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Behind the Scenes: Hilbert’s Digital Christmas Card

The Annual Christmas Card event was held in Swan Auditorium last month. During the event Hilbert College’s President Michael Brophy played his piano to the tunes of Silent Night, Dashing Through the Snow, and to the theme of A Charlie Brown Christmas, as about a dozen students sang and danced to the tunes of President Brophy, all the while, being recorded on video which will be sent to friends of Hilbert College that live across the United States.

As Semester Comes to a Close Students Reflect on their Time at Hilbert

The end to the Fall 2022 semester is quickly approaching and some students are preparing to graduate while others are looking forward to Winter break.

Senior Gabrielle Jansen is wrapping up her final assignments of the semester as she gets ready to graduate in a few weeks. She encouraged students to take advantage of as many of the opportunities that Hilbert offers as possible during their time in college.

“I’m excited to finish and move on to the next chapter of my life,” Jansen said. “It will be quite a change to not be on campus every day.”

The college will host one more sporting event before the campus closes for break.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams are scheduled to play Friday December 16th. The women will face Buffalo State at 5pm and the men will face Hiram at 7pm, both at Hafner Recreation Center.

Resident Assistant Abigail Dent encourages the resident student to look out for move out instructions before leaving campus for Winter break.

“I recommend going to your floor meetings and follow proper move out procedures and we can’t wait to see everyone again in the spring,” said Dent.

Twenty-four-hour quiet hours are now in effect in all of the residence halls up until hall closing Wednesday December 20th at noon. Students are asked to return their keys to Trinity Hall before leaving campus for break.

Student Angelo DiNizo says he’s excited for break but is looking forward to next semester.

“With the semester coming to a close, everyone including myself is racing to the finish line to complete our last finals and assignments of the semester. It’s a bittersweet feeling to end this semester, since I’ll miss the relationships I’ve built with other students and faculty on campus, but I’m excited to spend some time with my family since I’m six hours away from home,” said DiNizo. “I’m excited for next semester and I hope to get out as much as I put into my studies by the time I graduate from Hilbert to become the best version of myself and be prepared to start my life ahead.”

As many students are looking forward to break, some will be completing their final chapter at Hilbert College and will be reminiscing on the memories they’ve made and the experiences they’ve had here.

“Hilbert College is truly a great institution that provided me with a lot of great memories and knowledge. The professors here are like no other. They really care about you and want to see you reach your goals. I know I’m going to miss this place once I graduate,” Jansen said. “Once a Hawk, always a Hawk.”

Overcoming Test Anxiety

One of the biggest challenges during college for many students are exams.

Most college students can say when taking exams, the test anxiety begins to kick in. Most of this test anxiety comes from a place of wanting to succeed. For students who get test anxiety they believe grades are an estimate of their worth.

“Students feel triggered when they are put in a position where they are being evaluated based off how well they can complete a test,” said Caitlin Szalkowski a psychology teacher here at Hilbert college.

Another main reason students get test anxiety is due to the emphasis that is put on test and the importance of getting a good grade. Malaka,  a junior in college said she tries to use strategies to help her stay calm.

“When I’m taking an exam, I start to get anxiety and when I start to read the questions everything goes blank,” she said.

She also went on to say this  happens because she’s so worried about getting a bad grade that it starts to affect her testing. 

“I don’t do exams in my class due to the stress they cause, and they don’t prove how well a student knows the material,” Szalkowski said. “I just give out short quizzes to make sure they understand what we’ve discussed”

As thrilled as any student would be to have no exams most teachers do like them and use them. So here a few tips to overcoming test anxiety.

    1.  Making the most of class time

Showing up to all classes and taking notes of the material will be a big help in the end. You can learn a lot just by going to class and taking notes and engaging with the material. Then when it’s time to study you can look over your notes again.

    2.  Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice is a strategy in which bringing information to mind enhances and boost your learning. This one of the most beneficial ways to study according to psychologist. “you are forcing yourself to pull out information from your memory to your consciousness and in doing this it enhances the strength of that memory” said Szalkswski. One of the best ways to practice retrieval practice is through flash cards.

