Jan Term in June will not be offered this summer, but is it gone forever? Only time will tell.
(Image c/o writer)
By Chloe Ourada
American Journalism Student
An expected drop in demand has led Saint Mary’s College to abandon June Jan Term courses. This has led to some disappointment amongst students and professors, but if the funding model gets worked out and students demonstrate interest, Jan Term in June may not be gone forever.
According to Professor Claire Williams, the current Jan Term Director, Jan Term in June “was an opportunity for students to take a Jan Term class who have missed a Jan Term class, or haven’t successfully completed a Jan Term class.” This was especially important under the previous graduation requirements, since students needed four Jan Term classes in order to graduate. Now, only two Jan Term classes are required.
As Connor McCaslin, the Coordinator for Jan Term Travel, states, “Because of the change in the core requirements, [the new Jane Term requirements] did not allow much in the way of interest [for Jan Term in June].” He went on to say that the college has a “general problem with all summer enrollment.”
This general problem is compounded for Jan Term in June travel courses. As Professor Aaron Sachowitz, the former Jan Term Director, sees it, “Travel was attractive to students, but it was expensive.” Students already have to pay extra for summer courses, so paying additional money for travel fees is not a realistic option for many. This view is mirrored by Ingrid Alkire, a senior who took a remote Jan Term in June course: “Sometimes, I feel like [the college is] just trying to squeeze as much money out of us as possible.”
Money seems to be one of the sticking points for Jan Term in June. According to Williams, the college fully intended to offer Jan Term in June courses in 2023. However, she says, “We tried to think through the funding structure and realized that we couldn’t make it work. We didn’t think students would be interested if they had to pay that much.”
Perhaps that is why the Jan Term in June classes in 2022 were so successful. Sachowitz recounts, “In 2022, we expanded the Jan Term in June program, partly to provide opportunities for students who weren’t able to utilize those travel opportunities in Jan Term.” This came after years of Jan Term travel classes getting canceled because of Covid. For the first time ever, Jan Term in June was open to alumni. The Jan Term in June program was able to repurpose unused scholarship money from canceled Jan Term travel classes and provide many alumni with discounts. But this funding model can no longer be utilized moving forward.
So the future of Jan Term in June relies on money as well as student interest. Sachowitz says, “Hopefully, there will be enough student demand to have another Jan Term in June in the future.”
This hope is reflected by professors and students who have participated in Jan Term in June. Professor Derek Marks, who has taught a June course in Australia, reflects, “It was a 100% positive experience. I was happy to give an opportunity to students who weren’t able to travel in January… I’m sad to hear they’re not offering it this year.” Angelina Fleming, a student who took Marks’s Jan Term in June course, also expressed disappointment in the program ending. She theorizes that Jan Term in June is “not used to its fullest potential. A lot of people didn’t even know about traveling in June.” This lack of knowledge is possibly related to the lack of demand for these courses.
As Williams eloquently sums up, “If we could get the funding model right, travel in June opens up different types of opportunities that students can’t get in January. It does seem like a little bit of a missed opportunity for students, but I don’t know… If [students] see Jan Term purely as a graduation requirement, even if the funding model was right, they wouldn’t be interested. If they see it as an opportunity to explore new and different things, then maybe there would be a possibility for something there.”
College students face plenty of challenges. An empty belly shouldn’t be one of them.
(Image c/o writer)
American Journalism Student
As reports of aftershocks from the COVID-19 pandemic wind down, Americans continue to grapple with inflated costs of consumer goods, including groceries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports that grocery and supermarket costs for Sept. 2023 are 2.4 percent higher than costs last year, and while prices have been expected to grow at a slower rate this year than in 2022, they remain at above-historical rates.
Saint Mary’s Justice, Community and Leadership major and junior Katie Marcel is acutely aware of the food insecurity issues facing the college community.
“When talking with other students, I do hear struggles about food,” she said, “From the cost to the limited access.” Between the two spots on campus to purchase food, neither are cheap options, said Marcel, and while fast food may be cheaper, time and health costs must be taken into consideration.
The issue is compounded when a student commutes to campus, as she does, Marcel continued. That cost is added to the mix of attendance and food expenses. “It feels like there is an extra challenge” when it comes to procuring nutritious food, she said.
Bringing meals from home requires advance planning and finding food that is both healthy and affordable is another struggle, she said.
