Lemur Stolen from San Francisco Zoo
Maki has been found and returned to the Zoo after kidnapper busted in shoplifting attempt.
By Annika Henthorn
Most people are content with a new dog or cat; however, this was too conventional for thirty-year old Cory McGilloway.
On October 14, The San Francisco Zoo reported Maki, a twenty-one year old, ring-tailed lemur missing. The San Francisco Police Department discovered signs of forced entry and deduced that Maki was stolen.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, ring-tailed lemurs have an average life-span of about 16 years. Maki, affirmed by NBC, was “one of the oldest [lemurs] at the zoo.” Since he is well past the standard age for lemurs, he requires additional care and treatment. According to NBC, ring-tailed lemurs are “native only to Madagascar and considered an endangered species.” ABC added that “there are only eight remaining known populations around the world that have more than 100 ring-tailed lemurs,” further heightening the urgency behind the investigation.
To incentive the search, the zoo offered $2,100 for whoever found Maki and an available 24-hour tip hotline for additional information.
According to NBC, on Friday, October 16, Cory McGilloway was arrested in San Rafael for shoplifting, “in which $500 worth of groceries were stolen” as well as a truck. After searching his phone, the investigators contacted the San Francisco Police Department in response to the content they found, lemur pictures. Lieutenant Dan Fink stated that they “don’t believe in a lot of coincidences in police work, so they put two and two together.”
McGilloway is in custody in Marin County and will soon be relocated to San Francisco. He will be charged with grand theft of an animal, looting and vandalism, officials say according to NBC.
ABC revealed that Maki was later found in a playground by five-year old James Trinh and his mom located in Daly City. Multiple students recounted the events that unfolded that day. Relieved that their lemur has been returned in good condition, The San Francisco Zoo director, Tanya Peterson, is hoping to donate the $2100 to Hope Lutheran Day School, as well as offer the Trinh family a lifetime membership to the zoo.
Cynthia Huang, Hope Lutheran’s Day School Director, according to ABC, announced that "it really was a reminder that we still can experience happy moments during the pandemic and also let the children see there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
One could say, this world has officially gone bananas.
By Lenin O’Mahony
This week I attended a virtual event called “Ask the Experts: Virology, Vaccines, and COVID-19.” This was a YouTubeLive event where a number of experts were present to answer and discuss questions relating to the science behind the virus and the pandemic we are currently in. During the presentation we heard from Professor Vidya Chandrasekaran, PhD, Professor Keith Garrison, PhD, and Karl Beutner '71 MD, PhD. Their insights and understanding of how this virus works and why it has become such a concern for the global community was informative and clear for the viewers.
COVID-19 is part of a group of viruses that are called Corona, all of which share the common characteristic of spikes on the outside. These spikes are used to latch onto healthy cells and infect them. COVID-19 spikes are slightly different to other viruses though, a feature that likely developed while it was infecting bats. The experts discussed how many in the scientific community had expected the next big virus to come from the flu strain, not the SARS virus, meaning we were at a disadvantage when COVID-19 became present.
One big distinction between the flu virus and SARS is they attack different cells in the body, and the flu virus stays primarily in the respiratory system. SARS COVID-19 however, infects other systems in the body. The virus uses its spikes to lock with specific enzymes, which are receptors present within the respiratory system, as well as the nervous system, heart, and GI tract. Because of this the symptoms of COVID-19 are very broad.
The initial stage of infection is when the virus comes into contact with respiratory cells, and because of the unique characteristics of COVID-19, the immune system response is delayed. This means that the virus has much more time than the flu for example, to infect the body and spread before symptoms show up with the immune response.
Three to four days after initial symptoms a patient may experience difficulty breathing, and then the lower tract is infected after the upper tract, resulting in dead cell debri and possible pneumonia. A severe case means the immune system may release a reaction into the bloodstream to fight the virus, however, because the virus has been present for so long, this reaction causes harm to all organs in the body, resulting in a need for supplemental oxygen. This immune system response will severely damage the already weakened organs, possibly causing multiple organ failure.
