially huge news stories. Stories that are shared are often more reactive in nature than they are in-depth investigative pieces. The quality of the media has diminished significantly.

For those in power this is an ideal circumstance, as they can exploit the general ignorance of the American populace by feeding them curated public relations messages that are more interested in promoting political propaganda than anything of substance. Without a watchdog media presence able to hold these corporations and campaigns responsible, people are burdened with now having to become their own journalists, being asked to choose from an endless litany of flawed or intentionally misleading information with little to no help.

Our politicians are not above this behavior either. Advances in political campaign communication technology have allowed them to tap into the psychology of their candidates, and the death of journalism has resulted in a lack of accountability. This dysfunctionality of our democracy is perfectly exemplified by the first presidential debate, where outrageous pandering, overgeneralizing, sensationalizing, and mud-slinging to appease the teams’ specific “sides” were all on full display.

         How can we fix this? Many policy proposals have been offered as solutions to improve our debates. Some of these have been proposals to introduce mic-muting measures to prevent candidates from talking over one another and over the specified time limits. Another has been including more than two candidates in the debates to allow for a more fruitful discussion with more diverse viewpoints. 

These political appendages are essential services for the American people, and our democracy will not thrive until we all recognize them as such. These are great ideas that we should all consider, but the work ultimately starts at home. There are two things we can all start doing on the ground today: talking and listening.


The Butterfly Effect of Immigration: PC Hosts Providence Immigrant Rights Coalition

by The Cowl Editor on March 5, 2020


The butterfly is a recognized symbol for immigration due to their migration patterns. Photo courtesy of needpix.com

by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

What does an immigrant have in common with a butterfly? Christina Roca ‘21, vice president of the Providence Immigrant Rights Coalition, explains the organization’s inspiration behind the name they chose for their most recent event.

“Our public relations, Jackie Lopez ‘22, came up with the brilliant idea of The Butterfly Project. The butterfly is the symbol used for the immigrant rights movement,” Roca says. 

Like the millions of immigrants and migrant workers that travel seasonally to the United States seeking a better life, “tens of millions of monarch butterflies migrate up to 3,000 miles from the Northeastern U.S. and Canada down to their wintering grounds in Central Mexico to escape the frosts of winter.”

Both the immigrant and the butterfly flee from their harsh climates to arrive at a warmer destination—one where they can live. Despite the U.S being an international beacon of light for those seeking a better life, immigrants do not always receive fair treatment upon arrival.

Gisell Rodriguez ‘20, president of the organization, acknowledges the complicated nature of the solutions to neglected immigrants’ rights. She says, “There are multiple layers to addressing this issue; there are changes that need to be made at many different levels: nationally, systemically, ideologically, and even institutionally.” Although, complicated, the issue of immigrants rights is still solvable. In fact, as Rodriguez elaborates, there are tangible ways that we can attack the problem in our very own backyard. 

On college campuses, she says, “There should be increased representation and assured reliance that there are faculty members, counseling center staff, safety and security members, etc., that are allies. Students should feel comfortable disclosing information about their experience if need be. Everyone should have the ability to feel safety and belonging.”

Rodriguez is not alone in aiming to attack the problem from a grassroots approach. Roca emphasizes the importance of having resources for immigrants and allies on the Providence College campus as well, saying, “There needs to be an improvement in resources offered at the College. The only resource the campus has as of right now is an immigration liaison, run by Kara Cebulko, which was instituted just this past December.”

Sean Richardson ‘20, presenter at the event, says we must “focus on establishing the community as a whole and recognizing that this community exists. Because of the political implications, the students we seek to help are often pushed to the side or are forced to keep their identity hidden.”

Fostering an environment of awareness and open discussion, allowing these students to come out of hiding and embrace their identities, was PIRC’s goal at The Butterfly Project, and is their goal in general. The Providence Immigrant Rights Coalition is an organization meant to foster safe, open, and honest discussions about concerning and sensitive topics. 

Roca summarizes PIRC’S mission statement, saying, “PIRC is meant to ensure there is a space on campus for students to talk about the current immigration system and policies surrounding it, and more importantly, provide a safe space for students that may be impacted or are concerned about the current system; including and not limited to, undocumented students, students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), first and second generation immigrants, students from mixed-status family, and allies,” she details.

