Members of the Notre Dame student government and the South Bend area met last week at the annual Student Government Community Summit to brainstorm ways to improve communication between the campus and surrounding community. Student body president Pat McCormick said the annual Summit gives student government the opportunity to engage with South Bend residents. “In recent years, student government has worked quite aggressively to deepen partnership between community members and students at Notre Dame,” he said. “There has been an effort to really solidify our relations with the community on the basis of mutuality.” McCormick said the summit involved student government representatives from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Ivy Tech, advocates for local businesses, officers from the South Bend Police Department and Notre Dame Security Police and other delegates from the South Bend community. Senior Erika Hansen, director of community relations, said engaging all these people in discussion provides a basis for incoming student government’s policies on community relations. “It is a high level opportunity for students and members of the community to more broadly deepen partnerships as well as introduce incoming administration to community leaders,” Hansen said. “It sparks ideas for how to get students more motivated and more involved to go downtown and patronize local stores and restaurants.” Student body president-elect and current vice president Brett Rocheleau said incoming student government representatives listened closely to community concerns. One way student government can be of assistance to the community is spreading the word regarding student safety off-campus, Rocheleau said. “The police force mentioned that there are a lot of students walking around at night alone,” he said. “They want to make sure that students know to be safe when they’re out in the neighborhood.” Rocheleau also said student government hopes to participate in more community-wide events next year, including a possible special celebration the weekend of the Notre Dame football game in Dublin. “There was an idea floating around at the community summit to throw an Irish celebration that weekend … [and to hold] a Taste of South Bend where it would be all about local South Bend eateries,” Rocheleau said. “They talked about mimicking Chicago during St. Patty’s Day and dying the river green.” Summit attendees also discussed marketing strategies for the annual Freshman Bus Tour, an event sponsored by the mayor’s office to introduce new students to what South Bend has to offer, McCormick said. In addition, Hansen said another topic discussed was how to integrate the new housing development opening on Eddy Street into the South Bend community in the future. Each year’s summit influences the work student government does during the year, McCormick said. “One of our platform ideas had been to try to integrate the arts community more fully in advocacy in student government,” McCormick said. “Last year’s summit was an early chance to … bring the art community together at Notre Dame to advance the arts on campus and beyond” McCormick said this year’s summit also allowed him to thank those in the South Bend community who were influential in helping student government. “We are grateful for the attendance and contributions made by community members and to come together to thank community leaders who played such an important role in efforts of the student government team this year,” he said. McCormick said Notre Dame students continue to become more involved with the South Bend community and that meetings like the summit are important. “Students increasingly think of themselves as members of a shared South Bend community,” he said. “There is no longer a bubble mentality.” Rocheleau said he hopes to continue this trend by pursuing the ideas put forth at this year’s Summit. “Our main goal is to try to deepen our roots in South Bend so that we’re more than just four-year visitors, rather that we’re part of the community,” he said.
The Notre Dame Creative Writing Program hosted poet Daniel Tobin as he read from his new book “The Net” at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore on Thursday night. Tobin has written five books of his own poems and has also edited a variety of other poets’ work, including an Anthology of Irish American poets published by the Notre Dame Press. Tobin said his new poems approach the serious issues of life, such as the grief that comes with the loss of children. “[The Net] is a bit more philosophical and more urgently metaphysical … it’s not that dimension hasn’t been there but I think it is more forcefully there,” Tobin said. Tobin said he hopes his poetry challenges his readers. “I’m a person who wants poetry to find a way into the urgent matters of why we’re alive and still at the same time be open to other people and other people’s experiences,” he said. “I want it to be readable but I also want it to be emotionally challenging.” Tobin said he began writing poetry during high school, but it wasn’t until his senior year of college when he found a community of people who pushed him to become the poet he is today. “It took a long time to move from the original impetus of wanting to write poems that matter to get to the maturity to begin to write poems that had some artistic integrity to them,” Tobin said. Tobin said he uses a variety of poetic structures, one of the most distinctive being the paradelle. The paradelle developed as a joke form by poet Billy Collins, and Tobin said he strove to create a poem using this structure that actually worked as a legitimate literary work. He did this in his poem, “Prayer,” he said. Tobin said the poetic ability to experiment with different literary forms, such as creating a legitimate poem in a joke form, comes from many years of hard work. “I think what one needs to have is great, great persistence for the work and secondarily for getting it out there,” he said “You have to be persistent in both cases.”
