New Updated NCAA Covid-19 Guidelines

Eric Bell, Staff Writer

What do we do, or have to do now? With the start of the spring semester now upon us and in full swing, Saint Martin’s athletics are continuing or starting back up! As teams come back together for practice and competition, people are wondering how the rise of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant is coming into play and how things are being accounted for. We all need to continue to stay safe and protect ourselves and others through these unprecedented times. Right now, are all trying to figure out how to do so.

With the uncertainty surrounding the new developments of the pandemic, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released updated Covid-19 guidelines to try to bring about some ease during these anxious months. Saint Martin’s University, along with all other NCAA-affiliated schools, has adopted these guidelines and have already begun implementing them throughout the athletic department. 

A large part of this update is that the NCAA has adjusted its definition of “fully vaccinated” individuals. Earlier in the pandemic, being “fully vaccinated” meant that individuals had either received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine series, or the Moderna vaccine series. The vaccine series for Pfizer and Moderna means that individuals have had both doses of the vaccine. With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, individuals only need to get one dose, because it is different than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Per the NCAA’s update at ncaa.com, now to be “fully vaccinated”, individuals need to be either within two months of receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, five months of receiving the Pfizer vaccine series, or six months of receiving the Moderna vaccine series. In addition to this, if student-athletes have received the vaccine earlier than the described windows above, they must have received a booster vaccine to qualify as being “fully vaccinated.” Finally, student-athletes who are within 90 days of a Covid-19 infection qualify as equivalent to being “fully vaccinated” because they now have the antibodies and won’t get it again for a while.

The second major part to come out of the NCAA’s update is the change in quarantining and isolation periods for student-athletes who test positive for Covid-19. Earlier in the pandemic, the quarantine time for individuals who tested positive was ten days. Per the update, the quarantine time has been cut in half, down to five days as long as the student-athlete has no symptoms or their “symptoms are resolving.” After those five days, the NCAA suggests the individual masking around others for five more days, except during athletic activities which follow a negative test. 

As for isolation, fully vaccinated individuals who have come in close contact with someone who tests positive do not have to quarantine but are suggested by the NCAA to wear a mask when not participating in athletic activities. Unvaccinated individuals, on the other hand, should still quarantine for five days if they come in close contact with someone with Covid-19.

This is a systemic change, as before student-athletes did not need a booster vaccine to be considered “fully vaccinated”, and they only needed to have the regular doses. The other big change here is the quarantine period has been cut in half, allowing student-athletes to return to the field and the classroom earlier than before.

These new updates are important to follow because the NCAA is not creating guidelines on its own. It is following the guidelines which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has laid out. The NCAA’s update is merely bringing these new guidelines to the world of college sports.

Although the guidelines have changed, the overall idea hasn’t: do what you can to keep you and others as safe as possible.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) logoVia:  NCAA (@NCAA) / Twitter

Professor Highlight: Ramon Luzarraga

Phoebe Young, Staff Writer 

Saint Martin’s has an abundance of amazing professors, one of them being Dr. Luzarraga, who teaches theology and religious studies here, and serves as the chair of the department. He loves traveling and meeting people, movies and live theater, going to baseball games, and attending SMU sporting events.  This is only Dr. Luzarraga’s second semester at Saint Martin’s, but he has been teaching for 19 years now. However, he did not always know he wanted to teach.

“I thought I would become a lawyer,” he told me. “However, Dr. Elizabeth Krauss, one of my philosophy professors at Fordham University, where I earned my undergraduate degree, invited me to take her doctoral seminar on the thought of the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Suddenly, I was with people almost twice my age and didn’t make a fool of myself. I got an A in the class. This led to other graduate courses in philosophy, which made me realize I had a strong interest in philosophy and theology. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach until I was given my first classes at Marquette University, where I earned my doctorate. There, I taught courses for traditional and non-traditional students. I enjoyed the work and received strong, positive feedback. That sealed what my vocation would be: a university professor.”

Dr. Luzarraga is originally from Philadelphia, where he actually had the opportunity to ring the Liberty Bell.

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I did not get explicit permission to ring that bell. But, when the park ranger handed me the rubber mallet she used to ring the bell, I made the logical deduction and rang it for myself. It may now hold a hairline crack with my name on it!

Since then, he has been a bit of a rolling stone throughout his life.

“My father’s work took me and my family to New Orleans and New York City. My studies and my work as a professor took me to New York City, New Haven, Connecticut, Milwaukee, Dayton, Ohio, Phoenix, and now here.”