Richardson was a crucial part of the event. He led a workshop for students to participate in and shared some of his research in the process. “[Sean] has been conducting research on resources for students with immigrant backgrounds—whether it be first generation or second generation—who are either protected under DACA or TPS, or come from mixed-status families,” Rodriguez describes. Armed with an arsenal of new information, students were able to engage meaningfully with one another and the material. Richardson explains the composition of the event, saying, “It was set up as a workshop where people could have discussions on the topics but also have time to have a critical discussion on what it means to be an ally to this community.”

The Butterfly Project was a huge hit, so much so there were issues with fitting all of the attendees into one room. Roca describes the impressive attendance, saying, “We had the biggest turnout out of all the events we had held so far. Usually, we see the same people attend our events and meetings, but this time we had a different turnout of about 60 people trying to fit in the tiny Moore 118 classroom, which was amusing to witness.”

Although a definitive success, the board hopes that this is just the beginning. “We still need more support and representation from the PC community because the issues cannot be left in the hands of immigrant students themselves,” says Roca. “Hopefully we can create a domino effect where people learn from each other about how we can help marginalized populations.”

How can we all help? Rodriguez has an answer. “Learning and educating ourselves is crucial. The media and other things we tend to hear perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas; it is important to look these topics from all perspectives and to address individuals instead of generalizations. I encourage allies to engage in conversations, ask questions, show up to meetings or events, and show support,” she says.

If interested in becoming an ally, or if in need of support yourself, PIRC meetings are biweekly on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Moore 118. Their next event called #IStandWithImmigrants, a photoshoot in service of solidarity, takes place on March 27 in the Slavin fishbowl from 3:30-5 p.m.

Sign Up and Smell the Coffee!: A Look at Club Recruitment Processes

by The Cowl Editor on February 27, 2020


by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

Last week the Board of Programmers (BOP) held their spring semester coffeehouse to give incoming applicants a taste of what the club is like. 

Kevin Schwalm ‘21, BOP’s next president, sat down to share some information about the annual tradition practiced by many of the big clubs on campus. “The coffeehouse and open meeting are held before the application and interview process begins. This allows students interested in the club to learn more about what the club does for the campus. This year, the coffeehouse was held on Tuesday, February 18 and an open meeting was held during our regularly scheduled meetings on Wednesday, February 19,” Schwalm shares.

Student Congress also holds annual coffeehouse events during application season. Kelsey Christianson ’20 recommends that any students interested in improving campus life check out the informational session.

“Students that are interested in joining should come, as well as those interested in hearing more about the concrete things that Student Congress does on campus to make everyone’s experience better,” Christianson says.

Schwalm also encourages incoming applicants to attend the BOP coffeehouse to learn more about the club and to mingle, both with the board members and amongst themselves. He describes the average coffeehouse scene for the applicant, saying, “At the coffeehouse, the whole board is in attendance and we all talk and answer questions to anyone interested in learning more about the organization. We also have a brief slideshow that talks about the roles of each person on the board.”

He continued, saying, “Each committee chair has a slide and they discuss what their committee does as well as highlight some of the events they have done since the beginning of the school year. We also have applications available for anyone who is interested, and we discuss the timeline of the application process.”

In other words, despite the title, much more than mere coffee-sipping happens at coffeehouse events. They are  informative and interactive. The other event held by BOP during application season, usually following shortly after the coffeehouse, is the open meeting. 

These give a real-life look at what life as a member is like, offering the student a chance to dive right into the experience as a voyeur, and at times, participate in the meeting.

“At the open meetings, we allow anyone interested to see what a typical Board of Programmers meeting is like. The Board goes through a typical meeting as if it were a normal Wednesday. At this year’s meeting, one of the events we discussed was the Black and White Ball and it was great to hear what the people who attended the open meeting thought about the event. We also listened to their feedback on all the other events talked about at the meeting. After, members of the board were available to talk with any applicants who had questions about the application or about the process,” Schwalm says.

These events are typically very popular, as many are often vying to get at least a look into the popular on-campus organization.

“We had approximately 170 people attend the coffeehouse and 65 attend the open meeting. Typically, most people who attend the coffeehouse apply and most people who attend the open meeting also apply,” he says.

What happens, however, if one cannot attend? Will they be severely missing out or penalized during the application process?

Students who forget about, do not have the time to attend, or decide to apply after these events can collectively release a pent-up breath. Although these events provide students with great networking and informational opportunities, the rumors whispered about them being necessary or significant enough to merit acceptance into the club are not true.

Christianson addresses this common concern, conceding that although it looks good, there is no preferential treatment given to attendees.

