Group discusses Mod Quad lights

first_imgIn an effort to increase student safety on campus, members of the Campus Life Council (CLC) discussed the possibility of putting additional lighting on Mod Quad during their meeting Monday afternoon. Student body chief of staff Claire Sokas said she hopes the project is one the University can begin to work on over Christmas break. “We’ll be gone for over a month then,” Sokas said. “That’s something that could potentially be taken care of by the time we come back for the spring semester.” Sokas said the CLC safety subcommittee has also discussed printing a map of off-campus student housing, especially for students venturing off on the weekends. “This can give students an idea of how far off campus they are and if it is or isn’t a good idea to walk home,” she said. Student body president Pat McCormick also reminded students to be mindful of safety during the end of the semester and Christmas break. McCormick said students living off campus should set alarms while away from their homes if possible during the break. He encouraged students to make use of the NDSP safe room, where they can store valuables over the break. Diversity Council representative Alexa Arastoo said her subcommittee has also discussed the meaning of inclusion and how it applies to Notre Dame students. “There are two types of inclusion,” she said. “One is about students who feel like they don’t fit on campus and how we can make them feel more included. The other is about inclusion amongst the different groups here on campus.” In this spirit of inclusion, Arastoo said her CLC subcommittee is working on the possibility of putting a Virgin of Guadalupe statue on campus to reach out to the Latino student population. “The first step in that process is contacting the University architect,” Arastoo said. “So that’s something we would really like to get the ball rolling on and to have the backing of the entire CLC on.”last_img read more

University hires digital officer

first_imgAmong several technology-based initiatives in the works for next year, the University created a new position called chief academic digital officer to promote digital learning and appointed Elliott Visconsi to fill the position, according to a University press release.   Visconsi, associate professor of English and concurrent associate professor of law, said he will work to guide and support students and faculty in technology research, investment and application. “What we are trying to do is figure out [is] how do we integrate digital tools into our overall educational mission?” Visconsi said. “How do we integrate these things in a meaningful way that doesn’t demote the quality of the student experience, that enhances the bond between students and faculty?” The need for this position comes as the University explores the role of digital tools in higher education, University provost Thomas  Burish said in the press release. “Online learning and the digital academic environment in higher education have been growing and developing rapidly over the past decade, and the potential advantages and pitfalls for the higher education industry and institutions like Notre Dame are both enormous and complex,” Burish said. Visconsi said he envisions a digital strategy that “will expand the campus a little bit and give people newer options that are non-competitive with the options on campus,” he said. Visconsi said his goals for the coming academic year include promoting and facilitating student engagement with digital media and technology, assisting with the increased use of digital tools by faculty and expanding Notre Dame’s involvement with digital solutions, particularly through expanded online course offerings. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do with this job is really build an integrated University-wide strategy that is always going to put quality at the very forefront,” he said. “We must protect the quality of the student experience, we must protect the quality of the faculty experience and use these tools as enhancements to get people further into the curriculum.” Students who create digital solutions to existing problems might benefit from the new digital initiatives through increased University support, Visconsi said. Incentives for innovation may include grants, prizes or general recognition, he said. “There’s so much we can do to harness the creativity and energies of students,” he said. Visconsi said he also hopes to see cutting-edge technologies find a physical home at Notre Dame. “I would like to put student creativity and energy to work potentially in the form of something you’d call an innovation lab, meaning a hub or a space where students can come at all hours, where there are certain kinds of hardware [like] 3-D printers and fancy technology that would be a gathering space,” he said. The space could also support visitors from corporations like Microsoft and sponsor events discussing digital solutions, Visconsi said. In addition, he said hopes to foster connections among students in a variety of fields sharing a common interest in digital strategies. Visconsi’s resume and academic research focus primarily on literature and law during the 17th and 18th centuries. He developed an iPad app called “The Tempest for iPad” to give users an immersive experience into the Shakespeare play, an experience he said offered him more insight into digital media. “What is literary studies but a subset of the analysis of mediation? We can think in really historical, philosophical or ethical ways about the relationship between form and content,” he said. Ultimately, Visconsi said he hopes new digital strategies will complement Notre Dame’s pre-existing academic ideals. “The most importantly social network that we will ever build is the network between faculty and students, the personal connection,” he said. “That is the core of what we’re trying to offer as a University. These digital tools are not meant to replace that effort but to enhance it.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at [email protected]last_img read more

