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

“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.


“Staten Island Is Home To The Best Pizza On Earth”

By Anthony Mattariello

Pizza is arguably the best food out there. I think that most people would agree that if you’re looking for a good meal then pizza is one of your best bets.

For those who don’t know, it is an Italian dish that was created in 1889. Raffaele Esposito created the first pizza to give the Queen Consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy.  The “Margherita” pizza paid homage to Italy by showcasing the nation’s colors and the rest, as they say, is history.

I think the thing about pizza is that it’s such a simple meal yet it’s so delicious. Plus, pizza is just so customizable. Theoretically, you could put anything on pizza.

From pepperoni and sausage to macaroni and buffalo chicken, the opportunities are infinite.

As someone who is predominately Italian, pizza continues to play a significant role in my life. Growing up, and even still to this day, I get pizza at least once a week. Again, that just goes to show how accessible and economical pizza could be.

I grew up in a nice little cul-de-sac in the New York City borough of Staten Island.

If anyone has ever been to Staten Island then you would know that pizza is not something we take lightly.

Living in a place where we had the best pizza on the entire planet, you could say I had a lot of reason to choose pizza over any other food.

Since pizza has such a large place in my heart, I knew that it could influence how I make some of my decisions throughout my life.

For example, where I would go to college. I am not going to lie, the pizza hype in Connecticut did have an impact on my decision to come to Sacred Heart.

One of my first questions when I was on a tour here was about the food places near school.

Maybe it was just my tour guide, but she started to immediately talk about how Connecticut has tons of really good pizza restaurants.

One place that she mentioned is Frank Pepe’s. I hear this spiel all the time about how long they’ve been around and how fantastic their pizza is.

Personally, I do not care for it. Not to mention they burn the entire crust so it’s pretty much inedible and their pizza seems to be very bland.

Next up was Colony, where they charge you a dollar per topping. It isn’t that bad if I go more than one sausage per slice and if the pizza was so tiny that I could house three pies.

I could go on for days about other pizza restaurants here, but I’m just going to end it.

If you ever try to make the argument that Connecticut has better pizza then just think about this. Every place here proclaims to have “New York style pizza.”

Why is that? Well, it’s because New York has the best pizza so everyone tries to imitate it, unsuccessfully of course.

If you want real pizza, head to New York. Better yet, go to Joe & Pats on Staten Island and then we can chat.

Two Pioneer Men’s Lacrosse Players Earn NEC Weekly Honors

Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

By Jack Sullivan

After an 8-7 win on March 25 against Hobart, two Sacred Heart men’s lacrosse players earned NEC Player of the Week honors.

Senior long-stick middie Ryan O’Donoghue was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week and freshman goalie Brooks Dutton received Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth week this season.

“It is definitely good to get this honor,” said O’Donoghue.“I could not have had these stats without my teammates, talking off ball and communicating and sliding. It is good to have teammates to help me reach these goals that I have.”

O’Donoghue averages 3.13 caused turnovers per game, which is tied for first in the nation. He had four in the game against Hobart to go along with five ground balls.

He believes he has an edge with experience and skill set that sets him apart from the rest of defenders in the league

“I have a key eye just for taking the ball away. I think it is one of my specialties in that field of lacrosse,” said O’Donoghue.

As a senior, O’Donoghue is a leader for the whole team. He sets a good example for his team in practice and in games to keep the rest of the players motivated and ready to play.

“Ryan has had that success ever since he was a freshman,” said coach Jon Basti. “The team puts him in a spot for him to be really successful. I guarantee you that the rest of the team would say the same thing.”

Dutton as a freshman has a .598 save percentage this season and an 8.20 goals against average. He had 14 saves against Hobart which earned him another NEC Rookie of the week honor.

“I am very excited and happy to receive this honor,” said Dutton. “It takes a lot of hard work and there are a lot of good rookies in this league, so it is a good feeling.”

Although he is a freshman, Dutton does not feel
pressure because he has his teammates and coaches helping him out and teaching him along the way. He knows that there is much to improve on even with the talent he has.