“The attendance at the coffeehouse does not have much of an impact on the student’s chance of getting on the club. It does show, however, that the student does have a piqued interest in the club and is actively looking into it. The student, however, still must interview or run an election like everyone else,” she says.

Schwalm contributes, describing how much weight these events really hold to the BOP exec board.

“We look at every applicant equally. We understand that it can be difficult for students with busy schedules to attend one or both of the events. The coffeehouse and open meeting are not officially part of the application process, but function more as a way for students to learn about what we do as a club and to see if they are interested in applying,” he says.

In other words, while important and recommended, it is certainly not a requirement to sip coffee or sit in on the exec board.

This does not mean those interested in applying should not try to obtain the information shared at these events. For the students who are unable to make it, there are alternative options.

Christianson talks about some of these methods for students looking to join Student Congress.

“If students cannot attend the coffeehouse, we have our general meetings every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.in Ruane LL05. Here, the student can listen to an active meeting and see what actually goes on. Also, our elected class members and committees put on events throughout the year that students can attend to see the event planning side that Congress takes on. We also have a Food Committee, run under our Student Life Committee, that meets with the head chef of Ray monthly, and any students can join to have their voice heard about the dining on campus,” she says.

In regards to BOP, Schwalm assures that the office door is always open for students with any questions.

“If students are unable to attend the coffeehouse, or have questions regarding the application process or application itself, we welcome them to come in the office and have a discussion with someone on the board who can give them more information. There is always someone in the office during the day, and they would love to chat with anyone about the club,” he says.

Both the BOP and Student Congress offices are located in lower Slavin. BOP applications are due Friday, February 27, and the Student Congress application season begins again this fall.

Coffee houses are an effective tool used by clubs to promote themselves.
photo courtesy of pixaby.com

What to Know Before You Go: Tips for PC Students Who Want to Go Abroad

by The Cowl Editor on February 6, 2020


Study abroad students can be seen posing in their favorite PC gear around the world. Photo courtesy of Kyle Fitzsimons ’18.

by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

It’s official: abroad season is upon us. Providence College has given applicants the green light. Students are saving up their money and they are applying to their programs. They are consulting with advisors and other adults in their lives, asking for helpful advice and recommendation letters. They are also, and perhaps rightfully so, panicking. 

Getting approval from the College is only the beginning; there is still much left to be done for those planning to go abroad next year, and deadlines are slowly but surely inching closer and closer. People are asking: “How can I afford this?” “Will my credits transfer?” “How will I live?” “Will I be safe?” amongst many other inquiries. Who can they turn to for help?

Dean Joe Stanley and Assistant Dean Grace Cleary are a place to start for students in search of these answers. Working for the College’s Center for Global Education, they get students coming in and asking these questions every day. 

 “A common concern students have regarding going abroad is paying for it,” Stanley says. “Students have the option to try applying for aid from our Santander Bank. It is our corporate partner on campus, who allocates funds to help students abroad cover their costs.” 

Cleary adds her own advice, and it is positive news for students who receive financial aid packages: “When going abroad, you are charged PC tuition, meaning that your PC financial aid package is also carried over. For example, if you receive a Pell Grant here, you will receive it abroad, and some providers, like SIT [the School for International Training] will give you extra funding on top of that.”

What if you wanted to switch studies? Cleary generally discourages students from doing so this late in the process, saying: “At this point, we generally advise against students switching their chosen abroad program, unless there is an appropriate reason, such as them declaring a new major or dropping an old one. One reason for this is that the visa application process can be lengthy, and we want students to have ample time to complete it.” 

Andrew Balmer ‘20, talks about his application process, and how getting a visa was the most difficult part for him. “The application process through the school was actually pretty straightforward. My grades were good and I had no disciplinary issues. The difficulty for me was then applying for a student visa for Austria. I had to have multiple copies of a lot of different forms, along with bank statements from my parents since they would be the ones supporting me while I was in Austria, and my passport and birth certificate. I had to take all of these documents to the Austrian consulate in New York. I turned over everything I had and then crossed my fingers. Two weeks later my passport came in the mail with the visa document glued onto one of the pages.” 

Dean Stanley gives another reason against switching late in the process, saying, “If students are seeking to re-apply to one of our flagship programs, we cannot guarantee them room. There is a cap limit for each of them.” 

