Tag Archives: Marist College

Managing the Dollar Demand

By: Joe Walsh

Everyone knows the economy is in rough shape. If you are a college student with a middle class upbringing, money can be very tight when the tuition bill comes. For a student that has a sibling about to enter college, money can be even more of an issue.

Unfortunately, there aren’t an abundance of scholarships that erase a full four year’s of college bills. Oprah and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have the market cornered on those for their lucky recipients.

Fortunately, there are strategies to help ease the burden. Joseph Weglarz, the Executive Director of Student Financial Services at Marist College, sat down with The River Reporter last week to discuss how to best make the financial burden of college easier on students and their families.

It’s a Jigsaw Puzzle

“I always tell people that ask me how to best pay for college to treat it like a jigsaw puzzle,” Weglarz said. “You have to find multiple ways supplement the cost of college.”

That means those cure-all scholarships mentioned before really are a rarity. Weglarz suggest to use some of the following programs and strategies to

The 529 Plan

“Most people don’t know about this but it can be one of the pieces you use to ease the burden financially.”

There are two subcategories of the 529 Plan: pre-paid tuition plans and college savings plans.

The pre-paid plan lets someone purchase college credits early at a locked in rate. It is only

Plan ahead with your money. From learnnc.org

Plan ahead with your money. From learnnc.org

available for participating universities, but state governments generally guarantee the investment. On the downside it does not cover costs like room and board

The college savings plan is a bit more flexible when it comes to what the money goes towards. Account holders have the money they put in invested for them. On the downside, the investments are riskier and are not usually covered by the state.

If you did not notice, this is something that requires you to save ahead of time for school.

Off Campus Housing

Even though Marist provides on campus housing, Weglarz says, “You can find more affordable housing off campus.”

The trade-off here obviously is the convenience of location with on campus housing and the added expense of gas to commute.

The FASFA

You probably heard of this from your high school guidance counselor. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is received by the federal government and determines if you need federal assistance.

It is all about using multiple sources of money to pay for school. From cardiomyopathy.org.

It is all about using multiple sources of money to pay for school. From cardiomyopathy.org.

Weglarz admits however that the average middle class family does not receive much from the FASFA.

“The FASFA doesn’t take into account fact that you may have a mortgage or how much the cost of living is where you live,” Weglarz said. “The government does encourage students and families to contact the school and try to work something out with them.”

Endowed Scholarships

Marist College has a wide range of scholarships students can apply for. They are easily accessible from the Marist Web site. They are awarded based on need and academic major.

“A lot of them have specific requirements, but if you find one that’s for you, you should definitely apply,” Weglarz suggested.

You also need a teacher recommendation for them, so be sure to talk to a professor about getting one.

The Verdict

“Like I said,” Weglarz concluded. “There is no one solution to paying for a higher education. You have to approach it from different sides. Like I said before, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

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From Walk on to Scholar Athlete

By Sara Shea

 

Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.

Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.

 

 

Six a.m. practices, bone chilling walks to the boathouse, frostbiting regattas – these are just a few hardships the Marist Crew team endures in any given season. Now add preparing to study abroad in Switzerland, working as a lifeguard, and being a vegetarian to the mix. One could say that Lydia Grace Charney is super woman – juggling major responsibilities with ease.

“Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy,” said Charney, now a sophomore on the varisty crew boat, “I was always involved in high school, so managing my time is a skill I developed early on.” Originally recruited to swim at Marist, Lydia traded in her cap and goggles for ergometers and spandex at the last minute. As a walk-on, Charney rowed in the freshman-novice boat last year.

Even with little to no experience, Lydia quickly excelled in the sport of rowing, seeming to move up in the boat constantly. “It’s surreal almost, to go from being a walk-on to a scholar athlete in one season,” she said, “I never would have imagined how much fun I could have while working so hard.”

Crew is a two-season sport, having meets in both the spring and fall. The team has practice every day except Sunday. “When you spend enough time with a group of people they become like your family. We eat together, practice together, go out together – if we’re not too tired,” Charney laughs, “At this point it’s hard to imagine life without these girls.”

With practice at 6:30 a.m. in the fall and 5:45 a.m. in the spring, it is a wonder Lydia even has time for classes. Instead of taking it easy academically, she is majoring in communications with a double concentration in journalism and public relations. Charney also works as a lifeguard at Mike Artega’s Gym across the street from Marist.

