Student represents Flex Watches

first_imgWhen Notre Dame sophomore Steve O’Hara sat down to watch MTV’s, “Real World: San Diego,” over fall break, he did not imaging it would lead to a new job. But after seeing the company Flex Watches featured on the MTV show, O’Hara said he was hooked by Flex Watches’ philosophy, which isbased on the belief that 21st-century businesses can be both profitable and charitable. O’Hara said this philosophy made him decide to become a campus representative for the San Diego-based company. “I wanted to buy a watch and eventually became a campus rep to spread awareness for the company,” O’Hara said. “There are 10 watches to choose from, and each one represents a different charity. For example, 10 percent of the proceeds from a pink watch will go toward finding a cure for breast cancer.” The slogan for Flex Watches is “10 colors, 10 charities, 10 percent.” O’Hara said his campus representative position requires marketing the company’s product in a variety of creative ways. “I had to get an article in the [campus] newspaperand put up Facebook statuses,” O’Hara said. “The ultimate goal would be to get Flex Watches in a local store or the [Hammes Notre Dame] Bookstore.” O’Hara, a lacrosse player at Notre Dame, considers his involvement with Flex Watches more of an extracurricular activity than a job. “My first plan of attack was sending out an email to the entire [lacrosse] team,” O’Hara said. “Networking with friends and trying to explain what Flex Watches are all about is part of my strategy.” O’Hara said his time working with Flex Watches proves that a company can still be a force of change in the world. “A business can be both profitable and can give back to the community,” he said. “It’s not all about making money; it’s about making an impact on the world around you.” Working for a company based in Southern California has not presented any challenges, O’Hara said. “When you order a watch, they ask how you found out about the product,” O’Hara said. “People are supposed to use my name as a reference so they know how well I am promoting and advertising the product.” Interested buyers can purchase a Flex Watch just in time for the holiday season. “You can go to www.flexwatches.com or email me at [email protected] if interested in buying one,” he said.last_img read more

Archbishop wins prize for service in Latin America

first_imgLouis Kébreau, Archbishop of Cap-Haitien, once said, “When you build a school, you close a prison.” Because of Kébreau’s commitment to promoting education in Haiti, particularly in the aftermath of the 2009 earthquake, he will be honored with the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America on Thursday in Haiti, according to a University press release. “[Kébreau] is somebody who has dedicated his life to working with the people of Haiti and particularly has done a lot of work on education,” said Stephen Reifenberg, executive director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, which sponsors the prize. “It’s this commitment to education and social justice that has really distinguished him.” Reifenberg said the award, begun in 2000 and co-sponsored by Coca-Cola, recognizes visionary leaders who do important work to improve democracy and human development in Latin America. The prize comes with a $15,000 cash award, along with a matching donation to a charity of the recipient’s choice, Reifenberg said. Kébreau chose to donate to Action et Solidarité contre la Pauvreté (Action and Solidarity against Poverty, or ASAP), an organization that provides scholarships to Haitian university students. Kébreau was chosen for the honor because he has been a voice for the Haitian people, Reifenberg said. “He is somebody who has really worked hard to connect the local and the national and the international,” he said. “He’s done a great deal to raise the issues of people at the local levels … to really bring the awareness of what’s happening at the local level to the level of the nation in Haiti, but even more to the international community.” Reifenberg said Kébreau has most recently advocated globally for measures to combat a cholera epidemic in Haiti. In the realm of education, Kébreau has been integral in building and rebuilding schools for impoverished Haitian children, especially after the devastating 2009 earthquake, Reifenberg said. Reifenberg said choosing Kébreau to receive the prize honors not only his leadership, but also the strength of the Haitian people. “There is an interest in recognizing the incredible solidarity of the Haitian people,” Reifenberg said, “and what they’ve endured since the earthquake and in the midst of incredible hardship, the real leadership that many people have shown, and to a certain degree being able to honor one person is actually honoring Haitians, as well.” Reifenberg said this year’s award is especially relevant to Notre Dame’s longstanding engagement with Haiti. “This is a particularly special recognition for Notre Dame, given Notre Dame’s long tradition of commitment to Haiti,” Reifenberg said. “And I think it is a commitment that is only growing as the programs the University has in health, education, infrastructure and the study of language and cultures continue to grow. I think that while a specific individual is being recognized, it is part of a broader commitment.” According to the Kellogg Institute’s website, former recipients of the prize include President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, human rights activist Helen Mack Chang and Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga.last_img read more

