Hilbert Program to Provide Financial Support for Students

Applications are now open for the Student Emergency Relief Fund which is offering support for students who are facing financial barriers.

The fund, which is supported by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, will assist students with a helping hand toward necessities that impact their ability to learn. This was created despite COVID hardships and is open to any Hilbert student that is looking for help with non-educated related expenses.

Jeff Papia, Vice President of Mission Integration & Campus Ministry, said that there are students that struggle being able to afford necessities that are essential toward becoming victorious scholars.

“We’re trying to assist students with food, transportation, utilities, rent or any other need that may crop up that prevents their ability to be successful here at Hilbert,” Papia said.

Students being able to receive support now is greatly important as there are many barriers that hold them back from being able to reach their full potential. This fund is unique as those that are awarded this money can use it toward weakening their financial strife.

“The emergency fund was established to assist students with things that are not related to tuition or books,” Papia said.

 Being able to get ahead on next month’s rent or not worry about bus fees can help students remain focused on their education goals.

“What we know here at Hilbert is that very often what prevents a student from being successful in the classroom often has nothing to do with the classroom. It is issues at home related to transportation, financial pressures related to rent or cost of living, childcare, those things that are sort of outside of the classroom that have a significant impact on life inside the classroom,” said Papia.

Just like many other funds, this one has a certain amount to distribute to applicants who are looking to receive help.

“There is a finite amount within the fund and for that reason we try to maximize our ability to support students by establishing a certain criteria and process to distribute the funds in the most equitable and diverse way possible,” Papia said.

Hilbert applied for this grant before the pandemic struck a year ago, only to realize how important it is now that applications are open. “The pandemic has only made so many of these emergencies more prominent and dire. It is being offered regardless of COVID-19, but because COVID is here it only makes it more necessary,” said Papia.

Hilbert Holds Stand Up to Bias Event

With Hilbert’s Unity Within Our Community month kicked off, things look different, but many events are available for the Hilbert College community.  

The Stand Up to Bias information session was hosted by Jeff Papia, Vice President of Mission Integration and Campus Ministry, via Zoom last month. Here students learned how to repair and restore the Hilbert College community by responding and standing up to bias.

Through the collaboration of faculty and staff Stand Up To Bias was revived with an intent to provide the community with a reliable source to strive and build unity. 

“We want to have a process by which to address these things because at Hilbert, and by being Franciscan we care about our community, we care about relationships and we want to make sure that everybody is happy, healthy and successful here at Hilbert and these harmful actions can prevent that from being so,” Papia said.

The event explained the procedure to fill out the Bias Incident Reporting Form, which can be completed by any individual at the Hilbert website. The event also educated students that this may be an ongoing process, but with the guidance and resources provided they will be able to reflect and grow despite the circumstances. By walking through the procedure students were made aware of the importance of their safety and how closely each investigation will be monitored. “I want to see numbers. We know there are incidents happening,” Papia said. 

“The goal is to make room for those expressions in so far as it’s healthy in so far as the dialogue is constructive, in so far is the goal and the intent is to learn in and throughout your expression and in so far as it creates a space where everybody can feel comfortable sharing their identity with us,” Papia said. “As a Franciscan community we cannot tolerate bias.” 

For more information, students, faculty and staff can visit the Hilbert College website http://hilbert.edu/bias or can reach Jeff Papia at jpapia@hilbert.edu and Gregory Roberts, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students groberts@hilbert.edu.

Hilbert Library to Host News Literacy Game

If you’re a social media aficionado, or someone who feels confident enough to distinguish articles that are absurd from the ones that are logical — now is your opportunity to put that talent to the test.

Melissa Laidman of the McGrath Library will be hosting Fact or Fiction, a virtual game of news literacy hosted through Zoom, on March 1st, at 6 p.m.  

Fact or Fiction is a new program at Hilbert College that designed to test even the wisest and most rational thinkers, a fun game of fact-checking where participants are able to remotely compete against friends and fellow students.

“I ran the program in the Fall Semester at (Erie Community College),” Melissa Laidman, Hilbert’s reference librarian, said in an email, “It was really successful at ECC and the students gave me lots of positive feedback.”  

Though the program will remain similar to that of its original form at Erie Community College, Laidman has plans to expand on the program’s questionnaire with things that will be more timely.

