As Holy Week comes to a close and Easter break approaches, Saint Mary’s students will celebrate the holiday weekend and the end of Lent with family, friends and the Easter Bunny. Like many Saint Mary’s students who visit family during break, junior Anna Capannari will return home to Ohio, where her family participates in a Cincinnati Easter tradition. “My family and I walk the steps of Immaculate Church on Good Friday for the Stations of the Cross,” Capannari said. Junior Caroline Gallagher said she is looking forward to returning home to Connecticut and watching her nieces and nephews participate in family traditions. “I really enjoy watching [my nieces and nephews] run around during the Easter egg hunt,” Gallagher said. “They remind me of how my cousins and I used to run like chickens with our heads cut off, searching for the golden egg.” Junior Maria Malm said she celebrates Easter Sunday in a less traditional manner. “My family likes to go golfing on Easter,” Malm said. Junior Hannah Murdoch said she enjoys her neighborhood’s Easter egg hunt because someone from the neighborhood dresses up in an Easter Bunny costume each year. “This year, I’m going to dress up like the Easter Bunny, and maybe find some real bunnies to hop around with,” she said. Other students are looking forward to the end of Lenten sacrifices. Although many students gave up certain foods or activities for season, some were more successful than others in remaining committed to their goals. First-year student Maeve Curley said she abstained from lemonade and swearing during Lent. “I have not drank any lemonade, but I have sworn a few times,” Curley said. “Every time I swear, I put money into a swearing jar… So far the jar has $40 in it. I plan on donating that money to charity.” Other students struggled to go without their favorite treats and guilty pleasures for all forty days of Lent. “I tried to stop eating junk food and visiting my favorite blog, but that only lasted a week,” junior Mariah Niedbalski said.
Emily Perry Sims, director of events at the Center for the Homeless, put poverty into perspective at Saint Mary’s community panel “Homelessness: Together We Can Make a Difference” in Madeleva Hall on Thursday.Students and staff spent their evening listening to a discussion sponsored by the Saint Mary’s College social work department.“It can happen to anyone,” she said. “People fall through the cracks, but more people are born in the cracks.”The discussion featured panelists with experience working with or leading organizations directed at prevention of homelessness.The seven panelists were guests from the Center for the Homeless, Salvation Army, YWCA, St. Margaret’s House, Youth Services Bureau and the Common Council in South Bend.Since drug abuse, mental illness and gender inequality are common contributors to homelessness, the panel represented organizations that help people overcome these challenges.Bonnie Stryker, director of the Youth Services Bureau, said self-sufficiency in St. Joseph County is defined as a full-time job with an hourly wage of at least $13.11.“In 2007, 23.3 percent of families in St. Joseph County were in poverty,” Stryker said. “I am sure this number has increased now that we are in a recession.”One member of Hope Ministries named Rose said the organization helps her improve her education, grow closer to God and take care of her 10-month-old daughter, who also resides at Hope Ministries.“It’s my home,” she said of the organization. “It’s my family. They made me feel welcome and accepted me and my daughter from the moment we arrived.”Another guest from Hope Ministries, who identified herself as May, shared her story of homelessness. Unlike some stereotypes of the homeless, she said she did not find herself on the streets because of alcoholism or drug abuse. Her medical condition caused her to lose her job, she said.President of the South Bend Common Council Oliver Davis said he plans to raise awareness and initiative on the behalf of homeless awareness.“[You] don’t have to have a great degree to help with homelessness, you just need a willing heart,” she said. Tags: Homelessness
The University’s environmental club GreeND is incorporating its cause into the Lenten season with a campaign set to launch tonight. Their initiative “Go Trayless for Lent” encourages students to refrain from using trays in the dining halls in the hopes of reducing food waste and therein, carbon emissions.“When you don’t use a tray, you’re just less likely to put five cups of chocolate milk and three spoonfuls of something that you’re actually not in the mood for, just because it’s there and convenient,” freshman Brooke Ely, a member of the Waste Committee of GreeND and one of the organizers of the campaign, said.In addition to reducing food waste and the associated financial costs, Ely said the campaign will decrease the amount of dish detergent, water and electricity that is currently used in cleaning soiled trays.Freshman initiative collaborator Flora Tang, who serves on the Waste Committee as well, said the goal of the campaign is to alert students of their role in generating waste and to foster a dialogue with students concerning how best to address the issue of waste reduction.“One of the other things we’re trying to do is just to make our students more aware of the environmental impacts of everything that we do,” Tang said. “I feel like so many of us just take food and use trays without thinking about what is the true cost of the things we are doing.”Tang said the campaign’s recommendation to give up trays during Lent provides students with an easy way to abate their adverse impacts on the environment in the spirit of the Lenten season.