Homeless in Providence – Taylor Dame

 

A battle is taking place over the future Providence’s homeless population. The city through the Downtown Improvement District (DID) had called together various government agencies, law enforcement bodies, non-profits, local businesses and religious groups to discuss Kennedy Plaza and how to improve the area. Nearly a month later, however, various groups that advocate for the homeless are walking away from the table, claiming that the real agenda was the removal of homeless and poor people from the downtown area.

The DID plans call for increased police presence to address issues such as panhandling, congregating and trespassing. They also call for increased surveillance in the area by calling on police to monitor cameras in the Plaza, as well as creating a network of cameras, radios and land lines to enable efficient reporting to Providence Police.

On Wednesday, in front of Paolino Properties and other local businesses in Kennedy Plaza, members of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, Homeless Bill of Rights Defense Group and Direct Action for Rights and Equality announced their opposition to Paolino’s proposals and offered their own vision of a transformed Kennedy Plaza. Their plans called for increased community and economic development and supporting social and human services needs. The homeless advocate groups also spoke out against the criminalization of homelessness.

“Criminalization is not a solution to homelessness,” added Roger Williams University School of Law Professor and Assistant Dean Andrew Horwitz. “It is incredibly cruel to those experiencing homelessness, dehumanizing the individuals and making it harder to connect to advocates and services. It also costs the system more by spending taxpayer dollars on court costs and incarcerations rather than on housing, medical care, and other long-term solutions.”

The Catholic church is also weighing in, with Bishop Thomas Tobin writing in the Providence Journal that he supports the city in their work to stop people from panhandling. “There is nothing dignified about standing on street corners, or venturing into the middle of the street, dressed in dirty, shabby clothes, in all sorts of weather, with a crude cardboard sign, begging passersby for help.”

On Thursday, Mayor Jorge Elorza announced his plans to increase support and investments to make Providence a “safe and compassionate city.”

The mayor acknowledged the issues the city faces in a press conference in which he was surrounded by community members. “The issues we are addressing today are not unique to Providence. They are complex and multifaceted, but by coming together as community, we have the opportunity to make lasting change.”

Hispanic heritage month – Samantha Scetta

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Rhode Island will be celebrating a history of Latino heritage in the smallest state. Over the years, the diversity rate in Providence has grown massively, and hearing people speaking Spanish or Portuguese is just a part of living in or near the city.

So why celebrate? Because of the massive progress the Spanish Community has made over the last fifty years!

A Dominican woman named Josefina Rosario and her husband Tony were the first Dominicans to arrive in Providence in 1959. She opened up the first Latino business in Rhode Island, a market she named Fefa’s Market. Josefina and Tony helped dozens of Dominicans escape tyranny and settle safely in Providence.

Quite a few events appealing to all ages and backgrounds will be held over the next month to pay homage to Josefina and the other immigrants that worked hard to build a community in Providence.

The first event that kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month was the unveiling of the first Latino Fotohistorias History Marker on Thursday at the Parkview and Broad Bus Shelter.

Stop by SouthLight, a new theater/performing space in front of Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island on Sept. 25 for a community festival from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Latino culture events will be showcased throughout the evening, including scenes of “Shakespeare en El Verano” performed in partnership with Trinity Repertory Company, performance by the Rhode Island Black Storytellers and a film viewing by Providence Latin America Film Festival.

One might try something different though, like making Ecuadorian figures out of bread paste, creating Mexican foil animals or decorating a musical Chilean rain stick—all in the same month at Knight Memorial.

The next month is going to be an exciting time for Latino Culture in Rhode Island. People with all different heritages are welcome to attend any of the events listed above.

Information on these events and more can be found on hispanicheritageri.org.

Greek life kickoff was a smash – Derrik Trombley

No one got “double secret probation” from the new president of RIC this year. During Wednesday’s free period, the jovial Greeks came down from their offices way up in the student union to show themselves off to the people of RIC. Popcorn, Del’s Lemonade, and Tea were served on the quad where students could come and meet the fraternities and sororities at the Greek Life Kickoff Fair. Among the Greek organizations were Fraternities: Phi Mu Delta, Kappa Delta Phi, Kappa Sigma, and Phi Beta Sigma. Sororities: Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Phi Epsilon, Theta Phi Alpha, Omega Phi Beta, and Zeta Phi Beta; and also included was a Multicultural Society, Zeta Phi Beta.