“It seems as if I lose [healthwise] if I try to get cheap, but then I lose financially if I try to eat healthier.”
The Mission and Ministry Center (MMC) at Saint Mary’s College offers support to students worried about their next meal with an on-campus food pantry and free hot meals.
The SMC Legacy Garden, managed by the Office of Sustainability, is another resource, with fresh produce from the garden given to volunteers, most of whom are students, according to SMC Sustainability Director Ann Drevno.
Solidarity Suppers are held in the MMC Fountain Courtyard once a month, with the next set for November 15th from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
GaelPantry has been an on-campus resource for students facing food insecurity since 2016. Coordinator Daniel McCarthy, also a graduate student and 2020 alumni, has witnessed an uptick in food insecurity within the campus community since he began his position this year.
“In terms of even summer numbers, the number of people who came in this summer, compared to last summer, tripled,” said McCarthy. While visits were higher over the summer, a steady increase in visitors to the pantry has continued, he said. “I think people are feeling the need.”
Jeremy Crittenden, spokesperson for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, attested to the growing need, especially in the last two years.
“People are struggling in our community,” said Crittenden. In the past eight months, the need addressed by the food bank has grown from 350,000 to 465,000 people per month currently, he said.
Crittenden emphasized the food bank’s mission to support those facing food insecurity.
“We want to make sure that you use the money you have to be able to support the things that you need to,” said Crittenden, such as school needs or doctor appointments.
At GaelPantry, non-perishable foods, such as soups, canned fruits and vegetables, beans, dried pasta, canned chicken and tuna, granola bars, and peanut butter and jelly are staples, said McCarthy. Some fresh produce arrives weekly through a partnership with Good Eating Company.
GaelPantry also has a partnership with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and orders food through the organization. Other resources, such as drives through local high schools and private donations, keep the shelves stocked.
The pantry is a free resource for undergraduate and graduate students living on or off campus, operating on a point system. Every student has ten points to use each week, with items varying in value.
Located at the back of the Soda Center, the pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Students can also make appointments for a visit by emailing the Mission and Ministry Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students whose need exceeds the ten-point limit can reach out to Carrie Davis, director of the Mission and Ministry Center, at email@example.com.
Those who would like to donate food to the GaelPantry can email McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the SMC Mission and Ministry Center. Most donations are accepted and incorporated into the pantry’s offerings, said McCarthy.
Marcel highlighted the importance of awareness for both on- and off-campus students when it comes to food resources at SMC.
“It’s definitely a hard obstacle to tackle, as an individual and as a college.”
With January fast approaching, Jan Term Director Claire Williams discusses the program’s changes and clarifies Jan Term requirements for juniors and seniors. Students share their positive Jan Term experiences, but raise concerns about the lack of refunds.
(Image c/o writer)
American Journalism Student
From transitioning to Carnegie units and reducing Seminar requirements to a website redesign and launching new certification programs, Saint Mary’s has undergone many changes in the past few years, and Jan Term is no exception.
A recent program review by the Core Curriculum Committee found that the core was “oversized and getting in the way of students graduating,” Jan Term Director Claire Williams explained. After many hard conversations, “the faculty decided to reduce the size of the core,” Williams stated. As a result, Jan term requirements were reduced.
“Students now only have two required January Term[s],” which translates to taking a “100 level course in [their] first year [and a] second one [...] sophomore, junior, or senior year,” Williams explained. However, Williams notes that “[t]his year’s graduating seniors and this year’s juniors have three January Term requirements.”
Williams furthered that juniors “must take Jan Term this year,” though they can opt out senior year, while seniors may opt out of Jan Term completely if they have already completed three Jan Terms. However, “[Students] cannot get [their] money back if [they] opt out [of Jan Term],” Williams stated, though she notes that the cost of Jan Term was “always included in tuition.”
Despite no longer being required for seniors, Williams still encourages them to take a Jan Term. “[It’s] a uniquely Saint Mary’s opportunity [for students] to take a course that’s not in their major or minor,” Williams stated.
Olivia Bianic ‘24 weighed in on the Jan Term and described her experience positively. “[I took] artsy, fun Jan Terms [that were] a nice break from a heavy curriculum,” Bianic stated. This year, Bianic will be traveling abroad to Italy and France for a Jan Term on Christian art. “I’m more introverted, [so it’s] harder for me to connect with people in a new place,” Bianic noted. To Bianic, Jan Term “[is the] perfect amount of time to experience a new culture” without the commitment of a whole semester abroad.