‘A more qualified pool than ever before’

first_imgTags: Admissions, class of 2018, First Year of Studies, Office of Undergraduate Admissions A record number of high-achieving applicants fought for admission to the University this year, illustrating Notre Dame’s increasing selectivity and marking this particular class as “a more qualified pool than ever before,” Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said. Keri O’Mara | The Observer “We had 17,897 [applications], and what was more interesting than just that number was there was about a 15 percent increase in the highest ability applicants, and by highest ability they would rate in the top two percent of the nation in accomplishment by national testing standards, by class performance,” Bishop said.Bob Mundy, director of admissions, said the number of highly qualified applicants rose independently of the total number of applications.“That increase in the applicant pool was only about one and a half percent,” Mundy said. “So it’s a disproportionate jump.”Bishop said the Office of Undergraduate Admissions strives to fulfill a freshmen enrollment goal of 1,985 to 2,000 freshmen. He said the dramatic increase in highly qualified applicants allows for the Office of Admissions’ to have increasing selectivity in choosing among the nation’s brightest high school seniors.“We were about 20 percent more selective this year,” Bishop said. “… We had 6,300 applicants out of that 17,897 … that were in the top one percent in the nation in either their high school class performance and/or their national testing, many of them both.“Less than half of those students gained admission. So when you have that sort of talent, you have to look at other factors.”The “higher profile” of the applicant pool not only permitted but also forced admissions counselors to consider factors beyond a student’s test scores to create the most “well-rounded” class, Bishop said.“We are using the test scores less,” he said. “If you look at four years ago compared to today, there’s a significant increase in our willingness to look beyond, and the reason being is we’re getting so many high numbers that they’re now so high … to distinguish between this score and that score is not very meaningful.”The expanding applicant pool and its strong qualifications also offers the Office of Undergraduate Admissions a “growing opportunity” to partner with faculty and administrators to recruit a class of students that will serve the University and ultimately the world, Bishop said.“With our selection process, with this elevated pool, we’re able to make those distinctions more directly as we review the applicants,” he said.Bishop said admissions counselors focused on four main goals throughout the process: to increase socioeconomic, cultural, racial and intellectual diversity, to expand outreach to international students, to enhance the quality of the application pool and to foster creative selections by considering an “EQ,” or “emotional quotient.”“The emotional quotient, the potential for leadership and service to others, maintains Notre Dame’s focus on what sort of students will have the most impact in the world if they use their Notre Dame degree properly for impactful values that Notre Dame believes in,” Bishop said. “This desire for Notre Dame to be one of the major forces for good in the world is what we want.”Erin Rice | The Observer Bishop said Notre Dame’s “core mission value” of selecting students who will be impacted by the University and then in turn impact the world makes Notre Dame unique among the nation’s top 20 private institutions.“At other universities, there are a lot of students that believe in those things, but there’s not necessarily considered core to that university experience,” he said. “It’s not a transformational goal of the other universities, whereas here, we’re looking to transform students to be highly energetic, not only towards the intellectual but what impact are they going to have?”Factors admissions counselors might consider beyond test scores include extraordinary talents, dedication to extracurricular activities and motivation to succeed in a particular field or with challenging coursework, Mundy said. He said more than 40 application readers try to project how a student would enhance the Notre Dame community and continue to further the University’s mission after graduation.“I think what the staff’s been able to do is find the students [about] who they say, ‘The way this student is currently living [his or her] life really seems to mesh well with the values that we feel make this place so special,’” he said.Mundy said the staff members in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions look forward to welcoming admitted students to campus this month.“This time of year we literally come off this real grinding selection period or evaluation period, and there’s always just this immediate burst of excitement as you start to meet some of these admitted students,” he said. “These are the students who are going to shape this place for the coming years.“You just meet one or two of these students, and you just feel good again. I’m really excited about this class in so many ways.”last_img read more

