Association prepares for upcoming election cycle

first_imgWith student body elections fast approaching, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) discussed ways to spread awareness about election day and increase voter participation on campus in their meeting Wednesday.  SGA will provide decorative voting booths in the Student Center atrium and Spes Unica Hall to boost excitement for election day, Executive Secretary Emma Brink said. Each booth will have computers where students can vote, but students can also vote at their convenience using the unique voting email link they receive.  Brink said the voting booths were added to emphasize the importance of the SGA elections and promote voter participation.  “Voting booths add to the novelty of voting and the excitement of elections,” Brink said.  Brink said SGA will showcase its new structure and available positions to students interested in running for office both at a campus-wide event Feb. 13 in the Student Center lounge and at its Student Center information table from Feb. 13-17. SGA members hope to attract a wide representation of students, especially first years who are new to the election process. President Nicole Gans said the Association hopes its enhanced campus presence will encourage more students to not only vote, but also pursue the new leadership roles created within the new structure of SGA, especially within the redesigned Senate.  Chief of Staff Emily Skirtich said she wants the current administration to leave a strong legacy for its successors and the Saint Mary’s community.  “We want to make this administration known for how excited and involved we got students to become in student government,” she said. “We are creating a new era in SGA and we want it to start out with a bang.”  SGA and Senate elections will take place March 1.  Elections for the Student Diversity Board, Residence Hall Association, Student Activities Board and Class Board elections will be held March 8.last_img read more

Seniors enter religious life

first_imgNotre Dame seniors Kellie Raddell and Jimmy White will choose a path less traveled as they enter religious life post-graduation. Raddell will enter the Nashville community of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia on Aug. 15. White will enter the Blessed Stephen Bellesini Pre-Novitiate, an Augustinian community in Ardmore, Penn., this fall. Fr. James Gallagher, vocations director for the Congregation of Holy Cross, also said six men who came through the Old College program at the University will continue their formation with Holy Cross. Additionally, three other graduating seniors will enter into formation with Holy Cross in the fall, he said. Raddell said many opportunities at Notre Dame, such as daily Mass, participation in the Campus Ministry CCD program and Eucharistic Adoration, were conducive to her spiritual development.      “[Notre Dame] provided the scaffolding for me to grow in the right direction,” she said. Raddell first began to contemplate the religious vocation while abroad, she said. “I was in France and I didn’t speak French very well, so I was very quiet,” she said. “But I had a lot of time for prayer, and I recognized the universal Church.” After visiting many orders, Raddell said she chose the Dominicans in Nashville because of their strong emphasis on tradition, as well their education-focused mission. “They’re a well-known community, and I feel like God kept sending people into my life that would mention [the Dominicans] or suggest them,” she said. “I’m looking forward to loving the children [who] God places in my care.” Raddell said she also looked forward to entering the order with several other women her age. “A lot of [religious] communities now are aging, so it’s really nice that there are a lot of young people still entering this community,” she said. “We’ll be going through life together, as a community.” White said he attended an Augustinian middle school and high school, and considered the priesthood as early as fifth grade. “It was really when I got here to Notre Dame that I began to actively think about it,” he said. White said he began to discern with the Holy Cross Congregation on campus but felt something was missing. The Augustinians’ emphasis on community, as well as dedication to education in an active contemplative community, appealed to him. “I realized that for most of my life, I was brought up with [an] Augustinian education, and that was really a part of who I was, so it just made sense. … The Augustinians are monastic in their roots but balance the monastic prayer life with an active way of life,” he said. “Other than community and my love for Augustinian theology, education is what really drew me to the Augustinians.” The demands of being a resident assistant (RA) in Duncan Hall this year helped validate White’s decision to enter the religious life, he said. “I really had the opportunity to see what active ministry was like, since the RA role here is so unique – it’s not just the guy who unlocks the door or goes on rounds,” White said. “It’s really a pastoral position. “There’s been challenging moments, and I’ve had to have some difficult conversations this year. But to be able to be with residents in highs and lows and walk with them in those moments has been really fulfilling for me and reassuring that this is something I could be called to do.” Contact Catherine Owers at [email protected]last_img read more