When asked to comment on the absence of Jan Term refunds when students opt out, Bianic stated: “If you're paying for an experience and opting out of that experience, that’s unfair.”
“I understand those funds have already been paid, but I think they should go to covering spring semester [...] maybe they don’t have to refund it to the student[s] completely, but it still should be funding our education,” Bianic reflected. “[This is] a new change, people have already paid their semesters, it's not fair to give us the choice now,” Bianic furthered.
Sarah Bagdon ‘25, who will be traveling to South Korea this Jan Term, aired similar sentiments. “If a student is not taking a class here in January, why should they still pay [for it] as if they are? I would almost consider it robbery…,” Bagdon stated. “I believe that Jan Term should be an extra cost outside of tuition,” Bagdon continued.
Bagdon also disclosed that as a freshman she had to “transfer out of the Jan Term that [she] had originally enrolled in because they failed to inform students of extra course costs in the course info page, but other than that, [she] actually really loved my Jan Term experience.”
To learn more about Jan Term requirements, offerings, and scholarships, students should consult the Jan Term website and meet with their advisors to determine the best plan for their individual needs.
After three years of recovery, admissions officers are finally seeing greater amounts of normalcy on college campuses. Thus, driving up the admissions business like never before.
(Image c/o Office of Saint Mary’s College Admissions )
By Eleni Kvochak
American Journalism Student
Since the pandemic, the college admissions process has been deeply impacted. As a result, there has been a large decline in student enrollment. For a small-size school such as Saint Mary’s College, there is no doubt that numbers matter. Decline in student enrollment can be detrimental to the college’s survival. However, after three years of recovery, admissions officers are finally seeing greater amounts of normalcy on college campuses. Thus, driving up the admission business like never before.
At the end of last year’s admissions cycle, Saint Mary’s welcomed one of the largest classes since 2019. Around 512 first year students eagerly joined the gael family this fall. For staff, faculty, and students the campus is finally bustling with excitement.
In this upcoming year, admissions counselors hope to raise enrollment slightly further, with a goal of 520 students. As college fairs ramp up once again, admissions counselors are getting to work to attract students. To appeal to prospective students, Saint Mary’s admissions counselors are currently “spending time and effort in places of traction,” said Craig Means, Director of Transfer Admissions Admissions Athletic Liaison. With the current climate, Means explains that students want to be on-campus, attending in-person classes and events. With this in mind, they must meet the audience where it is appropriate.
From attending close to 19 college fairs thus far, people seem increasingly happy that the process feels like it did prior to 2020. “The vibe is good, the traffic flow is good,” states Means. Experiencing this normalcy, there is no question that the admissions process is back in full swing.
In addition to attending fairs, the admissions department is attempting to create a more approachable application process. Up until now, the process can be described as daunting, requiring a personal statement, supplementals, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. This year, “Perceived barriers have been removed,” meaning the college is requiring fewer documents. For instance, a student is only required to deliver a personal statement and transcripts.
Furthering this point, “The common app alone asks for a lot, by limiting some of the requirements, students can give greater attentiveness to their personal statement” says College Advisor, Kristine Kvochak.
As the common applications open and high school seniors anxiously write the perfect personal statement, admissions counselors and ambassadors lend their expertise. “Do something that is unique to you and your experiences, find something that differentiates you from the others. It doesn't hurt to think outside of the box,” advises a current student ambassador.
With the goal of maintaining high standards, along with increasing enrollment, the Saint Mary’s admissions team is working diligently to develop a process that is both simple and exciting for prospective students. There is high hope for the incoming class and for the many gaels to come.
To apply or find more information regarding the Saint Mary’s College of California admissions process, please visit https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/.
(A. Edwards. Personal Communication, October 26th, 2023)
(C. Means. Personal Communication, October 26th, 2023)
(K. Kvochak. Personal Communication, October 26, 2023)
There is a significant lack of healthy food options in Moraga and the surrounding area, which is resulting in Saint Mary’s students not living the healthy lifestyle they wish.
