HAWK Radio Welcomes New Shows

Hilbert College students involved in the campus radio station program, HAWK Radio, will continue to produce shows coming to you live from Franciscan Hall this spring semester.  The club features students that have an interest working in radio.  HAWK radio features genres from modern music to rock music to hip hop music.

HAWK Radio will welcome back all their shows from the previous semesters plus a new show this semester.  Digital media and communication students Adam Connelly and Andrew Wozniak continue to bring you all your weekly sports information and updates on Double-A Sports Talk at 2pm on Tuesdays. 

“We wanted to do a sports show because we both like sports.  Don said that it would be great to get sports content like MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA on HAWK Radio,” said senior Adam Connelly. 

Sonja Lee continues to bring everyone inspiring views on life with her show Eternity Matters at 2pm on Mondays.   The 70’s funk and alternative music carries on with Morgan Rush’s Underground Rush show on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.  HAWK Radio News anchor Ryan Zunner continues to bring us all your local and nationwide news on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.  Freeland votes takes place on Thursdays at 11 a.m. with Andrew Snavely and Hawk Rock Block takes place on Thursdays at 12 p.m. with Elliot Klein.

 Hawk Pop Hits with juniors Kaitlyn Barone and Tori Kurdziel will be a new show this semester.  Featuring all your favorite pop music from the early 2000s.  You can tune in to their station on Thursdays at 1p.m.   

“I joined HAWK radio to have a good time with my friends,” Junior Tori Kurdziel said.

Hilbert College alumni Zach Jezioro said HAWK radio helped him get experience being on the radio in a low-pressure situation.

“The best part was probably just being in the studio,” Jezioro said…  “I did the sports report so just talking about the biggest topics in sports was fun.  I love sports and it’s my passion!” 

If you are interested in joining HAWK Radio you can contact digital media professor Don Vincent, the club is open to all students.  You can follow HAWK Radio on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.  For more information you can visit the website.  You can listen to the HAWK Radio music player at http:///listen.shoutcast.com/hawk-radio-hilbert-college.m3u.  New shows are always welcomed! 

Editor’s note: Author, Kaitlyn Barone, has a show called Hawk Pop Hits

Bridging the Gap: Mental Health and Sport Psychology Best Practices for College Student-Athletes

Dr. Chris Siuta here at Hilbert College held a seminar last month explaining the types of mental health disorders, and methods to help students on campus that are struggling with their mental health.

Suita, Hilbert’s director of counseling, health and wellness, said athletes in particular can be under a lot of stress when it comes to playing their sport, getting homework done, and still maintaining a social life. Mental health is a major part of student athletes and includes mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, body dysmorphic, and many more.

 “Having the wellness center engaged with the student population, and that they know we are active and constantly looking for ways to help and guide throughout the semester and continue to embrace and reach the masses as much as possible because days and weeks go by quickly and you tend to forget that you’re off the radar,” said Siuta.

Siuta focused his presentation on consulting in sport psychology with many different disorders that individuals may run into. He stressed that attention and concentration and how these types of trainings and routines can help with your needs. Goal setting, confidence, motivation, and visual-motor behavior were all mentioned in regards to improving mental health as well.

Covid-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, and changes to individuals’ everyday lives can be destructive to mental health. Not being able to socialize and live our normal lives is frustrating and mentally draining at times.

With some classes being hybrid, students tend to get in a rut. But, the Health and Wellness Center at Hilbert College is there for every student who just wants to talk Siuta said.

 “Even with just one meeting I can give a boatload of strategies to take with you to hopefully bridge the gap of whatever is occurring in your life… my services here on campus are private and confidential,” he added.

The Health and Wellness Center is always encouraging students on campus to come and talk even if it is just one time if they need someone to vent to. You can reach out to Dr. Chris Siuta by email; csiuta@hilbert.edu and make an appointment to meet up and talk.

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.

Nursing Home Controversy Draws Scrutiny

After a high ranking official in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was caught on tape discussing the state’s Covid response in nursing homes politicians, Republicans and Democrats, are calling for further scrutiny and possibly even impeachment.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said that she wasn’t sure what to hand over in a Department of Justice inquiry about nursing homes, because she wasn’t sure what “was going to be used against us,” allegations detailed in news reports first appearing in the New York Post.

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy believes what Governor Cuomo and his administration did was obstruction of justice.

