Students conduct research over break

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgWhile many students dedicated their time off from classes to some much needed rest and relaxation, a number of them took the time to conduct research abroad. Seniors James McClay and Tre Carden jetted off to India to work in a Tibetan refugee community called Mainpat, assisting in the development of an artisanal handicraft business. Their work consisted of product design and development, marketing and business strategy.   McClay said the pair spent a week in the village speaking with locals about their daily routines to gain insight for the project. When not working on the business project, they spent time studying Mainpat’s architecture, culture, and resources, all while living in the Mainpat monastery. After the week in the village, McClay and Carden traveled to Mumbai, Varanasi, Dharamsala and Jaipur in India, as well as Kathmandu, Nepal. “We chose these cities because they are unique and offered new perspectives on handicraft, Buddhist, Tibetan and Indian design,” McClay said. McClay said he and Carden constantly interacted with local Indian people because their research required learning about local culture. “The experience was incredibly eye opening and very beneficial for the [project],” McClay said. “I learned so much while also immersing myself in a new and different culture. My expectations were exceeded and my personal experience has changed the way I view things.” Senior Katherine Damo, an account and Italian Studies major, spent a week in Trastevere, a historic neighborhood in Rome, researching how cultural differences between Italy and the United States affect business. Damo said the opportunity to visit the PricewaterhouseCoopers Rome office was a highlight of the trip, having previously worked at the company’s offices in Ohio and Edinburgh, Scotland.   “Researching corporate culture of the same multinational firm in three different countries has allowed for a side-by-side comparison which will be the foundation of my research project,” Damo said. Although busy, Damo said she still had some time for fun while in Italy.   “I conducted informational interviews throughout the week to obtain research but still had time to enjoy Italy – the sights, the food and the culture,” she said. Senior Kalyn Fetta also traveled to Italy and conducted research on non-profits and non-governmental organizations in Italy. Damo said she and Fetta had several chances to interact with local Italians. “One person I interviewed later invited Kalyn and me out to dinner,” Damo said. “He picked a local restaurant and gave us a truly authentic Italian dinner experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to him about life in Italy, and not just about the research project.” Damo said she was happy to pursue a topic that interested her for the project. “I’d say my trip exceeded my expectations because I was asking people questions about a topic I was genuinely interested in and I really enjoyed myself,” she said. “It wasn’t like most school projects.” Senior Ellen Brandenberger spent a week in the United Kingdom to complete research for her history thesis. Despite the vast array of information available online, she had to go to the source for certain resources. “I needed to access primary documents from U.K. archives that are unavailable elsewhere,” she said. Brandenberger said she was productive during her trip, largely thanks to extensive planning. “I’d say my research experience went very smoothly,” she said. “I spent a lot of timing planning, and as a result knew exactly where I was going and what I was looking at.” Because she was sourcing her information from documents rather than interviewees, Brandenberger said she did not have many chances to interact with the locals beyond the confines of her hotel.   “I had little free time because of time limits placed on me by my grant budget,” Brandenberger said. “Therefore I was overwhelmingly at libraries and archives working alone.” Although her trip was a busy one, Brandenberger said she enjoyed the experience and would recommend research abroad to other students.   “Though research requires a lot of hard work, it is very rewarding to produce a large project as an undergrad. Notre Dame does a great job of making these opportunities available to students,” she said. “We just need to be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity.” Contact Joanna Lagedrost at [email protected]last_img read more