Beyond the free food and drinks, there were a variety of events. At least, there would have been but for some blood found on the inflatable obstacle course brought in for the event. Instead, for the pivotal activity to draw in students, there was a performance by “Wacky Chad” who did stunts and comedy to entertain a good-sized crowd. In one act, he successfully balanced a student on his shoulders while riding a miniature tricycle, and in another successfully jumped from a unicycle onto a pogo stick then did a flip to land safely and successfully on his feet while getting students laughing at his jokes in-between.

Another free giveaway that day capitalized on the success of Pokémon Go, as free Pikachu and Poke balls were given away. Thankfully, they had enough for everyone, as one can only imagine the battles that would have taken place if anyone had missed out on some memorabilia from the beloved franchise.

The purpose of this event, however, was not free stuff and entertainment; this event was about showing off the welcoming and familial atmosphere of Greek Life and trying to get people interested and involved. Jose Rosario, president of both the Student Community Government and the Phi Mu Delta fraternity, was on hand to showcase Greek life. “I want to see engagement, I want to see the students at RIC getting involved in clubs and groups so that they get the real college experience, rather than feeling as though it is just an extension of their high school life. I want to see them put down roots and leave a legacy that they can be proud of and want to come back to after they graduate and I feel there is no better example of that than in Greek life.” When asked about the culture of Greek life at RIC, President Rosario responded, “I like to think of it as an apple. At first glance it seems rough and tough, but once you’ve taken a bite out of it; it’s sweet and soft and good.”  

Governor and college students come together for town hall – Louisa D’Ovidio

 

Governor Gina Raimondo visited Rhode Island College last Thursday for a town hall style forum, where students and members of the community voiced their questions and concerns directly to the Governor.

The town hall was hosted by NBC 10 News’ Dan Jaehnig, who usually hosts a segment called ‘Connect to the Capitol’ with the Governor, monthly on NBC 10. This is the first time the segment went “on the road.”

RIC students in the audience asked a number of questions that took the conversation from broad statewide concerns to policy and issues facing students at the college.

Patrick, a RIC Senior, asked about Raimondo’s stance on the new performance-based funding bill which will soon go into effect and stated that he feels what the funding incentivizes “do not correspond with the interests of students,” particularly in regards to non-traditional or part-time students.

Raimondo addressed this concern by claiming that Rhode Island College will not be “punished” for its lower graduation rates under the new bill, but made it clear that “we do want you to graduate.” She described a number of programs, ranging from free bus passes to improved financial aid, which she sees as being integral to making the most of RIC’s performance-based funding.

During the Q&A, RIC senior Taylor pointed out that Rhode Island is one of 11 states that spends more on incarcerations and prisons than it does on public colleges, and asked how the governor plans to address this.

In response, Raimondo stated that, “pretty much everything we’re doing, from making public schools better, to making college more affordable has been one solution to the problem.”

Governor Raimondo and Jaehnig hope to continue bringing the town halls directly to the community and into the fray of public debate.

Diversity week at RIC – Kristy O’Connor

Aiming to promote equality and educate people on what diversity signifies, the Unity Center is hosting its annual diversity week from Oct. 3 through Oct. 8. There are a variety of events covering a plethora of topics ranging from LGBT health issues, race, and Deaf culture.

One event taking place is called Promoting Deaf Awareness, and intends to educate others on Deaf culture. This event hopes to help break the stereotypes and misconceptions that people typically hold regarding members of the Deaf community. RIC professor Marie Lynch and Brown Professor of American Sign Language studies will be leading this event. They hope to encourage not only inclusion, understanding for those in the Deaf community.

Another exciting event taking place is El Camino, in which participants will walk around campus for about 30-40 minutes to signify the journey of undocumented Latin American people from their home country to the United States. Along with participating in the walk, those involved will learn about immigration as well as discuss the topic with other people.

These are just a few of the variety of events that people can participate in, as this year’s diversity week is packed full of cultural and educational activities. For a complete list of the events taking place, visit www.ric.edu/unitycenter. All events are free and open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to participate. You never know what you could learn; diversity week holds something for everyone.

Crime wave crested – Derrik Trombley

According to Campus Police, a suspect has been apprehended in the campus larceny cases that have been plaguing Rhode Island College. In a startling case first reported in the Anchor, four larcenies in three different buildings on campus had been reported in the first two weeks of the semester. Money and purses had been taken right out of the offices of faculty and staff, putting the college in a state of unease. The crimes were investigated thoroughly, and yet it was a chance encounter that ultimately brought the suspected perpetrator to justice.

