Month: January 2021

SMC bookstore signs contract with Follett

first_imgSaint Mary’s College recently contracted Follett Higher Education Group to assume operations of the Shaheen Bookstore, Richard Speller, vice president for finance and administration at the College said. Follett will officially begin administration of the bookstore Oct. 20. According to an e-mail sent to the student body Monday from Mike Hicks, director of campus stores, the bookstore will close Oct. 17 for training and inventory purposes and will reopen Oct. 25. Speller said the College elected to discontinue managing the bookstore on its own for financial reasons. “Bottom line, this move will save the College money,” Speller said. “The College will not have to anticipate demand, purchase and store large inventory in the form of textbooks, apparel and other merchandise.” Speller said the College’s finance officials reviewed three different management companies and decided on Follett. According to Speller, Follet has more than 1,600 independent campus stores, and is the leading supplier of bookstore services and used books in North America. Speller said the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College both use Follett to manage their campus bookstores. The college also selected Follett to operate the bookstore for its textbook rental program, according to Speller. “Follett will offer new choices for students, most notably the option to rent textbooks,” Speller said. “Follett’s Rent-A-Text option, available to Saint Mary’s for the spring 2011 semester, could save students up to 50 percent on books.” Speller said Follett will also offer students Caféscribe, a digital textbook program. “Caféscribe gives students, and faculty, the freedom to search, highlight, take notes, cross-reference, sort text and connect with others using the same eTextbook,” Speller said. Though the store’s management will change, Speller said students, faculty and staff can still expect to see quality merchandise within the store. “They will not only bring in merchandise specific to Saint Mary’s College’s input and research, but the best practices and trends across higher education and the collegiate marketplace,” Speller said. “As a result, customers can expect to see top quality merchandise available both online and in the Shaheen Bookstore in the Student Center.” Speller said even though new management will take over in mid-October, customers may not notice many changes until spring semester. “When students return to campus in January, they will find that the store … is more spacious, with better traffic flow,” Speller said. According to Speller, Follett will pay for the renovations made to the Student Center. Renovations include expanding into the space now occupied by the C-Store. Follett plans to make these changes during fall break.last_img read more

College holds high school choir festival

first_imgWith 20 women’s choirs from Indiana, Michigan and Illinois, the High School Women’s Choir Festival held at Saint Mary’s College promotes female chorus groups, Nancy Menk, director of choral activities, said. “It’s for constructive criticism and help,” she said. “It’s not a competition. It’s just a festival.” Menk said the opportunity allowed feedback from a panel of three commentators. The festival, which began Thursday, also allowed each choir to listen to comparable women’s choirs to gain insight. The commentators this year were Paul Caldwell of Chicago, Sean Ivory of Grand Rapids, Mich. and Barbara Tagg of Syracuse, N.Y. According to Menk, each choir performed for the other choirs and the commentators. Following each performance, one of the three commentators worked directly with the choir to provide feedback on their performance. The choir will receive written comments from the other members of the panel. “They come here and each choir performs a short program for each other and for a panel of commentators that we bring in,” Menk said. “These are experts in the field. Following their performance one of the three commentators goes up on stage with a [microphone] and works with the choir, like in a workshop format, to improve some aspect of their performance.” The festival is a two-day event and will end today around 4:30 p.m. Menk said the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir performed each day to provide an example for the high school students. The annual festival is celebrating its 26th year. Menk said the festival is mutually beneficial for the high school students and the College. “It’s important for Saint Mary’s because it brings 800 prospective students to our campus, and its promoting good choral singing among high school women,” Menk said. “It’s promoting good quality repertoire for high school choirs, and it’s giving them a chance … to go to a festival and something that’s geared just toward them.” According to Menk, the festival hopes to improve singing and pride within each organization. “It should help them to feel good about what they’re doing. It should give them an aspiration, something to aspire to with their choir, to be able to work at a higher level,” she said.last_img read more