University investments pay off

first_imgNotre Dame’s endowment returned 11.8 percent during the previous fiscal year and hit the $8.3 billion mark at the end of June, vice president and Chief Investment Officer Scott Malpass said.  Malpass, a 1984 Notre Dame alumnus, said the fund’s performance compares favorably to the U.S. stock market. “I’ve been here 25 years … [and] our endowment pool is about $8.4 billion now,” he said. “Had we just earned the [same as the] U.S. stock market over those 25 years, we’d would be at about $4.6 billion. “We’re about $3.6 or $3.7 billion more in endowment than we would have been had we just invested in the U.S. market and had just had an index spot. So we substantially outperformed the S&P over that period of time.” The investment office is more concerned with long-term performance than annual returns, Malpass said, and the median return varies from year to year. He said the median return value typically ranges from around six percent to 14 percent.  “We don’t have a one-year strategy; we’re a long-term investor,” Malpass said. “So what really matters is the five to 10-year performance. But the median return was higher than the prior year, for sure.” Malpass said he credits the fund’s success and appreciation in value to investment into private investments, good diversification and the performance of his managers.  The general strategy behind the fund management is to return inflation plus five to six percent over time, he said.  “We have to earn at least inflation to make sure the principle’s keeping its purchasing power,” Malpass said. “We also want to earn five to six percent because we’re spending that every year to support the campus.”  A University press release said Notre Dame benefitted from “spending distributions of some $286 million for the fiscal year.” Malpass said the endowment money goes toward a multitude of groups across campus, to students and faculty. “The large portion of that [goes] to scholarships for students, endowed shareholders for senior faculty [and] the library,” Malpass said. “Really all academic programs benefit from the endowment one way or the other.  Malpass said there are actually more than 5,000 endowment funds that are pooled for investments like a mutual fund. “There are endowments for the glee club; there are endowments for student activities … every academic department has endowments supporting them,” he said. “[On] my core investment team … we’re all actually Notre Dame alumni, so there’s a real strong sense of purpose and mission.”last_img read more