Student government leaders have big plans this week for the first ever “Irish State of Mind” week promoting mental health awareness at Notre Dame. The town hall meeting at Washington Hall on Monday evening marked the start of the “Irish State of Mind” week. Student body president Alex Coccia said “Irish State of Mind” is about caring for fellow members of the Notre Dame community. “The ‘Irish State of Mind’ is the recognition that we take care of our brothers and sisters,” Coccia said. “We work together to create a culture where we aren’t afraid to ask for help when we need it. Because we all have moments in our lives when we need someone to talk to.” The meeting offered a multitude of views on mental health at Notre Dame from professors, students, Rec Sports, Student Services and the University Counseling Center (UCC), Coccia said. The meeting emphasized that resources are available to stressed and anxious individuals or just to those who need somewhere safe to talk at the UCC, which is located in St. Liam Hall. Stephanie Klotter, student government director of residence life, helped organize much of the mental awareness week activities. She said that the purpose of the “Irish State of Mind” initiative is to have students consider their own worries and those of others. “In essence, to let people know that they are not alone,” Klotter said. Coccia said one way in which students can look out for their mental health is to learn to balance commitments with sleep, exercise and other physical and emotional needs. “Notre Dame students are driven and committed, and this sometimes causes us to ignore fundamental parts of health like sleep and exercise,” Coccia said. “Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to say ‘no’ to that extra thing that we could do, in order to take time for ourselves.” Klotter said college is made more difficult by separation from family and desire for self-discovery. “College puts us around each other all the time. It’s a kind of microcosm. When one of us is stressed it affects a whole group of people. Students may be away from their support systems of home and family. We are trying to figure out who we are, and it is a difficult process to undergo,” she said. Klotter said the University recognizes the many stresses and challenges faced by students and provides ways for students to get the help they need. “The resources to assist in mental health are there,” she said. “The UCC has amazing professionals.” A lecture by psychology blogger, speaker and Notre Dame alumna Julie Hersh on Tuesday was the second major event in the week of mental health awareness programming, Klotter said. There will also be stress relief in front of South Dining Hall Wednesday night from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a concert on South Quad starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
In March of 1965, to protest the lack of voting rights for African American citizens and violence against civil rights activists, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery to talk to Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace promised he would prevent the demonstrators from marching, but despite his warnings, they set off from Selma on March 7, 1965.They made it to the Edmund Pettus Bridge before they met state troopers equipped with nightsticks and tear gas. The ensuing violence, which became known as Bloody Sunday, was broadcast on national television and prompted a condemnation of the brutality from then president Lyndon B. Johnson.Two days later, another march began, this time led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The SCLC had asked for a court order preventing the the police from stopping the march, but since it had not yet gone through, the marchers turned back at the bridge. That night, a Unitarian Universalist minister by the name of James Reeb was beaten by members of the Ku Klux Klan. He died two days later.Over the next two weeks, demonstrations took place across the country, and Johnson presented a voting rights bill to Congress. Soon after, a judge ruled that the marchers had a First Amendment right to demonstrate. Johnson federalized the National Guard and sent troops to Alabama to oversee a final march.On March 21, 300 people set off from Selma, protected by the National Guard and media attention. Over the next four days, their numbers grew, and by the time they reached Montgomery on March 25 — 50 years ago today — they were 25,000 strong.Among them was Jim Muller, class of 1965, a senior pre-med student at Notre Dame.Muller, an Indianapolis native, had not been involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but voting rights for African Americans was a prominent issue at Notre Dame. Few black students attended the University, but University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh was on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and he had imparted his vision of equality on many of his students.Muller said Reeb’s murder spurred him to action.“We were all horrified that a minister would be beaten to death just because he was helping a minority group get voting rights,” Muller said. “So a call went out from the march for people to join them, and that’s what I heard.”Muller took a bus from South Bend to Indianapolis, where he, his brother John, class of 1969, and his sister Joanne, a student at Maryville Catholic College, headed to the Greyhound bus station. There, they received a crash course on nonviolent civil disobedience.