Fridays usually make for a scarcity of students; everyone is biding their time until the weekend. Professors are usually catching up on their class loads, grading papers and planning out their future classes. The staff, on the other hand, are making copies, writing emails and generally preparing for the weekend ahead. However, this Friday was different for one Craig-Lee secretary who came upon an odd sight. According to the police report, this secretary (who shall remain anonymous) was having a typical Friday on campus when someone walked by the office. Seeing someone you don’t recognize is common, and thus the secretary thought nothing of it. Later, however, while on a trip to make copies, she heard a strange noise coming from an adjacent office, sounding like drawers opening and closing. The professor was out, not expected to be back until much later, and there wasn’t supposed to be anyone in that office without a professor there. Opening the door, the secretary found herself standing face to face with the person she had seen earlier. The person professed their innocence, stating that their intent was strictly to meet the professor who normally inhabited the office. The secretary was unconvinced, having known about the recent larcenies on campus and asked the person to sit on the couch while she called campus police.

The suspect was arrested and later confessed to an attempt to burglarize that professor’s office, along with all of the other thefts that had taken place. The suspect was then transferred to the custody of the Providence Police for charges to be arraigned. With that, hopefully the staff and faculty of Craig-Lee will feel safer knowing that the person who committed these crimes is in custody.

Breaking the stigma of students with intellectual disabilities – Kristy O’Connor

Rhode Island College has introduced a new program to combat the misconception that individuals with intellectual disabilities do not attend college.

When the Sherlock Center received a five year grant, it allowed RIC to introduce a new program with an employment focus. Individuals who are enrolled in this program will receive a certificate of undergraduate studies in college and career attainment (CUSCCA) after two years. Along with the structured classes, students also have the opportunity to take other courses that interest them, and these take place in an integrated classroom.

The program places an emphasis on gaining work experience, as well as finding the students internships within the campus and their own community. Allyson Durkin, employment coordinator, and Deb Arenberg, academic mentor coordinator, teach the employment classes, and currently have four students enrolled. Durkin also organizes the on-campus and off-campus internships for students, allowing them to gain experience.

“There is a stigma that students with disabilities do not go to college, and I think it is the best thing for them. A lot of students are motivated to be here and happy and excited and giving them the opportunity to be college students and give them the live they want to live is important,” Durkin said.

Within the introduction to vocational exploration class, students get the opportunity to participate in mock interviews to prepare them for future job interviews. This class is essentially a work readiness class aiming to prepare students to have a job of their own someday. The class also covers resume development and familiarizes students with the career development center and other similar services.

“We are looking for them to grow as people and find employment they enjoy and they might not have known they liked. We hope that they can make new friends on campus and find whole new community by being a RIC student,” said Durkin.

This program is not a certified transition program yet, which means that any student who is enrolled has to pay their own tuition. The program is working on obtaining its certification for next year, so students can be eligible for financial aid.

Students in the program also have a mentor, which means that there is a one-to-one student-to-instructor ratio. For RIC students who would like to mentor, you can email adurkin@ric.edu or darenberg@ric.edu for more information. Freshmen are not able to mentor, but sophomores, juniors and seniors are all welcome to participate. The time commitment is at least ten hours a week, and the time must be booked in two-hour blocks. It is recommended that mentors have a background in education or social work, but members of every major can mentor.

For those interested in applying for the program, you can go to https://www.ric.edu/cuscca/. Applications for the spring semester are due by Nov. 15, and those applying must have an interview and meet the various requirements such as having reliable transportation and being able to abide by the RIC code of conduct. Students who are accepted get the whole college experience, including the official letter of acceptance. They will also have a meeting with disability services to discuss any accommodations that are needed, and those needs are also communicated to their professors.

Durkin hopes that by next semester, they can have over 40 mentors, 10-12 students and continued growth over the next few years. This program is a great step toward helping individuals with intellectual disabilities attend college.

The most terrifying comedy ever made – Robert Gagnon

Our friends at Turner Classic Movies, Fathom Events and Sony Pictures are at it again by bringing classic films back to the big screen where they belong. This time it’s Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 masterpiece “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

Sunday, Sept. 18 and Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., “Dr. Strangelove” will be re-released at Warwick Showcase Cinemas and Providence Place Cinemas.

“Dr. Strangelove” is the story of an insane general who attempts to trigger a path to nuclear holocaust while a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop him (“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”).

Besides the funny one-liners, there are several wonderful performances by the great character actor George C. Scott and the always versatile improviser Peter Sellers, who took on three separate roles, including the titular doctor himself.