“I think Lent is about creating small inconveniences for ourselves in order to get closer to God and better serve others — and it’s about service,” Tang said.The idea for “Go Trayless for Lent” originated from the Waste Committee, a subset of GreeND. Tang and Ely, along with junior Jessica Peck, who is currently studying abroad in Paris, designed the initiative in the hopes of continually improving Notre Dame’s commitment to sustainability.“We’ve been working on ways to reduce waste, and one of the ways we came up with was basically to encourage people to use trays because it’s one of the most tangible ways to reduce waste,” Tang said. “One tiny thing that you could do during Lent could actually make a huge impact on the environment itself and other people’s lives.”Although the campaign will initially be associated with the Lenten season, Ely said the committee’s ultimate aim is for students to decrease their usage of trays through the duration of the academic school year.“There used to be ‘Waste-Free Wednesdays,’ and we want there to be ‘Trayless Tuesdays’ or something of that nature where on occasion people will not use their trays to reduce waste,” Ely said.Tonight, members of GreeND will have a table outside of North Dining Hall to answer questions and raise awareness about the campaign. Ely said the committee’s current emphasis is on publicizing the campaign and assessing its reception among the student body.“We’re mainly focusing on getting the word out there and getting people to start thinking about it and trying to get a lot of feedback,” Ely said.Tags: Go Trayless for Lent, GreeND, sustainability, Trayless Tuesdays, Waste-Free Wednesday
About six months after announcing the first two recipients of the LGBTQ Student Scholarship at its biannual Dooley Award Dinner, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) hosted a fundraising event Nov. 12 to enable the continued offering of its newly-instituted scholarship.Jack Bergen, the chair of GALA and a Notre Dame class of 1977 alumnus, said the current estimate is that the fundraiser generated more than $15,000 — a figure significantly exceeding the initial goal of $10,000. Courtesy of Phil Donohue Notre Dame alumni attend a fundraising event in New York City in support of LGBTQ student scholarships at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.“I was blown away by the event,” Bergen said. “[This is] the first fundraiser that I’ve done, and I was just amazed at the engagement of the people there, they were so happy that we had held this event.“ … Unfortunately we had a waiting list of people; we had to actually turn people away — the response was that enthusiastic for the event.”The fundraiser took place in the New York City penthouse of former talk show host and Notre Dame class of 1957 alumnus Phil Donahue. According to Bergen, more than 80 people — including both alumni and their friends — attended the event.Bergen said GALA’s current plan is to use the proceeds generated from the event “exclusively for the scholarship fund.”“Last year we gave out two $2,500 scholarships, and we’re looking at potentially raising that to four $2,500 scholarships and/or we may use some of the money to start to fund the endowment for the scholarship,” he said. “Because we see this as a long-term commitment, we see this as not just a one-time thing that we want to do, but we want to continue to do it for quite a while.”One of the two recipients of the 2015-2016 scholarship, Saint Mary’s junior Adrienne Whisman said the scholarship — designated exclusively for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s LGBTQ students — is a unique offering because few LGBTQ scholarships are institution-specific; rather, the majority are open to a national pool of applicants.“I looked it up and realized that it’s a scholarship that I could actually apply for and have a chance of winning, because usually LGBTQ scholarship are national and it’s [around] 1,000 people applying,” she said. “And it’s kind of intimidating.“… It was kind of like, ‘Wow, there’s actually an alum group where it’s people like me, who have all gotten together to support [LGBTQ students] in our education.’”Bergen said GALA decided to announce the LGBTQ scholarship earlier this year in response to a recognition that the campus climate in regards to LGBTQ issues has improved over the past few years.“As an organization, we felt that sufficient progress had been made that we wanted to step up our commitment to help out LGBT students more than we have,” he said. “ … We’re very pleased with the progress that’s been made on campus and as a result we felt that we wanted to do more, as well.”Among the recent changes that have impacted the University’s and the College’s LGBTQ communities are the extension by both institutions of benefits to same-sex spouses of employees and a concurrent cultural shift on both campuses, Bergen said.In particular, he said, Notre Dame’s official recognition of PrismND, a student organization founded to serve the University’s LGBTQ community, represents an improvement in the University’s acceptance of its LGBTQ community.“Certainly for students, Notre Dame’s attitude has changed dramatically with the creation of Prism,” Bergen said. “Students have been trying for many, many years to create a student group that provides support for LGBT students.”Like Bergen, Notre Dame senior and vice president of PrismND Connor Hayes said LGBTQ students today experience less discrimination than they did several years ago.