The Latest Campus News

March 5, 2015
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Web Exclusive: Stonehill Says Goodbye to Merit Point System

By Brendan Monahan

The College has announced that after over 20 years of use, it will be phasing out its merit point system. The announcement came on Feb. 18 via an e-mail to the entire campus community.

The merit point system provides points to students based on their level of participation in campus organizations and attendance at campus events. The more points a student accrues, the more likely they are to gain preferred room selection times in the College’s housing lottery. The system was being assessed under a strategic plan directive by the Office of Residence Life.

After years of use, Stonehill says goodbye to its merit point system.

After years of use, Stonehill says goodbye to its merit point system.

Residence Life’s review of the program began in 2013, and just finished in January. Using community forums where Stonehill students, faculty and staff could voice their opinion on the system, as well as data gathered from student surveys and the Office of Residence Life, a comprehensive review of the system was conducted.

One of the most important findings of the review were the difficulties and frustration faculty and students had with the way the merit point system incentivized attendance at campus events and participation in student run organizations to get a preferred housing selection time slot, rather than out of personal interest.

The review also found that the system put certain students with major time commitments off campus at a disadvantage, as they were often unable to participate in evening activities that would allow them to accrue points. It was also clear that often merit point data turned in by student organizations or from campus events was not reflective of actual attendance, and that based off of student point totals in multiple merit point cycles, only one seventh of all students on campus actually received a preferential time slot based of their merit point totals.

Noting the College community’s dissatisfaction with the system and its lack of impact, Residence Life has chosen to phase out the system, with the final merit point cycle ending on Feb. 28. This means merit points will only affect the housing lottery time slots once more, for housing selection for the Fall semester of 2015.

Director of the Office of Residence Life, Kristen Pierce, said the College community’s reaction to the news has been good.

“The reactions to our decision have been overwhelmingly positive. There are some community members who are worried about how this will impact attendance at programs and events but other than that it seems like the majority of folks believe this is a good decision,” she said.

Patrick Kennedy, a member of the Class of 2016, shared these positive sentiments. “I am completely in favor of the abolition of the merit point system. The system was unfair to student athletes, students abroad, and students with heavy course loads,” Kennedy said.

Sophomore Alissa Onofrio agreed. “The whole system of merit points and housing has always been a bit of a headache to deal with. The merit points that I had earned over the course of a semester never showed up on MyHill correctly and merit points made the whole race for “good housing” that much more stressful. I totally support…Residence Life’s decision.”

Hannah Kilday, another sophomore, said the system should have been changed, rather than eliminated:

“I don’t know if getting rid of the merit point system entirely is the best course of action to solve the problems addressed in the merit point program review,” she said. “With only five points to gain, in the old system everyone was more than capable of getting 14 or 15 points total, putting everyone on the same level again. Maybe if we started with 6 or 7 points instead of 10, but could still get up to 15, it would be more difficult for students to max out on points, and there would be a more definitive way to determine who would be getting better time slots.”

Going forward, the College will work with community members to find a new system to inform the assignment of Housing Lottery times, but after preliminary talks some alternative systems are already being explored:

“Moving forward, best practices suggest that utilizing a random lottery number system is what should be implemented,” Pierce said. “However, our own student feedback suggests that Residence Life should implement a demerit system to determine housing lottery priority. Students have also asked for us to investigate the possibility of incorporating blocking into our model and that is something we are extremely open to. Towards the end of March, beginning of April we will look to the Residence Hall Association and Student Government Association to assist with gathering student input and if there are any other students interested in providing feedback, they are encouraged to contact our Associate Director Andy Anderson.”

March 5, 2015
by Summit
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Student teachers struggle to make up required hours

By Holly Cardoza

Public school cancellations in the South Shore area have delayed Stonehill Education students from completing the
300 state required classroom hours they need for the program.

The Education building serves a central part of campus for education students.

The Education building serves a central part of campus for education students.

