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SGA hosts ‘Support A Belle Love A Belle’ week

For the first week of November, Saint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) hosted “Support A Belle Love A Belle” (SABLAB) week.

SABLAB week has been a fall tradition held on Saint Mary’s Campus, with events spanning an entire week. Its intention, SGA president Angela Martinez Camacho explained, is to encourage the building of community among Saint Mary’s students. 

“SABLAB week is simply celebrating what it means to be a Belle, building community between one another and having fun throughout a one-week period,” Martinez Camacho said. 

For the first time, this year SGA worked ‘Smick Day’ into the SABLAB week of events. This incorporation led to collaboration with many different SGA committees.

Thalia Mora, co-chair of the Social Concerns Committee, spoke on the efforts necessary to make a week like this happen.

“Preparation was a lot of working with my co-chair for Social Concerns, Hannah Kaczor, to budget, order, design and set up these events. We also collaborated with other SGA committees like Student Life and Involvement who really headed up Smick Day and the Academic Liaison Committee for our alum mixer,” Mora said.

Events started at the beginning of the week, early Monday morning, with Chick-fil-A for breakfast in Spes Unica Hall.

“I think students appreciated a yummy start to the week, starting on a good note,” Martinez Camacho said. 

Progressing through the week, Tuesday’s event provided students with information from Callisto, and Wednesday’s events included a “Proud Smick” t-shirt pop-up in Le Mans Hall, along with the Smick Day event itself.

“Tuesday, we tabled with a representative of Callisto to promote the online tool to students — especially as we continue or address and fight against sexual violence. Wednesday, we had a t-shirt pop-up around 3 p.m. and Smick Day later in the afternoon,” Martinez Camacho said. “I think this was my favorite day and event because we provided that sense of community to our students through food and various other activities.”

Mora explained the on-campus significance of SABLAB, specifically the students’ positive feedback at events throughout the week.

“During many of the pop-ups and events throughout the week, we got so many comments about how it would make people’s day and that it made them feel appreciated as a student and a Belle. It was really cool to hear and see how excited students were about the little things that reminded them that they are cared for,” Mora said. 

Martinez Camacho illustrated the overall impact the week of events had on the students and the Saint Mary’s community.

“As a historically all-women’s college, we are incredibly unique. This week allows us to celebrate that uniqueness and embrace and reinforce the community that has been built.” Martinez Camacho explained. “Especially as the semester is starting to come to a close, we want our students to feel supported by all of the Belles around them, knowing that this is a community that is right there to demonstrate love, unity and fight for their best interests.”

Contact Cora Haddad at chaddad01@saintmarys.edu.

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Saint Mary’s celebrates third annual Smick Day

As the sun was setting behind the Le Mans bell tower Wednesday evening, students gathered for the third annual Smick Day hosted by Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) and organized by the Student Life committee.

Josie Haas, student body vice president, explained the history behind Smick Day.

“‘Smick’ was used as a derogatory term, and for that reason Saint Mary’s wanted to reclaim and take it back as an empowering term, rather than something that puts our Saint Mary’s students down,” Haas said.

Now, each year, students from across the tri-campus community are invited to join Saint Mary’s in celebrating Smicks. Buttons that said “proud Smick” and “Smick ally,” along with free Saint Mary’s shirts were being passed out. SGA provided Raising Cane’s chicken, a bounce house, bracelet-making stations and a blank canvas for students to leave blue handprints on.

This event is part of Support a Belle, Love a Belle week. A week full of various events and activities put on by SGA to celebrate being a Saint Mary’s student.

Different Saint Mary’s clubs had the opportunity to promote themselves at this event. Campus Ministry, Student Diversity Board (SDB) and Residence Hall Association (RHA) had tables set up on Le Mans green where they handed out shirts, stickers, and various crafts for students to take part in. The Saint Mary’s Cheer Club came and performed a few cheers in front of the crowd of students, encouraging them to “rock with the white and roll with the blue”.

Representatives from the new sustainable farm had a table and brought five of their chickens to take part in the celebration. Students were allowed to pet and hold the chickens who are recent additions to the campus.

Being a smick can mean something a little different to everyone.