Grad student attends global math forum

first_imgTags: Forum, graduate student, Heidelberg, mathematics, Notre Dame A Notre Dame graduate student traveled to Heidelberg, Germany as part of the first-ever American delegation to the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), which unites mathematics and computer science students and researchers with world-renowned laureates.Renato Ghini Bettiol joined with 19 other students and postdoctoral researchers from the United States in the forum, which took place Sept. 21-26. Bettiol received his bachelor and masters of science from the University of São Paulo in 2008 and 2010, respectively, and his second masters of science from Notre Dame in 2012. He is currently working towards his doctorate, which he is slated to receive in the spring of 2015.“I work in differential geometry,” Bettiol said. “My work mainly focuses on how curvature — especially positive curvature, like that of spheres — interacts with the global shape of an object. I also work on geometric variational problems, which involve optimizing certain geometric quantities with certain constraints.”Bettiol, a native of Brazil, said he came across the HLF through two avenues, both here in the U.S. and back in his home country.“I initially heard about the HLF via the Brazilian Mathematical Society,” Bettiol said. “…  After I heard about the HLF from them, I was also contacted by the director of graduate studies at the Mathematics Department, professor Julia Knight, who mentioned that ND could suggest a name to be part of the American delegation to the forum. By then, I had already submitted my application to the HLF and was later accepted. The application process selected 200 young researchers to attend, 100 from computer science and 100 from mathematics, from an initial poll of about 2000 applicants worldwide.”Because the HLF brings together established professionals who are well-respected and well-known in their fields, students and postdoctoral participants have an unmatched opportunity to speak with the people whose research they study, Bettiol said.“This is the second time this event [has been] held, and I got very excited about it when reading about the first one last year,” Bettiol said. “Some of the most brilliant minds of our times gather to meet new generations of researchers and pass their experience. My hope was to drink from their fountain of knowledge, not only on the scientific side, but also on their personal impressions about mathematics and their general world view.”Karsten Grove, Bettiol’s advisor and a professor of mathematics, said, Bettiol stands out among math students at Notre Dame.“Renato Bettiol is indeed an exceptional and brilliant student of mine with a remarkable record already and a most promising future,” Grove said. “Aside from strength and talent, he has an open mind and communicates very well with others. I cannot think of anyone more fitting and deserving of this honor.”Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and the National Science Foundation sponsored the American delegation, according to an ORAU press release. Rettiol said professional participants included famous mathematicians whose work has greatly impacted modern society.“The HLF was an amazing experience, all of the participants felt like we were some sort of celebrity, which is a rare phenomenon for those of us working in basic sciences,” Rettiol said. “It was a very exclusive event, with body guards with ear pieces and all, not the standard sight in a math conference.“In the morning there were talks by the laureates, and in the afternoon we had opportunities for informal interactions with the laureates and among ourselves, including a boat trip on the Neckar river, and various other activities. We also had some panel discussions and workshops, in which we discussed how mathematics and computer science can be used to help developing countries.“We had participants from Niger, Ecuador, Bangladesh and India share their experiences, and then a lot of interaction between the audience and panelists, which also included as moderators Ingrid Daubechies, president of the International Mathematical Union, and Vint Cerf, currently working at Google and one of the inventors of the Internet. Coming from Brazil, where mathematics is now growing at an amazingly fast pace, … I value very much this interest of distinguished scientists and organizations in helping the development of nations through science and education.”Bettiol said his experience as student from Brazil contributed to the discussion on mathematics in an international context. He said discussions also focused on new ways to use math to improve global society.“I do believe that this is a fundamental way in which all of us in scientific fields can help build a better and more rational world together, based in science and knowledge,” Bettiol said. “Many of the laureates at the event visit developing nations on a regular basis where they hold courses for university professors trying to increase their scientific levels. I was very happy to learn about this and contribute my views on how Brazil, in particular, can profit from such opportunities.”Participants in the forum benefitted immensely from the professional development and personal interaction the forum provided them, Bettiol said.“Interacting with Laureates that are world references in my area was a profound and transformative experience, and I am sure that I speak for most of the participants at the HLF,” Bettiol said. “I have strong hopes that this meeting, though still in its second edition, will become a tradition and help develop interest for mathematics and computer science as well as increase its appreciation by society as a whole.“We mathematicians don’t always have the ‘cool factor’ that many other scientists … enjoy from society and the media, but there are plenty of reasons to tell the world about the astonishing beauty of mathematics, which can — and should — be appreciated by all of us.”last_img read more