“Napping and eating right is crucial,” said Charney. As a vegetarian it is important that Lydia gets enough protein in her diet to support her intense schedule. Lydia is an avid animal rights activist and is extremely environmentally conscious. She is a member of PETA and Fox Paw, the animal rights group at Marist.

“Lydia is one of the kindest people I have ever met,” said Lydia’s teammate and roommate, Marist sophomore Kelly Furlong. “ She puts her all into everything she does – it’s amazing really. She genuinely cares about others and wants to help anyone in any way she can.”

Kelly is not the only member of the crew team that noticed Lydia’s kind hearted and loving nature. Lydia and sophomore Ryan Wojcik have been dating for about 6 months. Charney and Wojcik share three major life passions – rowing, music, and love. “Ryan is seriously my other half,” Lydia gushed, “I’m so lucky to have found him.”

Both on the varsity crew boat, Ryan and Lydia see each other at least once every day, even if it is at 6 o’clock in the morning.  When the pressures of work and school get to be too much, the couple takes time to relax by going for walks along the river.

“Crew is a physically and mentally demanding sport,” said Wojcik. “For Lydia to walk on and excel like she did says a lot about her physical strength and the strength of her character.”

 

Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

The Housing Crisis Comes to Marist

Sara Shea

 

 

The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. The Fulton Street Townhouses are single occupancy houses fit for a king. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air these houses seem more like hotels than dorms.

The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air the Fulton Street Townhouses seem more like hotels than dorms. Unfortunately only 20% of juniors and seniors get to live in these townhouses each year.

 

 

Did you know that at Marist College you are no guaranteed housing as a junior or a senior? According to the Marist Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 90% of upperclassmen that apply for housing are accommodated. But what happens to the other 10% of students?

This year, students who did not get on campus housing were put on a wait list and will be contacted in July with a final decision. Unfortunately for those who do not qualify for on-campus housing, July is a bit late to start looking for an apartment that would need to be ready to move into in September. Not to mention parts of Poughkeepsie are not the safest places on the planet.

When looking for an apartment, students need to consider proximity to campus, cost, and the safety of the neighborhood. By April most houses and apartments on safe streets close to campus have already been spoken for so those students on the wait list are often forced to find housing outside of Poughkeepsie.

Housing at Marist is based on priority points. Students receive point through their GPA, campus involvement, and disciplinary record. Therefore students “earn” their housing. However, there are huge gaps in the logic behind this system. Housing is based on group points, therefore no matter how well one does as an individual their points are averaged with the students they will be living with.
“I had 31 points last year and I got Marian,” said sophomore Tracy Dalton. “Tell me how that happens? I got Lower New for next year. I’m moving off campus senior year, no way am I dealing with this again.”

Another glitch in the housing system is the fact that once a student lives off campus they cannot move back on campus. Therefore students who’s points are too low to receive on campus housing can not even try to redeem themselves the following year.

This year over 10,000 students applied to the undergraduate program at Marist. Of those 10,000 about 35% were accepted. “Approximately 3,000 students were admitted,” said Meghan Donoghue, an Admissions Counselor at Marist College. “We hope to retain about 950 for next year’s freshman class.”

According to the office of Housing and Residential Life, the three main freshman dorms can only accommodate 920 students. Therefore if more than the anticipated 950 students decide to attend Marist next fall upper classman will have to pay for the school’s poor planning.

Freshman will take priority because they are guaranteed housing, therefore upper classman that did not get housing and are on the waiting list will be forced to move off campus. This year, there was a serious shortage of housing for male upper classmen.

“My group filled the last male house left in Lower New,” said sophomore Andrew Ludington. “We had 29 priority points, and we almost didn’t get housing, that’s crazy.”

Though moving off campus does not necessarily cost more than paying room and board, it is extremely inconvenient for students without cars and students who had not anticipated finding off campus housing. With no shuttle and most decent off campus housing located at least a mile from campus, Marist College needs to consider student’s convenience and safety when it comes to housing.

 “We heard guys houses had closed out in Fulton and Upper West the first day so we attempted to look at [off campus] houses,” said Ludington. “The few apartments that were left were steps away from the Poughkeepsie projects. Thank God I got some kind of housing because my parents were not about to let me live in that neighborhood.”

Folk-Rock Parody Groups Gain More Laughs as Popularity Grows

By Jacel Egan

Radio City Music Hall is packed with antsy fans, waiting for the show to begin. The room is dark and filled with chatter, excitement in the voice of each attendant. Suddenly, blue lights illuminate the stage, and a techno beat starts to vibrate the walls.