“The trainer said, you might get attacked by dogs and beaten, and the best thing for you to do is get in a pile,” Muller said “That way, only the people on the outside of the pile will be bitten by dogs.”The bus traveled through the night, arriving at the City of St. Jude on the outskirts of Montgomery on March 25. Having been told to dress properly, Muller and his siblings donned dapper apparel.Thousands of people filled the City of St. Jude’s athletic field, preparing for the final march to the governor’s mansion. National guardsmen ringed the edges. Muller said he remembered looking up into a sky full of helicopters. Muller said in spite of the National Guard’s protective presence and the media’s close coverage, he did not feel entirely safe.“I felt there was some risk involved, but people do many things with risk when there’s a benefit to doing it,” he said. “So I accepted that risk, but I was a little afraid.”It helped, Muller said, to see King a ways away, conferring with the other march leaders. He also saw a group of young African American girls, unafraid, singing “Ain’t Scared of Your Jails.”“I thought, if those girls are doing this, then I shouldn’t be afraid,” he said. “That helped me as we walked down the street that day with lines of guardsmen with guns.”The crowd marched from the field to the state Capitol building, where King gave his “How Long, Not Long” speech. They then marched to the governor’s mansion to deliver a petition to Alabama Governor George Wallace.After that, the Muller siblings boarded a bus, and Jim Muller was back at Notre Dame by the morning of March 26.“I think [my classmates] were glad that we went,” he said. “They were glad that Notre Dame was represented.”During the summer of 1965, the Voting Rights Act that Johnson had proposed in March was passed, though voter registration remained difficult.“We were exposed to some danger, but the good part was that the march led to voting rights, and that changed many, many things and gave a voice to African Americans in the South in the political process,” Muller said.Muller had no further involvement in the Civil Rights Movement after that last leg of the final Selma march. Even so, Muller said the same concern for social justice that led him to board the bus to Selma motivated him years later to campaign against nuclear war — and win a Nobel Peace Prize.Muller had studied Russian at Notre Dame, and at John Hopkins Medical School, he became more aware of the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1980, he and several other Soviet and American doctors formed the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which worked to educate governments and the public about the impact of a nuclear war.“If one side loses 10 million people and the other side loses 20 million, then the side that loses 10 million is the winner,” Muller said. “That was policy, that if necessary, we would fight a nuclear war and win it. The way the medical story came into play was, we tried to help people by helping the public and the Pentagon planners understand just what 10 million deaths would look like.”The organization, and Muller through it, won the 1985 Peace Prize. Over the next several decades, Muller also started Voices of Faith, a Catholic discussion group born from outrage over priest sexual abuse scandals. A cardiologist, Muller also started a company, Infraredx, which manufacturers spectrometry systems to identify plaques that might cause heart attacks.“I have chosen to help with other large social problems,” he said. “The way I’ve put it, I’ve had the privilege of working against nuclear war, child abuse by priests and heart attacks. Those targets are things that are good to work against, and they’re motivating, and I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of good people on those projects.”Tags: Jim Muller, Martin Luther King, Selma, Selma march
Through its involvement of both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students, the Ballroom Dance Club proves it takes two to tango. Members will compete this Saturday at the Irish Dancesport Gala at Century Center starting at 7:30 a.m. and running to 9 p.m.Renee Reyes, Saint Mary’s sophomore and ballroom dance club member, said learning various dance styles, such as jive, foxtrot and swing, has helped her step outside her comfort zone.“Dancing is a way to let loose and be myself,” Reyes said. “It’s a way to escape from the world and really appreciate the art form that it is.”Reyes said she enjoys the performance aspect of ballroom dance and the way it allows people to show off their personalities.“When you’re on the competition floor, no one cares, and the more authentic you are, the better scores you’re going to get,” Reyes said. “You’ll be able to show your true colors.”The relationships she has formed with fellow dancers has been invaluable, Reyes said, and it has created a support system for her on and off the dance floor.“I love every single person in that club, and we have become such a family,” Reyes said. “We hang out outside of the ballroom, too.”Reyes said her involvement with the club has enhanced her college experience and shaped her as a person.