All posts by The Scribe Staff

Gallery: Fall in New York


Story and Photos by Tony Nally

Fall is the time of year that creates a special bond between family and friends. Whether people enjoy apple picking, corn mazes, haunted hayrides, or being out in nature, fall has many different ways of providing us with fun activities. For me, my favorite part of fall is travelling across the state and seeing the leaves change in some of my favorite hiking areas. This fall I had the opportunity to go hiking in the Finger Lakes region where I explored many different waterfalls and mountains. Fall in New York is special because not many other places in the world get the color that we do in the northeast. Some of the other pictures I captured represent some of my favorite fall activities such as pumpkin picking and eating donuts. I hope everyone takes advantage of the fall season and decides to get outside with friends and family!

Residence Hall Policy Change: balancing safety and convenience

Trinity Hall

Story and Photo by Brandon Zicari

Editor’s Note: Henry Bowers and Ryan Samuels are roommates with Brandon Zicari, who wrote this story.

Signs emblazoned with the phrase “Welcome Back Hilbert Hawks” waved in the breeze in late August, as the Hilbert staff and student leaders helped new students get checked in, helped to unload their cars and tried to ease the nerves of parents dropping off their child for the first time. Returning students had it a little easier, knowing what to expect, reacquainting with friends and with parents who are more used to the process.

But there was one difference returning students noticed quickly. Residents were told their room keys will only work in their designated residence hall, a change from previous years when their key would grant them access to any other residence hall on campus.

Every year once move-ins are completed, the resident assistants hold their housing meetings for the designated hall that they are in charge of for the year. It is basically Expectations-101 on what is expected of students living on campus. At the meetings resident assistants had to alert their residents of the change concerning their access into the dorms as part of the presentation on safety procedures and the rules on campus.

“A lot of students were professing or speaking out about what they wanted to see differently from the institution,” Jill Splawski, director of residence life, said in a recent interview. “A few of those things that came back to Residence Life were effective communication and looking at ways we are keeping students safe.”

Prior to this year students’ keys opened all five dormitories on the Hilbert Campus. The change in limiting access has come as a surprise to many of the residents. What seems to be the most glaring concern amongst the residents is the fact that only Trinity Hall and St. Joe’s Hall have computer labs, meaning that students who do not live in those buildings don’t have access to the printers located in those buildings.

Labs in these buildings are open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m., but now require a resident of St. Joes or Trinity to sign other students in.

The labs are an integral part of many students’ daily scholastic activities, Henry Bowers, a Hilbert student who lives in Leo Hall, said.

“Making students sign in just to print something or use the computers seems like a waste of time,”  Bowers said. “Many people that live on campus don’t own a printer so having the option of using the computer lab is vital.”

Another problem with the new key system students have complained about is that it limits the ability to visit friends in other halls. If a student in an apartment wants to visit a friend who is in another hall they have to go through a sign in process. An identification card needs to be on file and the time someone leaves the building must be recorded. Although students are not forbidden from these halls, some don’t want to go through a whole process just to see their peers. “Now that I can’t get into these buildings, I feel isolated from others on the campus” Ryan Samuels, another resident of the Leo apartment said.

While some residents may not agree with the new campus rules, having a sign in procedure is very common on other campuses, Splawski said. She was surprised to see the policy was not in place when she took the job in 2016.

If every student has access to all the buildings it could possibly become a threat to others, Splawski said. “If we are looking at campus from a security perspective, having access to every residential community is not necessarily the safest thing for that community. We can’t control who is coming in to that facility or put restrictions on that.”

The policy was already under review last April when an incident of an alleged threat at Hilbert occurred, leading to an internal review of campus safety procedures. But information gathered during the resulting review of safety policies was included in the decision to make the policy change, Splawski said.

Hilbert ranks high in terms of safety and satisfaction with the residence halls, according to, something Splawski attributed to the hard work the administration puts in to make it that way.