“Too many dicks, too many dicks, not enough chicks on the dance floor…” sing Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords as they emerge on stage in their homemade robot costumes. In between rocking out on their synthesizers, the duo attempts to do the robot dance.

Promotional picture of the Flight of the Conchords going grocery shopping in suits of armor. From instantriverside.com

Promotional picture of the Flight of the Conchords going grocery shopping in suits of armor. From instantriverside.com.

Their first act is cut short, however, when Bret accidentally knocks his toy piano over, sending it crashing to the floor with keys flying in all directions.

The crowd looks around with faces expressing their confusion and wondering if this was part of the act. Jemaine laughs and takes off his costume, grabbing his guitar and saying, “Well then, I guess I’ll just have to wait for Bret,” in his New Zealand accent. Audience members erupt in laughter.

The Flight of the Conchords has dubbed themselves as “formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo accapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” and uses a combination of witty banter and singing to tell the story behind their observations. This genre of new entertainment called folk-rock parody, which combines the best of standup comedy and music, is growing vastly in popularity over the last few years.

Flight of the Conchords performing at the Orpheum Theatre in CA during their summer tour in 2008. From latimes.com.

Flight of the Conchords performing at the Orpheum Theatre in CA during their summer tour in 2008. From latimes.com.

“Music and comedy are obviously two mainstream forms of entertainment,” sophomore Brittany Gallagher, a concert attendee, said. “Performers who are able to use both open themselves up to a wider audience. This new genre, I think, gives comedy a fresh perspective. It’s a different way to make us laugh. The songs get stuck in my head – I know I’m more likely to remember a musical comedy standup act than a regular comedy set.”

Other parodists that have included tunes to their comedy are Stephen Lynch, Weird Al Yankovic, Tim Minchin, Lewis Black, George Carlin, and Tenacious D, who are the inspiration to Marist’s own musical parodist Vinnie Pagano.

“The combination of comedy and music just makes sense,” Pagano, a junior, said. “Who do you know that doesn’t like comedy and/or music? Comedy music in general I feel catches people more off-guard because when you hear a sweet melody accompanied with filth, or vice a versa, the element of surprise along with the lyrics usually gets quite a few laughs. Another way to look at it is: if you don’t think the lyrics are particularly funny, but you like the melody or singing, you still get your entertainment. Kind of.”

Vinnie Pagano performing at the Joker's Wild Comedy Club. From facebook.com.

Vinnie Pagano performing at the Joker's Wild Comedy Club. From facebook.com.

Pagano originally became interested in musical comedy to do parodies, but realized that monetary restrictions hindered him from buying the rights for the songs he made parodies for. He still writes and performs, but CD recordings and selling them for profit is against the law since he doesn’t own copyrights of the music. Still, he has somewhat of a cult following at Marist, having almost 400 followers on his Facebook fan page.

“It [not owning music copyrights] is also better in some ways because it challenges you to create your own music,” Pagano said. “But regardless, there are many ways to parody a song. You can take a popular hit and just make it about something political or random, in which case the original song’s lyrics have no relation. Weird Al tends to take the similar idea or even title of a song and twist it around to mean something else. There are just so many ways a person can do it!”

Vinnie Pagano during a photoshoot, singing to a cat named Austin. From facebook.com.

Vinnie Pagano during a photoshoot, singing to a cat named Austin. From facebook.com.

Pagano feels that parody has always been popular, especially with the boom of the Internet with Myspace, Facebook and Youtube.

“It’s become incredibly easy to find out the top ten most popular songs almost instantaneously with having to listen to the countdown on the radio,” Pagano said. “The whole key to parodying is doing it to songs that have wide recognition. With Youtube, anybody is capable of recording themselves either playing or just singing along to a popular tuen with their own new lyrics. Weird Al Yankovic, who received recognition in the mid-late 70s, has really made an impact and is still going. He has his original songs, but his parodies are what make him the current king of this genre.”

New Gospel Choir Director Counters Adveristy with Music

Daniel Kopf

Melodious sounds resonated through the corridor, the sounds emanating from a small dimly lit room tucked away in Marist Colleges Music department. In the room stood 16 members huddled around a piano singing loudly with emotion and conviction. At the center of the music was David Burns, Marist Colleges Gospel Choir director.

“Music has been a part of my life since I was two years old,” Burns said. “My Parents told me I liked music and I’ve been playing the piano ever since.”

