Debb's Review

 

When thinking about what is referred to as “the college experience,” do you consider this concept only in relationship to what is gained from inside a classroom or playing on a sports team? Does the idea of school spirit ever cross your mind when you think about your college experience and, if so, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “school spirit?”

My definition of school spirit is when students, faculty and staff gather to show pride in their school and support for each other. Having school spirit means being able to show how much you love your school by creating, coordinating and participating in student events or, going a step further, by actually hosting events that show how much love you have for your school.

A great example of an event that occurred recently that showed the Anna Maria College Community in action was the Midnight Madness event, which took place on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 in the Fuller Activities Center around 11:45 pm. This event was conducted to celebrate the upcoming season of basketball for both women and men at Anna Maria College. It was a way for the College, as well as guests, to see what new skills, players, and determination each team has to offer for this upcoming season.

At Midnight Madness, students not only had the opportunity to be introduced to the upcoming season but they also had a chance to participate in activities centered around basketball even if they had no prior experience in playing the sport. This event had a huge turnout and was hosted by Lynette Colome, a junior at Anna Maia College and James Lambert III. They also had a helping hand from Lisa Saverese, the Director of Student Activities who helped to put the event together. In addition, I can’t forget to mention the hard work of the players from both teams, as well as their coaches.

Prior to the event, I sat down with a few students to gain their perspective on the Midnight Madness event and the upcoming season. The first student I spoke with was Nina Anastacio who is a sophomore, resident assistant and former basketball player at Anna Maria College. When asked if she was excited about the upcoming event and season she replied that she was ecstatic. She went on to explain to me that “Midnight Madness allowed the student athletes to be introduced as part of the school team and it was a way to display a preview of the hard work the coaches have put in preparing them for the upcoming season.” Nina also stated that she is anticipating improvement amongst the players on the team and “what we are about to see from these women is going to be brand new in that Anna Maria College has never seen these women the way we will see them this season.” She continued to show her optimism in the team’s success when she stated that, “there is a high possibility of them making it to the playoffs.”

I also sat down with a member from the men’s basketball team, Caleib Fournier, to get his take on the upcoming season for men’s basketball. When asked what Midnight Madness meant to him, as well as the impact it has on him and the other players, he stated that the event “brings the school together, as well as motivates the players for success during the upcoming season.” Like Nina, he described this season as “brand new.” He stated that the players will have a whole new style of playing and that this season will be different but successful at the same time.” Even though the men’s basketball team has drastically changed since losing their three power players: Javier Bristo, Anthony Click and Brad Peterson, all graduates of the class of 2013, Calieb still maintains his strong faith in his team’s success, as well as Coach Conrad’s ability to continue leading them on a successful path. He shared that Coach Conrad has done a great job in keeping the team on track, helping them to reach their goals in the sport, gaining the trust of his players and establishing a bond.

These interviews that were conducted, as well as having the privilege to attend the very well organized event known as Midnight Madness, definitely have me excited and anxious to attend as many games as possible to support both the women’s and men’s basketball teams. Ordinarily I am not much of a sports person but hearing how optimistic, dedicated and determined these student athletes are to succeed, as well as after seeing a preview of what’s to come, I am definitely ready to show my school spirit in any way including supporting my hardworking peers while they are on the court.

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Since midway through the fall 2013 semester, the major topic of discussion at AMC has been the new Information Commons, which is located in the space that used to house the upper level of the Mondor-Eagen Library. The traditional library setting is now located on the lower level with new electronic book stacks for the college's literary collection. The new student-oriented environment on the upper level offers computer stations for online research and group work, Information Technology Services (also known as the "IT Department"), The Center for Teaching Excellence where students and professors can interact outside of the classroom, The MIDI Lab for music majors, a Graphic Design lab, and The School of Business (classrooms and professional offices). The Information Commons also attracts students and faculty with the warmth of its color scheme, as well as the wonderful working fireplace that will really come in handy during those cold winter days and nights.
 
Personally, I consider The Information Commons one of my favorite places on campus whether it is to get research done, attend my business classes or just to relax my mind in a peaceful setting. This area is a lounge, research and learning environment all in one: How can you beat that?
 
My typical time spent in The Information Commons is to do research papers, work on new internship ideas, plan for meetings and events, work on group projects and study with classmates. Since The Information Commons was created, I find myself utilizing this spot much more than I could ever imagine. Out of the many things I like about this space, what I love the most are the tables set up for study groups not far away from the computers. This new space is definitely a great asset on campus. The hours of availability (24/7) are amazing especially for students like me who have schedules that are not flexible and who can mainly get their work done only during late hours. Even the fact that the School of Business is located in the Information Commons amazes me. The professors and the Dean of The School of Business, Dean Forsberg, are located right across from the business classrooms, which is very convenient for students in the business program, as well as the faculty. I feel very important when entering such a vibrant environment that has the academic school in which I will be receiving my degree from represented. My overall description of this new environment would be inclusive, warm, helpful, and modern because of the colors, carpet patterns, fireplace and updated resources.
 
To give you a little more insight into The Information Commons, I sat down with President Calareso to get his take on the new space. When I asked him how Anna Maria College was able to have this project completed, he informed me that it was all about timing, resources and student demand. He went on to tell me that about a year ago the school secured enough money to bring a project that just started out as verbal and written ideas to life. Also, it took meetings with students who discussed their various needs and concerns about a new learning environment; and that is how the concept came about.
 
Anna Maria College breathed life into the idea of The Information Commons to create an opportunity and a modern resource for students to learn, hang out and study outside of the residence halls. This space was created with the intention that students would use it to help them excel in and outside of the classroom. President Calareso also informed me that very little changes would be made to The Information Commons besides the art that will soon be hung and any upkeep that might need to be made throughout the course of the year. The next big project that Anna Maria College plans to work on is the campus center. For more details on that upcoming project, you have to look out for future posts under Debb's Review.