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Disposable Mask Waste on Campus: Please Be Mindful of Your Environmental Impact

Disposable mask near statue of St. Thomas of VillanovaAfter reading about the 130 billion disposable masks used globally each month during the height of the pandemic, according to the Sierra Club, I couldn’t help but see all of the masks littered across the campus, even nearby the statue of St. Thomas of Villanova, the University patron.

Additional research revealed the personal protective equipment (PPE) waste has been observed in the ocean and washing up on shores. It threatens ocean life, like whales and turtles.

And, according to a story from the MIT News Office, the cost to our environment will only continue. “The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to generate up to 7,200 tons of medical waste every day, much of which is disposable masks. And even as the pandemic slows down in some parts of the world, health care workers are expected to continue wearing masks most of the time.”

I reached out to Villanova’s Sustainability Office to ask “what can we do?” Turns out masks are difficult to recycle, but the office found a company that handles them and responded, “If you collect them, we will fund a recycling solution.”

I expected to find a handful, maybe 50. But the problem of one person accidentally dropping a mask was magnified when there are thousands of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. I would collect what I saw along 2-3-mile runs, circling, eventually, the whole campus.

Map of running route

An example of a typical day’s route around campus.

Yet each morning I ventured out, there were new masks to find in the same places. Some days topped 40-60 masks, but it wasn’t until I passed 400 masks in less than a month that I understood the scope of the  problem.

Why was this happening?

I never saw anyone drop a mask, so I pondered where they appeared and reflected about how they may have appeared there. While the whole campus had a least some mask litter, most was squished near cars, frozen on pathways, dangling from plants in front of academic buildings and residence halls…even blown against the fences of our beloved campus community garden.

As of this morning, Jan. 13, I have collected 729 disposable masks, along with 65 reusable ones. 

Disposable Mask Chart

It’s clear that this is not one person or group. It is a community problem. Likewise, this could be solved by the community. It takes all of us.

I know. Masks are no fun. Just one more thing to carry. And disposable masks (vital protection during a public health crisis) are treated like plastic bags or soda cans. If they are dropped, people don’t go back to find them, and if seen on the ground, they are ignored. But if everyone ignores them, what then?

Disposable mask hanging from plants on Villanova's campus.

A disposable mask, one of more than 794 masks collected, hanging from plants on campus.

In a community of thousands, nearly 800 masks left on the ground is completely avoidable. If our community can be mindful of their masks and reuse them, or discard them when they are worn out, we can reduce the issue, at least in our small community.

Better yet! Drop them off to me, and I’ll recycle them.

A big improvement would be to invest in reusable masks, but, at the very least, be as mindful of those items as you are of your phone.

If you dropped your phone, you’d go back to get it.

Villanova can be a model for how sustainability can succeed beyond campus. And working together to make small changes, just as we have to ensure campus environmental health and safety, we can model how to make a big difference in our world.

Learn more about the impact of mask waste (and possible solutions) during the pandemic through the Library’s digital resources:

Face Masks, PPE and Throwaway Cutlery — After Covid, Where’s Next for Sustainable Packaging? The Global Pandemic Pushed Consumer Behaviour Back Toward Single-use Plastics to Avoid Contamination. So How Can Short-term Hygiene Requirements Be Balanced with Long-term Sustainability Goals?The Guardian (London, England), 2021.

Hartanto, Broto Widya, and Dyah Samti Mayasari. “Environmentally Friendly Non-medical Mask: An Attempt to Reduce the Environmental Impact from Used Masks During COVID 19 Pandemic.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 760, 2021.

Majerník, Milan, et al. “Environmental Waste Management of Disposable Surgical Coverage.Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 30, no. 6, 2021, pp. 5163-5174.

Torres, Fernando G., and Gabriel E. De-la-Torre. “Face Mask Waste Generation and Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Overview and the Peruvian Case.Science of the Total Environment, vol. 786, 2021.

Venesoja, Anu, et al. “Healthcare Workers’ Experiences and Views of Using Surgical Masks and Respirators, and Their Attitudes on the Sustainability: A Semi-Structured Survey Study During COVID-19.” Nursing Reports, vol. 11, no. 3, 2021, pp. 615-628.

Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Holiday Movies for Not-So-Jolly Nights

By Shawn Proctor

Even if December is totally your jam, there are likely going to be days when your enjoyment of Christma-kwanza-nakuh-yule wanes.

Will Farrell’s Elf needs to stay on the shelf, you think to yourself. Jingle All the Way can just jingle-go-away.