SMC Senate holds first meeting of the semester

first_imgSaint Mary’s student senate met Tuesday night to discuss a new amendment to the student government constitution and to establish the fiscal budget for the remainder of the school year. The meeting was the first official Student Government Association (SGA) senate meeting of the year and was open to all students.   Student body president Kat Sullivan said this all-inclusive town-hall meeting encourages members of SGA, board members and students alike to come with questions and learn more about the future goals of the school year. “My personal goal for this year is to get more people involved and aware of what our student government does,” Sullivan said.  In attendance were representatives of each “big board” on campus, which includes the Student Diversities Board (SDB) president, Residence Hall Association (RHA) president and Student Activities Board (SAB) president. These representatives were joined by senators elected from each class, officers of SGA and ordinary students. The meeting began with an introduction of each member of the senate board, when each member took the opportunity to share their personal and senate goals for the year. Following introductions, student body vice president Maddy Martin proposed a new amendment to the SGA constitution related to the structure of the senate board.   “We are proposing the following structure because we want to add more voting and non-voting members to represent the Student Body in a more holistic manner,” Martin said. The new structure will include nine voting members, mostly members from SGA, and the rest of the senate will be made up of non-voting members from an assortment of programs on campus, including a representative for international students. Vice president of external affairs and junior Kelly Gutrich said this way all students and their interests are represented equally in the senate’s movements. “With such a wide variety of student representatives in the senate, all of us can be informed with what each organization on campus is doing and what decisions have been made,” Gutrich said. Martin said the meetings would be run according to Robert’s Rules, a set of rules containing guidelines for parliamentary order within the senate. “Essentially it’s a way to go about things in a proper manner and in a way that will make our senate be most effective,” Martin said. “Starting next week, the agenda will start looking a little different because it will be in accordance with Robert’s Rules procedures.” Martin and Sullivan said they hope the guidelines will encourage efficiency within the senate and uphold the traditions set in place by previous SGA officers. The motion to approve the new amendment and abide by Robert’s Rules was unanimously carried by the senate board members.last_img read more

Award-winning alumna reads short story

first_imgWednesday, the Creative Writing Program hosted a reading in the Hammes Bookstore by alumna Emily Grecki, recipient of the 2014 Nicholas Sparks Prize and nominee for the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Intro Journals Project.In the introduction for her former student, English professor Valerie Sayers said Grecki has a talent for surprising her readers and is a “devious writer who likes to set off land mines in fields of clover.”Sayers said the merit of Grecki’s work is in its unique narrative style, where “scene becomes concept and satire morphs into sympathy without the reader realizing quite when or how everything changed.”Grecki said she has been interested in writing since she was a child.“It started with poems, and then I was interested in stories,” she said. “There’s just so many worlds there to explore.”Winning the Sparks fellowship has allowed Grecki to take the year off to write. One of the projects she has undertaken is editing the short stories she produced for her master’s thesis at Notre Dame, Grecki said.She said she has also added several stories to her collection, including the story, “Clear Path,” which she presented at the reading.The story, which alternates between the first person perspectives of a romantically involved couple, follows the trajectory of the couple’s relationship. The story also relate the couple’s amusing interactions with the man’s pet parakeet, Milo.“People think it’s weird when a man owns a bird,” the male protagonist says.“Milo is not just a bird,” the man asserts. “He understands me.”The inspiration for her story, Grecki said, originated from the collection of short stories, “Animal Crackers,” by Hannah Tinti. Grecki said her experience writing the stories, as well as editing her entire collection, has proved both challenging and rewarding.“It’s about not getting discouraged,” she said. “Something that may seem terrible today may become something you can use tomorrow.”Grecki said she enjoys fiction writing because of its multifaceted nature.“The language aspect in itself is really exciting — coming up with the perfect phrase and rhythm and sound,” she said.  “And then the other part is the story itself, the content where I go into real and surreal worlds, which I think are great to explore.”Tags: department of english, Emily Grecki, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Reading, Sparks Prizelast_img read more

