Lost in translation — Unnecessary limitations on La Salle’s language courses


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

There is a serious desire from students at La Salle to learn foreign languages. I had heard about it in passing through my time taking Russian classes, preparing for Foreign Language Awareness Week and otherwise advertising for language classes whenever I could — students would mention that “I would’ve liked to take German, but they didn’t offer it until after my freshman year and I didn’t see the point in starting it later,” or “I took French in high school and loved it but I could never fit it into my schedule,” or “I saw they used to offer Japanese but it doesn’t seem like they have it anymore,” and on and on and on. But how many students actually want to take foreign languages? How can we figure that out?

Support of interest

Throughout Foreign Language Awareness Week at the end of March, students were able to vote on languages that they would like to learn at La Salle. At events throughout the week, slips of paper were available where students could write their name, major, email and pick, in a perfect world free of scheduling conflicts and other circumstances, what language(s) they’d like to learn from a list of languages that have been offered at La Salle in the past (plus a space to list others). Here’s the results from that non-scientific, self-selection-biased, small-sample-sized poll:

All languages on the list have a number of interested students that meets or, in almost all cases (sorry, German), exceeds the 10-student minimum class size requirement.

When broken down by grade level, the highest interest is among current first-year students, which bodes well for the possibility of having students that continue to be able to take foreign language classes before they graduate. Many respondents to this poll indicated that they want to learn more than one language — an average of 1.73 for current juniors, 1.79 for freshmen, and 2.12 for sophomores.

Students who were at Foreign Language Week events were already more likely to be interested in languages, and therefore these results don’t represent the university as a whole. But, the poll results probably greatly underreport the desire for foreign language classes, because you had to physically be at one of these events to cast your vote, and students who were unable to attend or didn’t know about the events but still want to take language classes had no way of being counted. The point is, this poll as well as anecdotal evidence of “I really wanted to take French, but it was never offered when I had space in my schedule” and “I would’ve taken German if I could minor in it” and “I do Japanese on Duolingo and really want to take it here” show that there are many students who are interested in taking foreign language classes here.

So why aren’t they?

There is no university-wide foreign language requirement, although a couple of majors have their own versions. For example, the International Relations (IR) major includes a requirement for “four courses in Foreign Languages” and the program description section explains that “It requires four semesters of a language chosen by the student (including, for example, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian and others).” Note that it does not specify that it has to be the same language — that will come up again later. 

Economics and International Studies (ECI) requires “three courses in a single foreign language” with the goal that students in that major “will demonstrate reasonable proficiency in a foreign language.” The page devoted to the Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives shows that majors and minors are offered in Spanish, but for other languages (French, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian), courses are only available as electives.

Maybe students just aren’t interested in learning those other languages. Spanish is the most popular, and therefore there are plenty of students who will register for Spanish language and literature courses. But Russian? Italian? Japanese?

When I talked to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Pamela Barnett, she said that, “I would love to see more students taking languages,” but explained that most languages are only offered every other year because of the university-wide policy that classes need 10 students signed up to run. This “scheduling rotation” was put in place because language courses would fill up in the first year but not at higher levels. Barnett said that the 10-student requirement was created because of the “learning that comes from diversity,” and explained that “I don’t want to cancel classes, but they also cannot run with only five people.” “Before the scheduling rotation,” she said, “often we would not have enough students even in the first year. And that meant even smaller numbers at higher levels. When we started to run every other year, the classes became larger and that’s when you get the learning from diversity.”

It’s a sort of chicken and egg problem, then — students aren’t signing up to take these classes, but these classes aren’t being offered. These classes might be offered if there was enough interest in them, but how can a student be interested in German 301 if they can’t even take German 101? These classes have to exist and develop for both the students’ and administration’s sakes.

Well, here’s one of the problems. There are too many entry-level classes offered in some languages, particularly Spanish, and too few beginner classes offered in others. According to Chair of the Global Languages Department, Dr. Vicki Ketz, most students who come into La Salle wanting to take Spanish classes already have some prior knowledge of Spanish from high school or earlier, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to start at the 101 level. The problem is, Spanish professors are told to offer multiple sections of Spanish 101 in the fall semester, even though, in reality, there’s a need for just one or maybe two sections at that level. 

What’s really needed are multiple sections of 102 and 201 in the fall, when new students are coming in, but those classes aren’t offered as often. The schedule is clogged up with classes that aren’t needed and there’s less space for ones that are. But how could the administration know how many classes are needed at certain levels?

We used to have a language placement test. It was optional and, if reinstated, it should probably stay optional, but my guess is that incoming freshmen would elect to take it, because they don’t want to start learning Spanish (or any other language) from scratch if they could instead just take a quick quiz so they’re put into a class that matches the level they’re at. Reinstating the language placement tests would provide the administration with the information they need to make informed decisions on how many sections of each class, and which levels, should be offered.

The placement test could also show that there’s demand for higher-level classes in languages besides Spanish — the very languages that are barely offered because of the impression that if we can’t scrounge up 10 students for French 101, how on earth would we be able to get that many for 102 and 201? Placement tests could show, for languages like French and German that are often offered in high schools, that there are actually more students who have some knowledge of that language than those who are starting from square one and need the 100-level courses. 

If an incoming freshman took several years of German in high school and wants to continue it at La Salle, but only sees German 101 offered, why would they take a class in basic topics they already know? But by not signing up for German 101 in the fall, that appears to show the administration that there’s a lack of interest in learning German altogether, and not the reality that there is an interest, just for higher levels. The chicken and egg are back. 

Repeat for French or Italian or any other language that’s commonly offered in high schools. We probably need to offer more upper-level language courses, not fewer, in languages like these, but the lack of quality placement tests and lack of students signing up for 100-level classes in languages they already have experience in sends the wrong message to those who make those decisions.

The issue is not that we do not have qualified, talented professors to teach these classes. The issue is not that we do not have interested, motivated students who want to take these classes. The issue is that students who want to take these language courses are unable to, that professors are forced to shut down classes when there’s not a certain number of students registered for them, that the administration does not know how many students come into La Salle with prior knowledge in a language and that certain classes are only offered at one time and, given the choice between taking a language class and fulfilling a major requirement, pretty much every student would pick the latter because there’s no way to fit both into their schedule.

This last issue has an obvious solution — coordinate scheduling between the language department and other departments that often see conflicts and also interest, particularly the departments that consistently see the most overlap (if I had to guess, I’d say political science). That way, a student won’t have to choose between Japanese 101 and Intro to Microeconomics. They can get more of what they want out of their education.

