An Anselmian's Experience on Winter Break Alternative

By: Lauren Wanless '17

To say I learned a lot, met some great new friends, and had an overall amazing time would only be a few short ways to describe my WBA experience. A group of 19 Saint Anselm students, including myself, made Vineland, New Jersey our temporary home as part of the Winter Break Alternative program through Campus Ministry; this means that we voluntarily give up a week of our vacation to engage in service doing hands-on work to improve the lives of those less fortunate. With the help of the Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity organization, our week was packed with the perfect mix of work and play.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that relies mainly on volunteer labor and donations of money and materials to build and repair homes for those in need all over the world. With more than 1,500 local and 70 international affiliates, it is no surprise that the organization has helped over 2 billion people worldwide. Underprivileged families must apply to their local Habitat affiliate and are then chosen based on their level of need, their willingness to work with the volunteers to help build their new home, and their ability to pay back the loan. Even though my group did not get to personally meet the family we were building for, we were honored to help improve the lives of such deserving people.

With three vans packed full of bags, students, and plenty of snacks, we headed off on our nine-hour journey to Jersey at 9:30 AM on the first Saturday of the New Year. The long car ride was a great time to bond with our group members, which was just the beginning of the creation of our Habitat family.

When we finally arrived at the Pope John Paul II Retreat Center in Vineland around 6 PM, the friendly staff greeted us with smiles and a hot dinner. Next, we met Rob and Alyssa, our wonderful Habitat coordinators who planned the entire week for us. They welcomed us with gift bags filled with snacks (food seemed to be a reoccurring theme throughout the week) and an official Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity t-shirt. The more Rob and Alyssa talked to us about how awesome the week was going to be, the more excited we were to get started.

Monday was our first day working on the house. Upon arrival at the job site, we met Tom Baxter, a volunteer that helps with many Habitat projects in Cumberland County. Tom instantly became like a grandfather to everyone. We all loved him because of his quick wit, his stories about his wife and their adventures, and his kind, gentle, and selfless nature. Considering we were a group of students who knew little about home construction, Tom was incredibly understanding and answered every one of our millions of questions with patience. He not only taught us how to build a house, but he was great at sneaking plenty of life lessons in as well.

One of the best parts about working on the house was seeing how much our group grew as individuals and as a team. Someone was always there to hold a board steady, pass up materials to someone high on a ladder, or even something as small as cheering someone on if they were having a hard time hammering a nail into the wall. We learned new skills, overcame fears, and had a lot of laughs along the way.

With the help of Rob and Alyssa, we also got to explore some of the attractions the area had to offer. Everyday after work on the house was done, they had an outing planned for that evening. We visited the site of the restoration of the Palace of Depression, a building made completely of recycled materials, the Wheaton Arts Center and Glass Museum, a local Billiards hall, a Movement Lab where we got to channel our inner ninja warrior, Atlantic City, and many more. Other than working on the house, my favorite part of the week was going to Philadelphia. There, we met up with another WBA group from Saint Anselm doing service in Camden, New Jersey. It was fun to see friends and exchange stories, all while enjoying a delicious and authentic Philly Cheesesteak. Our group then headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ended the night racing up the Rocky Steps. All of our nightly outings added even more excitement to an already fun week.

Together, the people, the work, and the adventures made for an overall unique experience for my first Alternative Winter Break trip. The week would not have been the same without every single one of our group members; it really is remarkable how much a group of strangers can bond in a short amount of time and how quickly they can become such close friends. After all of the fun I had during this week, I cannot wait to go on another WBA trip, and I encourage all Saint Anselm students to participate in such a life-changing program as well.

Club Showcase: Gluten-Free Club

By: Lauren Wanless '17

Whether it is an allergy or a personal choice, gluten-free diets are more popular than ever. Celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed, affects one in every 133 Americans. There is no medical cure for celiac disease, but those affected must follow a 100% gluten-free diet in order to fully alleviate the symptoms. Others who adhere to this diet choose to because of the belief that it will cause weight loss and overall better health.

Because of this, members of the Saint Anselm College community decided to gather everyone who wanted to have an input about the food options on campus for those who need, or want, to be on such a strict diet and created the Gluten-Free Club. At meetings, the group talks about what it is like to eat gluten-free at school and how they can improve and broaden their food options.

