Off-Campus Beat: Crisis in Colombia
by Tait Becker ’19
The lives of 254 Colombians have been claimed after a mudslide, followed by torrential rain that tore through many towns in southern Colombia. The most affected area was the province of Mocoa and its surrounding towns, as many rivers in the area began to flood the streets, sending a forceful surge of mud through the area. The storm that caused this widespread damage came in the middle of the night, so many had no idea what was actually happening.
According to The New York Times, one survivor recalled, “People were running and yelling the names of family members. Others were screaming at God.”
A state of emergency was declared earlier this week by President Juan Manuel Santos as resources and available personnel are both quickly diminishing. The number of deaths continues to rise as more rubble is uncovered from the mud.
Many have argued that this disaster, along with the widespread flooding also occurring in Peru, is a result of climate change in the region. Furthermore, several leaders have spoken in favor of continuing and expanding the conversation on climate change in the hemisphere. Climate change, which has been indicated by heavy rain and potentially caused by high levels of deforestation, has begun to make many communities extremely vulnerable to further natural disasters.
While this is a topic that will continue to be at the forefront of hemispheric security concerns, the situation in Mocoa continues to deteriorate with each passing day.
Water, supplies, food, and medical equipment have been cut by the mudslide. The Red Cross has been working to try and transport these essentials to the community; however, the isolated and mountainous location has created complications in accessibility. The latest hardship that the community has faced is the lack of room to store the deceased bodies, which are beginning to pile up in the streets. “You smell it for hundreds of feet,” one observer noted. “There are people who faint when they open the bags and the bodies are putrefied.”
Any assistance in the form of food or labor is greatly appreciated as rescue volunteers continue to work day and night to help those affected by this disaster.
Club Spotlight: Her Campus
Tait Becker ’19
Among one of the last Big East schools to launch a chapter, Providence College has recently decided to bring back Her Campus. Originally started in 2014 by Ashley Santiago ’17, along with other students, Her Campus is a new online platform for students to share their experiences at PC beyond the campus borders.
This club has given students the opportunity to write for Forbes Magazine, the self-described “number one media site for college women.” Participants in the club aim to share their PC experiences and profiles of other students, professors, and faculty in an effort to share why PC is special to so many people.
Her Campus gives students the ability to write about a variety of topics, with great emphasis placed on students writing about what is intriguing and special to them about their time here at the College. Topics range from fashion trends to personal experiences on and off campus.
While the club is still working towards becoming an approved club on campus, they are actively seeking those who are interested in getting involved in this type of writing experience. Members hope that, by writing about the PC environment, lifestyle, and academics, future Friars will be able to get a sense of what it feels like to be a part of the Friar Family.
Looking ahead, Santiago said, “I feel really excited to be a part of Her Campus. Even though we just started, I’m really looking forward to see what this can become and how much fun we can have with it.”
Any interested students can find out more information by contacting Santiago via email at AshleySantiago@hercampus.com.
Off-Campus Beat: Environmental Spotlight
by Tait Becker ’19
The deep-rooted partisan issue of the scientific validity of climate change has yet again surfaced as New England continues to experience an unusually mild February. Record high temperatures throughout the region have begun to raise questions as to whether or not climate change is beginning to impact the United States in new ways
Several environmental activist groups have begun to express concerns about the future of the energy and environmental programs in the U.S. under the Trump administration. President Trump’s recent selection of Mike Catanzaro as top energy aid, paired with his selection of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has raised red flags for many involved in this sector.
Pruitt, who was confirmed by the Senate with a 52 to 46 vote, has led or been part of 14 lawsuits aimed at blocking EPA regulations and Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives. Pruitt has also been under scrutiny for his close ties with oil and gas industries. Trump has been both praised and under fire for his plan to scale back and reduce the power of the EPA.
In the absence of a national policy regarding this issue, many local and state leaders have started to speak out in favor of developing a national plan to grapple with this issue. The past few months have indicated that the scientific projection which shows that global warming will continue to increase might be accurate. This information comes in as states in the midwest continue to struggle with droughts, reducing the availability of water and other energy-related resources.