By Francesca Caronna
American Journalism Student
According to the World Health Organization, living in a close proximity to healthy restaurants has a direct correlation with a person’s health. As college students, eating healthy can be a challenge. For example, dining halls don’t always have the best options for a healthy lifestyle, and most students don’t have access to a kitchen for their first few years of college. The freshman-15 is a very real phenomenon that many people experience due to the plethora of unhealthy food that colleges tend to supply. However, for Saint Mary’s students, eating healthy can be even more of a challenge due to the lack of healthy food options in Moraga and surrounding area.
After talking with a few fellow Saint Mary’s College students about this topic, it became apparent that multiple students feel there is a need for healthier food options in the area around campus. Having access to healthy and organic food makes it easier for one to live a sustainable lifestyle, especially while in college. There is one grocery store in Moraga, Safeway, and they do not have an abundance of organic produce or organic ready-to-eat meals. As Saint Mary’s Student, Radha Rai, said “The nearest healthier grocery store is Whole Foods in Lafayette, which is not convenient for Saint Mary’s Students.” Everything is about convenience, and since the healthy options are further away, it makes students result in eating not as healthy as they wish.
Jacalyn Swiestra, senior at Saint Mary’s, explained that she doesn’t have a meal plan, but often results in buying snacks and lunch at Cafe Louis because she gets hungry between classes. “They do have salads which is a nice option, but their selection of healthy snacks is inconsistent.” She continued, “They used to have a selection of protein bars and even gluten free pretzels, but now all they have is chips and candy.” Clearly there is a need for more healthy snack options for students, as not everyone has meal plans.
Although the Saint Mary’s students are some of the people being affected by the lack of healthy food options, they are not the only ones. Local Moraga resident, Isabel Artiaga, grew up in Moraga her whole life and attended Campolindo High School. She stated, “Growing up, there were little to no healthy options, and the Whole Foods only opened when I was in middle school.” She added, “My parents started ordering our groceries online from Good Eggs because they have better options and it's more convenient.”
Healthy food options are crucial to one living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. The less convenient things are, like the closest healthy food options being in Lafayette, results in individuals indulging in unhealthy foods because they see it as their only option. Being a college student comes with its struggles, a common one being the challenge of eating healthy while in school. For Saint Mary’s students, this is even harder because there are basically no healthy options in town. Another struggle that many college students experience is the immense cost of groceries, especially the ones marketed as healthy. Although the closest Whole Foods is in Lafayette, the location may not be the only reason students aren’t driving the distance. The produce and groceries in general are extremely more expensive than those at the local Safeway or Trader Joes, which can be a deterrent for students looking for healthier options.
Overall, Saint Mary’s students do not have ample options for healthy and organic food or snacks. Between the lack of options at Cafe Louis and the only grocery store in town being a Safeway, students have a hard time finding healthier options to fuel their bodies with. Being in college is already a challenge. Students balance classes, work, sports and extracurriculars, and now they have to spend extra time in their day to actively find healthier food options.
SMC’s New Professional Writing Certificate
By Lucy Bikahi
American Journalism Student
As of Fall semester, 2023, Saint Mary’s College is now offering students the opportunity to further prepare themselves for the career world with their newly established Professional Writing Certificate. Within this program, students will, as stated on the SMC Website, “have the chance to explore writing in multiple contexts- professional, scientific, and technical- for a wide range of audiences.” In short, this program provides students across majors and disciplines with an opportunity to gain experience writing in numerous styles, which will set them up for success in future career endeavors.
The program itself is easy to complete- it is made up of three courses. As outlined on the SMC website, the certificate requires two technical writing courses (WRIT 300 and 400) and an elective course selected from a pre-approved list. The initial technical course, WRIT 300, verses students in writing practices such as policy memos, resumes, analysis, and UX (user experience) writing. The last style of writing mentioned, UX writing, is particularly interesting, as it is a newer type of writing and there is a high demand for UX writers on the job market. UX or user experience writing is described by the UX Content Collective as, “writing UI (user interface) text, plus any other text needed to support the user as they interact with, or experience, a product.” As quite a lot of the English classes within Saint Mary’s focus on academic writing, it is refreshing to see a class that is teaching the skills to write in mediums so far outside of that realm.