The scheduling conflict appears in other ways, too. For students in the Honors Program, a certain number of Honors electives are required for graduation and, especially in sophomore and junior years, fitting these electives into a schedule is prioritized over just about everything besides major-specific classes. Add in the required Honors Triple classes freshman year (History, Philosophy and English) and there are not many slots left to get started on a language.

If you want to learn a language you don’t have prior experience with, you really ought to get started as soon as you can. I was lucky my freshman year — Russian 101 was offered in the fall, and, with some adjusting around my Honors Triple and econ classes, I was able to take it. But, I also know that a lot of that was just good luck. If freshman year and sophomore year are full of major classes and Honors electives so that language classes don’t fit or aren’t offered that school year altogether, what can be done to fix that problem?

The lack of space in Honors students’ schedules applies to more than just language courses. The Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives offers much more than straight language courses. The department also teaches, for example, classes in literature from different parts of the world, centered around a theme such as a particular time period or social topic. Are these courses cross-listed, as a variety of courses from most other disciplines are, with Honors courses to make them better available to students in the Honors program? No.

Courses from the Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives have not, at least in the past four years, been offered as Honors electives. Allowing cross-listing between the Global Languages electives and Honors electives will bring more students into these electives as Honors students would be able to take classes that would be very difficult for them to find space for otherwise. In addition, by taking Honors electives through the Global Languages Department, Honors students might then find an interest they wouldn’t have tapped into otherwise, and come back to the department to take foreign language courses.

Here’s another suggestion: reduce the minimum student requirement for foreign language classes. Changing these requirements might seem like a Band-Aid solution — sure, the seven students who want to take French 101 this year can take it, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of them are going to graduate, and a couple more won’t be able to put it into their schedules next year, and if a class can’t run at the 100 level, then there’s almost no way it’ll work at the 200 level (barring the reinstatement of the placement test, which could show enough students who test into higher levels).

I’m not saying a class should exist if only two people want to take it, but the professors teaching these language classes should be able to give input on what the minimum number of students in a class should be for it to make sense to hold it. Language involves dialogue and it helps to learn a language with others — but how many others? Would four students in a class be enough for some language courses? Six? Should it really be 10? That should be up to the professors of these classes to decide, as they know the dynamics of teaching a foreign language to a group.

Allowing smaller language classes also helps fulfill the requirements for certain majors — for example, the course requirements for the IR major. By allowing smaller classes to run, those four required language classes could be all within the same language.

But, as it stands, IR just requires four courses of a language. But let’s say you come in undecided and make that your major sophomore year, or you pick it up as a second major sometime after your freshman year. You want to learn German to meet the IR language requirement, but the intro classes are only offered every other year, and it’ll be next year before it happens again. Now you’re stuck with a choice — take a language you’re not as interested in to try to get four semesters of the same language and have some sort of proficiency in it, or take two semesters of something else now and take two semesters of German next year. It still fulfills the IR requirements, but it doesn’t really mean you’ll have a high level of ability in those languages and therefore doesn’t fulfill the point of having the language requirement in an IR major.

Allowing smaller language classes to run could also increase the likelihood that more students want to take those classes in the future as word of mouth and free advertising follows — I told all my friends, foes and other companions they should be taking Russian if they could. Adding the ability to get a minor in these other languages could also increase enrollment in these less-offered languages. It’s true that the skills you gain from studying a language don’t depend on if your official transcript lists them as a minor  — if you can speak Italian, you can speak Italian, irrespective of if you officially have a “real” minor in Italian or not — but the fact that it’s impossible to minor in any language besides Spanish is pretty disheartening.

One of my friends said that, although they took a language in high school and considered continuing it here, they’d rather take six courses from a program that would show up on their transcript, not six courses in one that wouldn’t. Another friend explained that “I really wanted to take Italian, but didn’t because I couldn’t minor in it.” Adding minors in these other languages would show that La Salle is committed to helping students learn a foreign language.

This last point is particularly important, as a quick search of some other universities in the area (Temple, St. Joe’s, Drexel and UPenn) reveals that Temple offers majors and minors in German Language and Cultural Studies, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish, and minors in Portuguese and Arabic. St. Joes has majors and minors in Italian and Spanish, a major in Francophone Studies, and minors in Chinese Language and Culture and German. Drexel provides minors in Arabic, French, Italian Studies, Japanese and Spanish. UPenn has majors and minors in Chinese and Japanese, majors in French and Francophone Studies, Russian and East European Studies, Italian Studies and German and a minor in Korean. By only offering a major and minor in Spanish, La Salle is not nearly as appealing to incoming students who want to study other languages.

Here’s another possible solution, one that would probably take a lot of logistical legwork to figure out and a lot of paperwork to implement, but would certainly have far-reaching and long-term benefits: a foreign language requirement for most, if not all, majors.

It would be difficult to find a field of study that would not benefit from knowledge of a foreign language. A case can be made for adding a foreign language requirement to just about any major offered at La Salle, some easier to justify than others — international business, for some reason, does not have a foreign language requirement despite having ‘international’ in the name itself — and it’s pretty easy to emphasize the increased job and research prospects that would come along with speaking another language if your major is something else business-related, or political science, or history. But why should a biology major learn another language? If you’re studying math, what’s the point of taking language classes?

An alumnus of La Salle’s Global Language Department explained it like this:

“In the sciences, there was a period when mathematics and chemistry majors had to take a second language, as did biology majors who were not medical school bound. Why? To advance in their careers, mathematicians and scientists needed to be able to keep abreast of the most recent research, which included that done outside of the U.S., much of which was not translated into English. The same logic also applied to other fields as well. Those seeking advanced degrees in economics, political science and sociology who wanted to go to a top-tier graduate program needed proficiency in a second language to complete their M.A. and/or Ph.D. requirements.”

“We need to re-look our position on foreign languages,” they continued, “not simply because they open otherwise closed doors to careers, but more because not allowing students to take the courses in the languages they choose hurts the students’ prospects for succeeding in graduate schools as well. Most reputable graduate programs require their M.A. and Ph.D. candidates to pass a proficiency exam in a language other than English.”

Another alumna, Bianca Abbate, ’21, echoed these statements. “The importance of foreign language education cannot be understated,” she explained, “knowing foreign languages is not an accessory. It’s a practical and marketable skill that opens doors for people. La Salle does a disservice to its students when it fails to recognize that.”