Lawsuit against ND claims Snite display contains stolen art

first_imgA Pittsburgh man filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame, claiming the University’s Snite Museum of Art owns $575,000 worth of his father’s early-American art collection, which was stolen more than two decades ago, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Scott Leff said he learned in 2015 that the University had purchased his father’s collection of several hundred figurines from a dealer in New Mexico in 2005, who allegedly bought it from his father’s ex-wife, according to the Post-Gazette.According to the article, the suit claims the ex-wife of Jay Leff — Scott’s father — pilfered part of his collection in 1996, when the couple divorced. Jay Leff died in 2000 at age 75.Leff and his wife filed suit in a Pittsburgh court last month, and the case was transferred to federal court this week, according to the article. He is seeking the return of the art.University spokesperson Dennis Brown told the Post-Gazette that Notre Dame acquired the figurines in good faith and is “confident in its ownership of full rightful title” to them.In a written statement, Notre Dame lawyers said Leff has no proof of ownership and made no effort to recover the art for the past 20 years, according to the Post-Gazette.Tags: lawsuit, Snite Museum of Art, stolen artlast_img read more

Lecture explores current refugee and asylum law in the U.S.

first_imgWhen Majd Alshoufi spoke in the Eck Hall of Law on Monday afternoon, he made it clear that he was coming from a personal, rather than a legal, perspective. Alshoufi, a Syrian Master’s candidate in international peacebuilding and an asylum seeker, was one of the speakers at a lecture titled “Asylum in the U.S.: Law and the Lives It Touches” — an event hosted by the International Human Rights Society and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. The event’s intent was to shed light on current refugee and asylum laws in the United States.Alshoufi was an activist in the Syrian nonviolent resistance movement of 2011. On Aug. 22, 2011, he was arrested after taking part in a demonstration with 40 other men and women. After being arrested, he was tortured and exiled. Today he continues his peacebuilding work in the U.S. “If you are deprived of the ability to speak your mind, you can’t really feel it until you lose it,” he said. “Even worse than being shot was being arrested. You were said to be sent behind the sun because no one knew what happened to you, and your life was over.”Alshoufi said the main arguments people have against letting refugees into the U.S. are rooted not in logical reasoning, but in fear. He said there are two extremes on the spectrum: on one end, that all Muslims are terrorists, and on the other end, that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.“We have to be brave enough … to go outside our comfort zone to see the truth,” he said. “Hatred and discrimination against all Muslims empowers terrorists. ISIS has been extremely happy with the new executive order. It gives them the opportunity to say, ‘Do you see how the entire world hates you?’ and recruit with this. They are empowered by this hatred.”Alshoufi said President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders have put his status in this country in a state of uncertainty.“I’m expecting an interview two years from now for asylum, but now I’m not sure, because of the recent executive orders,” he said. “If I’m denied, I’m unsure where I will go. Will they send me to Turkey, where ISIS will be very happy to receive me? I feel like I’m in limbo.”When talking about terrorism, Alshoufi used the phrase “do not be more royal than the king” as a caution to Western society, meaning that it should not claim to know more or know better about what to do when it comes to terrorism than those experiencing its effects firsthand. He talked about change happening from within, led by the people affected.“Terrorism is not just an American or Western problem,” Alshoufi said. “We Middle Easterners have a responsibility to fight terrorism.”In 2014, Alshoufi founded New Syrian Human, an international NGO that provides community-based trauma therapy and peacebuilding services to Syrians around the world.Lisa Koop, associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center and adjunct professor at Notre Dame Law School, explained the legal framework for how asylum law works in the U.S.Koop said the definition of a refugee is someone who has “a well-founded fear of persecution” due to religion, nationality or other factors. She said refugees meet this definition outside the U.S. and enter the U.S. with legal status and access to benefits, whereas an asylum seeker is someone already in the U.S. trying to meet this definition of a refugee. They typically do not have legal status or benefits. Koop described the 32-step process that refugees have to go through before being allowed to settle in the U.S. as “incredibly exhaustive.” She said the executive order acts as an extra hurdle on top of that process. “They were forced to leave because of circumstances out of their control,” she said. “It’s really miserable for people to have to leave and not be able to exercise their rights and be allowed to meaningfully resettle.”Koop said courts suffer from backlogs, with many cases scheduled into 2020. She said the trio of executive orders relating to interior enforcement, border security and refugee travel “conflate migration with criminality.”Koop, who is also an immigration attorney, said the need for pro-bono support is now greater than ever. Koop specializes in litigation, policy and direct services advocacy on behalf of immigration survivors of gender-based violence. The National Immigrant Justice Center educates immigrants on their rights, provides low-cost or free representation to immigrants and challenges laws and policies that violate the Constitution. It serves around 10,000 clients a year.“It’s important for people to understand what their rights are and how they can protect themselves,” Koop said.Tags: Asylum, Donald Trump, executive order, Immigration, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studieslast_img read more