Army ROTC battalion wins top award

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgThe Notre Dame Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) battalion outperformed the other 272 collegiate ROTC programs across the nation to win the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America Award, according to a University press release. The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America Award is considered the “Heisman Trophy” of Army ROTC and honors one outstanding ROTC battalion each year for success in military science and academic programs, according to the press release. The Fightin’ Irish Battalion also won the award in 1986 and 1988. Lieutenant Colonel John Polhamus, professor of military science, said the battalion’s cadets are the reason ND Army ROTC received the award. “We always say that this is truly a cadet-driven battalion, and to me this award really validates that and it goes to show how well-rounded our cadets are,” Polhamus said. “The award is really about them.  “To earn the first place honor out of [273 programs] speaks volumes. That goes to show how well our cadets are performing and how well respected they are once they’re commissioned.” Master Sergeant Marshall Yuen, senior military science instructor, said he was glad the cadets were honored for all the work they put in above and beyond their regular courses.  “It’s nice to see [the cadets] get recognized on a national level for that hard work that they put in there because they do put in a lot more work than the average college student does,” Yuen said. “They have all their academics and normal Notre Dame things that they have to do on top of all of this Army stuff they have to do.” President Emeritus Rev. Edward A. “Monk” Malloy presented the award to Polhamus and senior cadet and battalion commander Chris Lillie during the men’s basketball game versus Army on Nov. 24, Lillie said. “We actually requested Father Malloy. He’s been a big proponent of ROTC on campus,” Lillie said. Polhamus said having the ceremony during the Army game highlighted the fact ROTC cadets are peers of those studying at West Point. “I’m an Army grad,” Polhamus said. “I’ve always preached, having been on both sides of the fence now – West Point as well as ROTC – that Notre Dame cadets are absolutely on par with West Point in every respect. “So I thought it was very appropriate to be recognized at the Notre Dame-Army game to show that there are others out there, other than West Point, who have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way and be America’s future leaders.” All members of the Fightin’ Irish Battalion marched onto the court during the halftime event, which included a presentation by the color guard and a video highlighting the battalion’s current members and alumni. Notre Dame Army ROTC has a history of distinction among ROTC programs. The Fightin’ Irish Battalion earned the U.S. Army’s Cadet Command MacArthur Award, which recognizes to the top school in each of the eight regional ROTC brigades, in 2012 and 2013, Polhamus said. Notre Dame is one of only two schools ever to win the MacArthur Award twice in a row. “I have a suspicion that the reason we were nominated [for the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America Award] is that we won back-to-back MacArthur awards,” Polhamus said. “Those designate us as the top program in our brigade, so of the 40 schools in our brigade we earned that designation.” Senior cadet and company commander Macklin Wagner said winning a MacArthur Award helps, but does not guarantee, success with the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America Award. “It’s more like a BCS than it is a playoff system,” Wagner said. “I’d say it’s definitely more likely to be from one of those schools [that win a MacArthur Award].” Lillie said the potential for recruiting new members was a positive byproduct of winning the award and receiving it at a public event. “It’s kind of a recruiting tool on campus,” he said. “We don’t have very good visibility … so these kinds of things [help us with] getting our name out there and showing the campus that we actually have a good program here.” ROTC cadets receive scholarships once they commit to serving in the Army after graduation, and one way the Army ranks battalions is by measuring how many scholarship students continue in their ROTC programs, Wagner said. “Part of the criteria in the award is how many cadets you retain that are on scholarship,” he said. “If people quit and get rid of their scholarship then that reflects poorly on the program in general but also in terms of the award.” Wagner said physical fitness of the overall battalion also counts heavily in determining the award recipient. He said the battalion must submit physical training (PT) scores to the brigade leaders once per semester for each cadet. “There are three events: pushup, situp and two-mile run,” Wagner said. “It boils down to a 300-point score.” The rising senior class attends an intensive four-week evaluation course during the summer, Lillie said. More than 5,000 cadets are ranked from first to last based on their performance in activities testing their physical, tactical and leadership skills. “Our program had one of the highest averages in the nation with these last summer’s scores,” Lillie said. Despite the accolades, preparing cadets to enter the army and serve their country remains the chief priority, Yuen said. “These cadets, they have an awesome responsibility once they leave college,” Yuen said. “They’re going to be leaders in the Army, what we call the nation’s greatest resource.  “We try to impart on them that it’s not just about them once they get out there and start serving as officers in the army. It’s about the Army, their soldiers, soldiers’ families and their country all rolled up into that awesome responsibility that they’ll have in a very short amount of time from now.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at [email protected]last_img read more


‘Show Some Skin’ presents videos of past performances

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgThroughout the fall semester, the “Show Some Skin” production team will present videos of past shows followed by group discussions, according to team member and junior Geraldine Mukumbi. Videos of the first-ever production, entitled “The Race Monologues,” will kick off the series Wednesday in the Andrews Auditorium of Geddes Hall at 7:30 p.m. The 2013 production, “It’s Complicated,” will be shown and discussed Oct. 30, and Nov. 13 will feature the 2014 production, “Be Bold.”Mukumbi said the performances originated from the desire to spark conversations about diversity on campus.“A group of people came together and decided that there were some voices on campus that were not being heard,” she said.“The Race Monologues” debuted in 2012 as a series of monologues based on anonymous submissions from the Notre Dame community, Mukumbi said.  “It’s Complicated” broadened its scope to issues of identity. Mukumbi said the viewings of past shows will allow students who have not seen the original performances a chance to participate in important conversations.“For a lot of students who come in, they don’t have an idea of how ‘Show Some Skin’ functions,” she said. “Our shows are very different each year, so we wanted to go back in the past and show some of the monologues that were very touching and give people … that never got to see them a chance to watch them.“And at the same time, we want to open it up to discussion because a lot of people don’t get to talk about the monologues after the show. So ‘Show Some Skin: Revisited’ will give people the opportunity to hear other people’s stories and then also talk about them, talk about why certain experiences happened to certain people and delve deeper into the stories.”Mukumbi said the discussion panels after the viewings will include some of the actors who performed in the ‘Show Some Skin’ productions.“We find that a lot of students have questions on the acting process itself, because that’s also part of the story, how different people connect with the monologues and how they grow from that experience as well,” she said.The viewings will allow students to see the monologues that have generated the most conversation, Mukumbi said.“After every show we have a survey that we pass out, and there’s always the monologue, every year, that everyone talks about,” she said. “We always have that type of monologue that resonates with everyone … Maybe [it is] because of the story, or how it’s written — there’s always a different reason why some monologues stand out.”The Notre Dame community needs to continue conversations on the issues that the ‘Show Some Skin’ productions address, Mukumbi said.“We want people to feel comfortable to talk about what they think about these issues. A lot of times, either people want to talk about it and they don’t have the space to do that, or they don’t want to talk about it and they don’t realize why it’s important,” she said.“I’m an African international student, and I feel that sometimes people don’t realize that for some people, the ND experience isn’t as pleasant as it is for other types of students,” she said. “We need to have these conversations because there are some people who really don’t understand that that is an issue on campus.”Mukumbi said she hopes all members of the community will feel welcome to watch the productions and, more importantly, to participate in the conversation.“Everyone is welcome to all of these events,” she said. “They are not just for students, or minorities, or people who are interested in these issues. We really want this to be the type of event where everyone feels welcome. We just want to start the conversation and get it going, so that we can actually get working on how to fix some of these issues because we can’t fix them unless we talk about them.”Tags: gender, It’s Complicated, race, Race Monologues, show some skinlast_img read more