“They made it about politics,” Langworthy said during a news conference at Erie County Republican Headquarters in downtown Buffalo on Friday. “These are laughable excuses. And it’s an insult to the intelligence in the integrity of 19 million New York taxpayers. He has grossly abused his power and he has destroyed the credibility and the trust of the Office of the governor. Andrew Cuomo must be prosecuted, and Andrew Cuomo must be impeached if this evidence exists. The truth is that this entire ordeal starting with that fateful executive order on March 25, was corrupt from the outset.”

A January report from the New York Attorney General’s office found preliminary information that the Department of Health had been undercounting nursing home COVID deaths, and many homes were failing to follow infectious disease control policies. In a statement, DeRosa said her comments on the conference call were about having to shift focus away from a similar request made by the State Senate, to the one made by the DOJ.

“I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first. We informed the houses of this at the time,” DeRosa said in the written statement. “We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout. As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic.”

Inquiries and calls for action are also being taken by members of the governor’s own party as well. Tish James, a Democrat, headed the prior nursing home report in her capacity as Attorney General. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams tweeted that Cuomo’s actions are “Trump-like,” and said the governor only apologizes when he is caught. In what is the largest pushback from Democratic legislators against Cuomo, 14 Democratic State Senators, including Sen. James Skoufis, Chair of the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, signed onto a statement calling for the rescinding of the governor’s emergency powers as they are “no longer appropriate.”

Senator Skoufis (D-39) was also on the conference call obtained by the New York Post, and DeRosa’s comments about the DOJ inquiry were in response to a question posed by Skoufis asking why it was taking so long for the Department of Health and the governor’s office to respond to a similar inquiry made by both the State Senate and Assembly.

The governor’s emergency powers are set to expire on April 30, but the coalition of Democratic senators are calling for that to happen sooner.

New portal shows testing results of students, faculty, and staff

Data collected from on campus testing and Inspired Health Group are now posted to Hilbert’s new COVID-19 identification portal.

With covid protocols remaining in effect on campus because of the global pandemic, a new tool has been developed that can give clarity to those wanting to know how the virus is spreading on campus. New this semester is a feature that can be found underneath the “Coronavirus Update” section on the college’s website that displays the number of tests, the number of positive tests and the status of those in quarantine.

Dr. Chris Siuta, director of Counseling Center, said that last semester felt like a carnival game for most students and faculty trying to get information on campus cases. Some felt that there were more cases on campus than were being reported.

“My sense is that there is relief for students and employees alike that they are more knowledgeable of what’s happening on campus day to day,” Siuta said.

As we approach a year since the pandemic struck and changed life as we know it, one thing stays the same: safety protocols. Identification certainly brings clarity for some, yet others like Sophomore Toriann Wipperman wish that they were also able to find out where exactly an infected person was at on campus prior to their test results.

“I think it could be better at alerting people maybe what classes people take and stuff, so you know if you were in contact with someone that has it,” said Wipperman.

Cleanliness and sanitization around campus continues to remain a top priority. From antibacterial wipes to hand sanitizer dispensers every few feet, it is clear the administration is going to great lengths to keep the Hilbert community safe.

“It seems like cases are coming from outside areas and the students just happen to go to Hilbert,” said Wipperman. “It doesn’t seem like its spreading around campus.”.

After the data is collected, it is later passed on to Health & Safety who complete the next steps, said Siuta.

“Most of the times, the testing has been done on campus or at the medical group,” he said. “People are testing outside of Hilbert, at the medical group, and they will call me so that I can do contact tracing.”

As this new portal brings data and peace of mind to campus, it comes during a turning point as the vaccine distribution has begun around the country. With the difficulty of the vaccine rollout, it is evident that few faculty and students have received initial doses.

“Very few students have been vaccinated,” said Siuta “We still have a long way to go.”

Siuta said that depending on the percentage of people vaccinated and how herd immunity is, by summer COVID-19 could be controlled.  

“Hopefully by the fall we’ve really overcome this virus.”

Students Take Part in Welcome Week Fun

The new semester will bring about new classes, new friends, reunions and a welcome week full of activities that will help promote all three.

Each semester there are many events to give students fun things to do inbetween classes and while taking breaks from work. This welcome week continues to remain different as COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, resulting in most events being held virtually or with changes to encourage social distancing. Regardless of the changes, these are opportunities that students are encouraged to attend as they can lead to new friendships and an opportunity to escape the difficulties of this challenging time.