Rep. Johnson works to develop a culture of peace

first_imgContact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]: congresswoman, eddie bernice johnson, first woman, rep. johnson, saint mary’s, texas house committee When Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30) became the first woman in state history to lead a major Texas House committee, the Labor Committee, her supporters knew this would not be the only barrier this Texas native would break.Johnson, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1956 with a degree in nursing, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972. She said her first stint running for office in the Texas State House was largely motivated by timing in her home state and the support of community organizers.“In Texas that year, it was considered the year of the women,” Johnson said. “We had outstanding female candidates for governor, and it was really seen as the year of encouragement. That encouragement extended to my community, and I was pushed to run.”After a successful stint in state office, Johnson said President Jimmy Carter appointed her in 1977 to serve as regional director of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare because he recognized her advocacy for workers, children and families.“I left the administration after President Carter was defeated, and I remained active in the community,” Johnson said. “I had many people suggesting that I get into office again, so that is the reason I ran for the State Senate.”In 1986, Johnson said she was elected a Texas state senator, becoming the first female and African American from the Dallas area to hold this office since the Reconstruction. In 1992, she retired from the state senate because she was encouraged to run for Congress.Johnson began her term in the House of Representatives in January 1993.‘Confident about the education I received’Although she said she does not believe Saint Mary’s as a whole prepared her for a career in politics, she said the College allowed her to feel confident about her educational background.“I think it is important that anyone who decided to run for office have a good educational background,” Johnson said. “I feel very confident about the education I received at Saint Mary’s and am very proud of everything I achieved there.”As the first nurse elected to the House of Representatives, Johnson said her background in psychiatric nursing gave her the skills to work well with people.“The main thing I learned in nursing was the importance of paying attention to detail,” Johnson said. “With this career and training, I developed a strong habit of doing homework and a focus on planning, which I believe has helped me throughout my political career.”Johnson, who serves on the Committee of Science, Space and Technology, said her background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields gave her the knowledge and ability to contribute to discussion on the committee’s legislation. From 2000 to 2002, she was the ranking member of the subcommittee on Research and Science Education. While on the subcommittee, she said she emphasized education in STEM disciplines.“I really think it is time for America and American women to understand that all professions should be, and for the most part are, open to women,” Johnson said. “Many of the professions that require very strong background in STEM courses have been dominated by males, but we need all the brain power that we can muster to meet the challenges of a global society.”Because of the many strong role models present at the College, Johnson said she was exposed to a strong commitment to social justice on both domestic and international levels.“I had excellent role models among the various nuns, and, of course, we had some professors that were not of order, but the idea of that commitment to people, to the nation, was very impressive,” Johnson said. “Students from all over the world were welcomed, and I think that because of this, I had a very rich experience at Saint Mary’s.”Commitment to peaceAs an African-American woman in the political sphere, Johnson said she has experienced discrimination.“Sometimes I’ve wondered whether I should identify first as an African American or as a woman,” Johnson said. “I have certainly felt and experienced discrimination along the way. I have tried my best to not allow it to get in the way, but rather attempt to practice ways in which I may help those who are prejudice understand that we all — for the most part — want the same things.”Having been involved with several different caucuses, Johnson said she believes all are calling out for peace and equality.After experiencing the 2001 terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., the congresswoman said she felt she had to do something to reduce war and violence in the world.  In order to do so, she believes women have a very special role as peacekeepers in the world.“Throughout my time in office, I have seen the faces of war firsthand in Bosnia and the Congo,” Johnson said. “After 9/11, I decided I needed to do something, however small, to try to develop a culture of peace in the world.“I had seen on the cover of Newsweek magazine two boys from Liberia who were 12 and 14 years old all dressed in war gear with machine guns, and I just thought enough was enough.”Johnson said in 2001 she founded the “A World of Women for World Peace” initiative, which includes conflict resolution programs for women and girls of all ages. By using several different avenues, including radio, travel and Skype, Johnson said she has been able to communicate with women across the world.“I have learned that, generally speaking, people all over the world really do want peace, even when leadership in those countries seem like they are just there for war, the majority of the people, for the most part, scream out for peace,” Johnson said. “So what I try to do is touch the women to make sure they can speak up and gain leadership positions in those countries to focus on peace and conflict resolution. These women can promote respecting differences instead of war.”Going backAlthough it has been years since Johnson attended Saint Mary’s, she said she still goes back for reunions and has periodically served on different boards, one of which is the board of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL).Over the past two summers, CWIL has hosted a State Department-sponsored program titled “Study of the United States Institute.” The program brings international women to Saint Mary’s for four weeks of intensive training on women’s leadership. The institute concludes in Washington, D.C.Johnson said she had the opportunity to meet the young women studying at the institute in July 2012 and July 2013.“I was impressed with the questions [the women] asked, and I thought it was an excellent example of how internationally, women can be connected, how to encourage networking and how we can work to fit into this global society that we are in,” Johnson said.Johnson said she is thankful for her experience at the College and stays in touch with other Saint Mary’s alumnae in Congress, particularly, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, U.S. representative for the Virgin Islands.“[Congresswoman Christensen] and I meet up sometimes,” Johnson said. “We know the experience of Saint Mary’s. … A little while back, Father Hesburgh was in D.C. and honored for an award, and we were excited to tell him we were from Saint Mary’s.”last_img read more

Professor and team discover star

first_imgDr. Timothy C. Beers, Notre Dame Chair in Astrophysics, and an international team of astronomers have discovered a low-mass star in the Milky Way galaxy that could help explain the origin of elements in the universe. The star exhibits the peculiar chemical abundance ratios associated with the process of creating new atomic nuclei (nucleosynthesis) in a first-generation very-massive star, according to a University press release.The group of astronomers published their study, entitled “A chemical signature of first-generation very-massive stars,” in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal “Science.”The star has a unique set of chemical ratios that have never been seen before, Beers said. Using high-resolution spectroscopic instruments on the Subaru Telescope located in Hawaii, Beers and his team, comprised of astronomers from Japan and Korea, observed a star in the halo region of the Milky Way galaxy 300 parsecs (or about 1000 light years) away.“We are essentially reconstructing a stellar history from the chemistry of objects we discovered today,” Beers said.The study of ancient stars and their origins is known as Galactic archaeology, he said.“This was the first example of an ancient star whose elements had to have been produced by another star that was much more massive, maybe several hundred times the mass of the sun,” Beers said.Beers compared the formation of early stars to the pollution of a river.“You have a massive star that was formed out of pure Big-Bang material, pristine, hydrogen, helium, a little bit of lithium [and] nothing else,” he said. “When that star exploded, it created heavier elements, which then polluted pristine gas around it. It’s that polluted gas which carries the fingerprint of the progenitor that the star we discovered formed from.“If you can go back and find the almost-pristine, perfect, unpolluted stars, you know you have to be at the beginning,” Beers said.The star is approximately 12- to 13-billion-years-old, approaching the age of the 14-billion-year-old universe, Beers said.“The chemistry tells us this star was born at least 10-billion-years-ago, because if it were born any later, it would have formed out of gas that was polluted to a higher degree,” Beers said. “When people think ancient, they often think far away. What many people find fascinating is that these are objects in our own galaxy. They’re … right here. It’s just that we can recognize them as markers of this early history. You don’t have to go to the edge of the universe to study the very beginning of it, in the chemical sense they are pristine fossils.”According to a University press release, the star is the first such star identified in the Milky Way. The astronomers hope to discover more stars similar to this one, and refine their analysis in order to confirm the existence of very-massive stars in the first generation. Such stars could have contributed to the development of super-massive black holes like the one at the center of the Milky Way.Beers said he is currently searching the universe for more stars like this one using the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, which is operated by a research consortium.“This discovery is one of many along the way,” Beers said.Tags: astronomy, astrophysics, discovery, starlast_img read more