I don’t think the provost, dean, admissions department, registrar, Honors Program or any other department or office at this university is malicious or actively working against students as they try to learn a foreign language. I doubt some of them even know all the different layers to these situations. But I do think that the changes that should be made need to be initiated by these groups. There are a lot of issues, complications and poorly-handled situations at play here, but there are a lot of solutions to them, too. 

La Salle University: you want your students to be outward-looking, global citizens, who work with and for others to fight injustice and improve the world. Foreign language skills are an invaluable aid in pursuing these goals — make the study of foreign languages possible.

Movie season: Favorite foreign language films (and TV shows)

Arts & Entertainment

Alina Snopkowski, Editor

Header Image: N2TShop

Happy Foreign Language Awareness Week, La Salle! In the same thread as Nolen Kelly’s past articles about favorite movies from Valentine’s Day or Christmas, here’s a small collection of some foreign-language movies and TV shows that you guys thought were pretty great.

Sarah Liszewski, ‘22: Skam (Norway) and Elite (Spain)

“Skam” is a romantic dramedy that follows friends from Hartvig Nissens school in Oslo. The story deals with very real issues that high schoolers face such as self-esteem, eating disorders, mental health, self care and sexuality. Some American critics have dubbed it the “Norwegian Euphoria” and the comparisons are apt. “Elite” is set in a similar world, albeit with a much more serious tone. The story follows three teenagers from working-class families as they clash with the overly-wealthy students of a bougie private school. The drama from these cultures repelling each other leads to a murder, the central conflict for the series.

“I like ‘Skam’ because it focuses on different characters every season and shows points of view that normal shows wouldn’t. ‘Elite’ is a blend of everything in one show: murder, mystery, love, revenge, and basically every theme you can think of.”

Jake Eiseman, ‘22: Los Espookys (Chile)

“Los Espookys” is a dry comedy series from HBO co-created by comedian Ana Fabrega and “Saturday Night Live” alums Fred Armisen and Julio Torres. The show follows a troop of creatives that travel around an unnamed South American nation putting on horror shows and displays. Their skills as crafting haunted houses take them far and wide, and the plot is bizarre enough that they get wrapped up in crimes, politics and even alien experiments during the show’s single season.

“Los Espookys is one of the funniest series I’ve ever seen. It plays with the tropes of comedy and horror, which is unique in itself. But, it also does it from the perspective of some of the weirdest characters I’ve ever seen. The jokes are just as bizarre as they are unsettling and every episode just keeps getting more crazy. Highly recommend.”

Danielle O’Brien, ‘24: “True Beauty” (South Korea)

In the traditional “K-Drama” style, “True Beauty” is a one season show that tells a contained romance story and covers a lot of ground in its 16-episode run. “True Beauty” follows a high schooler who changes her visual style dramatically after experimenting with online makeup tutorials. The swooning of classmates and disapproval of others is where the comedy of the series comes in, but the story is rather dramatic as it deals with issues of self-image and beauty standards. 

“It’s based on a webtoon series about a girl who ‘transforms’ into the most sought after girl in school, but her secret is that she looks totally different without it. The actors in the drama are so good, I recommend it!”

Nolen Kelly, ‘22: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (China)

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has surpassed cult status in the U.S. over the last two decades, becoming a classic piece of martial arts fantasy that fans go back to for its over-the-top action and impressive choreography. The film is credited with spawning dozens of imitative works since its release, with the martial arts genre changing dramatically due to the cinematography and narrative style of the movie. While it is at times a cheesy martial arts movie, there is a special element about it that can’t be attained by its imitators.

“Fantastic characters, an amazing story, wild fight scenes, a great love story, gorgeous camerawork and visually striking settings make this one of the most unforgettable movies I have ever seen that I will recommend to anyone any time.”

Others’ Favorites

Anthony Pantalone, ‘23, thinks the French film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is “a fantastic slow burn” and has “an ending that stays with you long after the film ends.” 

Enrique Carrasco, ‘24, likes the Japanese series “Attack on Titan” because of the intense and well-animated action sequences. 

Gregory Shannon, ‘22, likes the South Korean film “Parasite” and the animated movie “Spirited Away” from Japan. He says “both are visually stunning and the story is just great. It’s hard to find flaws within these two movies.” 

David O’Brien, ‘24, thinks the 1966 Czechoslovakian film “Daisies” is really funny, and Keri Marable, ‘23, is a fan of the French series “Miraculous Ladybug” because it’s about a “magical girl with cute transformations and fun powers.”

Ciara Ledgard, ‘22, likes the Spanish show “Cable Girls” (“Las Chicas del Cable”) because it takes place in the 1920s and 1930s and it involves mystery and drama. 

Meghan Cain, ‘22, is fond of the Swedish show “Quicksand” because of its great storyline and ending. 

My personal favorite at the moment is the German series “Dark,” which is a really great mix of a lot of really bad things: scandals, murder, affairs and nuclear waste. Plus time travel, which I usually don’t like, and history, which I always like.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response. I hope you found a couple shows or movies that piqued your interest. Foreign Language Awareness Week is just beginning — today (Tuesday) from 12:30 – 2:00 is the food fair in the Hayman lobby, and there’s all sorts of other interesting presentations and events going on the rest of the week, all listed here.

Language at La Salle: benefits of multilingual communication


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

Happy Foreign Language Awareness Week, La Salle! There are countless benefits to studying a foreign language, far too many to put into one article, but we tried our best. Hear from students, alumni and professors on why they’ve learned multiple languages.

Margot Santos, ‘22 Political science and international relations major, LGU minor

Spanish, Portuguese and English; learning French, Italian and Russian

“I speak Spanish, Portuguese and English fluently as I grew up trilingual. I have an intermediate level of French, I can read and write and speak but I wouldn’t say I’m fluent yet. Italian I can understand a lot due to the Spanish language and when I studied it I could grasp it quite easily but I would say I have a good foundation of the language. I am currently studying Russian. This is my second semester taking the language and it is quite different from the other ones I know. It is a great challenge but I am fascinated and enjoy learning. I hope to add more languages to the list after I graduate.

I am very passionate about languages. I find it fascinating how much you can learn about not just the culture, but the people who speak that language. Communication is so important and is a tool used for everything in life. It makes a massive difference when you are able to speak to someone in their mother tongue. That feeling of trust, comfort and familiarity is instantly there. Not only this, but it is a great challenge and humbling experience as the learner to go out of your comfort zone and into someone else’s common ground. Language is what connects us and allows us to understand one another. It also makes traveling easier.”