“It’s made me a lot happier and more outgoing,” Reyes said. “It’s made me be more open. I’ve been able to expand my friend group.”Ballroom Dance Club has made her a more confident and skilled performer, Reyes said.“In the beginning, I was very scared to compete,” Reyes said. “I didn’t really know what I was doing. Now that I’m more experienced, I have more of a competitive edge.”Reyes said her passion for dancing motivates her to give her best effort during rehearsals, which take place three times a week.“Working on technique can be very drilling, but it’s also fun to get better,” Reyes said. “I love learning new moves and styles.”Reyes looks forward to home competitions, especially this weekend’s, because they make it possible for her loved ones to see her perform.“I like my family and friends to see what I’ve done,” Reyes said. “I think that’s really special. It’s such a bonding experience.”Jonathan Unger, Notre Dame sophomore and club member, said in an email dancers must act with precision and adaptability to compete successfully.“A common misconception is that you’re performing a rehearsed routine by yourselves under a spotlight,” Unger said. “Actually, you’re on the floor with as many as 40 other couples trying to get the judges, who are walking around the floor, to look at you while trying not to run into anyone else.”According to Unger, competitors have to multitask, as they try to recall steps, execute movements and keep smiles on their faces all at once.“You’re challenging yourself to actually remember the dances you learn,” Unger said. “At competitions, the social and performance aspects of ballroom dance come together.”Unger said he has refined his dancing ability and improved his coordination since he first joined the club.“I had no previous dance experience and, though musically inclined, was using a part of my brain that I had never used before,” Unger said. “Although it was frustrating, and still can be after almost two years, I was dancing with my friends and I knew they were having fun no matter how many times I stepped on their feet.”Unger said he enjoys opportunities to apply skills he learned from the club in his everyday life.“I really enjoy dancing now, and whenever I hear music, I think about dancing,” Unger said. “You can impress your friends at formals and SYRs, and go to Salsa Nights at Legends and actually know what you’re doing.”Darya Bondarenko, Saint Mary’s sophomore and incoming club president, said she enjoys ballroom dance because it allows her to exercise while learning something new.“Dance incorporates everything from art and studies,” Bondarenko said. “You have to think about how and where you’re moving. It’s also a good distractor from classes and stress, but at the same time we incorporate physics into how we move. We study how our body is supposed to move, why it works that way and why it’s natural.”Bondarenko said she encourages dancers to focus on doing their best and supporting one another, rather than on earning a certain place.“Competition is more about learning how others dance, seeing those who are better than you and seeing how far you’ve progressed over time,” Bondarenko said. “It builds a healthy competition. It’s a way to motivate yourself to do better.”Tags: ballroom dance, Notre Dame ballroom dance, Saint Mary’s ballroom club
Tuesday, approximately 2,000 people from across the country and around the world will be walking into their first classes as college students at Notre Dame.But first, the Division of Student Affairs and First Year of Studies is hosting a variety of activities and programming throughout the weekend to help first year students — and their parents — acclimate. “Welcome Weekend,” previously known as “Frosh-O” or “Freshman Orientation” officially began Friday at 9 a.m., when the first round of freshmen started moving into their dorms. “It’s not orientation anymore — it’s a welcoming,” Maryanne Fisher, Welcome Weekend co-captain for Walsh Community in Pangborn Hall, said. “Throughout the whole first year you’re being welcomed into the community. It’s not like you’re on your own after this weekend; it’s a gradual process to get to know Notre Dame and you’re continually being welcomed.”Last year, an oversight committee redesigned freshman orientation weekend to “streamline” the process of introducing students to Notre Dame without overwhelming them with long speeches or unnecessary information.“The things students should take the most out of this [weekend] is their dorm community: getting to see those faces for the first time, knowing who’s available when you need help,” Flaherty Hall Welcome Weekend co-captain Aline Irihamye said. “It’s just about getting excited for the next four years because it’s a good time and you want it to start off with a blast.” While freshmen are busy getting to know other students and learning their way around campus, information about financial aid, study abroad and the career center will be presented to their parents. The “parent orientation” that runs alongside Welcome Weekend was first introduced last year.Irihamye said one of the biggest changes to this year’s Welcome Weekend was extending weekend programming to Monday.