Phone banks call for clean energy

first_imgIn preparation for the upcoming 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Repower Indiana will be on campus this week encouraging students to get involved with the movement toward a more environmentally-conscious America.“Repower Indiana is a clean energy campaign, funded and organized by the Alliance for Climate Protection,” Bobbie Stewart, communications director for Repower Indiana, said. “We want to inform people about the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy, as well as advocating for clean energy legislation.”Repower Indiana will be organizing phone banks where students can call Indiana residents, asking them to support clean energy legislation. Phone banks will be available from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in room 310 of DeBartolo Hall and Wednesday in the Gold Room of LaFortune Student Center.“People will be coming by and learning more about … how they can be involved with clean energy events around Notre Dame,” Stewart said. “During the phone banks, Repower volunteers will be calling community citizens and asking them to help reach out to [Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar] to pass clean energy legislation.”A clean energy bill is expected to reach the Senate floor in the near future, and Stewart said the Indiana senators’ votes in support of this legislation are far from guaranteed. “We’re hopeful, it’s really hard to tell … Lugar is at least focused on conservation,” she said. “There’s some concern amongst the legislators that it will actually cost Indiana money, which we don’t believe is the case.”Stewart said she sees student involvement in the campaign and influence over the legislature as especially crucial.“Their impact, it’s far, wide and critical. There’s a recent poll of youths asking if they believe the country should be transitioning to a clean energy economy, and the answer was overwhelmingly high,” she said. “Over 70 percent was yes.”Notre Dame students, in particular, have an important voice, Stewart said.“Their vote and their voice matter,” she said. “It’s time to stand up and exercise that voice for an issue that will be affecting you today and tomorrow.”Stewart said Notre Dame students should be invested in climate protection for the same reasons as other Americans, but that students have even more at stake as members of the younger generation.“Just like anyone else, in the state, in the country, they stand to benefit from jobs that would receive funding from a clean energy initiative,” Stewart said. “The most important reason to transition is for a clean planet for future generations to come.”“One reason students are really motivated is the question of what’s going to be left for them in 30 or 40 years,” she said.Stewart said it is important for students not to underestimate the difference they can make in the push for a cleaner America. She considers the role of Indiana residents, especially students, central to ensuring for a clean energy bill to get passed by the Senate.“Again, I’d say we’re hopeful, but a lot of it depends on Hoosier engagement, people like Notre Dame students.”last_img read more