Fr. Hesburgh leaves behind legacy of equality

first_imgUniversity Archives Fr. Hesburgh, second from left, links arms with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to his right, and sings “We Shall Overcome” during a 1964 civil rights rally at Chicago’s Soldier Field.“The good Lord and Creator meant for every man, woman and child to enjoy his or her human dignity, and until all do, here and elsewhere in the world, we must be charged to move ahead more quickly with our unfinished human business, which as John Kennedy said, must also be God’s, too.”Widely known as a leader in civil rights, University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh penned these words in a 1972 editorial on racial justice in the New York Times.President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Hesburgh to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1957, and the committee was tasked with recommending legislative solutions to national racial problems, according to Hesburgh’s autobiography, “God, Country, Notre Dame.”According to Hesburgh, the commission, which included one African-American commissioner and two African-American lawyers on the legal team, often met opposition traveling through the South, as many hotels and businesses refused to serve them.Despite these setbacks, over 70 percent of the commission’s suggestions were made into federal law, most notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the autobiography said. Hesburgh continued his work on the commission after these successes, knowing the Act would not end racial inequality on its own.“It is a part of my real hope for America that all, or most, of this daily affront to the human dignity of blacks was outlawed in one day by the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” he wrote in the 1972 editorial.“But there is no known way of outlawing prejudice, and all of us whites must confess that the sense of white superiority is still deeply rooted within us.”Hesburgh strongly believed that education could be used as a tool to combat social injustice.“Children are not born with prejudice; they have to acquire it,” he wrote in the 1972 editorial.“An important prerequisite for living in a pluralistic society is education in a milieu free of prejudiced, stereotyped judgments about people who are different. Classroom instruction in the democratic goals of tolerance and understanding affirms and strengthens what is learned in the living integrated context.”President Nixon appointed Hesburgh chairman of the Civil Rights Commission in 1969, a position Hesburgh held until 1972, when Nixon dismissed him from the chairmanship for his and the commission’s criticisms of the administration’s civil rights record, according to Hesburgh’s autobiography. However, the work that Hesburgh did in 15 years on the commission resonates today.“I point you to the fact that the president of the United States is today a black man, and that when I began working in the Civil Rights Commission, a black man couldn’t have any decent job, and now he’s president of the United States,” Hesburgh said in a 2013 interview with The Observer.Over his time at Notre Dame, Hesburgh also worked tirelessly to integrate the campus fully.“When I came to Notre Dame in 1934, there wasn’t a single black student on campus,” he said in a 2009 talk at Notre Dame on the Civil Rights Movement. “When I came back with a doctorate’s degree to teach, there was one black student.”The sole African-American student was at Notre Dame by accident; the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps had incorrectly placed him at the University, Hesburgh said.“When I became president, it was not a fair nation. … It simply did not carry out the opening words of our Constitution as a country: ‘We take these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal,’” Hesburgh said in the 2013 interview.“… That’s a wonderful goal for a nation. It’s the opening words of our Constitution. And I think in the time of my presidency and work in Washington, we made those goals come true.”When Arthur McFarland, class of 1970, arrived on Notre Dame’s campus in 1966, he was one of twenty-eight black students, he said.“In the fall of 1967, my roommate, Bill Hurd, along with other African-American students, began discussions about the lack of inclusion of black students and black culture in the life of the University except in football and basketball,” McFarland said.“We saw a ‘race problem’ on campus. We invited black students from Saint Mary’s to participate in these sessions.“As a result of these meetings, we agreed to create a student organization to address our concerns with the University administration.”By McFarland’s graduation in 1970, the administration had addressed each of the objectives presented to Fr. Hesburgh in 1968 by the group.“It is clear that Fr. Hesburgh’s efforts in the national struggle for civil rights informed his response to our demands as well as those of other student leaders on what appeared to be a rapid transition to a more open and inclusive campus,” McFarland said.“His high profile as a Catholic and civil rights leader during the height of racial tensions in America dictated that Notre Dame be an example for others to follow.”Thomas Hawkins, class of 1959, was the Notre Dame basketball team’s first African-American All-American. During his time at Notre Dame, a South Bend restaurant refused to serve him because of his race, Hawkins said. Fr. Hesburgh encouraged Notre Dame students to avoid the restaurant until it publicly apologized to Hawkins, he said.“Fr. Ted always preached the dignity of man regardless of race, creed or color,” Hawkins said.“He marched with the champion of human rights, Dr. King. Fr. Hesburgh was far ahead of society.“He made it perfectly clear to the nation that anywhere Notre Dame’s minority students weren’t welcome, neither was Notre Dame.”During Fr. Hesburgh’s time, the first African-American man was appointed to the Board of Trustees. Bayard Rustin, a prominent civil rights leader, was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1969, according to an Observer article from that year.In 1973, Hesburgh founded the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame, Daniel Philpott, director of the Center, said. The Center today has educated 300 human rights lawyers from 30 different countries, Philpott said.“All of this continues to draw inspiration from Fr. Ted’s founding vision,” Philpott said.“… Soon after I became director in January 2014, I went to see him in his office on the 13th floor of Hesburgh Library.“I told him how pleased and honored I was to be taking up the directorship of the center that he founded and how I hoped to build the center into an endowed institute. ‘Dan, now is the time,’ he replied.”In 2009, Hesburgh said he was proud of the racial progress he had made at Notre Dame, but the fight was not over yet.“I still say that I won’t rest until we have the same percentage of black students at this University that we have in the general population,” he said.“I don’t want to rest until the institution that I love best has done its part to make blacks noble citizens of this great land.”For Hesburgh, the notion of equality is tied intricately with the ideas of democracy and greatness.“Remaking our beloved American in its professed image can be adventurous, inspiring, exciting, even fun,” Hesburgh wrote in 1972. “We must be willing to shuck the status quo when it is retrogressive, unjust and going nowhere. We have to be open to change and alert to the great values that inspired this land’s beginning and led it to greatness.”Tags: Civil Rights, Equality, Hesburghlast_img read more