10K run supports veterans

first_imgNotre Dame’s runners can look forward to another chance to test their fitness this Saturday at the ROTC-sponsored Warrior Run. Previously named the Race for the Heroes, the third annual 10K run will support of the Wounded Warrior Project, an initiative that aids wounded veterans and their families. This event, sponsored by the service organizations of Notre Dame’s Navy, Army and Air Force ROTC battalions, calls on the community to band together to raise money in support of these heroes. Patrick Kelly, Navy ROTC’s public affairs officer, said the idea behind this event was to solicit campus-wide support for the heroes who have given so much for their country. “It’s a great organization in general, and when the run started three years ago I think they were looking to do something that the entire campus could take part in,” Kelly said. “In the fall [Navy ROTC] does a 24-hour run to raise money … but we’re looking for something that everyone could take part in.” Lizzy Schroff, President of Trident Naval Society [Navy ROTC’s service organization], said the Warrior Run really hit home with the cadets. “It is a dangerous job in the military… many of us will probably be deployed to and in situations of combat,” Schroff said. “I think it really hits home for us because these people that we’re helping to support will be the men and women that we’ll be serving with when we graduate.” The Wounded Warrior Project provides crucial services to veterans and their families, Schroff said. “They provide a lot of different programs, such as financial aid, a combat stress recovery program, physical health programs and financial training,” Schroff said. Schroff said the Project builds a network among veterans, providing a crucial venue for communication between disparate recovering veterans. “It’s an open line of communication between veterans,” Schroff said. “Veterans are able to email each other, talk with one another and [have] a collective voice to make their needs and the needs of their families known.” Schroff said the proceeds will be given to the Wounded Warriors Project. She said she has high hopes for a large turnout despite the close proximity of the Holy Half to the Warrior Run. “Last year we raised about $5,000, so if we could reach that mark that would be great and if more that would be even better,” Schroff said. Registration begins at 8 a.m., Schroff said. The race will start off with a tri-military color guard featuring the Glee Club singing the national anthem. Schroff said the race starts at 9:30 with ROTC and non-ROTC divisions for male and female runners. “We have a lot of participants who are from our battalions from ROTC,” Schroff said. “We also have a lot of people from outside Notre Dame who are in the community [participating in the race]. It’s a great way to get everyone involved.” Kelly said the entire community should feel welcome to participate in this race. “I think people should know that even though at a lot of ROTC events people might feel like they’re not wanted or shouldn’t be included, we really want the entire Notre Dame community to get involved with this and to feel they should be a part of this,” Kelly said. Michael Falvey, sophomore midshipman in Notre Dame’s Navy ROTC battalion, said the service men and women are fighting for everyone in the community. “This is something that intimately involves everyone in the community. I think that it is imperative that the community supports these heroic individuals because these individuals give everything they have for the community,” Falvey said. Chris Patterson, treasurer of Trident Naval Society, said he wants to expand this event in coming years. “What we do here is close to everyone’s hearts. This is the job we’re going to be doing and these are people who have already sacrificed for their country,” Patterson said. “I want to make this event bigger to reach more people and to get more participation.” Patterson said this run is special because it’s for a cause greater than the concerns of a single individual. “I think we try to make it seem as though the run is really a run for something greater than yourself, a run for people who have done very important things for the country,” Patterson said. “We hope to spread that feeling throughout the community.” read more