Since moving here, he has fallen in love with the pacific northwest.

“I moved here last May from Phoenix to take on the position I hold here at Saint Martin’s: Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Having lived in the desert for eight years, I now appreciate why Jesus Christ spent no more than 40 days at a time there. I love the Puget Sound area. It reminds me of my life on the East Coast, only the mountains here are more majestic and uniquely beautiful in every season and every time of day when I can see them.”

This is part of what he loves about Saint Martin’s as well.

“The setting is very beautiful. It is the most beautiful campus I have ever worked at!”

Although the beautiful setting is not the only thing he loves about our school.

“The abbey and its community, which I consider my parish for daily Mass or prayer, is decisively important for a Catholic university like ours. It distinguishes life and study here from other universities. Any university can teach you how to make a living. A Catholic university has the freedom and ability to teach you how to develop a life worth living.”

Although this is only Dr. Luzarraga’s second semester here, he’s already made some wonderful memories, one of his favorites being the Gala. 

“One of my students, Laia Currius, nominated me to be honored by our Women’s basketball team. It was a novel experience to run between two rows of cheerleaders and coaches being rah-rahed and high-fived. I am grateful for having received that honor so early in my time here.”

He also recalls fondly, “Meeting with the Saint Martin’s leadership, my department colleagues, and the leadership of the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Yakima, as we plan to build up this department and its programs in partnership with the Catholic Church in western and central Washington.”

When I asked Dr. Luzarraga what advice he would give to students, he passed on some advice he received in college.

“One of my professors at Fordham told me to ‘let college happen.’ It is important to plan ahead, but be open to being surprised. You may experience a class which opens up an entirely new horizon,” which he said is what happened to him. He also advised that, “If you are offered the opportunity to continue your education after Saint Martin’s, take it! And, always complete your degrees and other training, even if you are not sure how it will benefit you. We are, for better and for worse, a credential-driven society. Having credentials opens up opportunities.”

 Finally, Dr. Luzarraga left me with this:

“A University with an Abbey at its heart teaches the underappreciated skill, at least in our country at this time, of being quiet. Action is productive only if it is backed by sound theory. Discovering sound theory takes a great deal of quiet time to think, meditate, and pray about.”

Homecoming the Saint’s Way

Shy Yamasaki, Staff Writer

Homecoming is an important event at any point in your life, both during high school and in college. Whether it is your first or last, students need to have fun and celebrate spirit week. One may be asking, “why is homecoming so special?” It is the week to experience and participate in different events, leading to the pep rally and game. When experiencing homecoming week, one can have fun with their group of friends while participating in the various themes presented for each day. While some may think homecoming is overrated, it shows a united front with the school as they show school spirit. Students enjoy participating during homecoming week because it gives them time to relax and be one with everyone around them instead of always having their nose in a book. While academics continue to be necessary, participating in homecoming is when the community can come together and enjoy the smiles, laughs, and happiness around them. 

Saint Martin’s has created great campus events for us this week. Thanks to the Campus Activity Board, or “CAB” as most know it to be, this week was full of fun. It started with Marty Monday: everyone was to wear their Saints gear to class and then head down to Harned Hall from 12 pm-2 pm for a “pick me up.” It was encouraged to post pictures on Instagram and tag @smucampuslife to let everyone see that swag. On Tuesday, you are welcome to participate in  Thankful Tuesday by posting a photo with friends in coordinated outfits and another chance to tag campus life and enter a raffle for that day. 

Everything looks better in white, and Saints could join campus life for White Out Wednesday on 2/2/22. This event allowed students to show their best angel outfits. Later that day, you could join CAB in Harned Hall from 3-5 pm to manifest goals by writing down your affirmations. Everyone loves the opportunity to stay comfy in their pajamas, so on Thursday it was pajama day where you could wear your PJs during class. Eventually, the fun had to end, so we wrapped up the weekdays on Fun Friday, your chance to dress to impress with another opportunity to be entered in the raffle for the day. 

We hope that you enjoyed the events leading up to the big game. It was a fantastic opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Make sure to post all of the memories you made and tag our campus life. The pep rally is scheduled from 4:30-5 pm.

