Honors Students Headed to Philly

Dr. Amy Smith has led Hilbert College’s Honors Program since 2001. Smith said students usually have at least one opportunity to travel with the program.

This year, Smith is taking three students participating in this year’s Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference. The conference theme is “A More Perfect Union: Creating and Restoring Community in an Age of Disruption” and Smith’s students will cover topics on political platforms, residential segregation, and substance abuse.

To be considered for the program, students must apply with a letter stating why they feel they deserve a spot in the program and a letter of recommendation.

Smith’s advice for students interested in the program is to come willing and ready to learn.

“The kind of student who is willing to take a little bit of a risk to explore new areas and try different things, they want to expand their horizon,” Smith said. “Sometimes they’re asked to do things they aren’t always comfortable with, but it’s beneficial in the long run. . . I like students who are willing to do that, speak up in class, challenge ideas and opinions, even if they’re mine. Students who are thinking, that’s one of the key things. They aren’t always the best writers or test-takers, but they’re good thinkers and like to think. I think that’s another important attribute to have that aspect to them as well.”

There are many benefits exclusively for honors students; students get early registration, a scholarship, courses solely for honors students, traveling, the honors lounge, and more.

Smith took students to Italy, England, Barcelona, Kenya, Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, and more during that time.

“I enjoy taking students somewhere they’ve never been before,” Smith said, “Even if I’ve been there before, getting to see them experience it for the first time is neat because then it is new for me, also.”

Last spring Smith took her Reading and Writing Buffalo class, offered exclusively to honors students, to San Francisco, CA. Students visited Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate National Recreation Center, and explored the city of San Francisco. During this trip, students learned how to navigate public transportation, and Dr. Smith challenged students to look at different ways to navigate on feet in a big city.

This program budget covers most, if not all, of the cost of the trip.

“Depending on the number of students and where we’re going, sometimes students have had to pay a little bit toward the trip, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked students for more than maybe $50 to $75.” Smith said.

Junior Andrew Wozniak has been in the program since his freshman year and says his favorite part of the program is the opportunity for experiential learning. He took the Reading and Writing Buffalo class and is one of the students who went to San Francisco last spring. Wozniak’s favorite part of the trip was visiting Yosemite National Park. Growing up as a boy scout, he said, “nature was my forte.”

Any student interested in applying to the honors program should contact Dr. Amy Smith at asmith@hilbert.edu.

Hilbert Hosts Fresh Check Day

HAMBURG, NY – Hilbert College hosted its first Fresh Check Day, an event aimed at spreading awareness about mental illness and suicide, earlier this semesyter.

In the years that have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, mental health has become a common topic, and the stigma surrounding mental illness has decreased significantly.

Interim Director of Residence Life Grace Adams organized the institution’s participation this year, and said she hopes that this will become an annual event at Hilbert. Staff and students volunteering helped with setting up tables and booths for students to go around to.

Those in attendance used “passports” to visit each booth in exchange for prizes. Prizes ranged from Hilbert T-shirts to an Amazon firestick. In order to qualify for prizes, students had to visit at least eight of the booths.

At the first table, students took a vow to help others struggling or contemplating suicide while learning about the signs the someone is contemplating suicide. Once they sign the pledge, students continue to eight other booths in Franciscan Hall. 

Students were able to write down the things they’re thankful for, write down their insecurities and “trash them,” make their own stress balls, and more.

A crowd favorite was a booth where students wrote down things that make them angry on a piece of paper and then they got to slip on some boxing gloves to make a piece of abstract art.

Once students had the gloves on, they chose two paint colors and the paint was put on their gloves. A volunteer places the paper on the punching bag and the student punches that paper, releasing some of that tension. When students finished, they had the option to keep their paper.

Bert the Hawk stopped by to take photos with students and participants.

Associate Human Services professor, Sharon Sisti, had a booth called “The Elephant in the Room” run primarily by her students. The purpose of this activity is to help students see they are not alone in the feelings that they have or the things that they have experienced in their life.

“The statements on the board are things that people don’t necessarily want to talk about,” Sisti said. “It is easy to feel alone with what you’re going through. This shows students that they are not alone and it validates those feelings.” Adams said she hopes to make this an annual event at Hilbert College.