Graphics project earns grant

first_imgAfter months of designing, two trips to South Africa and a summer of grant applications, a team of Notre Dame graphic design students was awarded a $50,000 grant through the 13th annual Sappi Fine Paper North America Ideas that Matter program for their work to combat xenophobia in South Africa. A “highly respected program aimed at helping designers create and implement projects for charitable causes,” Ideas that Matter announced the 13 grant recipients in its 2012 competition this week, according to Sappi’s website. The Notre Dame team, led by associate professor of design Robert Sedlack and consultant Andrea Pellegrino, submitted a proposal to Sappi this summer for its work in developing together+, an educational initiative aimed at alleviating xenophobia in the Kgosi neighborhood of Johannesburg. “This grant takes the project from a theoretical level to practical implementation and seeing the results of that,” Paul Horn, director of community outreach initiatives for the Kgosi Neighbourhood Foundation, said. “What’s really exciting is because of where I sit in the Catholic school network, this project has a major chance to influence thousands and thousands of schoolchildren and really make a difference in society.” Sedlack said the $50,000 grant primarily will be used to produce and distribute the project’s educational materials, but the sum only covers about a third of the funding needed to complete the entire project. He said Pellegrino would continue to assist the project in finding additional sources of funding through grants, donations and corporate sponsorships. Horn, Pellegrino and senior Brandon Keelean collaborated over the summer to write the grant proposal. The project’s selection as a grant recipient stands out because Sappi generally funds projects proposed by professional designers over students, Pellegrino said. (Editor’s Note: Keelean is The Observer’s graphics editor.) “The grant absolutely validates the work we’re doing,” Pellegrino said. “If we walk into a corporation asking for funding, the fact that we already have the grant validates what we’ve done so far.” The concept for together+ materialized in April 2011 when Horn, then-director of communications for the Center for Social Concerns (CSC), approached Sedlack and Pellegrino about the issue of xenophobia in Kgosi. “There was a critical need in the refugee community for some outside agency to try to address the problem of xenophobia, and I thought it would be a perfect fit for design and communication,” Horn said. “I knew both Andrea and Robert had a strong interest in and belief that design could effect social change and be used for social good.” After speaking to Horn and listening to research presented by Pat McCormick and Graham Thomas, both members of the Class of 2012 and former participants in the CSC’s International Summer Service Learning program, Sedlack and his students began to develop the materials for the together+ project, which consists of four student-generated projects that aim to inform the Kgosi community about issues related to xenophobia: a refugee rights booklet, a healthcare rights booklet, a children’s book and a community mural project. “The students did a really wonderful job generating a wide variety of ideas that could manifest themselves in some way or another to address the issues,” Sedlack said. During fall break last year, Sedlack and Pellegrino traveled to South Africa to conduct some research of their own, which was followed by a spring break research trip that included seven of Sedlack’s design students. “We had the amazing experience of watching students get wrapped up in [the project] after doing research on how to develop an educational and promotional campaign to help alleviate xenophobic issues in this community in Johannesburg,” Pellegrino said. “[The trip] wasn’t a deep immersion, but it was enough to really see it,” Sedlack said. “It was a powerful opportunity for the students to come face-to-face with these issues. It’s one thing to read about it or see it on a computer screen or hear about it from someone else, but when you’re sitting in a room … where eight people live and talking to people who have been affected by such horrible atrocities, it’s a totally different thing than reading about it in a classroom in South Bend.” Senior Lynn Yeom said her spring break experience changed her perspective on the potential impact of the project. “Our initial intent for all the projects … was more about planting the seed within the community so they can develop solutions themselves by changing their thoughts about foreigners and refugees,” Yeom said. “After going [to South Africa], we really thought that would be possible with the right tools and the right audience of young kids.” The together+ team is also collaborating with the Alliance for Catholic Education to develop the children’s book into an interactive curriculum project that will potentially expand its use to sixth graders and high school juniors, Yeom said. Pellegrino, Sedlack and Yeom said the success of together+ in moving into the production phase is somewhat unusual. “Often, projects initiated by graphic design kids are really innovative … but don’t get far into production because they don’t get feedback or exposure,” Yeom said. “But the fact that we got the grant is a firm cheer from other people that these projects are feasible and it’s possible to change people’s perspectives and solve problems by giving people solutions to progress from.” Some of the project’s original student collaborators have graduated, but Pellegrino said that hasn’t stopped them from remaining involved in the project. “The thing that’s so unique about Robert’s approach, the project and its student involvement is that students who have graduated are still feeding into the project, and going and actually meeting people affected by xenophobia in South Africa is a big part of that,” Pellegrino said. Although all the students originally involved with together+ will have graduated at the end of this year, Pellegrino said Sedlack would hand the project over to the next crop of students by integrating some juniors into the group in the spring. “This is a long-term project. Xenophobia won’t disappear next year because of what we do, but the idea affects people of different ages,” Sedlack said. But the heart of the together+ project lies in its foundation in Notre Dame’s mission, Sedlack said. “This is the kind of project that our Notre Dame design program pursues, that social model for design,” he said. “A lot of programs around the country teach classes in that, but it’s part of the fiber of our being at Notre Dame. We have students who want to affect positive social change, and this class and our program generally allow for opportunities like that.”last_img read more

University unveils Paris program

first_imgStudents will have the opportunity to make the City of Lights shine a littler brighter next year when Notre Dame institutes its second study abroad program in Paris. The College of Arts and Letters will offer the program to complement the social sciences program at the Parisian Institut d’Etudes Politique also known as “Sciences Po,” and the abroad program Université Catholique de l’Ouest in the French city of Angers. French professor Julia Douthwaite, academic liaison program for the Paris program, is excited about the University’s expansion into France. “We were seeking a partnership with a strong university where we could send our advanced students,” Douthwaite said. “We wanted something that would be exciting and challenging for our junior students.” Students will take courses at Université Paris Diderot, a school of about 26,000 founded in 2007. The campus is situated by the Seine River in southeastern Paris in a diverse neighborhood populated primarily by ethnic Chinese refugees from the former French colony of French Indochina. Locals speak Cantonese, Vietnamese and Khmer in addition to French. Douthwaite said the program is designed as a yearlong immersion, but students can take a semester program beginning in spring 2014. She said the Paris program offers an opportunity for students to take more challenging language courses on location. “What’s different about this program from Angers is that students can take lower-level requirements for their French major or supplementary major on campus, and then they can take up to 40 percent of their requirements in France,” Douthwaite said. Students can take a variety of classes in the fields of film studies, French literature, comparative literature, French language and linguistics, literary history and theory and literary methods. “They will get credit for any kind of French culture, linguistic, grammar, literature, film studies classes and we are working on art history,” Douthwaite said. “It’s a huge university, so there are many other disciplines represented, and our students are our ambassadors and will help future generations.” “The broad variety of humanities course offerings makes Université Paris Diderot a ‘must’ for advanced level French majors,” Douthwaite stated in a press release. “They will be able to attend a well-regarded French university and take classes with native speakers, all the while doing upper-level coursework that is recognized for the major and supplementary major in French.” Douthwaite said students would have a variety of options for living arrangements in Paris. “Notre Dame International will negotiate with the association that provides host families in Paris,” Douthwaite said. “Another option will be a room in a dormitory with other students, similar to the situation of the students who go to the Sciences Po program, or they may find a small apartment on their own.” Douthwaite said the new program also excites her as a faculty member, author and researcher. “The faculty over there are people like us,” she said. “They are active and publishing scholars and are exciting to talk to … It will be good for our students to have faculty similar to us in France.” In all, the Paris program diversifies the study abroad options and provides students with an opportunity to study and live in a world-class city, Douthwaite said. “This is a fabulous opportunity for students, and if I were 20 years old, I would jump at the chance to be a part of this program,” she said. “It will give students a time of independence and gives them time in Paris, my favorite city in the world.”last_img read more

