Saint Anselm Community Battles Batten Disease in Decathlon

For a large number of Saint Anselm students, this past Sunday consisted of jumping rope, bowling, and three-legged races. Amidst all the excitement, there was one common cause drawing nearly 250 people, mostly comprised of Saint Anselm students, to the Carr Center for the day: a promise to a boy named Nicholas.

Through the Meelia Center for Community Service, and the dedication of a core group of student volunteers, Saint Anselm College held its first Decathlon to Battle Batten Disease. A rare and currently incurable genetic disorder, Battens Disease affects an estimated two to four in every 100, 000 children born in the United States.

Each team that participated was required to raise a minimum of $100, all the proceeds going towards a fundraising campaign entitled Our Promise to Nicholas,  started by a family in Bedford. The goal is to create partnerships in order to promote awareness and fund research for a cure for Batten Disease, which their son Nicholas was diagnosed with at age five.

Participating in a series of ten events, teams exuded energy and enthusiasm while competing in soccer, hockey, a relay, triple jump, jump rope, a three-legged race, basketball, bowling, softball and balloon tosses, and finishing with a bonus round of trivia. The team accumulating the most points would ultimately win the decathlon.

Sean Leonard'10 with Nicholas“Its fun to compete with the other teams and rack up some points but the reason we’ve all gathered together today is to help raise awareness,” said Andrea Vaillancourt, a senior nursing major, who began babysitting for Nicholas previous to his diagnosis. Vaillancourt and a fellow senior nursing major and babysitter Lindsey Mooney, helped connect Nicholas’ family with the college.  Their passion was evident as they discussed hopes for the decathlon to become an annual event.

Caitlin Stromberg’11, one of the organizers of the event, said “it’s been very successful so far, we have already passed our initial fund raising goal.” Stromberg, Stephanie Luckern’10, Craig Hooper’12, and Caitlyn Eaton’ 12 were the dedicated team, with a number volunteers, that made the event happen, arriving as early as 6:30 that morning to set up. “It was a lot of planning and figuring out logistics but it’s definitely been worth it, and I can’t wait to meet Nicholas!” Stromberg said of his anticipated arrival later that day.

The teams, initially divided men’s, women’s, and co-ed divisions, reconvened in the afternoon for the final balloon toss event and to meet Nicholas, whom students took turns shooting hoops and playing soccer with.  Allie Forbes’ 11, said “I didn’t know anything about Battens but I did some research and I was glad to be able to participate. It was a great time.”

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Photo 1: Women's Ice Hockey Team Jumping Rope

Photo 2: Sean Leonard' 10 with Nicholas

More photos from the decathlon can be found at

Caitlin McGee '10 Travels to Italy with Research Grant

Caitlin McGee'10, classics major from Nashua, N.H., traveled to Orvieto, Italy this past summer for her third consecutive archaeological dig. However, this summer was unique for McGee. With a $3,500 stipend she won through Saint Anselm's Undergraduate Research Scholar Program (URSP), McGee was able to conduct archaeological research at the college's Coriglia excavation site, about 150 miles northwest of Rome.

"My first year on the dig was my first time in Europe. Italy has allowed classics to come alive for me," said McGee, who discovered her passion for classics on the five-week annual excavation, led by professor David George, Ph.D.

McGee, who intends on attending graduate school, has always been curious about the different kinds of research related to her field of study (classics). Her hopes of taking part in the dig for a third time were high but with her busy schedule during the year, including being a resident assistant, she was unable to work to fund it. The aid from the URSP scholarship has allowed her to literally, dig a little deeper…She returned to Orvieto this past summer with not only the knowledge and understanding from her past two excursions but the will to theorize about her discoveries through a mix of archaeological field work and trips to museums to gather information.

McGee's research was centered on pottery found at the Coriglia site. "I found pottery interesting because of the implications of art, culture, and economy…it is what first caught my eye on the initial dig," said McGee.

McGee spent five weeks at the site, accompanied by 10 other students, all but one from Saint Anselm. The dig began in 2006 with seven Saint Anselm College students. Saint Anselm Classics professor David George, served as McGee's mentor. Dr. Claudio Bizzari, faculty of science and archaeology at the University of Camerino, in his role as co-director of the dig, provided additional guidance in Italy. McGee spent these days digging, photographing the pottery findings, putting it into catalogs with corresponding information, and conducting her own additional research at the end of the day.