Kashish Patel, ‘25 Finance and international business major

English and Gujrati; learning Spanish and Japanese

“I wanted to learn these languages because I want to visit Japan as well as Spanish speaking countries. I also used to teach at a tutoring center, which mainly worked with foreign kids who spoke little to no English, so it helped me a lot to have some knowledge of other languages. I think it’s super helpful to know several languages, especially living in the United States because of how many different languages people speak today. It’s helped me communicate with international friends that I’ve made as well.”

Dr. Barbara C. Allen, professor of history

English and Russian; studied French, Spanish and German

“I enjoyed taking French and Spanish courses in high school and wanted to try learning a different language in college. I chose Russian because the U.S. State Department considers it a critical language for international diplomacy and because the Cyrillic alphabet looked interesting. I found the alphabet was the easiest thing to learn. Russian grammar was much harder, because it is so different from English. But it was a very intellectually engaging subject to study. I decided to teach and research the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, so proficiency in the Russian language was obligatory. I need to read primary sources in Russian and read the work of Russian and Soviet historians, much of which has not been translated into English. It is important to study another language to have insight into another culture and a richer perspective about one’s own culture and society.”

Ciara Ledgard, ‘22 — Spanish major, Latin American studies and human services minor

Spanish and English; learning Italian and French

“I have been studying Spanish for several years, and learning Spanish helped me at my summer job when a lot of my fellow employees spoke Spanish as their native language. It helped to be able to communicate with them more clearly.”

Stephen Walton, administrative assistant for the departments of global languages, economics and political science

French and English, learning Japanese

“I speak French, as I took it in school since seventh grade and was a French Studies major when I was a student at Arcadia University. I’m currently trying to learn Japanese, but it’s far more difficult and different than French.

I learned French since my great-grandmother is French and came to America after WWII after marrying my great-grandfather, an American soldier. My mom was actually raised by my great-grandmother, so her upbringing was influenced by French culture.  My mom embraced this part of her heritage and passed it on to me and my two younger brothers. French is one of the biggest and most widespread languages in the world, so you can never go wrong learning French. Even many of our next door neighbors, the Canadians, speak French. Many of the departments I’ve worked in at universities involve language or study abroad, so it’s always been a huge benefit for me to be able to speak a foreign language.

As for Japanese, I’ve always been a fan of traditional Japanese culture as well as its pop culture. I’m a huge fan of anime, Japanese video games and the subcultures surrounding them, so it only makes sense that I learn Japanese with all the Japanese media I consume. Japan is also the country I dream most of visiting, so it would be great to be able to speak Japanese at least somewhat with native speakers.”

Oksana Chubok, professor of Russian

Ukrainian, Russian and English

“I am Ukrainian and my native language is Ukrainian, but by education I am a teacher of Russian language and literature. I fell in love with the Russian language at school, when I got acquainted with the works of Russian writers: Pushkin, Lermontov and Chekhov. I am a graduate of La Salle University; in 2010 I completed the program of Central and Eastern European Studies and received a master’s degree. Since 2010 I have been teaching Russian at the University. I love my students and my job!

Now, knowing the Russian language, I can use it in the fight against Russian propaganda. I try to reach out to those Russian-speaking people who to this day justify the actions of Vladimir Putin, who turn a blind eye (who close their eyes)  to the genocide of the Ukrainian people. There is no excuse for war!”

Elena Tzivekis, ‘21 — Communication major

English and Greek; learning Russian

“I learned Greek while growing up, and knowing the language of my ancestors helps connect me to my roots and also communicate with my family in the states and overseas as well. I decided to take Russian in college, because it is spoken by a handful of relatives on my mom’s side and I have always been fascinated by the language itself. While at La Salle, I had the privilege of learning Russian from one of my favorite professors at La Salle, Professor Chubok. It has helped me personally because it has brought me closer to some of my Russian-speaking family members, and I hope to one day visit Russia and develop my Russian even further.”

Danielle O’Brien ’24, International relations major, Spanish minor

Spanish and English; learning Mandarin

“At first I took Spanish throughout high school because, like most American students, it is required for graduation. But there is a fine line between simply learning a language to pass and learning it to learn it. I started getting discouraged when I noticed my peers around me were retaining the material faster than myself, so I dropped my upcoming Spanish class and decided to take up peer ESL tutoring instead as I thought that was a good way to still practice the language. I was astonished at how much more quickly I could pick up the language speaking with actual native speakers than simply sitting in a classroom. But aside from the opportunity allowing me to learn a second language better, it gave me the opportunity to see first-hand the effect on peers my age as a result of their status in the United States. It consequently inspired me to advocate for change. My experience as a peer ESL tutor for that program in my high school led me to major in international relations and minor in Spanish here at La Salle University, where I am still tutoring peers of an immigrant background in English through the BUSCA program. Thankfully, in my high school, beginners’ Mandarin was offered, which I took for two semesters. However, I’ve been unable to learn more in my higher education as it is not taught here at La Salle. Nevertheless, I can definitively say there is importance in learning languages as the peer tutoring demonstrated to me; language can help people of all backgrounds come to a common ground and thus it is the most essential thing one can learn.”

Dr. Mark Thomas, professor of political science

Russian, German and English; reading proficiency in Polish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Spanish and French

“I learned languages because it increased my marketability when I was looking for work, either in business or government work. Knowing a language removed barriers to communication with my non-U.S. colleagues and opened up topics of discussion in which my business partners did not know the English vocabulary. More speaking in their language built incredible rapport with my professional colleagues in government and business. It showed I cared enough about them and their traditions that I would learn their language. It also enabled me to get insights from listening to their news and reading their newspapers which eluded my monolingual mammal U.S. colleagues. It also allowed me to avoid cultural blunders, which hurt marketing efforts. The classic example of this is the Chevy Nova car. It did not sell well in Spanish-speaking countries.  “Nova” means “it does not go” in Spanish. Oops! By the way, Americans are one of few people in the world who are arrogant enough to think they do not need to learn another language. Almost every country around the world teaches a second language throughout school.”