“It will be mostly the same,” Laidman said “But I am switching up some of the questions because some didn’t work that well.”

In an age where false news has become a valid concern with the widespread dissemination of misinformation on social media and other platforms, having an idea of what is and what isn’t misleading information is invaluable to those who find themselves spending more and more time indoors and online with eyes glued to social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Fact or Fiction being available remotely will give more people an opportunity to learn about the identifying of false or speculative information in a rewarding manner. Though the current event will be hosted remotely to allow for more students to participate, Laidman hopes to one day make the event available in person as well.

If you’re interested in participating in Fact or Fiction, you can register to sign up by visiting https://hilbert.libwizard.com/f/factorfiction. Winner of the event will also receive a $10 Amazon e-card. The event is slated to run from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST. Participants will be sent a Zoom link prior to the event starting. For further information, potential signees can contact Melissa Laidman with any inquiries or concerns at mlaidman@hilbert.edu.

Hilbert to hold Covid Informational Session

Hilbert’s Counseling and Wellness Center will host a virtual informational session on covid-19.

The session, held over Zoom at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, will offer information on symptoms, impacts, vaccines and treatment of the disease and an opportunity to ask questions of health professionals, including Kalieda Health’s Dr. Kenneth Snyder.

Hilbert’s Allison Chatley said the session is open to all members of the Hilbert community.

“The goal of this collaboration with Kaleida Health Services is to give Hilbert’s community first-hand information about the current state of COVID, the development of the vaccine and allow a space for students and staff to voice concerns or fears they may be having,” Chatley said.

Community members can access the session with the link below:



Hilbert Kicks Off Unity Within Our Community Month

In an effort to promote unity Hilbert College launched the monthlong Unity Within Our Community drive earlier this week.

The campaign is aimed at providing students service opportunities while also promoting discussions around social and racial justice. Covid protocols will make for things a little different this year, but the college has daily events, programs and information sharing opportunities, with many of them being conducted over Zoom or through other digital means.

Rachel Wozniak, Hilbert’s director of service learning and community engagement, said her office is hoping to provide learning opportunities for students through service, while also fostering conversations around some of the big issues being discussed, particularly how the school community can apply Franciscan values to try to help solve problems.

“Since the pandemic began, our nation has witnessed its disproportionate and overwhelming effects felt by our communities of color,” Wozniak said. “The underlying inequities that are present in our communities became clearer than ever. As a Franciscan college, we must continue to educate, inform, and take the necessary steps to eliminate systemic racism and oppression.”

The events this week include a Stand Up to Bias information session Thursday beginning at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. Students can learn about ways to stand up to discrimination within the Hilbert community. Sign up through Purple Briefcase.

Wozniak said the programs are designed to help students and community members recognize issues of racial inequity, understand the value of diversity and connect to God’s call for justice in the world.

“To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'” Wozniak said. “As a Catholic, Franciscan institution, lets us learn from the lessons 2020 has taught us and continue to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy as we move forward in creating a more just community, devoted to compassion, empathy and dignity for all.”

Students can find schedules for programming on signage throughout campus, the can reach Wozniak at rwozniak@hilbert.edu or they can reach out to the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

Hilbert Celebrates Spirit Week

This week Hilbert students and staff have been showing off their Hawk pride by participating in Spirit Week.

While the events are not the same as a typical year, school administration has worked to make things as festive as ever, offering prizes to students who participate in at least four of the five spirit day events and tag photos of themselves in their outfits to @Hawktivities on Instagram, long with a hashtag identifying their class year; i.e. #classof2021 for seniors. Students can also certify their participation by showing up to the student activities office in Franciscan Hall to show off their gear.

Dan Heims, the interim director of student activities, said that his office is hoping to make important events like Spirit Week as engaging as possible while also following all safety protocols.

“We have adjusted how we do programming,” Heims said. “Rather than in person interactive programming, we have had to adjust to running ‘take and makes’ as well as more virtual programming.”

Heims said his office are trying to keep these events play out as they would in a normal year, but with a twist to keep them safe.

“We hope that it brings some fun for students, as well as some friendly competition between the different class years,” Heims said. “The students that participate in four out of the five days and are in the class year that earns the most points will win a prize.”