One of the key reasons COVID-19 is able to remain undetected is because it is able to avoid an innate immune response. The innate immune system is common and more basic, compared to the adaptive immune system. The adaptive immune system is more unique, and produces antibodies among other things. The flu is consistently recognized and fought by the first immune system response, which is the innate system. COVID-19 is only caught by the second adaptive immune system response.
During the hour long discussion, the experts covered many topics and answered questions about the pandemic, testing, vaccines, and the virus itself. Saint Mary's College of California has been working hard to provide many virtual events and discussions for the college community, so we can all continue to learn and act with knowledge.
I encourage everyone to watch this discussion themselves, which is still available on Youtube, at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DnYhjmr3tU&feature=youtu.be
SCOTUS confirmation continues to divide Democrat and Republican senators, both accusing each other of hypocrisy.
By James Molnar
As the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett continues, many accusations of hypocrisy have been levelled from both sides of the political aisle. In 2016, when Former President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, Democrats fought adamantly to push through the nomination, while Republicans strove just as hard to block it. Now, just four years later, the two parties have seamlessly switched positions.
There are some differences between Barrett’s nomination and Garland’s which explain this to some degree. For one thing, Judge Barret’s nomination comes closer to the election than did that of Judge Garland. Democrats argue that the confirmation should not be “rushed” through before the election. They also believe that the people should be allowed to vote indirectly on the Supreme Court justice by electing a president prior to the appointment. In addition, as Senator Kamala Harris points out, “we are in the middle of a deadly pandemic.” She argues that the senate’s focus should be directed to passing relief bills, rather than holding confirmation votes and hearings.
For their part, Republicans argue that there is a substantive distinction between this nomination and the one during Obama’s presidency. As Senator Ted Cruz observes, there have been 29 occasions in the country’s history where a Supreme Court vacancy opened up during an election year. The past presidents have nominated justices in all 29 of these cases. We may divide these instances into those in which the president and Senate were of the same party and those where they were from different parties (a divided government). In 19 of the aforementioned 29 cases, the president and Senate were from the same party and the justice was confirmed in 17 of those cases.
However, of the 10 cases where the government was divided, the justice was confirmed in only 2. Therefore, Senator Cruz argues, there is a historical precedent in the case of election year vacancies for a justice to be confirmed when the president and senate are of the same party, but not when they are of different parties. At the time of President Obama’s nomination, there was a divided government, but Barrett’s nomination comes at a time of unified government.
The distinctions outlined above make it more difficult to accuse either side of blatantly hypocritical partisanship. Even so, the fact that the parties are split evenly across political lines regarding this confirmation hearing, suggests that the politicians stances are based more on the desire to achieve political ends, rather than their professed concerns about timing and precedent.
This was further evidenced by the proceedings in Barrett’s confirmation hearing. Many senators made impassioned pleas regarding the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade. They also spent much of their time asking Judge Barrett questions about her political stances, particularly on those two issues, despite the fact that the judge had taken a vow not to answer any such questions. In many ways, Barrett's confirmation hearing represented a crescendo of the battles which have been playing out for many years over the governments proper role in regulating both healthcare and abortion.
These observations have led many to conclude that the politicians from both parties are more concerned with implementing their own policy visions, by practically any means necessary, than on observing any abstract rules of judicial nomination. On the Supreme Court itself, the question of judicial activism, whether Supreme Court judges should embroider their interpretations of law with their own opinions, has long been debated. While the current nominee, Judge Barrett, has advocated strongly against such activism on the Court, it is unclear what role partisanship should play in the appointment of Supreme Court justices.
Crisis Communications During COVID-19
SMC’s Communications Department’s presentation focused on business’s responses to COVID-19.
By Riley Mulcahy
The Saint Mary’s Communications Department hosted “Making Sense of Communication in Times of Crisis” last Tuesday. The event was sponsored in part by the Patricia and Roy E. Disney foundation, which focuses on different areas of Communications each year. Past events include the Future of Journalism, Gender, Body, and Technology. This year’s event is how times can shape communication and how to make sense of it.
