Sacred Heart Remembers 9/11

BY: Carolyn Lisboa

Staff Reporter

On Sept. 11, Sacred Heart University held its 9/11 Remembrance Mass in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

The service was organized by Campus Ministry, while the music was provided by the University Liturgical Choir. The liturgy was co-celebrated by Fr. Michael Ramos, Director of Campus Ministry Chaplaincy, along with Fr. Tony Ciorra and Fr. Bruce Roby.

Students and faculty members poured into the chapel on Monday afternoon, highlighting the outstanding support system found in the Sacred Heart community. The solemn nature of the occasion set the tone of the Mass while the hymns sung contributed to the overall atmosphere.

“I had a beautiful experience here today. I came not only to spend quality time with my Father, but to support a friend who lost her mom to the 9/11 attacks,” said sophomore Theresa Torony. “It truly is fantastic to see the community come together as one in this way.”

The readings focused on the promise of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and Jesus’ own anointing as he began his ministry.

In his sermon, Fr. Michael Ramos synthesized the Holy Spirit-centered liturgy with the 9/11 remembrance theme. He stressed the importance of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and how they can be utilized in order to be better members of the Sacred Heart community and to build the church at large.

“Today, we commemorate the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we take the time to remember the people whose lives were taken away by this senseless act and the first responders who made brave sacrifices to support those affected, we experience the best and worst in humanity,” said Fr. Ramos. “The Spirit of God animates in us the strength to act and think as Jesus did…on this day especially, we pray to the Holy Spirit to strengthen us so that even in a world surrounded by hate and violence, we may be among the best in humanity.”

The Prayer of the Faithful included special requests for the Holy Spirit’s guidance throughout the new academic year as well as brought to mind all the victims of 9/11, followed by a moment of deep silence.

“I thought the homily was very meaningful. I especially liked the priest’s message on the best and worst in humanity,” said sophomore Andrea Dogal. “Coming here today was just my way of showing my support for the Sacred Heart community.”

While a number of students attended the ceremony to simply offer their support, others had more specific intentions, one of which involved being there for a friend.

As a tribute to the victims of 9/11, Campus Ministry put together a poster board for students to fill with names of loved ones and people they knew who lost their lives on that fateful day.

“I’m from Brooklyn, and 11 people from my elementary school, and 23 people from my high-school lost their lives on 9/11,” said sophomore Gavin Thurow, after adding his own special mentions to the poster. “I came here just to seek solace…being so far away from home on this day brings on a sort of separation anxiety and I’m really thankful that I could spend my time here this afternoon. “SHU just has a way of making the worst days seem better.”

Students Awarded Catholic Studies Scholarships

BY: STEPHEN MUSITANO

Contributing Writer

The M. Theresa Martinez Catholic Studies Scholarship was created for those working towards a minor in Catholic Studies at Sacred Heart University. In order to receive the grant, students must show exemplary performance in and out of the classroom.

The grant is awarded in honor of the late M. Theresa Martinez, a graduate of Sacred Heart University, who showed her strong devotion to Catholic Studies and the notion of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

“It’s an interdisciplinary field of study, focusing on Catholic thought across many different disciplines,” said Dr. Loris, the Chair for the Department of Catholic Studies.

The three students: juniors, Cameron Kemmer and Erin Curley, and senior, Christina Cerreta, were awarded this scholarship last semester. They were chosen for their outstanding grades, campus involvement and community work.

After graduating, M. Theresa Martinez continued and completed her 6th year Education degree, earning her masters. And then went on to spread her efforts through her various humanitarian work and professional life. The scholarship underscores her long avocation to engaging Catholic thought across the disciplines and to fostering the development of young people’s minds and hearts.

“I wanted to have a deeper connection with God and I figured by taking these religion classes I could reach enlightenment with my faith,” said senior Christina Cerretta.  “I believe that having this minor and being a science major could allow people to tighten the gap between science and religion.”

Curley was involved in the SHU Journey Catholic Scholars Summer Institute, which was a week-long volunteer summer camp, where half the day was spent volunteering in the community and the other half in a CIT. Along with her summer program, she is a part of the Peer Ministry Team on campus.

“This minor is important to me because it is something that interests me in my own life. It is something I genuinely enjoy learning about. I hope to be involved in some way with campus ministry in my future and I think this minor just helps me get there also.”