Crime Rates in Olympia and how to keep Yourself Safe

Ailina Cunningham, Staff Writer

Typically, Olympia is known as one of the safer places to live and work. As a close-knit community and small-town, it tends to make the news, and everyone knows about it whenever something happens. However, even in a safe community such as Olympia, it is always essential to keep your eyes and ears aware of any possible crimes that can happen to keep yourself and your friends and family safe. Some of the most important things to look out for are auto thefts and personal thefts. These are very common things to see in every community, and Olympia and Thurston County are no exception. Check out your local crime statistics in terms of which types of crime you should be watching out for the most at city-data.com. This is a website that can show you which crimes are statistically on the rise and which crimes are decreasing in occurrence frequency.

The best way to avoid common crimes like theft or car theft is always to be aware of your surroundings and constantly be taking precautionary measures to ensure your safety. These measures can include things like keeping your keys in your hands as you walk to your car or locking your doors as soon as you get into your vehicle, which does not allow anyone to get in the car with you without your knowledge. Options such as hiding your valuables in safe areas and keeping your phone on you and fully charged in case you need it to make a call. In case of a theft, it is always helpful to include lots of details as to what was stolen and where you were, and when it took place so that the police can assist you to the best of their ability. Remember to park in well-lit areas and close your windows to prevent anyone from being able to reach inside your car.

Using these basic safety tips can help prevent you from being subject to car theft or personal theft as well as ensure your safety in the future as you encounter new and exciting places. According to cityrating.com, the projected data for robbery and theft in Olympia, Washington, is 1,470 occurrences per one hundred thousand residents. This means that theft and larceny is one of the biggest issues that Olympia, Washington, faces. Taking precautionary measures to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you can be helpful to you. Additionally, as the holidays come closer, it’s always important to keep in mind that Amazon packages can quickly disappear due to porch thieves. To prevent this, it is helpful to keep watch of the packages you are anticipating and track them to understand when they arrive. When they do arrive, you can bring them into your place of residence as quickly as possible, and if you see any suspicious packages that you have not ordered, do not open them. If you are concerned, you can contact the authorities. With these helpful tips and tricks this coming holiday season, everyone should enjoy the super fun holiday experience without the problems of being victimized by theft and burglary. Only by following these helpful tricks can you keep yourself safe as well as the people you love around you.

Practicing Self-Care

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

With the pressure of assignments, presentations, and upcoming finals, students have stress that can affect their mental health. Practicing self-care is essential to keep ourselves at our best. Self-care is a process where using behaviors that promote health to take care of oneself. The counseling center is known to have resources to help students with self-care and their mental health, anxiety, and stress. Dr. Lindsay Meyers, the director of the counseling and wellness center, discusses the importance of self-care. “Self-care is important because we are important. Our body, mind, emotions, spirit, matter; we deserve care”. Meyers shares some self-care ideas for students. “There’s actually a science to self-care! So instead of giving you my opinion about what you can do, I’ll summarize what the “wellness science” literature has found. Also, keep in mind, these results are generalizations. So, while they apply to many people, they may not apply to you. Do your own experiment and find what self-care activities work best (and are sustainable) for you:

“First, don’t put all your eggs in one self-care basket; find multiple avenues to honor your body and mind. Second, practice mindfulness; meaning, take time to pay attention to purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. This could be as simple as noticing how your feet feel as you walk from class to class or trying out a mindfulness exercise on YouTube. Practice gratitude. This does not mean life is perfect or that we should ignore our burdens. But gratitude invites us to find and attend to the goodness in life. It reminds us that those around us, or higher powers if you’re spiritual, have gifted us incredible things. Taking a moment to appreciate those can be healing. Cognitive-behavioral and acceptance and commitment therapies that focus on positive psychology have also been shown to improve self-care. Outside of what the research tells us, I’d also add that self-care should not be used to minimize or ignore your concerns. Self-care is a personal process that can be used in tandem with actively addressing your needs. Finally, self-care does not only have to include adding things to your life like mindfulness or a gratitude journal. Self-care can also be intentionally taking time away from things that are hurtful, e.g., toxic relationships, excessive alcohol or drugs, etc.”

Dr. Meyers discussed Saint Martin’s partnership with timely care and how it benefits students. “In January 2021, SMU observed behavioral health trends and predicted an increase in demand for behavioral health support as students return to in-person living and learning in Fall 2021. We were fortunate to secure a partnership with TimelyCare over the summer and despite only launching in early July, we have already seen consistent utilization by students. TimelyCare provides free mental health support to students 24/7 anywhere in the US. Not all students are interested in coming to the CWC for therapy and many students are unable to schedule with us during business hours. TimelyCare is virtual, on-demand, most providers in WA are BIPOC, and the services are available anywhere in the US (so you can use TimelyCare if you leave WA state over winter break). If you are a student interested in accessing counseling through TimelyCare, please visit http://www.timelycare.com/smusaints and if you need any support with the program, please let us know.”(counselingcwc@stmartin.edu).