Professor asks ‘can liberty be conserved?’

first_imgJodi Lo | The Observer Mark Blitz, Claremont McKenna professor and former federal government administrator, speaks about the effects modern institutions have on personal liberties during a lecture in Geddes Hall on Monday.Claremont McKenna professor and former federal government administrator Mark Blitz explored the question, “Can liberty be conserved?” on Monday afternoon in Geddes Hall.To begin his talk, Blitz said it is crucial to understand precisely what liberty is before we can start to find a way of preserving it.“Liberty is the authority to direct oneself and to not be constrained in directing oneself,” Blitz said.In order to fully comprehend this definition, it is important to note that liberty is both natural and equal, Blitz said. The equality of liberty means everyone has an equal authority to direct themselves. He said that by nature, liberty is not a manifestation of arbitrary cultural preferences formed by humans but instead a fundamental, natural fact of life independent of other factors.“It’s not a throwaway term; it’s not a meaningless term. It’s really a fundamental term,” Blitz said, in reference to natural rights.Blitz said that the independence essence of natural rights is crucial to the concept of liberty.“We don’t make them, create them, or invent them, but that, in some sense, they are permanently there to be seen and discovered,” Blitz said.However, Blitz said, natural rights are often ignored and trampled by man-made prejudices.“As with many self-evident things, you can’t see them if you are somehow blinded or wearing masks or looking through gauze,” Blitz said. “You can see them clearly only if the blinders of class preference or ethnic preference or group preference or traditional ways or mysticism or unquestionably obedient religious views are taken away.”According to Blitz, the Enlightenment was responsible for removing many of these blinders and espousing the cause of natural rights. Despite the fact that the original backing of natural rights transcended partisan lines, it has became far more of a one-sided issue than it should be today, Blitz said.Individual liberty has become more strongly associated with modern conservatism than liberalism, at least in the United States, but natural rights should draw its support from common ground, Blitz said. “Conservatism should conserve liberalism, properly understood,” Blitz said.After defining natural rights, Blitz examined the ways in which a society can protect and promote liberty.Citing Aristotle, Blitz said that good character and a proper set of virtues are the foundations of successful liberty.“You can’t use your liberty effectively and therefore not well, if you don’t have good character,” he said.In particular, Blitz said, responsibility is one of the greatest virtues and character traits in this regard because it balances the potential misuses of liberty.“Responsibility is taking charge and seeing things through to a successful conclusion,” he said.While a free society requires responsibility, it paradoxically produces it, as well, because liberty encourages citizens to remain true to their commitments and duties.Blitz concluded his lecture by saying that liberal democracies are not morally lost, as some claim, but help develop the human soul. Following the lecture, he opened the floor up to questions.Tags: Civil Rights, Liberty, Mark Blitz, natural rightslast_img read more