“When I talk to my friends who are gay, lesbian, trans alumni of the University, who graduated maybe four or five years ago, when they came in as freshmen it was a much less friendly environment in the dorm towards them,” Hayes said.“Whereas now, I mean I have occasional incidents that happen, but it’s nothing like what they had to deal with,” he said. “So I think the University has changed in realizing, okay, this is a community that really has needs that need to be addressed on an institutional level, and that’s been a growth and shift in tandem with a greater cultural shift.”However, Hayes said the situation for LGBTQ community members of Notre Dame is a work in progress, and that moving forward, he would like to see the University recognize GALA as an official alumni association.“It would be nice if there was a more strong alumni network of gay and lesbian alumni that was officially endorsed by the University,” Hayes said. “ … Just on a personal level, it would be really heartwarming, give me a lot of hope, to see them extend that type of recognition to some sort of alumni group.”Bergen added that official recognition of GALA would be “an important step forward toward supporting [the University’s] LGBT alumni just as it supports many other alums such as seniors, young alumni, female alumnae, etc.”“I see this as a partnership that would serve to strengthen the ties between a very loyal alumni constituency, and to help the Alumni Association in its mission to more effectively engage all members of the alumni community,” he said.According to Dolly Duffy, the executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association and associate vice president of University relations, GALA’s current unofficial status as an alumni group is due in part to its relative newness as an organization.“We appreciate GALA’s work supporting our LGBTQ alumni through their organization — and our students with their scholarship efforts,” Duffy said in an email. “We continue to engage with GALA to learn about their goals. As GALA is a relatively new organization, we have not made any decisions about how we can support them long-term.”For now, Bergen said, GALA will continue in its efforts to support the LGBTQ community on both campuses. He is hopeful this year’s fundraiser is an indication of GALA’s future success — both in terms of the student scholarship and in terms of overall alumni engagement.“The response from the attendees was overwhelming with the support for this cause and for the desire to have things improve at the University,” Bergen said. “As progress is made with strengthening the relationship between the University and its LGBT alums, I see even greater financial resources being made available to aid those activities of supporting students and LGBT alumni engagement.”Tags: GALA, LGBTQ, LGBTQ scholarship, PrismND
Anna Deavere Smith, known for her roles on “The West Wing” and “Nurse Jackie,” hosted acting and playwriting workshops at Saint Mary’s over the weekend, teaching participants that before they can run to a curtain call, they have to learn how to break a leg.Smith said actors should block out distractions while they listen closely to their stage partners’ scripts and observe their gestures.“It is really about being present with the other, and that’s the first step,” Smith said. “You have to ask yourself, ‘What are the things that keep me from being present?’”Through devoting complete attention to a scene, actors can best emulate reality, she said.“I think that at a certain point while I’m rehearsing and performing, there could be something about that person that knocks on the door of my subconscious,” Smith said. “I’m not interested in that. I’m asking you today to free yourselves from that idea. I want you to think about what it means to focus on the other. So why not explore that other land that has absolutely nothing to do with you whatsoever?”Smith said actors can make a greater impression on audience members if they take a natural approach, allowing themselves to experience every emotion the scene demands.“You shouldn’t underestimate how much you can actually absorb if you are really listening,” Smith said. “When we open to others, they open to us, and then, we can go from me to you to we.”Smith said actors should free themselves of inhibitions since they cannot always anticipate exactly what will happen on stage.“You are inclined to want to come to conclusions quickly, but when asked to examine it, your conclusion is disrupted,” she said. “We wait for the people who appear to have the power to make us comfortable, but do we make them comfortable with us?’”Smith said interpreting others’ gestures and learning the meanings behind their mannerisms helps actors more fully understand one another.“If your aspiration is to become a communicator, whether that is to lead or to help someone who is suffering, wouldn’t it be useful to have a way of communicating that’s really in response to the moment?” Smith asked. “I don’t think we can know each other if we don’t make the jump to know each other.”Smith said actors can give memorable performances if they take original approaches and make their characters different from anything audience members have seen before.“We all are mimics, and we are sponges, so my question is always ‘When does it become individual?’” Smith said. “I don’t even like it that all babies cry exactly the same all over the world. I’m like, ‘Why can’t you laugh?’”First year EV Dundon said Friday’s workshop built on her previous experience and helped her explore new and unfamiliar dimensions of acting.