When “Dr. Strangelove” was released back in 1964, it received very mixed and bewildered reviews. However, it did manage to earn four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. This cinematic triumph also contains one of the most iconic and enduring images in film history, that of Major Kong (Slim Pickens) straddling a nuclear warhead like a cowboy riding a horse. The end sequence is quick to follow, that including the classic Vera Lynn tune ‘We’ll Meet Again” punctuating several shots of nuclear explosions.

Over fifty years later, “Dr. Strangelove” is still a beloved classic that has surely stood the test of time. Today, it is widely considered to be one of the finest comedies ever made.

Student spotlight: Brendan Cody – Kristy O’Connor

After having a freshman year that might not have been the best, most of us would be hesitant to leave our respective comfort zones, but senior Brendan Cody from Cranston, Rhode Island had the opposite reaction.

Using his past experiences to fuel his fire, Cody got involved in numerous associations on campus in hopes to give back and make other people’s experiences better than his.

“I learned a lot about myself. Getting involved has built my confidence. It showed me that I do have greater abilities than I initially thought. A lot of people in this world are hard on themselves and focus on their shortcomings more than their accomplishments. Getting involved has taught me to focus more on positives,” he said.

Along with studying psychology at Rhode Island College, Cody is a double minor in communications and behavioral neuroscience. Even with this heavy course load, Cody holds numerous leadership positions on campus. After being an active member in the Resident Student Association (RSA) last year, Cody is now the vice president.

“The main goal of RSA is to facilitate community-building and make a difference on the residential side of campus, as well as reaching out to commuters by planning events and activities,” he said.

Following a similar pattern, Cody is also involved in the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). He is the president of the Anchor Chapter of NRHH and strives to give back to both the RIC community and the greater Providence community. They host events such as blanket making for children’s hospitals and hold fundraisers to generate money for charity. His chapter received the Building Block Award from the region this past year. Cody himself received the Diamond Award, which recognizes four to five individuals nationwide for community involvement.

If being involved in RSA and NRHH were not enough, Cody also has two on-campus jobs, where he works in the alumni office. He works in the division of advancement and external relations as an in-office student assistant. He also works with the RIC Student Calling Program, where he seeks gifts and donations from RIC alumni.

“I love the diversity and inclusion of student life. RIC as an institution and especially student activities and student life does a lot to make sure that every individual feels included and accepted in the community.”

Because of the Resident Assistants (RAs) that Cody had his freshman year, he was able to learn to stand up for himself and grow as a person.

Serving as an RA this year has allowed him to give back to the RIC community and make the same impact on residents that his RAs had on him.

“My favorite part is being a support to residents and making connections with them and helping them make connections with each other,” he said.

With his college career down to its last year, Cody hopes to see himself as hall director or resident director at an institution. In later years, he hopes to use his psychology degree to counsel children and young adults with autism, and help develop methods of therapy that help them express themselves. No matter what Cody does, he will always be advocating for students and helping others reach their potential.

 

Sausage party – Patrick Connolly

“Sausage Party” is a brilliant, raunchy, R-rated parody of the Computer Animated formula for family films. While it’s somewhat underwhelming at first, it goes in a different direction than the advertisements indicate. It’s mostly compensated with repeated viewings, as well as in the film’s final third, when it goes completely and utterly bananas. By the way, I do not apologize for any food puns that will be made in this review.

The meat of the story focuses on Frank (Seth Rogen), who learns that “the Gods,” or humans, are nothing but evil creatures who feed on the talking food they buy at the grocery store. Eventually, he hatches a plot with the other talking food items to make the humans run away and never return. Oh dear, the plot I’ve just described made it sound like it’s a children’s film! It’s anything but that.

I’ve seen “Sausage Party” twice now. The first time I saw it, I was underwhelmed that the film didn’t focus on the food trying to escape from their houses in order to avoid getting eaten. Perhaps it would be less original than the direction they chose instead, but it would have been more focused.

The second time I saw it, I still stood by my original reaction to an extent, but at that point, I was able to appreciate the visual gags and witty dialogue even more.

Any complaint that I had, however, was almost entirely compensated for by the film’s third act, where it goes in a direction that would have made Mel Brooks very proud. I won’t give anything away, but I’ll put it like this: over the next couple of days, I couldn’t look at my food without imagining them walking and talking—not to mention telling me that I’d eaten one of their cousins for dinner. Yes folks, this film is that effective.

Oh, and if you need any other reason to see it, Alan Menken composed the opening song for the film. You’re welcome.