Athlete Spotlight: Eber Navarrete Vieira

Eric Bell, Staff Writer

This year, returning to sports gives us a new sense of normality. The Belltower decided to catch up with someone whose primary season coincided with the year’s first half. Eber Navarrete Vieira is a freshman goalkeeper for Saint Martin’s. Hailing from Longview, Washington, Vieira shares a bit about his first season as a Saint.

“My first year at Saint Martin’s started pretty well. At the end, I got to experience new styles of play on our team and everything, so I felt like it went pretty well”

Navarrete Vieira In Discussion to the Fall Season

The soccer team still has a spring season and a regimented winter offseason program, so the team is far from finishing everything. To touch on the new styles of play Vieira referred to, the team started out the season playing with three defenders in the back half of the field. This was an experiment by the head coach to see if this way of playing would fit the team better. After a few matches, however, the team moved back into a more traditional setup of four defenders in the back half of the field. This seemed to work better for the team, as players were better suited and equipped to play this formation and style of soccer.

 When The Belltower asked Vieira about his overall experience as being a student-athlete at Saint Martin’s for the first time he said, “”Yes, I can definitely say that I enjoy it.” A very definitive and solid answer, providing a fantastic platform for younger players, especially freshmen, to grow and thrive here during their time on campus.

Before he became a Saint, Vieira attended Mark Morris High School, where he was an honor roll selection, a 4-year varsity letter winner, and the team MVP in his senior season! Way to go, Eber!

It is essential to get the insight of younger athletes here at Saint Martin’s because they are the future of SMU’s athletics. Getting to know them and getting to hear their thoughts on how things are going is important and can lead to improvements across the athletic department as we advance. It is not all about just making big changes, which are important for sure. It is just as important to highlight the things that are going well here in Saints athletics. Many people in various sports here on campus have consistently made the all-academic team and have received awards for their dedication and excellence in the classroom. While it is vital to push and foster change, we must recognize the accomplishments of our athletes. These accomplishments should be celebrated and, in my opinion, more well-known and documented. The Belltower would like to congratulate all who have received this honor as well as those who will be receiving this honor in the future. As you all know, there is a world away from the field or the court, and our Saints athletes are prepared for life after college, whatever that may be.

Pack the Pav is Back – And Better Than Ever

Malia Pinder, Staff Writer

November at Saint Martin’s marks the start of a new basketball season at the Marcus Pavilion for the Saints, and the community could not be more excited to watch in-person this 2021 season. Claire Dingus, named an Honorable Mention All-American for the first time in program history in 2020, leads the team into the new season. After tough exhibition games at Washington State University, the University of Oregon, and the University of California Berkeley, the women’s team was more than ready to take on Hawaii Pacific on Saturday, November 13, for Indigenous Peoples Appreciation Night. Hawaii Pacific was ranked 25 in the country to open their 2021 season. Lauryn Morris led the Saints to a nine-point win with 13 points scored. The win was a significant upset, as Saint Martin’s was ranked 6 in the Pre-Season Coaches Poll for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. It leaves basketball fans excited about what’s to come for the Saint Martin’s women’s basketball team this season.

Taking to the stands, we were able to watch this newly refined basketball team take the court against Pacific Lutheran University for a little South Sound match-up. Many students and community members alike found themselves at Marcus Pavilion for the second home game of the season, and the gym only gained more Saints Basketball fans the later it got, adding to the energy levels. Before the game, each player honored a professor or staff member of their choice for staff appreciation night. To further appreciate members of the Saint Martin’s community, international athletes were also honored during halftime.

Neither team established dominance right away. By the end of the first quarter, the Saint’s defense had allowed the Pacific Lutheran Lutes to score 19 points, the offense only scoring 16 points in return. They were only able to score seven more points before the half, leaving them 23-24 at halftime with a one-point deficit. The entire first half was back and forth, with crucial shots missed by both teams. Halftime must have given the Saints the jumpstart they needed because they dominated Pacific Lutheran in the second half. They came out strong and in the third quarter alone, the Saints scored 29 points with only six points given up. They followed it up with 12 more in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. The final score was 64-41, Saint Martin’s. Claire Dingus, Lauryn Morris and Maryn Budiman led the Saints with six rebounds apiece and Dingus led in assists with six. Rian Clear contributed a game-high 18 points to the win for the Saints, while Dingus scored 14 and Tierney DeDonatis had 10. The success was a team effort all around and advanced them to a 2-0 record on the season.