According to Professor Meghan Sweeney, in its first year, there are currently 11 students who are in the professional writing certification program. I am one of those students, and have so far had a positive and informative experience, even if I have found these styles of writing to be confusing at times. I interviewed some of the other students taking this program with me, in order to get additional perspectives on this topic. Most of them had similar interests and intentions when taking up the certificate, such as expanding their skills and getting ready to enter the job market. In taking these courses, students are expanding on already existing writing skills and experiencing writing in ways they may have never done so before. When responding to her experience in this program so far, senior Jenna Thibodeau described it as, “Uncomfortable. I feel like I’m running into more questions and confusion than a regular English class but I feel like professors have been helpful in clarifying things for me. It’s out of my comfort zone but I think it’s healthy.”
Though the experiences of students participating in the program this year have been largely positive, it is not without critique; it has kinks to work out just as any other new program. SMC senior Ingrid Alkire expressed a desire for more courses to be added to the certificate, such as classes in writing for HR, management, or copyediting, as she feels there are currently some gaps within the program. Chloe Ourada, also an SMC senior, expressed “that the program still has to continue refining some aspects, but thinks that will come as it continues and grows.”
Meghan Sweeney, who is director of Writing Studies and the professor for WRIT 300 this semester shared some intentions and hopes for the program both this year and going forward. “The professional writing certificate is designed to allow students from any major, so we’re hoping that it’s interdisciplinary of students in business, science, liberal arts, could take these classes and get a certificate,” she says. Currently, SOLA (School of Liberal Arts) students make up the majority of people within the program, but as it continues to grow, it is hoped students across majors will take advantage of this opportunity to refine and advance their writing skills.
Legacy Garden Director Anne Drevno welcomes four CA ClimateCorps fellows and discusses the garden’s future.
(Image c/o writer)
American Journalism Student
A half-acre “living laboratory” of organic fruits, flowers, herbs, insects, and vegetables, the Legacy Garden adds four full-time CA ClimateCorps fellows to the mix. Onboarded two weeks ago, ClimateCorps fellows Vera Hammond, Andrea Solis, Molly Clemons, and Erin Dalton will work with director Anne Drevno for eleven months.
The ClimateCorps program brings together people from all walks of life united by a passion for sustainability and environmental justice. In discussing their motivations for joining, the fellows expressed the desire to take time off post-grad, gain hands-on experience, and deepen their knowledge of sustainable practices. Solis added the fellows’ desire to take all they will learn and “teach our families and [...] communities.”
Another attraction for fellows are the financial awards of up to $10,000 given at the completion of 1,700 hours of service through a combination of the Segal and California For All education awards. Fellows can use these awards to help them cover education related expenses such as certificate and graduate school programs, school supplies, and student loans upon completion of their service.
The fellows’ days typically begin with meetings, either as a team or with on-campus entities to discuss Saint Mary’s various sustainability programs. After a break for lunch, the fellows transition to working in the garden. As summer comes to an end garden tasks include weeding, mulching, removing summer plants, and planting winter and cover crops.
In the coming weeks, the garden will receive an exciting new addition—ninety native plants obtained through a Xerces Society for Invertebrates grant—and continue working on other events and projects aimed at involving the student body. The fellows discussed getting the garden’s pizza oven up and running, hosting a dance with the Garden Club, and collaborating with the free-store to host a sustainable Halloween pop-up.
While these events are geared towards engaging the on-campus community, Drevno emphasized her goal to grow the garden so it can support the local community off-campus. Drevno focused on food justice, which she describes as “looking at our food systems and the way [they create] inequities and [are] perpetually unsustainable in [their] farming practices, harming the most vulnerable communities.”
Drevno hopes that through implementing systems to increase the growth and distribution of the garden’s produce, the garden will become a “regional hub for food justice and sustainable practices.” Drevno plans to create a farm stand for fresh garden-grown produce and increase partnerships with local food justice organizations, such as the Alameda Point Collaborative, to prompt “discussions [about food justice] in the Bay Area and beyond.”
As the garden nears its 13 year anniversary, Drevno reflects on the work of past garden stewards and volunteers, expressing gratitude for all they did to establish the garden and build the foundation for what it is today. The onboarding of the CA ClimateCorps fellows will help support Drevno in helping the garden deliver “healthy, culturally appropriate, food” to local on and off-campus communities, a goal which strongly aligns with Saint Mary’s Lasallian values and current strategic sustainability plan.
If you are interested in getting involved, the Legacy Garden is located behind the South Claeys dormitory and volunteer hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30PM and Fridays from 12:00-2:00PM.