“I need to work on my footwork and hand speed, I’ve got a lot to work on there. As well as communicating with my defenders,” said Dutton.

Similar to O’Donoghue, Dutton has his teammates to support his game to allow him to achieve this success.

“Brooks has been pretty impressive all year from the fall and learned a lot,” said Basti. “I think he gets pushed pretty hard by the other goalies. They are all doing a nice job in keeping him on his toes.”

Never playing college lacrosse before, Dutton hopes for a good season for both himself and his teammates.

The theme of playing and winning as a team is a huge part of the team’s and player’s success.

“We try to play a complete team game and this is the reason why those guys have had such success,” said Basti.

O’Donoghue, Dutton and the rest of the men’s lacrosse team play against Bryant on April 8.

Drake Releases Long-Awaited Playlist: “More Life”

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

Hip hop and R&B superstar Drake, released his latest musical installment, “More Life,” on Saturday, March 18.

Amplifying the release, the six month delayed album premiered as a playlist on the OVO Sound Radio Show. Based in Toronto, Ontario, OVO Sound is a record label founded by Drake, Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. The playlist was then released to all streaming services immediately after its debut on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.

Fans were not disappointed as he mixes a diverse spectrum of sounds on the 22 song compilation.

“I thought it was a nice change up from past albums like ‘Views’ and ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,’ where the vibe was kind of darker. I honestly felt like the songs were more upbeat,” said Sacred Heart graduate student Franco Micheo.

The Canadian born artist takes fans on a journey of his many musical influencesincluding hip hop, Caribbean dance hall, R&B and grime.

Drake displays his pop star and Caribbean dancehall influences on songs like “Passionfruit” and “Madiba Riddim.” Despite the smooth, pop star rhythms, Drake doesn’t forget his lyrical prowess in the realm of hip hop. Addressing many of his personal struggles and accomplishments, he flexes his hip hop bravado on songs like “Free Smoke” and “Lose You.”

“It’s hard to tell what type of ‘Drake’ one will be listening to,” said senior and WHRT’s host of “Banter with the Brothers” Carl Kenner. “On a track, you could hear yard man Drake from Jamaica, road man Drake from London, Zone 6 Drake from Atlanta, Toronto 6 Drake; the list just goes on and on.”

On this journey, Drake introduces a new sound to both long-running and brand new fans. The musical genre, grime, takes center stage on “More Life.”

According to MTV, grime originated in East London in 2000 and pulls from U.K. electronic music styles like U.K. garage and jungle, Caribbean dancehall, and hip hop. Drake not only incorporates grime into the album, but features prominent U.K. grime artists, such as Giggs and Skepta, on songs like “No Long Talk” and “Skepta Interlude.”

“I actually thought that the grime was interesting. I preferred ‘Skepta’s Interlude’ the most, but it was the first time I’ve ever heard that style” said sophomore John Kaywood.

Pulling from his many influences, Drake taps voices from all corners of hip hop and R&B by employing a diverse, star-studded cast of guest appearances. Sampha, Quavo, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Kanye West and PartyNextDoor are all featured on the album.

Devoted listeners of Drake praise the newest installment, but casual listeners will form their own opinion about their thoughts on “More Life.”

“I thought ‘More Life’ was a safe decision on Drake’s part,” said Kaywood. “Hardcore fans are going to love it, but the average person is going to take what they want from it.”

The album has already garnered notable success from streaming services alone. According to The Verge, “More Life” broke Apple’s record for streams in a single day with 89.9 million streams in the first 24 hours of its release and broke Spotify’s single streams record with 61.3 million streams in a day.

Drake is currently finishing the last leg of his “Boy Meets World Tour,” set to finish on March 28 in Amsterdam. With no announcements of any future tours or festival appearances, Drake leaves his fans eager for what he will do next.

“I believe some of Drake’s best work is still to come,” said Kenner. “With that in mind, I believe one should take the time out of their busy schedule and give ‘More Life’ a quick listen.”

Pioneer Dance Team Prepares for Nationals

By Mark Morales

The Sacred Heart University Division I (D1) Dance team is preparing for their Nationals competition in Daytona Beach, Fla. The National competition will take place April 6 and will conclude on April 8.