Help is available. Speak with someone today. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (this number will change to three-digit number 988 in July 2022)

Q&A: SGA President Kody Harrison

In early February The Scribe had a sit-down interview with Student Government Association President Kody Harrison. We discussed the challenges he has with being President along with the successes and what he plans to accomplish for the current semester. Already Harrison and SGA have accomplished one of their goals. They eliminated 11 of the organizations 20 positions, bringing the total number of seats in student government to nine.

This is Harrison’s first term as President . He has previous experience being involved in SGA as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative.

The Scribe: What changes do you plan on making in student government during your first semester?

Kody Harrison: We were just restarting SGA and got rid of a lot of positions because we felt as if some people were not doing enough work. We thought consolidating and having fewer positions would be helpful to the association. It’s definitely gotten easier. we built a foundation last semester.

TS: What have been some of the biggest challenges for you so far?

KH: Most of the struggles were the mask. It was a little difficult because there were students who were having problems with those new rules, and they did come to us about it. And so, we did bring them up to administration. But they said that that’s the best policy that they came up with. The most civil, I guess. We also had some social distancing issues with our meetings and events but other than that it was pretty smooth sailing.

TS: How did SGA handle the challenges presented during the height of the pandemic?

KH: Last semester we did welcome week. Most of the events were outside, since we’re able to take off the mask. I don’t think we did too much stuff indoors because we didn’t want students feeling that they were being forced to wear a mask or anything while trying to have fun and engage.

TS: Besides planning Bert Fest, what other goals are you hoping to accomplish this semester?

KH: We’re trying to get clubs more involved, so students know about the clubs because. I feel like the clubs are still kind of low in numbers, so we are trying to get these  clubs out there and try to get more clubs engaged with the community because we think some clubs are clubs but they don’t hold any events or anything, so we’re trying to get them to be more out in the open.

More on the administrative side of goals that we’re talking about different majors that we might be wanting to bring on campus or different issues that we see on campus that we’re trying to solve. So that could be like the whole new athletic programs coming out of campus. How is that going to look for Hafner? What are we going to do with Hafner and how are we going to restructure it if we’re going to build off? And then right now currently we are working on upgrading the lower campus center. So, we’re getting new floors for the Campus Center which students voted on which floor they wanted, which was light gray. We’re going to get new furniture in there. We’re gonna get a fridge in there. Microwave. Trying to liven up the place a little bit because it’s a  little bland. We want to put in a little fireplace area. Making it warm and cozy  so you can come down there and hang out with friends, maybe bring down their food from the dining hall and just chill out between classes.

TS: Election season is right around the corner. Are you planning on running for a second term?

KH: I think so because I feel like a put a lot in a lot of work and I want to see it pay off. If I don’t run for the presidency I may run for a different position.

Hilbert to Host Mental Health Event

Hilbert College will host its first Fresh Check Day on Thursday, March 24, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fresh Check Day is a signature program of the Jordon Porco Foundation. It includes interactive expo booths, peer-to-peer messaging, support of multiple campus departments and groups, free food, entertainment and prizes and giveaways.

Fresh Check Day aims to create an approachable and hopeful atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health and help to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available on campus and in their community.

Grace Adams, Hilbert’s interim director of residence life, is leading the planning effort for the event.

She said Fresh Check events at other colleges she has worked for have been big successes, and so she wanted to bring the experience to Hilbert students.

“Mental health is one of the largest concerns among college students across the country and Hilbert is no different,” Adams said in an email to The Scribe. “I got to see firsthand how FCD has impacted students and the amazing positive culture and dialogue it can create around mental health awareness and suicide prevention.”

College staff utilizes students to develop and execute an interactive booth that delivers peer-to-peer mental health and resource information in a fun and engaging way. Booth messages reflect a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Booth topics include stigma reduction, specific mental health struggles, coping, and life skills.

Adams said the staff is aiming to offer students an outlet to discuss an learn about the important topic of mental health in a setting that is also fun and inviting.

“I hope students can realize they are not alone in their struggles; there are resources on campus and people that care, and this is all for our students and their well-being,” she said.

Please direct all inquiries to the Interim Director of Residence Life and Community Standards, Grace Adams, at gadams@hilbert.edu.