The different flagship programs are Civ in London, PC in Rome, PC in Shanghai, EDU in Belfast, and EDU in Florence. PC in Shanghai has been delayed for the semester, due to China being labeled as a level four on the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory’s scale because of the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Another common concern was the safety of the visiting countries. “Every country on our list has been vetted and deemed safe, with consultation from our legal council and committees, as well as informed by rankings done by the travel advisory,” Stanley says.

“We continue to address these issues during our pre-departure orientation event,” Cleary says. This event is held shortly before abroad students leave to prepare them for their upcoming semesters. “There we cover everything students need to know immediately before leaving,” she explains.

In addition to wanting a wider outreach, Stanley says that the College would like PC students to engage in more diverse travel locations as well. “For the PC in Shanghai program, we were offering free housing to give people the extra incentive to go,” says Stanley.  Only a handful of people signed up. 

This is because, for the most part, PC students enroll in more well-known locations. “85 percent of people travel to Europe,” Stanley remarks. ”And then those people come back and tell the underclassmen all about how amazing those places were, and we see a repeating pattern of who goes where. It helps create this kind of stigma in favor of some countries over others,” Cleary adds.

The deans hope to increase membership in these less sought after programs by first increasing student awareness of their existence. However, other limitations including rigorous course schedules, incompatible program requirements, and extraneous costs for flights, housing, food, and other living expenses, must also be accounted for. 

 “We still recognize the limitations that keep people from going despite our efforts, whether it be they are unable to fit going abroad into their rigorous schedules, they cannot find a program that fits their studies, or they can’t afford it. We are always there to help a student find the right program for them, and assist in any way we can, especially in pointing them in the right direction for extra scholarship opportunities,” Stanley says.

The Center for Global Education’s walk-in hours are every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. in Harkins 215. If you are unable to make these times, call 401.865.2114 to schedule an appointment. 

Self-Made Students: Exploring PC’s Individualized Major Program

by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019


by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

Throughout our lives, we have repeatedly been asked the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” This has been asked by parents, school counselors, and even by the colleges we apply to when we are asked to declare a major. 

For Providence College students asked this question, they must consider over 50 major and minor programs before answering. Students are thus traditionally left with two options: either they can declare what resonates with them, or remain undeclared. 

However, what happens to that student stuck in the middle of these two choices? The student who possesses neither an enthusiasm to explore the official programs, nor the desire to enroll undeclared? What if they simply like something that is not offered here?

Luckily, students like these need not fear, stress, or transfer, as PC has a program designed to help accommodate them and their specialized interests. There exists a third option, a happy medium that allows them to attend PC while also studying what they want to—the individualized major program.

PC’s Make-a-Major program requires a specific procedure to be followed, as Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Wanda Ingram explains. First in their proposal, the student must “briefly explain why existing major programs within the College do not adequately meet their educational, professional, or personal goals. The student must then generally describe their proposed program and how it satisfies the College’s mission,” she states.

After the student has created the idea, all they need to come up with are the details. “The student must then separately list their major requirements and major electives, and briefly justify each selection by relating them to the major’s themes and goals. Finally, the student must make a calendar listing the courses they have taken or are planning to take each semester up until their projected graduation date.”

Students are not out of the woods just yet after completing these steps. After drafting a cohesive plan of their courses, curriculum, and schedule, they still must receive a stamp of approval, as Corrie Traverse ’20 describes. “In order to create your own major, students have to submit their Individualized Major proposal to Father Mark Nowel, O.P., in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies. Once submitted, the proposal is then considered by Fr. Nowel  and an executive subcommittee where they will either approve or deny your individualized major.”

Traverse successfully underwent this process and is now a communications and media studies major. She discusses her trajectory here at PC, and how this choice changed it for the better.

“After my freshman year, I was considering transferring to another school because I could not find a program of study that I was interested in. During the summer before my sophomore year, I met with Peter Palumbo who introduced me to the program, and I began the process right away. My major got approved by Fr. Nowel, O.P., in June following my sophomore year. The application process took me about a year in total. Creating my own major allowed me to really have control over my academic experience at PC. I was able to design my own field of study and really be specific about the courses I wanted to take and was interested in pursuing. The process taught me perseverance, determination, and to keep going despite rejection,” Traverse says.

In addition to general resistance students may face, they must also deal with the whole their-major-not-technically-existing-at-the-College-thing. This is especially true during the hectic registration season, as many individualized majors have explained.

As individualized majors, students do not get priority registration for several departments, including the business school, since they are not technically business majors. These students have to hope that the classes they have listed as requirements for graduation do not fill up before they can register; otherwise, they are out of luck. 