The dance team will be performing two different dances. The first dance will consist of jazz, pom and hip-hop styles.  The second dance will consist of only hip-hop.

Not only do the women practice routines for Nationals, but they also have been working all year long learning
different types of routines so they can perform at the
Division 1 football and basketball games.

The team consists of about 50 women. From that 50, only 22 women are selected by separate tryouts to compete in Daytona Beach.

Dating back to 2014, the dance team has shown signs of improvement each year they entered.

Last year, the dance team placed fifth in the nation as well as fifth in hip-hop.

This year, the dance team is looking to improve again and continue their growth as a team.

“We have everything we need to place really high,” said senior Michelle Perrotta. “It’s really depending on us.  If we want it and show it then we’re going to place high.”

The dance team has been working tremendously in an effort to make finals and avoid the Challenge Cup down at Daytona Beach this year. The Challenge Cup is another way to get into finals if you are not selected to go straight to finals.

The women practice about four to five times a week for anywhere from three to four hours at a time to prepare for  competition. They also spent their spring break at Sacred Heart preparing and practice throughout all hours of the day for Nationals.

“Our goal is always to make it to finals,” said senior Anna Squiccimarri.

The women have faced several challenges over the course of the season, some of the most difficult challenges have been health.

“It’s hard to stay focused when so many people are
missing practice due to injury,” said Perrotta.

The women continued to explain that they have been plagued by the injury bug in a way.

“We had a couple of setbacks, a couple of people have gotten hurt. We had a couple of concussions,” said senior Christina Li. “Injuries and illnesses have set us back this year.”

Even though the dance team has suffered injuries over the course of the season, the women still remain very
confident and ready to perform.

“We have a really talented team this year, we are very determined,” said Li.

Nighbor Takes First At Navy Fall Invitational

Ellen Nighbor swinging her club at the Navy fall invitational on Sunday at the Naval Academy golf course

Ellen Nighbor swinging her club at the Navy fall invitational on Sunday at the Naval Academy golf course. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics

By Heather Keller

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University women’s golf team had a strong showing at the Navy Fall Invitational, their first of the season.

The tournament took place Sept. 10-11 at the Naval Academy Golf Course. Senior Ellen Nighbor took first place over 77 athletes with a two-day score of 148 to finish four over-par.

“By coming out of the gate with an under par round, she really set the tone for the rest of the team and the rest of the season,” said sophomore Chelsea Sedlar, who finished the weekend tied for 14.

Teammates and coaches have witnessed Nighbor’s growth through her time as a collegiate golfer. The win at Navy was a culmination of the determination and dedication she has to the program.

“Ellen has gained a level of maturity and confidence since her freshman year,” said head men’s and women’s golf coach, Matthew McGreevy. “She has been a four year starter and has improved steadily every year.”

In Nighbor’s two previous trips to the Navy Fall Invitational, she finished tied for ninth in 2014 and for third in the 2015 tournament.

“I’ve performed well there [Naval Academy Golf Course],” said Nighbor. “I really wanted to end on a high note for my last collegiate tournament at that course.”

Taking the first place finish her senior year fits into the personal goals she has set for this season. Nighbor came into the year after having dedicated an extensive amount of time to practicing and becoming confident in her game.

That confidence was tested after a shaky start in her final round on Sunday.

“We were able to settle down and make a lot of quality shots coming down the stretch,” said McGreevy.

McGreevy saw the potential and focus in Nighbor to finish with the win in individual play as the tournament came to a close.

“I was happy to see her hard work pay off,” said McGreevy.

As a team, the Pioneers were +50 for the tournament, which was able to secure a fourth place finish, pointing towards an encouraging season to come.

Going into the season, players and coaches had individual and team goals formulating in their mind, knowing that their off-season practice would push them through the year.

“We look forward to giving this season our all and showing the northeast conference, and any other team that we play, what we have,” said Sedlar.

McGreevy’s outlook for the season matches that of his players.

“This is the deepest team we have had,” said McGreevy. “We are setting our sights on a conference championship, which would be a first in program history.”

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