Spirit Week continues through Friday. The themes for each day are as follows:

Monday – comfy pajama day

Tuesday – meme day. Dress up like your favorite meme

Wednesday – flannel day

Thursday – Disney day

Friday – Hawks Pride Day

Welcome Week Continues

Sitting at a table in a sunny West Herr Atrium Jesslyn Chivers and a friend worked excitedly assembling their very own Wolves of Gubbio: The fur, the stuffing, the T-shirt.

Chivers, a freshman forensic science major, said the event and other welcome week activities, were helping to make the transition back to campus more comfortable.

“I feel like the welcome week events have helped me because they promote me finding different places on campus because they’re kind of spread out everywhere,” Chivers said. “They also help me to meet staff members and other students that are going to be interested in the same kinds of things as me.”

Chivers, who said she found out about the Wolf of Gubbio event an others planned throughout the week through Hilbert’s social media channels, plans to participate in most of the welcome week events, including a virtual escape room Wednesday and a virtual painting class on Friday.

“I know those people are going to be interested in the same types of things as me,” Chivers said of participants in the upcoming events. “So it might help me make new friends.”

Students can stop by the atrium or outside the chapel in Bogel Hall today and tomorrow from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pick up their own Wolf of Gubbio kit, and effort by hilbert staff to commemorate the tale in which St. Francis, known for his love of animals, tames a wolf that has been terrorizing the Italian town, then brokers a deal between the wolf and the townspeople. The wolf will stop attacking the townspeople if they promise to keep him fed.

The Franciscans, the Catholic order named for St. Francis that closely adheres to his teachings, were the founders of Hilbert College.

The event is part of a series taking place all week meant to welcome students back to campus after the extended winter break.

Dan Heims, Hilbert’s interim director of student activities, said the events are designed to help students get back into the swing of things on campus.

“Welcome Week is an opportunity for students to get involved in events on campus while having fun with their friends,” Heims said. “Student Activities and the Campus Activity Board are excited to bring these activities to our students and look forward to seeing them at the events.”

Welcome Week activities continue through Friday evening and include:

  • A virtual escape room Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Working for a local crime boss, participants will need to help him figure out who carried out a hit at one of his clubs to get out. Students must sign up at Purple Briefcase to participate
  • A second day of the Wolf of Gubbio on Thursday. Supplies can be picked up from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the West Herr Atrium and outside the chapel in Bogel Hall.
  • A virtual paint night Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Participants will follow along in a live streamed class while creating their own works of art. Supplies can be picked up at the Student Activities office. Students must sign up for the event on Purple Briefcase to participate.

Students Don’t Always Know what to Expect

Anytime we go into something new, we always try to predict the outcome. Even though we know there is no way to control it. For example, it may be something as big as entering a college event; that we all wish we could control.   To get a feel for the difference between expectations and reality.

With the many restrictions and changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic over the last nine months this can be particularly true for students who are early on in the college careers.

Mia Lochasvio, a sophomore I interviewed said

“Nothing too out of the ordinary was different for me this semester,” Loschiavo said. It was pretty much how I expected it to go.”

For Brooke Klein, the shift has been more drastic.

This semester is a little different than I expected,” Klein said. “Of course no one could have predicted COVID to change our lives this much, but it just seems unreal.”

COVID-19 most definitely had a huge impact on everyone’s lives and how I go about our day-to-day routines, Katherine Pappas said.

It is a little bit different than I expected.”

With any big change comes strong emotions, Lochasvio said.

Overall, my semester was pretty good and surprisingly seemed to fly by.”

Everyone seems to be overworked and tired from everything happening in the world, a little peace might be nice, Klein said.

My semester has been pretty easy considering the circumstances,” Klein said. “Definitely would have been a little smoother without COVID.”

For Pappas things turned out a little different.

My semester was pretty average overall, but towards the end kind of went downhill,” Pappas said. It seems like everyone’s stress levels have gone through the roof, including mine.” 

Even though these stressful circumstances quickly came out of nowhere, people were curious if these students would have done anything differently this semester.

Loschavio said

“I don’t think I have any control to change anything that happened this semester.Although we may get stressed out about the things we can not control, considering these circumstances during the pandemic, there is absolutely nothing to do about the changes, Klein said.

