All posts by Kate-Lynn Schraffa

Relay for Life Comes to Nichols College


Cancer is a powerful word.

Sadly, it’s one that some of us may be all too familiar with. It seems as if nowadays everyone knows at least one person who suffers from this horrible disease.

Nichols College first-year student Nick Anderson ‘21 and a group of fellow students have brought a movement to campus in an effort to make a positive impact on the subject: the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The Nichols Relay will be held Sunday, April 8, and registration is open.

Relay for Life is a fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each event is 6-24 hours long, and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one night, neither do the Relayers. While this year’s Nichols Relay won’t feature a theme, other local Relays (such as the June Greater Southbridge Relay for Life) do. For those, teams set up themed campsites at the event and continue their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. The money collected counts toward a team’s overall fundraising goal, according to

Nichols students organizing the College’s first Relay for Life are looking to making a change—a big change. When Anderson came to me about the topic, I was struck by how passionate he and the rest of the coordinators are about the event, especially the cause. They spoke with passion, intent, and are on a mission to make an impact, one event at a time.

Anderson wanted to bring Relay for Life to Nichols for many reasons. He said, “My grandmother passed from cancer-related issues when I was about 6 months old, and my grandfather passed from pancreatic cancer when I was 5.”

Anderson continued, “I didn’t get involved with Relay for Life until high school. My best friend Joey’s father passed away our freshman year, and our whole community came swooping in to support him in this troubling time. So, what a few people decided to do in my school was to start a Relay for Life team. I joined, and then a year later I became a team captain alongside Joey. Then I finally came to Nichols College.”

“When I got here, I was very surprised that there wasn’t already a Relay for Life organized. I felt that Nichols was great in so many ways but realized that it needs an event like this. So that combined with my personal experiences with cancer and those around me who suffer from it drives me to make Relay the biggest annual event on campus,” Anderson said.

Relay for Life at Nichols College will take place Sunday, April 8, from 2 to 8 p.m. on Vendetti Field. For more information about how to get involved, contact Nick Anderson at, and follow their Twitter and Instagram handles at @nichols_cac.

Joe Lindsay is a junior at Nichols College majoring in marketing and minoring in psychology. He is also interns for the Office of Marketing and Communications. 

Celebrating All Saints Day in Poland

Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this second article in a two-part series on Nichols College junior Jenna McAssey’s study abroad experience in Krakow, Poland.

By Jenna McAssey ‘19

In Poland, All Saints Day is one of the most important holidays of the year. Halloween is not quite celebrated here, but Poles celebrate something similar over multiple days after the 31st. All the shops close on Nov. 1, almost everyone has the day off, and the cemeteries are packed with mourners. People use the day to celebrate the loss of their loved ones, and it was the one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.

I was able to visit one of Krakow’s largest and oldest cemeteries, Rakowiecki Cemetery, at night. It dates back to 1803. On All Saints Day, every single grave had a candle and flowers on it, and most graves had multiple candles. The entire cemetery was lit up while we walked through it, but instead of an eerie feeling, there was a joyful feeling that almost gave you the chills. I was inspired by how many family members showed up to remember their loved ones. It was beautiful to see how the people of Poland celebrate their culture and traditions. Some families even brought food to eat with those who had passed.

It was truly an experience that I will never forget and is a piece of the culture I bring home with me. It is so nice to see everyone come together.

The more American style of celebrating Halloween is growing among the younger generation in Poland. With over 90,000 university students in Krakow, many from across Europe or overseas, the city and its traditions are quickly evolving! The costumes in Poland are a bit different than in America, but it was nice to see a piece of home in Krakow and to see different cultures sharing different traditions.

Jenna McAssey is a junior at Nichols College with a double major in criminal justice and psychology. She is also an intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Nichols College Junior Studies Abroad in Poland

Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this first article in a two-part series on Nichols College junior Jenna McAssey’s study abroad experience in Krakow, Poland.

By Jenna McAssey ’19

Poland. In reflecting on my time there, I cherish the fact that I’ve not only brought home countless memories but also friendships that will last forever.

My four months abroad was irreplaceable and unforgettable. I could not have chosen a better place in Europe to study, and I hope to be able to return back one day. Throughout my time in Poland, I was able to travel to many different places, try different foods, and have the opportunity to meet people representing different cultures.

My home during the fall 2017 semester was in Krakow, Poland. Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland (in fact, Europe) and is absolutely beautiful. It was once the city of the great kings and queens of Poland, and their castle—the Wawel Royal Castle—still stands in homage to them and many historic leaders.

I lived in an apartment right on the edge of the city center with two other Americans. Our apartment was in a prime location, and we had no issues—aside from an older woman who lived in the building.

My roommates and I slowly learned that many of the older ladies were not too friendly to foreigners, especially people who did not speak English. The ladies in our apartment would knock on our door every other night with another problem they had with us and would then proceed to yell at us in Polish (knowing we did not speak the language.) They eventually gave up and decided to print a list of rules translated into English and put them on our door. Afterward, we had contacted our landlord. He said to ignore what they did and told us many of the older couples living in Krakow do not like students, so no matter whom it is, this is what they will do.

The food in Poland is traditional and delicious! I was able to try different types of foods and also had the opportunity to make a variety of pierogi fillings. Pierogi (basically a dumpling or ravioli) is an extremely popular food that is served at practically every restaurant in Poland. In Krakow, my favorite restaurant was nextdoor to my apartment and had 35 flavors of pierogi on its menu. My two favorites were one with fried tomato and mozzarella and one with blueberry cheesecake for dessert.

It was definitely an incredible educational  experience to meet people from all over the world and be able to learn about their traditions and beliefs. I made friends from various countries such as Turkey, Germany, Syria, Italy, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Hungary, Belgium and Spain. Since there were only six Americans in our study-abroad program, we integrated with the Erasmus programs (European Universities Exchange Program). Through this program, students in any country throughout or near Europe can study in any other European country for the semester. We were able to participate in all of their events, parties, and programs. I took classes with the Erasmus students and other Americans studying abroad. It was interesting to see the different views, cultures, and daily lives of people from other parts of the world. It was also eye-opening to listen to people’s opinions about the United States, and how we are stereotyped as an American society.

I recommend studying abroad as a college student. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am happy I chose Poland because it is not a common study abroad destination. This allowed me to open myself up to meeting new people and to be submerged into the culture.

Jenna McAssey is a junior at Nichols College with a double major in criminal justice and psychology. She is also an intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications.