Covid Protocols Present Challenges, Opportunities

Last March the lives of Americans changed drastically as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Everyday routines were turned completely upside down, including jobs, shopping, even spending time outside. But education, in particular, saw significant disruptions. Most schools around the country were forced to change the way students attended classes, changing and adding rules and regulations that students are not accustomed to, such as wearing a mask when on campus, logging into zoom classes on time, and disinfecting everything in class rooms and campuses.

Hilbert College is no exception.

Alesia Hamm is taking all classes in person and said that it is much easier and more efficient when it comes to understanding her material. She believes that human interaction and face to face learning is crucial, especially during these stressful times.

However, having online options has helped Hamm keep up on her schoolwork, she said.

“Due to having an online option for classes and office hours, I am able to keep my grades up more compared to last year,” she said.

Sarah Kobler takes a few classes online and the rest are in person, even though she, and most other students, are not too fond of remote learning. She believes that grades and mental health are both impacted when not being face to face for classes.

When it comes to being at home, and maybe even in your own bedroom, it is easy to get distracted and maybe miss an important part of your class. “Sometimes I notice my classmates walking away from their computer screens for long periods of time,” Kobler said.

Professor Megan Witzleben, who teaches English at Hilbert, only taught one online class over the summer, but agrees that in-person classes are much easier to teach and feels her students learn more efficiently.   

“Preparation for teaching (online) becomes much more complicated and time consuming,” she said. “I am unable to know how well the students are retaining the information I teach, especially if I have to present a pre-recorded video or PowerPoint.”

It is harder for teachers to keep track of attendance when teaching through a computer screen and to know if a student is falling behind, Witleben added.

“It seems that students usually only pay attention over zoom when it is a one on one meeting.” she said.

However, the students and professor have said that one positive thing about online schooling is not having to take time away from extracurricular activities or hobbies.

“Because of the restrictions of staying on campus for events and other activities, I have more time to play basketball outside of school,” Hamm said.

Another positive attribution of online class is the increase in grades, Hamm and Kobler agreed. This is most likely due to being able to review courses and classes as much as needed, versus a once over in an in-person class.  

And for some students, the independence and free time available in quarantine can be beneficial in some ways, Hamm said.

“Because I have the extra time to do more of what I really enjoy, such as basketball and enjoying being outside,” she said. “I feel my mental health is much better.”

Still, remote learning can be difficult psychologically. When students and teachers spend more time at home and most of their days on a computer, their mental health and even physical health may be affected.

Witzleban said that she and anyone with children need a strong support system. Without this support, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut both physically and mentally.  

“Being stuck inside all day everyday has a negative impact on mental health,” she said. “Especially since I have young children at home.”

Hilbert Students Have Mixed Emotions About Being on Campus

With the fall 2020 semester halfway complete, students are in the swing of their routines.

From arriving to campus, sitting in their lecture halls, or meeting a fellow Hawk for coffee, things look different this semester at Hilbert. As many new precautions have been put in place to keep students, faculty, and staff safe, some students feel that some of these precautions are beneficial and others are trying to find a balance.

Sisters Haley and Toriann Wipperman,have different views on the way that things are going when asked about the sanitation in classrooms

Sophomore Toriann Wipperman said she is still adjusting to the new protocols.

“I’m somewhere in the middle,” Toriann Wipperman said. “It’s like decent. The one classroom I was in ran out of wipes to wipe down the desks and we kept asking for them to get refilled and it took a few days. It took a while.”

Based off the CDC’s recommendation, a face covering over both the nose and mouth should be worn in public spaces when a six-foot distance cannot be met. According to Toriann, everyone wears a mask properly throughout the duration of her in-person classes on campus. Professor Don Vincent said that the classrooms are sanitized well and students consistently wear their masks properly throughout the duration of his lectures.

Some colleges decided to pull the plug months ago on both in-person classes and re-opening dorm halls for the fall 2020 semester. However, Hilbert made the decision to have students live in dorms and continue with in person instruction.

Toriann Wipperman said she understands why it is difficult for schools to decide whether to continue with in person classes, but that she feels they should have went completely remote when asked if she thought Hilbert administrators made the right decision.

