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”.

Hilbert Celebrates Life of Student

Cori Shearing, a cybersecurity major at Hilbert College, passed away unexpectedly on April 14, 2020.

Everyone at Hilbert College can agree on one thing:  Cori was a fun, loving and outgoing person, who was never afraid to be herself.  Cori touched so many people in the short time she was with us, and we all miss her dearly.

I first met Cori during my freshman year of college. I remember the first time she sat behind me in class and introduced herself. She talked about longboarding and some of her other interests. The minute I heard her speak, I wanted to get to know her better. The way she talked and carried herself made her different from everyone else, in the best way possible.

My sophomore year of college, my roommates and I were looking for another roommate to fill our suite. One of my roommates, Claudia Wrate, a forensics major at Hilbert College, was very close with Cori and immediately thought of her. We began talking with Cori about dorming with us, and although it never happened, it helped bring all of us closer.

Cori always had a smile on her face and it was completely genuine. “Cori just always wanted to make the world a better place and everyone around her happy”, Wrate said.  “She was very interested in cyber security and wanted to help people that way”.

Former Hilbert student, Reta Savory, also met Cori freshman year. The first night Savory met Cori, it made a lasting impression on her. “Hanging out with Cori that first night was enlightening for me because I learned about myself as a person and how to be a friend to someone from a different world than me” Savory said. “She taught me that life is hard but you smile through it and that’s all you can do”.

Cori was also very proud of her family, especially her mom. Savory and Wrate both vividly remember Cori sharing stories about her family. “Cori was proud of her family for sure” Wrate said. “Her mother and her were very close, and she talked about her so highly”.

“I think Cori was most proud of the people in her life” Savory said. “From the moment I met her, I could see that. She loved her mom”.

Covid Causes Issues for Real Estate Industry

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began this spring, many businesses either shut down, or strict guidelines were put into place. On March 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the real estate industry would be put “on hold” in attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Hunt Real Estate agent, Cheyanne Seelau, says the market has been crazy since the end of March.  “The coronavirus impacted us because we could only show our houses virtually, so more realtors were out of work until we were allowed to show in person with restrictions”, Seelau said. Late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo deemed real estate an essential business, but put many strict guidelines in place, only allowing agents to show their homes virtually. Many agents were unable to show their houses this way, and ultimately were out of work for months until their re-opening at the beginning of June.

“Prior to the shutdown in March, we were about to enter our busy season”, Seelau said. When realtors were finally able to begin showing in person again, things were busier than normal. Agents are currently experiencing a sellers’ market, as houses are going for over-asking price, explained Seelau. Don and Denuelle Meyer, clients of Seelau, said their experience selling one of their apartment complexes has been more successful than expected for this season. Because of the coronavirus, there are more buyers than sellers in the markets, and houses are selling much faster than normal, Seelau said. When the housing market slowed down drastically during the beginning of the virus, buyers became eager to buy, and sellers began taking advantage of this, by listing their properties, Denuelle Meyer said.

During the pandemic, some homeowners’ mortgages were modified due to the effects of COVID-19. Seelau said that there haven’t been too many foreclosures on houses yet, but soon there will be, when modified mortgages do not get paid. It is still too early to tell if the coronavirus pandemic will have any irreversible changes to the housing market, Seelau said. 

Political Science Department Offers Students Perspective

Hilbert College is an institution known for three major factors: the Criminal Justice Program that helps to teach the next generation of Police, Security and Federal Officers;. the Forensic Science program; the small student to faculty ratio that creates an engaging and person experience allowing the student to feel like an individual not like a number. 

Unlike some colleges that have giant class sizes where the professor does not know your name, at Hilbert the faculty cares about each and every student, and how to make the learning easier for that student in particular. 

While Hilbert is known for its Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Program there is other majors on campus beside these which are the obvious ones, one of the great major programs on campus in the Political Science program.  Political Science is the study of how people form together to change the situations in which they live to make those situations equitable and how those systems fight against or work with these movements of people. 

While not as popular as the Criminal Justice major, the study of Political Science should matter to students studying Crimal Justice.  

“CJ and other disciplines are inter-related , so how people are treated  is a political question,” Dr. Andrew Kolin said. 

Politics effect each and every one of us in some way matter shape or form, it is what creates each and every situation in the world, he added.  

“If one is to understand decision making and ‘who gets what?  Political science is essential’ meaning that while things may seem dismal and dark there is ways to change the matter of who gets what,’” Kolin said. 

Kolin, is an academic who has taught and studied Political Science for many decades and takes a lot of pride in giving his students as much detail as possible, allowing them to strive and succeed. 

John Brandle, a Political science major at Hilbert College, said he is a political science major because he wants to help solve problems.

“I chose to study political science because I wanted to help my community,” Brandle said. “I thought that pursuing a degree in the field would help educate me on the ins and outs of our society and how we function both on a legal and political level. My personal end goal is to get involved in the field of politics, and try to make a change through that.” 