The next time this team takes the court is Friday, November 19 against Sonoma State at the Western Oregon University Tournament in Monmouth, Ore. The Saints then head to Texas for a couple of non-conference games before coming home to Marcus Pavilion to take on Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 2 and Alaska on Dec. 4 to open their GNAC competition season. Both Alaska teams will be competitive games, so be sure to go support the Saints as they fight for the GNAC title this season.

A New SMU Men’s Basketball Team Hopes to Shock the GNAC

Malia Pinder, Staff Writer

The Saint Martin’s men’s basketball team started their season against some challenging exhibition competition at Oregon State University. The loss was heartbreaking, losing by a three-point buzzer-beater. They played a redemption game at Lewis & Clark the next day, winning by 12. After two regular-season games in San Marcos, Calif., the Saints went into their home-opener on Nov. 17 with a 1-1 record.

The team this season looks a lot different from last season’s roster. The Saints got six transfers and three first-year students. Kyle Greeley and Jaden Nielsen-Skinner both transferred from Portland State, Christian Haffner transferred from Des Moines Area Community College, Goy Wang is a transfer from Trinidad State Junior College, Veljko Illic transferred from Utah State Eastern, and Brett Reed transferred from Chaminade. With the nine new guys, the Saints hope to elevate their program and have a winning season. With a brand-new roster, one may think there might be some growing pains, but so far, the team has looked like they have been playing together for years.

 In case you have not had the experience of a home game, I highly recommend going. They’re intense, high-energy, and exciting to watch. This game did not disappoint, and the student section was full of fans ready for the first home game of the season. The Saints took on the Warner Pacific Knights from Portland, Ore. Both teams came out strong to start the game, and Warner Pacific held the lead for the first part of the first half. The score was back and forth and so was possession, neither team getting too big of a lead. The tide seemed to change after a three-point shot by Haffner put the Saints up by four around the twelfth minute. The Saints held onto this lead for the rest of the first half, only allowing ten more points after that while gaining 13.

Halftime came and went, and they only seemed to be sharper as the game went on. While they missed a few shots, that did not cost the Saints and they held the lead for the entire second half. The whole pavilion went absolutely insane when Marky Adams, a First Team selection from the Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll, rebounded a jumper from Neilsen-Skinner and dunked the ball to score the 98 and 99 points of the game for the Saints. That solidified the win for the Saints, and it could not have been a more exciting end. The final score was 99-81.

The leaders for the night were Reed with 20 points, Haffner with 16, and Greeley with 15 points. Three other Saints joined them with double-digit days. Greeley also had a team-high eight rebounds and made three three-point shots. Tyke Thompson and Haffer joined Greeley with four three-point shots apiece. The athleticism and skill displayed by this 2021 roster were evident, and they should be a force to be reckoned with in the GNAC this season despite their Pre-Season Ranking at ninth.

The men’s basketball team is back in action in California on Nov. 24 when they take on Cal State East Bay. They play two more games in California before coming back to Lacey for a six-game homestand. They will play top-ranked GNAC teams on Dec. 2 and 4 as part of that homestand, so be sure to pack the pav and support your Saints.

Difficult Majors? We asked students!

Ailina Cunningham, Staff Writer

If you were to ask anyone on campus about their major, you would learn a lot more than you were expecting. For some, it’s to advance their current career. For others, it’s to look forward to a future career. But regardless of the reasons behind the degree, everyone can attest that their degree may have been more complicated than they thought it would be. Occasionally the classes are challenging, or the material is more complex than imagined. It can happen to the best of us; we go into class one day only to realize that the material we are learning about is something we’ve never encountered before and don’t know how to process it. New methods for studying must be learned to keep up with the pace of the class. Students were asked about their opinions on which majors and degrees are the hardest to accomplish. All students interviewed have asked to remain anonymous to preserve their privacy. It’s important to The Belltower to respect students’ privacy when they answer interviews so no names will be listed.

The most challenging degrees that students were able to agree on were the nursing and engineering degrees. The nursing program is newer to Saint Martin’s and has proved crucial by enabling students to understand the medical field in an up-close way.