Students participate in yoga classes, club

first_imgAs finals approach, Saint Mary’s students will have the opportunity to destress through yoga club and other yoga classes offered at the College.Senior Madison Marshall, president of the yoga club, said she has been practicing yoga since the summer before her first year at Saint Mary’s. “I was looking to get in shape before I came into college,” she said. “I started at CorePower Yoga, which is a more modernized version yoga. I kept practicing and I fell in love with the mind-body spirit connection that comes with yoga.”Since then, Marshall said she has experienced the calming benefits of yoga, which have helped her throughout her college career. “Yoga has been a good outlet to focus on my inner self and have a release for stress,” she said. “Many people don’t think that postures are anything more than a workout, but if sequenced properly, it helps you focus on your inner self and on breathing. Just taking a deep breath provides so much relief from stress. You find more peace in your life.”Kimmi Troy, a physical education instructor at Saint Mary’s said yoga has taught her breathing techniques that have helped her deal with stressful situations.“When I do encounter stressful situations the first thing I do is breathe,” she said. “Taking some quiet time for myself to just to sit down criss-cross and go through breathing exercises has helped me think a little bit more before I react in stressful situation.”Troy has been a yoga instructor at Saint Mary’s for five years and owns a fitness studio called Tu Sei Bella which features yoga, barre, zumba, cardio and strength classes in Granger, Indiana. “Physically, it has definitely given me more muscle tone, flexibility, strengthening of the core and improved my posture,” she said. “Mentally, my mother says I’m more mellow than I ever was.”As she has experienced the benefits of yoga and other forms of fitness firsthand, Troy said she wanted to extend the experience to others and offers discounts for students who wish to take classes at her studio.“The sooner students learn that, I think it’s a major asset,” Troy said. “I want to give students that experience because I didn’t have when I was in their place.”Senior Gabrielle Kooi, is currently enrolled in Troy’s class at Saint Mary’s and said it is her first time trying yoga this semester. “I enrolled because I needed a class to relieve my stress and give me a break from thinking about school,” she said. “The class has definitely lived up to my expectations.”Kooi said the class gives her time to relax outside of her schoolwork.“I wanted to do yoga club, but I just do not have time,” she said. “Taking the class, it gets me out of bed and I’m more awake and energized. I am even growing stronger physically.”Troy said science has proven the benefits of mindfulness, positive thinking and breathing, especially for surgeons and medical patients. Many surgeons take a few moments before surgery to center themselves, Troy said. “If you think more positive thoughts you are more likely to have a positive outcome,” she said. “It’s that mind and body connection. It’s essential for patients too.” Troy said this same mindset can work for students too. “Especially before final exams, taking that time to reflect and say positive things to yourself can have a major impact on your performance,” she said. “It just takes a few minutes to just mentally sit there in silence. It’s what we call ‘setting an intention’ in yoga.”Marshall said the mind, body and spirit connection is the most important benefit of yoga for her. “I’m not as stressed as I used to be,” she said. “It sounds so crazy, but I know how to handle situations better because of yoga.”Marshall recently went through training to become a certified yoga instructor this past summer in San Diego, California. Training involved a month and a half, or 200 hours, of practicing yoga.  “It was quite the investment, but it was the best experience” she said. “I did it because I am interested in being in the wellness and nutrition field and yoga is another part of the wellness field.”Since intensifying her yoga practice, Marshall said she has noticed elongation in her body, increased physical strength and muscle tone, more energy and improved sleep. She now instructs yoga for the Saint Mary’s yoga club and once a week at Beyond Zen Studio in Granger, Indiana. Marshall said she encourages everyone to try yoga whether they think they are capable of doing it or not.“Everyone thinks you have to be flexible to do yoga,” Marshall said. “I’m a yoga instructor and I’m still not as flexible as anyone expects me to be. Anyone can do it and it’s beneficial to everyone.”Troy said when she attended her very first class, she was not interested in it. However, she said she knew if she continued, the benefits could be worthwhile. “I was never really interested in it before but I wanted to be,” she said. “I kept hearing about the benefits of it. I thought this is something that could change my life, and I was right.”Troy will instruct a yoga and zumba class open to all students before Midnight Breakfast before finals week. Tags: saint mary’s, stress relief, yoga, yoga clublast_img read more