Senior education students must complete their 300 classroom hours over the semester as part of the state requirement but there have been an average of four to eight snow days in the schools, leaving them short.

“All of the lessons plans that I had planned to do on a particular day had to either be readjusted or completely thrown out because we have to keep moving forward with the pacing of our content,” senior student teacher Kathleen Jastrzebski said.

Another Education student, sophomore Mikayla Siedentopf, is trying to complete her Pre-Practicum hours which require two hours in an inclusion classroom and three hours in a general kindergarten classroom.

“I’ve missed four of my general kindergarten classroom days,” Siedentopf said.

“I haven’t been able to work with the children in this type of setting enough to be able to write my papers for class.”

“I’m worried that I am still going to have to catch up on my work  that isn’t my fault for missing,” she said .

“Nobody has seen this in a lot of years,” Kathleen McNamara, Education Department chair and director of licensure, placement and supervision said.

Many of the public schools where Stonehill students are placed have not decided how they are going to make up the snow days, and Stonehill has not decided how their student teachers are going to make up their days either.

“Some systems are talking Saturdays, some systems are talking April. We’re in conversations with schools, but nobody has made final decisions,” McNamara said.

One idea discussed is having student teachers remain in classrooms through finals week, an unpopular idea with the student teachers.

“As a senior, it would be nice to have finals week off, but now this may not be the case. It’s not ideal, but I’ll just have to adapt to it. It’s just one extra week,” Jastrzebski said.

Students said education professors are doing their best to help the student teachers.

“The professors have been really understanding. There is not enough time to do everything we accomplished,” Siedentopf said.

Jastrzebski is still hopeful she will fulfill her hours requirement.

“It will happen somehow. The department recognizes this dilemma,” she said.

“I’m confident the ‘ed’ department will know shortly how to fix this problem.” Student teachers meet with their professors weekly for seminars and that’s where they now share concerns.

“We have a seminar class and we met last week because everybody was not in school. We addressed them in the things they had been missing,” McNamara said. “Being a classroom teacher is a large test of flexibility. That’s what this is.”

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Seeking alternative spring break routine

By Amy McKeever

While some students look at spring break as a time to relax, others see it as an opportunity to help others.

Stonehill College offers an alternative option for spring break with H.O.P.E. service trips, Stonehill’s service immersion program, standing for Honoring our Neighbor, Organizing for Justice, Practicing Peace and Encountering God.

“H.O.P.E. aims to open its participants’ eyes to the injustices around the world and across the street and hopes to motivate a passion for both change within themselves and in the world,” 2014-2015 H.O.P.E. Intern and senior Ravi Dhameha said in an email.

About 150 students will be participating in the H.O.P.E. mission trips this spring break, traveling to 11 different destinations around the world.

The destinations range from Portland, Oregon and Wheeling, West Virginia, to La Romana, Dominican Republic and Canto Grande, Peru.

Senior Julianne Earle spent her winter break last year on a service trip in India.

“I adore the idea of the trips. I absolutely fell in love with India and I really got to see a part of the country,” Earle said.

She will be leading the H.O.P.E. trip to Syracuse, New York this spring.

“I loved working with the group and I wanted to take the experience and give it to someone else.”

The H.O.P.E. program is open to all students, alumni and faculty. The program has been at Stonehill for the past fifteen years or so, Dhameha said.

“I think we can all get engrossed in the stresses of our own lives, but the H.O.P.E. program is a way of putting this aside and working with others towards a better world,” sophomore Taylor Vigneault said.

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Residence halls face limit in cold

By Erin Cangiano

The Lowell/Kingston house in the Commonwealth Courts, otherwise known as the Senior Courts, has taken a hit with this month’s record-breaking snowfall and freezing temperatures.

In the span of two weeks, the house has flooded three times due to bursting pipes.

“Our first flood happened on the Saturday after Juno. A pipe froze and burst on the girls’ side of the house, causing a flood in one of their rooms,” junior Brogan O’Rourke said.