Wait! There are films for those days when your cheer is not in gear. Save yourself from going full Scrooge with this slate of holiday favorites that take a more sanguine approach to this season. And some you might not realize are holiday movies at all.



Image courtesy of Movie Graveyard

Die Hard
There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and Die Hard IS a Christmas movie. There’s all of the trapping of Christmas, including snow, fun Christmas music, and, of course, Bruce Willis fashioning quotable Christmas lines like, “Now I have a machinegun! Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Dig Deeper: If you want to look back at the inspiration for Die Hard, check out Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever (available via InterLibrary Loan), sequel to the book The Detective, which was also adapted to film and starred Frank Sinatra.

Learn more about every film in the franchise by listening to the Die Hard retrospective series from Now Playing Podcast.

Content warnings: violence, harsh language, drug use


Image Courtesy of Movie Scene

This delightfully horrific tale twists Christmas iconography into something far darker. But for every scary gremlin, there’s the mogwai like Gizmo to give you big doses of cute and cuddly.

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and nothing like chaotic mogwai (which incidentally means “monster” and “evil spirit”) to warm your heart…by possibly burning down your house.

Content warnings: violence, a melodramatic story in which Santa is disproven


Image courtesy of Regal Movies.

Edward Scissorhands

Picture a snow globe with an idyllic town with little people and a house high up on a hill. Picture yourself inside that snow globe. Now picture a weird, gothic automaton that no one understands, except you. That’s Edward Scissorhands in a nutshell…er, globe.
This underappreciated classic features Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd) and Winona Ryder (Stranger Things) at the height of their quirky, wonderful powers. It’s breathtaking, beautiful, and sad. And obviously directed by Tim Burton.

Image courtesy of Arts Meme

L.A. Confidential
This is a movie where the holidays are the inciting incident from which a Los Angeles power struggle begins.
The best police force in the world is tarnished by scandal during a robbery/massacre and Christmas party that goes from “Silent Night” to melee. There’s twists. There’s intrigue. There’s enemies who become friends, and friends who become betrayers. All of this carries right through to the tense climax.
It also features a slate of amazing, charismatic actors, including Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, and Kim Basinger.
Dig Deeper: The film was adapted from the James Ellroy novel, L.A. Confidential (available from InterLibrary Loan.)
Content warnings: racially insensitive language, violence, harsh language, Kevin Spacey (unfortunately)
Honorable Mentions:
Philadelphia is a great city for Christmas, and it has appeared in many notable films. If you want to get to know the City of Brotherly Love in cinema, be sure to check out the delightful superhero film Shazam! The film has great comedy scenes, solid acting, and a great message about celebrating found family.
Harder hitting and darker is the original Rocky. It shuns the glamor of the later films, but this Oscar-winning drama captures the ’70s vibe of Philadelphia in the winter and the unbreakable spirit of its people. With gritty moments leading to the ultimate David vs. Goliath fight, Rocky depicts the American dream, as told through a journeyman boxer who must discover the endurance to go the distance against the best fighter in the world.
Did I miss one of your not-as-cheery holiday movies? What about a classic incidentally Christmas film? Let me know!

Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


Happy Hanukkah!


Happy Hanukkah to our community’s Jewish members!

As we welcome the feast of lights, we invite you to take a look at a selection available in our digital collection: The Hanukkah Anthology.

This tome is described as delving “into the stories and messages of Hanukkah as they have unfolded in Jewish literature over the past two thousand years: biblical intimations of the festival, postbiblical writings, selections from the Talmud and midrashim, excerpts from medieval books, home liturgies, laws and customs, observances in different nations, stories and poems, art, and recipes.”

The Hanukkah Anthology is a successor to Hanukkah: The Feast of Lights by Emily Solis-Cohen, Jr., published in 1937.


Falvey’s Hocus Pocus Tent Puts a Spell on Trick Or Treaters

Falvey Memorial Library welcomes children to annual Halloween event.

Oct. 30, Falvey Memorial Library set up its award-winning Hocus Pocus-themed tent to greet hundreds of treat-seeking Villanova students and children. In addition to a variety of candy, Falvey staff and family tempted visitors with snacks, bookmarks, stickers, pens, notepads, and glow sticks.

Our favorite costumes were Winnie-the-Pooh, Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, Batman, characters from Beetlejuice, and contestants from Squid Game.

When students realized it was Falvey’s tent, they quickly responded: “The Library is my favorite place on campus to study!” No wonder Falvey’s backdrop read, “Hocus Pocus…We Help You Focus!”