David came to Marist College after hearing about the job from a friend. Choir Director Sarah Williams realized something special about David right away. “When David first came to Marist I threw him in to teach Chamber Choir and told him to make it better. He put a lot of meaning into the song.”

Religion is also an integral part of David’s life and incorporates it in his work every day.

“After every rehearsal we pray, making us aware that we are not just singing a song but that each song has its own meaning,” said Gospel Choir member Aforme Agawu-Kakraba

Music has always been a part of David‘s life but there was a time when it looked like he would never play the piano again.

Early in college David was diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. According to Webmd.com “Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, tingling, and numbness in your hand from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.”

“Sometimes the pain was so bad I couldn’t feed myself,” David said.

The pain finally caught up with David and he was faced with a choice. “I had to either undergo surgery or end my piano career,” David said.

The choice was easy for David choosing the risky surgery despite the chance that it would not ease his pain.

The surgery was a success but the victory was without its negatives. “I had to relearn how to play the piano after years of dedication and commitment.” David relearned playing the piano using the Russian technique, a technique used to minimize strain on the wrists.

David is now at full strength and has not felt pain since the surgery. Despite the setback David did not let the possibility of never playing again get in the way of Music.

“Music is my passion. I love teaching and sharing with students, you also learn as well,” David said.

New President Proves Nice Guys can Finish First

By: Caitlin Nolan

Watching Steve Townsend take control of the Marist Student Government meeting in a way only a natural born leader could, you would never have guessed that he had no intention in becoming involved with student government when he began at Marist College.

“In high school I did not affiliate myself with student government at all,” Townsend said. “I ran for freshman class

Steve Townsend, pictured at the Annual Transition Dinner, hopes to create a more informal relationship between student body and government. Photo courtesy of facebook.

Steve Townsend, pictured at the Annual Transition Dinner, hopes to create a more informal relationship between student body and government. Photo courtesy of facebook.

president because on move in day there was this kid who said he was going to run and he really pissed me off because I was sweating my ass off moving things up and down the stairs and I figured I wanted to run against him, and then I won.”

This sort of fluke may be one of the best things to have happened to Townsend and the student body. When walking into the Student Government office, you can instantly tell Townsend is in his element as the newly elected Student Body President. He knows everyone in the office, is running in ten different directions to make sure everyone is comfortable and prepared for the upcoming meeting and can tell you everyone’s first and last name who is in the room. He greeted me with a high five and a genuine “Thanks for coming” and asked if there was anything he could do to make me more at home. Clearly, Townsend is a people person.

“After winning, I had to figure what to do from there,” Townsend said. “That year we ended up winning class of the year, so I figured something must have been going right.”

While running around the office and talking to all who enter, Townsend does not miss a beat in greeting one female sporting rather large sunglasses with an energetic, “Hey Bono, what’s up.” She ignored it and took her seat, clearly used to his good natured humor and quick wit. When it came down to business though, Townsend became serious.

One of the first issues on the agenda that Townsend brought to the table was the move from “Student Government Association” to “Marist College Government.” The move to a more personal atmosphere is an essential facet of Townsend’s goals for his administration.

“One of my main objectives is to let everyone know who we are and what we do; there are going to be a lot of changes this year,” Townsend said. “In the comments section of the online ballots, 90% of the comments students made showed that they didn’t know what we did. I will be a failure as Student Body President if everyone at Marist doesn’t know who we are and what we do.”

Among his many plans to get the student body and Student Government to establish a closer relationship, Townsend, who previously served as Senate Speaker, plans on beginning the administering of surveys. Members of the Student Government will soon be found passing out surveys concerned with the interests of the students. During the meeting, Townsend put it simply, saying, “I see us as one entity. We are the Marist Student Government and the best thing to do is get together and get our name out there.”

If his administration is anything like his campaign, Townsend has nothing to worry about. Employing unique methods of advertising and appealing to the masses by taking the time to actually knock on doors and meet those he could one day represent.

“It was intense,” Townsend said of the campaigning experience. “It was probably the most nervous I have ever been in my entire life; it was an exciting nervous feeling. We knocked on over 1000 doors, we met everyone.”

Both Townsend and his running mate, Victoria Billeter, made use of every creative outlet possible to ensure those on campus were educated on the upcoming student government election.

“I had a running mate which, before Erik, was unheard of,” Townsend said. “I felt that if I was going to appoint someone, the student body should know them. We talked to every club we could and we had 110 t-shirts walking around. We had postcard fliers explaining what we did, what have done what we want to do.”