The club’s Vice President Canada Stewart explains, “The dining halls are tough when it comes to allergies so we decide what people like and don’t like in Davison and the Coffee Shop and try to fix it”. Already, the campus-wide gluten-free options consist of special pastas, breads, pastries, and more, many of which are made to order. There are also naturally gluten-free choices on the menu that are available without a special request. These items are marked with either the abbreviation “MGF”, for “made without gluten”, or “GF”, meaning “gluten-free”.

Although the gluten-free options on campus are improving, eating out at restaurants poses another a challenge. Many times, the options are not as laid out or as readily available as they are in Davison. Stewart discusses how the Gluten-Free Club works together to overcome this obstacle: “We talk about places around Manchester that have gluten-free options to help each other out”. Today, these types of restaurants are becoming more and more popular. Due to the growing gluten-free community, restaurants saw a 29% increase in the number of menu items made without gluten from 2012-2013.

The Gluten-Free Club is working to participate in preexisting events or even set up their own events on campus in order to spread the word about their club and the gluten-free community in general. With the growing number of gluten-free students at Saint Anselm College, the club hopes to gather opinions, ideas, and support from everyone participating in the gluten-free lifestyle.

Team of the Week: Women's Rugby

Women’s Rugby is a very different team from last year. Coming off of their first Division II win, a plate from the spring 7s tournament and a dedicated group of coaches and players, the team has a lot to look forward to this season. Last season, four of those players were named to the All-Conference Team or All-Conference Second Team. One player was named to the All-Conference Second Team for the Spring 7s Tournament. They are constantly pushing themselves and each other to get better, and the results are showing.

So far this season, the team sits at 2-1 in the league. The wins came against UMASS Lowell (67-0) and Southern Connecticut State University (58-0), while the loss was to the hands of perennial powerhouse Stonehill (62-7). Aside from fielding an A-side team, they have been playing a B-side team. By fielding both an A-side and B-side team, every girl has a chance to play. Several B-side teams have played A-side teams and done well. Usually, the B-side team does not play the same team. While the A-side team played UMASS Lowell, the B-side played Salve Regina. Against Salve Regina, the B-side team tied 0-0. However, like Captain Haley Mount said, “This is extremely impressive seeing as a majority of the girls who were wearing a St. As jersey had never played a minute of rugby before.” Head Coach Jesse Martineau said, “the hardest thing as a coach is convincing the girls that they can compete against bigger schools and at the Division II level. They’re talented and they work hard.”

Aside from rugby, the team is very active in the school community. Several players are Resident Assistants or EMTS, and many girls volunteer individually. Whenever there is a service event on campus, such as the Christmas Fair, Valentine’s Day Dance, or dodgeball, they always try and go and give back. Many players on the team participate in Service and Solidarity trips, and most recently, nine girls participated in Road For Hope. Haley said, “our team really prides ourselves on how active we are on and off campus and that is something we hope never to lose”.

This weekend, the team is hosting their very first Diabetes Awareness Game. Both the coaches and the players are very excited for this particular game. Not only is the game against Merrimack, but this game is personal for the girls on the team. Haley said, “Diabetes is something that hits close to home with our team and we decided that we wanted to start raising awareness about the disease”. Coach Jesse echoed that statement, saying, “the team is really looking forward to the Diabetes Awareness Game and raising awareness.” The team will be selling t-shirts and ribbons and the money will be going to JDRF'S BIONIC PANCREAS PROJECT. Make sure you come out and support the team as the raise awareness for Diabetes and host Merrimack at 3PM on the practice field.

On October 25th, Women’s Rugby will play host to Holy Cross at 5PM. This will be the senior game, and the team will be celebrating. Coach Jesse said, “this is an awesome senior class. They are responsible for taking a team with only a few girls to being the team with the most registered active players in the conference.” There are 11 seniors that the team will recognize at the game. We asked Haley what advice she would give new players, and even people considering playing rugby. She said, “Rugby is what you make of it. The more you put into it the more you get out of it. All the seniors have put in hours of hard work, sweat, laughter, tears, some blood from time to time, and most importantly love. In return, rugby has given me a family I will always have and memories I will never forget. My time here at St. As would not have been the same if it wasn't for rugby and when I graduate my rugby memories, both on and off the field, will be some of the first memories I remember.”

For the team’s hard work both on and off the field, the Student Government Association would like to recognize Women’s Rugby as our Team of the Week. Congratulations, ladies! Best of luck with the remainder of the season!

To stay up to date with Women’s Rugby, you can follow them on Twitter @SACWomensRugby

By: Dominique Del Prete '15