Kemmer is very connected to his faith and education. “This minor to me is another way to profess my faith,” said junior Cameron Kemmer. “I am a very faithful person and I believe that this is a topic that most people don’t understand. I think it connects me more to my faith and helps me see things in a different light and with a different mindset.”

Studnets interested in applying for the scholarship should contact Dr. Michelle Loris at 203-396-8020, or Lorism@sacredheart.edu.

SHU Attempts to Aid Hurricane Harvey Victims

BY: BRENDAN CAPUANO

Asst. News Editor

On Aug. 25, tropical storm Harvey gained strength as a category 4 in the Gulf of Mexico, and made landfall in the small Texas town of Rockport. The city of Houston and the surrounding areas have received massive damages caused by high winds, rainfall and flooding.

“Being from Texas, I am super familiar with the Houston area. It is 100% the poorest part of Texas,” said Devon McCormick, one of Sacred Heart’s Campus Ministers. “The fact that it hit there is really devastating.”

Despite Sacred Heart University being thousands of miles from Houston, various student organizations have felt the need to help those affected.

Campus Ministry, the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, the Women’s Hockey team, the Criminal Justice Department, the Student Nurses Association, Greek Life Gives, the Catholic Studies Department, Habitat for Humanity, and the Factory make up a sampling of the campus organizations who have come together to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“The support has been unreal. To see not only Texas and the country come together like this, but the Sacred Heart as a community stepping up as well,” said McCormick.

Kendra Sherman, a junior from Austin, Texas said, “It was really touching to come into campus ministry and see the donation jar. Even though we are in Connecticut, it’s still important to see people are willing to help in any way.”

Sherman recalled one student who stopped by Campus Ministry and said, “I don’t have much to give, but they need it more than I do.”

The money collected will go to Catholic Charities. According to their website, their mission is “to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same.”

McCormick has friends and family in Houston who were directly affected by the storm. McCormick said “a lot of people thought ‘we will just wait it out, it won’t be that bad,’ but then it was. It was worse than people expected,” she said.

According to The Associated Press, 70 deaths have been confirmed as of Sept. 6. Thousands were rescued from flooded homes and streets during and following the storm.

“One of my friends is one of those people on the boats saving people or getting bodies out of the water,” said McCormick.

The Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo, took to Twitter to thank the countless individuals who helped save thousands of lives. Among those were the Houston PD dive team, Houston Police Officer Bert Ramon who is battling stage four cancer, and the media.

“To media professionals telling Houston & TX story, thank you for your tireless efforts! You’ve saved lives. Wishing you Godspeed with Irma,” he posted.

“All we can do is hope and pray, and whatever happens we will respond with love, compassion, and help,” said McCormick.

What’s New at SHU: A Campus Construction Update

BY: VICTORIA MESCALL

Co-News Editor

With a record breaking number of students returning to campus this fall, Sacred Heart University is growing in both population and land use consumption.

Currently, there are four construction sites active on campus, two facilities being constructed and modified off campus, and one building ready for a ribbon cutting later this month.

The biggest construction site currently on campus is the revamp of the formerly known Jewish Home’s Bennett building. The building will be an upper classmen residence hall named after philanthropist Pierre Toussaint.

In Toussaint Hall the bedrooms will mostly be double occupancy, with a handful of single occupancy dorms. The building is also said to feature an arcade-style game room, and a lounge with a fish tank.

Toussaint Hall will be located on a newly renovated space on campus, the Upper Quad.

“It will expand the campus and provide another place for students to live and enjoy their college career,” Quintong said.

Behind Toussaint Hall, on the Upper Quad a new dining facility is being imported. Constructed off-site and delivered ready-made, the pieces of JP’s Diner have already begun arriving on campus. The Diner is named after Sacred Heart’s own President Dr. John Petillo. The 50’s themed diner will seat approximately 110 people inside, as well as 16 outside. And the restaurant will accept dining dollars, and will stay open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

Access to Toussaint Hall and JP’s Diner will be available through a newly constructed Amphitheatre. The seating is across from the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and the lower quad, specifically where Greek Rock Row was previously located.