Shawn Proctor is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Happy Cat Day, Will D. Cat!

  • Posted by: Shawn Proctor
  • Posted Date: October 29, 2021
  • Filed Under: Library News

By Shawn Proctor

While Villanova alumni treasure their pets, no matter whether they fly, run, or swim, there will always be a special place in their hearts for the University’s fun-loving mascot Will D. Cat.

He can often be seen pouncing around campus, cheering on the teams, and even riding a scooter. But with the help of the University Archives, we’ll take a spin back to mascots of yore and discover how this mascot earned his stripes (or dots, in some cases.)

Will D. Cat’s origin begins under a different name: Count Villan, a live “bobtail” variety of wildcat. Actually the second live wildcat mascot, Villan II (below, in 1945) was given the  nickname through a contest run by the Athletics Office. (See more photos here.)

Villanova Wildcat

Count Villan II takes in the campus sights in 1945.

Later in 1940s, the Will D. Cat you know and adore replaced the live wildcat and has thrilled home crowds and terrified opposing teams ever since. Here’s an early look as he poses alongside four dapper gents.

Villanova Wildcat


Will D. Cat in the smooth ’70s…

Villanova Wildcat

Villanova Wildcat

And rocking out in the 1980s…

Villanova Wildcat


In the 1990s, he went through a few revisions, beginning to resemble the modern day Will D. Cat.

Villanova Wildcat Villanova Wildcat  Villanova Wildcat Villanova Wildcat Villanova Wildcat

We hope you enjoyed this look back at Will D. Cat’s history and wish him the happiest of Cat Days! Can’t wait to give him a celebratory “high five!”

Villanova Wildcat

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From Laptop Chargers to Calculators, Falvey has You Covered!

bingo board

How many of these items have you checked out at Falvey?

Did you forget your calculator on the way to your big math test? Laptop charge dwindling down when you need it most? No worries! Falvey maintains a variety of technology equipment for the use of our patrons, including laptops, calculators, laptop chargers, headphones, and ethernet cords. (And if you need to charge your phone, there’s a convenient charger next to the TechZone!)
Please visit the Service Desk on the 1st floor to check out equipment.


  • TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator

*Calculators may be taken out of the library building

**Five additional calculators may be borrowed for the semester.

Dell Laptop Kits
  • Dell Latitude 7490, 14 inch Windows 10 Business Laptop
    • Click here to view list of installed software
  • Kit includes charger
Dell Laptop Chargers
  • Dell 90w AC adapter
External CD/DVD Players
  • External portable CD/DVD player
  • Compatible with Windows XP-Windows 10, Linux, Mac 10 OS systems
  • No extra driver needed, plug and play
Portable DVD/Blu-ray Player
  • Standalone DVD/Blu-ray Player
  • Plays Blu-ray discs and Region 1 DVDs
  • Intended for use in viewing course-assigned films in the Griffin Room; please fill out the reservation request form to make a reservation
Mac Laptop Chargers
  • 60w MagSafe power adapter with “L” style connector
  • Compatible with:
    • 13-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2010 through 2012
    • MacBook models introduced in late 2009 through 2010
Mac Laptop Charger Converters
  • MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter
  • Compatible with:
    • MacBook Pro models introduced in 2012 through 2015
    • MacBook Air models introduced in 2012 through 2017
USB-C Mac Laptop Charger
  • Compatible with:
    • MacBook models introduced in 2015 or later
    • MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 or later
    • 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models introduced in 2016 or later
  • On-ear, wired headphones
  • 3.5 mm jack
Bloomberg keyboard
  • For use with the designated Bloomberg for Education workstation on the 1st floor of the main library

Borrowing Policies

  • Loan Period: 3 hours
  • Restrictions: Library use only
  • Overdue fine rates apply
  • Equipment is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Equipment reservations are not accepted.
  • Equipment is available to Villanova University students, faculty, and staff. Courtesy Patrons are eligible to check out all equipment except laptops and the Bloomberg keyboard.

*More information about overdue fine rates and lost item replacement fees at the Borrowing Policies page.

Need help? Contact the Falvey Service Desk for additional help. Email us at


Happy Boss’s Day to Bruce Springsteen (Rocking Nova in 1973?)

Bruce Springsteen

Happy Boss’s Day to the Wildcat supervisors out there, and to one special, non-Villanovan: Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen.