Relay for Life to enter 11th year

first_imgThis year’s Relay for Life will be held Friday in Compton Family Ice Arena. According to the relay website, 446 participants from Notre Dame have helped to raise over $105,455 thus far through various fundraising events. The relay Friday will include a variety of activities and entertainment in hopes of raising even more money for cancer research.Freshman Justin McCurdy and senior Andrea Romeros have served as student co-chairs of the event this year. According to Romeros, this is the relay’s 11th year at Notre Dame. Over the past 10 years, Notre Dame has raised over a million dollars for the American Cancer Society, leading to the University winning first place in the Nationwide College Per Capita Income Award and first place in the Nationwide Survivor Engagement. Notre Dame has also been the recipient of 13 American Cancer Society Research Grants, which altogether totals over $4.5 million provided to Notre Dame for cancer research.McCurdy said extensive planning has gone into this year’s relay. Several fundraising events have already been held, including Purple Week, named after the American Cancer Society’s signature color, which culminated in a Purple Dinner held in South Dining Hall to raise awareness for this year’s relay. Other events have included a blood drive and an online auction that will continue until 11 p.m. Friday. Additionally, a ‘Jail and Bail’ will be held Friday, in which students can pay to have peers “arrested” by NDSP and forced to either pay $5 or held in “jail” in LaFortune Student Center.Romeros said support for the Relay has been campus-wide.“So many people have helped prepare for this year’s relay,” Romeros said, “We have both a faculty-run committee and a student-run committee that help plan and promote the event, not to mention all of the teams that have been holding fundraisers. We are just so excited to having everyone come out to Compton on Friday.”This edition of the relay is distinct from years past in that rather than going from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, it will end at midnight, Romeros said.“This year, we can expect a more devoted crowd of participants,” Romeros said, “Since we have shortened the event … we really hope this will encourage students, faculty, staff and community members to stay throughout the event. Of course, you are free to come and go, but we have planned some really great events and ceremonies.”According to the Relay for Life website, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by an opening ceremony and kickoff of the relay’s first lap led by survivors, caregivers and the Notre Dame Marching Band at 6:30. Activities throughout the night include the silent auction, balloon twisters, inflatables, a basketball shoot-a-thon, ice sculpting, a Zumbathon, karaoke, broomball and an open skate. A luminary ceremony will be held from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in which candles in decorated paper bags will be lit in honor of victims, survivors and all community members affected by cancer. Closing ceremonies will begin at 11:45 p.m., and the event will officially end at midnight.“You can just come with your friends and have a good time,” McCurdy said.Students can pre-register for the relay or sign up at the door on the night of the event. Registration costs $10 and is payable by cash, check, credit or Domer Dollars. More information and updates on the event can be found on the relay’s twitter, @NotreDameRelay, Facebook page or website, relay.nd.eduTags: Cancer research, Relay for Lifelast_img read more