WSHU is the onsite National Public Radio station serving Fairfield County and southeastern Connecticut. The new facility will have a brand new communication and dispatch center for the department of Public Safety. The WSHU portion will feature two full studios, four editing suites, on-air control rooms, offices, a conference room, and a rooftop deck.

In the Athletic Department, a new facility is being constructed behind Sacred Heart women’s softball’s home field, Pioneer Park. This new space will feature bowling alleys; rock climbing walls, sports simulators and a fitness center.

Last campus, SHU acquired General Electric’s former global headquarters, and established the site as their new West Campus. The facilities sit on 66-acres, feature 550,000 square feet of building space, and 800 additional parking spaces.

West Campus will be the home of the newly forming School of Computing, based in the fields of computer engineering, computer gaming and cyber security, as well as developing programs in health and life sciences and a new hospitality management program.

The Center for Health Care Education (CHE) is a new three story 120,000 square-foot facility located just a mile down Park Ave. from campus.

The CHE is having its grand opening on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 at 11 a.m.      

Construction around campus will continue throughout the year.

The Summer’s Biggest Stories: Here’s What You Might Have Missed

Trump Administration Changes:

On May 9, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the officer leading the FBI’s investigation into the Russian government tampering with the 2016 Presidential Election. Chris Way was nominated to replace him, and was confirmed by the Senate in August.

In July, Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned over the hiring of Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci, replaced Michael Dubke who resigned, but only lasted ten days in his new position before resigning himself.

The deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is now the acting Press Secretary, replaced Spicer. The new acting communications director, Hope Hicks, replaced Scaramucci.

Later in July, President Trump replaced Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, with General John Kelly, after Priebus resigned. General Kelly then vacated his spot as Secretary  of Homeland Security, and was succeeded by the new acting secretary, Elaine Duke.

In August, Chief Strategist to the Trump administration Steve Bannon resigned.

Healthcare:

In a 217 to 213 vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House of Representatives on May 4. The Act was proposed in March to replace the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The same day, the Senate announced it’s plan to write its own version of an ACA reform bill that would become the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

On June 26, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released that the BCHA would leave 15 million more people uninsured than the ACA by 2018. The number of uninsured citizens from the act was then estimated to rise to 22 million by 2026.

Throughout the next month, the Senate’s BCHA went through the process of amendment adding.

Revisions caused some Republican senators to oppose a vote. A new plan was released by the Republican leadership to repeal the ACA, and come up with a solution to replace it later.

This delay in process caused Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to announce their opposition, which halted the plan.

On July 25, the Senate released ACA again, this time including new amendments. One of the failed votes was over the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA). This bill would have repealed the majority of the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.

The next repeal vote, for the bill titled the Health Care Freedom Act, which was referred to as the skinny bill, does not pass.

There has been no major vote to reform health care. But in the beginning of August, a bipartisan committee was announced in the House to hold hearings regarding future reform.

Charlottesville:

On Aug. 12, a group of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, VA to protest the plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.

The two-day rally known as “Unite the Right” turned violent when rally go-ers, some armed with shields and wooden clubs, were met with counter-protestors at the park. Individuals from both sides threw punches, swung sticks and sprayed chemicals at members of their opposition.

Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, 32, was killed, and 19 others were injured after a car plowed through the group of counter-protestors. The driver was identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, who was charged with one count of second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe stated in a press conference later that day, “…to all the Nazis and white supremacists who came to Charlottesville to-day, go home…there is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America.”

Eclipse:

Aug. 21 had the world literally looking up in awe at the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 1979.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moved between the earth and the sun, creating temporary darkness.

Thousands traveled to be on the path of totality; the 60 to 70-mile-wide stretch of land that for two minutes were covered in total darkness. The total eclipse was visible across the country from Charlottesville, N.C to Port-land, Ore.

The next eclipse, like this one, will not be until 2024.

    North Korea:

On Sept. 3, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear weapons test.

The blast from the hydrogen bomb caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake not far from the test site in Punggye-ri.

The test comes just months after North Korea’s threat to attack the United States if there was ever an attempt to remove dictator Kim Jong Un from power. The area surrounding the U.S territory of Guam was referenced as a possible target for their long-range ballistic missiles.

Hours after the test, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that, “any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

 

 

The AP Exchange contributed to this article.

