After a tumultuous year dealing with the many setbacks felt from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anselmian Abbey Players continue to find a way to do what they love and perform great theater for the Saint Anselm campus. Their upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth will be the first major production that the new director of the Abbey Players, Daniel Bird Tobin, will be spearheading. Macy Doucette (‘22) is stepping in as the Assistant Director for the production. This show is unlike anything many members of this community have seen before. They will be performing, not in their typical home in the Koonz Theater, but instead braving the elements outside on the rugby field for three showings on April 30th, May 1st, and May 2nd all at 7:30pm. The cast and crew are beyond excited to present the show as they have been working diligently putting it together, even with a few hiccups along the way.
Macbeth tells the story of three witches who predict for Macbeth that he will one day rise to the throne and become the King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth then kills the king, takes the crown for himself, and proceeds to kill many more out of paranoia. A civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in even more tragedy. It is one of Shakespeare’s most timeless and detailed works and, despite being sent home for two weeks in the middle of the rehearsal process, the Abbey Players were up for the challenge. Unlike other shows the Abbey Players have put on, this show will be staged in the round, meaning that audience members will be seated on all sides of the stage and get an up close and personal view of the actors on stage.
The show stars seasoned veterans of the Abbey Players, Morganne Mutkowski (‘22) as Macbeth and Nicole Sherwood (‘21) as Lady Macbeth. The cast is rounded out with Izzy Petrosino (‘24), Phillip Dragone (‘21), Christine Quirion (‘22), Ryan McDonough (‘22), Flannery Moore (‘24), Madison McKeon (‘21), Mia Tidd (‘24), Daniel Gaby (‘23) and Bryan Lavoie (‘22).
To reserve your spot, as seating is limited, sign up to attend any of the three shows here. Bring a blanket for a spot on the grass, or instead choose to sit in a chair for this incredible production.
Talk about the vaccine arriving to Saint Anselm College has been swirling on campus, but the vaccine might not be arriving any time soon. According to the COVID-19 support page on Canvas, the college may be getting the vaccine around March. But amid some road bumps in New Hampshire’s vaccine rollout, the likelihood seems slim.
“I think I’d be surprised if [the vaccine arrives] in March,” said President Favazza. “I would say it’s more likely April or May than March, but we just don’t know. There’s so many unknowns with the vaccine rollout.”
The estimated timeframe of New Hampshire’s vaccine distribution plan is heavily dependent on vaccine doses that are allocated from the federal government and how many people are vaccinated.
The state of New Hampshire is currently in Phase 1B of it’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes residents 65 and older and medically vulnerable residents under 65. Phase 2B includes residents aged between 50 and 64 and those living in congregate living settings. The college has been designated as one of those living settings.
“The state of New Hampshire has told us that we would be a point of distribution, but we would be a private point of distribution which means that we would only give the vaccine to our staff, faculty, and students.” explains Favazza.
All students will receive the vaccine when it becomes available to the college, including those living off-campus and commuter students said Favazza.
But while it is unclear when the vaccine will arrive on campus to vaccinate the Saint Anselm Community, the college wants to make clear that anyone who can get the vaccine, should get it. For example, nursing students, the monks living in the monastery, and Director of Health Services Maura Marshall have all been vaccinated.
“I encourage everyone to get the vaccine whenever they can get it,” said Favazza. “The more that we have folks on campus with [the vaccine], it’s just gonna make sense that our numbers are going to go down,”
Over the past few weeks, colleges and universities across the nation have faced uncertainty, confusion, and fear in light of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), and Saint Anselm was no exception. The administration’s initial response, which included canceling planned lectures and events but remaining committed to keeping campus open for the remainder of the semester, sparked widespread confusion among the community.
Widely spread rumors on campus of shutdowns and students with the virus did not quell anxieties, with emails from the president’s virus task force often leaving them unmentioned. Throughout the week, the Preparedness Task Force sent daily emails to update the campus community and reassured everyone that they were doing everything possible to keep students on campus for the remainder of the semester.
When nearby Southern New Hampshire University announced it would be extending its spring break because of the spread of the virus, many wondered if Saint Anselm would soon follow suit. Instead of suspending classes and sending students home, the board of trustees and other school administrators tried to prolong students’ stay on campus. Various departments began circulating informative posters and encouraging students to wash their hands, while administrators maintained that every possible action was being taken to ensure students stay on campus.
Rumors of students who had the virus residing on campus were rapidly spread around, with professors and even health services staff unable to verify them. Students were left to wonder if they should cancel club meetings and other gatherings to prevent the possible spread of the virus; the lack of clarification on the issue until late Thursday night aided the spread of disinformation. While the administration was involved in all-day meetings on whether or not to suspend classes and other activities for several days before the announcements, concerns were mounting about the spread of the virus in the area, with a case confirmed in neighboring Bedford just a few days before the closure.
When other college students were being sent home or having their spring breaks extended for several weeks, Saint Anselm students were often left without direction for how their school was reacting to the growing crisis. Recommending that students not leave campus except for essential activities, banning those who were not members of the school community from campus, and suspending Meelia Center volunteering seemed to be meant to push off the inevitable step of shutting down the school for the safety of students, staff, and the greater community.