Year in review: 2015-2016

first_imgSusan Zhu June 22, 2015: College president announces retirementSince taking office in June 2004, current College President Carol Ann Mooney has loved working closely with the Saint Mary’s students — the very thing she said she will miss the most when she retires May 31.“One of the great joys of being president at a small college is to be able to interact with the students,” Mooney said. “You are fascinating young women who really are preparing to make a difference in the world. You care deeply about the good of this community, and I trust that will expand to the various communities you will inhabit as you move through your lives.”During her tenure, Mooney launched the “Faith Always, Action Now” campaign — which raised $105 million for the College — as well as three new graduate programs.President-elect Jan Cervelli will take Mooney’s place June 1, 2017, after Mooney’s contract expires. Cervelli, a South Bend native and Saint Joseph’s High School alumna, said she is excited to immerse herself in student life at the College.“I want to become a part of the class of 2020,” she said. “ … I want to be able to walk the walk with students and see what it’s like to take classes, to live in the dorm [and] to eat the food.”August 2015: Administration implements new first-year courseMembers of the class of 2019 were enrolled in the Moreau First-Year Experience course, a new freshman requirement for the 2015-2016 academic year. The course, which took the place of the previous physical education requirement, emphasizes the holistic growth of the student and aims to ensure a seamless transition for incoming students into the Notre Dame community.Maureen Dawson, associate professional specialist for the First Year of Studies, said the course, which met once weekly and consisted of approximately 19 or 20 students, is meant to create a platform for conversation about the college experience.The course was not without controversy, with many students expressing their dissatisfaction in a midterm survey. Dawson said the survey encouraged classroom conversations between instructors and students about how to improve discussions and streamline assignments.“The student midterm survey gave us a lot of really clear, concise responses from students about what they thought was working, what was uninteresting and what was laborious,” she said.“I think over time we’ll evolve [our] ability to showcase resources more pointedly. … Now we’re at the stage where we’re sharing information with students, and we’re building a base for reflection and discussion. … With each successive semester, we’ll be able to move students more directly in contact with these resources and opportunities around campus.”January 2016: Jenkins begins third term in officeUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins’ completed his 10th year in office this school year, following his election to a third five-year term by the Board of Trustees in January 2015.During his tenure, Jenkins has consistently emphasized Notre Dame’s research efforts for both students and faculty. Jenkins oversaw the creation of the office of vice president for research in 2007 and announced significant increases in research funding the following year.In recent years, building projects — most notably the Campus Crossroads project — have become another defining characteristic of Jenkins’ presidency. In addition to Campus Crossroads, the University is currently building two new residence halls and several new class buildings, including Jenkins Hall, which will house the new Keough School of Global Affairs.Jenkins said he plans to continue efforts to make Notre Dame an example for the world and a leader in the Church.“I think we need to continue to make progress,” he said. “I do think … our Catholic mission is something we need to continue to talk about, especially at this time. It’s a challenging time, but I think there’s no institution placed like we are to speak to really serious issues in the world about the environment, about economic inequality, global solidarity.”January 13, 2016: Housing announces dorm changesThis year was the last year freshmen women were eligible to be placed in Pangborn Hall.In an email sent to the student body, University administration said residents of Pangborn Hall will be moved to the new female dorm that is currently under construction east of Pasquerilla East and Knott Halls, while Pangborn Hall will serve as a “swing dorm” for residents of Walsh and Badin Halls, which will undergo renovation during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years, respectively.The new male dorm currently under construction in the same location will be filled by application. Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for Residential Life, said the addition of new dorms and the renovation of existing ones is a continuation of the residential master plan that began in 2006.“That residential master plan was largely aimed at what we call ‘decanting,’ or un-crowding the undergraduate residence halls,” Rakoczy Russell said. “A room, for instance, that’s a triple might become a double, doubles become singles and so reducing the configurations. Some of you probably live where [the] study room have been converted into student rooms, so we, to the extent that we could, reversed that.”January 17, 2016: ND celebrates Walk the Walk WeekThe University hosted the inaugural Walk the Walk Week, taking new steps to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The week began with a march around campus the night of Sunday, Jan. 17, followed by a candlelight service in the Main Building.“So many people worked together to make this happen,” senior Chizo Ekechukwu, chair of Diversity Council, said. “A lot of different groups throughout campus came together in collaboration to create conversations about this topic.”Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who, along with Alicia Garza, started the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, delivered the keynote address for Walk the Walk Week.“We have a long history in the black community of disruption, a long legacy,” Cullors said. “What we’re doing here is we’re adding to that legacy and we should be proud of it and embrace it. The only way we’ve seen systemic change happen in this country is disruption.”February 8, 2016: GameDay comes to campusHours before Notre Dame overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat basketball powerhouse and then-No. 2 North Carolina in a packed Purcell Pavilion, ESPN’s College GameDay paid South Bend a visit.Seth Greenberg, GameDay analyst and former Virginia Tech basketball coach, promised a great game, and he delivered on that guarantee.“This game is just gonna be a good game, and this place is just steeped in so much tradition, to see and experience it in a different way, it’s pretty great,” Greenberg said.Greenberg, who is an analyst for the show alongside Jay Williams, Jay Bilas and host Rece Davis, said the energy in Purcell Pavilion was vital to outputting a good show.“What makes a great GameDay show for us is when you walk in and it’s a packed house. When you’ve got that ownership and energy and passion and the students are into it, for me that’s the closest I get to coaching again,” Greenberg said.February 11, 2016: Keenan Revue marks 40 yearsFollowing in the footsteps of Keenan Hall residents spanning the past four decades, the men of Keenan Hall performed the 40th annual Keenan Revue in February.Since its inception, the Keenan Revue has tended toward the controversial, poking fun at various Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s traditions and stereotypes and getting kicked off Saint Mary’s campus in 1991.“The Revue’s slightly controversial nature is exactly why it’s remained such a prominent University tradition,” Ryan Rizzuto, senior producer of the Revue, said. “The beautiful thing about writing comedy is what you can say with it. It can turn a mirror on the student body and the administration and make people listen to arguments that they’d normally tune out.” “The New Keenan Revue” opened Nov. 6, 1976, founded by then-Keenan Hall resident assistants (RAs) Thomas Lenz and Richard Thomas as an alternative activity to the drinking culture on campus in response to the death of a classmate which occurred after a night of drinking.“That was kind of the context for people saying, ‘Okay, so getting wasted every weekend is one thing to do, but what else could the dorm do that would contribute to the growth of the dorm spirit and to the health of the community?’” Lenz said.March 5, 2016: Laetare Medal decision creates controversyThe University named Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner as co-recipients of the Laetare Medal on March 5. According to the University website, the Laetare Medal is awarded each year at Notre Dame Commencement to American Catholics “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”“In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the original press release.The announcement sparked controversy — both on campus and on a national level — and stirred debate on the religious and political implications of the decision.On March 18, 89 students signed an Observer Letter to the Editor expressing their objections to the University’s decision. Students also held a pro-life service protesting the decision, and more than 3,000 alumni signed a petition voicing their opposition. Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades released a statement condemning the decision for similar reasons: namely, Biden’s stance on abortion and same-sex marriage. Other members of the Notre Dame community expressed their support for the selection of Biden and Boehner as joint honorees, arguing that the decision promotes political unity in an era of partisan division and animosity.April 9, 2016: Snow leads to Holy Half cancellationOne of Notre Dame’s most well-known traditions, the Holy Half Marathon, was cancelled this April due to icy conditions. The race cancellation altered the plans of the more than 1,500 people signed up to compete.According to a statement from race directors, safety concerns for the runners motivated the decision to cancel the race.The Holy Half, which is a charity event benefitting the South Bend community, consists of both a 13.1-mile and a 10-kilometer race run by students and faculty of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross campuses, along with members of the South Bend community, alumni and fans from across the nation.Junior Peter Rodgers, president of the Holy Half club, said the planning for the event is divided into a number of different categories including course design, food and entertainment, sponsorships and volunteer recruitment.“We also do a lot of work with the University Council people, which is the [Notre Dame Security Police], [Notre Dame Fire Department], Student Activities Facilities, RecSports and medical to make sure that on race day, the runners are safe [and] the roads are clear for runners,” Rodgers said. April 29, 2016: Task force on sexual assault releases reportOn April 26, 2015, College President Carol Ann Mooney announced the creation of a presidential task force to address the issue of sexual assault on campus. The creation of the task force followed the release of the CNN documentary “The Hunting Ground,” as well as a private conversation between Mooney and the student body.The task force was made up of three faculty members, six students, three administrators, the vice president for student affairs Karen Johnson, the College counsel Rich Nugent and Mooney herself. It was split into three subcommittees — education and training, support and processes — which then reconvened as a whole task force to report their findings and make recommendations to the College about how best to improve issues regarding sexual assault.The task force met throughout the 2015-2016 school year to discuss their findings and to write the report. The final report was published April 29 of this year and contained suggestions on how to improve the handling of sexual assault cases. The report included recommendations for improving and expanding staff and faculty training, as well as access to resources and communications between Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College.Tags: Commencement 2016, year in reviewlast_img read more