    When taking an exam don’t spend too much time on a question that you don’t know the answer to. Go through the test and answer the questions you do know. And after that go back to the questions you weren’t sure about. This will also help you with time and making sure you don’t run out of time due to spending too much time on questions.

      When taking an exam, it’s important to just focus on going at the pace that feels most comfortable to you. Focusing on others finishing before you will only make you more nervous and start to rush.

Hilbert Students Benefit from Student Loan Relief

When going to college many students to take out student loans to help pay for school.

A Student loan is money you borrow from the federal government or private organization to help pay off college expenses. These must be paid off later with interest. After six months of graduating college, you must start paying off your loans. According to about 48 million Americans have student loan debt.

To help with student loan debt President Joe Biden announced a one-time student loan relief for people who are making less than $125,00, according to With this debt relief you could get up to $20,000 in relief if you received a Federal Pell grant in college and meet the income requirements. Or you can get up to $10,000 in debt relief if you didn’t receive a Federal Pell grant in college and meet the income requirements.

A graduate student from Hilbert college Samantha said her student loan debt has caused her a great deal of stress.

“I’ve had to work a lot more hours in order to be able to pay all my bills along with my student loans,” said Samantha.

She said she recently applied for the student loan debt relief and if accepted the relief will lift a big weight off her shoulders.

“If my application goes through it’ll drop my debt from $23,000 to $3,000, and I can put all my focus back onto helping my family,” said Samantha.

To see if you qualify for the one-time Federal Student Loan Debt Relief you can visit Applying for this one-time debt relief ends on December 31st, 2022.

Hilbert’s Associate Bursar Beverly Szczur said “with people getting their debt forgiven they may consider going back to school to further their education.”

Hilbert Reads Welcomes Grossi and Fred

One of the most anticipated events of the semester took place in early November in the Swan auditorium.

Hilbert Reads, the annual campuswide collective reading event, welcomed author Craig Grossi, and his dog Fred, to Swan Auditorium  where he spoke about his journey and message early this month..

Gross is the author of the book “Craig and Fred”, a story about how he found his dog, and how they rescued each other.

Those attending showed support for Grossi and his dog from the start, giving a round of applause and some cheers for Fred. It was a positive atmosphere filled with laughs, some tears, and a few naps from Fred. After telling his story, Grossi was welcoming to questions and said he was “most excited” to talk and answer questions for students.

Grossi was a marine and served in Afghanistan, and found Fred while deployed. In his books, he talks about his experiences while serving and the post-war struggles he faces. Fred taught Craig an important lesson, he said.

“We can find ways to wag our tails regardless of what we’re going through.”

Grossi preached “stubborn positivity” to the audience.

“It’s most important to focus on the bad, when you focus on the bad, you can find the good in it” he added.

Grossi ended off the night with a book signing, (Fred a paw signing) after answering numerous questions from the audience. Struggling with PTSD hasn’t been an easy road for him. Being able to talk to the youth and publish a book about them hasn’t felt “real” to him, he said.

One of the freshmen attending shared that it was an “inspirational” experience. Grossi “was open and honest about his experiences” using these experiences he “found strength to share his problems with others to help benefit and inspire them.”

He ended with a final takeaway to share with students.

“As humans, there is always a reason for us to be happy,” Grossi said. “It may just be difficult to find it sometimes.”

Men’s Soccer Turns a Corner

In the last few years the Hilbert College Men’s Soccer team has struggled to get things going

But, that has started to change this season as the team that has not won  since that 2016 season, has started to win. With a record of 3-5-2, the Soccer team is having its best season in 6 years. .

Newly hired head coach Jonny Black has started his first season with the team and has started to initiate a turnaround in the program. [SJ2] Black was hired in late June of this year and immediately got to work trying to fix a broken program.

 “The atmosphere has definitely changed from what I saw in the last few seasons, and this team now looks different than in the past,.” Black said.