That is what many Political Science majors want to accomplish is to better the world they live in. However, to gain that perspective one doesn’t have to be a Political Science Major. They can merely take a course or two as part of an elective.

Brandle said he believes that Political Science matters on campus.

“I think political science should matter because we are becoming more and more of a society that refuses to look at our flaws,”Brandle said. “In doing so we also forget the accomplishments we have made fixing those flaws.”

Covid Causes Challenges for Volunteers

 Since late February, COVID 19 has turned the system of considered norms in the world and, has caused a change in which we look at those norms leading to a shortage of volunteers. These norms over a period as the virus spread systematically went away leaving behind a path of dried up dreams, hopes, futures, and aspirations, many without a family member and millions without a job.

 When most think of the impact  COVID 19 has had, they think of the economic, social, and financial ramifications that have occurred in our nation, their neighbors and even themselves.  However, the impact goes far beyond what many see or choose to acknowledge, as there is a shortage of volunteers in our region and in the world. 

Rachel Wozniak, the Director of Service Learning and Community Engagement at Hilbert College, said she has seen the impact the virus has had on the volunteer community first hand.

“The Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement has continued to offer limited, regular service opportunities with some of our long-standing community partners, such as Meals on Wheels, Resurrection Life Food Pantry and the Teacher’s Desk,” she said.

Wozniak said some of the typical service learning events on campus such as the Peace Walk and the Day of Service in a more remote way, experiencing and learning one story of St. Francis and by making scarf’s and blankets for the salvation army were still offered this semester.

Hilbert students as whole are conscientious driven individuals who strive to not just better certain organizations, they strive to better the community as a whole, she added.

“The services being offered by these Hilbert Community Partners have had a need even during this terrible pandemic to serve the needy, the poor, and the unprivileged. The essential services that many of our community partners provide are still are offered. However, many of our community partners are limited in the number of volunteers that can serve – both from a health and safety perspective (reduced capacity) and individual comfort-level of the volunteers,” Wozniak said. 

In the Hilbert Community, there is one group of students on campus whose task is to complete hours of service work each semester from Freshmen to Senior year. Dr. Amy Smith is the head of the Honors Program. She said that while the Honors Program has an emphasis on service, due to circumstances caused by the pandemic in recent months the necessary hours for the program from the spring semester have been forgiven.  The pandemic has meant there are fewer opportunities to have direct service. However, new and unique projects have come up as a result, such as opportunities to make videos reading to kids, or to make quick easy projects that parents at home with their remote learning student can do.   

“There are different and creative ways to look at community service, it can be community engagement or community advocacy”, Smith said. “They are still important experiences even if they aren’t community service.”

UB Football to Play for Championship

The University at Buffalo Football team has put together a great season defeating the defending MAC champions, the University of Miami Ohio Red Hawks, in spectacular fashion on Tuesday evening. Kyle Vantrease, a junior from Stow, Ohio, threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-10 dismantling of the defending champs. This win comes just six days after the first victory of the season where the Bulls beat the 2018 MAC champions, the Northern Illinois Huskies.

Coming out of the gates, in a season that the players and coaches didn’t even believe was going to happen for a period of two months, and beating the last two winners of the conference is as impressive of a start as anybody could have predicted.

Adam Fron, a graduate assistant for the UB football team, described the chemistry that the team has developed throughout the rocky start to the season. “I think it has brought a lot of us closer together,” Fron said. “We are all doing our best to avoid being in close contact with people outside the program, which has set it up pretty nicely for guys to form strong bonds. This is the closest-knit group that I have ever been a part of”.

A short three months ago, Coach Lance Leipold and his staff were under the impression that there would be no season. The Mid-American Conference became the first conference to officially cancel its season on August 8th.

This caused a string of panic throughout the college sports world as many other conferences were quick to follow. It was not until close to two months later that on September 26th the conference made an announcement that there would now be a shortened season. Michael Peters, another graduate assistant for the Bulls said that the team was hoping that they were going to get to play, but they had their doubts as positive tests were still in abundance on campus and all over Buffalo.

“Coach Leipold is as professional as they come, He kept the players ready incase we were put in this situation,” Peters said. “We badly wanted to play as we have 25 seniors and four graduate students on the team whose careers could have been ended by a canceled season.”

Seniors that are currently playing in the five conferences that are currently playing college football, were in a tough spot because on August 21st the NCAA extended eligibility for all fall sports by a year. That means that the seniors currently playing could technically come back for another year even though they participated in a shortened season. It will be interesting to see if any players try to exercise that and how the NCAA will respond.

UB football hit the ground running this season despite having to deal with all the other things that 2020 has brought with it. Leipold and the rest of the staff have the team ready to compete for a MAC championship and according to multiple sports books including BetOnline and Ceasers, they are currently favored to do so.