Notre Dame community remembers Billy Meckling

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgBilly Meckling was “a soft-spoken person, super selfless and always asking how others are doing. He has the biggest heart,” junior Nicole McKee said.Meckling, who was set to graduate Sunday with a degree in mechanical engineering, died in the early hours of Saturday after falling off the roof of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center (JACC).“He really didn’t have much to say but when he did talk, he always said the right things at the right time,” McKee, who met Meckling three years ago as a member of the fencing team, said. “And he was a great person to go to or talk to and just a genuinely fun, positive person to be around when he decided he was comfortable enough to open up to you.” Photo courtesy of C.J. Condon Candles at the Grotto are arranged to spell “Billy” in honor of Billy Meckling, who died early Saturday.Senior Audrey McMurtrie had class with Meckling as underclassmen. McMurtrie described Meckling as a “sincere and a kind-hearted person.”“He was very dedicated to his studies and always very helpful,” she said. “He always seemed to know what he wanted and was a hard-worker.”Meckling was a four-year member and two-time monogram winner on the Irish varsity fencing team.“Billy was a wonderful friend and teammate who left a tremendous impact on our fencing family,” sophomore epeeist Eva Niklinska said. “The warmth of his smile, his charisma and positive energy and dedication to our team will always be remembered.”“He took on the role of being a huge support system, being the loudest cheerer,” McKee said. “I wasn’t on his squad — I fence foil and he fenced sabre — but from what I could tell from his squad, he always gave advice and be there for support. He was such a good energy to be around, and I’m really going to miss him.”Two members of the fencing squad have died in the past four months. Daniel Kim, 21, was found dead in his off-campus residence Feb. 6.“We’re going to band together, say prayers for him and talk about the memories on the Facebook messenger group,” McKee said. “There just a lot going on with our team, but we have a great support system so it’s nice to have each other.“He had a good soul,” McKee said. “He was genuinely a really, really good person with good intentions for everybody. He’d never wish badly on anyone. He always wished the best for everyone. We’re losing a really great person and my prayers go out to his family.”Head fencing coach Gia Kyaratskhelia described Meckling in a press release as “an invaluable member of our sabre squad who left such a massive impact on all of us as a fencer and a human being.”“On the strip, Billy was a talented fencer and a determined worker on a very competitive sabre squad – evidenced by his earned monograms during the 2012 and 2014 seasons.” Kyaratskhelia said. “More importantly, he was a great friend to all members of our program. A true Notre Dame man, his kindness and warmth impacted each and every one of us – and make his loss all the more difficult.”Photo courtesy of UND.com Meckling was also a resident of Knott Hall until his senior year, when he moved off campus. Brother Jerome Meyer, former rector of Knott, said Meckling was a dedicated member of the dorm community who was friendly to all.“He quietly went about his life with cheerfulness which made him a pleasure to know,” Meyer said. “I remember him as being serious while being able to enjoy his friends and surrounding. It was a privilege to have him as a member of the Knott Hall community.”McMurtrie said the news of a student death so close to Commencement made the loss all the more difficult to bear.“I think the biggest impact was that it was a very sobering moment,” McMurtrie said. “We were having a great time with our closest friends and the people we consider family. We are all on such a high right now, about to graduate and enter the real world, and something like this, where it’s such a horrible unnecessary tragedy, happens. It really sobering, and it reminds us that we are all human, and we’re not invincible.“ … We’re never more unified as a class than we are now right now, and so I think in that way it makes a loss like this feel very profound. We’re all on the verge of this big, exciting moment, so it’s horrible.”Meckling will be remembered at the Baccalaureate Mass at 5 p.m. Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. The University Counseling Center and Campus Ministry will be available to students on campus and throughout the Mass.last_img read more


Residents of University Village join together to ‘Save the Village’