“One of the things that’s being added on this year is the Day of Community, which is on the Monday before classes start,” she said. “Every dorm has a local community organization that they’re going to visit; Flaherty’s is the Center for the Homeless. So from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the orientation committee has buses arranged to take students there and bring them back so that from the moment they get here they can see how to get involved.” In addition to encouraging students to become involved in the community, the day is intended to help break what many refer to as the “Notre Dame bubble.” “It’s just to get the first years out in the community,” Fisher said. “A lot of people never really go into South Bend, so it’s just introducing them to things they can do there.” Other community partners participating in the Day of Community include the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Good Shepherd Montessori School, La Casa de Amistad, the Robinson Community Learning Center, Riverbend Cancer Services and South Bend Parks and Recreation, among others. The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being and RecSports are also adding to the weekend’s programming with a wellness run and yoga on South Quad each morning of Welcome Weekend, Irihamye said. Fisher said for the most part, programming hasn’t changed much from last year. According to information provided on the Welcome Weekend mobile app, like last year, freshmen will have their first class for the Moreau First-Year Experience Course on Saturday, and will attend DomerFest — a dance party, festival and Notre Dame tradition — that night. The First Year Mass will be held 10 a.m. Sunday at Purcell Pavilion, followed by the first class trip to the Grotto on Sunday night. University President Fr. John Jenkins will also deliver a welcome address to freshmen. The Moreau First Year Experience Course was introduced for the 2015-2016 academic year to continue the orientation process after Welcome Weekend ends. “I wish we would have had [Moreau],” Fisher said. “I think the continued welcoming of students into the community throughout the year is really important.”The Welcome Weekend mobile app was launched last year and features a schedule of events and self-guided campus tours covering academic buildings, favorite study spots and the “best kept secrets” of Notre Dame. The app also has a guide to stores and restaurants in the South Bend area. In addition to the main events of Welcome Weekend, a number of optional programming events are available to students, including academic exploration sessions, a multicultural reception, an interfaith welcome and a performing arts showcase. Additionally, time is set aside each night for residence hall programming. “The main thing [of Welcome Weekend] is welcoming first year students into their dorm community,” Irihamye said. Each dorm was required to make a video to introduce freshmen to the building and community. Irihamye said the video requirement was useful considering the current residence hall arrangement: Flaherty Hall is a new women’s hall that will house all of the former residents of Pangborn Hall, as well as students picked by application. Meanwhile, residents of Walsh Hall — including incoming freshmen — will be living in Pangborn Hall while their building is under renovation. “I know it was confusing for us when we got the email, so I don’t even know what the freshmen think,” Fisher said. “We got to explain [with the video] that we’re Walsh but we’re living in Pangborn for a year. They’re mostly just to show freshmen a little of what they should expect of where they’re living.” While Flaherty Hall is a brand-new dorm, Irihamye said the staff still want to emphasize that first year students are being welcomed into a “strong and close community.”“We’re trying to use the newness of our dorm to our advantage,” she said. “There’s so many ways we can be involved now in forming new traditions and signature events. People should take advantage of that rather than be wary or concerned.”Fisher said the central part of Welcome Weekend is to make new students feel comfortable in their new community and new home. “Notre Dame is a great place, but college can be really scary,” Fisher said. “Welcome Weekend is a really overwhelming experience, but we’re trying to do it in a fun way and get their mind off of leaving home.”Tags: Freshman Orientation 2016, Welcome Weekend
Over 800 people have RSVP’d on Facebook, for the Lewis House of Pancakes (LHOP), Lewis Hall’s signature fundraising event.From 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. all four floors of Lewis Hall — plus the basement — will offer a variety of breakfasts foods, including bacon, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, eggs and juice.“We don’t really have to do a lot of encouraging, everyone just wants to be a part of LHOP,” Lewis Hall president, junior Lizett Pink said. “You can’t really hide from LHOP because it happens right there on every single floor.”For five dollars, students receive entry and a plate for unlimited access to the food. Proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, a charity that Lewis Hall hopes to expand their relationship with over the course of the year. “Now we’re trying to go and volunteer there and learn more about them,” Pink said.Signature events co-commissioners sophomores Annie Hynes and Sarah Hynds are coordinating the event.