For now, the policy will remain in place. “This will be permanent until it is proven that there is a better way” Splawski said.


Preview: Hilbert Reads

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by Kaitlyn Halper

Graphic by Rachel Jennetti

If you like reading, listening to people talk in an air-conditioned room and free food, then I have the event for you.

Hilbert College will hold its 6th annual Hilbert Reads event on October 16 at 7 p.m. For the uninitiated, Hilbert Reads is a yearly event put on by the college. Each year, the event committee picks a book that is a true story and invites the author to speak.

This year’s book is The Lightless Sky by Gulwali Passarlay. The book follows a year of Passarlay’s life, where he is forced from his home in Afghanistan at the age of 12 and forced to make a 12,000 mile journey to England to avoid being killed. Along the way he spent time in prisons, suffered from immense hunger, cruelty and brutality from almost everyone he met and nearly drowned in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean Sea. He tells his story to open the horrors of a world we do not know.

After the lecture there is a question and answer period, followed by a book signing and photo opportunities. There is also food available in West Herr Atrium. What college student in their right mind would turn down a free meal? I highly recommend reading The Lightless Sky and attending the event, as Passarlay’s experiences offer us an opportunity to learn about overcoming challenges we could never imagine.

Hawk Wheels: Crown Vic


by Garrett Derkovitz

Photos by Brandon McCoy

There is one cop car in America that all have come to fear. The Ford Crown Victoria is probably at the top when it comes to being the most recognizable American car in the world. From cruising the streets to high-speed chases, this infamous car has struck fear in our collective hearts in some way shape or form, whether it’s passing one while pushing the speed limit or when you notice those distinctive headlights behind you after forgetting to signal.

The car was introduced in 1955 when the Ford Motor Company created their new Fairlane model, naming it the Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria. It was one of the fanciest cars you could get in 1955-56. However it only lasted two years, and was discontinued until 1978. Ford then realized the boys at GM were naming cars after carriages and it was working. So they dusted off the name plate and created the Ford LTD Crown Victoria, also named after a carriage style. It was big, it wasn’t powerful, but it was a smooth, comfortable ride that got 15 to 20 miles to the gallon. The Crown Vic was a one of triplet of cars. It’s family from Lincoln and Mercury had fancier versions of this car which of course cost more. The family also consisted of the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Lincoln Town Car, but they had a special fleet use variant of the Crown Vic which was sold only to law enforcement agencies.

The police loved these cars; they patrolled the streets for years catching speeders and other violators. But the model years that everyone knew the best were the 1998 to 2012 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. If you saw this car behind you, chances are you were sweating all over trying to get a read on the situation, even though it was probably just another civilian version and you just slowed down traffic for no reason.


The Crown Vic was taken off the assembly line for good in 2012. The question you’re probably asking is why do I still see so many on the road? FLEET SALES! After the police retire a police car, they sell and auction them off to enthusiasts and people looking for a cheap, reliable car. They’ve been cared for, refurbished and probably have another 50,000 miles left in them before they start to break down. With the 5.7 liter V8 engine, you can have lots of fun with these cars.

Here at Hilbert College, we have one of these beautiful cars. Bought from the Town of Evans, the Crown Victoria lives with us every day on campus. Vito Czyz, the director of campus safety, says it’s “dependable.” It serves its purpose but doesn’t get much use until the winter hits. The light set is original, it has a scanner still, and is painted over with decals indentifying it as a campus safety vehicle. On average they put on about five to 10 miles a day added on to its 140,000 miles. “It’s a good car, and it’s holding up well,” Czyz said. The only time this car leaves the campus is for events and to fill up with gas.

So the Crown Victoria lives on with us at Hilbert.. But you probably want to avoid it if you can. College is already expensive enough. Until next time everybody!

Q&A: Interim President Father Michael


by Kaitlyn Halper

Photos by Scott Peet

This summer Hilbert said farewell to its president of 12 years, Cynthia Zane.