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgIt wouldn’t be fair.This mantra is the reasoning John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president of the University, gave to residents of The University Village for Notre Dame’s plans to shut the Village down in June of 2018. Chris Collins University Village, which provides graduate students and their families with housing, will be officially shut down in June of 2018. In response to this announcement, the ‘Save the Village’ movement has petitioned for alternate family housing.The University Village is subsidized, on-campus housing provided for married graduate students and their families. The community has existed for more than 70 years, and for many of the residents, attending graduate school at Notre Dame with their families by their sides would not be possible without the Village.In response to the University’s plans to shut down the Village, residents have started a Save the Village campaign, which has included the circulation of a petition to provide an alternative form of family housing, demonstrations to get word of their situation out to other members of the Notre Dame community and meetings with University administrators.These residents believe the history, affordable cost, supportive community and diversity of the Village are vital benefits that would be lost if the University were to follow through with its current plan.The historyAccording to the Save the Notre Dame Village website, The University Village evolved out of Vetville, a place for veteran families to live after World War II. In the 1960s, University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh created the Village to replace Vetville and build Hesburgh Library in its original location.Graduate student Tyler Gardner, a current Village resident, said Hesburgh made sure to provide replacement housing for the community that was being relocated before moving residents and knocking down the old buildings — something the University is not doing this time around.“That’s the Hesburgh way,” Gardner said. “If you knock down the Village, kick people out of the Village and then try to restart it … you killed something. A 70-year tradition died.”For some members of the Notre Dame community, a connection to the Village spans generations.Brian Collier, a supervisor for the Alliance of Catholic Education (ACE), said he remembers visiting his grandmother while she was a resident of University Village in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite being a white woman, Collier’s grandmother identified as Korean after being born and raised in Korea. When her husband began his graduate program at the University, Collier said, his grandmother gravitated toward University Village because she felt more at home among its diverse population.“She moved to South Bend and she immediately began looking for the Korean population, and that Korean population — at that time, there was a pretty decent-size Korean population living in the Village, the University Village,” Collier said. “It was super international.”Collier said his grandmother helped to implement Village traditions that are still in place today.“Those people babysit for each other while others are in class, they pass toys down from one group to the next — this is something my grandmother helped facilitate, too,” he said.Graduate student Crystal Spring, who lives in the Village with her husband — also a graduate student — and baby and wrote a letter to the editor describing the Save the Village Movement, spent five years of her childhood living in the Village while her father completed his physics doctorate program at Notre Dame after immigrating to the United States from Korea.“We didn’t know anything really about how to find housing or what resources were even available,” Spring said. “And so the University hooked us up with University Village, the graduate family housing, and we lived in the building D for five years — all five years of his PhD.”When she and her husband were deciding where to live as graduate students with a child, Spring said, she remembered her family’s positive experience with the Village.“I don’t think we would have survived without that community and without the resources and without the proximity that the University Village had to campus,” she said. “And coming full-circle for me, after doing the ACE program at Notre Dame I got married to my husband who also did ACE, and we are both grad students here. And when we found out that I was pregnant as grad students, we decided that we couldn’t live in the apartment that we were currently living in — one, because it was far from campus, and two, because it didn’t seem very safe.”Experiencing the Village as both a child and a parent has made her appreciate the resources it has to offer even more, Spring said.“As a kid I just thought that this was a normal community,” she said. “I thought everyone had access to this kind of support and be able to have a safe place to go trick-or-treating. After having lived in a lot different cities and as an adult, I know that that’s actually a very rare experience. And as a parent at the Village, I really appreciate everything that’s there specifically to support families.”Rose Dougherty, the wife of an architecture graduate student who lives in the Village, said the history of the Village made a big impact in the Save the Village movement.“We’ve had so much fun looking back at the history,” Dougherty said. “How Fr. Hesburgh started it, how much he clearly loved it and it’s been going for over 70 years and it has been so important to so many families. Just when you read back some of the quotes and the experiences over the years that these families have had, it’s such a great thing.”The community With the University’s deadline for the relocation of Village residents looming, Notre Dame administrators announced Sept. 13 that undergraduates will be required to live on campus for six semesters in order to emphasize and build community.Using this logic, Gardner said it does not make sense to disrupt a “thriving” community in the Village.“What I’ve understood is the main reason for [the six-semester requirement] is not to gain the money that it would cost all of [the undergraduates] to live here, but the main reason for that is to increase campus community life,” Gardner said. “Not everybody’s excited about that. You have on the flip side a community that has been thriving since the 40s, yet you’re going to say ‘I’m sorry, there’s no longer space for you.’ So people that are getting kicked off of campus that are dying to stay.”Spring, who lived on campus for all four years of her undergraduate experience at Notre Dame, said her time at the Village has been even more essential for her than her time in an undergraduate residence hall.“The logic that they are giving to back up the decision about the Village is just completely antithetical to the undergrad situation,” she said. “And having experienced both of those communities — the dorm community and the Village community — I think the Village community has been a lot more essential to my thriving as a student at Notre Dame. Dorm culture is great, and the Village is great for a lot of the same reasons. … All the reasons why Notre Dame could fathom to have this be a mandate — the six-semester thing — are also reasons that people love the Village and need the Village.”Village resident Sarah O’Brien, whose husband is a graduate student, said the Village community closely relates to that of a dorm community.“It’s very similar to an undergrad dorm in how tight-knit it is,” she said. “Since my freshman dorm experience I have not experienced something like this where everyone’s in a similar life stage. All of a sudden you just instantly belong to a place like you do in an undergrad dorm, and the fact that they get that value because they’re trying to keep students on campus … doesn’t make sense at all.”Naomi Burton, another Village resident whose husband is a graduate student, said she does not know how she would have made it through the transition to life at Notre Dame without the support of the Village community.“The first year we were here was really hard,” Burton said. “I was pregnant, we had two kids, it was Rob’s first semester at school and the winter was long. And my friend was across the hall, and we would just spend time at each other’s houses every day, all the time. Or we’d send our kids over and I’d take a nap and it was like this life-saving friend that helped me get through that first year of being sick and everything else.”The isolation parents feel as a result of their spouses constantly studying and working is offset by the support they find in the Village, Dougherty said.“Being a stay-at-home mom can be very isolating,” she said. “And the fact that we have this communal green and playground in the back of all of our buildings — we can go out and all the other mothers come out there throughout the day and we’re just chatting — is just great. I loved it. So that’s probably been the biggest reason for our very positive experience here at Notre Dame. … I’m going to be really sad when we have to leave because I’ll have to start all over making friends, and that’s difficult.”If Notre Dame is truly interested in prioritizing community, Burton said, administrators should work to save a community that has consistently been one of the University’s strongest.“One of the former residents said routinely The University Village would come in as the highest-ranked residence hall as far as community and the sense of loving that and needing that for years,” Burton said. “ … The actual housing buildings have lot of issues, but the community — everybody’s always said we love this.”Spring said she and her family wouldn’t be as dedicated to Notre Dame without their experience in the Village.“I’m going for my third degree from this university, and I just know that if we just lived in some random apartment complex that was not a part of the University, that was not in a firm community, that we would not have retained those ties to the University,” Spring said. “That we wouldn’t have had a sense of loyalty to the University that they had given us a home. As a child, that community spirit was instilled in me mainly through University Village, not through my dad’s degree or department or anything like that.”The internationalizationAccording to the movement’s website, the Village’s population is made up of over 60 percent international families. The Village’s affordable housing, proximity to campus and tight-knit community is essential for grad students who travel across the world to study at Notre Dame, O’Brien said.