“It’s so much harder than I thought,” Dundon said. “I’ve [acted] for a while, and I love it. It’s one of the most familiar things I’ve done … but I never realized that it’s not only memorizing lines.” According to Dundon, Smith emphasized the importance of remaining open to others’ mannerisms and ways of speaking, for in embracing distinct gestures, actors can best portray their characters.“I learned how to completely throw myself away and be someone totally different,” Dundon said. “It was challenging, but I felt like it helped because I’ve had struggles with that. I thought I had to have a little of myself that I could relate to, but now I don’t think so. Maybe I just need to throw it all away and start fresh.”Dundon said she values the opportunity to learn from an expert such as Smith.“To have a professional eye around us, that was a benefit because we are surrounded by students and professors who have had experience, but [Smith] has been on a TV show, and she’s been recognized from that show,” she said. “I think it’s important to see it from that perspective.” Tags: acting workshops, Anna Deavere Smith, Visiting artist
Juniors Gates McGavick and Corey Gayheart took on their new roles Wednesday as Notre Dame’s student body president and vice president, respectively. With the center point of the new leadership’s initiatives revolving around communication, McGavick said implementing a student government communication strategy that will effectively disseminate information and engage the student body is one of the first projects he hopes to tackle this semester and maintain throughout next year.Diane Park | The Observer “Communication and connecting with students [is our number one goal],” Gayheart said. “ … And with that, we’re hoping that a better understanding of what [student government] does will come with it because at the end of the day, we have to make sure that people understand and know what we’re capable of doing and also what we are doing.”Other focuses for the rest of the semester include laying the foundation for a few minor projects, Gayheart and McGavick said, such as working with Campus Dining, confirming the housing waiver system, evaluating dorm maintenance, looking at the allocation of funds across clubs and improving the “blue light” security system.“We are meeting with our executive cabinet Friday and Sunday, and over the course of those two meetings we are looking at setting a concrete deadlines agenda for the rest of the year,” Gayheart said. “… [But] we also don’t want our agenda to be concretely set because we think that’s going to limit our flexibility. We want to make sure that our students, the student body, is driving the agenda.”As the new chief-of-staff, junior Bri Tucker said the transition to their roles was made smoother by the array of perspectives they’ve heard from their newly-established team.“We’ve been so excited to finally get the ball rolling,” Tucker said. “It has been delayed for so long and finally transitioning and coming into the office and settling in, I think is starting to make everything a little bit more tangible. … We’re getting the right people in place, we’re building our team, and I’ve been impressed so far with what people have been able to bring to the table.”After evaluating nearly 90 applications for different roles in the executive cabinet, McGavick said he, Gayheart and Turner selected their nominees, all of whom were confirmed in Wednesday’s senate meeting, based off getting the best representation of student life possible.“It definitely took several nights, late nights, to figure out where people fit [and] how to best complement areas where there are co-directors [since] people complement each other with the leadership styles they bring to the table,” McGavick said. “ … I think I can speak for Corey and Bri that we’re incredibly happy with the choices we ended up making.”Alongside establishing relationships with their executive cabinet and Notre Dame administrators, hearing advice from their predecessors in the outgoing administration — senior Becca Blais, senior Sibonay Shewit and junior Prathm Juneja — was key to their preparation, McGavick said.“One thing Becca told me that stuck with me is in making final decisions — just getting as many viewpoints from a diverse range of ideologies and backgrounds as possible and that’s something that we tried to reflect in putting together our cabinet,” he said.Tucker said though the transition into their positions occurred later than anticipated, they have the right people in place to mobilize the student body and start making changes.“[Juneja told me] it’s not about having a position of power, it’s not about making a list and just checking things off,” Turner said. “It’s really about mobilizing the people that you get in the room and really making a tangible difference in the lives of students and so I thought that was really really helpful.”Though adjusting to a work-life balance has been challenging, McGavick said the team is looking forward to building relationships with administrators to voice student concerns directly and act as messengers of the student body.“We just want to generate the best relationships with administrators we have so we can see tangible and incremental progress from the student body and build on what’s been done in past years in terms of relationships between student government and administrators,” McGavick said. “That’s of course a challenge because of how busy Notre Dame’s administration is … [but] it’s been going well so far.”An additional challenge, Gayheart said, is making sure senate, the executive cabinet, the student union and the student body are all looking to the future and are “forward-focused.”“We want to be persistently positive,” he said. “Just given the nature of everything up to this point, we want to make sure that we’re a smiling, happy face and that we’re always talking with outside people and outside voices.”How zeroed-in the administration is, McGavick said, was a silver-lining of the rushed transition.“We know exactly where we’re headed and really believe in our people,” he said. “For me, it’s just an honor talking to my predecessor throughout the transition [and] getting to sit in that office where campus leaders sat for years. This is a place I love so much, and having the opportunity to serve it I think will always be incredibly special.”Tags: Corey Gayheart, Gates McGavick, Student government