Professors react to Pope’s remarks

first_imgPope Francis made headlines worldwide when a lengthy interview with Italian Jesuit journal “La Civiltà Cattolica” published last Thursday suggested his leadership would alter the Catholic Church’s focus on social issues. Notre Dame theology experts said it is clear that Francis’ statements provide a potential perspective change but not a radical upending of Church teaching. Pope Francis’s words on abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception generated controversy. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Pope Francis said in the interview. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the Church are not all equivalent. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” Theology professor Fr. Brian Daley, a member of the Jesuit order like Pope Francis, said he does not find Francis’ ideas revolutionary but rather just a demonstration of different style and points of emphasis. “As [Pope Francis] has said, what he’s saying has been there in the Catechism, it’s been there in the teaching of the Church, but people perhaps haven’t realized it,” Daley said. “Part of it is the way the media picks it up and spins it. But I do think the style of the Pope is distinct, and it’s very much his own. And to a great extent, I think it comes out of his Jesuit spiritual background and the Jesuit way of approaching pastoral issues.” Daley said the Jesuit tradition has been to be at the service of the Church, training the members of the order intellectually “in the highest standards of the day,” but also to be deeply rooted spiritually in prayer, contemplation and the Gospels. “I think the basic instinct of the Jesuits and modern Ignatian spirituality in general is a pastoral one,” Daley said. “It’s a matter of asking what can we do to help people come into contact with Christ and follow him. “And as Francis says, it’s not that the rules that the Church presents us with are false or irrelevant, but the Church is not basically there to announce rules. It’s there to pronounce God’s love to people.” John Cavadini, theology professor and director of the Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame, said he sees Francis’ statements as a continuation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s reminder to focus on the essentials of Catholicism. “What [Pope Francis] has been saying is very much in keeping with Pope Benedict,” Cavadini said. “I think people see there being this division between them, but remember that Pope Benedict published his first papal encyclical on love, called ‘God Is Love.’ I don’t think you can get more essential than that.” Benedict’s next two encyclicals were on hope and faith, respectively, and Cavadini said Francis’ statement last week highlights the same focus on these essentials in a different way. “Pope Francis has a very distinctive pastoral application of this emphasis on the essentials,” Cavadini said. “What he’s basically saying is that you don’t attract people to the faith and you don’t keep people in the faith by concentrating all the time on things that aren’t part of the essential proclamation. “And so what you end up doing, maybe, is making people forget what the essentials are if you’re always talking about other things and you have what he called a kind of ‘fragmented message.’ I think there is a very fundamental continuity with Pope Benedict’s emphasis on the basics, but I think there is a difference in style and a difference in pastoral application.” Pope Francis said the Church must find a new balance or else its moral edifice would be in danger of “[falling] like a house of cards.” Cavadini said Francis is trying to steer the attention to the most essential parts of Catholicism that make the faith vibrant to believers. “The whole point is to convey the beauty of the whole so the more difficult teachings don’t seem like just isolated invitations to desolations, but part of a larger piece and part of a Church that cares about everybody,” Cavadini said. “If the Church shows itself to be a caring communion, then it’s easier for people because there’s something lifted in their lives all the sudden if someone is willing to help them.” This “pastoral framework” for approaching people could transform the whole communion of the Church without altering any of its moral teachings, he said. Pope Francis’ new approach to these teachings partially stems from his different background compared to that of Pope Benedict. “Pope Benedict was a professor … and he became a bishop not out of a pastoral parish experience as much as from a professorial experience,” Cavadini said. “I don’t like people saying Benedict is bad and Francis is good; I think that’s just very superficial because Pope Benedict was a very loving person, a very smart person, but a professor. “He focused on the essentials but spun it as saying ‘these are our foundations, and that keeps us from succumbing to cultural relativism.’ I think Francis, taking the same emphasis on the essentials, says ‘how do we translate this into a way of pastoring or shepherding?’ I think Francis thinks that it translates into a pastoral care of warmth and presence … carries those essentials of the Gospel with them.” Daley said he sees Pope Francis as “an intellectual but not an academic,” especially taking into account his background in Argentina and his appreciation for world culture. “I think [Francis] operates on a fairly imaginative level,” Daley said. “And Benedict does too, but Benedict is the shyer person; he’s kind of an introvert, I think. And he’s a first-class intellectual theologian … where Francis is much more of an extrovert, a charismatic personality. “I think what he’s doing is a typically Jesuit approach, training himself as well as possible in human culture and human understanding … I think he’s really someone who tries to think in contact with the present time, but the reason for this is always to do the work of God and bring the Gospel to people.” Cavadini said viewing these issues as part of the larger context of the essentials of faith makes it clear that the Church’s mission goes beyond rule-making and finger-pointing. “These are pastoral issues before they’re political issues,” he said. “I think that makes a big difference to people’s lives. With this new approach, you create new possibilities with that warmth and presence and a willingness to bear people’s burdens with them.”last_img read more

CSC advocacy course promotes common good

first_imgStudents in the one-credit Advocacy for the Common Good course underwent nearly eight hours of training Saturday in preparation for a semester of researching social problems, planning response strategies and executing events to raise public awareness.Michael Hebbler, director of student leadership and senior transitions at the Center for Social Concerns (CSC), is teaching the advocacy course to students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College.“It’s pretty broad, but for the purposes of this course, advocacy is accompanying people on the margins and working to change the structures that lead to oppression,” Hebbeler said.Courtesy of Michael Hebbeler Sophomore Jessica Peck, a student currently enrolled in the course, said the training helped her prepare to research and address deep-seeded social concerns.“The training session was a sampling of a lot of different ways of drawing attention to important issues,” Peck said. “We talked about what motivates people to act and how to tap into that when mounting an advocacy campaign.“We also talked specifics: What are necessary considerations when hosting an event? How do you conduct a successful lobbying visit to a congressman, senator or other elected official? How do you frame your issue when talking to the media?”Hebbeler said he plans for his students to split into four small groups to research and address specific social problems of interest to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and CSC, including immigration reform, the conflict in Syria, global hunger and incarceration. He said students will develop a clear message about the topic and share that message through a “public meeting,” anything from lobbying a congressional representative to hosting a rally.“The course project culminates in the public meeting, but we remind our students that it’s very much in the process where learning takes place,” Hebbeler said.Junior Matt Hing took Advocacy for the Common Good the first time it was offered in the spring of 2013. He said he studied immigration reform, worked on a letter-writing campaign and met with a congressional representative to discuss the issue.“You do the project, and you can see that you enacted actual change,” Hing said. “You see all your efforts. You see the result you made. You can see people are talking about it afterward, and that was a really cool feeling to see that a group of people can actually make a small-scale difference with enough time and enough resources.”Hebbeler said students often take Advocacy for the Common Good after they have first-hand experiences with injustice through programs like the CSC’s Border Issues Seminar. He said those students want to fight for justice but do not know how to accomplish real change.“The main reason for this course on advocacy is for students to channel their passions on different social issues that they’ve encountered through their time here at Notre Dame,” Hebbeler said. “You become impassioned and then you get back to campus and life goes on, things get busy and yet this passion remains.“We provide this course as 
a structured way forward to work on those issues and effect change … We provide a way for [students] to address the root causes, the structures that create the injustice that they’ve encountered.”Hebbeler said he worked with the CRS to implement the course last January. He said the CRS previously sent one representative to campus each semester to train the students in advocacy and prepare them for their work during the semester, but this year an additional CRS representative came to observe the process.“No other school is doing this exact thing with CRS,” he said. “We have other courses [at Notre Dame] that are examining advocacy … but as far as working with CRS in this manner on an accredited advocacy course, there are no other programs like that and courses like that.”The class closely aligns with Catholic Social Teaching and the Church’s views on human dignity, Hebbeler said.“These are large-scale issues, but Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that it’s the dignity of each individual that we are seeking to uplift, to protect, and that does something to our dignity,” he said. “Justice is right relationship, and so for the dignity of persons on the margins, but also our own dignity, we seek out these issues and we commit to the work in the name of solidarity.”Peck said she considered the course her opportunity to follow a call to action.“We can’t be content wishing well on the world or feeling bad because some people don’t have food to eat and that’s just too bad,” she said. “We are in a position to act, and this class is giving us the tools to do that.”Tags: CSClast_img read more