“Thats controversial,” Toriann Wipperman said. “I’m gonna say no. It makes sense that Hilbert’s back. I just don’t think any of these schools should be. I think we should have just been in lockdown completely and just got rid of it completely, instead of trying to normalize it while the pandemic is still happening.”

Senior Haley Wipperman is currently completing all classes remotely from home, as she broke her foot in July. She feels a bit different about the topic.

“We are all college students and this is our school,” Haley Wipperman said. “It is up to us to follow the rules and keep everyone healthy. If we weren’t on campus, it would be another semester of our college experience taken away from us.”

Hilbert Moves to Online Instruction

Hilbert College announced a suspension of all academic, residential, and student life/athletic programing effective March 15 as a result of the growing COVID-19 health pandemic affecting countries around the world. Hilbert will start their transition to online and virtual instruction until at least March 30.

“This was not an easy decision,” Hilbert President Michael Brophy said in a press release.  “We realize this will create some challenges for our Hilbert campus community. However, we are taking this action in a proactive effort to safeguard the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Western New York community.”

Residential students will be required to move off-campus by March 14 at 5 p.m. and are instructed to bring any critical items with them, including personal effects. School organizations who have events planned with external speakers or groups between March 10 and March 30 will need to postpone, cancel or conduct virtual versions of those events, according to the release.

Students who have specific accessibility needs on campus during the break should work with academic affairs, academic services or student life to resolve those issues, Hilbert’s executive director of marketing and communications Matt Heidt said in an email to the Scribe.

More details on residential life, campus events and student expenses related to the developments will be forthcoming, he added.

As athletic programs, including all practices and workouts, are suspended, Hilbert’s baseball, softball, and lacrosse teams futures remain uncertain for the 2020 spring season.

As far as business operations at Hilbert, those are expected to continue, as the campus will remain open in an administrative capacity, with updated work-from-home policies forthcoming.

So far there are no confirmed cases of new-coronavirus in Western New York, but in downstate cities like New Rochelle the virus is spreading quickly. The area has become the largest epicenter of the virus in the United States, according to the New York Times. State officials there have designated a one-mile zone as a “containment area,” where health officials say the outbreak in the Westchester County city may have started.

The Hilbert announcement comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to close down normal operations of all SUNY and CUNY institutions, which are also shifting to distance learning starting March 19.

Hilbert community members can check this website for updates.

Hilbert Holds Graduate School Expo

Throughout the afternoon of Tuesday, November 12th in the Franciscan Hall Atrium, Hilbert College hosted its annual Graduate School Expo. Graduate admissions representatives from across the region gathered in the atrium to discuss their programs with Hilbert College’s students and alumni. Students and alumni entering the atrium were greeted by door prizes and free food, as well as graduate representatives from Hilbert to start off the expo. Students who attended the event were able to discuss many important points about the ten colleges and universities in the atrium, such as application deadlines, GPA requirements, entrance exams and personal statements.

The Scribe interviewed a number of representatives and other individuals at the expo, and they had some interesting things to say about their schools and experiences. Admissions representatives from ten schools including Hilbert all attended the expo to provide important information about their school’s programs. Some of these schools included Canisius College, Alfred University, Daemen College, Niagara University, and many more. The Scribe interviewed representatives Katie Martoche of Hilbert College, and Brandi Banks, the Senior Graduate Admissions Counselor at Canisius College. These representatives discussed some of the graduate programs offered at their respective schools, and the value these programs have to benefit students who have graduated from or are enrolled in an undergraduate program at Hilbert College.

The Scribe also interviewed one of Hilbert’s students for an alternative perspective on the Graduate Expo and the benefits it can have towards students and Alumni. Senior Brandon Zicari discussed with the scribe his take on how an event like the graduate expo can benefit students and alumni at Hilbert, and he also spoke on the importance of meeting these representatives face to face and gaining knowledge on the programs in person as opposed to just searching around on a school’s website for information on their programs.

All in all, an event like Hilbert’s annual Graduate Expo can be an incredibly useful tool for students and alumni here at Hilbert. If you plan on working through a graduate program in the future, perhaps this expo could be a big help in making a decision when it returns to Hilbert College next year.

