SBU uses expanded testing to monitor COVID-19

photo: Connor Raine/The Intrepid

By Peter Byrne

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Before the start of the fall 2020 semester, St Bonaventure University publicly made it their mission to keep students safe from COVID-19 when they return to campus, and throughout the semester.

Prior to arriving at the university, each student was required to test negative COVID, and every student did just that. 

After a successful first two weeks, the school decided to test all 533 of its student-athletes.

Of those tests, 532 came back negative, and the athlete who tested positive then produced back-to-back negative results.

As a result of the testing, the school stated that it would implement a return-to-play action plan.  

Although there have been promising results up to this point, would only student-athletes would be tested?

Thomas Missel, SBU’s chief communications officer, said that the university would begin testing non-athletes, as well.

On Monday, SBU began testing non-student-athletes for the first time since they got to campus.  

“For now, we are using our Sophia rapid testing antigen machine for our surveillance testing of students,” Missel said. “We may integrate some PCR testing with the county’s assistance as time goes on. The goal is to test 20 students every day.”

Since everyone’s return to campus, it has been university’s main goal to keep their students safe during this unusual time.

Missel explained that testing was necessary not only before the semester, but also surveillance testing just about three weeks in.

“We just believed that, along with the mandatory test to come to campus, surveillance testing during the semester was worth doing to gauge our control of the virus on campus,” Missel said.  

It was big news around campus how well the results of student-athlete testing came back last week.

However, the question of whether only student-athletes would get tested came up.

Missel said it was important that athletics get tested because of the nature of close contact practice, and they had to meet higher NCAA-mandated standards regarding.

Therefore, it was important to test student-athletes early in the semester so they could begin their practices as soon as possible.   

“The excellent results that athletics announced last week was a tremendous first sign to give us some confidence that we have a pretty good handle on the situation so far,” Missel said. “That’s a significant cross-section of the student population who all tested negative.”

With the restrictions set from the university since the arrival on campus, there should be no reason to believe the results of these tests will be poor.

And possibly, with another flurry of negative tests, the school can lift some of its COVID-19 restrictions and attempt to take another step in retuning to normalcy.

SBU community works toward easing COVID restrictions

photo: Connor Raine/The Intrepid

By Ryan Surmay

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — When students arrived to St. Bonaventure University on move-in day, they each had to sign a social contract.

To summarize, this contract states that each student always must wear a mask, you cannot have anybody in your room who doesn’t live there and you cannot host or attend gatherings where there is no social distancing.

The contract also outlines the university’s plan to randomly select students for COVID-19 testing.   

As of August 1, there have only been three reported cases of COVID-19, and in each case, the individual has already recovered.

On move-in day, the students were told by resident assistants that these policies would be strict for two to three weeks until the university community gets situated.

But now, almost a month later, none of the restrictions that the university put in place to start the school year have been eased.   

SBU currently has no active cases on campus, which poses the question of when some of the restrictions will be lifted.

“Overall, students have been good on-campus and off-campus,” said Rob DeFazio, SBU’s associate dean of student life. “There have been a few incidents, but they have been addressed.”

Most students, DeFazio said, have followed the guidelines that are in place. An incident on Sept. 5, however, led to 28 students getting suspended the next day for attending a party hosted in an on-campus apartment.   

“There is no date (to ease restrictions) yet, but if we see good results from random testing then we’ll see,” DeFazio said.

Maryanna Garrigan, a freshman, felt that some of the current restrictions don’t make sense.

“I think that since we are doing so well right now, they should make the restrictions less harsh,” Garrigan said.  

DeFazio said that there needs to be more negative results from the school’s random testing before anything can change.

Each day, 20 students are randomly selected to be tested for COVID-19, which equates to 100 students tested per week.

“The first thing would be allowing people on your floor into your room, then people from other buildings,” DeFazio said.

He also stressed the importance of not having any outside visitors on campus.  

While there are still more questions than answers, there is optimism that SBU can continue to monitor the campus community through testing, and take steps toward normalcy on campus.

Jandoli School alumnus establishes scholarship in honor of George Floyd

photo: Tony Lee

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication will award a new student scholarship beginning in 2021, with the creation of the George Floyd Memorial/The Intrepid Scholarship. 

Tony Lee, a 2013 Bona’s graduate and founder of The Intrepid, established the scholarship in response to Floyd’s death on May 25, and the movement that has resulted from it. 

“The date itself has a lasting impact on me,” Lee said. “I wanted to have a lasting impact and make this not just a moment in time that we remember in history, but have a profound impact.” 

The scholarship will be awarded based on academic merit and financial need, and will be received by a Jandoli student who is Black, indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC).

“I wanted to empower and provide effort to the next generation of journalists,” Lee said. “There is such an important need for communicators. People who can do it in an articulate and unbiased way, and also be able to report facts without any fear of retaliation or public outcry.”