The Trump administration’s eagerness to expand development and infrastructure in the fossil fuels sector seems to be a top priority. The recent approval of access to the Dakota Pipeline, which was granted by the Army, will begin to be implemented. This may end the longtime standoff between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other activists protesting the pipeline.
Aside from the alleged disruption of ancient burial grounds, several environmental activists, politicians, and other officials have claimed that the project would create immense environmental harm to the surrounding areas. The 1,170 mile long pipe would cross four states, carrying crude oil from North Dakota into the Midwest.
President Trump has spoken at great lengths about the importance of developing a more effective infrastructure that would support the acceleration of domestic energy production.
This new fight for the prohibition of this construction has sparked a more generalized push for the Trump administration to address the broader issue of climate change. Despite Trump’s previous claims that he is committed to improving infrastructure projects, it still remains unclear if these projects will be energy-related.
Off-Campus Beat: Judges & Judicial Review
By Tait Becker ’19
The Intramural Athletic Board (IAB) is an organization that allows students to get involved with running the intramural sports program. There are 18 current members of the board, and four who hold executive positions: Kaitlin Koste ’17, president; Joe DeChirico ’17, vice president of operations; Robert Taranto ’17, vice pesident of administration; and Kaitlyn Dempsey ’17, vice president of marketing.
DeChirico says the task of the IAB “is to make sure the intramural program runs as smoothly as possible and to make sure that students have a great overall experience.” The executive board meets with the Assistant Director of Intramurals, Nick Sweatt, to run day-to-day operations and to discuss big-picture goals.
The board members supervise the sporting events, and many of them are also officials. The IAB also completes administrative tasks, such as putting together equipment, creating scoresheets, and inputting statistics.
Along with supervising the 23 sports offered, the board runs some late night programming events, such as the basketball tournament that is held after Late Night Madness. The entire board meets together once a week.
DeChirico says “IAB is one of the smallest clubs on campus, so we always consider ourselves family.” The members of the board, along with running intramural sports, also participate in many of these sports.
DeChirico says, that since becoming a member of the board, he has participated in almost all the 23 intramural sports offered. The members of the IAB also get paid for their work. The application for new members will be sent out shortly before spring break. Information about the IAB can be found on their Instagram, via @pc_iab.
PC Receives Generous Gift From Alumnus
By Tait Becker ’19
The School of Continuing Education (SCE) at Providence College is growing larger and larger every day. With continuing support from alumni and donors, the program has expanded immensely within the past couple years. Recently a PC alumnus, gifted the SCE with $50,000.
Colonel Noel J. Doyle ’58 accredits much of his success to his time here at PC. A former ROTC member himself, Doyle served his country in the Army for 30 years, including two tours in Vietnam.
In response to this generous gift, the SCE created the “Support Scholarships for Military Veterans” fund. Named by GI Jobs magazine as a “Military Friendly” school and a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, this type of assistance to those who serve falls in line with many of the values that the PC community seeks to embody.
While many returning veterans seek to further their education, they are sometimes confronted with a lack of funding, or employment, which would enable them to otherwise enroll in programs like those offered here in the SCE.
This type of scholarship will greatly aid in helping to close the gap between the benefits that the Veteran’s Association gives to those seeking to further their education and the cost of enrollment to these classes.
This scholarship will be available to those who have been honorably discharged from the military. This scholarship will also seek to give special emphasis to those who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other Middle East combat zone.
Dr. Janet L. Castleman, dean of the PC SCE, described the wonderful actions of Colonel Doyle as such, “SCE is overwhelmed by the generosity of Colonel and Mrs. Doyle and their support of our student veterans.”
The gift from Doyle and his wife reminds the PC community of the vast network of alumni who have attended this institution and graciously given back to the school through various types of donation.
PC has a long history of working to integrate this community into the school. As the home of the Patriot Battalion of the Army ROTC, PC has worked incredibly hard to foster a sense of thankfulness among its community for the young men and women who choose to serve this country, while attending undergraduate classes.