Sacred Heart University Holds Fresh Check Day

By Brendan Capuano

Staff Reporter

As finals week quickly approaches at colleges across the country, 27 graduate students in the Sacred Heart University physician’s assistant program have taken proactive measures to educate students about the importance of mental health at this stressful time of year.

“College students and people that were, or are currently in the military are at highest risk for taking their own lives, and it’s still a topic that is very much not discussed in mainstream, we get to people too late far too often. Our eyes aren’t open, our antennas aren’t out the way it needs to be,” said Dr. Dale Atkins.

At Atkins is a psychologist, author, motivational speaker, and frequent commentator on NBC’s Today Show and CNN’s Headline News programs on the topic of mental health and suicide.

Fresh Check Day is a national program run by the Jordan Porco Foundation to educate students about mental health awareness, as well as destress in the week leading up to finals.

“The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college,” said the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF) website.

The website also said that the Foundation is committed to preventing suicide in high school and colleges through awareness, education, and by challenging the stigmas around mental health.

Various booths were set up across the 63’s patio and were sponsored by various clubs and organizations.

The Wellness Center, Public Safety, the office of Campus Ministry, s.w.e.e.t. Peer Educators, therapy dogs, 100 Reasons to Live, and a rock wall sponsored by the Rise Up campaign against sexual assault, and more had a presence at the event.

Clinical Assistant Professor in the Health Science department, Dr. Deborah List, was instrumental in bringing this event to campus for its fifth year. “Certainty we need this event on campus to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness,” said List.

According to the JPF website one in ten college students contemplates suicide.

“That means nine out of ten students have an opportunity to help each one who is struggling,” said the JPF website.

“Nine out of Ten” is a program run by the JPF to give students the resources to identify a person in need of help. The nine out of ten website says that suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students

“Nine out of Ten” also sites the signs of someone at risk of committing suicide are isolation, trouble in school, change in mood/behavior, seeming depressed or anxious, risk-taking/recklessness/self-harm, taking about suicide, eating and sleeping issues, experiencing trauma, and giving away possessions.

“I was very honored to be asked to be here,” said Atkins “Something like this is a wonderful, fun, open, inclusive way of addressing the many different ways people can become aware of taking care of their own mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.”

“Fresh Check Day is a great way to take the pulse of our students while they’re out having fun. Our students’ mental health needs are every bit as important as their physical and educational needs, ” said President John J. Petillo on the Fresh Check Day website. “There’s no room for stigma when it comes to the well-being of our students.”

 

Robert Paulson Inspires Others to Find Their Voice

By Peter McCue

Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, April 19 in the University Commons, Sacred Heart University welcomed Robert Paulson as part of the Human Journey Colloquia Series.

During the “Finding a Voice” colloquium, Paulson introduced his memoir, “Not in Kansas Anymore.”

Paulson has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to the ALS Association, ALS is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.

“He achieved the pinnacle of success as a patent attorney and he continues to work, which is fascinating. ALS has affected Robert’s body in the worst of ways, but it did not affect his brain,”  said Catholic Studies and English Professor Cara Kilgallen. “I think this speaks to the strength of the human spirit and his ability to continue to tell his story.”

Kilgallen has known the Paulson family for about 10 years, so she helped organize the event. She was amazed at everything Paulson has achieved in his career having ALS.

During his speech, Paulson said that he was able to write his memoir by using an eye-tracking computer system—which is what he used to communicate with the audience. By using this technology, he is able to access his emails, the internet, stock market portfolios and writing.

“The event was very inspiring and moving and I enjoyed that the Paulson family is looking at the positives rather than giving up. The technology that Robert is using is definitely keeping him alive, besides his strong will,” said junior James Parker. “This is a story that should be repeated and spread.”

Paulson has had ALS for about 21 years and has had many accomplishments during that time. He has been able to keep his position as a patent attorney in New York City, published his memoir, and helped his niece start a business, called Lash Control.

“Robert is an incredibly motivational man who blew me away because of his courage and will to fight ALS,” said junior Patrick Robinson. “The fact that the man has written a book, works as a lawyer, and lives his life under the circumstances was inspiring.”

Paulson’s speech left many audience members inspired with a sense of purpose.