New Apartment Going Up at Immaculata Site

Immaculta Academy, directly next door to Hilbert Colleges, is under renovations to become a large apartment complex called The Oaks.

RANE Property Management purchased the 27-acre plot of land to turn the former academy into a residential apartment complex. RANE Development received $1.85 million in property tax breaks and is in the process of starting the $26.7 million project which is projected to create 171 temporary construction jobs and seven full-time jobs, according to the Buffalo News;

As for the Immaculate Academy building itself, RANE Property Management decided to keep the structure. The gymnasium and the auditorium currently will be fully renovated into a clubhouse community center to allow for the pool, fitness center, and an updated gymnasium center inside.

As for Hilbert College itself and according to on market rated apartments, this will be an eye-opening sight for future potential students seeking next door apartments close to campus which will hopefully allow for a greater growth of student enrollment at Hilbert College. The expected completion date for The Oaks is before the end of next year, Catia said.

“We plan to begin moving people in before the holidays of 2020,” he said.

Flag Football Tournament Benefits People Inc.

When it comes to autumn, football comes to mind.  SIM 410 Sports Events and Operations put on an extraordinary event for a great cause.

Hilbert College student, Shannon Stokes ran a flag football tournament this past Saturday on campus. This event was for her class that Professor Daniel Roland teaches. The tournament ran on Saturday November 9th, from 3pm to 7pm. They used Hafner Recreation Center, for indoor play use.

“The tournament benefited People Inc.; a non-profit organization that provides services for individuals with disabilities and seniors,” said Stokes.   Professor Roland said, “The group raised $314 from the teams participated in the tournament, concession sales, and raffle baskets.

Five teams participated in this event: Baked Bean Blowouts, Wheel & Deal, Hilbert, The Ducks, and Red Raiders. The games consisted of five vs five, one point per touchdown, two seven min halves, and a two min halftime break. The first round bye was given to the first registered team. Baked Bean Blowouts got the first round bye, for that matter of pre-registration.

The tournament was very competitive and hard fought by all teams. It came down to two teams for the championship. Wheel & Deal vs The Ducks was  for the trophy. That game was really tightly contested, but Wheel & Deal came out victorious. After the tournament concluded, Wheel & Deal hoisted their trophy and got a team photo with Shannon and her event helpers. Shannon was greatly appreciated for the teams that benefited this event.

Transfer Students Play Important Role at Hilbert

Transfer students are an important part of any post-secondary institution And Hilbert College is no exception.

There are many reasons for students to transfer colleges. Whether it be a student wants to live closer to home, a student might transfer for athletic purposes, or a student might have gone to a two year program out of high school and it’s now time to move into a four year school to get a bachelor’s degree.

Growing the college is important for Hilbert College as it is not a big college to begin with as it roughly only has about 800 students attending it. Transfer students grow the school by providing a second chance at recruiting students and can lead to growing the number of people enrolled at the school.

Erika Schwegler, the associate director of admissions at Hilbert College, brings in roughly sixty transfer students per semester.

Schwegler refers to transfer students as educated consumers.

“They’ve tested out the waters and know what they want out of a school,” Schwegler said. “They have gone through it before sat another school and they understand what they want.”

Transfer students come to the school with a knowledge of what they want as they have been through it before at a previous intuition. This benefits the school because they have clear picture of how they want go about things at the next school.

“Transfer students know what they want out of life now, they want to make this last ride what they wanted out of college in the first place,” Schwegler said.

“Roughly sixty per session, although that changes depending on the year. I also might bring in more in the fall semester rather than the spring semester,” she added.

Sixty transfer students a semester is quite a number considering the small number of students the college has to begin with. If sixty are brought in each semester that would be that a large portion of the school are transfer students.

One of these transfer students is a Transfer from Erie community college named Zach Scharett.

“Basically because of the proximity to Erie (Community College),” Scharett said. “It made the most sense as I play baseball and I wanted to continue my athletic career at the college level.”

With the new field being built on campus the baseball team has been able to obtain a lot of transfer students who might have passed on Hilbert out of high school.

“The field and head coach was definitely a huge draw for me,” Scharett added.