Notre Dame looks to start stadium construction in 2014

first_imgThe University is hoping to begin massive construction on Notre Dame Stadium after the conclusion of the 2014 football season, University President Fr. John Jenkins said in an interview with The Observer.The Notre Dame Board of Trustees has endorsed a plan to build three buildings totaling 750,000 square feet that will surround the Stadium. The project, titled the “Campus Crossroads Project,” is expected to cost $400 million, Jenkins said. Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Pending approval from the Board of Trustees, the Campus Crossroads Project will add a new student center, a digital media studio and academic offices to the existing StadiumWhile gaining the Board’s endorsement is a big step forward for the University, Jenkins said Notre Dame would still need to raise the funds for the project. Notre Dame’s policy to have 100 percent of the funding promised and 50 percent in hand before construction begins.“We need to find benefactors who will support this project because we won’t go ahead unless the funding is in place,” Jenkins said. “So, it’s contingent on that. We’re optimistic about getting that done. … But until we get that, we can’t say definitely, we’re doing it.”Jenkins said about half of the funding would come from benefactors and the rest would come from various sources, including revenue from football tickets. The project would not be funded by revenue from existing seating, a release from the University said.Student ticket prices would not be directly influenced due to the new construction, instead the new premium seating (3,000 to 4,000 additional club seats) would help fund the project, Jenkins said.According to Jenkins, the project is expected to take 33 months from start to finish but the Irish will still be playing all scheduled home games in the Stadium. Ideally, Jenkins said the University would make the decision to go ahead with the project in August and start building after Notre Dame’s home finale against Louisville in November.Commencement ceremonies, which are typically held in Notre Dame Stadium, may have to be moved elsewhere during the 33-month construction, possibly the Joyce Center, Jenkins said.“I don’t want to say because it’s not definite yet,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to play football there, but there may be a problem with graduation so we’ll have to gather people together and see what we need to do.”Jenkins said the University would need South Bend’s approval but that he expects they won’t take exception to it.The University expects to employ all local construction trades locally, spokesperson Paul Browne said. Notre Dame could also contract some Chicago-area companies to help with construction.“The demand for skilled trades and crafts building will probably exhaust the local area and beyond,” Browne said. “But who the entities doing that, whether it’s Chicago or elsewhere, that hasn’t been decided yet.”Jenkins said Notre Dame would look first towards South Bend for construction companies.“I know primarily we are going to look [in South Bend], we want to give the opportunities for jobs to the local community,” Jenkins said. “I know we’ve worked with these companies before. My understanding is this project will just tap out all of the available resources, so I don’t know if we will need to go beyond that. We’re certainly going to start here.”Vice President of Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said the companies 360, Slam and Workshop Architects have been some of the firms Notre Dame has worked with so far.Last May, Notre Dame commissioned a feasibility study to decide if additional buildings were needed around the Stadium. Jenkins said the University had a concept that evolved over time.“What we had to do is ask ‘What are our needs?’” Jenkins said. “What are our needs for buildings? We had a strategic plan and each of the buildings we’re envisioning were part of that plan. They were envisioned as these were the things we need. We don’t know where it’s going to be. We don’t know the design. These are the facilities we need. So our question is ‘Could our needs fit this structure?’”Jenkins said the original plan was to have buildings on all four sides of Notre Dame Stadium but only ones on the east, south and west sides are in the plans. He said Hesburgh Library and “Touchdown Jesus” could have been kept visible with a building there but there simply was not a need for one.Tags: Board of Trustees, Campus Crossroads, Commencement, Erin Hoffmann Harding, football, Fr. John Jenkins, Hesburgh Library, John Jenkins, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bendlast_img read more