Siegfried’s annual ‘Day of Man’ raises money for the homeless

first_imgObserver File Photo Siegfried Hall residents participate in the 2017 “Day of Man.” The event, in which residents go about their day wearing shorts, t-shirts and flip flops on a cold day, benefits the South Bend Center for the Homeless.Senior and Siegfried Hall resident assistant Isaac Althoff is one of the event’s commissioners. This year‘s Day of Man is the twelfth iteration of the event.“One time, 12 years ago, there was a resident that forgot his coat while rushing to class. On his way to class he thought, ‘Wow, this would really stink’ … and naturally thought about the homeless,” Althoff said.Althoff said it was this one happenstance event that spurred the creation of the dorm‘s tradition. Althoff said the resident was so concerned about the homeless dealing with the harsh, cold conditions on a daily basis that he and his friends took up a collection. Now, 12 years later, the men of Siegfried continue this act of charity, walking around campus collecting donations in their red Solo cups.“[The cold] kind of hits you when you walk outside,” Althoff said. “Some people definitely dread it, but there’s also so much excitement about it. This is our big event for the year. It goes back to what is your motivation at that point. We can manage a seven-minute walk to class, we’re not going to die from that. It may hurt a little bit, but the motivation is there.”Senior Michael Hernick, another commissioner for the Day of Man, said the event is something the entire dorm looks forward to with anticipation. Hernick estimated that out of the 240 men that live in Siegfried, about 200 would participate. Since the event’s inception, Day of Man has raised over $100,000 for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.“Our donations have slowly risen every year and just two years ago we went from $14,000 to $23,000,” Hernick said.Junior and commissioner Patrick Davis has participated in the event since his freshman year. He said he was inspired to get more involved by the seniors who helped plan the event his first year.“I was inspired by what these guys had put together,” Davis said. “They were seniors at the time and they had been doing it for a couple of years and each year they would break the record for how much money they raised.”Every year, Siegfried residents can be easily spotted since they all sport the same T-shirt made specially for the signature event. This Wednesday, Siegfried residents can be seen trekking through the snow in bright pink.“The key aspect of this year’s shirt that we kept from last year’s event is a prayer on the back that is a dedication to the homeless and those in need,” Davis said.Davis said during his first year participating, he initially attempted to avoid the cold by walking into buildings. However, he said eventually the excitement and sense of unity took over.“The cold isn’t really a factor, I’m more so just excited to be out there raising money with my dormmates,” he said.Aside from walking around in shorts and T-shirts in the cold, Siegfried residents will also be standing in front of both dining halls during dinner times to collect money. They also have an online donation option and a Venmo account set-up.Althoff said when he walked to class Monday morning the temperature was 3 degrees below zero. He said the weather reinforces the importance of their event during this time of year.“Every person that does not have a home in South Bend needs to be inside, but this puts a strain on the center,” Althoff said. “This helps out a lot monetarily just so they can run on a daily basis in this extreme cold.”Hernick said after the event commences, the commissioners go to the South Bend Center of the Homeless to personally deliver the check for the money raised. He said Siegfried has an established relationship with the organization, and every weekend residents of the dorm volunteer for a few hours to help with the homeless center needs, whether it be serving meals or helping sort clothes.“They’re very grateful for all the work that we do, even if we don’t break the record,” Hernick said.Davis said this on-going relationship with the center is a major factor motivating residents to ditch their parkas for a day every year.“Realistically, any little bit helps,” Davis said. “Going out there and raising as much as we can is really enough for me. They don’t care too much about the numbers, they’re just thankful that we’re out there doing this for them and that really speaks to me.”Tags: cold, Day of Man, Siegfried Hall, South Bend Center for the Homeless Shorts, a shirt, flip flops and a red solo cup is not the ideal outfit for a day when temperatures are expected to hover around 20 degrees. Nevertheless, residents of Siegfried Hall will don these articles of clothing on Wednesday in spite of the cold.This unusual spectacle happens every February and is Siegfried’s signature event called “Day of Man,” an annual tradition where residents venture out into the cold in summer wear to raise money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.last_img read more