Saint Mary’s Theatre Program will be putting modern twists on this classic Shakespearean comedy. Performances take place in LeFevre Theatre November 2 to November 5, with a run time of two hours, including intermission. Tickets start at $8.
(Image c/o writer)
By Caledonia Buchanan
American Journalism Student
The members of Saint Mary’s Theatre Program have worked with esteemed Bay Area director M. Graham Smith to put together a modernized version of the Shakespearean classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with performances beginning Thursday, November 2nd. There will be one performance each day other than Saturday the 4th, where two different performances are available. Director M. Graham Smith says, “It is about a bunch of people who are in love with each other, with a bunch of little mismatches.” Senior Chloë Parmelee, who is playing the character Puck echoed a similar sentiment by saying, “All of these storylines intersect, which feels very different from other Shakespearean plays that I’ve experienced.”
Videographer Megan Young worked in conjunction with the production team to conduct interviews with members of the cast and crew. In this interview, Parmelee expressed the cast’s excitement in preparation for the show by saying, “Upperclassmen have very, very, good feelings about this being one of the best, if not the best, Saint Mary’s production we’ve had so far at our time at Saint Mary’s.”
Smith described the feeling of the play by saying, “It’s a comedy, so it’s wildly funny, and you can expect to see a lot of madcap humor, a lot of really difficult questions to grapple with as you leave the theater, but ultimately a totally awesome, good time.”
If you’re worried about understanding old English and typical Shakespearean language, senior Avery Monson, who is playing the character Demetrius, lets us know that “with this version, we have made it so clear to the audience what the actors are saying.”
As for other modernized aspects, there are elements of queer and LGBTQ+ inclusivity involved in the play. Monson explains, “We have cast my character Demetrius, one of the lovers, who is traditionally a male, as a female character. So there is a queer relationship, and queer love in it.” Sophomore Carolyn Gersten has also been cast in a traditionally male role, Peter Quince, and has turned the character (who is in a leadership role) into a female character.
These elements of queer relationships and changing the gender roles of the traditional play give this production a unique and modern take. The cast and crew were given liberties to shift and create a play that is based on the classic work, with these elements that are more relevant to the times.
Tickets are available for purchase through the Saint Mary’s website. Everyone is encouraged to come out and support the production and witness the hard work that has gone into this play. A limited number of tickets are available at the door via cash or check, so buy yours early at stmarys-ca.edu/midsummer. The Theatre Program is trying out an earlier start time on Friday, November 3, at 4pm in the hopes of reaching the faculty, staff, and students before they head home for the weekend.
Special thanks to videographer Megan Young for providing interviews and information for this article.
Thurs., Nov. 2 at 8pm
Fri., Nov. 3 at 4pm
Sat., Nov. 4 at 2pm & 8pm
Sun., Nov. 5 at 2pm
A list of some of SMC’s favorite fall playlist picks.
(Image c/o WNYC)
Lillian La Salle
It’s officially that time Saint Mary’s! Fall is upon us and coming on strong with the autumn leaves changing hue outside the Rec Center. The deer and squirrels are out and about regularly, and although we’ve got a few random 90-degree summer days this October, the temperature is nearing the 60s for our long-awaited sweater weather.
This year, it seems that the weather is actually matching up to the seasons. Although we had a brief heatwave, we have gotten to bypass last year’s 3-month heatwave that lasted all the way until November and seemed to cook the first years in their residence halls. Thankfully, the rain has graced us with its presence just after we enter the week before Halloween, leaving us with plenty of time to get excited for the Spooky Season.