Hesburgh sprearheaded co-education initiative

first_imgLong heralded as the driving force behind coeducation at Notre Dame, University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore “Ted” Hesburgh said he had simple reasons for opening the University to undergraduate women in 1972.“When God made the human race, he didn’t just make men; he made men and women,” Hesburgh told The Observer in February 2013. “Since this is considered the best Catholic university in the world ever, well, why shouldn’t half the people here be women as well as men, since women … are just as important in the scheme of things?”Observer File Photo To Hesburgh, this logic was obvious. But to many Notre Dame supporters in the early 1970s, the idea was “heresy,” he said.“They said, ‘You’re giving away the store. This is the greatest macho, male-dominated thing. … The place will go soft. It won’t amount to anything anymore,’” Hesburgh said. “I said, ‘Look, I’m in charge, and this is what I think is important. If we’re going to be the greatest Catholic university, we should be open to women, as well as to men.’”Although Hesburgh did not face overt opposition to the proposed inclusion of women, instituting coeducation required extensive discussion and personal initiative.“People didn’t come out with battle axes trying to shut the place down or something. … Like anything else that goes on in a university, [coeducation] got thoroughly discussed, and there were pros and cons, but someone had to make the decision,” he said. “I figured I was the president, so I made the decision that, No. 1, we were going to be coeducational and, No. 2, women were going to have the same … profile of excellence as the male students.”Hesburgh also thought women deserved access to personal space in dormitories separate from male students. He believed women didn’t need “men looking over their shoulders every hour of the day or night” and, after a certain time in the evening, should have areas all their own.Hesburgh spent 35 years in the Office of the President, leading Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987. In that time, he doubled the University’s enrollment, grew its endowment, added 40 new buildings, increased student aid and added lay people to the Board of Trustees. But he said he considered instituting coeducation to be the best decision he made while at the University’s helm.“I moved ahead quickly, and I’ve never regretted it,” he said. “I think women are holding their own here and putting together a very good record, of which I’m very proud.”‘Impossible conditions’Although Hesburgh’s personal convictions about the role of women in University life largely propelled the transition to coeducation, the final decision came after discussions in 1971 with Saint Mary’s College about a potential merger between the schools.For about six years, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s had operated a co-exchange program in which students at one institution could take classes at the other. This arrangement brought undergraduate women to Notre Dame’s campus, where a few female students already were enrolled in graduate programs.Then, departments at the two institutions started to work together more closely, and some almost merged. Meanwhile, many Saint Mary’s women became cheerleaders for Notre Dame sports teams, former Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Blantz told The Observer in November 2013.Blantz, who stepped into that position in 1971, was among the administrators who determined the University would directly admit women to its undergraduate student body following failed discussions to combine Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. For a while, however, it looked as if administrators from both schools would approve the merger.“There was a lot of closer relationships in different areas of the University,” Blantz said. “Then [administrators] started to investigate the idea of just merging and making one big university. It looked like it was going that direction anyway if each department was going to start merging.”Additionally, Blantz said, University administrators thought admitting undergraduate women to Notre Dame would raise the level of academics, teach men to work with women, make the school more attractive to prospective male applicants and support Catholic education for young women.“Those were some of the reasons that I think Fr. Hesburgh and others decided that it’s time for men and women to be educated together,” Blantz said. “And a logical thing to do would be to merge with Saint Mary’s. They had a very good college over there, and we had a very good college over here, and rather than starting from scratch some place, and especially with the co-exchange program going so well, that seemed to be the logical thing to do.”But administrators struggled to determine how to keep the College’s name alive. Furthermore, operating one combined school seemed like it would cost, rather than save, money.“Ted emphasizes that there was just a different view of what the final institution would look like,” Blantz said.Ultimately, “impossible conditions” prevented Notre Dame from agreeing to merge with Saint Mary’s, Hesburgh said.