Honors Students Headed to Philly

Dr. Amy Smith has led Hilbert College’s Honors Program since 2001. Smith said students usually have at least one opportunity to travel with the program.

This year, Smith is taking three students participating in this year’s Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference. The conference theme is “A More Perfect Union: Creating and Restoring Community in an Age of Disruption” and Smith’s students will cover topics on political platforms, residential segregation, and substance abuse.

To be considered for the program, students must apply with a letter stating why they feel they deserve a spot in the program and a letter of recommendation.

Smith’s advice for students interested in the program is to come willing and ready to learn.

“The kind of student who is willing to take a little bit of a risk to explore new areas and try different things, they want to expand their horizon,” Smith said. “Sometimes they’re asked to do things they aren’t always comfortable with, but it’s beneficial in the long run. . . I like students who are willing to do that, speak up in class, challenge ideas and opinions, even if they’re mine. Students who are thinking, that’s one of the key things. They aren’t always the best writers or test-takers, but they’re good thinkers and like to think. I think that’s another important attribute to have that aspect to them as well.”

There are many benefits exclusively for honors students; students get early registration, a scholarship, courses solely for honors students, traveling, the honors lounge, and more.

Smith took students to Italy, England, Barcelona, Kenya, Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, and more during that time.

“I enjoy taking students somewhere they’ve never been before,” Smith said, “Even if I’ve been there before, getting to see them experience it for the first time is neat because then it is new for me, also.”

Last spring Smith took her Reading and Writing Buffalo class, offered exclusively to honors students, to San Francisco, CA. Students visited Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate National Recreation Center, and explored the city of San Francisco. During this trip, students learned how to navigate public transportation, and Dr. Smith challenged students to look at different ways to navigate on feet in a big city.

This program budget covers most, if not all, of the cost of the trip.

“Depending on the number of students and where we’re going, sometimes students have had to pay a little bit toward the trip, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked students for more than maybe $50 to $75.” Smith said.

Junior Andrew Wozniak has been in the program since his freshman year and says his favorite part of the program is the opportunity for experiential learning. He took the Reading and Writing Buffalo class and is one of the students who went to San Francisco last spring. Wozniak’s favorite part of the trip was visiting Yosemite National Park. Growing up as a boy scout, he said, “nature was my forte.”

Any student interested in applying to the honors program should contact Dr. Amy Smith at asmith@hilbert.edu.

Hilbert Hosts Fresh Check Day

HAMBURG, NY – Hilbert College hosted its first Fresh Check Day, an event aimed at spreading awareness about mental illness and suicide, earlier this semesyter.

In the years that have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, mental health has become a common topic, and the stigma surrounding mental illness has decreased significantly.

Interim Director of Residence Life Grace Adams organized the institution’s participation this year, and said she hopes that this will become an annual event at Hilbert. Staff and students volunteering helped with setting up tables and booths for students to go around to.

Those in attendance used “passports” to visit each booth in exchange for prizes. Prizes ranged from Hilbert T-shirts to an Amazon firestick. In order to qualify for prizes, students had to visit at least eight of the booths.

At the first table, students took a vow to help others struggling or contemplating suicide while learning about the signs the someone is contemplating suicide. Once they sign the pledge, students continue to eight other booths in Franciscan Hall. 

Students were able to write down the things they’re thankful for, write down their insecurities and “trash them,” make their own stress balls, and more.

A crowd favorite was a booth where students wrote down things that make them angry on a piece of paper and then they got to slip on some boxing gloves to make a piece of abstract art.

Once students had the gloves on, they chose two paint colors and the paint was put on their gloves. A volunteer places the paper on the punching bag and the student punches that paper, releasing some of that tension. When students finished, they had the option to keep their paper.

Bert the Hawk stopped by to take photos with students and participants.

Associate Human Services professor, Sharon Sisti, had a booth called “The Elephant in the Room” run primarily by her students. The purpose of this activity is to help students see they are not alone in the feelings that they have or the things that they have experienced in their life.

“The statements on the board are things that people don’t necessarily want to talk about,” Sisti said. “It is easy to feel alone with what you’re going through. This shows students that they are not alone and it validates those feelings.” Adams said she hopes to make this an annual event at Hilbert College.

Help is available. Speak with someone today. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (this number will change to three-digit number 988 in July 2022)

Hilbert to Host Mental Health Event

Hilbert College will host its first Fresh Check Day on Thursday, March 24, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fresh Check Day is a signature program of the Jordon Porco Foundation. It includes interactive expo booths, peer-to-peer messaging, support of multiple campus departments and groups, free food, entertainment and prizes and giveaways.

Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health and help to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus and in their community.

Grace Adams, Hilbert’s interim director of residence life, is leading the planning effort for the event.

She said Fresh Check events at other colleges she has worked for have been big successes, and so she wanted to bring the experience to Hilbert students.

“Mental health is one of the largest concerns among college students across the country and Hilbert is no different,” Adams said in an email to The Scribe. “I got to see firsthand how FCD has impacted students and the amazing positive culture and dialogue it can create around mental health awareness and suicide prevention.”

College staff utilizes students to develop and execute an interactive booth that delivers peer-to-peer mental health and resource information in a fun and engaging way. Booth messages reflect a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Booth topics include stigma reduction, specific mental health struggles, coping, and life skills.

Adams said the staff is aiming to offer students an outlet to discuss an learn about the important topic of mental health in a setting that is also fun and inviting.

“I hope students can realize they are not alone in their struggles; there are resources on campus and people that care, and this is all for our students and their well-being,” she said.

Please direct all inquiries to the Interim Director of Residence Life and Community Standards, Grace Adams, at gadams@hilbert.edu.