Series examines gender in theology

first_imgSaint Mary’s Theology on Fire series examined gender’s role in Christian theology with a discussion on “American Women and the Permanent Diaconate” facilitated by Katherine Harmon, a theology professor from Marian University.Harmon began the conversation by recalling a project given to her by a former professor at Notre Dame called “On the Archives.” She said the assignment was fairly open-ended and meant to delve into a particular subject of the student’s choice.Harmon said she researched the word “women” and soon came across “woman diaconates.”Harmon asked the event’s attendees if they could recall the role of a deacon. The audience said deacon’s responsibilities include teaching, reading and assisting with baptism.“The role of the deacon has to do with service,” Harmon said.Harmon listed statistics pertaining to the average American deacon, including level of education, age and marital status.“One-hundred percent of contemporary deacons are male,” she said.Harmon said the historically, this hegemony was not always the case. Harmon said various sources, like unclear passages from books in the Bible like Timothy and Romans, as well as letters from Church authority recognized the role of deaconesses.Given this public information, Harmon said she pondered why the idea of a woman in the role of deacon seem so foreign to Catholics today.“The issue, it seems, is dealing with the word ordination,” Harmon said. “If you took the present definition and tried to apply it to the past, these women were not ordained.”Harmon said although she was unaware of a specific modern-day movement to return women to the role of deaconess, she was personally motivated to share this information because it is the unknown truth.“To me, it is crucial to see that women were there and to see where they were. It is important to recognize the presence of women in history, especially in the liturgy,” Harmon said.Tags: theology on firelast_img read more

Reading to a ‘Living Legend’

first_imgThe late Fr. Theodore Hesburgh enjoyed cigars and reading newspapers in the afternoon. He continued to smoke cigars every day, but once his eyesight began to fade, students would read newspapers to him in his office on the 13th floor of the Hesburgh Library. Senior Beth Spesia was one of these readers. She began working her freshman year at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the founding of which was inspired by Fr. Hesburgh’s work. To return the favor, the Institute sent one student to read to Fr. Ted every afternoon. “I started working at the Kroc Institute my freshman year in the fall,” Spesia said. “I didn’t know this at the time, but a part of the job is that office sends one student every afternoon to read to Fr. Hesburgh. Since the Kroc … [has] a really strong tie to Fr. Hesburgh, they send someone every day. As a first-semester freshman, I started going once a week to read to him. I knew Fr. Hesburgh was a big deal, but after a few times going, I realized I didn’t really know enough about him, so I remember getting ‘God, Country, Notre Dame’ in the library. It was a very meta experience, [reading] ‘God, Country, Notre Dame’ in the Hesburgh Library. It was a very Notre Dame experience.”After the news of Fr. Hesburgh’s death Thursday night, Spesia said she “had a moment” in the McGlinn Chapel to herself and reflected on the time she had spent with the Holy Cross priest. “When I heard the news, I was by myself,” Spesia said. “It was obviously really sad, and I just felt like there was a sadness everyone on campus was experiencing. “I also immediately felt so grateful that I had all of these hours I had spent with him. It just kind of hit me hard at first.”Spesia recounted the many hours spent with the former University president. “The first time I went, I was really nervous,” Spesia said. “I knew I was going to read for a very important person. At that time — back when I started freshman year — I would read close to three hours, which can be kind of tiring. I was nervous that I wouldn’t do a good job reading, and I was nervous that I would mispronounce countries that I should know how to pronounce or something.” Although Spesia was corrected many times over her four years reading, she said, Hesburgh’s corrections always came from a good place and were valuable to her. “I did get corrected on some of my pronunciations, but it was a good learning experience,” Spesia said. “There were sometimes that I thought he would be asleep — I would be an hour and a half in, page 10 of the New York Times — when he would awake out of nowhere and correct me. He would say this is the correct way to pronounce it, it means this and he would give me a definition. It was great. I loved it.”Spesia said she was definitely not cut out for handling Hesburgh’s cigars, however. “One time Melanie [Chapleau], his secretary, was busy doing something so he asked me if I would light his cigar,” Spesia said. “I don’t think I did the best job of it. I was trying to angle myself, I couldn’t get the lighter to work and it was just a disaster. So I think it was best that I just stuck to my reading.”Sophomore Madeleine Paulsen, another one of Fr. Hesburgh’s readers, said that she learned how to cut and light cigars from her time reading to Fr. Hesburgh.“He usually had a cigar already, but if it went out, if he wanted a new one, or on the rare days when he didn’t have one originally, I would get him a new one,” Paulsen said. “Fr. Ted actually taught me how to cut and light his cigars, as it was something I had never done before last summer.”The literature that the students would read aloud was always the same: The Observer, the New York Times and if he was up for it, Time Magazine, Spesia said. “He always liked to start off with The Observer, he would say, ‘We’ve got to figure out what’s going on around here first before we figure out what’s going on in the world,’” Spesia said. “I always thought it was really cool that he still wanted to hear what professors were given awards and what lectures were going on. So I would usually read the main stories of The Observer and the some of the letters to the editor and the editorials.“Sometimes when we would finish the New York Times, we would read Time Magazine. The one thing that I really liked about reading to him was that he really knew what he liked to hear, so if I was reading a story and he had gotten enough out of it, he would say, ‘That’s enough, let’s go to the next one.’ Sometimes he would ask me what I thought about things. At first, when I was a freshman, this was very intimidating. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Fr. Hesburgh wants to know what I think about the Middle East, what am I supposed to say now?’ But I definitely got more comfortable talking to him.”It was in Fr. Ted’s nature to make people feel comfortable, Spesia said. “Everyone who meets him right away I think would agree with me that he puts people at ease like no one else,” she said. “He is — was — just a kind, gentle soul that even for a scared freshman, I felt that right away I had an ease in that maybe I wasn’t expecting.”Junior Kerry Walsh, another one of Fr. Hesburgh’s readers, said that he truly cared about every person that walked into his office.“My absolute favorite part of reading to Fr. Ted was always at the very end, when he told me to stand in front of him to be blessed,” she said. “He would ask God to watch over me, and told me that I would be in his prayers. I constantly left his office in awe of how lucky I was to spend so much time with him.”On football weekends, many people would stop into Fr. Hesburgh’s office in an attempt to meet with him, Walsh said.“In these moments, I was acutely aware of how lucky I was to be with Fr. Ted,” she said. “Some people just wanted to meet him once in their life, and I got to see him and talk with him every week. People often brought medals or jewelry to be blessed by Fr. Ted, and I felt incredibly privileged to be blessed by him every week.”Reading often turned into discussing, reminiscing and other stories, Spesia said. “He’d comment lot on the news,” she said. “Some days he was chattier than others, but sometimes it would be commenting on the news, and sometimes it would be reflecting. Something I would read to him would jog a memory about a trip that he took once, and he would tell me about it.”Fr. Hesburgh was especially vocal about the Iraq War, the American government’s struggle with bipartisanship and race relations.“The last four years with a lot of the news that were about Iraq, he would talk about the times he had traveled there,” Spesia said. “Anytime there was a story about the conflict between the Democrats and Republicans, he would get a little worked up about it because his whole thing was that we need to get through it and work together. So that would get him going.“He would bring up issues related to the work he did in the Civil Rights movement with things that are relevant today like the Ferguson incident. He commented on that a few times. He was sad about the situation, and he talked about how all the work that had done for Civil Rights to give people a voice.”Spesia studied in Chile in the spring 2014 semester. Upon her return this past fall, she noticed that Fr. Hesburgh was different. However, she said reading seemed to get a positive reaction from Fr. Ted, and it appeared to be helpful to him. “So I would just say — from the fall of my junior year until when I came back the fall of my senior year — he just seemed older,” Spesia said. “He just seemed more tired. There were some days he wouldn’t chat as much while we were reading. He was always really sharp — he was still having visitors, even this semester — so I think hearing the news every day he enjoyed it in a way because it would make him think of stories and keep him up to date on what was going on in the world. So when he kind of started slowing — I could just tell, and I think other people could tell too — that he just seemed slower.” From her the start of her freshman year in August 2011 to now, Spesia noted a shift in her interactions with Fr. Hesburgh, but she also noted that he remained true to his values and opinions, especially on education. “Our conversations definitely changed throughout the years,” Spesia said. “This past year he was slowing down a bit. He always would ask me about my major because I think he would just be refreshing his memory. He would ask, ‘Who are you again, and what’s your major?’ I would tell him the Program of Liberal Studies, and he would say, ‘That’s the best one we have,’ which is really great.” Spesia hadn’t read to Hesburgh since Feb. 10 because of his failing health and the cold weather, she said. “I haven’t gone in in the past a couple of weeks because he hadn’t gone into the office because it was too cold, she said. “I think he was getting a little sick too, and it would just be too dangerous to go out in the cold. That was a bummer, missing a few weeks, because reading to him every week was always the highlight of my week. “It was just a nice routine. I would go in there and it wouldn’t matter what other stresses I had going on in my life, it was just this peaceful sort of relaxing time, where I would get into this rhythm of reading and being able to have conversation. I really enjoyed the part of the week where I got to see him. Even before he passed away, I was like, ‘I hope next week it’s not this cold, so I can go read to him.’”Walsh said Fr. Hesburgh’s legacy will be the kindness that he extended towards others.“The feeling of meeting of befriending Fr. Ted is truly incredible,” Walsh said. “For me, the kindness and attentiveness Fr. Ted extended to me made me strive to be a better person. It may sound corny, but when you meet Fr. Ted, you kind of feel like you’re meeting the next closest thing to God.”Fr. Hesburgh was a world-renowned activist and scholar, Walsh said, but he was first and foremost a friend.“I think that’s the beauty of Fr. Ted,” Walsh said. “Despite his lofty achievements and celeb status, he was always a true friend to all he met. I can’t ever thank him enough for his contributions to Notre Dame, to the study of peace, to the United States — but most importantly, I can’t thank him enough for being a friend.”Spesia said she values her time with Fr. Hesburgh above any other experience at Notre Dame because of what she learned from him. She said although she was only reading to him a couple hours every week, it meant a great deal to her, and she took away a lot from those meetings. “I guess I really just got to observe how much he cared about others, about Notre Dame, about individual students who had come to see him, about the world really,” Spesia said. “That was the nature of our discussions, about issues going on in the world. He was just so giving of his heart to the Notre Dame community that I think there’s a reason that he’s so beloved by students even of my generation because people still felt this connection to him that they could go into visit. “He’s a living legend. I always was really in awe of him — and going into his office, it’s hard not be, there’s pictures up of presidents, awards left and right — but getting to know him in such a regular, routine way, and the time we had together when I would be reading, I got to see what a truly great person he was outside of all of the amazing things he had done and all the awards he had won, and for that I am truly grateful.”Associate News Editor Kayla Mullen contributed to this report.Tags: Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, Hesburgh Library, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, memoriallast_img read more