“It’s stunning when you see someone who is disabled and incapable and actually be capable to do things you wouldn’t expect him to do and to be so courageous,” said Assistant Dean of College of Arts and Science and Assistant Director of Academic Advising Michael Bozzone. “Other people would have given up and died of respiratory failure.”

Bozzone thought that Paulson’s story was incredible and important for students and faculty members to listen to. Bozzone believes that Sacred Heart should come up with a way to promote ALS awareness.

“Maybe the university might be able to take action and promote awareness to ALS, and potentially contribute,” said Bozzone. “This is certainly worth our time to consider how we can help as a community.”

Personal donations can be sent to Paulson at RP Homecare: 525 E, 86 St. NY, NY, 10028.

To purchase “Not in Kansas Anymore” or to learn more about creating a business or becoming a lawyer, contact Paulson’s wife, Maureen Paulson, at MePaulson@RCN.com

“Our family is eager to help students succeed in school and the job world,” said Maureen Paulson.

Sacred Heart University to Host Walk to End Violence Against Women and Girls

By John Cerretani

Staff Reporter

On Sunday, April 30, Sacred Heart University will host a Walk to End Violence Against Women and Girls, in order to raise awareness for abuse and violence against females.

This event will be sponsored by The Center for Family Justice Inc. as well as Sacred Heart University’s Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

The walk will be held at the university’s new West Campus that has been recently acquired from General Electric. It will also be the university’s opening of this part of campus.

There will be many speakers in attendance including, President Dr. John J. Petillo, Title IX Coordinator Leonora Campbell, President and CEO of The Center for Family Justice Inc. Debra Greenwood, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara, as well as members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

“This is an event that we really look forward to, as it is for such an important cause,“ said Delta Tau Delta member Greg Argenio.

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity is very involved on campus with their stance to end violence against women, and will be playing a very key part in this event.

Some members of Delta Tau Delta and other participants in the walk will be walking in high heels to represent their solidarity and support to all women.

Chapter President of Delta Tau Delta, Ryan Cannata will also be speaking at the event about the fraternity’s dedication to their philanthropy this year.

“Delta Tau Delta’s local philanthropy is what really made me want to get involved in Greek life, it is such an important issue and the fact that any organization made it their top priority really stood out to me,“ said Argenio.

The event will also recognize the Fairfield Police and other first responders for their efforts to aid Caitlin Nelson on March 30, 2017.

Debra Greenwood, who is also speaking at the event, is a Sacred Heart University alumna, and is also the President and CEO of The Center for Family Justice Inc.

Greenwood feels very strongly about the need for awareness of this problem, and the desire to preserve the rights of all women.

In a statement released by the university, Greenwood spoke about the event and Sacred Heart University’s involvement in it.

“I am very proud of the University for hosting its very own event this year. There is a strong chemistry among Sacred Heart’s community that I am very proud to be part of. We know the turnout for this event will be huge, and SHU’s community will come together to raise awareness of the number of sexual assaults that occur at universities across the country,” said Greenwood.

 

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano to Speak at the 51st Undergraduate Commencement

Bishop Frank Caggiano celebrates Mass in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Sacred Heart University. Photo by Mark F. Conrad/Sacred Heart.

By Victoria Mescall

Circulation Manager & Staff Reporter

The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, the Bishop of Bridgeport, has been selected to be the 51st Undergraduate Commencement speaker for Sacred Heart University’s graduation on Sunday May 14, 2017.

Bishop Caggiano will deliver his remarks to the class of 2017 at the Webster Bank Arena this coming Mother’s Day.

During the ceremony, he will also be receiving an honorary Doctorate of Theology degree from Sacred Heart.

“I think it’s great that our commencement speaker is the Bishop of Bridgeport,” said senior Alicia Friscia, student government vice president of the class of 2017. “It’s nice that they picked a member of our local community to represent our graduating class as a Catholic school.”

Caggiano was installed as Fifth Bishop of Bridgeport on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull, Conn.

“Our partnership with Sacred Heart University has grown tremendously since Bishop Frank Caggiano was installed as our Bishop,” said John Grosso, social media leader for the office of the Bishop of Bridgeport. “We’ve been very fortunate to partner with Sacred Heart many times this year. We’ve worked with the School of Communication to film videos, Bishop Caggiano spoke at the Inaugural Bergoglio Lecture Series, and we welcomed the Papal Nuncio to the United States.”