With the help of Stonehill’s Facilities Department, the room was back to normal by the next day.

“When we first noticed the flood in our room, we called campus police and they came over right away. They had facilities come over and called a plumber to come fix the pipe. Four hours later, it was fixed,” senior Lizzie Lane said. “Facilities came back the next day to vacuum and shampoo our carpets.”

A week later, another pipe burst and flooded the house’s study room.

“This time, another pipe froze and burst and the steam from the flooding hot water set off the fire alarm,” O’Rourke said. “The alarm was going off for about 10 minutes because neither us nor [Campus Police] could find the source of the problem.”

After searching the house, senior Cassandra McGill discovered the issue.

“After checking all of the rooms, the only place left was the study room. I opened the door and saw the steam and about an inch of water, so we started clearing out all of the furniture,” McGill said.

Facilities came to the rescue once again.

“They vacuumed up the water called more plumbers in to fix the pipe. The room was in good shape within a few hours,” O’Rourke said.

The third and final flood occurred at 4:40 a.m. last Wednesday.

“I was woken up to noise in the pipes, so I got up to check it out and saw that it was starting to flood,” senior Mikayla Couch said. “We knew what was happening this time around, so we just called facilities. A plumber was here by 5 a.m. and was using a blow torch to weld the crack in the pipe back together.”

 

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Students celebrate Valentine’s Day

By Sterry Codrington

Seniors Jim Walton and Jessica Fray broke their traditional Valentine’s Day routine this past weekend.

“For Valentine’s Day this year Jess and I went out to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant nearby, and then, instead of a movie like we normally do, this year we went bowling,” Walton said. “Me and Jess wanted to switch it up, and plus I feel like the movie theatre was going to be packed.”

Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year, and Stonehill students were a part of the tradition both on- and off-campus.

On campus, The Farm and the Carole Calo Gallery at Stonehill hosted a Valentine Making Party and Seed Exchange that was held in the Cushing-Martin Lobby. Seeds and refreshments were provided for those in attendance, as well as cookie decorating as a group activity.

Brandon Weiss and Jess Albano, both seniors, took the traditional approach this year in celebrating Valentine’s Day.

“We went to see that new movie, ‘50 Shades of Gray,’ it was obviously her idea. Although I knew the theatre was going to be packed, I knew going to this movie would make my girlfriend happy so I agreed to go. After the movie, we decided to get food at this Hibachi in Brockton. And then to cap off the night we hit up Hilliard’s for some chocolate. It was a great night in my opinion,” Weiss said.

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Gas leak forces evacuation in Colonial Courts

By Amy McKeever

Mather/Nowell was evacuated the evening of Feb. 15 in below-zero temperatures due to a gas leak.

Campus Police was notified of an outdoor pipe break at 7:36 p.m. and Officer Timothy O’Sullivan and Officer Michael Tepper of Stonehill Campus Police responded to the call.

“Officer Tepper and I arrived and detected the odor and immediately had the students evacuated,” Officer O’Sullivan said.

Stonehill’s Chief of Police Peter Carnes rated the danger of the gas leak at a 2 out of 10.

“We were told around 9 that we couldn’t stay the night that we had to stay with a friend or they would find alternative housing for us throughout the courts,” junior Liz Abramo said.

The Easton Fire Department also responded and the Columbia Gas Company was notified to have the gas shut off.

The pipe was struck with a piece of snow removal equipment, causing it to break, and leaving the house uninhabitable, according to Officer O’Sullivan.

Representatives of Residence Life made arrangements for students to be relocated for the night.

“Many students preferred to stay with friends, but there were also spaces available for them,” Associate Director of Residence Housing Andy Anderson said.

Anderson said spaces were available in O’Hara basement if students were unable to stay with a friend.

“Gas is really dangerous inside an area with an ignition source. Where this one broke on the outside, the gas goes freely into the atmosphere,” Carnes said.