Colleges unite with food drives

first_imgThe Holy Cross Harvest is rallying Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross campuses in a common cause to support the community through food drives. The drives will extend from Jan. 28 to Feb. 15 on the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College campuses, and throughout the month of February at Holy Cross College. All three institutions will have collection boxes for non-perishable foods available on their campuses. Notre Dame’s boxes will be available in both locations of the Hammes Bookstore. Saint Mary’s will have them in the atrium of the Student Center, in the lobby of Spes Unica Hall, and by the front desk in Le Mans Hall. Online donations are also possible through the websites of the various organizations each school will be supporting. “All of our efforts will go to St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry,” Patricia Adams, director of Community Engagement at Holy Cross, said. Holy Cross will be utilizing the People Gotta Eat website at www.uwsjc.org for online contributions. Saint Mary’s has chosen the Food Bank of Northern Indiana to be the beneficiary of their drive. “[They were] chosen because they serve six area counties, not just St. Joseph [County]. They provide food to 185 agencies in these six counties,” director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement at Saint Mary’s Erika Buhring said. “By providing food and monetary donations to this one agency, the Saint Mary’s community can extend our help to many other agencies in our area.” Electronic donations can be made to the Food Bank through their website at http://donations.feedindiana.org/. “Last year the money went to the  [Food Bank of Northern Indiana]’s backpack program,” senior technical training professional at the University’s Office of Information Technology Anna Kolaczyk said. “This year we’re splitting the donations between several programs, but still supporting the backpack program.” The Food Bank of Northern Indiana’s Fun Packs Program provides a backpack of food for each weekend of the school year to underprivileged children. Notre Dame is also supporting People Gotta Eat, a United Way coalition of 17 food pantries in the area. “The United Way of Indiana has a grant that they’re giving this year to healthy eating programs, so any money given to People Gotta Eat will actually be doubled … but there are people on campus who believe very strongly in the mission of the Food Bank, so we are making it their choice,” Kolaczyk said, Kolaczyk said that Notre Dame will divide up the cash donations equally between the two organizations, food will be sent to the People Gotta Eat pantries, and that donations by check will be sent to the organization the check is written out to. Electronic donations can be made online at www.holycrossharvest.nd.edu/. “The various organizations … can do a lot more with the money than with the food,” Kolaczyk said. “Last year we raised 15,383 dollars. We are hoping to raise more this year.” Holy Cross has a head start on donations. “Already we have raised [more than] 1,400 dollars for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry,” student programming coordinator at Holy Cross Gonzalez said. “We will give St. Vincent de Paul this donation along with our other Harvest Drive donations.” “For Faculty and Staff, we are hoping to get 100 percent to make a cash donation or go online to People Gotta Eat,” Adams said. “They are recording our donations and will give them to St Vincent de Paul Food Bank.” “I think we will probably raise more monetary donations [than food donations] based on past drives,” Buhring said. “We will be happy to take contributions other than food. Families also often have trouble buying things like diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, baby formula and feminine products. Saint Mary’s will make sure these donations get to the right organizations.” Holy Cross and Notre Dame are providing alternative donation opportunities as well, with students in mind. “This winter we are giving the students the option of giving up one of their meals in the Dining Hall in exchange for a meal to feed those in need. Sodexo [a food services and facilities management corporation] is helping us in this endeavor,” Gonzalez said. “For every meal a student decides not to use throughout the month of February, Sodexo will donate that money to our Harvest Drive.” At Notre Dame, the student-aimed drive campaign is organized and run by a student service club on campus, affiliated with United Way. “We try to help the United Way in any way possible,” Frank Soler, the club’s president, said. “We’re their student arm. This will be our first year. … We’re still growing, but I think we’ve been a pretty good success so far.” Soler and other club officers will staff a table outside of the Huddle, the grocery story in LaFortune Student Center, from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday night, encouraging students to purchase donation items from the Huddle with Flex Points. “We wanted to do it in a time frame with the Holy Cross Harvest,” said Soler. “We thought it would be better at the beginning [of the semester] when people have a surplus of Flex Points. The average student would be willing to buy a can. … We want to let everyone do something easy.” He said he has high expectations for the student response. “We don’t have a specific number in mind, just whatever we can do,” Soler said, “Whatever we get, we’ll be happy with, and we’ll just hope for the best.” Kolaczyk said she is glad to see this level of student participation. “This is the first time students are really doing something for the drive,” she said. “It’s been hard to find the right student leadership to lead the food drive. Finding the right approach [for students on campus] is really important.” She said there are few opportunities for students to donate their time to the Harvest, something that she thinks might increase student involvement. “We really need to figure out ways for the students to be involved that doesn’t require spending money,” Kolaczyk said. “If anyone has any ideas, I’d be happy to hear them!” Kolaczyk has also reached out to the Notre Dame alumni community to seek more participants in the Harvest for the first time this year. At Saint Mary’s, student volunteers will be in charge of monitoring the food donation barrels. “When they look like they are filling up we will contact the food bank, who will come out and pick up the food,” Buhring said. Buhring believes that the drive is important to the college community. “It provides a chance for the campus to come together and provide needed assistance for others in the community,” Buhring said. “It is also a chance to partner with Holy Cross College and the University of Notre Dame.” “I think it’s great,” Soler said. “It gives everyone an opportunity [to give] directly to our community.” “So many times we are focused on Notre Dame itself, or Saint Mary’s, or Holy Cross, and I think joining something like this puts the focus off of our schools and onto what we can do to help,” Kolaczyk said. “You should give because you’re supposed to and not because you want recognition for it.”last_img read more