IT Department Works Out Kinks After Last Month’s Server Crash

Hilbert College experienced a series of internet outages last month, making it difficult for students to access blackboard, email services, self-service and the internet in general for those who live on campus.

This had impacted many students and faculty as it caused many lesson plans and classes to be changed and postponed. Many classes had to come to a standstill or be canceled since nothing was accessible, frustrating some students and faculty.

“This outage made this time a lot more difficult to communicate with any professors or just simply turning in any work,” Angelo DiNizo, a Hilbert student and member of the baseball team, said. “Because I practice six days a week with games in between and it doesn’t give me a huge time window to complete work if I can’t access to internet on my off time.”

Getting assignments turned in became difficult with Blackboard down and slowed grading as professors were not able to enter them into the system. With this, many students and faculty went to email to get the message out to one another about late assignments. However, it turned out that the email servers were down as well.

Those living on campus were also without internet access for a period of time as well. It caused many students to miss zoom meetings and classes. Zoom has become an important part of the classroom for many classes and having this happen proved to be a problem.

The Hilbert College IT department has been working hard to resolve this issue and have created many work arounds and solutions.

Jonathon Heck, a student employee in the IT department, said things have been running smooth again since the department addressed the issues.

“Essentially the core server that had the email and all other services on it failed,” Heck said. “It caused a chain reaction causing everything to crash.”

The importance of the internet has taken over the academic world as most lecture material and assignment are saved on the cloud servers. When these server outages take place, it can be detrimental.

Students Rush to Pack Up For Break

With the semester coming to an end, students are faced with packing up and moving back home. Hilbert College’s Residence Life is working to make this a seemingly easy process.

Residence Halls officially close December 18, 2021, at 12pm. Students are able to keep personal belongings in their assigned rooms. It is encouraged that residents take all necessary items they may need until the start of the Spring 2022 semester.

“This is my fourth time now completing this process” says senior Mia Sanchez. “It just keeps getting easier and easier every time I do it.”

Upon move out for the winter break, students are to clean their living space, unplug all items, lock all doors, and turn in their room key. Keys can be brought to the Trinity Front Desk. If a student accidentally forgets to turn in their keys, they can be mailed in to Residence Life.

Resident halls will reopen for the spring semester Sunday, January 16, 2021, at 12pm.  Students can check into housing 12pm-12am on Sunday and 9am-12am during the weekdays.

“It’s so nice to have a system that makes the check-out process so easy for students” says senior Nykeria Brockington. “It just gives me one less thing to worry about as I prepare to do home for the winter break.”

Hilbert Student Holds Bake Sale for the Rachael Warrior Foundation

Hilbert junior Taylor Beers held a bake sale and 50/50 raffle on campus benefiting the Rachael Warrior Foundation last month.

Beers, a Business Management Major, held the sale as part of her marketing management class with help from her boyfriend and her family. Despite the sale being part of her class, it held a deeper meaning for her because it benefited a cause close to home.

Beers was close friends with Rachael Wierzbicki throughout middle and high school, who was killed November 28, 2018, as a victim of domestic violence. Her killer was recently found not guilty. Out of that tragedy, the Rachel Warrior Foundation was born, aiming to help those in crisis due to domestic violence and to get them out of dangerous situations before it’s too late, Beers said.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to get the word out there”, Beers said.

She also cited the national Gabby Petito story with Rachael’s as motivation to raise awareness.

“With that happening, I thought it was a really good topic to get people to talk about,” she said.

Similar to other fundraisers, a lot went into the planning process for Beers and her family. “I wanted to make sure everything I needed was covered, and it was a little stressful, but it all came together in the end,” she said.

Altogether, Beers had donations from several local bakeries including Haak’s Cakes, Bon Bon’s Gluten Free Bakery, Paula’s Donuts, and Tim Hortons, and raised several hundred dollars for the foundation, Beers said.

As the Rachael Warrior Foundation’s website says, stories like Rachael’s are all too familiar, and is a reality for some. That’s why raising awareness, speaking, and reaching out, and telling stories is so important. For more information about the Rachael Warrior Foundation, and ways to help, visit their website: https://www.rachaelwarriorfoundation.org/home.