Bianca Abbate, ‘21 — International relations major

Russian, Italian and English; studied German

“Studying foreign languages, especially Russian, opened doors for me. In 2019, I was able to spend a summer in Russia through a State Department scholarship. More importantly, now is an especially critical time to have a knowledge of Eastern European languages and cultures, given the devastating war in Ukraine. I think that my education in foreign languages has deepened and personalized my understanding of the ongoing tragedies overseas. I feel a special duty to educate myself on the issues. Studying Russian has also brought many Russian and Ukrainian people into my life — people I now think about every day. I’ve been keeping in touch with a few friends in Russia on social media, one of whom sends me pictures of protests in the major cities. While I don’t currently use Russian in my professional life, I expect to see more opportunities to do so in the future. It is weird to think that, if I had not gone to Russia when I did (just before the pandemic and before wartime), I may never have seen Russia in my lifetime.”

Alina Snopkowski, ‘22 — Economics and international studies and criminal justice major, history minor

English and Russian; learning Polish

“I have always been interested in languages and writing, and being able to understand more than one language means you are able to learn from so many more people. You also have access to more information than you would’ve had otherwise. I have been learning Russian at La Salle and while I can’t claim to be even close to fluent, I understand it well enough to be able to read the news from other countries — for example, I am interested in international relations and international politics, so sometimes I read the official state media from Belarus because I think it’s interesting and important to see how the government there presents situations and talks about things. Also, speaking a fair bit of Russian helped me communicate with people I worked with who didn’t speak much English.

People see my name and think I speak Polish; I’ve been on Zoom meetings with people who see my name pop up and then they start speaking Polish with me. It’s pretty embarrassing when I can’t say much. The only Polish I know is the basics through Duolingo and bad words through my family, but one of my goals is to learn Polish and go to Poland someday (with my grandmother). I would love to travel, and speaking more than just English would help me better communicate with people in different places and learn about them and their countries.”

Liz McLaughlin, ‘22 — PPE and finance major, Spanish minor

English and Spanish

Think about how much more connected the world would be if each person spoke, on average, three languages. I know that’s a lot, and I can only claim two — English and Spanish — but what a world that’d be! A big reason why I’ve enjoyed learning Spanish since I started taking classes in eighth grade is because it enables me to connect with people from other cultures in a more challenging way than if I only ever interacted with those who only speak English. Some of my favorite travel memories include traveling to places where I can communicate in Spanish; sometimes it’s nerve-wracking, especially when you’re talking to someone who speaks very quickly. But on the flip side, it’s a confidence booster to be able to adequately express yourself in another language. I firmly believe we should amp up our focus on foreign languages in American schools; I learn about how money varies from country to country, so why shouldn’t we also emphasize how people communicate those transactions? In an increasingly global and connected world, we shouldn’t fall behind on the most basic thing that unites us all: communication.”

Dr. Vicki Ketz, professor of Spanish, chairperson of the department of global languages, literature and perspectives

“I grew up in a multilingual household, so speaking foreign languages was normal for me. My father was in international business, and this is why my family lived in different countries all over the world. Wherever we would move, I would learn the language of that country.

Studying a global language is really more than learning words and grammar. You learn to communicate with other people from other countries. More importantly, you learn about different cultures: their history, their art, their political structures, their religion and their values. It opens your eyes to different perspectives; not everyone sees the world the way you do. Understanding the way people think is very important in any field that you may work. Maybe if humans were better at it, there would not be as much conflict in the world.

For me, learning a foreign language is like deciphering a puzzle with multiple variables, and I love breaking a code. I can remember being in Greece one time and using the knowledge that I had learned in my ancient Greek class to decrypt the signs. (Columbia required Latin and ancient Greek for PhD coursework, but I never thought I would use it.) But yet, there I was reading the Euclidean alphabet to understand what was written. That was pretty cool!”

This week’s Foreign Language Awareness Week festivities

Upcoming Events

Alina Snopkowski, Editor

Header Image: Graphic by Alina Snopkowski

La Salle’s annual Foreign Language Awareness Week began on Monday, March 28. The week is full of presentations, activities and fun and informative opportunities to learn about different cultures, countries and languages.

The organizations running the event will be handing out passports for students and faculty to collect and learn more about the events. This passport includes a list of all the events of the week as well as where and when they will be taking place. When you attend an event, you’ll get a mark on your passport. Some professors are offering extra credit for attending certain events or presentations, and a gift card raffle will be held at the end of the week. The more events you go to, the more chances you have to win. Turn in your passport to Hayman 241 by Wednesday, April 6 to be entered into the raffle.


On Tuesday, March 29, the main event of the day is the food fair in the Hayman lobby. From 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. come enjoy food from all over the world, including curry, hummus, empanadas, pastries and Polish chrusciki from my own grandmother’s recipe (I can’t make them as good as she can, but I’m trying my best).

You are invited to wear your cultural attire any day of the week, but especially on Tuesday.

Elements of Celtic Spirituality presented by Dr. O’Connell 3:30 – 4:00 in Hayman 217


Wednesday, March 30 is full of cultural presentations. The presentations for that day, as well as for Tuesday and Thursday, are all listed at the end of this article. Come hear professors, student organizations and other experts present on a variety of topics.


Auguste Rodin: Founder of Modern Sculpture; A Walk presented by Brother Leonard – 10:00 | 10:30 in Hayman 211

French Movie – 11:00 | 12:00 in Hayman 207

Kiss, Bow, Shake Hands presented by Dr. Thomas | 10:45 – 11:00 in Hayman 211

Pysanky: The Art of Ukrainian Easter Eggs presented by Chrystyna Prokopovych | 12:30 – 2:30 in Hayman 214

Scholarships to Travel Abroad presented by Dr. Ketz | 2:00 – 2:30 in Hayman 211

Quinceanera presented by OLAS | 3:30 – 4:00 in Hayman 211

Mexican Movie sent by the Mexican Consulate | 5:00 – 6:00 in Hayman 217


We close out the week on Thursday, March 31, with all sorts of fun and entertainment. From 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. we’ll have board games and card games from all over the world to play in the Hayman lobby, as well as some good old fashioned Kahoot games about languages. The last hurrah is OLAS’s Latin Night in the Union from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., where there will be food, drinks, music and an overall great time.


Race and Culture around the World presented by political science classes | 12:30 – 2:00 in Hayman Lobby

Pierogi Making presented by Professor Chubok | 2:00 – 3:00 in Hayman 117

We hope you will attend some of these events this week!

Foreign Language Awareness Week Collegian articles

We collected testimonies from members of the La Salle community far and wide this week to share what makes us unique through our use of multiple languages. Thank you to all who participated.