The following day Father Michael Sajda stepped in as interim president for the school as the Board of Trustees continues to search for a permeant replacement. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Father Michael. He was quick to introduce himself while shaking my hand and was kind throughout the interview. Father Michael, who grew up in Tonawanda,  enjoys playing golf in his free time. He is proud of the many communities he belongs to. He has a huge pride in Buffalo and Hilbert that is evident in the way he speaks. Jeff Papia, the director of campus ministry, offered praise for the interim president, saying, “We are grateful to Father Michael for his willingness to serve our community and support its Catholic, Franciscan mission.”

Below is an edited transcript of the Scribe’s conversation with Father Michael.

The Scribe: What are your interests?

Father Michael: Certainly education, sports. I have coached a lot of things in my life as a friar. I’ve coached high school basketball for women. I have coached high school soccer for women.

TS: What is your favorite sports team?

FM:  Well its gotta be the Buffalo Bills, unfortunately. I lived in Baltimore for a while. I lived in Florida for a while. But it’s always listening to the Bills, watching the Bills, being disappointed like every other fan in the world. And it’s hard because I am also the president of St. Francis High School so I’m serving a dual role now. And the present Offensive Coordinator for the Bills is a St. Francis High School graduate, so I kind of commiserate with him on his loss. But its only one game and it’s the beginning of the season. No one likes to lose. Everyone wants to win, but sometimes you just have to work harder. I would put a push for Hilbert Students to maybe participate in supporting the teams, but also participate by trying out for a few teams. Walked around campus, drove around campus a little bit. Watched a little of the men’s soccer practices, they could use a few bodies. Hilbert golf team could use a few bodies. Women’s soccer team could use a few people. I think they got twelve, maybe thirteen and that’s tough to run a soccer team on. Might be a few budding athletes that may want to help. Hilbert’s always been known for its women’s basketball team. Certainly, this year is exciting after the success of last season. I think baseball has always done well here. Hilbert is vital for the Southtowns.

TS: What are the most important things to you?

FM: Faith, being a Franciscan Friar. Treating people with humanity, respect, dignity. I see the world a little differently, I see everything as God’s gift. And I guess fortunate to be involved in the lives of many young people that need guidance, role models as we move into the future and I am happy to be a part of that. I served on Hilbert’s Board of Trustees for the past twelve years and I have been able to learn a lot from my predecessors, Cynthia Zane and Sister Edmunette (Paczesny).

TS: How did you become a priest? Why did it interest you?

FM: Probably because of the friars that taught me in high school. I am a graduate of Cardinal O’Hara in Tonawanda, but I guess my Franciscan story goes way back. My mother grew up on the East Side of Buffalo and was a part of Corpus Christi Church in her youth, so she knew the friars. When the friars came out to Tonawanda to take over the school my sister was older than me, she was the first one to go. The rest of us, we had to go. There was no questions about it. But certainly, they impacted my life because I became a friar and I am very proud of that.

TS: You are on Hilbert’s Board of Trustees. how did you get involved with Hilbert College?

FM: I first came on as President Zane became the first lay president of Hilbert College. We met and we talked. Certainly, she was a non-Catholic and very much worried to keep the presence of Catholic  and Franciscan values in the school. She said would you be able to serve on the Board of Trustees and I said sure. It’s a good opportunity for me to get involved in the community.

TS: What did the process to name you as interim president include?

FM: Well the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, basically got the idea and said yes. The idea was proposed by the Administrate Council of Hilbert College, which is the Vice Presidents. And since it was going to be a brief interim, it made sense. It did not make sense to bring in someone who did not know about Hilbert. They suggested that it made more sense I had been around for twelve years, I know the situation. I had known of Hilbert, I know the values, what people are trying to accomplish. So they presented the idea. I thought about it, had permission from my superiors to do that. I am balanced between Hilbert and St. Francis High School, so it works for now. As I say, you can do anything for three months.