The lack of information sent to students in the process of deciding to move courses online and close down campus caused confusion; Katie Monahan ‘23 noted that “[the administration] was trying to calm us but also not give us any information” and “didn’t gauge the climate outside of Saint Anselm” in keeping the community in the dark about next steps.
Confusion about the administration’s course of action led to uncertainty among students until last Friday when an email sent to all employees and students of Saint Anselm College from Dr. Favazza announced the closure of the college within 48 hours. Students were told they had until Sunday evening to be fully moved out, generating potential problems for those who reside outside of New England or overseas. A week after the initial announcement of the closure, Dr. Favazza informed students that the campus would be closed for the duration of the spring semester; he added that there would be refunds for room and board fees, but the details of that would be coming at a later time.
Among those most academically and emotionally affected were Saint Anselm’s seniors, many of whom were preparing to take their comprehensive exams and begin the search for jobs to start their post-graduation career. Julianne Plourde ‘20 noted that her professors were aiding the transition to online classes, saying:
“I have also been impressed with the amount of professors/faculty/staff that have reached out to the students and offered their personal support if necessary. They have been having virtual office hours, giving out their phone numbers, and letting us know that they are there. I think this is especially helpful to the seniors as we try to apply for jobs and figure out what we are doing after graduation.”
Plourde also noted the head of the politics department reached out to seniors informing them of the cancellation of the comp exams, giving them “…one less thing to worry about while making the transition to online classes.” She said that seniors are “hopeful for a graduation,” and feels that “the administration has put seniors first, and [they] have all gotten closer” during this moment of uncertainty.
Stefan Zwolinski is a confident candidate for President of the Class of 2023. Stefan, who has formed his campaign around active communication and selfless leadership, said in his interview with the Hilltopper: “Actions speak louder than words. Acting on what we as candidates say is the most important thing, and it’s up to the voters to determine who does that best.”
When asked about his qualifications for the position, Stefan pointed to his past experiences in high school student government. He remarked that it had not always been easy, and at times during his junior and senior year he had been required to work within a team which had inefficiencies and it forced him to take on more responsibilities. On how he views the Presidency, Stefan said: “It’s a challenge for me, and it’s something I challenge myself to do […] this is something I’ve come to be passionate about”. Stefan would go on to emphasize the passion and the need for passionate leaders.
This passion could be seen in his goals for the year: building and strengthening personal relationships with his constituents, opening consistent pathways of communication, and maintaining a strong work ethic as a group. He said that as a council “We’re not going to stop working no matter what”, and that he wants “everyone to have their voice in determining their future”.
If you had the opportunity to see Stefan’s speech Wednesday night, it should be no surprise that he is a strong supporter of the Saint Anselm athletic community. He remarked that he’d had multiple conversations with students who had wanted to create more club sports on campus, as well as increasing funding and support for those clubs. One example he highlighted, was an instance in which the Club Soccer team had been denied their request for SGA to fund their transportation to and from their games.
Stefan also pointed out the need for more effective methods of communication from his class. He suggested appointing a Communications Manager, as social media was a viable means of communication and something everyone has access to. When asked specifically about the turnout at the candidates’ speeches Wednesday night, Stefan said: “We’re all to blame for not telling people about speeches”. He elaborated on that statement by saying that it was partially SGA’s responsibility and fault for poorly advertising the event, but part of the issue falls back on the Freshmen candidates themselves for not encouraging more people to attend the event. He said clearly: “I think they could’ve done a better job, but if we want our voices to get heard it’s our responsibility”.
On the topic of fundraising and event planning, Stefan said that he was going to be looking towards Student Body President Joshua Hughes, and other seasoned SGA veterans for advice and guidance. However, Stefan argued that though the role of the President was to lead class activities, it wouldn’t stop him from supporting his peers in the Senate and advocating for issues he was passionate about. He said, “being President isn’t just about fundraising and events” and that he hoped to go above and beyond the typical model of Class President.
Stefan is one of two candidates for the position of President of the Class of 2023. Voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison and CShop.
A second-semester freshman student complained today that one of her classmates is “so obsessed” with her. The student, Hillary Topper ‘22, said that ever since arriving in her journalism class, Annie Crier ‘19 has been overly focused on what she’s doing.
“It’s really the weirdest thing,” she complained. “I just showed up here ready to contribute to my journalism class. I’ve worked really hard. I do all my research, I go out of my way to do the best work I can, and yet, Annie is always breathing down my neck.”
When asked to corroborate her accusations with more specific anecdotes, Topper had a list of things to share. “A few weeks ago, I decided to start trying to talk more in class, so I would sometimes make witty jokes to prove my point. Annie was pretty quiet all year, but the second I started making jokes – she did, too!”
Other students in the class agreed with Topper’s version of events. “Look, Annie Crier’s a cool girl. I’ve had a lot of classes with her because she’s a senior, and she’s ya know – she’s always there. She’s a dependable friend. But I mean Hillary Topper is just great! She brought all this new energy to campus, and I mean her jokes are hysterical. She’s not trying to impress anyone, she’s just doing her thing. Then, Annie started making jokes and well, they’re just kind of awkward.”