In addition to the trip's day-to-day activities and completing her research, McGee was given more responsibility this third time around. She was appointed leader of a trench on site, meaning she was in charge of a particular digging area, given her experience. To her surprise, it amounted to more than just a leadership position. "It aided my research because I became more aware of the locations where certain pieces of pottery were found," said McGee.

This experience gave her the ability to have in-depth conversations with expert staff members about the workings of the site and particular findings. "I learned a great deal about archaeology and envisioning how the site works," she said.

McGee is in the process of turning her research into a paper to be presented to the college and hopefully extended to other venues. McGee believes that this opportunity will give her a competitive edge in graduate admissions. She hopes to attain a Ph.D. in classics where she can incorporate archaeology with an emphasis on language.

The URSP seeks to promote scholarly undergraduate research, inter-institutional mentoring, and increase the number of successful admissions to graduate school for students attending a small, four-year liberal arts college.

Road for Hope Walkers Return to Campus

Don't criticize someone, the adage goes, until you walk a mile in his shoes. But it takes a much longer walk — the full 130 miles — to understand the Road for Hope.

Eight days after departing Lewiston, Maine, on foot, almost 40 Saint Anselm students walked onto campus Saturday to cheers from family and friends. Their feet were blistered and t-shirts drenched, but their spirits soared as they kissed the ground and hugged their parents and siblings.

They camp in church basements and carry everything — mostly clothing and water — on their backs. Two vans, with an emergency medical technician and several nursing students, drive the route, but only drop their packs or accept a ride as a last resort. It's a matter of pride and accomplishment.

"They won't admit when they're in pain," nursing major Sam Varney '10 says, "especially the guys."

The evidence of the pain is their feet. Varney, along with EMTs Meg Wood '10 and Amanda O'Donnell '11, evaluate and bandage the sore feet — and sometimes recommend a time out. Suggesting a break from walking to students who each raised $500 in pledges this summer was not easy.

Road for Hope 2009The walkers arrived in Rochester, N.H., on Wednesday, and were greeted by hugs from a dozen children from St. Charles' Children's Home. The home, a center for children to teens in transition between family circumstances, is an annual beneficiary of the walk and opens their doors, offering the walkers a room for the night.

"It is something the children very much look forward to," Mother Paul Marie of St. Charles said. "Its one of the highlights of our year."

Three days and 44 miles later, the walkers posed outside the brick archway to campus for a group photo with alumnus Fr. Seamus Greisbach, who inspired the walk with his own treck to campus 11 years ago. With the urging of friends and attention from the national media, he organized the Road for Hope in 1999, with the idea of fundraising for charities along the route.

Road for Hope 2009The Road for Hope is a unique way to return to campus, many of the students agreed. While walking, veterans motivated themselves and the first timers with images of the return to campus — an escort from Goffstown Police up Saint Anselm Drive, banners and hugs outside the Dana Center, and a warm shower in their residence hall room. After Road for Hope, walking will never seem the same.

Photos by Greg Wallace '10

To see more Road for Hope photos check out the college's Flickr page:

Read about the Road for Hope departure from campus.

Saint Anselm Freshmen Participate in Day of Service

Day of Service at Girls, Inc.Saint Anselm freshman continued their transition to becoming true Anselmians as they participated in the Brian McGuire Day of Service on Saturday, August 29. As part of the morning session of orientation 2009, freshmen completed community service at over 20 different sites in the greater Manchester area.

The day of service is a one of the highlight's of Saint Anselm's orientation program. It is named after the late Brian McGuire, a former Saint Anselm student.

"This day is named after Brian because he wanted to give back to the community," said Erica Mawbe '10, Assistant Director of the Meelia Center. According to Mawbe, Brian's parents, along with Dan Forbes in the Meelia Center for Community Service, came up with the idea for the day of service to not only honor their son, but in hopes of promoting community involvement with the incoming class.

During the day of service, freshmen volunteered their time at sites all around Manchester and Goffstown, participating in a variety of projects. At Saint Raphael Parish in Manchester, students cleaned stained glass windows, hung flags, and more, all while learning about the history of the first Benedictine parish in New England.

Right outside the boundaries of campus, at Girls Inc., students helped in the renovation and organization of playrooms to prepare the site for the upcoming school year.

Meanwhile, at the Villa Augustina School in Goffstown, students wrote letters to pre-k and kindergarten children, relating to them about the concerns about starting school for the first time.