Tri-campus community to participate in Global Climate Strike

first_imgStudents from the tri-campus community will march from Notre Dame to downtown South Bend on Friday, joining other protesters to demand government action to curb climate change and environmental degradation. The local demonstration, run by the South Bend hub of the Sunrise Movement, is one of hundreds of protests planned around the world for the Global Climate Strike, occurring from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27.Notre Dame senior and Sunrise Movement South Bend organizer Greg Campion said the upcoming strike would be “a watershed moment for the planet.”“We have an existential crisis here,” Campion said. “We know that the cost of inaction is huge in the long run and that serious action is needed now. A little more specifically, the message of the global strike is, ‘Hey, governments and politicians, for the most part, you’ve been beholden to special interests and have not been treating this crisis with the urgency that it demands. That’s not acceptable, and we need to do better.’”Started in 2017, the Sunrise Movement is a national youth movement that advocates for government action on climate change and works to elect proponents of environmental action to political office. The movement boasts over 300 community-led hubs, including one in South Bend.While the demonstrations address a global issue, the South Bend demonstration will also push for action at the local level, Campion said.“Our action here in South Bend is going to focus on is urging the South Bend government, particularly Mayor Pete [Buttigieg], as he’s running for president, to take the climate change resolution that they passed last spring and move forward with implementing that,” he said. “It’s great to go on record and say ‘Hey, we resolve that this is a problem, we need to do something about it.’ But if that’s all we do, we’ve done nothing. We’re urging Mayor Pete to show the country just how serious he is about climate change on the national scale and [to] put his money where his mouth is and start implementing the resolution that was passed last spring in our city here.”In April, the South Bend Common Council passed a climate control action plan outlining steps to be taken to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.The Global Climate Strike is led, in part, by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, Campion said. Beginning in August 2018, Thunberg began skipping school to protest outside the Riksdag, the Swedish national legislature, demanding that Sweden comply with the Paris Agreement and reduce carbon emissions. She has since gained widespread media coverage, speaking at conventions and demonstrations in numerous countries to demand governments take action to address what she calls the “climate crisis.”The movement is focused on promoting political change, Sunrise Movement South Bend organizer and Notre Dame sophomore Duncan Donahue said.“Climate activism is important because it’s sort of a challenge to this neoliberal understanding of what politics can do in the realm of the environment, because it challenges the idea that what we as a society do to the environment is a sum of individual choices,” Donahue said. “It’s not. It’s the result of structures, which condition people and put people in positions to make certain choices. They only give people certain options and therefore they’re picking the lesser of two evils, but that’s still an evil. Climate activism is important because it challenges the idea that it’s all about individual choice and instead calls for change in the structures that create the issues.”Students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross will meet at Notre Dame at 10 a.m. to walk over to the Jon R. Hunt plaza, where a rally is planned for 11 a.m., according to a Facebook page for the event. Beginning at noon, organizers from the Sunrise Movement will host a “Climate Change Teach-in,” featuring several speakers from the Greater South Bend region.“We don’t want to encourage anyone to miss class, but it is a strike,” Donahue said. “Given the amount of time we have left to take climate action, I would just encourage everyone to think about whether an hour of class or an hour calling for saving our future is more important, five years down the road.”Tags: Climate Action Plan, Climate change, Global climate change, Global Climate Strike, Greta Thunberg, Sunrise Movementlast_img read more

