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

Chilean President Offers Help to China’s Trapped Miners

first_imgBy Dialogo October 19, 2010 The Chilean people wait impatiently for president Sebastián Piñera to institute the labor reforms within the mining industry and to hurry up with the regulation of the San Esteban Mine…we count on his promise… Chilean President Sebastian Piñera offered to help China with its latest mining disaster as he began a trip to London on 16 October , saying his country had learnt lessons from its own mining crisis. “I hope that the Chinese workers that have suffered an accident, and also in Ecuador, will be able to come back to life,” Piñera told reporters outside his hotel in London, where he arrived earlier at the start of a European trip. “And if we can be of any help, they know that they can count on us.” Rescue attempts were underway Saturday in central China to free 16 miners trapped underground following a coal mine accident that killed 21 of their colleagues. Meanwhile in Ecuador, four men were trapped in a gold mine. Piñera said his country had learnt lessons from the disaster-turned-tragedy that occurred in the San Jose mine in far northern Chile, where 33 miners were trapped for two months before miraculously being pulled out alive this week. “We have a lot to learn from this accident and one of the lessons is that we have to be much more careful and committed with the safety, lives, and health of our workers,” he told reporters, flanked by his wife, Cecilia Morel. The president is due to meet with new British Prime Minister David Cameron — who he said was “very good for England” — and Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, and will present them with gifts including rocks from the San Jose mine. “Also we are bringing the gratitude of all the Chileans because we received a lot of help from our friends around the world,” he said. The president will also find time to do some sightseeing, and has planned a trip to the British Museum as well as to memorials of wartime premier Winston Churchill, who Piñera has said he greatly admires. The London visit is the start of a European trip that will also include stops in Paris, where Piñera will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Berlin, where he will have talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.last_img read more

CDC advises against closing schools during H1N1 outbreaks

first_img May 5 CIDRAP News storyhttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/swineflu/news/may0509schools-br.html Regularly cleaning surfaces in schools with regular cleansers (bleach is not advised) Aug 7, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Federal officials recommended today that schools should not close down during novel H1N1 influenza outbreaks, though they emphasized that the advice is a guideline and that decisions should be made based on local conditions. However, the officials said, some schools will be justified in closing if they have a high rate of infection or large numbers of students with the underlying conditions that make the virus more dangerous. “We hope no schools will have to close, but realistically, some schools will close this fall,” Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. See also: The advice affects the approximately 55 million students and 7 million staff who work in the more than 130,000 public and private K-12 schools in the United States. Separate advisories for colleges and universities, and for pre-kindergarten and early-childhood programs, are expected to be issued in the next few weeks. Conducting active screening for fever and other symptoms as students and staff enter school each morning More than 700 schools closed when H1N1 flu first struck in April and May. About 50 were in New York City, where the local outbreak was at least 800,000 cases. As New York City health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden oversaw those closings. But today, speaking as new director of the CDC, he said that additional information about the behavior of the novel virus has made school closings a choice rather than a necessity. Along with the advice on closings, which were published today on the CDC’s H1N1 flu Web page, the guidelines include new advice on when to allow ill students and staff to return to school: when 24 hours have passed with no fever, whether or not the person is taking antiviral drugs. Previously, federal guidance required flu patients to stay home for 7 days. The guidelines, composed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released at a press briefing by the Department of Health and Human Services, build on revised guidance that the CDC issued in May. Early in the pandemic’s spring wave, schools were told to close for up to 2 weeks, but the CDC changed its advice shortly afterward to say that schools should focus on keeping sick students and staff out of school. CDC Guidance for State and local Public Health Officials and School Administrators for School (K-12) Responses to Influenza during the 2009-2010 School Yearhttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/schoolguidance.htm Asking students and staff with underlying conditions to stay home when flu is circulating locally Emphasizing hand-washing and covering coughs with tissues or shirt-sleeves Because closings may yet happen, school should prepare by getting temporary home-schooling plans ready, Duncan warned. Making sure that students and staff with high-risk conditions see healthcare professionals as soon as possible after they show symptoms The guidelines also advise: Technical Report for State and Local Public Health Officials and School Administrators on CDC Guidance for School (K-12) Responses to Influenza during the 2009-2010 School Yearhttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/technicalreport.htm Asking students and staff with ill family members to stay home for 5 days after the first household member falls ill “We know from the spring that where there was H1N1 there were very large explosive outbreaks in schools,” Frieden said in the briefing. “[But] we know more now about how it behaves; we know more about how to control it. It is now clear that closure of schools is rarely if ever indicated.” The new advice is being issued because “once you close a school, as we saw last spring, that creates a very significant ripple effect” on parents and businesses, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said during the briefing. Sending ill students and staff home, and holding them in rooms separate from the main student body until they can leave Schools can reasonably consider closing if they have large numbers of students who are medically frail or pregnant, or are in an area where the local outbreak is especially intense, or if the virus begins to cause more severe illness, he said. Otherwise, schools will need to rely on parents to keep children at home if they are feverish. But he cautioned that some of the spring closings in New York City were driven by children showing up to school with fever because their parents did not or could not keep them at home. If the fall flu wave involves more severe disease than what was seen in the spring, the guidelines also call for (among other steps):last_img read more