Championship game draws Irish faithful

first_imgWhile the Notre Dame and Alabama football teams prepared for their faceoff in the BCS National Championship, squads of volunteers from the opposing communities set rivalries aside to plant a community garden in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami. Katie Rutledge, service programs manager for the Notre Dame Alumni Association, said the project originated from the desire of the student and alumni community to demonstrate the Christian values of charity and gratitude. “It puts a proper perspective on life,” Rutledge said. “Talking to the volunteers, [University President Fr. John] Jenkins said that the project was a victory for both sides. This rings true, especially now after the loss. The service project and impact will be a win for the community and those who spent time in service during their Miami trips.” Planting season only began recently, so volunteers could not immediately plant a full garden in Overtown. However, the timing did not stop the group from leaving a mark in the community. “Only a few vegetables were planted in the beds – lots of parsley,” Rutledge said. “However, a subset of volunteers planted seedlings into tiny vessels, and once the seedlings are strong enough, they will be transplanted to the raised beds. We also planted flowers to beautify the lot. Roots in the City procured red and white and blue and yellow flowers to represent the two schools.” Around 300 Notre Dame and Alabama fans, alumni and students participated in the planting activities Sunday in addition to the volunteers provided by Roots in the City, the Miami-based organization dedicated to community development, healthy eating initiatives and inner-city beautification as stated on the non-profit’s website. “We had a lot of help from guests at the Camillus House, a shelter which also partners with Roots for a work program,” Rutledge said. “Many of the men work in the gardens on-site at Camillus, and I think their presence added to the experience for everyone. The men were very welcoming and understanding of people like me without green thumbs. They did a lot of backbreaking work, moving 3000 cement blocks and more.” Inspired by the service initiative’s success, Rutledge said she hopes the alumni organization will continue its partnership with Roots in the City. “The CEO of Camillus House is a Notre Dame graduate, so he was very supportive of the project,” she said. “We hope to start a [Summer Service Learning Program] for students at the Camillus House.” While the event required extensive planning, Rutledge said the opportunity to have an impact of the community made it worthwhile. “We knew that we would have a great turnout,” she said. “Keeping 300 people busy for three hours – especially Domers who always come ready to work – takes a lot of preparation.” This year’s urban garden initiative continues an Alumni Association tradition to sponsor a service project preceding bowl games, Rutledge explained. She said she hopes the service work will continue going forward regardless of where Notre Dame finds itself in the postseason. “It’s an honor to be in charge of providing service opportunities for alumni at these big athletic events,” she said. “There’s an obvious desire to serve among alumni and students, as evidenced by the turnout.” Contact Aubrey Butts at [email protected],Despite the disappointing outcome of the BCS National Championship on Jan. 7, Notre Dame students and fans brought South Bend to South Beach for an entire weekend to support their Irish against the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Tens of thousands of Notre Dame fans descended on the greater Miami area in the days leading up to the game, including a star-studded Jan. 5 pep rally featuring such Irish legends as Lou Holtz, Joe Theismann and Mike Golic that attracted an estimated 20,000 fans to South Beach. Junior Pat Wall said the Notre Dame presence in Miami was impossible to miss. “Walking up and down the main street in South Beach … was just like walking through the quad on campus,” Wall said. “You knew someone everywhere you would go. The amount of Notre Dame fans in Florida that week was unreal. It seemed as if we moved South Bend to South Beach and I had the time of my life.” Senior Ellen Carroll, who spent a week in Florida with her friends, said Irish spirit was rampant throughout the greater Miami area. “It was like the entire school had an extra spring break in Miami,” she said. “The crowd was huge everywhere you went and the number of Notre Dame fans was overwhelming. I hadn’t realized before going down to Miami just how large the Miami area is … but you couldn’t go anywhere without running into people you knew and Notre Dame fans who wanted to talk to you.” Carroll said she and her friends attended the Jan. 6 concert on South Beach featuring country group Dierks Bentley and hip-hop artist Flo Rida. “They shouted out to the crowd to see if there were more Notre Dame or Alabama fans in the audience, and the Notre Dame fans were easily twice as loud as the Alabama fans,” she said. “It was pretty incredible to be able to travel so far from our school … and feel the same sense of family and school pride that we always have here on campus.” Sophomore Christian Knight said the beachside concert was a highlight of his trip to Miami. “While Flo Rida isn’t exactly the most musically talented artist, just being on the beach with over half the Notre Dame student body was unforgettable,” he said. Carroll said the experience of supporting the Irish in Miami reinforced her love for the University and the members of its family. “I never thought that I would have the chance to [watch Notre Dame play in the national championship] as a student here, and I was so proud to be able to tell people I met that we were students at Notre Dame,” she said. Knight, who received a ticket to the game as a birthday present, said his favorite part of the championship experience was the gameday activities leading up to the ultimately ill-fated matchup against Alabama. “Being able to sleep on the beach, attend several Notre Dame tailgates and attend the national championship game all on the same day … was one of the most unforgettable experiences I will ever have,” he said. Wall said the extended gameday allowed more time to tailgate with friends and Notre Dame alumni. “It was impossible to move 10 feet without running into someone I knew, had class with or just recognized from around campus,” he said. “There were so many alumni tailgating who loved to talk … about their experiences at Notre Dame, and I loved getting to hear about their college experience.” Regardless of the final outcome of the game, Knight said he “would relive that weekend 100 times over.” “There is nothing better than treating winter break ‘domesickness’ with a weekend in South Beach with all my closest friends from all across the country,” he said. Carroll, who attended the game after receiving the ticket her younger sister won in the student lottery, agreed the experience was memorable whether the Irish football team was victorious or not. “I’ve never experienced such an exciting pre-game atmosphere before,” she said. “The game itself was pretty painful to watch after the first couple minutes, but I would 100 percent go again if given the chance.” Contact Kristen Durbin at [email protected]last_img read more