“[Hynes and Hynds] have done so much of the planning,” Pink said. “It’s been awesome.” Hynes said residents of Lewis get involved in the event in a variety of ways. “We send out one spreadsheet and it has shifts for everything throughout the week,” Hynes said. “There’s a lot of involvement throughout the whole process that people can do.” She said some residents promote the event by wearing the chicken suit — the hall’s mascot — and chalking the sidewalks. Others sell tickets, set up for the event or cook the food.Pink hopes to see an attendance of 1,500 or more this year — 300 more than last year’s event — and to bring in a larger profit for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. “This year we got enough funding from [the Student Activities Office] to cover the entire cost of LHOP,” she said.Hynds said the event not only raises money for a local charity, but also fosters a sense of community within the dorm. “It brings a lot of spirit within our own dorm and really gets people together,” Hynds said. Pink said the event also builds a sense of community outside of the dorm.“My favorite part — other than the food — is that we kind of open up Lewis so that all of campus can come,” she said. “I think it’s a really good community builder. Just bringing everyone together and bonding over food is great.”Students can purchase tickets at the door or at North and South Dining Halls from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday.“It really brings Lewis together as well as I feel like people from across campus,” Pink said. “Why shouldn’t you come to LHOP? It’s going to be so fun.”Tags: dorm life, lewis hall, lewis signature event, LHOP, Student Activities Office
For seniors Imanne Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams, the University’s selection of Mike Pence as this year’s Commencement speaker represents an endorsement of the values supported by President Donald Trump, which they said silences certain minority groups. To combat what they believe will be the adverse effects Pence will have on campus, Mondane and Williams launched the #notmycommencementspeaker campaign, which took place throughout the past week and consisted of students “holding a whiteboard in [their] hands with direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic,” according to the campaign’s Facebook page. “For me personally, [Pence] represents the larger Trump administration,” Mondane said. “ … his administration represents something, and for many people on our campus, it makes them feel unsafe to have someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity.” Courtesy of Imanne Mondane Students participate in a campaign called #notmycommencementspeaker, which aims to demonstrate that Pence is unfit to address 2017 graduates.This visual aspect of this campaign was key to its success, Williams said.“It’s hard getting out there to get people to discussions that you want to be there,” she said. “A lot of times they don’t come until you show them ‘this is my face, this is how it’s affecting me,’ and so we wanted to make sure it was something that impacted everyone, and not just those who are interested in coming to these things.” Mondane said she hopes this event allows students to speak up for their rights.“What we want to do is give a voice to those who have been silenced,” Mondane said.“It’s not even a matter of feeling like they have been silenced — they have been silenced on our campus and in our country,” she said.Williams said not only does Pence represent the policies of the Trump administration, but he takes direct actions that warrant protest.“I know that during his time as governor of Indiana and also during his campaign trail, along with Trump, he has made offensive statements towards minority groups that affect me, like women and African-Americans,” she said. The selection of Pence as graduation speaker also violates the University’s Catholic mission, Williams said.“I feel that is offensive to such a large population here at Notre Dame, and I also believe it goes against certain Catholic Social Teaching, which is something the University likes to broadcast that it stands behind, but it picks and chooses when it wants to stand behind them,” she said.Mondane said she hopes the campaign challenges the dominant narrative that often exists at Notre Dame.“I think that if you could come across to the people of our campus, the professors, the administrators, to [University President Fr. John] Jenkins, it would be amazing,” she said. “Maybe then he would … think and act in regards to the other people on our campus who are not white, conservative Catholics.”Once all the photos have been collected, Mondane and Williams said they will assemble Facebook and Twitter pages to tell the stories of students who participated in the campaign. These pages will “hopefully” serve as the first step in fostering a greater dialogue about Pence’s invitation, Mondane said. “We’re going to have a follow-up discussion in the weeks to come,” Mondane said. “Everyone is welcome to the discussion, and we’re going to have an event and advertise, but we really want to get the voices there who may not agree with us and who may take issue with what we’re doing. We both have an equal platform, and we’re on an equal playing field where one narrative isn’t totally dominant of the other.” Tags: campaign, Catholic Social Teaching, Commencement, Mike Pence
