Nichols Holds Candlelight Vigil for Las Vegas Victims


On Oct. 1, 2017, police in Las Vegas responded to multiple shots fired at the Harvest Festival across from the Mandalay Bay hotel. The identified shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nev., killed 58 and injured over 500 people who were watching country music singer Jason Aldean perform.

This was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

To show our respect to these victims and everyone affected by this terrorizing incident, Nichols College held a Candlelight Vigil Oct. 3, 2017 at 9:30 p.m., on the Copper Beech Quad.

As it was my first candlelight vigil, I wanted to get there a few minutes early to check out the scene.

As I arrived at approximately 9:20 p.m., a handful of students were gathered near the brick wall outside Copper 1, most of whom were members of the Student Government Association (SGA), which ran the event. Initially, I thought that these 13 people (including me) were going to be the only ones to show up. I thought maybe everyone was doing homework all cuddled up in their beds.

Right when 9:30 p.m. hit, however, a swarm of people from all directions started to arrive.

Seeing this crowd of fellow students gave me chills—the good kind of chills.

From first-year students to seniors, there were about 100 people on hand to pay their respects to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The air was filled with hope as more and more people were getting their candles prepared for the vigil. Once, everyone was ready, we formed a circle where we passed the lights from our candle to the person next to us; there was absolute silence.

As all the candles were lit, SGA President Catherine Hoey, a senior, announced that if anyone wanted to say anything about how they feel about the incident to say it now. Immediately after she said this, though, the sprinklers went off and got a good part of our circle wet. This lightened the mood before we started to seriously talk about what happened. I thought that was great because as I looked around the circle, I could see the concern and somewhat nervous looks on the students’ faces.

We reformed our circle and Kristina Maxwell, a senior human resources management major, was the first to speak. She was followed by Ariff McLaren, a sophomore from Brockton, Mass. McLaren said, “It is important to come together as a unit, to fight off the hate.”

After a long pause, Rebecca Khachikian, a sophomore from Dennis, Mass., spoke out, “I personally knew five people who were at that concert, since I grew up in Vegas. So it was really scary for me because what if I lost them? They are all fine, but I could have lost the people I cared about, and it could happen here just like the Boston Marathon bombing. Some of you might have known people who were affected.”

Khachikian’s story made the vigil more real in the sense that someone in our Nichols College community was affected by this incident. You just never know what people go through, which is why vigils like this are crucial in showing our love and support.

After a moment of silence, Hoey thanked everyone for coming out, and everyone dispersed back to what they stopped doing to attend the vigil.

Megan Nathanson, a sophomore sports management major, shared her thoughts about the vigil with me.

“Everyone was on the same page in that we all need to unite together, appreciate those who are in our lives, and never take a day for granted,” she said. “I attended because I wanted to show my support for those who lost their lives and those who survived. Lives are now changed forever because of this terrible incident.

“I’m really glad I took the time to go to the vigil,” Nathanson added. “It was a small act, but it helped to stay positive and process what happened.”

vigil 2

Ashley Dallaire is a senior marketing major at Nichols College and an intern in the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Nichols College Student Jenna McAssey ’19 Studies Abroad in Poland


KRAKOW, Poland—Dzień dobry, Bison!

My fall semester began this month with a new journey. On Sept. 14, 2017, I traveled 5,142 miles across the world to Krakow, Poland, where I am studying abroad as a Nichols College student.

I am beyond grateful to have been given this opportunity and am so excited to be able to share my journey with my Nichols community back home. It’s already been such a surreal moment; this is something I have dreamed about doing for a while.

In Poland, I am studying at Jagiellonian University, which is located right in the center of Krakow—the cultural capital of Poland and the city in which the country’s kings and queens lived. At the university, I will continue studying Criminal Justice and Psychology as well as taking a few cultural courses—and will attempt to learn Polish. Polish is one of the most difficult languages to learn, but I will be abroad for a few months, so I hope to know a good portion of the language before I return home.

Aside from my studies, I am excited to be able to explore all of Europe and everything it has to offer! I will share with you my experiences, journeys, and pictures every single week on this blog. I hope many of you will follow my journey, and maybe you, too, might develop an interest in studying abroad someday!

Do Zobaczenia!

Jenna McAssey is a junior at Nichols College and an intern for the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Financial Literacy Workshops Help Nichols Students


Nichols College’s Professional Development Seminar program hosted two financial literacy workshops Sept. 27 in Davis Hall.

Seniors were required to attend one of the workshops.

Nancy Bouchard, AVP/senior branch manager at Webster Five Bank, lead the workshops, whose purpose was to get students started on the right foot after graduation. Bouchard discussed four areas of concern with respect to financial literacy: how to choose a bank, which account to choose, how to budget, and how to deal with frauds and scams. 

Bouchard has 30 years of experience in personal finances and is a Nichols College alumna. Not only did she get her master’s degree in 2006 from Nichols, but also her son is a sophomore at Nichols. When she isn’t helping others with their finances, Bouchard is a volunteer at Dudley Middle School, where she teaches a financial literacy class to kids.

Whether it’s choosing a bank or the appropriate account, Bouchard explained to Nichols seniors that the bottom line is to determine what the bank is going to do for you. When it comes to deciding which bank to trust, bigger isn’t always better, according to Bouchard. Smaller banks can be more personal, she said. 

McDonald’s or Texas Roadhouse?

This was the title of her budgeting slide which was very intriguing. As she read this curious line, Bouchard explained that budgeting how you are going to pay off your debt and other expenses is similar to deciding whether you are going to eat at McDonald’s or Texas Roadhouse.

For example, you have to pay your car loan and apartment rent, and send a check to your mom for the phone bill this week. The waitress job you have pays $9 an hour plus tips, but this week you are only working four shifts.

Where can you afford to eat? McDonald’s or Texas Roadhouse?

Given these circumstances, you would probably eat at McDonald’s since your priority this week is to pay your bills. Maybe next week, once you are working more and have paid off the bills, you’ll be able to afford to eat at Texas Roadhouse.

To that end, budgeting is all about planning ahead.

Bouchard also emphasized the importance of your credit score. If you have a credit score of 700 or higher, you are showing the banks and potential investors that you are a good risk and can handle debt.

“Think about your GPA,” she told the seniors. “If you get all A’s the first semester but then goof off the second semester, it takes forever to get your GPA up. Unfortunately, it takes nothing to bring your GPA down but everything to bring it back up. This is the same in terms of your credit score.” 

Bouchard’s analogy gave the students raised questions from the audience. 

One student asked, “If you close a credit card, does that hurt your credit score?”

Another student asked,” Does it hurt your credit score if you check it?”

Bouchard said that depending on how many cards you have and whether you pay off your credit card could determine if closing a credit card could hurt your credit score. But in terms of checking your credit score, it does not bring it down. In fact, most companies give you a FICO credit score that provides a free estimate of what your credit score is.

I went a little further in asking her for her advice on what the best way to build up one’s credit score. To that Nancy responded: “You do not need multiple credit cards. Get one card then pay it off in full.”

Being a mother of a college student, she suggested to use Discover Card, as they are the most user- and student-friendly card. She also advised students to do their homework to find out what works best for them.

The last topic Bouchard discussed before opening the floor for questions was about fraud and scams.

“If it is too good to be true, stop and think twice,” she said.

Following the end of her presentation, I asked Bouchard what she thought students should do after graduation in terms of managing their debt. She said they should live at home if they can, to pay off the debt.

Ashley Dallaire is a Nichols College senior majoring in marketing. She interns for the College’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Produced by the Bison for the Nichols College Community