“Because I knew moving in that it was going to be torn down I was just like, OK, yeah,” she said. “And it wasn’t until I heard the experience of international families that I was like wait a second — how is the University doing this? How are they just destroying this when it’s such a lifesaver for especially international families?”Collier said this internationalization of the Village has been a staple of the community for as long as he can remember.“They cooked meals together, they were like a little model U.N.,” he said. “And we lose something as a Notre Dame community when we lose this internationalization of the Village.”This internationalization is a major benefit for families whose kids might not otherwise be exposed to different cultures in South Bend, O’Brien said.“In our building there’s a family from Columbia across the hall, Saudi Arabia upstairs, Lebanon, Nepal,” she said. “So my kids are playing with kids from all around the world. We’re never going to get this experience again, this is amazing.”Aside from the diverse cultures blending together, Spring said the Village community helps provide for needs that international families wouldn’t be able to meet without its support.“Especially for international families who don’t have cars, the whole neighbor community thing is essential,” she said. “One of our downstairs neighbors right now, they came from Argentina just a couple of months ago, and within a few days of moving their son got croup … and our other neighbor was able to drive them [to the hospital]. Without that they probably would’ve had to call for an ambulance, which would’ve incurred a lot of medical fees that they just couldn’t afford.”Even benefits such as residents who don’t speak English being able to learn the language at a more manageable pace would be lost without the Village community, Gardner said.“A big part of this, too, is that while a graduate student might be versed in English, a lot of times their spouses aren’t,” he said. “But what they find in the Village is a community where a lot of spouses aren’t. And they have English classes … where they’re able to learn English. They also have Spanish classes where they’re able to come and teach Spanish to their other community [members].”Without the Village, Burton said, some international families will even be separated for the remainder of a graduate student’s program.“Since we started saying ‘save the Village,’ trying to move that direction, we’ve heard stories from international families that are just heart-wrenching,” she said. “One [student] said ‘I’ll have to go get a roommate and send my wife and child back to Uganda because we won’t be able to afford to live here.’”The movementOne of the criticisms of the Save the Village movement is that the University announced it would close the Village in the summer of 2014, but the movement to save it did not start until this fall. Dougherty said the lack of action in the past few years was due to a lack of information and a belief that there would be a replacement ready for residents as there was when Vetville was transformed into the Village.“It really was because they gave us very little information, but they led us to believe that they were going to offer us something else on campus … for affordable rates,” she said. “And as we were coming up on our last year and we still have not had any information given to us [since the 2014 announcement] then we went and started asking what’s the plan for us.”A WNDU article announcing plans for an $82 million commercial investment further spurred action, O’Brien said.“WDNU’s article came out about the plans, the $82 million retail plans for the Village,” she said. “So that kind of coincided and it was like, what? We need more information. So we gathered a group … and then from there, a few days later we got the petition started and going.”O’Brien said publicity for the movement picked up after the petition gained 2,500 signatures in about three to five days.“That led to a meeting with Heather Rakoczy Russell and Karen Kennedy,” she said. “And in that week where the petition had been circulating, we got WNDU to come and do a little piece on us and the South Bend Tribune wrote an article that was published that Friday. We met with Heather and Karen on Wednesday that week, and right after the WNDU came out John Affleck-Graves sent us an email saying [he’d] meet with [us].”When the residents met with Affleck-Graves, Burton said, he told them there is land for a replacement Village and plans to build it, but the cost of construction is too high for the University to justify building it.“When we talked to John Affleck-Graves about it, he didn’t say that a donor couldn’t be found, but they just haven’t tried that route,” she said. “So they have a place where it could be built, they have people who are willing to build it but it’s kind of this [question of] does the University have any duty to married families?”Affleck-Graves did not immediately respond to a request for comments.The argument that building housing specifically for families wouldn’t be fair to unmarried graduate students also doesn’t justify not building because of the different needs for students with families, O’Brien said.“That argument just doesn’t hold up,” she said. “A married student can’t have a roommate. And if they have kids, they have dependents to support on whatever stipend they’re getting or no stipend. … If you think about it for more than like 10 seconds you’re like, wait, that’s just common sense that a family would need a lower rate to be able to afford to be a student here.”Gardner pointed out that most resources the University offers do not apply to every member of the community.“Any resource that the campus provides doesn’t meet everybody’s needs,” he said. “ … If you think about any resource, it doesn’t meet all of the demands of the University’s population, but it meets a substantial demand that it’s willing to offer that service.”One example Burton offered is counseling specifically for married students.“They offer marriage counseling,” she said. “So they understand that there’s certain things that are unique to married families. Counseling is very helpful, but not 100 percent of the married population uses that, only a small part. But it’s still very important to have that service available to those who need it.”Burton said many residents believe the true reason for the University’s current plans is the revenue it would generate from a commercial endeavor — revenue the University does not gain from the Village.“It really is just the profitability,” Burton said. “We just think that as a university they’re not just a business. They’re a university — and a Catholic university at that — and so sure, families aren’t profit-making, but they have a duty to families to have affordable housing.”Spring said the University’s reluctance to provide for families shows “a very clear prioritization of commercial profits over its mission.”“The rents that we pay cover the maintenance of the buildings — the buildings are all paid for,” she said. “So the University is not losing money by having the Village as it stands right now. The problem for them is that it’s not making them money … but the University just keeps seeking these revenue-building endeavors. So in addition to not investing in family housing, they’re seeking commercial profits.”This is in conflict with the University’s mission, Spring said, because it goes against Catholic teachings.“I think it’s absolutely a pro-life issue,” she said. “The Catholic Church emphasizes that the parents are the primary educators of the child, etc., and so the mission of supporting those parents and supporting those families should be central to the University. And it [is] in a lot of ways already … but having a pro-life stance on something like abortion and not having a pro-life stance in terms of providing affordable family housing, that’s just completely contradictory.”Faculty members within the University are taking the Save the Village movement seriously, Gardner said.“We have internal support,” he said. “It’s not something where it’s just like, ‘Oh, these graduate students are complaining.’ No, a lot of people that have been around the University for a lot of years recognize the great resource that the Village provides and the great community that’s there. And I think that it’s been a tool in getting great graduate students here, and I think it’s been a tool in campus life.”Without this tool, O’Brien said, top potential graduate students with families might reject Notre Dame in favor of one of the many other universities that still offer graduate family housing — such as Stanford and Michigan.“They would lose out on key-contributing top grad students who are looking at different places and need to bring their families,” she said. “If there’s no good option for them, they’re not going to choose Notre Dame. If they really want top research coming out they need to have great grad students and they need to put some money towards that.”The main goal of the movement is to acquire an extension of the leases at the Village before relocating the community to a replacement location they are asking the University to invest in, Dougherty said.“At this point, essentially, housing for married students is not in the 50- or 100-year plan that Notre Dame has,” she said. “And John Affleck-Graves said that, and he said basically if we don’t provide housing for all graduate students we can’t provide housing for just some. We just think — and there are enough people who agree — we need to convince them that it is something that ought to be in their 50- or 100-year plan.”Ultimately, Gardner said, keeping the tradition of the Village’s strong community intact is the most important result that could come of this movement.“The reason for the extension is to keep the community intact,” he said. “Because if you close graduate housing for families right now and you close the community, you lose something. … It’s really difficult to start a community from scratch, so as a result you need to keep this community and just relocate it.”Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of signatures the petition received. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: affordable housing, graduate students, on-campus housing, Save the Village, student housing, University Villagelast_img read more