"I feel like this is a really good bonding activity", said orientation leader Marina Alberti '12. "They now have things they can relate to, which helps them get closer to each other. I also think this part of orientation really shows what Saint Anselm is all about."

The orientation leaders look fondly on this part of orientation, for many reasons. For some, it is an opportunity to teach their group members about the value of service. For others, it's a time to remember Brian and his family.

"This day is in homage to the person and family who has lost so much and sacrificed so much to keep us mindful of the value of life" said Orientation Leader Scott Campbell '10.

For photos of the Brian McGuire Day of Service and other Orientation events, check out our Flickr page at

Saint Anselm Athletes Return for Preseason 2009

Cross Country TeamSummer vacation has come to a close for many Saint Anselm college athletes. All of our fall teams have moved into their dorms and apartments, as preseason 2009 has begun.

Starting in the beginning of August, each one of the fall teams moved in for their preseason activities. The first team, Cross Country, began their training at One Hundred Acres-a property owned by Saint Anselm in New Boston, N.H. The team spent their week  running through paths in the woods, on the beach, and through the back roads of New Hampshire.

"One Hundred Acres is all about building the culture of the team and establishing a running base," said Assistant Coach Michelle Massmann said. The team has now moved preseason back to Saint Anselm, and can be seen running and stretching all over campus.

The football team followed close behind–their preseason also began in early August. Nearly 50 freshmen showed up for tryouts this year, bringing the team roster to a total of 74 players. The early start was prompted by the August 29th home opener against Kutztown; the team has been training hard, and like all of our athletes, braving the sweltering heat.

The field hockey and soccer teams moved in just as the only heat wave of the summer overtook N.H. In addition to sweating through sprint workouts and drills, the teams were able to participate in fun activities outside the practice field. The women's soccer team enjoyed a few morning yoga sessions, while the field hockey team had a scavenger hunt and then made a trip to "Blake's" for ice cream.

Men's soccer during preseason practiceMen's soccer has also been practicing hard this preseason. Their first game is August 29th against Dominican and like their fellow athletes have been working through the heat to hopefully bring a win home for the Hawks.

Although they have to suffer through grueling workouts and climbing temperatures, the athletes understand the importance of the preseason preparation.

Field hockey captain, Sara Griffin, cites the ability to focus solely on field hockey as one of the highlights. "I'm excited to be back on campus for preseason. I think it helps ease into the year better and I am able to build relationships with my teammates without any distractions."

To see photos of each of the fall teams at preseason, check out the Saint Anselm College Flickr photostream.

Orientation Leaders Take Training to New Heights

Orientation Leader TrainingWhen new students move to campus on Thursday, the first upperclassmen they will meet are orientation leaders. OLs, as they are called, will unpack the cars driven by anxious parents, answer the questions of nervous students, and tirelessly offer directions. To prepare for the incoming students, the orientation leaders spent Tuesday afternoon at a local ropes course. [Read more…]

Ten Years Later, Annual Road for Hope Looks to Top $200,000

Road for Hope walkers 2008Thirty seven Saint Anselm College students are taking the scenic route back to campus this fall — and with very good reason. Starting in Lewiston, Maine, on Saturday morning, August 22, and finishing outside Saint Anselm’s stone face a week later, they are walking the 10th annual, 130-mile Road for Hope. [Read more…]

Saint Anselm Students Dig for History in Italy

Saint Anselm students and faculty in ItalyAbout 75 miles northwest of Rome, a group of 20 Saint Anselm College students and faculty are braving heat and snakes to excavate what they believe is an Etruscan religious sanctuary. [Read more…]

Conference Offers Practical Experience and Skills to Young Women Leaders

NEW leadership participantsSen. Jeanne Shaheen told a group of 22 young women this week that she was born for politics, as she offered the keynote address for a five-day institute aimed at preparing college-age women for leadership. [Read more…]

Students Deliver Food, Clothing, and Furniture to Manchester Residents

Meg Wood '10 and Allie Riley '09 with children from ManchesterIf attention spans and academic motivation wavered as summer vacation loomed near, the Benedictine spirit was one aspect of Saint Anselm College that remained strong when 20 students delivered food, clothing, and furniture to charities and needy families in Manchester, N.H. through the Food, Clothing and Furniture (FCF) Drive. [Read more…]