“If I knew this big change was coming this semester, I would have stayed in online classes from the beginning.”There is nothing anyone could have done to predict these extreme changes and stressful events of 2020, Pappas said.

“I wish I had been a little bit more organized this semester.”

Overall, everyone’s stress levels have been crazy, and no one really seems to know what to do anymore. There is no way to predict what will come next, and things may get worse or better in the near future, Lochasvio said.

This semester was most definitely one of the hardest ones for me, especially for my mental health.” No matter what type of stressful situation is occurring in our lives, it is almost impossible to determine how our minds will react, Klein said.

“School has always stressed me out a little bit, but nothing like this,” she said. I have been so extremely stressed this semester and just completely drained mentally and physically.”

Especially when a stressful event changes something that consumes most of our life, it can be even harder on our mental health, Pappas said.

During the beginning of the semester, it wasn’t too bad, and I felt prepared for school as a whole.

Switch to Remote Learning Improving, But still Difficult

Towards late November, Governor Andrew Cuomo moved Erie County into the Orange Zone. This order placed new restrictions on businesses and educational institutions. Hilbert College was scheduled to transition to online courses after Thanksgiving, but Cuomo’s mandate forced the college to suddenly make the move two weeks earlier.

Due to this early adjustment, many students were caught off guard which resulted in increased stress. As the end of the semester draws closer, many students typically have final projects and papers due. With the onself

Mia Sanchez, forensic science major at Hilbert College, explained how her professors were almost completely ready for the switch, but with her final projects and papers coming up, it was still difficult to meet their guidelines.

“I have a final paper and project in every one of my classes, and I was prepared to ask my professors questions when I saw them face-to-face”, Sanchez said. “It is a lot more difficult to email a professor asking a question when compared to a face-to-face conversation. You have to think about all of the emails that professors are getting regarding their classes, and the time it takes to get back to each student”.

Claudia Wrate, forensic science major at Hilbert College, also found the transition to be difficult. She was not prepared for the switch so soon and found herself struggling to balance her schoolwork with work and her home life. “I was not expecting classes to move online so soon”, Wrate said. “I am taking 6 courses this semester and it is really difficult keeping all of my classwork in order along with working a full-time job”.

Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move Erie County into the Orange Zone was a smart decision for the health and safety of the community, but made things much more difficult for college students who were attending in-person classes. With the use of masks and social distancing, the county should move back into the yellow zone sooner than later.

Election Causes Added Stress During Strange Semester

As the semester begins to wrap up, college students are finding themselves more stressed than usual due to the ongoing pandemic and current presidential election.

The fall semester of 2020 has been a semester like no other. With students transitioning to online classes, and some already fully online, it has been a challenging semester. Before there was even talk about the presidential election, students were already beginning to stress about the changes in their learning. “Since the beginning of the semester in August, things have been so different from last Fall”, Forensic major, Claudia Wrate, said.

Since March, the corona virus pandemic has continued to change almost every element of a college students’ life. In March, students were abruptly moved to virtual learning, where they would struggle to finish the semester as they had no idea how to learn completely online. “My grades dropped significantly towards the end of March because my professors and I were not used to online learning, and struggled to adapt”, Criminal Justice major, Mia Sanchez, said. “The professors and students were hardly given any notice, and professors had no time to create an effective learning platform online”.

Along with COVID-19 adding stress to an already busy semester, there has been a lot of political controversy regarding the presidential election. Whether you choose to follow politics or not, there is no way to completely avoid the stress of the election.

The presidential election has created many more divisions when compared to previous elections. The controversy between the candidates and their supporters seems to be increasing, especially right now, while it looks like Joe Biden won, but it isn’t indefinite. Most students attending Hilbert College experienced this election as their first and it brought a lot of stress upon them, considering the importance of this election.

As Erie county moves into yellow zone, and chances going back into lockdown, most college students resort to panic mode. Finals will be coming soon, a new president, and students may have to return to virtual learning at any time. This semester has definitely been one for the books.

“Beginning move heavily around the middle of October, wherever you looked, there was something pertaining to the election,” Wrate said. “Personally, I do not share my political views with anyone, because I understand that most people struggle to see others’ views. I continually noticed people openly sharing their political views and opinions on social medias, which seemed like it was just asking for an argument”.