“After two or three of these forays … I said, ‘Well, why don’t we just say it’s been an interesting discussion. We’re still open to merge with Saint Mary’s at any time. If you want to reopen the discussion, that’s fine, but there’s no point getting into a discussion where one side has a strong power blocking every time we get close to a merger,’” he said.‘The best of all worlds’Administrators at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s officially announced the cancellation of the merger in November 1971. Shortly thereafter, then-Associate Provost Fr. Ferdinand Brown called Blantz to tell him Notre Dame would admit 325 undergraduate women — 125 first-years and 200 transfers — for the next academic year.“Many of those transfer women obviously would be from Saint Mary’s,” Blantz said. “I think we probably felt that since the two schools had jointly announced that we were merging, that if then there were some women that enrolled at Saint Mary’s for programs that Saint Mary’s did not have, because we told them we were going to be one school … Notre Dame probably felt some obligation if those students wanted to transfer over here, that we should let them transfer.”As a first-year law student in 1970, Kathleen Cekanski-Farrand was one of 12 women out of 250 students in her class, part of only the third coeducational graduate class in the Law School. Two years later, she was mailing letters to welcome 119 women of the first female undergraduate class into her care as rector of Badin Hall.Hesburgh gave the women of Badin their first mascot — a small Snoopy statue that represented the dorm for years. He judged a door-decorating competition at Christmastime and often called Cekanski-Farrand to make sure everything in the women’s hall was running smoothly.He shared her commitment, she said, to integrating women into the student body and bringing Notre Dame to the place it is today.“[Hesburgh] took the time to do that,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more gracious individual who was wanting to make this a positive for the University.”In February 2013, more than 40 years after the proposed merger failed, Hesburgh said his feelings about it had not changed. He was happy to see women succeed as Notre Dame students and to witness growth in the relationship between Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.“I was in favor of the merger, and I think the superior general [at Saint Mary’s] was in favor of the merger. … To this day, I favor joining, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said. “I think we’ve become closer to [Saint Mary’s] in many ways. … I think we have the best of all worlds short of a merger, so I’ve been happy to see that develop.”Hesburgh said the mutually beneficial relationship between the schools is due in part to their shared history, beginning when Fr. Edward Sorin founded Notre Dame in 1842 and the Sisters of the Holy Cross followed suit and opened Saint Mary’s in 1844.“I think it’s interesting that when Sorin began the school in those days, there were no [coeducational] schools,” Hesburgh said. “[Notre Dame] became a men’s school, but only a year or so went by before [Sorin] asked the sisters to start a school on the other side of the road. Our history is almost identical, … and from [the 1840s] on, we’ve been close together and should be. [Saint Mary’s] has been helpful to us and vice versa.”‘A more normal human situation’In the decades following women’s admittance to Notre Dame, Hesburgh saw their successors make significant contributions to the University’s intellectual, athletic and religious life, complementing the work of their male counterparts.“Women more and more have had their say on campus. … Men and women tend to think very much along the same lines at a Catholic university,” he said. “I’d have to work hard to scrape up a problem [between men and women]. … I think we get along as a happy family where we’re both making good contributions to the good of the whole enterprise.”Hesburgh said he thought the inclusion of women made the University a microcosm more representative of the world in general. It became, he said, “a much more normal human situation.”Indeed, the world outside Notre Dame had a major impact on coeducation and the University as a whole, especially in the midst of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and other political turmoil at home and abroad.“The great national decisions that were going on … all of these things that affected the world were bound to affect the University,” he said. “I was very happy that the students were very active in world affairs and came at them from different points of view as men and women.”Though the political and social climate outside the University has changed considerably since 1972, Hesburgh said such a dynamic environment encourages Notre Dame students to consider their role in the world after graduation.“I think [involvement in world affairs] was a good thing for education at Notre Dame because we don’t want to be in another world,” he said. “We want to be in the world that exists right now. We want to compete in that world, and we want to be leaders in that world, and that’s true of both men and women.”Former News Editor Kristen Durbin, class of 2013, and former Managing Editor Megan Doyle, class of 2013, contributed to this story.Tags: Coeducation, Hesburgh, saint mary’s, womenlast_img read more