Black also said that paraphrase something he said here…

“The new freshmen have brought a new sense of urgency into the program and combined with the returners has led to better results,” he said.

With the next game happening on Saturday the 8th of October against Penn State Altoona, the team is hoping to get their fourth win of the season and first in conference play.

The future for the team looks bright and Coach Black is hoping that future leads to enormous success.

Basketball Alumni Game is a Long standing Tradition

For Hilbert college men’s basketball coach Rob deGrandpre the annual Hilbert College basketball game is one of his favorite days on the calendar.

”This is the twelfth edition of the game and this alumni game dates back  to the fall of 2010,” he said.

Before coming to Hilbert, coach said “that the game would happen every fall at his previous school he coached at.”

“A big key is to get your alumni back” and to “have current players know who they are,” he added.

He said it is very important for alumni to come back because they are a big part of the college, and they are part of the history.

DeGrandpre said when he took over the program in 2002 the program was “gutted” and how it was an “uphill battle.”

He also talks about those alumni basketball players who were with them in two-thousand-two and  coach says he has a lot of “admiration for them” and, “they wanted to build their own legacy.” The coach also says that is very important to him to have alumni come and speak to the current team. Coach adds that he gives those alumni who speak to the team “a big drumroll introduction and says that he lists those players accomplishments.”  He talks also

“Former players talking to current players and  always help in the growth and maturation. Freshman players hear from former alumni who were here, five, ten, fifteen years ago and to show  18-year old players  how successful an alumni is in life  now and how  basketball plays a big role in that.

DeGrandpre says that he has former alumni being all-conference players going into the Hilbert College athletics hall of fame. He talks about how college athletics, not just basketball but in general for student-athlete is hard work and how it is an occupation.

“In those four years of playing and learning life lessons that you can carry into your thirties, forties and fifties until you retire,” deGrandpre said. He said he has had lots of former players “hang up their sneakers and grab a whistle” and now they are part of the coaching staff.

Currently he has two former players on his staff including Cody Troutman who played for deGrandpre and graduated in 2012.

He also has Jack Gaylord who played at Hilbert in 1979.

“Alumni would trudge through the snow and go to Immaculata Academy and practice all hours through the night and then walk back to Saint Joes dorm and do it all again the next day. This was before the Hafner recreation center was built and Coach says that he “enjoys the relationship that he has built with the alumni in the twenty-years he been coaching.”

Hilbert Sports an Important Part of Campus Life

For Hilbert College, sports are very important  and key to day-to-day operations.

As such, the college felt the need to expand its college program this year to include Women Ice Hockey, Football and Track & Field.

 When Tim Seil, who came to Hilbert in January of 2022 to take over as Athletic Director, he knew  he was interviewing for the job that Hilbert would be expanding its sports programs.

“When I interviewed for the position I knew that we were going to be adding additional sports programs,” he said.

Siel doesn’t consider it a challenge, saying that it just makes the job more exciting and that he was excited to put his stamp on the athletic department helping the growth of Hilbert College Athletic Programs.

Rehbaum said Hilbert offer a lot to perspective students.

“We have some great opportunities for local College athletes and high school seniors. With the addition of the football program,”  Rehbuam said. ”This helps to provide an opportunity as only  Hilbert and Buffalo State Colleges have Division Three athletic programs to offer football programs”.

Rehbaum said they really have some terrific coaches here at Hilbert that buy in to the system here and they generally care about the student athletes that is necessary for success at Division III.

 “Those coaches have the drive and desire to bring them to competing the top 3 in their league and ultimately competing in the AMCC (Allegany Mountain Colleague Conference),” she said.

Seil said growing and expanding the Hilbert Athletic Programs in the Covid-19 pandemic was difficult given the many limitations put on athletics at that time,Seil talks about

“The pandemic forced everybody’s hand with everything in higher education,” he said.

He said recruiting was difficult because coaches could not go on the road as much due to restrictions.