Simple assault and battery reported to University

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgAn incident of simple assault and battery was reported to the University on Wednesday, according to Thursday’s Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime log.The incident occurred in Keough Hall between Sept. 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017 according to the crime log. The case is currently under Title IX review.Tags: crime log, NDSP crime log, simple assault, Title IXlast_img


Saint Mary’s appoints interim director of diversity and inclusion

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgSaint Mary’s professor Leslie Wang was appointed interim director of diversity and inclusion in August by College President Jan Cervelli. Wang’s appointment is a temporary installment that involves creating and assisting a task force in its search for a full-time director of diversity and inclusion. President Cervelli said in an email that instituting an interim director of diversity and inclusion and then a full-time director is an “intentional” effort on behalf of the College. “Diversity and inclusivity is a collective responsibility to which we are all accountable, and we want students, faculty and staff to understand our values and commitment coming in the door,” she said. “We cannot overstate the importance of a diverse community, the need to increase it, support it and respect it. We know we have work to do, for example in increasing diversity of our student body and faculty. Engaging Dr. Wang as Saint Mary’s interim director of diversity and inclusion moves us closer towards that goal.”An interim director of diversity and inclusion “is just the beginning” for Saint Mary’s, Cervelli said in the email.“We are not stopping here, and we continue to talk about what we can do to improve,” she said. “We are always looking at what we do in our programming and if there is anything that needs to be changed, we change it. I think that openness and willingness to work together and explore new ideas really has brought us here.”Wang has a Ph.D. in educational sociology with a focus on class, race and gender, and equities in education. He has spent 13 years at Saint Mary’s and, previously, 15 years at the University of Toledo. As interim director, he said his duty is to create a task force to help identify the roles of the full-time director of diversity and inclusion. “Since President Cervelli’s arrival on campus, she and I have had a few formal and informal discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion on campus,” he said. “What she has charged me of doing for this semester, and probably academic year, is to create a task force and chair the task force to define the roles and responsibilities of the director.”Cervelli’s mission for Saint Mary’s has always revolved around the inclusion of diversity, and Wang said his new position is in conjunction with that philosophy. “The reason that this is really important on our campus is because diversity and inclusion is about everyone — every staff member, every faculty member, every student and administrator,” Wang said. “It is also something that all of us can benefit learning more about, especially people who are different from us, people who might not share our life experiences and perspectives.”The goal of the proposed task force, Wang said, is to not only welcome more diversity to campus but to actively foster a diverse environment on campus.“During the academic year, the task force will define much more what the position and office actually does,” he said. “The recruitment of students, faculty, staff and administrators from various backgrounds is important, but just as important is the retention. Retention is often tied to satisfaction, how happy they are and also what is important is professional development so that we can learn much more about groups that are different from us.”This retention is aided through creating an environment that addresses issues of diversity and facilitates an open dialogue about certain institutional and systemic issues, Wang said. “I think, like many campuses across the country, and like our society, there are many aspects of institutional racism, institutional sexism and even institutional elitism,” he said. “And when I talk about institutional racism, institutional sexism, and institutional elitism, some of it is very intentional, very direct, but I also think that a large amount of the racism, sexism and elitism is not necessarily so direct. It’s part of our system, our culture and our belief system. It’s part of our institutional structure that has been built over the decades and centuries, and that’s the harder part to understand.”The ideal director would look to address issues that concern the oppression of all minority groups, Wang said. “I’d look at the future director or office and want this person or persons to assist in terms of addressing issues that devalue groups,” he said. “In terms of students, we often think of diversity as mainly relating to race and ethnicity, but in reality we have first-generation college students, we have graduate students, we have non-traditional age students, LGBT community, etc., so when we talk about historically underrepresented groups, we’re including all those in terms of welcoming them to our campus. Everyone has a right to an education.” Wang said those in the majority should try and “recognize one’s privilege, not in terms of just the individual but also societal and cultural privileges.”“As a male, as someone who is relatively educated in the middle class, as a heterosexual, I realize that, despite the fact that I am a person of color, I have certain privileges,” he said. “There are certain privileges that are granted to me by society, not because I’ve necessarily achieved every single one of them, some of them may be achieved such as my education, but also there are certain advantages based on my ascribed status by being born a male, or the fact that I was born from parents who are middle-class.”Wang said once people recognize their privileges, they can utilize them for good and help make change. “Recognizing one’s privilege means that one is also in a position to slowly and gradually help change society so that groups that do not have the same advantages historically can ‘share in a piece of the pie’ in terms of the benefits,” he said. “It’s like using one’s privilege to work for groups that are oppressed because when members who have privileges voice their opinions or when they speak, their perspectives are viewed as legitimate. People take their perspectives, or ‘what they have to say’ seriously. People are less likely to criticize the life experiences and perspectives of groups that are oppressed when they are supported by the groups that are in power historically.”But recognizing one’s privilege is not always easy, Wang said, so he understands that a student may not overcome their inherent biases right away. “Part of higher education is to learn about perspectives and viewpoints that we may disagree with,” he said. “In terms of taking a class, I don’t expect that students who have taken a class on something relating to diversity will immediately change their views, but I would hope that the student would take different types of classes and learn about perspectives that are different than their own. I wouldn’t say that one’s perspectives are necessarily wrong, but they’re not the only perspectives that are out there and different groups have different experiences or may have lenses that are very different from one’s own.”The goal of the director, Wang said, should be to allow discussion of different perspectives and experiences.“One of the goals [of the director of diversity and inclusion] is to allow for these different experiences and perspectives to be valued as long as the perspectives are not offensive to any groups,” he said.Giving space for minority groups on campus to voice their opinions is only half the battle, Wang said, as those part of the tri-campus community may be seen as having inherent privileges that hinder the inclusion of those outside the tri-campus community. “The campuses of Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross are probably seen by many who live in South Bend and Mishawaka as gated communities in many ways — we are private, Catholic, liberal arts and probably seen as elitist from the community perspective,” he said. “I also think that colleges and universities should have an interest in supporting the community in which it is located. This also means ‘breaking down the barriers’ as there has to be a lot of learning, growing and working together between the campuses and the community.”Wang said learning to co-exist with those who are different and engaging in open dialogue in a multicultural environment is a necessary part of becoming a well-rounded, global citizen.“The reason that learning about various life experiences and perspectives different from our own is really important, for everyone, because we need this knowledge and the skills in order to interact and work in a multicultural society, in a global society,” he said. And, Cervelli said, living in a multicultural society requires a great deal of empathy that can be achieved through listening to and learning from others. “It’s really hard to tell someone you don’t believe in racism when you have a student, faculty or staff member of color sitting in front of you telling you how it has impacted their entire life,” she said.Addressing diversity opens the door to fairness and equality, Wang said. “I always think that, without diverse life experiences and perspectives, we really cannot talk about equity — fairness really doesn’t exist without diversity,” he said.Tags: Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, fairness, Leslie Wang, President Cervellilast_img read more