There is also the issue of planning when courses are offered, as many of the classes individualized majors put as requirements are only offered once a year and conflict with many other classes necessary to take for graduation.

Traverse, who also acknowledges the difficulty of participating in PC’s individualized major program, concedes that the hard work is worth it.

“Although my proposal was approved in the end, it definitely was not easy getting to that point. I was required to get approval signatures from many advisors, and department heads who were skeptical at times. However, despite this I’m thankful for the experiences and those a part of PC faculty and administration that showed me support throughout the process and helped me make the appropriate edits to create the best individualized major,” she says.

For those students who also find themselves in the middle, willing to take the path less traveled—PC has a plan for you—to pave one for yourself. And, if you are prepared to deal with the inevitable bumps along the way, it will make all the difference.

PC offers plenty of resources for students with questions regarding their individualized majors.
photo courtesy of pxhere.com

It’s Called Fashion, Look It Up: BOP Fine Arts Hosts PC Alumni in the Fashion Industry

by The Cowl Editor on October 31, 2019


by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

Providence College’s Board of Programmers (BOP) is always busy planning fun events for students around campus. Anne Barbera ‘21, member of the Fine Arts committee, talks about the contributions Fine Arts makes to campus life.

The Arts Committee has had a busy year so far with a myriad of diverse programming, but, until last Thursday, had yet not ventured into the field of fashion. “Style Sophisticated,” an event held in ‘64 Hall on Oct. 24, changed this.

Barbera, one of the main planners behind the event, discussed the event’s origin story, stating, “I have always been interested in fashion, and felt that it was an area PC needed to touch upon more. I was deeply fascinated by the fact that we have successful women PC alum who work in the industry. I felt that more people should know about these talented women and the paths they had to take—as well as receive some fashion advice in the process!”

Like previous Fine Arts events, the turnout was impressive. Students, like Barbera, recognized the unique opportunity to hear from these women working in fashion. “The turnout was great, Kelly Schneider and Sarah Viens [the speakers] were very informative, and overall everything went wonderfully. It was an honor to have them.”

“The Fine Arts committee is one of the ten committees on the Board of Programmers,” Barbera says. “We plan all of the events that have to do with the arts.”

Continuing by listing some events the committee has hosted this past year, Barbera states, “We held a trip to the Boston Arts Festival, put together a tie-dye making event on Slavin lawn called ‘Clear Skies and Tie Dyes,’ and also had a vision board- making event in McPhail’s.” These events have all been massive successes in terms of turnout, often running out of materials within an hour of their start time.

Fine Arts has done a lot of work this year, but they are nowhere near done. “We would like to continue to reach audiences on campus that we have never thought to reach before with our events. This year so far, we have been doing a great job on diversifying our projects, but we are by no means complacent. We are hoping to wow the crowd with the events we have on the horizon for the rest of the semester.”

Barbera gave a quick preview of some of these future events. The Fine Arts committee has two events planned for the upcoming month of November. On Nov. 5 they will be hosting a trip to Providence Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. to watch the Aladdin musical. They will also be hosting a muse painting event called “Drink and Dabble” on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Schneider and Viens talk about their experience in the fashion industry.
Brianna Colletti ’21/THECOWL

PC Holds 10th Annual Friar 5K

by The Cowl Editor on October 10, 2019


Friars of all ages ran this year’s 5K.
Brianna Colletti ’21/thecowl

by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

This past Homecoming weekend, on Saturday, October 5, hundreds of faculty, students, family, and alumni were gathered around Harkins Hall to participate in the Friar 5K—an annual 3.1 mile run. 

Participants were not the only ones in attendance, as residents around the area lined the streets to watch the runners. 

Student volunteers handed out apples, oranges, water bottles, and Gatorade after the race on the track. Tents were set up on Slavin Lawn featuring pizza, calzones, apple cider donuts, and more from local establishments. 

Students from all running backgrounds participated in the race. These included anybody from former track stars, to people merely looking for a challenging bout of exercise. Alex Chapparo ’22, who ran on Saturday, falls somewhere between the two.

Chapparo has been running for a good part of her life. “Growing up my dad did triathlons, marathons, and 5Ks at least monthly, so I’ve always grown up running. It’s been my steady stress relief no matter what stage of life I’m in.”

A long-time lover of running, Chapparo jumped at the chance to participate in the 5K. Only one small problem: her decision to participate was made a mere two weeks before the race. So, how does one prepare themselves for a 5K, especially in such a short period of time?