Undocumented Saint Mary’s student speaks out

first_imgFor at least the last five years, Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney adopted a policy of admitting and enrolling undocumented students, Vice President for Enrollment Management Mona Bowe said. “Saint Mary’s College does not discriminate on the basis of country of origin, so if a student meets the academic requirements for admission, she would be admitted to the College,” Bowe said. “We believe it is in keeping with Catholic social justice teaching and legacy of the Sisters of Holy Cross that Saint Mary’s admits undocumented students.” A student’s status as undocumented would be confidential information and is protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Bowe said.  “A student’s status as undocumented is confidential,” Bowe said. “However, some students might self-identify as undocumented. This may be to share her story with the College population and/or the media as a way to show the human side of the immigration issue. This would be her decision.” For junior Dara Marquez, a chemical engineering major, the decision to reveal her status as an undocumented immigrant on campus has allowed her to grow both academically and spiritually. Marquez, originally from Mexico but now hailing from Elkhart, Ind., is now protected under “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), a program unveiled by President Obama in 2012 giving young undocumented immigrants the right to remain here legally and work for at least two years, provided they are qualified applicants. “Right now I have DACA status,” Marquez said. “Meaning, I have temporary legal status in the United States and have received a temporary social security number to work. Immigration knows I am here, so now I can talk about my status without fear.” She said she attained DACA status while attending Saint Mary’s but was admitted and enrolled as an undocumented student.  “Saint Mary’s was really a blessing in disguise for me,” Marquez said. “I didn’t think I would be able to come here because of the cost. I was originally planning on going to a state school because they tend to be cheaper, but with law changes my senior year of high school, public universities were getting more expensive for undocumented students and an administrator at my high school put Saint Mary’s on my radar.”  When she first came to Saint Mary’s, Marquez said she was scared to admit her status as an undocumented immigrant to her admissions counselor. She said she is thankful she can discuss her status with College administrators, and for the financial assistance offered to her by the College. “When my admissions counselor called about whether I was planning on enrolling or not, I had to tell her about my situation, including the financial situation of my undocumented family,” Marquez said. “I will always remember her saying on the phone, ‘Nothing is impossible. We will make it work.’ And they did. They were very helpful in finding me scholarships and other types of aid not related to the government.” Bowe said undocumented students are not eligible for federal or state government aid, though no government regulations forbid private funding. As a private institution, Saint Mary’s is free to determine independently how to distribute its financial aid.  “Saint Mary’s awards financial aid for all students based on the student’s individual financial need and/or academic merit, under one single policy,” Bowe said. “Awarding less aid to one student does not mean additional aid for a different student, therefore, awarding aid to undocumented students does not take Saint Mary’s dollars away from other students.” Being a part of an undocumented family means the family does not enjoy a stable income, Marquez said. It can be difficult to know your parents have a job today but may not have one tomorrow, she said. “Right now, I tell myself my parents are physically working every day for my education and I am working mentally,” Marquez said. “Mentally, so one day I can say both my parents and I have worked hard enough for me to get my diploma and find a job that will not only support my family, but also one I am passionate about.”  Marquez said she is grateful that her Saint Mary’s education gave her the resources and opportunities to choose her own future.  “My dad came to the United States first, and my mom and I immigrated one year later,” Marquez said. “My mom and I were separated for three months and when she got to Indiana I could not wait to show her our fridge full of the different soda pop flavors. Unlike in Mexico, she could choose from a variety of flavors. All I want is for my family to be able to choose again — to have the resources to choose a sustainable life.”  Marquez said the campus community has overwhelmingly embraced her, even though she is an undocumented immigrant.  “I have never felt afraid to reveal my status on this campus,” Marquez said. “It is a very welcoming community, and different departments like Campus Ministry and the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership have made it a point to have panels and other types of dialogue about immigration as an issue. This has allowed students to put a human face to the issue and I believe is one of the main reasons I have felt so welcomed into this community.”  Marquez maintains a high profile on campus because she is a staunch advocate of immigration reform. Several Saint Mary’s alumnae also have fought actively for the increased rights of undocumented immigrants. Melody Alzarado, a 2012 graduate of the College who is originally from Nicaragua, worked on immigration issues during her time at Saint Mary’s with La Fuerza, a club that promotes Latin-American culture on campus. She said her passion for immigration issues grew during her time at Saint Mary’s, inspiring her to work with community development projects around the issue. “I worked a lot with undocumented students and can honestly say these students are some of the strongest women I have ever encountered,” Alzarado said. “They are driven individuals and I am grateful Saint Mary’s does not discriminate against them based on their status. I think any school can benefit from these students and if they do not admit students based on their status they are missing out on a huge pool of strong, dedicated students.”  