GALA-ND/SMC awards LGBTQ scholarships

first_imgThe Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) named Notre Dame junior Samuel Cho and Saint Mary’s junior Maranda Pennington the recipients of its 2016-2017 LGBTQ student scholarships.Jack Bergen, the chair of GALA and a 1977 Notre Dame graduate, said the scholarship was instituted in spring of 2015, making this year its second consecutive year in what he hopes to be a continued tradition.“When we were starting this up, we talked … and decided creating this scholarship would be a great way to demonstrate our support and to help eligible and qualified students with their financial burden at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s,” he said.Bergen said like most alumni groups, GALA has two primary purposes — to continue to engage alumni of the University and the College and to stimulate interactions between alumni and current students.“As a result of the University more actively recognizing the LGBTQ student population as part of the community, we felt that it was time to do more for the LGBTQ students on campus,” he said.To be eligible for the scholarship, students must identify within the LGBTQ community and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above, according to GALA’s website. Additionally, applicants must be willing to be identified as scholarship recipients and complete a service project.Applicants submit a written application and from there are invited to interview for the scholarship. A four-person selection committee consisting of a combination of GALA officers and board members then selects the two recipients, Bergen said.Bergen said the number of students that applied was between four and six, creating an “extremely strong” pool of applicants for this year’s award.“But as we went through the process, these two individuals rose to the top,” he said. “… They each had a different and unique perspective as to what their experience has been and what they want to do to give back to the community.”Cho said he thinks GALA’s scholarship is a “positive force” on both the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses.“Only recently PrismND was recognized as a club by the University of Notre Dame,” he said. “The visibility of LGBTQ students on campus is crucial for the inclusion of those who may have felt excluded before.”During his time at the University, Cho has been an active member of both PrismND — a student organization founded to provide support for the University’s LGBTQ community — and the Asian American Association, according to GALA’s website. He will serve as co-chair of Diversity Council for the upcoming academic year.“I have and will continue to work hard to champion the inclusion of LGBTQ members on campus and create a setting that will truly be respectful and accepting of everyone who identifies within the LGBTQ community,” Cho said. “Hopefully soon we will see a Notre Dame that allows all of its students to live true to themselves.”Cho said his fulfillment of the scholarship’s community service requirement is still in the planning stages.“I hope to create a project that could be sustained for years to come even after I graduate and provide an outlet to recognize and celebrate those of the LGBTQ community,” he said.Pennington has been vice president of the College’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) and has held a number of leadership positions for the Saint Mary’s College Dance Marathon (SMCDM), according to GALA’s website.For her community service project, Pennington said she would like to create a blog or video to document the stories of LGBTQ students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to help both students and members of the greater community to “see the humanity and commonality in one another,” according to GALA’s website.Over the next five years, Bergen said GALA hopes to raise $500,000 to fund an endowed scholarship. At the end of June, GALA will host a fundraising event in the Los Angeles area, which Bergen said students are welcome to attend.Bergen said he thinks the campus climate surrounding LGBTQ issues has made significant progress in recent years — particularly with the founding of PrismND, the University’s first officially recognized LGBTQ student organization, in 2013.“I think the general consensus is things have gotten a lot better, but a lot of work still has to be done,” he said.Notre Dame’s Catholic identity creates a “unique environment” for LGBTQ students and alumni, Bergen said.“We’re not looking to change Notre Dame’s foundation in the faith that it relies upon,” he said. “But we’d like to see them embrace LGBTQ individuals more, especially as it relates to being whole individuals and supporting them just as any other member of the Notre Dame community.”GALA was founded in 1994, Bergen said, when Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s alumni recognized a need to provide a network to LGBTQ members of the community. The organization now has about 1,000 people on its email list, he said.Moving forward, Bergen said he would like to see the University recognize GALA as an official alumni association. Last fall, GALA presented to the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and its status is currently under review.“It’s great that the University recognizes LGBTQ students and supports them within the undergraduate community. But once they graduate, they’ve lost that support from the University,” he said. “We’re looking to encourage them to continue to support the LGBTQ community.”Tags: GALA, GALA scholarship, GALA-ND/SMC, LGBTQ, PrismNDlast_img read more