Before he was “Born in the USA” or “Born to Run,” Bruce was born to play at Villanova a whole lot. He rocked the campus three times in 1973 alone! From all accounts, he crooned to mere dozens back then, and the photo above, from the 1974 Belle Aire yearbook, didn’t even caption whether this is actually Springsteen strumming.

The Library staff is divided on the identity of the singer in the photo too.

The hair, beard, silver cross, and guitar model and strap closely match this image, also from 1973.

So what do you think? Did we find a long, lost Springsteen photo or bust out with a basic Bruce-a-like?


While you’re pondering, head over to our Digital Library and check out our other amazing yearbooks from yesteryear.

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TBT: Brian Westbrook Leaps Into the Villanova Record Books

For our Throwback Thursday, we honor Brian Westbrook ’02. It has been 20 years since Villanova played the above nailbiter against James Madison University, and has also been almost two decades since Villanova legend Brian Westbrook suited up for the Wildcats. Westbrook is arguably one of the most successful players in Villanova history running and catching 9,512 all-purpose yards, an NCAA record.

As a professional, he enjoyed a seven-year stint with the Eagles earning him a spot in the team’s hall of fame.

Elijah McDow is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate student.

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Tomorrow: Join the 1842 Day Celebration!

  • Posted by: Shawn Proctor
  • Posted Date: September 20, 2021
  • Filed Under: Library News

1842 Day tag in front of library


The fifth annual 1842 Day has arrived, and Villanova welcomes alumni, students, faculty, staff, as well as friends, family, and supporters to join the fun by supporting the Library!

Located at the heart of main campus, Falvey Memorial Library is the interdisciplinary academic center of the Villanova University community. Students, faculty, and staff visit Falvey over half a million times each year. Whether to discuss research with a librarian, attend a book talk with an accomplished author, or find a quiet place to write or study, a visit to the Library is an essential part of a student’s life at Villanova.


Preservation supplies purchased with 1842 Day funds in 2019 protected media for future researchers’ use.

Amid distance learning and social distance protocols, the Library continues to adapt—from expanded online resources to “Pick Up & Go” to scanning services. Your gift to Falvey Memorial Library on 1842 Day will help to enhance and impact these areas and more, including e-journals, databases, books, Special Collections and the treasured University Archives, benefiting students and faculty for generations to come.

In 2020, 107 donors supported Falvey Memorial Library on 1842 Day, which bolstered the Library’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as Public Health resources available to the Villanova community. In prior years, funds supported Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement’s archival efforts to preserve and digitize rare and important items from Villanova’s history.

“For alumni, the Library represents a link to their shared past, where the memories of their time at Villanova are saved and kept. For current students, it remains a central hub of their academic and campus experience, providing resources, research expertise, space, and support to excel in their college years, and beyond,” says Millicent Gaskell, University Librarian.

This year, your gift of any amount will go even further on 1842 Day—Gaskell has announced she will match donations to the Library up to $1842!

Make your gift on 1842 Day, or beat the rush and donate early! Click the image below on your computer or tablet or follow the QR code on your smart phone!









Legislative and Judicial Branch Trial Databases


Trials of the following databases are now available at Databases A-Z

CQ Congress Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Floor votes and member profile tabs covering members of congress from 1969-present, including records on CQ designated key votes, interest group voting, and CQ generated voting scores.
  • Data analysis section including Congressional member alignment with other members, interest group ratings with other members and groups and advanced key vote analysis to compare how members voted or to analyze voting behavior, based on member demographic information on the same vote.
  • A How Congress Votes tab features a Policy Analysis section on broad topics including floor votes on legislation, legislative chronologies and links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, where applicable.

CQ Supreme Court Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Search for case summaries by court name from Jay to Roberts, select a term from 1789-present or browse all cases by constitutional area, court, justice, term, topic, voter totals, case type and date. Alternately, browse justices by name, court, term or type of opinion.
  • Use the “Analyze Data” section, 1941-present, to search for a justice’s role in an opinion, opinion alignment or voting block incidence (to search the number of times the bloc of justices selected were together in the majority and the number of times they were together in the minority, or the number of times the selected bloc of justices voted against each other).
  • Other sections include justices’ biographies, CQ key cases pertaining to constitutional amendments, court rules and traditions, analysis of term overviews (such as the Coronavirus Term), a Supreme Court Encyclopedia, key documents and laws in American history and a glossary of common legal terms.

See these and other related resources in SAGE’s CQ Press Library (CQ Press).


""Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.






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Last Modified: September 7, 2021