Curry College Advocates for Suicide Prevention

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO  // SEPT. 9, 2016 //

Mental health and suicide can be difficult topics to discuss, but Curry College is making strides in opening the discussion and advocating prevention ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, each year, over 42,000 Americans die by suicide, making it the 10th leading killer in the US.

Because of these troubling statistics, various organizations are taking action to alter this trend. Faculty, staff and students alike at Curry College are joining the efforts to minimize the severity of this issue.

The Curry College Counseling Center, just past the basketball courts near the library, offers a variety of counseling services, including individual, couple and group. These services also include various outreach programs like First Year Seminar visits, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, stress management, and more.

Alison Markson, the Director of the Counseling Center, is just one of the many staff members Curry College students can turn to in times of crisis. “Students come to us, sharing deeply personal stories and we talk with them about how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors may impact their overall stress levels, mood and quality of life.”

Markson added that the two most common reasons that students come to the Counseling Center involve anxiety and depression. “This is consistent with national trends at college and university based counseling centers, with anxiety ranking the number one concern.”

Students can also visit the Counseling Center for diverse reasons that include, but are not limited to, grief and loss, homesickness/adjustment to college and relationship or family issues. In addition, counselors will meet with students about mood changes, personal stressors such as finances or academics, as well as the impact(s) that trauma, drugs and alcohol may have on their lives.

“The important thing is that students discuss the issues that are important to them,” says Markson.

Out of all the advice Markson has for suicide prevention, she stressed the trust in your own instincts. “If you believe a friend is in distress, or you notice that they are exhibiting worrisome changes in behavior and/or mood, take it seriously.”

Markson recommends that if you are looking for pointers about how to approach your friend, consider talking with a counselor at the Counseling Center first. She also says that if you yourself are having a difficult time, please let someone know. A friend, an RA, a coach, a professor, advisor, etc. “There are many people out there who can help, and who care about your well-being.”

The Curry College Counseling Center is located in Smith House (up the hill from the basketball courts) and can be reached at 617-333-2182. You can contact the Counseling Center during business hours (8:30am-4:30pm, M-F).  After hours, contact the Counselor on Call via Public Safety at 617-333-2222 or the CD on Duty. They also offer anonymous mental health online screenings at http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/CURRY

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 911.

Curry Comm Welcome

VIDEO BY JEFF LEMBERG // AUGUST 31, 2016 //

On Wednesday, August 31st the Communication department held an introductory session welcoming the newest communication majors to Curry College. This was followed by an ice cream social where students and professors were given the opportunity to mingle and create connections.

At the event, the first year communication students were asked what their goals are as comm majors. These are their responses. #CurryComm

Preparing for Curry College’s Fourth Annual Consent Day

BY DAHLIA DEHAAN // MARCH 31, 2016 //

Curry College’s fourth annual Consent Day is coming up. On Wednesday, April 13 in the Student Center from 5-8 p.m., students will be given the opportunity to participate in events and discussions revolving around what sexual consent actually is.

Consent Day offers sexual education in the college setting. According to co-chair of the Consent Day committee, junior Health and Wellness major Kayla Keany, Consent Day is meant to empower students to overcome fear and to learn how to say no when feeling uncomfortable in sexual predicaments. Consent Day also offers information about safe and consensual sex.

Curry holds an annual Consent Day in an effort to increase awareness about healthy sexuality, sexual assaults and how students can play a role in preventing sexual assaults on campus.

“It is the only event of its kind on our campus that both raises awareness and provides education,” says Keany.

Preparations for Consent Day start months in advance with the formation of the Planning Committee, which involves inviting numerous groups and departments from all over the college — Athletics, FYS, Student Affairs and Student Activities — to help fund, plan and volunteer at the event. This year’s committee is co-chaired by Keany, junior Communication major Caroline Finamore, Fitness Center Director Sarah Simunovich and Counselor Idonia Gaede.

Preparation also includes deciding on a theme, T-shirts logos and which events will be held. The first 250 students to attend this year’s event will be given a free Consent Day T-shirt.

The event is sponsored by student-run clubs such as Student Events and Entertainment (S.E.E.) and Health Image Power Success (HIPS). Some favorite events from past years, like the Blurry Vision and Consent Relay Race, will be back, as well as new features including a photo booth sponsored by S.E.E.

Consent Day is a campus-wide event that everyone in the community is invited to participate in. Discussions will be held on the importance of sexual consent, and the consequences of sexual misconduct.

Review of Student-Written New Plays Festival

BY KELLIE-ANN MAXWELL // MARCH 10, 2016 //

The New Plays Festival took place March 5-7, showcasing four student-written plays: Family Jewels by Jillian DeSousa, Happy Birthday, Baby Girl by Shelbi Chandler, Lunch Date by Shelby Adams, and Vincent’s Fables by Jameson Vogel.

Family Jewels, directed by Professor David Miller, was the first play performed and was a brilliant way to begin the night. Family Jewels is a short play about a recent widow, confronted by her brother-in-law about a family heirloom, a diamond pendant. He was looking for proof that the woman, driven mad due to the fact that she was barren, killed her husband and mutilated him. The play culminated in a fight that ended with the widow admitting to killing her husband and getting knocked-out, and her brother-in-law finding his proof going through a chest and finding the silver pendant as well as the other family jewels.