TS: Even though you’re here for only a short time, what are your plans for the semester?

FM: There is a couple projects that are up and coming with the forensic biology lab and I would like to make that a priority, make the funding available so that we can move forward with that program. I think it would be a great assist to Hilbert College and a compliment to the criminal justice, to cyber security. The lab has to be updated and functional for forensic science.

TS: How are you fitting in on campus? What are your thoughts about Hilbert now that you’re here?

FM: I’m trying to walk around, visit a few offices just so they can see there is a Franciscan friar on campus and recognize “oh maybe that guy is the president.” I’m trying to become known and visit the various staff members. I’ve met some of the student ambassadors. Try to be present for as many functions as I can. Just trying to help and work with the Administrative Council, and the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate to push Hilbert on and in the right directions. And basically making sure things are ready for the new president.

TS: I’ve heard complaints about poor sports fields and equipment, what are your thoughts about that? Do you have involvement with that?

FM: Presently I am not involved, but certainly I would probably agree in the sense of if we can get decent facilities, it’s just gonna help the programs. And certainly, it is something for Hilbert to work on. I know there have been some conversations in the past. Unfortunately, things don’t happen overnight. And to do a new sport complex, well you gotta see where your priorities are and right now mainly because Hilbert serves first generation college students, tuition assistance, scholarships is probably more important than an artificial turf field. But we keep on working. Every institution has to have a dream and the dreams are to expand and to make those things available.

TS: Going forward, what are the board’s plans to name the permanent replacement? What are they looking for in a person?

FM: Well as the interim president I am not involved in that search. There is a separate search committee. That search committee has worked with a consultant on a national search for a president for Hilbert College. It’s a large endeavor because there are applications, resumes, profiles, etc. Then there is interviews, so from larger pool to a smaller pool to seven or eight semifinalists to a finalist list and they will be interview on campus by I believe the Faculty Senate, administrative council to see if there is a blend, a mix. That will be presented to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees who will then make a recommendation to the full Board of Trustees to hire the fourth president of Hilbert College.



Women’s Soccer Looks to Improve on Slow Start


by Jamie Hehir

Photos by Anna Grande

For the 2018 season, the Hilbert women’s soccer program parted ways with Coach Kelly Starchok and welcomed new Head Coach Donald Herlan.

Herlan decided to make his new home here at Hilbert, feeling that it was a good fit switching from a Division I program to our Division III program, he said.

“Division I is a different thing,” Herlan said. “It’s not much fun to coach Division I. It’s very cut-throat when you have scholarship athletes and they get renewed just one year at a time. There’s pressure on coaches to win games and recruit and if you don’t win games you might be out.” The stresses of maintaining a record and appearance can often affect players and coaching staff causing a disconnect, which frustrated Herlan, he said. Herlan also said the campus of schools like the University at Buffalo are not as appealing as smaller schools like Hilbert.

“Even the campuses are cold and impersonal,” Herlan said. “Someplace smaller and friendlier you get to coach more and teach more. If what you like to do is teach and have good relationships on the team then you’re disappointed (at a Division 1 school). I was disappointed.”


The team has struggled this year, starting off with a 0-8-0 record. Coach Herlan attributed the team’s slow start, to being shorthanded.

“The overlying obvious problem is that it’s a small roster,” Herlan said “There were folks on the roster last year that didn’t return, there was unhappiness last year that came over from people who didn’t get along last year to this year.”

Constant injury also played a hand in this season’s struggles.

“We haven’t had more than 12 or 13 people healthy at the same time,” Herlan said. “Every time I feel we’re about to get someplace somebody else goes off, gets injured, one of the better players goes down. We haven’t had a full roster of 15 players yet, not even close. So that’s made it pretty hard.”


As the season continues to advance Herlan is working to use his team’s strengths to his advantage and work on their weaknesses for future seasons to come.