“The pandemic did not have too much of an effect on  whether they were going to continue to add sports programs they wanted to add, Siel said.

Rhebaum said with their plans of expanding they hired full time coaches that needed workspaces and they also needed to make locker room spaces for this new and expanding sports programs. With that Rhebaum said they reduced student space and had to add more coaches’ space and states that was one of their administrative issues.

Seil says he “sees in the five-to-ten-year plan about adding facilities to accommodate adding teams because you need to add  facilities and talks about how they needed to attract more student athletes.”

Theater Class Offers Changes Perspectives

Theater is something that people will enjoy getting to perform in front of a crowd or will find it nerve wracking to do.

Taylor Doherty, a theater professor at Hilbert, said… paraphrase something he said. “The chance to inhabit the psychological shoes of another person can be a wonderful, transformative experience,” Doherty said.

Doherty said that the idea that “theater and film people” are liberal, is a stereotype. “And I think it’s because when you’re acting a role – REALLY fully immersing yourself in the role – you see the world from their perspective,” he said. “You understand their hopes and fears. And you realize that we’re all the same deep down. So it becomes they’re ‘different from you’ when you’ve have seen the world from their perspective.”

Doherty said if there’s nervousness to performing.

“Yes there is,” Doherty said. “After all, when you’re acting in a film or on stage, you’re in a very vulnerable position. You’re experiencing intense emotions… for real… and people are watching you do it.”

But it’s all about practicing. The more someone does it, the more it gets easier to do. And he disagrees with the idea that people in media professions do no need to try acting, Doherty said.

“Everyone should try acting at least once,” he said of acting. “And I don’t mean a quick improv, I mean a REAL acting experience. I bet it would give people a greater understanding of the films they know and love.”

Students should be given an understanding on the process of what gets people interested in being a part of theater and the experience that a student gets when doing it.

Emmanuel McClain, a Digital Media and Communication student who took Doherty’s introduction to theater course, said performing theater is an experience that people will enjoy if they try.

“I needed a class to take for an elective,” McClain said. “It turned out to be great. It was a fun and humbling experience.”

After doing the class, McClain said people should try doing theater more often. “Yes. 100% yes,” He said.

Hilbert Cheer Celebrates a Successful Fall

Hilbert College’s cheerleading team has been working hard throughout the last few months to support the football and basketball teams at their games.

Julia Dombrowski a cheer team member, said she enjoys the camaraderie the team has built throughout the semester.

“A favorite part for me is having everyone come together and getting closer as friends which help our stunts improve too from everyone working together as a team,” she said.

Since Hilbert Athletics fall under division III, the cheer team is equally present for both, men and women’s games.

The girls have been practicing four times per week as of now where they work on cheers, stunts, creative time-outs, and a halftime dance.

“It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get where we want to be,” said Krista Stephany, another team member. “It doesn’t just happen over night.”

The team holds try-outs for anyone who is interested and being a part of the semester. The team does not require past experience. The team, as of now, has a cap of 15 people, as there are only 15 uniforms available.

The three team captains, Dombrowski, Stephany and Kat Pappas explain how they help the team lead practice and focus on getting everyone on the same rhythm.

Pappas says she’s enjoyed seeing the team strengthen their bonds with one another.

“Watching the team change from freshman year until senior year and seeing how much everyone has connected is my favorite part about this team,” Pappas said.

Due to funding shortages, the cheerleading team does not currently fall under Hilbert Athletics. They are student government funded which means they also are expected to follow student government regulations. However, they are really trying to be under athletics in the near future.

The team hopes to hold their first cheer clinic this upcoming February for anyone interested. This clinic is a great fundraising opportunity for the team.

Head coach Colleen Kumiega says she’s extremely proud of the girls and wishes people would take it more seriously and give them the credit they deserve.

“These girls are my spirit. They give me the energy and enthusiasm to live the cheerleading life that I missed myself. I am literally so proud of them,” Kumiega said. “They work so hard day in and day out and people don’t take it as seriously as an athletic sport as it really should be.”