Read our story about the benefits of multilingual communication here.

And read our story about the best foreign language films and television series here.

The results are in — responses to our first Collegian community survey


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

Header image: lasalle.edu

Two weeks ago, we published the first in what will (hopefully) be a series of anonymous surveys for the La Salle Collegian community to share their opinions on a variety of topics. For the inaugural survey, what better topic than something we haven’t stopped hearing about and thinking about for the past couple of years — online classes, COVID-19 and La Salle’s reaction to it all?

The survey was available on the homepage of the Collegian website and was taken by about 70 people. Around 40 were current students who had taken at least one semester of completely online classes and at least one semester of completely (or mostly completely) online classes. The rest were professors, staff, alumni, friends and family of students or students who had only taken online or only in-person classes. This number of responses is just a small collection of Collegian readers and students and is not necessarily representative of the entire University. However, there are still some interesting insights and patterns shown through the responses.

The majority of the topics in the survey, which were only shown to students who had taken at least a semester of online classes as well as a semester of in-person classes, compared online and in-person learning in a variety of ways. Statements were presented with a Likert scale with the responses “strongly agree,” “somewhat agree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “somewhat disagree,” “strongly disagree” and “I don’t know/this doesn’t apply to me.” At the end of the survey, all respondents could also share whatever other information on these topics that they wanted the Collegian to know.

To try to reduce possible bias from the ways the questions were phrased, for each topic, half of the respondents received a statement asking about online learning compared to in-person learning, while the other half of the respondents received the same statement but reversed, so it asked about in-person learning compared to online learning. For example, a statement about mental health was phrased as “my mental health is better during online classes than it is during in-person classes” for half of the people who took the survey and “my mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes” for the other half. Since the comparison was between just those two choices, a response of “strongly agree” to one ‘version’ of the question means that, at least logically, that same person would have answered “strongly disagree” if they had been asked to respond to the reversed statement. For that reason (and to cut down on the number of charts in this article), all results will be presented in terms of in-person vs online versions of the statements, with all responses to both versions of the question combined.

Here are the results.

“My mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes.”

The majority of students who responded to this question thought that their mental health is better during in-person classes than it is during online classes.

“My professors’ office hours are more convenient in-person than online.”

The highest number of students were neutral on this statement. However, more students thought that online office hours were more convenient than in-person office hours.

“My professors’ office hours are more helpful in-person than online.”

While a high number of students, again, found this statement neutral, many more students found that office hours were more helpful in-person instead of online.

“It is easier for me to work on schoolwork when classes are in-person instead of online.”

The majority of students found it easier to work on schoolwork when classes are in-person.

It is easier for me to work (at a job) when classes are in-person instead of online.”

The responses to this statement were more varied, but most students thought that working at a job was easier when classes were online.

“It is easier for me to join clubs and extracurriculars when classes are in-person instead of online.”

Again, the majority of students who answered this question find it easier to get involved with clubs and extracurriculars in-person (although, during online classes, many groups, including the Collegian, did meet and organize online).

“My grades, overall, are better when classes are in-person than when they are online.”

This statement had an even split of agreement and disagreement — while eight respondents were neutral, 11 agreed and 11 disagreed in some capacity.

“It is easier for me to connect with my classmates when classes are in-person instead of online.”

Just one respondent disagreed with this statement.

“In-person classes are more interactive than online classes.”

This topic was shown to both students and professors who took the survey, and both groups overall agree that in-person classes are more interactive than online classes. One respondent at the end of the survey made a note that “online classes can be very interactive if the professor knows how to set them up that way.”

All people who took the survey, regardless of if they are students or not, were able to answer questions about La Salle’s distribution of COVID-19 information, contact tracing and COVID-19 testing policies and if they knew who to contact if they had questions on any of those topics.

“La Salle’s distribution of information about online classes, COVID-19 policies and other related topics has overall been up-to-date.”

A majority of respondents thought that this information has been distributed in a timely manner.

“La Salle’s distribution of information about online classes, COVID-19 policies and other related topics has overall been helpful.”

While more people agreed than disagreed with this statement, there was still a fair number of respondents who did not think the University’s information about these topics has been helpful.

“If I have a question about La Salle’s COVID-19 policies, I know who to contact or where to find the information.”

Most respondents seemed to know where they could have their questions answered, although several were also confused and unsure. For current information on La Salle’s COVID-19 policies, check this page.

The last statement students were shown asked them to choose between all online or all in-person classes for the current semester.

“All things considered, if I had to choose between either all in-person classes or all online classes for this semester, I would choose in-person.”

A large majority of respondents prefer in-person classes over online ones for this semester.

“I think that online classes don’t work,” explained one respondent at the end of the survey. “My experiences with online classes have been well,” wrote another. Someone else thinks it is necessary to “keep online classes and accommodations accessible for disabled students and those at highest risk,” and another wrote that it is important to remember that “there is inherent risk to everyone once a person walks outside their home or dorm.”

Although the sample size of this survey is certainly not large enough to represent the campus community as a whole, the results and patterns in the responses are still interesting. Here are my main takeaways.

Overall, the Collegian community, or at least those tuned in enough to respond to this survey, seems to think the University is doing a pretty good job distributing up-to-date and helpful information. Most students who took this survey reported that, in in-person classes, their mental health was better, joining clubs and extracurriculars and connecting with classmates was easier and it was easier to work on schoolwork. However, while classes were online, most respondents found it easier to work at jobs, and many found that online office hours are more convenient than in-person ones. Whether classes were online or in-person didn’t seem to have a consistent effect on students’ grades and, all things considered, the vast majority of students who took this survey would prefer completely in-person classes over totally online ones for this semester.

Many factors have influenced La Salle’s decisions about online classes and COVID-19 policies over the past two years, and some of those factors were certainly not covered in this survey. However, I think it is important to see what students, professors and others in the La Salle community think about changes and policies. We regularly receive surveys from the University about topics like Residence Life and dining options on campus, so why not something including some of the topics and themes in this article? These as well as other subjects could provide important insight to administration about what students think about their decisions and changes — because, after all, shouldn’t they be a little bit interested?

If you have any ideas for topics for future surveys, feel free to contact me at the email linked above!

Biden’s approval rating is at its all-time low — how does that compare with past presidents’?