Lee, who works at STARZ as its paid director of social, recalled some of the classes that he took during his time at SBU, and how the Jandoli school not only prepared him for a career in media, but shaped the way that he viewed the field.

“One of the most important things I learned at SBU is that you don’t need to have an established platform, you already have one on your phone,” Lee said. “Whatever type of message you want to share, don’t let fear stop you from doing that.”

Of the $5,250 donated (as a tribute to the day Floyd died), half will be awarded during the 2020-21 academic year in the form of an annual scholarship, and half will be awarded as an endowed scholarship that the school plans to give each year moving forward.

Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli school, said he was grateful for Lee’s desire to make an impact. He also stressed the importance of diversity among communicators.

“(Lee) reached out and said that this is something he could do that could really bring positive change for people, particularly those from underrepresented groups,” Chimbel said. “One of the challenges of systemic racism is educational opportunities. I think it’s really important that newsrooms and communication companies have a diverse pool of candidates to choose from, and a diverse workforce so that they can be inclusive of different viewpoints.” 

Chimbel stressed the importance of being able to help students afford the cost of higher education, which is a concern for many. This scholarship, he said, is just the latest example of Jandoli alumni giving back to their alma mater. 

“One of the things that distinguishes the Jandoli school is how passionate people are about it,” Chimbel said. “Some people have the financial means to give money, while others are able to mentor students and come to campus to speak. It’s really inspiring to me to see how much our alumni care about the school and want to give back, and also because a lot of them had the same done for them.”

Lee said that he was proud that he could contact SBU and quickly make the scholarship happen, and hopes that he can help a new generation of journalists get their voices heard. 

“Now is time more than ever to tell incredible stories with incredible details and historical significance,” Lee said. “I want the candidate to know that their voice not only can be heard, but should be heard.” 

 

SBU students from infected areas choose to stay on campus during online instruction period

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — When St. Bonaventure University made the decision to cancel all in-person instruction from Monday until March 27, it gave students the option to remain on campus.

For some students, the unprecedented situation provided an opportunity to return home until classes resumed.

For others, especially those whose hometowns had been infected by the Coronavirus, it gave them the chance to remain in an area that the virus has not yet reached.

“Students who feel safer staying on campus — and many have indicated that to myself and colleagues — can do so,” said Dr. Dennis DePerro, president of the university, in a letter to the SBU community on Friday. “I’ve received many messages from parents expressing the same sentiment.”

Priscilla Contreras, a junior from New York City, said that staying at SBU was a better option for her than returning home.

“The best thing for me to do is stay on campus because I’m young and could fight off the virus, but if I go home, I could pass it on to my parents, my grandmother and everyone else,” Contreras said. “I don’t want to feel guilty for doing so, and staying (at SBU) is better for their safety.”

Contreras said that if she could not stay on campus, she would have concerns over storing her belongings and being able to get home on short notice.

“If I run out of food, I can easily just go to the Hickey (dining hall),” she said. “How will I able to get home and get all of my stuff with me home?”

As of Monday, there had been nearly 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NYC, and none in Cattaraugus County, where SBU is located.

Anthony Adams, a freshman from Philadelphia, said that being able to stay on campus made him feel safer than if he was forced to leave. As of Monday, there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia County.

“Yeah, I think that staying on campus is safer because the virus isn’t here,” Adams said. “SBU is located between two very small towns with little interaction from outsiders, so there’s really no chance of people getting it here.”

DePerro said that he and senior management would meet regularly to determine whether an extension to the suspension of in-person instruction would be necessary.

 

CAB Continues to Prepare for Spring Weekend

By Cameryn Jones-Dutchess

Spring Weekend at St. Bonaventure University brings students together with lively music, activities that everyone can get involved with and amazing food. The weekend before finals is a time for students to unravel and enjoy campus prior to heading to the library and cracking down on school work.

While attendees of Spring Weekend are getting anxious about the event taking place April 27 and 28, the Campus Activities Board, or CAB, have been planning it since the beginning of the fall semester.

Robbie Chulick, assistant director of the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership, said, “this is one of the largest events each year,” which he explains that there are a lot of aspects that come with planning and organizing this big of an event. Ordering balloons, building a menu and finding a music line up are only some of things CAB needs to do to get ready.

Spring Weekend will cost roughly around $20,000 to $30,000, according to Robbie Chulick. This fund will take about 30-40 percent out of the Student Government Association’s (SGA’s) budget.

“Some of the money is used for tents, music equipment, the music lineup, food and other expenses that complete Spring Weekend,” said Chulick.

Fortunately, the Bona Bus vandal does not affect the amount of money CAB can spend for Spring Weekend. Since SGA has to pay for the repairs of the broken bus, CAB can focus on planning for Spring Weekend with the right budget to do so. A bus will be running during Spring Weekend during the day to bring off-campus housing students to campus.

Robbie Chulick also encourages any students that want to get involved or help with the planning of Spring Weekend to join CAB or SGA.