As a continuation of their financial transparency series, student government organized “Casual Conversations with Shannon and Lou,” where vice president of University Relations Lou Nanni and vice president for finance Shannon Cullinan delivered a presentation breaking down how the University allocates its funds in Carey Auditorium Monday evening.The event was an effort to continue the goal put forth by the McGavick-Gayheart administration to “increase transparency,” outgoing student body vice president and senior Corey Gayheart, who facilitated the event, said. “One of the focuses during my time as student body vice president has been to increase transparency on campus — whether it be student government or administrators or how the University operates,” he said. Nanni said the years he and Cullinan spent working at the Center for the Homeless were crucial to their current goals of making the Notre Dame community more welcoming.“I would say that’s been a really formative experience on us … looking at Notre Dame and how to make it a more inclusive place and to make Notre Dame inclusive on a number of different levels,” Nanni said. Nanni began by addressing new construction on campus. He said the money used to build new buildings around campus does not come out the operating budget of the University, meaning it does not come out of student tuition.“The money isn’t coming out of your tuition, room and board dollars — it’s rather being paid for by philanthropy,” he said. “That would be philanthropy for not only the physical construct, but for the ongoing maintenance.”Cullinan and Nanni showed an overall breakdown of the University’s revenue, which showed net tuition revenue is only 32 percent — a statistic Cullinan said often “surprises people.” Endowments contribute to 38 percent, the largest source of revenue Notre Dame has. “Over the next 10 years I would guess that [endowments] will make up around 50 percent of revenue,” Cullinan said. Cullinan said setting money aside for undergraduate need-based aid is the University’s first concern when allocating funds. “It’s the number one priority, and it will be the number one priority for the next five to ten years, and even beyond that,” Cullinan said. Nanni said his department is trying to raise $1 billion for financial aid in their current budget campaign time frame, which goes from 2013 to 2020 — a large increase from the last campaign’s goal of $250 million. “It’s the single-largest priority and right now we have about $800 million raised so far,” Nanni said. “We need to redouble our efforts there,” Cullinan added. Cullinan then broke down where all fundraised capital goes, noting 64 percent goes to labor.“We’re a highly labor-intensive institution … it’s the biggest chunk of the expenses by a long shot,” Cullinan said. The two turned to questions from the audience, some of which touched on housing policies, dorm inequality and the recent admissions scandal affecting multiple institutions of higher education across the country. One student asked about the six semester housing policy and what considerations were taken into account concerning the financial constraints some students may be under. “They didn’t actually invite me to that party when they were thinking of doing the six semester policy,” Cullinan said. “That was residential life-driven, I’ll just say that.”Cullinan said since the new policy will require more people to pay for room and board, the Office of Residential Life is looking to offer seniors more incentives to stay on campus, including laundry discounts, different dining plans and reduced prices of single rooms. “I think you’re going to get a decent announcement soon where that increment is going to be spent on incentives for seniors and others to stay,” Cullinan said. “I think student affairs and student life are trying pretty hard to show students they are going to use it in this way.”Nanni added he thinks the dorm environment is a key part of Notre Dame’s community and dorms are a “melting pot” for diversity. “The primary motive was — in conversations with [University President] Fr. John [Jenkins] — that residence life is one of Notre Dame’s distinctive qualities,” Nanni said. “Right now, each one of the dorms has been established to kind of be melting pots.”Another student asked about dorm inequality, specifically concerning students living in dorms with not as many amenities as other dorms, although everyone is generally paying the same rate for room and board. Nanni said their efforts to renovate dorms throughout the year and during the summer has been a response to this issue. “It’s taking them offline for an entire year and it’s going in and replacing the whole HVAC system,” Nanni said. “It’s increasing social and exercise space in the dorms, adding kitchens, making some triples doubles and some doubles singles.”Nanni said finding the money for renovations is often difficult because people often do not want to donate to a building already named for someone else. “It’s a major cost center for us because it’s very difficult to raise the money for significant renovations for buildings that are already named for someone else,” Nanni said. Senior and outgoing chief of staff for the McGavick-Gayheart administration Briana Tucker asked about adding air conditioning to older dorms being renovated. “All the dorms who don’t have it, we are looking into it,” Cullinan said.