The gas meter was replaced and the building was cleared at noon on Monday, to allow students back inside.

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Heavy snow leads to barn roof collapse

By Erich Maynard

STOUGHTON – Thirty-three horses, including Stonehill’s Equestrian team’s six horses, were relocated after a barn roof collapsed under the weight of snow the afternoon of Feb. 15. None of the horses were harmed.

Dry Water Farm in Stoughton had to relocate the horses after discovering the roof caving in on Sunday, Feb. 15 around 1:30 p.m.  Dry Water farm is the facility that Stonehill uses to board their horses for the equestrian team.

Kayleigh McDonnell, co-captain of the Stonehill Equestrian team, said she was immediately notified of the incident by her coach.

“There are no words to describe what an awful situation this could have been. I was just happy to know that all of the horses and people in the barn were okay,” McDonnell said.

Fortunately, all six of Stonehill’s horses were relocated to Kingsway Farm in Halifax Massachusetts, which will not affect the team from competing. The rest of the horses in the barn were moved to four other barns in the area.

“For now we have moved to Kingsway Farm located in Halifax, Massachusetts. It is about 30 minutes away from Stonehill. It is a bit further than Drywater Farm but we are all just so grateful Kingsway welcomed us with open arms. We have the opportunity to finish our season strong,” McDonnell said.

Dry Water Farm was built in 2001. While New England barns are built to withstand snow, the record amounts of snow that has fallen has lead to a number of roof collapses throughout the area.

The barn on Dry Water Farm is 20 feet long, and 150 feet wide, and can hold up to 43 horses.

Due to the extensive damage from the snow, it is projected that one-third of the barn will have to be replaced, about 200 feet long and 30 feet wide will be replaced.

Within three hours of the roof collapse, all 33 horses were safely moved from the barn and onto trailers, heading to temporary barns.

“We put a message out on out Facebook page and it brought horse trailers, and people volunteering space for the horses, it was just amazing how the response of the community was just mind blowing,” said Davie McNamara, owner of the farm.

The Facebook post brought in over 9,000 responses offering help.

“Of course the Stoughton Fire Department was here, they had two engines here, and it was just an unbelievable response, there were a lot of heroes on this property,” McNamara said.

 

 

 

 

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Seniors prepare for life and careers come May

By Holly Cardoza

With graduation less than 100 days away, it’s go-time for seniors as they start creating their post-grad plans. Between resume editing, mock interviews, job applications and negotiating salaries, the process can be very time-intensive.

“It’s overwhelming that you have to apply to so many but only hear back from so few,” senior English major Bridget Gilleran said.

Often times, the amount of work that goes into job searching can be equivalent to a job or another class. That’s where Career Services comes in. The office in Cushing Martin helps students with internship, grad school and job placement opportunities.

Each spring semester the office devotes time to seniors, helping them develop a plan for after graduation.  Career Services offers a variety of resources for seniors to use to make the process a little easier.

There are several online resources on the Career Services site, under and “Jobs & Internships” tab, you can find several employment search websites that filter industry, location, salary, key words, company, among other things. Indeed.com and Buzzfile.com are two of the more popular sites.

In addition to the online support, Career Services offers students one-on-one appointments to personalize a job search. Andrew Leahy is the new senior liaison and is ready to help seniors’ needs and job searches.

Leahy is responsible for maintaining communication with the seniors, sending out job alerts, tracking job placements and creating a comfortable environment for seniors to come in and begin the job search.

“Now is the time to be really proactive. Everyone’s really going to start to see the job postings coming up,” Leahy said.

One way to be proactive in the job search is through the #HireStonehill program which allows students to participate in the onsite employment recruitment, where employers come to Stonehill to conduct interviews. You can become certified for the program online and you must complete the #HireStonehill certification to participate in the on campus recruitment.