During COVID-19, businesses have been faced with an unimaginable situation, a pandemic that has closed down the country’s economy. However, many companies, such as grocery stores, are considered “essential,” meaning they must find ways to attract new customers. The tension of having to deal with an international pandemic and figure out ways to market yourself is hugely demanding. Having to take care of essential employees and serve goods critical to customers at a time of crisis brings a lot of stress on business owners.
The tough dilemma COVID-19 has created made it nearly impossible for business to be successful was the night’s topic, moderated by Professor Aaron Sachowitz of Saint Mary’s College. The panelists included Dr. W. Tim Coombs of Texas A&M University and Professor Samuel Mccormick of San Francisco State. Dr. Coombs’s research specialty is in organizational communication, and has won numerous awards during his career for expertise in Communications. Professor Mccormick has published books on rhetoric and co-editor of the book series Rhetoric & Public Culture: History, Theory, Critique.
The night began with fifteen minutes from each panelist responding to the topic, how are companies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Coombs started his remarks with an assertion that COVID-19 is different from anything any business has ever seen because they reacted to a situation that they did not create. Most instances of Crisis Communication are because of a human-made problem, not a virus. Dr. Coombs argued that since the crisis is not human-made, it is not the business crisis; however, they are “accountable for how they react to the crisis.”
Dr. Coombs pointed to the idea that COVID-19 has created an environment in which businesses must fight for customers in ways they never have. Instead of worrying about their reputation, companies must rise to the moment in regards to safety. Customers want to be reassured that CDC guidelines are being followed, not necessarily if they have access to their favorite brands. According to Dr. Coombs, businesses are “in part judged by how you react to the crisis.” If customers do not feel safe shopping at an essential business, they can go to another store or get their essentials delivered from their home.
Professor Mccormick focused on the language that businesses use to attract customers, specifically an “appropriation” of popular/catchy terms that customers could relate to. COVID-19 has presented businesses with an identity crisis because they must figure out how to respond to a pandemic and how to respond to social unrest. According to Professor Mccormick, regarding systematic racism and the protests due to police brutality, there is a sense that companies “Don’t aspire, be it.” Professor Mccormick refers to companies that have come out with 2-5 year plans for the sake of looking like they care about systemic racism, rather than implementing changes as quickly as possible to create a safer, more tolerant environment.
COVID-19 has created a space that makes it difficult for businesses to thrive; however, it has opened many doors for companies to understand the importance of Crisis Communication. In the words of Professor Mccormick, “All communication is rooted in Crisis Communication.” Even though not everyone can understand owning a business, communication is an essential skill that everyone can relate to. The event encapsulates the stresses we feel and brings light to effective communication in crisis times, which is not discussed broadly for COVID-19 times.
School presentation focuses on the crime of human trafficking, and how students can become aware of a crime prevalent in the U.S.
By Lenin O'Mahony
This past Wednesday, October 14, I had the opportunity to attend The Intersection of Relationship Violence and Human Trafficking presentation, lead by Vanessa Russel, founder of Love Never Fails. Love Never Fails is an non-profit organization dedicated to restoring, educating, and protecting survivors of human trafficking and their communities. This event was also co-sponsored by Campus Assault Response and Education (CARE), the Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape (SCAAR) and SMC Women's Volleyball, liGHT.
Russel began Love Never Fails after one of her dance students, a fifteen year old girl, was sold into human trafficking. While the young girl was safely returned home, Vanessa encountered many others in situations similar to her student.
Russel believes that the issue of human trafficking can be solved through love expressed in prayer, safe housing, mentoring, job training, outreach, and education. An essential part of the organization is the work to educate and inform communities about the dangers of human trafficking, and how common the grooming of young children can be in society.