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

President Joe Biden’s approval rating is the lowest it’s ever been. According to recent Gallup polls, Biden’s current job approval rating is 42 percent, down from 57 percent at the beginning of his presidency. Biden’s current approval rating is lower than every other president Gallup has asked about at this point in their presidency — besides former President Donald Trump, who had just a 37 percent approval rating at around the same time in his presidency. The most dramatic difference between Biden and a past president is between him and former President George W. Bush — 301 days into their presidencies, Bush’s approval rating was 85 percent, particularly because at this time in 2001 the country was only a couple months removed from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Of course, these things tend to fluctuate, and only two former presidents — Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy — enjoyed net positive approval ratings throughout their entire presidencies.

This chart is a comparison of the 14 most recent presidents and their job approval ratings from throughout their presidencies, using the numbers from Gallup’s site.

Alina Snopkowski

If Biden is counted, half of the fourteen most recent presidents have had average approval ratings over 50 percent (including him), while the other half have had averages below 50 percent. There is a large difference between the highest and lowest approval ratings throughout the presidencies of both Bushes and Harry S. Truman, but the difference between Trump’s highest and lowest approval ratings is only 15 percentage points — the same number between Biden’s, as of now.

Of course, Biden is a different case, considering he hasn’t even been in office for an entire year yet, but it is interesting to see the variations in approval ratings over time among other presidents. Truman, for example, had very high approval ratings after the end of World War II, but they had dropped dramatically by the end of his presidency. Lyndon B. Johnson’s approval was on a downward slope for most of his time in office, while from the end of his first year onward, former President Barack Obama trended mostly around or just under 50 percent.

Four of these former presidents also lost their reelection bids, and all had approval ratings right before the elections in the 30s or low 40s — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Obama and George W. Bush both had approval ratings just below 50 percent but still won their second terms, while Truman had an approval rating of just 39 percent right before the 1948 election, which he still managed to win. The 2024 election is still far ahead of us and there’s no certainty that Biden will (or won’t) seek another term, however, so it might be premature to talk about that now.

Alina Snopkowski

So, something that we can discuss now — when compared to past presidents, Biden’s job approval rating was low right after his inauguration, too. Gallup’s first poll after his election showed a 57 percent approval rating, which beats Trump again (44 percent) as well as Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush (51 percent each). The younger Bush’s initial approval ratings were tied with Biden’s, which means that the other nine presidents had higher first approval ratings after they took office (Truman, Johnson, and Ford weren’t elected, which might count for something).

What I find particularly interesting, however, is the percentage change between Biden’s post-inauguration approval and his approval now roughly 300 days in. The comparisons with former presidents aren’t perfect here, because the polls were taken at different points in their presidencies, but every president back to Truman (besides Johnson) has a rating from within about a month shy of 300 days in office. These numbers show that most presidents have a lower approval rating at these later times than just following their elections, but Biden still ranks among the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) here — his approval rating fell by 26 percent from his inauguration until now, which beats every former president besides Truman and Ford (both at 28 percent), who weren’t elected to their first terms anyway. The most dramatic increase is 54 percent for George W. Bush, again due to Sept. 11.

No poll is perfect, and there’s many other ways of gauging how a president is doing in office, but public opinion polls can be an interesting and valuable way of measuring what people think about the president’s job performance. Historical trends can show how our current president stacks up against those in the past and give us a metric to see how the public’s opinion on a particular president has changed over time.

Biden isn’t even a year into his presidency yet, so just about anything could happen in terms of what the American people think about him. Compared to past presidents, Biden’s approval rating is not the worst in just about any way you slice it, however, his falling ratings since January do show that he has lost some support since then.

Women’s Basketball comes away with win during homecoming 


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

La Salle Women’s Basketball

On Saturday, Nov. 13, the La Salle women’s basketball team defeated Rider 67 – 58 in overtime. This Homecoming-weekend win is the first win for the women’s team this season after their close loss last week to Coppin State in their first game of the season. This was the seventh time that the Explorers faced the Broncs at Tom Gola Arena. This is the first time that the Explorers have beaten the Broncs at home since 2010.

The first quarter started off strong for the Explorers as they scored twice as many points as the Broncs, ending the quarter with a score of 20 – 10. Unlike the men’s team last week, the women’s team managed to sink nearly all of their free throws which put them at a significant advantage over the Broncs. Although Rider tried to catch up in the second quarter and managed to score another 10 points, the halftime score was 38 – 20 in favor of La Salle. After the third quarter, however, Rider had begun to catch up, closing the gap to just four points — 42 – 38. Rider still wasn’t done putting up a fight, and at the end of the fourth quarter, both teams had scored 50 points, and overtime began.

The Explorers began overtime with three consecutive three-pointers scored by juniors Jordon Lewis and Amy Jacobs and sophomore Jaye Haynes. Rider scored eight points, but La Salle scored more than double that, and the final score was 67 – 58.

Haynes scored 19 points throughout the game and senior Kayla Spruill scored 16 and earned 17 rebounds, her career record.

The women’s game wasn’t as full as the men’s game later in the day, but the Explorers’ community still showed up in full force to support their team.

The women’s team will be playing their next game against the Drexel dragons tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at Drexel.

Preview: The Masque of La Salle presents “Mavericks”

Arts & Entertainment

Alina Snopkowski, Editor

On Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 13 at 2:30 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., in the Dan Rodden theater, the Masque of La Salle will be presenting six Mavericks — student written and directed one-act plays. These plays have been in the works for the past couple of months, and tickets for the show are free for everyone. Actors will be performing an eclectic, entertaining mix of plays, including:

“Couples’ Therapy” — A controlling couples therapist is put to the test as she endures her most volatile couple yet.

Director Nolen Kelly, co-editor of the Arts and Entertainment section, said “I liked watching ‘Mavericks’ so much I wrote my own.”

“Death of a Cereal Lover” — This story can’t really be summarized, besides that it’s a wild ride with a ton of whiplash.

“‘Mavericks’ is such a fun time to be a part of,” says director Kayla Stevens, “we’re all just a bunch of friends that are having a blast putting something together that we can all be proud of.”

“Doomsday Foreplay” — A doomsday cult tries to save the world from evil spirits by sacrificing a virgin. However, the person they picked, Chad, is adamant he is not one and he tries to prove otherwise before he is sacrificed.

“I don’t know how mine got approved,” director Izzy Hill says, “as it involves a virgin, a dominatrix and a cat girl body pillow.”

“P.O.O.P” — A meeting full of political stereotypes tries to decide on what new structure shall be placed in the vacant lot.