Through scholarships like this newly established one, the College will be able to embrace not only the undergraduate community but also those who choose to continue their education after they have served. As a Dominican institution, PC has always worked to give back to those who are in need of help. This grant is exciting for many members of this community who are looking forward to giving back to those who have sacrificed so greatly for the sake of safety and security.
The scholarships that are a result of this generous grant will be given out beginning with the enrollment of the 2017 summer classes.
World News Briefs: Division in D.C.
by Meaghan Dodson ’17 and Tait Becker ’19
Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, January 20.
The Obamas were there to greet the Trumps at the White House, with President Barack Obama stating, “Mr. President-elect, how are you? Good to see you. Congratulations.” Hillary Clinton, who lost the recent presidential election despite winning the popular vote, was also in attendance at the ceremony with her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
Trump then proceeded to the Capitol where, at noon, he officially took the oath of office and addressed the nation for the first time as the President of the United States.
A sizable crowd came to witness the swearing in, but the exact number is still being determined. White House spokesman Sean Spicer stated that the crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” Others, however, observed that the crowd looked noticeably smaller than the crowd for Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” President Trump stated. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.”
Concluding his inauguration speech, he stated, “Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again.”
Less than 24 hours after President Trump’s inauguration, people around the world stood in solidarity with those marching in The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Protests occured everywhere from London to Antarctica to Sydney in an effort to demonstrate feelings of discontent after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Marchers walked through the streets of Washington, D.C., with signs reading, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Damental Human Rights,” and “We Shall Overcomb.”
Many of the protests aimed to target issues that the marchers believe will be threatened during the Trump presidency. Ending violence against women, reproductive rights, and workplace equality were among the most prominent of these issues.
In addition to many women’s issues that were brought up, Brexit, gay and bisexual protection, and nuclear weapons were all topics of controversy for these groups of individuals.
Katy Perry, Cher, and several other celebrities were present at the march, while many others shared their support via social media. Gloria Steinem and America Ferrera, meanwhile, were just two of the event’s speakers.
President Trump responded to the march via Twitter, stating, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote?”
Although the exact numbers are still being determined, some analysts suggest that the march had three times more people than President Trump’s inauguration.
World News Briefs 1.19.17
by Tait Becker ’19
New Information Strains U.S./Russian Relations
ump, the release of potentially compromising information from the Putin administration has shed greater light on the adversarial relationship between the United States and Russia. While Russia has denied these allegations, there is still skepticism among many top U.S. officials as to the intent behind the release of these documents.
The confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s top advisors have also led to in-depth questioning about the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Many Americans view Russia as a threat to the national security of the United States; the Trump administration, however, has expressed an interest in working with Russian President Vladimir Putin to redefine the relationship between these two countries.
China Heads for Dangerous Waters in SouthEast Asia
China’s increasing military presence in the Southeast Asian seas has sparked concern about the intentions of China in these areas. In 2016, the construction of “man-made” islands in these waters surprised many, as the legality of these actions still remains largely ambiguous. To many Americans, these actions show China’s disregard for the established laws that govern international waters. Earlier this week, the passage of Chinese ships through the Taiwan Strait has raised concerns that China will attempt to reintegrate Taiwan into their sphere of influence in an effort to greater concentrate their power in Southeast Asia.
United States Assists Japanese Defense Efforts
This past week, the United States sent $104 million worth of F-35s to Japan in an effort to display their ongoing support of Japan’s efforts to protect and defend itself from other countries within their region, specifically from North Korea. The efforts of North Korea to increase the capabilities of its nuclear program in the recent months has prompted the United States to reinforce its political alliance with Japan, especially since the country is located in a highly strategic area. Combined with the shady behavior of China this past week, the United States continues to work in an alliance with Japan in an effort to increase stability and security within the Southeast Asian region of the world.
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Turkish Shooting
Two weeks after a nightclub shooting rocked the city of Istanbul, the manhunt in search of the individual responsible for the shooting has finally concluded. The Islamic State publicly claimed responsibility for the shooting that left 39 people dead and nearly a dozen more injured. ISIS claims that this attack was carried out in retaliation for the Turkish military activities in Northern Syria over the past couple months.