Photo courtesy of Christina Dunn and Peter McCullough Christina Dunn, ’07, and Peter McCullough, ’06, opened a business together, DressStrong, Inc. DressStrong, Inc., sells DressWeights, which are small weights that can be attached to the inside of a garment to keep it weighted down.Dunn has been living in New York City for 10 years and McCullough lives in New Jersey. Both have full-time jobs along with their work on DressStrong and both are graduates of Notre Dame. Dunn has degrees in business and Spanish and McCullough studied mechanical engineering.Their idea for DressWeights came about simply after an experience that Dunn had while wearing a dress at a barbeque on a city rooftop.“I had a crazy Marilyn Monroe moment, but it wasn’t fun, it was embarrassing,” Dunn said. “I either had to sit or actually hold my dress down, neither of which were conducive to the situation.”She said she then brought the problem to McCullough, who offered a practical solution.He gave her adhesive lead golf weights used to change a player’s swing and suggested she attach them to her hemline to keep her dress down. It worked, but it wasn’t a complete solution. The weights were expensive, lead was dangerous and they were clearly designed for clubs, not clothing material. Dunn and McCullough decided there needed to be a better option that was, above all, convenient, suited to women’s clothing, safe and eco-friendly, they said.“The process took a lot of time, effort and dedication,” McCullough said. “We worked hard to design DressWeights and then find a manufacturer we were comfortable with. There were difficulties and frustrations … and a lot of tweaks to the product design, but we really hit an inflection point now.”Some failed versions included the lead tape weights, which were hazardous, and wheel weights, which had an adhesive that was too strong. Eventually, the two settled on steel, which was perfectly small and weighted, attachable with an adhesive that could “maintain the flow and design of the dresses” so that women’s style wouldn’t be dictated by anything other than their choices, Dunn said.“We want women to feel empowered when they’re dressed up no matter where they are and regardless of weather conditions,” Dunn said. “We researched other ways women usually deal with this problem but there was nothing convenient. Some sew in weights to their hems, but there are plenty of people who don’t have luxury time to do this. Time is a valuable commodity and we can provide an option that saves people that time.”Currently, DressWeights are sold online at the website dressstrong.com, Amazon and Etsy. The product was released on Cyber Monday of 2017 and benefitted from a social media boost around the release. Dunn and McCullough work with Marianne Dunn, ’04, Christina Dunn’s older sister and McCullough’s wife, who helps with the business outreach and company support, and their younger sister Faith Dunn, who handles similar responsibilities including social media management and engagement.The company celebrated its one-year anniversary of the official incorporation of DressStrong this September and was helped with the trademark and patent by Jodi Clifford at the Notre Dame IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic.“Jodi and her students were integrally helpful with the [intellectual property] work, patent and trademark,” said McCullough. “It’s usually an expensive and more complicated process but she and the students with her assisted in streamlining everything very professionally and communicatively.”DressWeights are also safe for the environment, McCullough said.“Being eco-friendly was a priority from the beginning,” McCullough said. “We wanted to design to fit the need and be environmentally conscious — the weights are recyclable and reusable, you can get multiple wears out of them.”Dunn and McCullough said that they are looking to expand, especially marketing toward the bridal industry. They have received good feedback from people who appreciate the product whether they’re part of or attending weddings.“We want to build on our Amazon influence and get into big-box retailers,” Dunn said. “We’ve done the research about where women want to see DressWeights offered and we’re going to make sure DressWeights are accessible to our customers in those places.”Tags: Christina Dunn, DressStrong, DressWeights, Peter McCullough Windy days can be the enemy of those walking around a city or campus in a dress — a wayward breeze could cause a serious wardrobe malfunction. Christina Dunn, ’07, and Peter McCullough, ’06, engineered and manufactured a solution to this problem.Dunn and McCullough started DressStrong, Inc., a business that sells DressWeights. DressWeights are a small, adhesive weight that are easily attachable to the internal lining of skirts or dresses to prevent them from flying up.