“I love my degree and I’m doing what I love, but I have to say that the workload that I have is a little bit insane. It’s not like I want to complain or anything, I’m just saying that learning all this stuff while we’re in a pandemic that doesn’t respect nurses is hard”.

A SMU Nursing Student

The nursing program includes in-person Hands-On hours for a better understanding of how real-life nursing takes place. Additionally, classes such as anatomy and math are fundamental to the medical field, which students have found difficult.

“Whenever we do our classwork or our labs, we have to make sure that everything is super clean and on point, because medicine is a super-specific field, and if you mess up a dosage then you could hurt someone, so learning about how to make things precise is difficult sometimes.”

A SMU Pre-Med Student

As for our engineering degree, when asked about their workload, students were able to recall times when they may have felt overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do in the math department and the labs. The nursing and engineering programs have labs that they must complete to show proficiency and Hands-On expertise in the material. Students have said that a lot of the labs they are doing are fun to do. However, that does not detract from the occasional lab that presents a challenge and ends up taking an excessive amount of time studying. It’s always important to acknowledge how much studying goes into understanding the material of something. The students who choose these degrees and take the responsibility of learning what they can from them have gained the valuable lesson of learning how to study. The Belltower is proud of all students who work very hard to complete their studies and turn in their high-quality work.

Thanksgiving and Saint Martin’s Values

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

As November ends, many students and staff are looking towards the Thanksgiving break, and many students discuss their plans. Senior Annika Briggs says, “My plans for Thanksgiving are to drive to my hometown and spend time with my parents and cousins.” Junior Rhea Herradura explains that over break, “My family has decided to have our regular/traditional get together with our close friends and family here in Washington. Every year we always think about what we’ll do, such as traveling or going on a road trip, but it usually ends up staying close to home”. Sophomore Alexandria Parsons shares with us her plans for the holiday break, “My plans this Thanksgiving are going to Utah to spend it with my sister and her family!” Saint Martin’s is known to throw amazing events for students to enjoy.

Director of the campus ministry, Colleen Dunne, informed us about Saint Martin’s upcoming plans for Thanksgiving: “So we don’t have a lot because so many of our students are close by and they go home. For our students who can’t go home, we are doing a Thanksgiving dinner! It is going to have more like a home-cooked potluck feel. It will be in the residents’ halls, and any student is welcome to come. There have been sign-ups that have gone out, and some of the food is coming from Bon Appetit. We are also reaching out to faculty and staff and asking anyone close by if they can make extra food or dishes and bring them! We are just trying to create a community feel with the dinner, and Janie Sacco, Sara Haugh, and I are working on it together. Thanksgiving is a holiday known for being centered around families and food. Students and staff share how Thanksgiving relates to Saint Martin’s values.”

“Come out and join us, everyone is welcome”

Annika Briggs shares, “Thanksgiving ties into the SMU values because of the respect for persons, and the time to reflect on who we are grateful for. It is also a time to give to those in need, which is a key part of hospitality. Doing things for others is an important aspect of the Thanksgiving season.” Alexandria Parsons shared that Thanksgiving values relate to the values of SMU because, “I think the community is a key part of both Thanksgiving and St. Martins, the two focus on togetherness!” Rhea Herradura discusses how values and the holiday are related. She said, “How I see Thanksgiving tying into the values of Saint Martin’s University is how we build a sense of community with those we love and care about, around us or even far away. It’s almost a celebration of gratitude where we appreciate our relationships, in which we gather and enjoy each other’s company. We relish in the greater understanding of service towards others and letting go, with our trust in one another I would associate that with faith. Of course, the last value is reason. I believe this is self-explanatory through the years of loving memories and stories. Sure, there are other holidays such as Christmas where you could argue we celebrate one another, but those times are different in the sense of where our focus is. Thanksgiving is around family and friends, while Christmas is more about the birth of Jesus Christ and/or a day of rest.”

Sister Raphaela Cady shares her insight on the values of SMU and how they relate to Thanksgiving, “For me, the Benedictine value of simplicity comes to mind. Inclusiveness, gathering people together, and gratitude are important aspects of the holiday. Thanksgiving has traditionally been about people being together and sharing what they have. Hospitality is a Benedictine value at Saint Martin’s encompasses as well. There are many opportunities for people to participate in Thanksgiving at Saint Martin’s to engage in the Benedictine hospitality of creating space for people to gather. This is essential to who we are so we can continue to create hospitality and give ourselves room for simplicity.” Overall, Thanksgiving is seen as a time for students to spend time with loved ones and reflect on what they are thankful for.