Stage crew working on students New Plays Festival 2016 featuring plays written by students, Sat-Mon, March 5-7th, 7:30 pm, Keith Auditorium. // Photo by S. Divris
Stage crew working on students New Plays Festival 2016 featuring plays
written by students, Sat-Mon, March 5-7th, 7:30 pm, Keith Auditorium. // Photo by S. Divris

This play included wonderful acting by the cast; the combat scene toward the end was brilliantly executed in spite of the difficult stage set up. This play was written well and was a very interesting scene to see unfold in front of you.

The second play was Happy Birthday, Baby Girl, a heartwarming story about a foster family and directed by Professor John Barrett. The story was based around a baby’s birthday. Two of the host family siblings are setting up for their foster sister’s birthday when their other sister walks in and gets angry, because the baby isn’t their actual sister so why should they do all this for her. This leads their adopted sister to get upset and almost cry. As the play progresses the sister who was angry comes to a realization that it’s not a bad thing to do and they continue setting up.

As much as this play was very sweet at the end, the whole time it felt like some of the characters were overreacting. But it was very well written otherwise. It had a nice resolution and ending, and was overall an enjoyable piece to watch. I personally just felt a disconnect. However, I could understand people who actually went through similar situations really enjoying this piece.

Lunch Date, also directed by Miller, was a simple and hilarious play about three friends arguing where to have lunch. Throughout the play they go through countless arguments and try, in many different ways, to decide where to go. They eventually decide to call one of their friends and have her decide, but when they can’t reach her they move on and just continue arguing. At the end of the play it is revealed that their friend has been struck by a bus and killed, on her way to lunch.

This play included hilarious dialogue between the characters and was made better by this great sense of friendship. Everyone could instantly relate and become wrapped up in the story. It felt like a real-life argument between friends; many times I have had this type of argument with my friends. My arguments haven’t, however, ever ended in such bad news.

The final play of the night, and the longest, was Vincent’s Fables, directed by Barrett. This play was about five siblings who are reunited to celebrate their parent’s anniversary. Four of them are chatting and talking about how great their lives are while leaving out and, for the most part, ignoring their middle brother, Vincent. When they do mention him it is in a negative way and it makes him feel awful and angry. Vincent finally snaps and yells at his siblings for making him feel this way. In the second half of the play Vincent somehow finds himself in a support group, run by the god, Pan. The support group includes Vincent, Hades (god of the underworld), Lilith (a succubus), Sir Lancelot (knight of the round table), and Cleopatra (pharaoh of Egypt). Vincent slowly realizes that each of the others in the support group represent his siblings and that they all have problems of their own to deal with, but they all pretend not to.

I would love to see this piece expanded upon. I could see it being much longer; maybe even being a full play. However, I wished there was more of a resolution. We see the setup at Vincent’s family gathering, and we see him figure out that everyone else has issues too; but we never see him go back to his family gathering.  It would have been nice for the audience to be able to see how he treats his family differently after his revelations at the support group. Does he treat them differently? Does he figure out how to communicate better with them now that he knows they’re not perfect? I feel as though there could be a lot more to the story that the audience just wasn’t given.

Jimmy Fund RA Program Takes Off

BY SAM PISCITELLI // NOV. 3, 2015 // 

At the end of last semester, Kayla Keany was feeling the pressure. She had exams looming and RA commitments to keep up with. It was tough for Keany to push forward, but she did so by finding happiness in helping others. That’s when she began brainstorming ideas to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.

“I love volunteering and working for others,”  said Keany, a Resident Assistant in 156 House and a junior Community Health and Wellness major. “I thought about it, and on a personal level I connected with the children and I thought it would be a great organization to sponsor.”

With the help of fellow RA and junior Community Health and Wellness major, Colleen Joyce, Keany put together a multi-step program to raise awareness and collect donations for the Jimmy Fund.

Colleen Joyce (left) and Kayla Keany (right.) PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.
Colleen Joyce (left) and Kayla Keany (right.) PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.

Keany contacted a representative from the the Jimmy Fund back in April and proceeded to fill out all necessary paperwork. She met with a Community Director and asked help from friends like Joyce.

“It was a lot of brainstorming and making those ideas become solid,” Keany said. “With something you really want to do that is big, you have to work towards it, and with that came a lot of time and effort.”

Keany arranged for Kate McGuirk, Assistant Director of Corporate Partnerships at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate for the Jimmy Fund, to appear as a guest speaker on Sunday, Nov. 8. McGuirk will be talking about the ins and outs of the Jimmy Fund, where donations go and its importance. The event will take place on the 8th at 5-6 p.m. in the Student Center’s Large Meeting Room.

When Keany received a personal phone call from McGuirk thanking her for going “above and beyond” for these children, she was beyond ecstatic. “When I got the phone call I was getting ready for the day. When I answered it my heart melted into little pieces, and I thought it was adorable,” Keany said. “Knowing that I was making the impact made me want to go above and beyond for this program.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KAYLA KEANY.

Keany and Joyce have collected around 42 books and homemade cards to be sent to the Jimmy Fund patients at Dana Farber. While Keany expressed saddeness at her inability to deliver the cards herself, she said she is “happy they will bring joy to these beautiful, strong children.” Keany also said her favorite part about the cards being sent to the kids is that they are all so diverse, so no child will be delivered the same card.

The “Strike out for Cancer” fundraiser will continue through the end of this month.

If you are interested in participating in the “Strike Out for Cancer” fundraiser, please contact Keany at kkeany2013@students.curry.edu.