On March 29, 2017 Bishop Caggiano spoke on campus in a lecture titled, “Pope Francis and the Social Gospel: Where Do We Go from Here?” honoring The Pope’s spirit and vision in the twenty first century.

This speech inaugurated the Bergoglio Lecture Series, and students from all majors and faculty from all disciplines crowded the entire square footage of the Schine Auditorium, filling the aisles and the stage in order to hear Bishop Caggiano speak.

According to the Diocese of Bridgeport website, “On February 22, 2014, [Bishop Caggiano] formally convoked the 4th Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport, the first in 32 years, as an opportunity for renewal and pastoral planning for the future of the local Church.”

After a series of listening sessions with over 4,000 comments by laity, priests and religious across the diocese, the Bishop announced the Synod 2014 themes of empowering youth, building up the community of faith, fostering evangelical outreach, and promoting works of charity and justice.

“Given Bishop Caggiano’s commitment to the youth and young adults to the church and our important history with Sacred Heart, working together has been a natural fit, as is Bishop Frank as the Commencement speaker,” said Grosso.

Bishop Caggiano joins a legacy of renowned community scholars and leaders who have served as commencement speakers in past years.

The university’s 50th commencement speaker was Victoria Sweet, a former award-winning historian and associate professor of medicine at the University of California.

The year before, former United States Senator from Maine, George Mitchell, delivered the university’s 49th undergraduate commencement address.

“Since we’re a Catholic university, it’s nice to have the Bishop come speak during our classes commencement,” said senior class president Theresa (T) Fletcher. “As a university and community we are all rooted in Catholic values and it’s going to be a great experience to hear Bishop Caggiano speak.”

According to the Sacred Heart University magazine, the class of 2017 includes 890 undergraduates who will be receiving bachelor’s degrees during the commencement ceremony.

“Bishop Caggiano is the man,” said junior Katherine Seckler, campus ministry peer leadership team member. “He has such a way with words and I cannot wait to hear him speak at commencement.”

Hailey Hastings: First Female Mr. SHU Contestant

By Nicole Croteau

Staff Reporter

Mr. SHU is an annual competition that takes place at Sacred Heart University where 10 male students compete against one another in order to obtain the title of Mr. SHU.

However, for the first time ever, the Mr. SHU competition has its first female entry.

Hailey Hastings, a junior art and design major, decided to compete in this formally-known all male competition for the same reasons as the men.

“A lot of people think I am a part of Mr. SHU as some feminist movement, but really I’m in it for the same reasons all the other guys are,” said Hastings. “People are more similar than different. We often forget that because of how we are told to separate different groups, whether it be race or gender. I think I have opened the floodgates on this one. Either it will go back to being all guys, or it’ll be like the scene in ‘The Shining.’ Either way it will be interesting to see how the fate of the competition changes.”

The competition will feature nine male students and one female student competing against one another for the title of Mr. SHU.

Some students are interested in this new change and are supportive of Hastings’ entry.

“Mr. SHU has always been a friendly competition that brings the SHU community together in a funny way. I think that this year’s show will be great and I am excited for it,” said junior Louis Stober. “More power to Hailey for wanting to compete this year. I think it is very brave of her to break out of her comfort zone to try and earn the title of Mr. SHU. I know I personally won’t look at her any differently than my other competitors.”

Mr. SHU consists of three different parts that the contestants will have to partake in; swimsuit, formal attire and talent.

During each category, the contestant must come out and show off to the judges and demonstrate why they should be named Mr. SHU.

“I wanted to be a part of Mr. SHU because it was always such a fun and carefree event on campus. All the contestants were able to be their true selves and make people laugh,” said Hastings. “I think comedy and laughter are the two things I love most so if I got the chance to do so, that’s all I wanted. Being the first girl to compete sparks a lot of conversation though.”

Mr. SHU will take place on April 28 at 7 p.m. in the Edgerton Theater, free to all students and faculty.

“I think that it is great that Hailey wants to compete in Mr. SHU and good for her for straying against the norm of what has always been done,” said junior Alex Halloran. “It will be interesting to see if the university will make a Mrs. SHU going forward or if the school will decide to leave it combined with boys against girls, or back to all male again. It’s definitely different than what has been done in the past, but it is a good change.”

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