Watching Falcon’s Watch

Watching Falcons Watch

By Dominick Delaney, Editor

This past Wednesday, December 7th, 2020, the Xavier community was introduced to the latest initiative from the administration: SWAG. As the participants know, the Student Wellness Advisory Group program, Falcon Watch, is an eclectic meeting between one faculty member and a random assortment of students. The goal is to connect students to the community, especially parts of it they haven’t really explored. The one exception to this goal and randomness is that the Little Falcons are paired with their seniors; I assume this was done to provide some comfort to the freshmen and give the pairs/trios another avenue to connect. However, the ambitions of SWAG aren’t  entirely appreciated. I asked around the school, and received these answers anonymously.

“I like the fact that they’re doing stuff for mental health, but playing Kahoot with random people on a zoom call isn’t gonna make me enjoy online school anymore or solve any social issues that online school causes.”

“Online school is so exhausting and awful the last thing I wanna do is zoom chat with people during my free time. For me, losing in person interaction is what’s hurting my mental health. This isn’t gonna help in my opinion.” 

I chose these two specific quotes because they nicely sum up common answers I received. While I would remind the student that SWAG takes place in the asynchronous time of school, and not his free time, I doubt that would budge his opinion. The majority of the responses I received were negative. However, a sizeable minority enjoyed the initiative. It seems the pro-SWAGgers focus more on the goal of SWAG than its actual practicality.

“Sounds like a really great, integrative way of staying in touch with the community and my friends, with a chance to meet some new peers from different grades, which is also an opportunity to increase fellowship.”

So who came up with the goal of SWAG? After poking around, I found the man behind it to be our favorite New York Giants fan, Mr. Cerreta. I interviewed him for more information.

How long did it take from the idea of SWAG to the first meeting?

Actually, it was a really quick process. We figured it might be till, yknow, spring until we get back to the building, there wasn’t an end date, so we made a committee, the Student Wellness Advisory Group,  to come up with some sort of solution. And that solution was Falcon Watch.  

Do you have any plans for SWAG after we return? They’re saying we might go back Thursday.

Well yeah, we hope we can keep building through the year. We were thinking once we’re in person, we could do some competitions between the groups, discussions in each group, stuff like that. Maybe a racial respect day in February. Maybe even carrying SWAG after this academic year. 

What’s the goal of SWAG?

It really comes down to community connection, the mental health of the students, and I think just as importantly, mental health of the faculty. True, we have some kinks to work out, but I think the program will be successful in that aspect. 

Ultimately, I fall in between. I struggle with mental health, especially in periods of online school, and I love that Xavier has made a program that makes asking for help so accessible and visible. Reaching out for help doesn’t even have to be an active thing with SWAG – just being present in the group makes you remember the community that always acts as your personal buttress. However, making SWAG mandatory naturally leads to some cat-in-the-bath reactions – we don’t like being forced into uncomfortable or vexing situations. SWAG has a great future ahead of it, especially as we return to the building.