Novice Sr. Jessica Brock, currently residing at the International Novitiate at Saint Mary’s and the recipient of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Law and Master of Law degrees, has worked to promote awareness of immigration issues at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College. With her work, Brock has worked directly with undocumented students at Saint Mary’s.  “My first impression is to be in awe of how strong the undocumented women at Saint Mary’s are,” Brock said. “Just like any other talented students, these women want the same thing out of a Saint Mary’s education, and I am absolutely inspired by their strength. They all have shown an incredible amount of maturity. Many of them are facing extreme financial challenges with financing their education and I have never heard them complain.  “I can without a doubt say they are some of the greatest leaders on campus.” Brock, Alzarado and Marquez said in order to increase discussion about the challenges facing undocumented students, the focus should be on creating dialogue and “getting more people at the table.” The women said increasing dialogue is necessary in order to break down misconceptions and to create an open-minded, welcoming community. “It is about putting a face to the issue,” Marquez. “Once people realize [the issue] is more than politics and is actually about human dignity, the conversation changes” Marquez said the nation will become stronger if conversation about immigration issues, specifically those issues concerning undocumented students, continues to grow. “In President Obama’s first State of the Union address, he talked about the need for our country to be more competitive and innovative,” Marquez said. “Saint Mary’s has allowed me to stimulate my mind, but everyone needs this right [to education]. Everyone should be able to contribute to this dream.”last_img read more

Former Saint Mary’s student dies in accident

first_imgThe death of former first year Madelyn Stephenson has weighed heavily on the Saint Mary’s community in recent weeks. Stephenson is remembered fondly by friends and faculty, and a memorial service for Stephenson will be held Friday at 4 p.m. in Regina Chapel.Stephenson, 19, died Friday, Jan. 3 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.According to The South Bend Tribune, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department said Stephenson was southbound on U.S. 31 near 7B Road in Plymouth, Ind., just after 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 3.  Stephenson’s Honda was struck on the driver’s side after turning into the path of a semi-tractor.The investigation is ongoing with assistance from the Indiana State Police, according to the Tribune. Alcohol was not a factor in the incident, the Tribune reported.Though Stephenson was planning to attend Indiana University in Bloomington this spring, she completed her fall semester at Saint Mary’s while living off campus in Granger, Ind., her hometown.Fellow first year and friend Elizabeth Renner said she especially enjoyed sitting next to Stephenson and listening to all the funny jokes she would utter beneath her breath in their Arabic course last fall.“Madelyn was shy, but once you got to know her, she was someone very special. She was bubbly and had great enthusiasm for the Arabic language,” Renner said.  “After moving seats towards the end of the semester, I was able to get to know her better.  She was so helpful whenever I did not catch a phrase or if I missed class. She was always ahead of the class and a very smart girl.  I wish the rest of the class had a chance to hear her hilarious jokes. She will be missed by our Arabic class so much.”Her teachers from the College remember her as a quiet but friendly student with a passion for the sciences and learning.Stephenson’s advisor and associate professor of biology Ryan Dombkowski said she was passionate about science and had plans to pursue a degree in environmental science.“Madelyn was a quiet and reserved young woman, yet full of enthusiasm about science, especially with regard to the environment,” Dombkowski said. “From the short time I knew her, she was quite pleasant to have in class. I am sure she brought a lot of joy and happiness to her family, and our thoughts and prayers are certainly with them during this difficult time.”Another of Stephenson’s professors, Professor Soraya Wirth, remembers her as passionate about her studies and medicine in Wirth’s Arabic course.“I found her to be very studious, to be a person with a very legitimate passion for learning … and to thoroughly enjoy the culture and traditions of Middle-Eastern countries.” Wirth said, “Madelyn shared with me and her classmates her dream of becoming a doctor, and she was very excited about it.”Wirth also said Stephenson stood out academically and respected by her classmates.“She was one of my best students and had not missed any Arabic class throughout the semester. Madelyn was highly respected and regarded by all of her classmates, and she was always in control over any adverse situation,” Wirth said. “I am so sad that her journey came to an end with this horrible accident … she was a truly enjoyable student.”Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney expressed her sympathy to the College’s community in a Jan. 7 email.“On behalf of the entire Saint Mary’s College community, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Madelyn’s family,” Mooney said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Death is never easy, especially when it is a young person with so much life ahead of her.”Grief counseling is available to students through Saint Mary’s Women’s Health Center, Campus Ministry and Residence Life and Community Standards.Tags: Automobile Accident, Madelyn Stephenson, Memorial Service, president carol ann mooney, South Bend Tribunelast_img read more