She admits that her past, as well as current, running experience was helpful in her preparation, but admitted she still had a lot of work to do in order to get into proper shape. She describes her workout routine leading up to the race.

“I try to run two to three miles at least twice a week no matter what, but in the days leading up to the race I slowly increased my distance daily until I was comfortable running five or six miles. That’s when I started lowering the distance a bit more and focusing some on my split times.”

Other than upping the distance of her weekly runs and increasingly working on her speed, Chapparo also talks about her specific gym routine. “I always start every workout with some type of cardio and then rotate different areas to focus on. Leading up to the race I made sure to increase reps and lower the amount of weight I was lifting to try and gain more lean muscle.“

In addition to the physical aspect of preparation, being mindful of her diet was another integral part to the process—emphasizing “protein, protein, and more protein!” She describes her typical meal. “Protein was super important! My go-to food was chicken, some type of bean, and lots of hummus and veggies for dinner!”

Despite careful preparation for the race, facing difficulties during the actual run is inevitable. Chapparo cites her biggest challenge on race day—which ironically, had nothing to do with her physical condition. “My biggest mental challenge was making it past the first mile,” she says, adding that “Once I settled into my pace however, it was smooth sailing from there!”

Smooth sailing it was. The day turned out great—with all types of members in or associated with the PC community coming together. With the help of her preparation routine, and encouragement from PC student volunteers cheering on the sidelines, Chapparo successfully completed the race. 

She had a great time doing it, stating: “The race went amazing, the day was beautiful, and I was so blessed to be running alongside so many fellow dedicated running Friars!”

Featured Friar: Laura Arango ’20

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019


Arango has many responsibilities on campus
besides running OLAS. photo courtesy of Laura Arango ’20

by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

Laura Arango ’20 leads a busy life on campus and has quite the impressive resume. “Here at PC, I am Head RA of Cunningham, Mal Brown, and Di Traglia. I am the founder and certified facilitator for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Support Groups that take place on campus. I am a Feinstein Fellow with my site at the RI Free Clinic. I am also on the Diversity Outreach Committee through the Admissions Office. Finally, I am the NAMI Rep on the Active Minds Exec Board and an active member of BMSA.”

Amongst the lengthy list of Arango’s obligations, there is one that stands apart from the rest—OLAS. What is this organization, and what makes it so special? 

Arango answers this question, stating, “OLAS is short for the Organization for Latin American Students, and it is a safe space for latin(x) students on campus, but we do not limit ourselves to the latin(x) community. We believe any student that wants to be a part of a loving, open-minded, and caring community is welcomed at OLAS.”

This caring community that OLAS fosters is what makes this specific club stand out so much amongst her other commitments. She elaborates on this sense of community, saying, “My favorite thing about OLAS is the community it creates. OLAS is where I met my best friends; it is where I learned more about my own culture; it is where I felt accepted, and it is where I felt like I was experiencing a piece of home.”

Arango loved OLAS so much that during her tenure as a member it became an aspiration of hers to join the executive board. “I joined exec because I knew I could bring commitment, passion and creativity to the board. I know that OLAS had so much potential that had yet to be fulfilled and I wanted to be a part of the mission to meet and exceed that potential. So I decided to run for Vice President, and I got it. Fast-forward a year and I am now President and it has been a fun, wild ride so far.”

Now that Arango is president of the club, she has direct influence over the direction it will take in the future. She is responsible for much of the networking, organizing, and planning behind the scenes. 

“I meet with different organizations on campus to discuss co-sponsorships. I meet with my exec board on a weekly basis to plan out OLAS meetings and I, alongside my exec, run the OLAS meetings with our members. I also take pride in always advocating for OLAS, making sure our voices and our presence is heard and known, and always pushing OLAS to keep growing and expanding,” Arango says.

The future for OLAS looks bright, and so does the future for Arango. She has had a busy senior year so far but is making an active effort to enjoy it while it lasts, saying, “Senior year has been busy, but great. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year will bring and all the amazing memories I will be making with the people I love and care about.”

As for her own personal aspirations for her future, Arango has begun thinking about what is waiting for her in her life after PC. “Post-graduation I plan on taking a gap year to work on my med school applications and to study for the MCAT. During this year I’ll be working at the RI Free Clinic and hopefully traveling! Ideally, ten years from now I’ll be happily married, with an MD Degree and many, many dogs. Most importantly though, I just want to be happy, healthy, and surrounded by people I love.”