Shay Schneider, SMC alumna and associate dean of students, gave insight on what “Smick” means to her.

“It’s a nice, fun, succinct way to say who we are and be proud of that,” Schneider said. “We gave that word a lot of power and we gave other people power over that word, but when we were able to reclaim it, it gave us the power to really make it who we are.”

Ramona Monroe, a junior in attendance, also shared her opinion on what being a Smick means.

“Smick means to me embracing my education along with people who have the same goals that I do and finding a sense of community or sisterhood along the way,” she said.

Another student in attendance, Laura Golubski, used one word to describe Smick: “Sisterhood.”

“It’s just great knowing that I have people that are going to back me up in life with everything that I do,” she said.

Student body president Angela Martinez Camacho gave her idea of what being a Smick is saying, “I can add my own identities to the word ‘Smick’. I am a Latina Smick, I am a POC Smick, I am a Texan Smick. There’s just a way that you can make it unique to yourself but still be a part of the SMC community.”

Contact Cathy Doherty at cdoherty01@saintmarys.edu.

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Sports

Belles cross country takes sixth at MIAA Championship

Saint Mary’s cross country began their postseason on Saturday morning as they made the trek to Shepherd, Michigan for the MIAA Conference Championship. The Belles came ready to compete, as each of Saint Mary’s top ten runners posted personal best times in what was easily the team’s best performance of the season to date. The effort was enough to earn sixth place among a field that featured several nationally-ranked teams at the Division III level.

The Belles went into Saturday’s race with a strong sense of familiarity regarding their opponents, having faced many of them throughout the regular season. All nine MIAA teams raced at the DIII Preview Meet earlier in the October, and Saint Mary’s battled several conference foes at its most recent meet, the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble.

With a conference title on the line, the Belles relied on a veteran-heavy lineup to guide the team, as each of their five scoring positions were comprised of upperclassmen. Junior Haley Greene led the way for the Belles, finishing in 36th place with a time of 23:36 in the 6k race. Amanda Tracy, also a junior, was just behind, taking 38th place in 23:40.2.

Needing three more strong performances to complete the team’s scoring, a trio of seniors, racing in their final MIAA Championship, answered the call. Angela Bannan finished in 52nd place with a time of 24:13.5. Soon after, Anna DeMars established a huge new personal record, topping her previous best by more than 45 seconds, finishing in 24:45.5. DeMars claimed 65th place for the Belles. Alexa Zeese was the fifth Saint Mary’s finisher, and her time of 24:49.3 earned 67th place. The race highlighted the Belles’ impressive depth, as several more Saint Mary’s runners finished near the team’s top five. Sophomore Susanna Bernovich, freshman Isabelle Auch, and freshman Carly Davis were close behind Zeese while finishing in 69th, 71st, and 73rd, respectively.

No. 24 Hope ultimately won the MIAA Championship with a score of 39 points. No. 20 Calvin and No. 35 Trine were hot on their heels with 50 and 52, and these teams established themselves as the clear class of the conference. Saint Mary’s finished in sixth place with 172 points. The Belles’ performance was a true team effort; each of the five teams that placed ahead of them had a runner in the top eight, while Saint Mary’s top finisher came in 36th. The Belles’ ability to remain competitive with these teams showed the strength of their team from top to bottom.

Following breakout performances from most of its roster, Saint Mary’s will look to carry its momentum into the final stages of the season. Next up for the Belles is the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 12 in Holland, Michigan. The regional meet will feature every MIAA team as well as a host of other programs from around the Midwest, and the Belles will be aiming to improve upon last year’s 22nd-place finish. After Saturday’s race, it appears that Saint Mary’s is peaking at the right time and is well-prepared to continue its postseason push.

Contact Matthew at mcrow@nd.edu.

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Morgan’s Message club advocates for student athletes

Editor’s Note: This story includes mentions of suicide and mental health conditions.

Students at Saint Mary’s are hoping to foster a more open and honest community through one of its new clubs, Morgan’s Message. Founded by the friends and family of Morgan Rodgers, a women’s lacrosse player at Duke University who died by suicide in 2019, the nonprofit organization has spread across various college campuses with the goal of ending the stigma around mental health. 