Kellogg Institute hosts Archbishop Romero book launch

first_imgThe Kellogg Institute for International Studies hosted a book launch Thursday for “Archbishop Romero and Spiritual Leadership in the Modern World,” edited by Fr. Robert S. Pelton, a Kellogg Institute faculty fellow. Fifteen people, including Pelton, made contributions to the book. Four contributors were at the launch Thursday evening: Margaret Pfeil, associate professional specialist in the department of theology, Fr. Michael E. Connors, director of the John S. Marten program in homiletics and liturgics, Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, the John Cardinal O’Hara professor of theology and Thomas Kelly, professor of systematic theology at Creighton University.Archbishop Óscar Romero, the fourth archbishop of San Salvador, spoke out against social injustice and poverty and was assassinated while saying Mass in 1980. Pelton said Romero’s legacy continues to unite people in El Salvador and has a particularly strong influence on younger generations.“There’s been, in a certain sense, a rediscovery of Romero among younger people in El Salvador,” he said. “We had other people who were really remarkable and extraordinary coming together.” After Pelton explained Romero’s cultural significance and influence, the featured contributors spoke about their pieces in the book. Kelly spoke first and said Romero may not have been the same iconic martyr if not for his friend Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit priest and friend who was assassinated in 1977. “What I found was that Rutilio was very influential on Romero,” Kelly said. “Anytime you measure the influence of one person on another, it is an imprecise art. While one can see connections and explain convergences and postulate references, in the end it may be only possible to demonstrate that there was an influence.”Connors then talked about his piece, which he said was inspired by Pfeil’s work on how Romero approached preaching.“I took my initial cues from Margaret Pfeil’s excellent contribution on transfiguration,” Connors said. “Margaret understood very well that preaching was central to Romero’s self-understanding. Maybe not at first, but certainly as he grew in the church and in his role. And she knew that self-understanding brought no false dichotomy between speaking on God’s behalf and speaking on behalf of the oppressed.”Because of the character of Romero’s assassination, Gutiérrez said Romero represents a new kind of martyr.“He was very conscious to be ready to give his life for the Gospel, but also for the people, the people of El Salvador,” he said.The book comprises the collected papers from Notre Dame’s most recent conference to honor the memory of the witness of Romero, who was beatified earlier this year.Tags: Archbishop Romero, Gustavo Gutierrez, Kellogg Institue, Margaret Pfeil, Michael Connors, Robert Peltonlast_img read more