“We’re strong up the middle of the field,” Herlan said. “The weaker parts are just technique on the ball and possession. There’s not enough technically sound people to where you don’t have to worry about, ‘Oh boy. I really can’t pass it here or the ball, the plays going to die right here.’ Load up the defense you got no attack, move some people at the attack, you’ll lose by seven,” he added

Despite the team’s losing record Herlan remains optimistic.

“I can say I’ve looked at the first six games based on last year and based on our own roster that we were gonna get any of the first six but there’s a couple later in the year that we got a chance to get,” he said.

The next home game – the senior day game – is Saturday October 13th at 2 p.m.

Gallery: Global Feast for Peace

by Mary Kate Wirfel

Jeff Papia, head of campus ministry, hosted an event titled “make a peace flag” as a way to participate in International Peace Day on September 20th. Students and staff got a chance to make a peace flag in an effort to spread peace throughout Hilbert’s campus. A free Breakfast was also provided for students who participated, with breakfast foods were from all over the world available. This also let students taste different foods from a variety of cultures.  To see some more pictures from International day of Peace check out this photo gallery below. (photos by Mary Kate Wirfel)

Hawk Wheels: ’92 Camaro


Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns where the Scribe’s Garret Derkovitz will profile interesting cars and their owners on Hilbert’s campus.

by Garrett Derkovitz

There are many cars in this world. It’s impossible to miss them when they’re constantly moving around you. Some are fast and some are slow. But what I got for you today is now a surviving gem of years gone by. It is a Chevy Camaro, but not just any Camaro. It’s the 25th Anniversary Edition.

The 1992 Chevy Camaro RS 25th Anniversary Edition is something to behold when it is driving up next to you revving its engine. Besides having a long title, the Camaro is recognized as one of the best American cars, a sports car enthusiasts drool over when they see it down at the dragstrip.

The Chevy Camaro was originally created to rival one specific car: the Ford Mustang. Created back in the mid 60’s, the Mustang was loved by all, and was in a class all its own when it was introduced to the public. Chevy decided they needed a car to compete with the hugely popular Mustang, a car that remains a big hit today. They then created the Camaro with the sole purpose putting Ford’s pony car into the ground, spurring a decades long rivalry.

The 1992 Chevy Camaro, 26 years old this year, is a part of that history. Camaro owner and Hilbert student Carl Zarcone owns this little speed demon and says he doesn’t have a single regret about it. As a young kid Carl was always into sports cars. “When the opportunity came up, could not pass up the opportunity,” he said.

Carl purchased the Camaro from a huge car buff, who sold the car because there was no more room in his garage to keep it.

Carl’s 25th Edition Camaro has red interior, a motorized trunk, and a V8 engine. It runs smoothly, Carl said. “A lot of cars are too bumpy.” he added.  “This runs really smooth. That’s why I like it.”

As many members of older generations have said, they don’t make them like they used to. Younger people like Carl are helping to immortalize the older cars. They most likely will not be around forever, so any young guys or girls who would be interested in giving these old cars new life would help keep them around for the next generations to come. Carl suggests to you that you buy a 92 Camaro. “It’s fast and has a T-top option available.”

Gallery: September 11th Rememberance

by Mary Kate Wirfel

Hilbert College hosted a September 11th remembrance. Students and staff gathered around the flagpole in front of McGrath Library to remember the attacks that happened 17 years ago. Jeff Papia, head of Campus Ministry, lead the students in a remembrance prayer followed by a moment of silence. Professor Mark Paoni gave a speech about responsibility and how our first responders risked their lives saving others on that fateful day in 2001. Tanya Moreta head of the Veterans department and Diversity Inclusion thanked everyone for coming and also welcomed the Hamburg Police Department, who came to the memorial service. Signs representing the victims on September 11th were placed all around the campus. Flags were placed by the signs that represented the first responders. To see what happened at the September 11th remembrance event look at the photo gallery below. (Photos by Mary Kate Wirfel).