We all know music is the perfect thing to put us in a good mood. So why not influence our fall feelings with a whole setlist from some SMC students and staff? With midterms behind us and Fall in full swing, some of our Saint Mary’s students have offered up some of their favorite fall playlist picks for this 2023 season. You can find the list of fall favorites below, so get on your coziest hoodie and eat something pumpkin-flavored while you listen to these lyrical masterpieces:
Gabbi Tolentino - Spooky: Jesse Springfield
Autumn In New York: Ella Fitzgerald
Tis Autumn: Nat King Cole
AJ Clements - All Blues: Miles Davis
Kaylin Hollerman - October Sky: Yebba
Emma Fitch - There She Goes: The La’s
Desirea Sturock - Andromeda: Weyes Blood
Liar: Built to spill
Blue Light: Mazzy star
Paper Bag: Fiona Apple
Kill of the Night: Gin Wigmore
Jenevieve Monroe - Season of the Witch: Donavan
Crystal: Stevie Nicks
Madi Sciba - Sweater Weather: The Neighborhood
Cerys Price - Spacegirl: Beach House
Angelina Landeros - Talk It Up: Sammy Rae & The Friends
Ashley Maravilla - We Fell in Love in October: girl in red
Andrew Cabrera - Sparks: Coldplay
Lillian La Salle - Francis Forever: Mitski
Kat Legrama - My Life: JCole
Professor Zeccardi - I Used to Be Young: Miley Cyrus
The Pay Back: James Brown
The Boss: James Brown
Izzy Ruiz- CORALINE: MANESKIN
Rigo Sainez- Mario Breakup: Gucci
Falling Behind: Laufey
I Think I Like When It Rains: WILLIS
Was It Something I Said: Cavetown
Junk of the Heart: The Kooks
To the Mountains: Lizzy McAlpine
Sweet Marie: Marcel
Evangeline: Stephen Sanchez
Dirty dancer: Orion Sun
Taylor Marcus and the Girls Gain Confidence Initiative
(Image c/o Just Giving)
By Jenevieve Monroe
At Saint Mary's College, you'll find alumni who are actively contributing to positive change throughout the Bay Area community. One notable example is Taylor Marcus, a graduate from Saint Mary’s class of 2020 with a degree in Justice, Community, and Leadership. Currently, she is in the final stages of completing her master’s program in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. Marcus serves as the Executive Director, founder, and CEO of Girls Gain Confidence, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Black girls aged 12-17 through a variety of services. These include “mentoring, community engagement activities, field trips, tutoring, and educational events.” These initiatives are designed to enhance the self-confidence of participating mentees, cultivate academic excellence, and instill a sense of agency both “in and outside of the classroom.”
The program is structured on three levels: mentorship (level one), partnerships (level two), and community events (level three). Marcus explained that these levels are designed to extend support beyond the program’s designated cohorts. “Our goal is to ensure that Black girls in the Bay Area can readily access mentorship, educational workshops, and career advancement prospects.”
When questioned about the source of her inspiration for Girls Gain Confidence, Marcus explained that the vision had been inspired from her youth. “I founded this nonprofit based on my experiences as an early teenager. I know firsthand how negative influences and unhealthy relationships can destroy a girl's self-esteem.” She explained that by initiating a program centered on “genuine love, unwavering support, positive representation, and a sense of accountability,” mentees could be motivated “to embrace their full potential rather than give in to the negative influences that often surround us.”
Marcus also expressed that the mission of Girls Gain Confidence is centered in the transformative power of community. “GGC bridges the gap between families, educators, and Black girls. Our goal is to cultivate positive decision-making, academic excellence, and a strong sense of agency among our mentees.” She shared some testimonials from students that participated in the program and were inspired moving forward in their academic careers.
"This year I've been trying to dodge conflict, but last year I ran straight towards it. I’ve changed because I don't fight anymore, and my grades are good now. In 7th grade I had no self-respect. I didn't even know what it was. Now I do." (Student, 2022)
"When I started Girls Group, I was the girl who wanted friends. Now I'm the girl who prioritizes herself and I do what makes me happy. My perspective on conflict has changed because now I know to choose my battles wisely. I will stay true to myself in high school." (Student, 2022)
Throughout her professional journey, Marcus has remained connected to the Saint Mary’s community. Girls Gain Confidence has established partnership with one of Saint Mary’s service opportunities, known as the Community Engagement Program. Students participating in this program are collaborating with Marcus to advance her nonprofit's mission. Their contributions include providing one-on-one research for careers and higher educational opportunities, media focused outreach through marketing strategies, and organizing fundraising efforts for the nonprofit’s annual Historically Black College Tour. On this trip, the mentees will have the opportunity to travel to schools like Texas Southern, Prairie View, Howard, and Hampton University. All donations will go towards covering the costs of travel and lodging. If you are interested in supporting the mission and mentees of Girls Gain Confidence, check out their website at www.girlsgainconfidence.org or their Instagram account.
If you would like to support fundraising efforts for the Historically Black College Tour, go online to the JustGiving.com Donation Server and search “Girls Gain Confidence (Oakland) - HBCU Student Tour”.
Madison Sciba '24,