Student senate requests information on sexual assault

first_imgStudent senate gathered Wednesday night to discuss and approve a resolution requesting the publication of a quarterly report detailing instances of sexual violence on campus.The resolution was proposed by Keenan Hall senator, sophomore Wilson Barrett, and Cavanaugh Hall senator, sophomore Kathleen Rocks.Rocks said because the student body does not receive a crime alert in response to every act of sexual violence reported on campus, students receive a false impression of how many instances of sexual violence are reported each year.“The point of having these quarterly reports is so that students can understand the gravity and extent of this problem and hopefully be spurred to act on it,” she said. “We find it very important for students to be aware of what’s going on … When you go by the emails you think there’s only three, four, five [incidents]. It’s terrible to get those emails, but you don’t realize the extent of the problem.”Barrett said he and Rocks hope this resolution helps students realize sexual violence is a community issue.“It’s all public [information], so theoretically every student could do this, but this just makes students more aware and gets the information out there,” Barrett said.Additionally, the group discussed and approved a proposal to amend the constitution of the undergraduate student body regarding the composition of the Club Coordination Council (CCC).CCC president, senior Marisa Thompson, said the amendment would allow members of the CCC to hold a position on the Student Union, which was previously banned due to a perceived conflict of interest.“Right now, as it stands, anyone who is on the Club Coordination Council cannot hold any other position within the Student Union,” Thompson said. “We didn’t think [this] was necessarily within the spirit of delineating those members within the constitution because we didn’t see there to be a conflict of interest in having those members explicitly defined in the constitution itself.”Judicial Council president, senior Zach Waterson, said the amendment gives students more freedom to join clubs that interest them.“The real crux of [the] amendment is whether or not they’re representing a body to the rest of the Student Union,” he said. “As the CCC reps represent a club to the CCC, it was Marisa’s judgment that holding that position isn’t going to put you in a conflict of interest because we don’t keep people in the Student Union from joining clubs.”The senate also approved an amendment to the constitution of the undergraduate student body regarding the procedure for amendment.Waterson, who proposed the amendment, said it states that before an amendment is proposed to Senate, the Judicial Council president and the director of the Department of Internal Affairs must be consulted about it, “specifically how consistent it is with the constitution.”“Over the last year I have continued to … [move] Judicial Council to a collaborative role and as a resource for the other Student Union organizations, and collaborating especially in efforts pertaining to the Student Union constitution,” he said. “[This] also ensures that we don’t pass amendments that perhaps haven’t been fully considered or introduce further inconsistencies into the constitution.”The Senate also voted to approve junior Paulina Eberts as next year’s CCC president. Thompson said in a letter that Eberts’ enthusiasm shows through her work with the CCC.“[Eberts] has actively made an effort to engage in a wide variety of enriching extracurriculars as a member of the Notre Dame student body,” the letter said. “Her dedication to the CCC and its efforts on campus makes her well-equipped to serve as its president.”Because this was the final senate meeting for the Ricketts-Ruelas administration, student body president Bryan Ricketts gave his State of the Student Union speech to the senate. Ricketts said over the course of the past year, he has learned what it means to be a student leader.“It’s someone who actually has a desire to do something,” he said. “They believe in the ability of students to collectively make a difference. They believe in the value of engaging with difficult issues and that a commitment to change means that students can and should be partners in that change.”Ricketts said he has also repeatedly asked himself, and challenged the members of senate to ask themselves, “Where were you when it happened?”“As this term comes to a close, I’m happy with my answer to that question,” he said. “I hope you are too.”Tags: Bryan Ricketts, Ricketts-Ruelas, Student government, student senatelast_img read more