“It is definitely dependent on the size of the dorm and the age of the dorm,” Nanni added. “It’s at least a few million dollars per dorm.” Gayheart asked the two what their top priorities are for the budget going forward. Both agreed their top priority is financial aid and helping lower income students. “Low-socioeconomic students are our top priority,” Cullinan said. “I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to break cycles of poverty, dependency and violence,” Nanni added. “We need to increase the number of students we admit from these groups … but we don’t want Notre Dame to become a school that only focuses on admitting the very wealthy and the very poor, and squeeze out the middle class.”Another student asked about the national admissions scandal and how Notre Dame can avoid a similar issue. Nanni stressed admissions’ focus on putting together a “diverse cohort.” He added the process is complicated, especially concerning families who would like to give large monetary gifts. “From a development perspective, we try to be very careful,” Nanni said. “If someone is from a family of means, and they’ve got a kid who is a senior and would like to make a gift to the University, and we know the kid will be applying … we just ask them to hold off on giving. It’s not like you want to assume that person’s motive is bad, but at the same time we don’t want there to be any kind of connection.”Nanni also said legacy students have also been receiving attention following the admissions scandal. “We get criticized a lot for legacy acceptances as well, yet our traditional underrepresented minorities are significantly higher now than the legacies,” Nanni said. “So you have to look at it all in tandem.”Addressing rising tuition rates, Nanni said there is a “cost to excellence.”“We could definitely decrease our costs and sacrifice excellence, but I don’t think that’s what people want,” Nanni said. “People still expect there to be a standard of excellence in all that we are doing — not just in the classroom but beyond, and that comes with a cost. Trying to figure out how to do both and keep those dollars down is a big challenge.”Tags: Admissions, Corey Gayheart, financial transparency, Housing, Six Semester Policy
University President Fr. John Jenkins and Cardinal Peter Turkson, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, cosponsored a Vatican-sponsored dialogue on energy transition from June 12-14, the University announced in a press release. The dialogue was titled “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home.”On Friday, Pope Francis addressed the summit and responded to questions. His remarks were made public.Jenkins expressed gratitude for the work of the summit and its participants’ dedication.“Collectively, these leaders will influence the planet’s future, perhaps more than any in the world,” Jenkins said. “I am deeply grateful for their commitment to the transition to a low-carbon future while providing the energy needed to support the integral human development of every member of the human family.”Former Notre Dame faculty helped Jenkins lead the effort at the summit, the release said.“Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, and Leo Burke, professor emeritus of management, spearheaded efforts on behalf of the Vatican and Notre Dame to encourage the energy industry and its investors on a path toward energy transition,” the press release said about the events.The sponsors of the dialogue highlighted the importance of morality in solving the problem of climate change.“Addressing this social-ecological crisis requires radical change at all levels, both personal and collective,” Turkson and Jenkins said in a joint statement. “This transition needs the support of markets, significant adoption of renewables as a source of energy, increased efficiency in the use of existing resources, new technologies, farsighted policies, educated civil society, and new forms of global leadership and cooperation. As neither the energy transition nor climate change can be reduced to economic, technological, and regulatory issues alone, there is the need for a moral voice.”The summit put forth specific proposals to address the problem of climate change — a problem that Pope Francis highlighted in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. It recognized that oil and gas companies along with the global investment community and others are also involved and agreed with the need for a change toward a lower emissions economy.“The participants discussed the paths forward with a specific focus on the integral role of a just transition that addresses the needs of disadvantaged populations, importance of carbon pricing toward the reduction of emissions and necessity for disclosures to provide clear information on strategies and actions, governance process and performance,“ Jenkins and Turkson said in the release. “From these discussions, two joint statements relating to carbon pricing and proper disclosures are formulated.”Jenkins and Turkson said they were inspired by the Pope’s encyclical and hope that their work helps to answer the questions posed throughout the document.Notre Dame developed a plan for sustainability in 2016, which included green roofs and limiting energy waste and water pollution.Most of the participants of the dialogue signed statements of support for carbon pricing and disclosures on climate change risk.Tags: Climate change, Pope Francis, University President Fr. John Jenkins, Vatican