Provost Search Committee holds listening session

first_imgFollowing the announcement that Thomas Burish was stepping down as provost at the end of the academic year, University President Fr. John Jenkins and the search committee elected by the Academic Council held a listening session for undergraduates Wednesday afternoon. Emma Farnan Finance professor Carl Ackermann, a member of the Provost Search Committee, moderates a listening session for undergraduate students on Wednesday. The committee gathered student input about the qualifications provost candidates should possess.The goal of the session was to “inform our thinking about the qualities we should seek in the next provost of Notre Dame,” Jenkins said in an email sent last week to the University’s students. After receiving input from students, faculty and staff, the search committee will develop a position prospectus describing the qualities candidates for the position should possess, the President explained.“Few decisions are as consequential for a university as the selection of a new provost,” Jenkins said in an email to the community sent last month.The provost is in charge of a wide range of duties, Carl Ackermann, search committee member and professor of finance at the University, said.“The provost is charged with administering and coordinating the academic activities and functions. But an excellent provost does so much more. She or he must be an exceptional listener, decision-maker, and communicator and fund-raiser. In fact, it is someone who lights up the spirit of the entire University,” he said.Though the listening session was an attempt to include student voices in the decision-making process of selecting a new provost — essentially the senior administrator under the president — two students attended the event held at DeBartolo Hall’s Room 101 at 4 p.m.“This session is the one I am most excited about because the undergraduates are our largest and most important constituency, and, let’s face it: the undergraduates are the ones who know what is really going on,” Ackermann said.Despite the lack of participation Ackermann acknowledged that there was a benefit from having a small crowd.“We usually have 40 or so attendants, so people are only able to give one comment. However, with few students we were able to get deeper responses,” he said.The students in attendance were senior Jack Ferguson and freshman Crystal Lin. They were joined by the search committee comprised by Kasey Buckles, associate professor of economics; Patrick J. Flynn, professor and chair at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Michael Hildreth, professor of physics and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Science; Margaret Meserve, associate dean for the humanities and faculty affairs and associate professor of history; Ramachandran Ramanan, professor in Department of Accountancy; Laura A. Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School and professor in the Psychology Department; Veronica Root Martinez, professor of law; Ackermann, teaching professor of finance; junior Maria Salerno and graduate student Karen Angeles.In order to get a sense of the attributes Notre Dame’s new provost should have, the committee framed the session around three questions, which included the University’s most important recent accomplishments, future central opportunities and challenges the provost will face and the essential qualities and skills that the next provost will need in order to be succeed.Ackermann initiated the session by explaining that in order to excite prospective candidates about the position, the committee wanted to highlight Notre Dame’s accomplishments. As a result, he started the event by asking participants what they considered to be the University’s most important achievements.Ferguson mentioned the renowned faculty and departments within the College of Arts and Letters, in particular the Program of Liberal Studies.“Peer universities do not have [this] and are envious of what we have,” he said. “I’m not too sure what’s going on in the Colleges of Science and Engineering, but, within Arts and Letters, I know that some of the departments and faculty have been highlighted and nationally recognized. In recent years, Meghan Sullivan, the philosophy professor [won a] … national research grant for expanding her model of the God and Good Life philosophy class that is causing national attention.”Lin considered that Mendoza College of Business’s academic excellence to be an important accomplishment.“In some schools only the business school is very good, but at Notre Dame almost everything is great,” Lin said.The committee then asked what student accomplishments should be taken into account, as the student body is part of Notre Dame’s attraction. The attendants mentioned inspiring student leaders such as Samuel Jackson, who is serving as one of the leprechaun this year.“Sam Jackson is the face of the school to millions of Americans turning on their televisions and seeing a close-up shot of his face. I think it’s a great thing for us this year,” Ferguson said.After this question, the committee wondered about the qualities embodied by the Notre Dame student body, which the attendees said were kindness, compassion and intelligence, as well as a motivation driven by faith.Moreover, the committee recognized that the next provost would face several obstacles in the coming years as well as opportunities to position Notre Dame as a leader, including several sustainability initiatives that are currently being enacted. As such, they asked students to name the challenges and opportunities they believed the provost would have on his plate in the next five years.Lin pointed out that, even though Notre Dame had reduced its coal emissions, more work can be done regarding the University’s sustainability efforts. Meanwhile, Ferguson elaborated on the challenges the new provost could face in the midst of current polarized political climate.“The provost will have to steer us in a safe, stable, temperate path through waters, considering the political climate,” Ferguson said.Considering that the new provost would be tasked with facing these issues, the committee then asked the students to pin-point which qualities he or she should have in order to be successful at Notre Dame. The attendees answered that the candidate must present both empathy and good listening skills. Lin also mentioned that she would like the person to “lie in the center of the political spectrum” and to be kind and considerate. Ferguson added that the ideal candidate would be someone who is inspiring to the community and who personifies the Catholic identity that distinguishes Notre Dame.“The Catholic identity has the potential to be sort of a bridge,” he said. “It is sort of the underlying foundation of a lot of the political debates that take place here, and it’s a wound-healer, something that is more important to some people than their politics. So, someone who is able to strengthen that on that steady course will be able to make our school better.”In their closing remarks, both Lin and Ferguson expressed their gratitude for the education they have received at Notre Dame, and said they had decided to attend out of civic duty to the school. They also lamented that a greater number of students had not attended the event, especially since it was a platform to voice their ideas and concerns.“I think people unfairly bash the administration for not listening to students all the time, but there are opportunities; people just don’t show up. I would almost like to apologize on behalf of the student body for you doing your job, and us sort of not giving our end of the bargain,” Ferguson said.The committee, however, said that more opportunities would be available for students to participate in the process. For instance, they encouraged undergraduates to attend the listening session on October 16 at 4 p.m. in DeBartolo Hall 101. Moreover, any concerns, questions, ideas, and candidate nominations could be sent to [email protected]: Administration, provost, Provost Search Committee, University President Fr. John Jenkinslast_img read more