Upon mentioning the postcards, Townsend grabbed his backpack and fished out what appeared to be a tiny, blue card. These cards could be found throughout campus during the Month of March. Listed on the cards were the accomplishments of both Townsend and Billeter separately and joined, and an account of all goals set for the future if elected. Among those listed under Townsend’s name was the fact that he has “raised over $109,000 for St. Jude’s Research Hospital.”

“I think one of his biggest achievements was what he has done for Saint Jude,” Ben Condon, Townsend’s roommate of two years said. “He brought it to the school. He has just taken the reigns and it has grown tremendously. He has gotten all of the clubs involved and they now have a letter writing night where they get sponsorships and donations.”

Former Student Body President Erik Zeyher echoed Condon’s sentiment, saying Townsend has worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of others.

“Since his freshman year Steve has worked tremendously hard on Saint Jude [charities],” Zeyher said.

After sitting down with Steve Townsend, the fact that all who know him well can instantly say he is a hard worker comes as no surprise. Initiative and a strong work ethic is only to be expected in a President, and Townsend is no exception.

“I thought I could do good for the student body,” Townsend said. “It wasn’t a personal goal of mine [to be Student body President], but I had a lot of plans and I thought the only way to get those plans done was to do it myself.”

Marist Greeks are ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’ During Greek Week

By Jacel Egan

A mass of running bodies in black and gray T-shirts this year might be off-putting to some, but for Marist Greeks, it only means one thing: Greek Week. After weeks of preparation and practice, all of the sororities and fraternities come together over the course of several days to compete for the top place.

“The theme this year is ‘Greekstock,’ like Woodstock,” said junior Melissa Hlapatsos, a member of Greek Council and Alpha Sigma Tau. “I’m part of the Greek Week committee that plans most of the nitty gritty stuff, and Trish Kennedy from Sigma came up with the theme. She got it off of the Greek101 website, and we all just played it up with different ideas.”

Fraternities competing in the tug-of-war contest on the Campus Green during Greek Week 2009. Photo Courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

Fraternities competing in the tug-of-war contest on the Campus Green during Greek Week 2009. Photo Courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

Every spring, Greek life collaborates with one another to put on this exciting occasion, composed of various competitions. Events include: volleyball, cherry pie and Jell-O eating contests, a photo foxhunt, belly flop, swim relay, talent show, Greek Week boards, pop tab collection, tug of war, three-legged race, egg toss, dress up relay, and dizzy bat.

This interesting conglomeration of competitions happens all over campus, and will take place the week of April 13th. The talent show is this Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. in the Nelly Golletti Theater, field events take place on the Campus Green on Saturday morning, and the photo foxhunt takes place at Relay for Life.

Various Greek members compete during the egg toss. Photo courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

Various Greek members compete during the egg toss. Photo courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

Behind all of the fun and competition lies a greater purpose for this special week.

“The purpose of Greek Week is to promote Greek unity, but still get competitive,” said Hlapatsos. “It’s the absolute best week of the year for Greeks! It’s a way for us to compete in some fun ways, like belly flop, and some creative ones, like the talent show and Greek Week board. At the end of the week, there are two winners, but it’s nice because we end the week with Relay for Life, an event we coordinate together.”

After months of planning, booking fields and rooms, and having different members sign up for the events, all of the hard work put forth by all members of Greek Council is finally seen. Many members of Greek life express their anticipation.

Alpha Sigma Tau performing during the talent show during last year's Greek Week. Photo courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

Alpha Sigma Tau performing during the talent show during last year's Greek Week. Photo courtesy of Marisa Rummo.

“The talent show is the best event of the whole week,” sophomore Jen Plaveck of Sigma Sigma Sigma, said. “I love seeing what every organization comes up with.”

“I’m most excited for the day of events,” junior Michael Hall of Theta Delta Chi, said. “It’s right at the end of Greek Week, so it’s intense for the organizations who are neck and neck going for first place. Plus it’s a lot of fun and everyone is outside.”

Not only is competition fueled by the variety of events, but funny stories and memories are born as well.

“AST won last year, and I’m obviously rooting for us to dominate again this year!” Hlapatsos said. “Usually we have funny stories from every year. My favorite was when last year, Kayla and I got really intense and decided to practice our belly flops before the competition. After a few runs, though, the lifeguard on duty asked us to leave. I think he thought we were crazy!”