SMC professor named Cottrell Scholar

first_imgDr. Kathryn Haas, assistant professor of chemistry and physics at Saint Mary’s, was named a 2016 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement in February. The Cottrell Scholar program awards $100,000 to 24 scientists to support research and teaching efforts, the program website stated.The money from the award will allow her to hire undergraduate students to work during the summer, providing them with research opportunities, Haas said.“It’ll allow me to purchase equipment and materials that I need — chemistry costs a lot of money. It’ll also help me to travel and to pay for students to travel as well,” she said. “For example, last summer I went to Stanford to use their synchrotron, and it was such a cool experience in this really awesome research environment, and I want to bring students there. This grant is going to allow me to do just that.”Haas said receiving the award has been “very validating.”“It’s amazing to be part of this community of people that are focused on science education,” she said. “I have access to some amazing mentors and networks that I would never have had without this recognition. I feel like I am part of a community that’s really changing science education in the world, and I’m doing it from Saint Mary’s College. We’re doing a lot of good things here, and it’s finally bringing light to that, so it feels really good.”Haas said her research focuses on copper’s interaction with the human body.“I studied copper in graduate school, and my background is in studying how metals interact with biological systems, particularly how they affect human health,” Haas said. “Copper is an essential element, and I just kind of fell in love with it. I’ve been studying it ever since.”Haas said she is looking forward to expanding her research and sharing her findings with the public.“We will publish our finding in journals,” Haas said. “Copper is involved with diseases, antibiotics and it’s essential for every single cell to live. So, we are trying to understand how our body works.”Haas said she hopes her continued research will shed light on how the body’s cells and proteins work to handle copper.“Copper has broader applications in things, like understanding antibiotic activity and understanding neurodegenerative diseases, but also in any kind of genetic disorder that is related to the misdistribution of copper,” she said.Tags: chemistry, copper, Cottrell Scholar, Physics, Saint Mary’s Collegelast_img read more

Irish playwright to present reading in new Snite art exhibit

first_imgKicking off new Irish art exhibit “Looking at the Stars,” acclaimed playwright Marina Carr will present a reading in the Snite Museum of Art on Thursday afternoon.Carr is the first in a fall speaker series hosted by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. A native of Dublin, she is known for her modern adaptations of classical themes and has authored nearly 30 plays.Her most famous work, “By the Bog of Cats,” has been compared to Greek tragedy, assistant director of the Keough-Naughton Institute Mary Hendriksen said.“It’s some of the themes of the ancient Greeks, but in a modern context,” Hendriksen said.The new exhibit where Carr will be speaking, “Looking at the Stars,” opened Aug. 17 and features a number of Irish paintings and photographs, including some from University benefactors Donald and Marilyn Keough. Pieces from the University’s collections, as well as a number of visiting works, will also be displayed.A gallery of about 50 photographs by Alen MacWeeney will be displayed in the room where Carr will present. MacWeeney has earned praise for his work capturing the lifestyle of Irish Travellers, a traditionally nomadic Irish ethnic group, Hendriksen said.During regular museum hours, visitors can also engage with an audio portion of the exhibit prepared by the Snite’s student interns.“[McWeeney] recorded some of the songs and stories [of Travellers] and then the interns transcribed them,” Hendriksen said. “You can take your smartphone to the gallery and listen to some of the songs.”Carr will be spending two weeks at Notre Dame as a writer-in-residence at the Keough-Naughton Institute teaching playwriting and creative writing to English and Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) students.Students joined her and FTT professor Anne Garcia-Romero, english professors Susan Cannon Harris and english professor Joyelle McSweeney for a roundtable discussion Tuesday night. On Thursday, she will be leading a playwriting workshop.“Students [will] bring a one-page monologue and actually critique each other’s work,” Hendriksen said.While it is Carr’s first time at Notre Dame, she has partnered with the University’s Irish satellites for a number of years. She presented at Keough Naughton’s IRISH, a three-week Irish studies seminar for graduate students, in 2016. Carr has also been a guest lecturer and a summer creative writing instructor at Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, a venue for Notre Dame programming in Connemara, Ireland.Hendriksen said she considers Carr’s writing and “Looking at the Stars” natural complements.“Her work, herself and those paintings and photography together — it’s a whole extraordinary package,” she said.A question-and-answer session, as well as a public reception, will follow the reading. Keough-Naughton’s fall speaker series will continue throughout September. On Tuesday at 3 p.m., professor of geography and archaeology at the National University of Ireland Kieran O’Conor will deliver a lecture on ancient Irish settlements in 278 Corbett Hall. A lecture on Irish writer John McGahern titled “The Letters of John McGahern: A Year in the Life (1970),” lead by University of Liverpool professor of Irish literature in English Frank Shovlin will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 13. Tenor Fran O’Rourke and classical guitarist John Feely will perform songs by traditional Irish folk singer James Joyce at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 19. Both presentations will take place in the “Looking at the Stars” exhibit.Tags: Ireland, Irish Studies, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, Snite Museum of Artlast_img read more