Russel is also a former foster child, which itself came with many difficulties. She stated that being a former foster child “shaped who I am and the work I’m doing.” Love Never Fails has housed 139 individuals, and worked towards educating up to 400,000 people through their programs.
In the presentation we learned about what modern day slavery can look like. Human trafickking was defined as “the rectruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or sex slavery.” There are an estimated 100,000 people forced into sexual exploitation in the United States according to the International Labor Organization (2014). 94% of sex trafficking victims are female, making them the overwhelming majority. An interesting fact introduced to the audience during the presentation was that 65-95% of victims were sexually abused as children, but also, according to the DePaul School of Law, 88% of traffickers were also abused as children.
Unfortunately human trafficking is not an unknown occurrence, even in more wealthy and presumed safe areas, such as the Bay Area. This type of modern day slavery is seen as old, and many people just assume that it is something from the past. Something that doesn’t happen anymore. This could not be farther from the truth. It is important that we educate ourselves and our communities on the harsh realities of certain situations like human trafficking. The fact that some people have literal barcodes tattooed on them to mark them as property, or that there is an online slave registry where people are listed and sorted by who owns them should make it clear to everyone, as the good of the world modernizes, so does the evil and cruel of the world.
Institutions like Saint Mary's College of California have a responsibility to their students,
community, and the world as a whole, to use their platform to help educate and spread awareness about these issues. By having events like this one on campus, and trying to make these topics a part of our discussion on how we as students and future leaders can help solve these issues, Saint Mary’s continues to guide and educate their students in more than an academic way.
Amy Coney Barrett’s inevitable SCOTUS appointment continues to divide Congress members.
By Riley Mulcahy
In an unprecedented move, Senate Republicans are rushing through the nomination of Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The hearings come as seventeen million individuals have already cast their ballots. Barrett is currently an Appellate Court Judge and law professor at Notre Dame University. Critics of Barrett worry that her being on the court will balance liberal/conservative judges tip over to the Conservatives. Issues and cases such as Roe v. Wade, Marriage Equality, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are at stake. The ACA is on the Supreme Court's docket on Nov. 10th, a week to the day after the United States election.
Senate Republicans made sure to let the Democrats know that there would be no questioning of Barrett's faith, a bone of contention for Democrats. However, Barrett argued that she viewed the Constitution "as a law. That I interpret its text as text. And I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. So that meaning doesn't change over time, and it isn't up to me to update or infuse my own policy views into it."
The Wall Street Journal points out Barrett's similarities to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barrett's predecessor. The publication notes that both were not afraid to share their personal views on Roe v. Wade (Ginsburg was famously pro-choice and Barrett pro-life). However, one main difference is that Barrett considers herself an originalist. Therefore, her pro-life views would not necessarily mean that she would vote to overturn Roe v.Wade; nonetheless, there is a possibility.
A particularly striking moment in the hearings was when Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb) asked Barrett to "reflect a little bit on the glories of the First Amendment by naming the "five freedoms." In her response, Barrett struggled to come up with all of the freedoms. According to the Washington Post, Barrett answered "Speech, religion, press, assembly," counting them off with her right hand. She then claimed "I don't know. What am I missing?" When reminded that the fifth freedom is the freedom "to petition the Government for a redress (protest) of grievances."
When Sen. Sasse corrected, she admitted that "sometimes softballs do not turn out to be softballs." Then, Sen. Sasse asked Barrett why the five freedoms were grouped. Barrett could not answer the question and replied, "I'm sure there's a story that I don't know about why those appeared in the First Amendment all together rather than being split up in different amendments."
Sen. Sasse explained the reasons why they are grouped, "You don't really have freedom of religion if you don't also have freedom of assembly," he said. "You don't really have freedom of speech if you can't also publish your beliefs and advocate for them. You don't really have any of those freedoms if you can't protest at times and seek to redress grievances in times when the government oversteps and tries to curtail any of those freedoms."