Senate meets with FMB about accountability, approves FCC name change

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgAt their weekly Wednesday night meeting, the Notre Dame student senate met with the Financial Management Board (FMB) Student Union treasurer Christine Arcoleo in a follow-up to a previous meeting two weeks prior. The presentation from Arcoleo, a senior, sought to clarify some of the senators’ previous questions.According to numbers provided by Arcoleo, across all student government organizations there was a net $77,000 left in surplus from the previous fiscal year. The student government also ran a surplus in the years prior. This number is down from previous years primarily due to issues with the budgeting of the Midnight Express. Only one to three individual student government organizations were running a deficit.When asked why the FMB frequently ran a deficit, Arcoleo said the FMB underestimates its actual budgetary needs and the budget is often based off precedent.“We have not been reconciling how much we are actually spending because the person who spends most of it is not myself, it’s just somebody that I work with,” Arcoleo said.Some senators were surprised to learn how much funding the student government actually does not spend every year. One concern was raised about why student government was not spending all of its funds.“Is there a reason why every year we get to the end of the year and we have over $100,000 left?” Jackson Oxler, a sophomore senator from Duncan, said. “Why are we not using that money if it’s being allocated to us to provide things for the students?”(Editor’s Note: Oxler is a news writer for The Observer).Arcoleo explained that many organizations budget with a certain set of events in mind then do not follow through with every event and are sitting on unused funds, or that there may be unforeseen events causing a large amount of spending or saving. Eric Kim, a senior and executive director of SUB, provided an example of an unforeseen event leading to unspent funds.“For the 2017-18 fiscal year, that was the year we were going to bring GoldLink to campus but he cancelled four hours before the concert, so [SUB] had $40,000 left over because of that,” Kim said. “That was an unforeseen circumstance in our situation.”Another response to the surplus was the sentiment that some of the funds should be reallocated towards funding the Club Coordination Council (CCC) and other clubs. The senate previously met with CCC chair senior Jordan Isner to discuss funding going forward.“I still think — going back to the CCC presentation — that Jordan did a good job showing that CCC still has substantial need even with a 3% point increase [in total allocated funds],” Quentin Colo, an off campus senior, said. “I still believe CCC needs more money.”Just like the last meeting with Arcoleo, senators believe some form of financial accountability should be in place even if the matter is not urgent right now.“From the numbers, it doesn’t seem like there is a need for accountability measures, but then that doesn’t necessarily mean that there shouldn’t be accountability measures — right now there’s no issue, but there’s nothing in place to prevent issues from happening,” James Bathon, a senior from Keough, said.The most discussed options for more accountability at the meeting include a higher emphasis on the winter budget meeting the FMB conducts, requirements in either the FMB’s bylaws or the constitution that student government organizations meet with the FMB to discuss spending, requirements that organizations spend a certain percentage of their allocated budget every year and reallocating extra funds to other student government organizations.After senate adjourned, Arcoleo explained her plans to make FMB more effective this year and particular accountability measures that she favored.“I’m going to have to monitor organization expenses more closely this year; I’ll be checking in with the FMB this year to make sure they’re OK with being scrutinized more closely,” Arcoleo said. “I think I’ve gained a lot of insight from this whole process through senate, and in the future, for the winter reallocation and the spring allocation, we will definitely make polling the numbers that I showed today part of the whole allocating process. In particular, holding the organizations accountable, make sure we’re every month reconciling what they’ve spent and comparing it to their overall allocation and the budget they sent me last year. The thing I’m more excited for is the winter reallocation process.”After the discussion, senate deliberated a resolution written by sophomore Allan Njomo, the senator representing Stanford Hall. The resolution sought to rename the “Freshman Class Council” to the “First Year Class Council.” The resolution passed.Tags: Financial Management Board, ND student senate, Student governmentlast_img read more