Schwegler said transfer students do a lot for the college and it is important that the keep them coming in to grow the Hilbert Community.

“I think they (transfer students) are our best ambassadors and they are the best retention for the school,” she said.

Q&A Ian Cherico

Communication Club is a club for creative students who want to expand their knowledge, create new and interesting media, and get to know other students. Ian Cherico, a junior at Hilbert College, is the President of the club and is looking to rebrand. Communication Club has been a staple of the Digital Media and Communication community at Hilbert College for a long time, but Cherico is looking to shake things up. This past week The Scribe sat down with Cherico to discuss his upcoming plans for the club.

The Scribe: What does Communications Club do?

Ian Cherico: Com Club is the creative outlet for Hilbert College, we honestly have a wide variety of things that we do, we do film making, photography, graphic design, animation, even writing anything that falls under the digital media and communication umbrella. Having a club gets people together, we meet at least once a week and go over project ideas or housekeeping issues that need to be dealt with.

TS: What made you decide to change the clubs name?

IC: I wanted to change the clubs name to something that’s a little bit more broad and a little more accepting of the other areas of digital media and communication which communication is more of graphic design, writing, which is a form of communication as opposed to digital media which is film making, and visual effects. Stuff like that needed to be included because we didn’t just want it to be secluded to one or two forms of media we also wanted to include more people than just communication majors, and with Communication Club as an outside influence you would just see it as for communication majors. We aren’t just looking for communication majors we are looking for writers, and for anyone that is willing to help us out in anyway, so we wanted to make the name a little different to encompass that idea.

TS: What is the club planning on doing in the upcoming semester?

IC: Next semester we are going to launch a full rebrand. We are going to change our name I got the papers signed already, and we are going to get new logos and go full switch and start making new content for people to see. Hopefully new students get interested and like what we are doing and maybe they will join the club.

If you are infested in joining Communications Club email icherico@hilbert.edu

Marketing Students Conduct Focus Group

Integrated Marketing Research, taught by Professor Donald Vincent, has helped students over the semester come up with different research methods and marketing techniques that will be useful in the business world.

Vincent created a research experiment that the class would conduct as a whole. Vincent talked about how egg creams used to be popular in soda shops but have become less common today. “Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup used to be the most popular chocolate syrup of choice in New York City soda shops.”  This experiment was based on a brand of egg cream most people haven’t heard of before and consisted of different students and faculty at the college trying Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup in order to determine how it could compete with other chocolate syrup brands.

The experiment began with Vincent having a random sample of student and faculty report to the class in order to partake in the experiment. Led by Hilbert College student Ryan Zunner, all of the participants were given background information on the egg cream while they were able to try samples of the cream. Multiple questions were asked after the participants tried the samples. These questions included what they thought of the taste, if they usually buy chocolate syrup, and what usually goes into the decision process when buying chocolate syrup.

Many of the reactions from the students and faculty concluded with the drink tasting familiar to something they have had before. Other reactions stated that the drink was bubbly and tasted like sprite mixed with chocolate milk. Hannah Salazar, a Human Services major at the college had some comments about her experience with the new drink.

“It was really cool hearing about the different ingredients that were used in making the chocolate syrup and also learning about some history behind egg cream itself,” Salazar said.

Most of the students and faculty in the room said they would prefer normal chocolate syrup mix over the egg cream in the long run. The only aspect that would change what they bought as their choice of chocolate syrup in the store would be if the egg cream was healthier or if it was cheaper. Salazar also had mentioned after the experiment was over how she didn’t feel well from the drink.

“I actually have a headache now after having the drink. I think that it has to do with the mixing of carbonation and the chocolate syrup that didn’t sit well with me.”

After conducting the experiment the class gained a lot of insight on how the creation of a focus group like this one can help gather data on marketing sales. Based off the results of this experiment many people would rather have normal chocolate syrup over Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup that contained a mixture of egg cream and soda. The fact that students and faculty didn’t like our drink as much as normal chocolate milk gives us better insight on how it would do in a real market place setting where these type of products are sold every day. Some final insights from Vincent included how the experiment was successful and helped students learn about how focus groups are run in the business world.

“It was a great experience overall for the student’s to learn what a real life focus group study looks like.”