Erin Dotson, the president of Morgan’s Message and a senior on the Saint Mary’s lacrosse team, said she has spent much of her time trying to grow the club and promoting the importance of engaging in conversations about mental health throughout the campus community.

“After a close friend of mine had passed away from mental health not too long ago, it really pushed me to want to do this,” Dotson said.

Dotson said it is important to let people know that it is “OK not to be OK,” and there are resources out there to help people who are struggling.

Other Saint Mary’s students are also working toward the goal of destigmatizing mental health. Junior Anne Goralczyk serves as a campus captain for The Hidden Opponent, an organization founded by former USC volleyball player Victoria Garrick that provides mental health resources for athletes.

Goralczyk said she is excited about a new campaign Morgan’s Message is about to launch at the College.

“We’re so excited about a campaign where we will choose an athlete from each of the eight teams here at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “We will take a photo of them on their respective fields, then they come up with an impact statement about mental health and we post the photos around campus. It’s an easy way to spread awareness and encourage conversation.”

In addition to the Dotson and Goralczyk’s efforts, several other Saint Mary’s student-athletes have publicly expressed a desire to uplift the campus by informing students of healthy outlets when dealing with mental health struggles. 

One of these students is Izzi Linus, vice president of Morgan’s Message and a Saint Mary’s soccer player.

“I hope to spread awareness around campus and hopefully the tri-campus community,” Linus said. “There have been so many instances in the past year with athletes taking their own lives, and I hope to spread awareness and reach as many people as possible.”

Sophomore Valentina Rubio is the secretary of Morgan’s Message and a member of the lacrosse team. She has also worked to try to make the new club a place where students can feel comfortable expressing their feelings toward peers about their own personal struggles.

“I would like Morgan’s Message to be an option for everyone,” Rubio said. “If you do a sport or don’t do a sport, just to be able to spread more awareness and have it be more student to student rather than student to adult. It’s important so that we can grow in community and confide in one another.”

Contact Moira at mquinn02@saintmarys.edu.

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Sports

Belles fall to Trine in hard-fought sweep

After a successful 3-1 weekend with wins against BlufftonWaynesburg and Defiance, the Saint Mary’s College Belles took on the Trine Thunder at home on Tuesday at the Angela Athletic Facility.

The first set began slowly for our Belles with Coach Van de Walle’s young starting lineup. Saint Mary’s started just one junior alongside two sophomores and a trio of freshmen. They went down 5-2 early in the set. However, a passionate rally brought the Belles back into the game, with a back-and-forth battle ensuing.

Trine would emerge victorious, taking the set 25-20, with their notably larger and energetic bench as well as their proficiency in the spike overwhelming the Belles. The second set brought another intense exchange. Several hotly contested points saw players diving across the floor to record digs or save a point. No one team could pull away as the fight continued, and there was a palpable energy of competition and grit on the court.

Again, though, the Trine Thunder prevailed on the margins. Battles around the net ultimately did the Belles in once more. The Thunder broke the 24-24 deadlock with a 26-24 victory, with the Belles making vital mistakes in the end.

The final set brought the last tight battle of the night, with yet another back-and-forth exchange. Jubilant celebrations on both benches and intense communication between players further enhanced a tense atmosphere. The Belles found themselves trailing 17-11, but stormed back to tie it — only to go down in a 3-0 sweep with a 21-18 score. While Trine did sweep the match, each set was a viciously even brawl that could have swung the Belles’ way.

Grace Braselton, a freshman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, led Saint Mary’s throughout the night. Her presence at the front of the net was an anchor for the Belles defensively and a crucial weapon offensively. She efficiently notched seven kills on just 16 total attacks. Junior Colleen McCarthy led the squad on kills with nine. However, Trine boasted a better hitting percentage, notching five more kills than the Belles to help them close out the victory. They also added 10 service aces to just three from the hosts.

Saint Mary’s will work to correct the issues this game presented before they head off to the MIAA/NCAC Crossover Tournament this weekend. The Belles look to get back in the win column with the first match of the tournament on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against DePauw.

Adam Akan

Contact Adam at aakan@nd.edu