ND Theater NOW spotlights human experiences

first_imgND Theater NOW, a set of student-written and student-produced one-act plays, opens Thursday night in the Philbin Studio Theater at the Debartolo Performing Arts Center.“Beneath My Skin,” written by senior Zachary Wendeln, and “Out of Orbit,” written by senior Lucas García, were chosen by a playwriting committee consisting of Film, Theater and Television (FTT) professors last spring to be put on this fall.Both playwrights became involved in ND Theater NOW through Professor Anne García-Romero’s playwriting class, Wendeln said.“The play started as a response to prompts in the playwriting workshop; it was just a bunch of scenes that weren’t in any sort of time or plot order,” Wendeln said. “Once I decided to submit to ND Theater NOW, I started to fill in the blanks in terms of chronology.”Both playwrights have continued to edit and rewrite since casting and production began, Wendeln said.“The important part of ND Theater NOW is that it’s a new play process,” García said. “The actors and the director and the writer work together to sort of re-make the play … [“Out of Orbit”] has gone through five revisions.”Junior Anthony Murphy is directing and acting in “Out of Orbit,” he said.“Because it’s a student-written play and it’s a part of the new play process, both the actors and the production team have to be on their toes and flexible … ready for every hurdle that’s about to come,” Murphy said.“A really cool part about this whole process was that the playwright was on hand. Usually, you work with a play where the writer has been dead for 100 years, so you have to guess their intentions. Having Lucas there was such an important asset to the excellence of the show,” Murphy said.Both one-acts focus on LGBTQ issues, according to a university press release about the show.“This year, FTT student playwrights add their voices to the ongoing campus conversation about dignity and inclusion with the two new one-act plays about the struggles, consequences and rewards of coming out of the closet,” the press release stated.Each one-act piece approaches the topic differently, however.“[‘Beneath My Skin’] is about the main character and his sort of coming-out process … his journey of self-identification and how it impacts his relationships with others,” Wendeln said. “I hope that what people take away is that while the main character is gay, I think a lot of the struggles he and a lot of people in his life go through are just very human struggles as far as discovery of self, dealing with secrets, pain, heartbreak, first love.“… These are all themes and experiences that everyone has regardless of age or sexual orientation, and I hope that the audience can approach it from that side instead of just seeing it as a ‘gay’ play.”García said his one-act, “Out of Orbit,” focuses on family dynamics.“There’s a lot of things that get revealed,” García said. “There’s a lot of issues and family angst, but it’s really about how they learn to communicate with each other again. … It’s new for everybody.“I hope that people would take away that it is okay to be uncertain about things. It’s okay to say you don’t know, and it’s okay to make mistakes. The important thing is that you talk about it and that you make amends and that you try to be better, no matter what perspective you’re coming from.“The point is that you talk to each other. Because when you don’t talk to each other, then things don’t work anymore. And then everyone loses,” he said.Theater director Kevin Dreyer expressed his enthusiasm for both students’ shows in a university press release.“We’re deeply committed to providing a safe space for them to explore ideas and develop their artistic voices,” Dreyer said in the press release.Both student playwrights said ND Theater NOW is going to be a special night for campus, as the program includes things never seen before on a Notre Dame stage.“Come see the play,” García said. “It’s going to be an intense night of theater. Take a risk.”Tags: Beneath My Skin, FTT, ND Theater, ND Theatre NOW!, Out of Orbitlast_img read more