Along with Spring Weekend, the infamous Quad Party is also a staple that brings campus life together.

Students are upset by the news of the canceled Quad Party. Senior journalism/mass communications major Stefanie Podosek explained, “I think cancelling the Quad Party is a terrible idea because it is an unofficial tradition, along with Keg Klash and Rafting Down the River.”

Senior Haylei John, president of SGA, said, “Rob DeFazio stated at our last SGA meeting that a quad party would not be permitted this year.”

She also added, “this is not a SGA decision. It had already been decided by those in the student affairs and security departments and then relayed to SGA.”

There will be authorities around the townhouse area to ensure that any party will not ensue.

Even though a Quad Party will not be taking place this year, Spring Weekend will be a time for students to have an enjoyable experience before finals.

Plassmann Hall welcomes Teaching and Learning Center

[Image retrieved from St. Bonaventure University Archives]

By Caitlyn Morral

After about thirty years in the basement of Doyle Hall, the Teaching and Learning Center at St. Bonaventure University has moved across campus to the first floor of Plassmann Hall. This transition is one piece of big changes that have been occurring in the academic building.

The Teaching and Learning Center, also known as the TLC, has been a source for students to receive academic support for years. With tutors and additional academic support available to students, the center strives to help each student that comes in for help succeed in their classes and feel confident in their work.

Director of the TLC, Jean Trevaton Ehman, has been affiliated with both St. Bonaventure and the TLC for years and is excited that the move from Doyle Hall to Plassmann Hall has been a success.

Continue reading “Plassmann Hall welcomes Teaching and Learning Center”

DePerro inaugurated as 21st president of SBU

Photo Credit: St. Bonaventure University Flickr

By Kelly Haberstroh

On Friday, Nov. 3, almost 1,000 people attended the formal inauguration of Dr. Dennis R. DePerro as the 21st president of St. Bonaventure University.

The ceremony began with “Procession of the Chosen” by Larry MacTaggart, performed by Dr. Les Sabina and the concert band. Delegates representing other colleges and universities, university trustees, administrators, three past presidents, faculty representing universities, resident assistants and student leaders, friars and sisters processed in with DePerro.

The first of 13 speakers, Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said an opening prayer before he said, “[DePerro] is a man of deep personal faith and tangible zeal for Catholic education.”

He spoke about how DePerro has prioritized Catholic higher education because his Jesuit schooling enhanced his Franciscan knowledge. During his 35 years in college administration, DePerro emphasized the importance of students, studies and service, Malone said.

He also talked about how DePerro will support the vision to continue to become extraordinary.

Following Malone, Sen. Catharine Young spoke on DePerro’s behalf. She said, “He has impeccable academic credentials and an impressive record of achieving results. He is the right person to lead us forward with passion and loyalty.”

Mary Rose Kubal, a representative of St. Bonaventure’s faculty senate, said that DePerro has decades of experience when it comes to successfully leading admissions and overseeing excellent programs at Le Moyne College.

She said he recognizes the serious challenges facing our university right now. “He joined at a unique moment and is ready to make changes necessary not only to survive, but to thrive,” Kubal said.

The part of DePerro’s curriculum vitae (CV) she found to be most impressive when searching for the new president was the language he used when describing his experience. She said the word “served” appeared 14 times, “member” six times and “committee” 24, which gave her an optimistic view of his potential as president because his service was impressive and he seemed like a team player.

Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., president of Siena College, said how DePerro has encouraged the university mission to be faithful while establishing a nurturing community with a shared commitment of learning to learn.

After knowing him for 35 years when he began as a young admissions counselor, Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, introduced DePerro by calling him a man of high integrity and strong moral values.

Robert Daugherty, member of the Board of Trustees, was involved in the presidential selection process. He said Jack McGinley told him to make sure the board is unanimous, and “we were in our hearts, minds and vote.”

“Dennis DePerro is smart, insightful, passionate, funny, likeable, collaborative and dedicated,” Daugherty said. “He’s the authentic real deal. What you see is what you get.”

When DePerro gave his presidential address, he emphasized his goal to not only help students learn, but helping students learn to live good lives.

He also thanked the 13 people before him and everyone who traveled to celebrate. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams I’d stand here as the 21st president,” he said.

 

 

 

“Nobody” author discusses vulnerability in keynote address

Images courtesy of Danny Bush

By Kelly Haberstroh

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill gave an impassioned address to St. Bonaventure University students on the importance of acknowledging social issues as the first step to solving them.Hill 2.jpg

On Sept. 26, Dr. Joseph Zimmer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, introduced Hill by referring to him as one of the leading intellectual voices in the country, who also worked on campaigns to end the death penalty.

His primary value is the poor and marginalized in our society. These ideas reflect what he discusses in his bestselling novel, “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint,” required for the freshman class, and his speech. Continue reading ““Nobody” author discusses vulnerability in keynote address”