OCS leader discusses office’s plans for year

first_imgThe Office of Community Standards, more commonly known as OCS, is the campus body tasked with helping students make “good choices,” office director Heather Ryan said. Particularly, she said, the office deals with “social” misconduct — such as alcohol and parietals violations. Changes to office procedures this year are small: it is amending its process for student expulsion appeals as well as expanding its online platform for reporting incidents.“We educate the on-campus community about standards of conduct, as well as about expectations for what it means to live in community,” Ryan said. “We work very closely with folks in residential life, because they work with most of our students in that space. We also oversee the student conduct process for all students. … We work with students to help them understand how to gain insight into their values, get a better understanding of the impact of decision-making on themselves, on the community and make sure they can make a plan to be more aligned with expectations and also how to implement that plan.”While some of OCS work is disciplinary in nature, Ryan said the office’s main responsibility is helping students to grow. She said there are three levels of disciplinary gatherings: meetings, conferences and hearings. Of the three, expulsion from the University is only a possibility in the last option.“For the most part, especially in the conference and meeting settings, the outcome is really focused on formation and growth and trying to help students understand how to make a better choice in the future, or maybe make safer choices,” she said. “The hearing is a little bit more administrative, so having some of those conversations but dismissal is a possible outcome.”Much of the work, Ryan said, centers around conversations with students.“A conference would happen at a table, and we talk,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of lore out there, but we’re having conversations for the most part.”While OCS did not spearhead any new policies this year, the office did make some changes regarding appeals for cases in which expulsion from the University was a possibility, Ryan said.“There weren’t any new policies — those were not updated this year because we made some updates last year and felt like we were in a good place with that for the time being,” she said. “We did make an update to clarify information about the grounds for case review for permanent dismissal outcomes. We learned from students who were participating in that process that it would be helpful to have a little bit more understanding of what grounds would look like and how to organize something like that.”Ryan said the main change was ensuring the response appropriately fit the misconduct.“Initially, the grounds typically talked about sharing information about why [the case] should be reviewed,” she said. “Typically, students would coordinate those based on procedural defect, or substantive new information or a concern that the outcome was not appropriate for the behavior that was exhibited. So matching the actual identification of that through the process with what they had actually been using it for.”As in previous school years, Ryan said OCS’ priority is to make sure students are behaving safely and responsibly.“We want to make sure we’re continuing to educate the campus community about standards and about health, safety and how to make reports if you have concerns. We’re a campus that’s really committed to being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” she said. “We want to make sure people know how to do that. We’re working to get into the halls a little bit more and to help students understand the expectation of responsibility. We know that being concerned about another student that sometimes there are barriers to getting them help and we want to make sure we’re helping them to understand and removing some of those barriers.”To that end, Ryan also said OCS is seeking to promote its Speak Up program, a website where students and community members can report incidents. Though the resource has been available for some time, Ryan said OCS is trying to make it more widely known.“It’s a website that has information about reporting and about resources,” she said. “It is not anonymous, but it does offer the opportunity to reach out for information. Making a report does not necessarily mean that it moves forward in different directions. You have some agency with that … We realized it’s not in the vernacular. We want to make sure we change that.”Ryan advised students to always seek help for others in need.“One of the pieces I would like to make sure we continue working on is understanding the expectation of responsibility,” she said. “I think it’s really important that students understand that helping a friend is never a bad idea. Students and everybody in our community’s health and safety is paramount. I really want to encourage folks to lean more about that. If a student is referred, and you’re getting someone help and you stay and comply, folks are going to get the assistance that they need and disciplinary status outcomes are typically not in play. I want to make sure people know that they can get people help. It’s really important.”On the whole, Ryan said OCS’ work is intended to guide students down the path that will allow them to attain success in their college careers.“We make mistakes, and that’s how we learn,” Ryan said. “My hope is that when we have conversations with students — whether that’s in the meeting setting with rectors or in our office through conference and hearing settings — that a student is heard, and that we’ve identified outcomes that are going to address some of the underlying concerns so they can move forward. The bulk of our students are not going to be dismissed. My hope is that they can continue and graduate as successful students.”Tags: office of community standards, Responsibility, safety, Speak Up!last_img read more