Tri-campus course examines combination of faith, sustainability

first_imgThe tri-campus sustainability class seeks to place stewardship of the Earth at the center of faith practice. The course, offered each fall semester, integrates Catholic teachings into environmental studies to reflect on issues of sustainability.John Slattery, an adjunct environmental studies professor at Saint Mary’s, said the course was developed to examine not only the topics in theory, but also how to physically implement these theories in a practical way.“The aim of designing this course was to have an environmental studies class that is very tangible,” he said. “Therefore, we focus on questions regarding how sustainability is practiced on campus and in what ways can we do more.”Throughout the modern Catholic Church, Slattery said, care for the Earth has been a key component in faith practice — particularly with Pope Francis’ second encyclical, “Laudato si’: On Care For Our Common Home.”“We need to internally evaluate whether we are actually practicing environmental stewardship and sustainability,” he said. “And I think, a lot of times, the answer is we’re trying to but not quite, and there are actually a lot of things that are inconsistent with what the Church teaches that we can improve on.”Slattery said he believes Catholic institutions should reflect and honor these teachings more concretely in how they live their lives and practice sustainability as institutions.“I think it’s really important, mostly because it has a sound Christian, ethical and moral background,” he said. “ … It is the direction that the pope has taken and multiple bishops conferences have taken on stewardship of the Earth as a centerpiece for what it means to be Catholic.”Saint Mary’s senior Hanna Makowski said the course provides concrete ways of addressing sustainability, specifically within the tri-campus community.“Community is a big part of this course, as it highlights how we are all connected and motivates us to think about how we can all work together to come up with ideas and solutions that can benefit all of us,” she said.Having an open dialogue with students from Holy Cross and Notre Dame allows for a line of communication and collaboration between the tri-campus student communities that may be lacking in an informal context, Makowski said.“What I enjoy the most about this class is building relationships with students within the same community but from different campuses, which allows for good internal reflection from multiple perspectives,” she said.Makowski said she enjoys working and learning with other students who are taking the course due to their genuine passion for the Earth.“People aren’t taking this course for the credits, they’re taking it because they care,” she said. “It’s nice to have a community of people that you know are committed to the ideals of the course, which I think is cool.”Sophomore Anna Zingalis said this course challenges her to think about her everyday actions and how it affects the world around her.“It challenges me to really think about everything that I’m doing — when I wake up in the morning, when I’m taking my showers or when I’m eating in the dining hall — and think about how this is going to affect the future and how it is going to affect other people,” she said.Zingalis said this is an important course being offered, and she explained that sustainability is something that affects everyone.“I think this is a course that is useful to all students because by learning about sustainability and environmental impact, it becomes more personal once you really understand how it works, and it sort of becomes a part of you,” she said. “That’s when it’s truly eye-opening, and you start to realize how this issue matters and the effects it has on a larger scale.”Tags: environment, laudato si’, sustainability, tri-campus communitylast_img read more