Daniel Heims, Director of Student Activities, said that there are a wide range of activities and events that are designed to welcome students back and make them feel comfortable while beginning another semester amidst the pandemic.

“Welcome Week is an opportunity for students to get involved in events on campus while having fun with their friends,” he 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.”

After the virtual escape room event Wednesday night, sophomore Lynn Adams-Gilden said that she enjoyed the event virtually, as it allowed her to attend while still being at home with her kids.

“I mean it’s more relaxed, but it’s more challenging,” Adams-Gilsten said. “You’re not in person with the things in your hand that you need to do it.”

A virtual paint night will be offered Friday starting at 8:00 p.m. Students will need to sign up in advance on Purple Briefcase. After initial registration is completed, students will receive follow up information on how to pick up their brushes and other supplies for the event.

“We will have fun painting a sea star with a beach and sand,” Heims said.

Dean of Students Gregory Roberts and Barb DeLarosa from the Student Life office hand out Wolf of Gubbio kits

Events from earlier in the week included free donut holes and hot cocoa and an opportunity to assemble Wolf of Gubbio stuffed animals.

With the vaccine rollout occurring, students are eager to see if more events for the rest of the semester may be in person instead of virtual.

“I think it’s going to be a mix. We are doing our best to follow restrictions from NYS,” Heims said. “Expect to see a combo of smaller in person to virtual events from not only Student Activities, but also Service Learning.”

Heims said that if students have ideas for future events, they should contact Student Activities.

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.

Sisters From Vietnam Find a Home at Hilbert

One may have had the opportunity to meet them personally or see them on campus adorned in habits and veils. They are Sisters Thu Pham and Doan Tran from Vietnam. Since their calling to Holy Orders up to the present, both are here at Hilbert to gain a valuable education which will enable them to perform their ministry in Vietnam. 

Before their journey to Hilbert began, both Sisters received their calling to Holy Orders in a distinctive way. Sister Thu described her calling as “Very strong and clear”. The strong part revealed itself when her friends set their sights on careers in the bustling city of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. For Sister Doan, she credits her father’s encouragement but, in the end, she said “God called through my father”.  Both Sisters come from agricultural communities in the rich rice fields of Vietnam.

When asked about the work or ministry they will perform upon return to Vietnam, Sister Thu said, “Do what our nun superiors asks us to do” however ministry assignments are often based upon one’s education and skills. Sister Thu Pham is a Human Services major. Her goal is to minister to victims of domestic violence, pregnant women, homeless persons, and the elderly.  Majoring in Psychology, Sister Doan Tran looks forward to applying her skills towards counseling others.

After undergoing years of theological studies and discernment, often through isolation and strict prayer, both Sisters took their final vows and received rings symbolizing betrothal to Jesus Christ. Once complete, together they travelled to the United States in furtherance of academic study. Following time at a junior college in Indiana where they studied English, they applied for scholarships through a program for Vietnamese sisters and priests.

The head of the program, A Vietnamese priest named Father Bao Nguyen, had the following to say when asked why Hilbert College was chosen “Srs. Thu Pham, Doan Tran, and I knew Hilbert College through Dr. Michael Brophy, the President, whom I have known for the past decade since he was the President at Palos Verde Marymount College in California. We have kept in touch for a long time, and Dr. Brophy invited the Sisters to study at this beautiful college. Instead of selecting large universities, the sisters want to have a better community life where the Hilbert college can provide hospitality and friendly intimacy.”

When Fr. Bao was asked about how familiar he is about Hilbert, he said “Hilbert college is a small college where people know each other and enjoy human development through social interaction and inner circles of classmates and faculty. Near the city Buffalo, the college has attractive location where students can contemplate the beauty of nature at Niagara Falls or cross the the border to explore Canada with the big city Toronto about two hours away. With its Catholic Franciscan heritage and values, Hilbert college is a good educational environment for the religious like Mrs. Pham and Tran from Vietnam to nurture their religious tradition and Catholic involvement in social justice. Hilbert truly is  what the sisters hope to accomplish formal education here in the U.S. and prepare them for the global leaders with competent skills of discernment, responsibility, and leadership. “

According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of State titled Government Committee for Religious Affairs, approximately 7% of the Vietnamese population is Catholic (2019). Sister Doan and Thu’s ministry will be a lifelong commitment of serving their fellow citizens regardless of religious denomination and their Hilbert education will play a key role in fulfilling their service to others.

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.