Director Eila Nash would rather act than direct, explaining that “I directed Mavericks two years ago and said never again, so I submitted a play I wrote at 13-years-old and decided to act again.”

“Prohibiting Prohibition” — In 1920’s America, a bunch of losers with zero game decided to ban alcohol. But in humanity’s darkest hour, earth’s mightiest warriors rise up to bring back the brew.

Director Jon Colella says that “Mavericks are a really productive way to goof off with your friends. It’s definitely goofing off but somehow something still gets created.”

“Satan went down to Georgia” — A twist on The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” this play provides insight into the question that has been left unanswered for decades: Why the hell was the devil in Georgia? 

“I went through lengthy legal processes to be allowed to produce my show,” says director Audrey Walker, “please come see it.”

What’s better than funky, funny and free entertainment? Not much that I can think of, so be sure to stop by one of the three Mavericks performances this weekend or next Friday.

La Salle releases security and fire safety report


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

On Friday, Oct. 1, La Salle University’s Department of Public Safety released its annual Security and Fire Safety Report through an email to the university. The entire 2021 report is available here and contains information on a variety of crimes that were reported from 2018-2020, as well as information on policies and procedures relating to reporting crimes.

According to the email sent by Public Safety, “La Salle University is committed to the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors” and the report “contains information regarding campus security, personal and fire safety, crime prevention, crime reporting policies, and other policy matters relating to security on campus.”

If you don’t have time to read the entire 115-page report, here’s a summary of some of the major events, policies and statistics.

The report begins with the university’s mission and core values statements. It then continues with information on the public safety program, how to report criminal offenses or emergencies and how to describe people to public safety or emergency responders. It is also possible to report incidents confidentially through “the  Student Counseling Center; the Student Health Center, ordained priests in Ministry, Service, and Support; a designated Coordinator for Sexual Misconduct Advocacy & Education (Confidential Resource); and a designated Respondent Advocate (Confidential Resource). Reports can also be made via the mylasalle portal (search “Incident Reporting” and choose Standard Incident Report). Report violations of the sexual misconduct policy via the mylasalle portal (search “Incident Reporting” and choose “Report of Sexual Misconduct”).”

There are also sections that define the terms used throughout the report, including explanations of what is classified as a residence hall, who is technically a “University official” and the difference between guests and visitors.

Large portions of the report contain information on university policies relating to topics such as protecting minors, alcohol, drugs and weapons. There is also a section about sexual assault prevention, reporting, investigation, response and resources.

Reported fires for the years 2018 – 2020 and information on fire safety and evacuation procedures and are featured on pages 93 – 95. There were no reported fires in residence halls for the years 2020 and 2018, but four reported fires in 2019 — an electrical fire that took place in St. Basil Court, another electrical fire in the St. Miguel Townhouses, an accidental cooking fire that also took place in St. Miguel, and a stove fire in the La Salle Apartments.

Pages 96 – 101 include tables of reported crimes on Main Campus, Bucks Campus, and Montgomery Campus. For the time period in the report, there were no reported crimes, arrests or disciplinary referrals at the Bucks or Montgomery campuses.

Here is the table of Clery Crime Statistics for 2018 – 2020 at Main Campus.

It is important to understand that the category “Residence Halls” is a subset of “On Campus;” for example, the case of aggravated assault that occurred in 2018 is reported in both the “on campus” and “residence halls” sections, and the one “residence halls” burglary is included in the four “on campus” burglaries, so there were four in 2020, not five.

After these tables, the rest of the report is devoted to student and employee populations, crime rates, more definitions of terms and offenses and concludes with a directory of important phone numbers.

Anyone who has questions about the information in the report is encouraged to contact either Assistant Vice President of Public Safety Amanda Guthorn, D.A., or Eva Howard, Director of Public Safety Compliance and Investigations.

The world according to the Collegian’s readers


Alina Snopkowski, Editor

While La Salle is pretty much entirely back in person, the Collegian is not just yet. The wire baskets that used to hold copies of the week’s (and week before’s…and week before’s…) Collegians are now empty, and if you’re reading this article, it means you’ve been able to find us online.

When we were publishing physical copies of the newspaper, the only way to guess how many people were reading was to see how many copies were left over in the little baskets in the Union, B and G, library and other areas we deemed high-traffic enough to abandon stacks of papers. We also had no way of knowing which articles or sections were the most popular, or when people were reading the paper. For example, I was the one who delivered the papers to Benilde every Thursday, and it was always a guessing game of how many papers would be left over from the week before. Sometimes there were only a few copies remaining, other weeks there’d be dozens still stacked up in the basket. How many people grabbed a paper and only read the sports section or did the sudoku puzzle? How many people leafed through the Collegian while waiting for a friend in the Union or between classes in the library and then put the paper back in the basket or abandoned it on a table?

Ever since we began publishing the Collegian online, I have been (a bit obsessively) checking the statistics page that the website provides. Apparently, early Wednesday afternoons are when most people visit the site, the News category is the most popular and the most views we ever had was earlier this year in February. The traffic to the website falls after Wednesday, the day when we publish the articles, but there’s still at least a few views each day throughout the week.

Of course there’s drawbacks to not having a physical paper. To access the paper, a reader has to have the link to the page (or be willing to Google search for the paper and find the correct site). People who might have picked up the Collegian while walking through Holroyd or on their way out of B and G now might not even know the paper still exists if they’ve never been sent the link to our page.

I think the most interesting information the WordPress site gives is their report of all the different countries someone has read a website from. On that page, it shows that people have read the Collegian from over thirty countries besides the United States. Many of these countries are home to various Lasallian-affiliated educational institutions, but many are not.

Image created on mapchart.com by Alina Snopkowski

Lasallian educational institutions and Collegian readers.

This map shows the world according to the Collegian’s readers — many are reading the paper from countries with Lasallian schools, colored in dark blue on the map, but there are also several countries with Lasallian schools, shown in yellow, that haven’t had anyone reading the Collegian. Then there’s the ones I’m most interested in — the countries without Lasallian schools, but somehow someone from them still found the Collegian. Seeing those light blue countries raises some questions — who is reading our paper in Norway? How did someone in Saudi Arabia find the Collegian? — but also shows that people who have probably never set foot on campus can now access the paper. That says something about the reach of the internet in general, but also something about the reach of La Salle, and the connection we on this campus have with those learning in Brazil or Egypt or the Philippines, united through the values of St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle — and, in a tiny way, through the Collegian.