There are several different events that occur over the Spring semester that seniors are highly encouraged to go to. One of the largest events put on by Career Services is the Spring Job and Internship Expo on Wednesday, March 18 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Dining Commons. Over 60 employers will be there looking to hire seniors of all majors. Senior students are highly encouraged to attend, along with the ‘How To Work The Expo’ seminar, which will be held Monday March 16 at 6 p.m.

Other events will be held throughout the semester including networking events, and resume and interview prep workshops.

For seniors struggling with the process, the most important thing to do is get an appointment made with a counselor in Career Services. “Everybody has a starting point, everyone follows their own path and it’s about creating your own individual strategy. Be proactive,” Leahy said.

For more information, contact or to schedule an appointment, call the Career Services office at 508-565-1325 or by going through the online scheduling portal on the Career Services website.

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Stonehill declared “underrated”

By Amy McKeever

Stonehill College was recently named one of the “50 Most underrated colleges in America” by Business Insider.

The list was released Jan. 28 and placed Stonehill College at number 41, tied with 4 other colleges: University of Tulsa, Westmont College, Auburn University and University of St. Thomas.

Martin McGovern, director of Communications and Media Relations at Stonehill, said he was happy with the placement of the College.

“I think that Stonehill is an underrated institution across a variety of fronts. To see our college recognized is very pleasing.” McGovern said.

Business Insider targeted schools that had low rankings on the US News list but high mid-career salaries, and then compared US News’ rankings of the best universities and national liberal arts colleges in the country with PayScale’s 2013-2014 College Salary Report to rank the schools.

“It’s always helpful when you get an independent ranking recognizing the economic success of our alumni. It is just another positive indication of how strong a Stonehill degree is,” McGovern said.

Most students agree.

“It makes me feel good about my choice to go here because of the salary listing,” first-year student Royce Conlin said.

Senior Emily Messier believes that the College is very underrated.

“Once people actually get here, they know how good it is,” she said. “We are underrated because no one really knows we exist.”

Other students said the school’s ranking doesn’t change anything.

“The ranking doesn’t make a difference for my school choice, so I don’t think it would for other people either,” first-year student Jameson Hutch said.

How Stonehill is underrated, according to students: 

February 22, 2015
by Summit
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Snow shifts College schedule

By Jared Chandler

Back-to-back record snowfalls put a halt to some classes, and now forced the College to cancel some holiday days off to make up the time.

Some of the academic changes include classes being held on Holy Thursday until 4 p.m., classes resuming at 1 p.m. on Easter Monday when students traditionally have the day off and Reading Day moving from Friday, May 1 to Saturday, May 2. Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Joseph Favazza announced the changes Feb. 11.

“A lot of conversation went into deciding the changes,” Favazza said. “It was critical to get class time back for the missed Mondays. Holding classes on Holy Thursday and Easter Monday is to make up for the delays we had.”

Not everyone was happy with the changes.

“I’m upset that Easter break is going to be shortened a little bit. I play lacrosse and I depend on going home that Easter Monday because it’s the only chance I get while I’m in season. Now I have to worry about homework on that weekend instead of seeing family,” junior Remi DiRe said.

Other students shared that sentiment.

Junior and Communication major Yannis Barros said students should not be punished for something they can not control.

“Honestly, I disagree with the revised schedule. The school shouldn’t take away some of our vacation days. We can’t control Mother Nature so why should we be punished,” Barros said.

Other students understood why the schedule was changed.

Anthony Donato, a finance major, said getting the scheduled Monday classes back was needed.

“This was necessary because the classes that were missed need to meet at some point. Those classes have missed around ten hours of class time. That isn’t beneficial for the students or the professors. Students pay for their education and they shouldn’t lose out on needed classes,” Donato said.

The remaining semester schedule is set for now and students don’t have to worry about their spring breaks being interrupted. “Spring break being canceled was never in jeopardy. We would need to miss a whole week straight for that to happen,” Favazza said.