The obsession has moved beyond personality and into school work, Topper reported. “The other day I handed in a reflection on what I’ve learned this year. The next day, Annie had her own reflection on the same topic. It’s just so weird to me.”
Perhaps most frustrating for Topper is the fact that Crier remains the teacher’s pet. “All I’m saying is I have every right to be in this class, and yet, it seems like my professor keeps favoriting Annie. They don’t even read the papers I turn in.” Topper explained that when she goes to get help from faculty, administration, and even fellow students, they shut the door in her face (sometimes literally!)
“I just don’t understand why we can’t get along,” complained Topper. “Campus is big enough for us both.”
Annie Crier ‘19 did not respond to our requests to comment.
This past year has been a privilege and an honor. When we began The Hilltopper last April, it was specifically in response to frustration with a platform that enabled and empowered rape culture but our launch was driven by many larger forces.
The day we bought the website, we could not have anticipated all that we would cover in the next year. We didn’t know we would report on discrimination against the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus because of his sexuality. We really never thought we would quote a monk saying “What the fuck?” We didn’t know we would be the space to publish the words of TEDA president Matt Solomon ‘20, after trans* and gay pride flags were removed from campus in a seemingly discriminatory way. We never could have guessed that we would have to investigate the layoffs of 13 staff of the college or claims of Title IX violations.
On our one-year anniversary, we want to take a few moments to address that original frustration that led us to where we are, but first we want to acknowledge one truth: the work is not done. We’ve received many questions, some well-intentioned and some hopeful of our demise, about what will happen when the Editors-in-Chief of The Hilltopper graduate. Here’s our answer: we are here to stay.
For the last year, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and we want to extend an explicit and gracious thank you for this support. It has reassured us that our mission is necessary and valuable on campus. We also want to address the feedback that has not been as positive.
When we receive negative feedback, it is typically from people who believe that our work will cause harm, most frequently to their personal reputation. People seem to be worried that their name will be next in the spotlight. Additionally, people in perceived positions of authority frequently refuse to comment, specifically when they have titles such as “dean,” “chief,” or “director” in front of their names. We are worried that people have forgotten, or are ignoring, the value of receiving news from multiple sources.
In an era of fake news, we are committed to reporting reality and giving a voice to people and issues that are continually silenced. For that reason, we will not allow our students, faculty, and staff to forget the value of engaging with multiple sources of information. We especially believe that, being at a somewhat prestigious institution, it is important to work outside the often rigid structures. Additionally, we protect the right to work outside of an institution that is controlled by the Catholic Church, especially considering the moral crises within the Church. These beliefs enable us to bring the best possible news coverage to our readers.
Providing the best possible news coverage means adhering to our core values, one of which is inclusivity. We began The Hilltopper with a mission reduced to two simple words “for everyone.” We have covered numerous stories that affect students who are often silenced or ignored by our college’s administration. We are proud of each of those stories. It is our responsibility as a campus news source to be inclusive, but we are also committed to respecting the dignity of the individual. That is why we have chosen to embrace the Paradox of Tolerance. It is the idea that in order to create a truly tolerant society (or campus), we must be intolerant of intolerance. The Hilltopper is not a place for hate speech or for those beliefs that invalidate the dignity of life.
Yet, we recognize that writing about inclusivity is only one part of the equation, and we recognize the myriad privileges based on our social identities that have allowed us to create The Hilltopper and speak out in the way that we do. Going forward, we hope to see the staff of the paper grow to include students of color, students in the LGBTQ+ community, international students, and students with other diverse identities. We trust that our new Editor-in-Chief, Jackson Peck ‘22, will do all he can to make sure that The Hilltopper lives up to that ideal.
We have found that living up to this ideal is best achieved outside the expectations of the institution, and that is why we continue to work as an independent news source. It is humbling that numerous people have felt safe coming to us to share their truths with the broader campus community and, really, the world. Because of these brave people, we have been able to provide valuable insight into issues like the Grand Knight’s removal, the summer layoffs, and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community. It is no coincidence, we believe, that these people have felt safe coming to us – an independent news source beholden to no one and no thing besides the mission statement we wrote more than a year ago.
When writing that mission statement, we did so with the intention of bringing transparency to this institution. In the spirit of James Baldwin, we insist on the right to criticize Saint Anselm College perpetually precisely because we love it more than any other academic institution in the world. Critiquing the institution that educates you, whether it be Saint Anselm College or the Catholic Church, is not a bad thing.
Moving forward, we need you. We are proud of what we have been able to build, but there is still a lot of work left to do. If you are interested in writing for The Hilltopper, please reach out to Jackson Peck ‘22 (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would like to be a financial supporter of The Hilltopper and ensure its continuation for years to come, please contact Nick Fulchino ‘19 (email@example.com).
Above all, we want to say thank you. To our readers, our donors, our writers, our supporters. We would not exist without you; we exist for you. Thank you for trusting us as your news source. We’re The Hilltopper, and we’re here to stay.