Although she is a known conservative and her views are widely known, Barrett refused to answer any questions about issues such as Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, referencing Justice Ginsburg's famous quote from her hearing, "hints, no previews, no forecasts." Democratic Senators responded to Barrett, arguing that millions are struggling through a pandemic and are worried about their health insurance being taken away.
Given the hearings' political nature, there is no leeway on how Democrats and Republicans will vote. In the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), "This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens. All Republicans will vote yes and all Democrats will vote no and that will be the way the breakout of the vote." The hearings showed what Americans had learned time and time again, everything in government, even issues that are supposed to be politicized, leads to distrust and disdain in politics.
By Annika Henthorn
Sinking deeper into a pit of endless chaos, the US continues down the rabbit hole of hopelessness. Conflict from the upcoming election, controversy of COVID-19 protocols, and the raging fires ripping through the US amplify the growing tensions of 2020. This has compelled some, specifically an anti-government group, to respond with violence.
On October 8th, it was revealed that 13 men, who were either part of or working with an anti-government group, planned to kidnap Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, according to The New York Times.
Propelled by a skewed conception of the Governor, deeming her a “tyrant”, the men planned on not only kidnapping her but also blowing up a bridge as a distraction. The strict regulations Whitmer has implemented to combat COVID-19 were considered unconstitutional in the eyes of the 13 men involved.
CNN has identified the six men charged federally as Adam Fox, 37, Ty Garbin, 24, Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, Brandon Caserta, 32, and Delaware resident Barry Croft, 44. Those charged by the state were indicated as Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, Joseph Morrison, 26. All are facing varying degrees of charges.
The New York Times stated that the men met several times over the summer to build explosives, train with firearms, and plot their mission. They allegedly met in the basement of a shop only accessible through a trapdoor to review the details. A bomb was also discussed through code language like a “baker” and “a cake.” Additionally, Governor Whitmer’s vacation home was being surveyed to acquire more information and maybe even “cap her,” as one of the men put it according to the FBI.
Adam Fox, the ring leader, was part of a group of seven called the Wolverine Watchmen, who threatened to kidnap other political leaders as well as ignite a civil war.
The Governor voiced her response on October 8th after the charges were released. Although she knew her job was difficult, she stated that she “never could have imagined anything like this.” This violent attempt to overthrow the government was directly associated with Trump's reluctance to condemn white supremacy during the debate. Whitmer perceived the president’s silence as “a rallying cry.” However, this did not go unnoticed by the President when he countered that by saying that “Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities.”
According to CNN, this incident was brought to light by The Detroit News, which reported earlier this year through a social media group. CNN also confirmed that by June 14, a second anonymous source verified that Adam Fox was meeting with leaders of anti-government groups. In these recorded meetings, Fox claimed that “200 men” were required to rush the Capitol building in Lansing and acquire hostages like Governor Whitmer.
With everything seeming so out of control, people will go to unexplainable lengths in an attempt to cling to any form of control or power. This boggling example of irrationality illustrates what can bloom from a world full of disorder.
Student organizations define what affirmative consent is, and give advice on how students can protect themselves in relationships.
By James Molnar
In the modern age, the rules governing how college students should relate to each other sexually have become increasingly blurred and confused. As we move further away from the more traditional notions of abstinence and purity, a new structure of sexual morality has been constructed. Despite its prominent role in college guidelines and legal policy, the concept of “affirmative consent” remains abstruse to many students. In this article, we will discover precisely what affirmative consent is.
The philosophy of affirmative consent is a moral theory which requires that any sexual act must be preceded by explicit, enthusiastic, and continuous verbal consent from both parties involved. Representatives for the Coalition on Abuse and Rape (SCAAR) and Peer Advocates for Wellness (PAW), student groups at Saint Mary’s, make use of the acronym FRIES to specify the tenets of affirmative consent. This stands for Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific.
“Freely given” means that there cannot be any form of manipulation or coercion present. For instance, if one partner manages to persuade the other to engage in a sexual act with phrases such as “if you really loved me, you’d do this,” this would not constitute freely given consent. Furthermore, as it is reversible, consenting initially to a practice does not constitute an inexorable commitment. Rather, it may be withdrawn at any point.