College hosts inaugural week focused on food justice

first_imgThis week, the Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) and Campus Ministry are hosting their annual food drive for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, marking the College’s first Food Justice Week. Rebekah DeLine, director of the OCSE, said teaching students about the principles of food justice fulfills the focus Saint Mary’s is placing on their core value of justice this year.“It’s a justice issue,” she said. “Through Catholic social teaching, we believe in the dignity of all, and one of the very basic needs of people is to eat and have access to nourishing food. If they’re ignoring those basic needs, how can they think about other needs like education or medical needs? If they can’t eat, it doesn’t matter.” One of the goals for the year was to expand the food drive into a week that provides more context as why food donation is necessary, she said. “For many years, my office has run a non-perishable food collection,” she said. “This year, one of my goals was to do more. We are still doing our non-perishable food drive, but on top of that, we have planned several events that we hope will get the students, staff and faculty to think a little more about the access issues and insecurity issues surrounding food.”DeLine said Food Justice Week will feature three main events that include a banquet, panel discussion and cooking night. Tuesday’s Hunger Banquet will focus on food insecurity across the globe, she said. “The first event is with Student Diversity Board on Tuesday, and that’s the Hunger Banquet,” she said. “That’s a global look at food insecurity and how, even in different countries, there’s more challenges with food insecurity than ever.”The Hunger Banquet will place attendees in one of three socioeconomic classes: lower, middle and upper. This aims to open up a dialogue about the disparity in food accessibility and affordability, according to an email from Student Diversity Board. This dialogue and education is what Food Justice Week aims to do on a larger scale as well, which is to give students an individual connection to the issue, DeLine said. “It’s a big part of our growing awareness. Educating each person individually helps us be able to respond better,” DeLine said. “It’s one thing to throw a can of soup in a bin, but there’s little connection to the deeper issues.”DeLine said Wednesday’s panel discussion features four experts from the community. “On Wednesday, we will have four local experts come in and discuss food access here in South Bend,” she said. “One woman is from the health department and she will talk about their work, and look at the county as a whole to find out where there are food deserts, food access issues and how they can tackle those issues. Another woman on the panel is from Unity Gardens, which is one major garden and other community gardens where they help plant and harvest food that’s free for everybody. Their approach to food access is very interesting because they’re looking at fresh food, but they’ve also come up with some programs to help people overcome the barriers when it comes to fresh food, like how to prepare it.” Emily Sipos-Butler, assistant director to Campus Ministry, said she was glad DeLine reached out to her and got her involved in Food Justice week. “This is something that is near and dear to my heart, the idea of faith in action and faith working towards justice,” she said. Sipos-Butler said Campus Ministry will be co-sponsoring Thursday’s event, which is Cooking and Conversation. “For me, the motivation is faith, but for other students it may be something else and that’s totally fine, so, from the Campus Ministry perspective, I want to help students connect their faith life with their work in the world,” she said. “One of the ways we’re doing that is on Thursday, Campus Ministry is co-sponsoring a Cooking and Conversation, food insecurity event. We’re going to prepare a meal together, we’re going to look at access of healthy food in our community through the eyes of someone who is poor. So, we’ll look at how we can prepare inexpensive, healthy meals.”This event, and Food Justice Week as a whole, gives the Saint Mary’s community a chance to increase their knowledge of ways they can get themselves involved in decreasing food insecurity, Sipos-Butler said.“The need is throughout our community and through this Food Justice Week we hope to raise awareness about food insecurity in general, and specifically how it affects our community, why we should care and how we can make a difference because Belles are great at making a difference,” Sipos-Butler said. Tags: core values, food insecurity, food justice, saint mary’slast_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts first workshop in workplace sexual harassment series

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted the first of a series of workshops addressing sexual harassment in the workplace Monday in Rice Commons. The workshop, “Leading by Example: The Impact of Change,” featured six community leaders: South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg; College President Jan Cervelli; Scott Ford, associate president for economic development at the University of Notre Dame; Jeanine Gozdecki, partner at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP; Kristin Pruitt, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel at Lake City Bankand and Amish Shah, chief executive officer of Kem Krest. Ann Curtis | The Observer Kristen Pruitt speaks at at a workshop addressing the issue of sexual harassment. The panel consisted of community leaders discussing creating an inclusive work environments, especially in the era of #MeToo.“This is an important moment. Victims of workplace sexual harassment are making their voices heard and employers are striving to improve the professional environment,” Cervelli said. “These workshops will help individuals and organizations be proactive in developing policies that prevent harassment, establishing investigative processes that foster just outcomes and showing empathy for victims.”The panel was moderated by Tricia Sloma, co-anchor of WNDU’s “16 Morning News.” The panel began with a short introduction from each member. “Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, and when I started working in the mid-1980s it had not been formally recognized as a form of discrimination,” Gozdecki said. This recognition of sexual harassment as an issue is demonstrated in the organization of this workshop and others of the same nature, Buttigieg said. “The mere fact of this convening signifies the fact that this is an important issue, and it represents a visual commitment to safety and equality in the workplace,” Buttigieg said. Buttigieg said that he sees potential for a change in the frequency of sexual harassment. “I wish that this conversation were unnecessary, but I think that we are living in a moment when we are poised to make progress on this in a speed that hasn’t been possible in a long time,” he said. Introducing more women into positions of authority changes the dynamic of the organization, Pruitt explained. She also said that she has seen a change in the conversation when males have more female peers. “The more women you have in senior roles in your organization, the less likely you will have a systemic problem with sexual harassment,” Pruitt said. Shah said in his experience, the most effective way to recruit more women in the workplace is to put more women in leadership positions. “We want to see meaningful management positions filled by diverse candidates,” he said. “It can’t just be all white dudes. We made it not an initiative, we made it a major priority and the results are there. And what happens is, females specifically will talk to other females and say this place is an awesome place to work … and that is the most organic recruiting you can get.” The conversation also explored the importance of addressing sexual harassment. Cervelli said her higher education background gives her a unique perspective on the issues facing students and importance of being in touch with your community. “I think we’ve seen too many institutions recently that have experienced horrendous sexual assaults, sexual harassment. And, the leadership seems to have been caught off-guard — weren’t aware, weren’t informed. That is inexcusable,” she said. “And, in my opinion, often times the institution and the criticism is centered around the president. And rightly so. But it starts with the board of that institution — the board of trustees, the board of regents — in setting expectations of being in the know. And the only way you can be in the know as an executive and an institution is to be engaged.” Buttigieg said it is important to be conscious of the intended and unintended benefits of inclusion.“When we make sure that our workplace is a great place for women to work, that is also making sure it is a great place for men to work,” Buttigieg said. The panel discussed the intergenerational differences that can be observed in interactions. Ford said he observes this in interactions people have with his four-year-old daughter. “ … Sometimes people will come up to [my daughter] and say, ‘Give me a kiss.’ And we’ve trained her to say, ‘I’m not comfortable with that, but I’ll shake your hand,’” Ford said. “But, just equipping her with that at age four with the hope that downstream, she’ll be that much more comfortable with those unwanted advances in the future.”The #MeToo movement, along with allegations surfacing on social media, has helped bring awareness to the realities of sexual harassment, along with attempts to eliminate it, Cervelli said. “There’s great inspiration to be found in the grassroots efforts that have brought this issue to the forefront of the public mind,” she said. “Courageous women with much to lose — and many who have lost much for their resistance to this kind of abuse — have awakened us. We, as leaders, owe it to them, and to all who are a part of our organizations to root out this problem once and for all and entrench the workplace equality that we all value.”Tags: Discrimination, Jan Cervelli, Pete Buttigieg, saint mary’s, Sexual harassmentlast_img read more