Student Diversity Board celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with dinner

Posted On Jan 26 2021 by

first_imgHispanic Heritage Month is a nationwide celebration running this year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in the United States. It is a time for people to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the country’s culture, heritage and history.In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board held a dinner for students who wished to come together and celebrate these contributions with the community. Callie Patrick | The Observer A mariachi band performs at a Hispanic Heritage Month dinner hosted by Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board Wednesday. The event aimed to celebrate Hispanic culture in the United States.The dinner included popular Latino dishes such as empanadas, quesadillas and enchiladas with a dessert section that included Spanish flan and churros and drinks such as pineapple agua fresca. The celebration and meal was accentuated with the addition of an eight member mariachi band playing in the forefront. Students could be seen dancing to the band and giving song suggestions as the celebrations continued.“During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Congress passed a law that established a Hispanic Heritage Month on Aug. 17, 1988. President George H. W. Bush then issued the first proclamation of the national holiday on Sept. 14, 1989,” said senior Jazmin Herrera, president of the Student Diversity Board. “This year marks the 30th annual Hispanic Heritage Month.”Senior Eliana Sanchez — president of La Fuerza, the College’s club representing Latina culture on campus — said the month is a celebration of the beauty of countries with Hispanic heritage. These countries and regions include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela and Uruguay.“We are the fruit that our parents and grandparents planted. Our culture enriches this country. Seeing our people becoming successful and overcoming the odds is something worth celebrating,” Sanchez said. “Each one of us sitting in this room is worth celebrating. We have future lawyers, educators, activists and so many more bright futures at every table. Please continue the growth our parents, grandparents and peers have created.”On the topic of positive growth, the two students shared some facts pertaining to the growing accomplishments of the Latino population.“By 2020, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 70 million, and by 2050 one in four Americans will be Hispanic,” Herrera said.America’s Hispanic community also holds growing economic clout, Sanchez said.“If it were a nation in itself, the U.S. Hispanic market would be one of the top 10 economies in the world,” Sanchez said.Furthermore, Herrera said the Latino population is increasingly represented in the top educational tier of American society.“The Hispanic population has been steadily increasing in college degree attainment by about 0.5 percentage points each year, and over the last decade, they have raised their representation between 30% and 40% in teaching, law, medicine and management professions,” Herrera said.The two speakers urged for students to continue to fight for positive growth.“Although we have accomplished a lot in this nation, there is still much more work to do,” Sanchez said.Herrera expressed gratitude for the College’s effort to support its Latina students.“Keep fighting for our representation, advocacy and future in this country,” Herrera said. “Thank you to all of those who nurture our growth, here at Saint Mary’s.”Tags: Diversity, Hispanic Heritage Month, saint mary’s, Student Diversity Boardlast_img read more


Weekend Poll Top Three: Fans Can’t Wait to See Idina Menzel’s 2014 Broadway Return in If/Then

Posted On Jan 18 2021 by

first_img Idina Menzel 2. Les Miserables – 17%Even though we’ve already heard the people sing first onstage in 1987, then revived in 2006 and on-screen in 2012, fans just can’t get enough of prisoner 24601 and it’s set to come back to the Great White Way in March. The tried-and-true musical featuring music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and a book by Schonberg and Boublil, is swiftly becoming a Broadway classic—and with a cast that includes Ramin Karimloo in his Broadway debut, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy and Nikki M. James, this show is guaranteed to be one of the hottest tickets of the season. View Comments Star Filescenter_img 3. Aladdin – 11%Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and the Genie are heading to Broadway (finally!), and 11 percent of fans are so ready to take a magic carpet ride to the New Amsterdam Theatre. Based on the 1992 Disney movie featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, the new Broadway tuner also features additional lyrics and a new book by Chad Beguelin. In a few short weeks, you can catch the production on Broadway—until then, you’ll have to settle for belting out “A Whole New World” in the shower like you usually do. There are 22 brand new productions currently scheduled to hit the Great White Way in 2014, and with new revivals of Cabaret and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Violet starring Sutton Foster, All the Way led by Bryan Cranston and a stage adaptation of Bullets Over Broadway, how can we pick just one? Well, we can’t, so we asked you to make the tough decision, and three shows—all musicals—stood out among the crowd. Which productions are Broadway fans most excited to see in 2014? Check out the results below!1. If/Then – 25%Tony-winning Wicked and Rent favorite Idina Menzel is making her long-awaited return to Broadway in If/Then, and Broadway fans are absolutely psyched! The new musical by Next to Normal composing duo Tom Kitt and Bryan Yorkey picked up a quarter of the votes. If/Then tells the story of Elizabeth, a woman who decides to rebuild her life in New York City. Plus, it features a Rent reunion between Menzel and Anthony Rapp! Only two months and counting until If/Then hits the Broadway stage—mark your calendars.last_img read more