“Informed” entails that someone must be cognizant of what they are consenting to. “Enthusiasm” is slightly more subjective, but generally describes an eager attitude toward the activity that is consented to. If someone were to ask for consent, and their partner nodded in a woebegone manner and muttered a morose “yes,” this would not be enthusiastic consent. “Specificity” means that the boundaries of what is agreed upon are clearly delineated. For example, someone might agree to participate in a particular sexual act at a specified time. This would not imply consent to any further act, nor indeed the same act at a later date.
This conception of consent is closely linked to the idea of a rape culture. A rape culture is one in which sexual assault is normalized or even promoted by its members. As Sam Newman, a leader of SCAAR asserts, “I definitely do think it's true that we live in a rape culture and Saint Mary's is part of that.” In light of this, the form of consent which is in common practice, which is often nonverbal and more implicit, would appear insufficient. The antidote to this purported rape culture and accompanying epidemic of sexual assault would, in this view, be to concretize our idea of consent so as to make it completely unambiguous.
The problem of sexual assault is compounded by the widespread hookup culture which is prevalent on many college campuses. As Sofia Kakleas, a leader of the Peer Advocates for Wellness, points out, “hook up cultures, a lot of the times, happen in parties and environments like that that are not exactly the most safe situations.”
Though Kakleas and her colleagues are clear that they did not consider there to be any inherent problem with hookup culture in general, there are certainly problems that can be associated with it. Chief among these is the widespread use of alcohol and illicit substances. The PAW representatives point out that consent cannot be given when such substances have been consumed.
Consent is particularly important as we move into the current age of lockdown and digital communication. Not only is sexual abuse on the rise in people’s homes, as they are confined there for most of the day, there is, as Kakleas points out, also a widespread problem of sexual harassment in the digital sphere. This largely consists of people sending unsolicited sexual content, such as nude photographs and inappropriate texts. She stresses that consent is vitally important online as well and that one must ask specifically before sending any such sexual material.
In summary, affirmative consent is the practice of agreeing to sexual or romantic activity through explicit and verbal means.
If you would like to learn more about affirmative consent, you can visit the websites of the two student groups interviewed for this article:
Saint Mary’s Black Student Union hopes to create safe spaces for conversation, understanding, and support for fellow students.
By Riley Mulcahy
In a year filled with racial injustice and political turmoil, it can be difficult for students to find the community and talk about issues that have affected them. Saint Mary’s Black Student Union, firstly, is an organization where African American students can share in their experiences in a safe and understanding environment. BSU is also a place where allies can learn about the experiences of African Americans in the U.S. and how they as allies can work together to support change. Although some may be apprehensive about joining the BSU, it is open to everyone hoping there can be dialogue on race that may not happen very often.
Police brutality and the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and subsequent protests have raised questions about allyship and how to support Black people in America effectively. According to BSU’s Internal Community Outreach Coordinator Collin Fisher, a transfer sophomore, the best way to support Black students on campus is to “learn, listen, and gain knowledge from the experiences of those in the Black community.”
The BSU aims to improve Saint Mary’s campus by figuring out ways to create a more welcoming atmosphere. BSU’s club President Shilei Bell-Lipsey, a junior, notes that the protests made the club realize that they have to “protect our community and make sure that the experiences of injustice, aggression, and disrespect faced on this campus and within the SMC community do not continue.” The BSU hopes to be a place where African American students can find comfort, and support from their peers.
Last month, members of the academic community, including some Saint Mary’s faculty, participated in a “Scholar Strike for Racial Justice.” Colin Kaepernick and other athletes from the NFL, NBA, and WNBA inspired the two-day strike. The strike aimed to point out America’s troubled history with systemic racism and police brutality.