Joe Donnelly teaches undergraduate political science course

first_imgEven if one attends the best university with the best professors and the best resources, it is rare to receive the opportunity to spend time with someone who has in-depth knowledge in the chosen subject to go with first-hand experience. Fortunately for students majoring in political science, that opportunity is being offered this semester, as former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly is teaching a course in the Department of Political Science and the Keough School of Global Affairs.The one-credit course for undergraduates, entitled “Facing America’s Challenges,” will be taught by Donnelly in conjunction with a rotating member of the political science faculty. Each week, participants will examine a different issue affecting American politics as Donnelly provides experience-based knowledge to the dialogue.The course comes on the heels of Donnelly’s failed reelection bid at the hands of Republican Mike Braun. Donnelly earned both a B.A. and a J.D. from Notre Dame, and served as an Indiana senator from 2013 to 2019.Donnelly’s tenure as a local and national politician has given him an insight into politics that is difficult to find anywhere else, David Campbell, chairperson for the Department of Political Science, said.“Hopefully, what students will learn from that is how to take the abstract theories they learn from other political science classes and see how they actually play out when somebody’s running for office,” he said. “Now as political scientists, we can only speak of what it’s like to run for office or what its like to govern second hand, because very few of your professors actually have real life experience in this stuff. Joe Donnelly, of course, does.”Campbell said having people like Donnelly come teach is something he hopes to do more of in the department.“This is something that, personally, I have wanted us to do more of, to have people who have been in public life come teach here,” Campbell said. “[Donnelly] was just a match made in heaven because he was looking for things to do. We were interested in bringing him on board, and it’s an easy sell to the students to have him come and participate in other ways with someone whose been in public like him.”Director of undergraduate studies Joshua Kaplan said Donnelly’s experience with local politics in South Bend makes his time at Notre Dame particularly exciting.“I like the idea that the department has a connection with a local politician,” Kaplan said. “Notre Dame has a national and an international reputation and reach, but I like the local parts of it. … Joe Donnelly represented this congressional district before he was a senator … so it’s a nice opportunity to learn more about local politics and Indiana politics.”Reflecting on the particular challenges Donnelly faced as a candidate and a senator in South Bend and Indiana, Campbell said Donnelly will teach from a perspective of someone with an intimate knowledge of a region vital to presidential success.“South Bend and the state of Indiana represent exactly the kind of place that will be in play in the 2020 presidential race,” Campbell said. “Even students who are from far away, nowhere near the rust belt, if they want to understand American politics, they need to understand what’s happening here because it determined what happened in 2016, [and] it will determine what happens in 2020.”Campbell said that the department hopes Donnelly’s position will blossom into a long-term relationship with the University, including three-credit courses.Tags: department of political science, Joe Donnelly, Keough School of Global Affairs, Politicslast_img read more