The BSU stresses that everyone is welcomed at their meetings and that at this moment, it is essential more than ever to seek help from allies in the SMC community. According to Bell-Lipsey, the club members are considered family. With his participation Fisher hopes to be an example to other transfer students that they are welcome in the BSU. The process of learning and educating one’s self can feel super daunting; however, the BSU creates a welcoming environment that anyone can join and ask questions and listen to other college students.
Although COVID-19 has made BSU shift their programming to all virtual events, they have had many activities for the SMC community, including wellness sessions, general body meetings, check-ins, and Black History Kahoots.
These events educate the Saint Mary’s community about the Black experience and bond over taking classes in Zoom’s age. According to Fisher, the first general body meeting helped students talk about their current climate thoughts. Before the check-in about the protests, there was an opportunity for students to meditate before diving deep into the discussion.
The history of the BSU at Saint Mary’s is not widely known; however, the club is celebrating its 40th year for the 2020-2021 school year. The club hopes to learn more about how the club was started, and although the school’s archivist is not able to help due to COVID-19, the club is coming up with ways to find out more about their history as a club Saint Mary’s.
For allies, the BSU provides a space for growth and understanding. Sometimes, it can feel difficult to understand the “right” way to support Black students, but lending a helping hand and being there for them is vital at this moment and in the future.
Ways to connect with the BSU:
To Learn More about Saint Mary’s affirmation of Black Lives Matter, please go to:
Green Gaels Fight for a Cleaner Future
Student organization hopes to educate and engage fellow students in environmental activism.
By Annika Henthorn
The fatal cocktail of heavy winds, prolonged heat, and increasing temperatures felt all over the news is merely a symptom of the overarching illness, climate change. With much of California ablaze, climate change, now more than ever, has been at the forefront of people’s minds. It is no longer an issue for tomorrow but of today. In an effort to combat this brutal reality, the student organization Green Gaels has taken the initiative to educate and take part in the on-going fight for a better tomorrow.
According to club president, Payton Reil, Green Gaels is an organization within the Saint Mary’s community that is interested in doing “their part in combating climate change and informing themselves about the environmental injustices found throughout the world.” Green Gaels welcomes all to contribute in this monumental movement towards a cleaner, and more environmentally-friendly future. Currently, Reil claims, they are fixating on “relevant conversations surrounding climate change, environmental racism, and indigenous land rights by sharing articles and resources with each other.”
The broad spectrum of environmental discussions being held allows students “to find their interests within the conversation,” according to Reil. Whether that is Environmental Justice or conservation, “there [are] tons of media that you can look into” to be better informed of current environmental issues on both a national and local scale. Green Gaels are heavily involved in the fight for “sustainable practices on SMC’s campus.”
Despite the expected changes since COVID-19 transpired, Green Gaels have continued to safely educate and provide resources for students, urging them to persist in the fight against climate change. Thus far, Green Gaels have hosted a variety of events, one being a Kahoot filled with environmental facts. Additionally, they threw a virtual movie night where they watched a pro-wrestler transition to a plant-based diet.
Upcoming events include their upcycling night which takes “older items and finds new uses for them.” This pushes students to find creative ways of using older objects for newer purposes. Riel also explained that they are “going to be hosting a low carbon and meatless cooking night where they will “talk about the transition to more environmentally-aware meals.” According to The Washington Post, “the agriculture sector is one of the world’s biggest sources of climate-altering gases,” with the majority stemming from dairy and meat production. Diets have a huge impact on the demands for meat and dairy. With the United States being a predominantly meat and dairy heavy culture, a diet switch, although seemingly miniscule, can leave a substantial dent in production and a lasting imprint in the revolution against climate change.
Green Gaels are a “stepping stone” to helping students feel “more comfortable in their role as environmentalists.” It not only focuses on the issues of today, but also celebrates the victories of what has been accomplished thus far. This revolution is composed of small actions from individuals passionate about the future. Whether that starts with recycling, voting, or simply signing petitions, Green Gaels hope to ignite a desire to continue educating oneself about relevant environmental issues and steps that can be taken to contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change.
Ryan Ford '23,