| The Observer Over 200 residents of St. Joseph County attended a public hearing about library funding on Tuesday.A public hearing held on Tuesday would decide the fate of the county’s public libraries’ funding. The proposed redistribution of local income tax (LIT) — known as Resolution 7-19 — implied that St. Joseph County Public Libraries (SJCPL) would lose half a million dollars from its budget in order to fund a county 911 call center.As such, students, mothers, librarians, professors, religious leaders and business-owners all took it upon themselves to demonstrate their support for SJCPL, filling the room up to its maximum capacity. Within seven minutes, the meeting was concluded, and the advocates walked away victorious.Once council president Rafael Morton asked for a motion to table the resolution, a thunderous applause was heard across the room. Attendees beamed with happiness and embraced each other, signaling the importance that SJCPL holds in the county for them, and then filed out of the room.The impact the plan would have on the community caused uproar and sparked protests. Council members did not present any arguments in favor of the resolution during the hearing, but instead only commented that public opposition was one of the main reasons behind their decision to drop the proposal.According to SJCPL, the unanticipated cut would incur a 24% loss of its LIT revenue, which is used to pay for maintenance, salaries, utilities and materials. Moreover, it would cause one of its 11 branches to close, leaving about 7,500 people without a library.Jennifer Henecke, the communications manager at SJCPL, said a great group of people had mobilized in order to express their disagreement with Resolution 7-19.“We’re overwhelmed that the community showed,” Henecke said. “Throughout this whole issue, we’ve just seen an outpour and 350 people joined us for a march on Thursday from the library to the City Building. We know that they sent thousands of emails and phone calls, and shared our social media posts. We are just so grateful to the community for coming out and showing what the library means to them.”Henecke said even members of the Notre Dame community have shown their support. The SJCPL Communications Manager said she was happy that Notre Dame felt included in the community and conversation, as well.For Debra Futa, SJCPL executive director, the libraries play an important role in the residents’ life, as it offers “more than leather-bound books,” as a sign placed in front of the City Council building stated in thick white letters.“Libraries do so much more than just have books and materials,” Futa said. “We are community centers, we work with literacy, and we are work-force development. Kids come after school, so we are a safe place for them to go between school and home. There’s access to technology and the Internet.”While celebrating the victory outside of the Common Council room, attendees, such as Ina Kahil, expressed the significance that SJCPL has for them.“I can’t imagine not having access to public libraries because its one of the only places where I see people from all walks of life and just the idea of it being curtailed would be heartbreaking to me,” Kahil said.Rabbi Karen Companez, also in attendance, also expressed support for library funding.“Libraries are essential to society,” Companez said. “It’s one of the most basic ways that we learn, by reading books.”Of about 20 different people The Observer asked about the resolution, all were in opposition to the resolution.Though the next steps regarding the 911 center’s funding are still unclear, Futa said she looked forward to having a dialogue with elected officials about alternatives.“It’s not that we think that 911 isn’t important in the community,” Futa said. “It’s that we don’t think the funds should be redistributed and have libraries and other entities be punished for that.”County council members said they are still considering different alternatives to find funding for the 911 call center, but have still not decided on an option.Even though this was “the first battle,” as Futa described the public hearing, the day served to demonstrate the value of a community coming together in order to solve the issues that afflict them.“When we started this whole thing we were saying that neighborhoods need libraries, but libraries also need their communities, and both came perfectly together tonight,” Henecke said.Tags: Saint Joseph County, Saint Joseph County Public LIbrary In bold black letters, a neon pink sign read “What in the world would we do without libraries?” outside of the City Council building. Another one, splashed with bright yellow and white symbols, said “I’m kind of a big deal, I’m the library.” The sentiment plastered in these posters was carried into the South Bend Common Council, where more than 200 residents of St. Joseph County awaited the results of their opposition to a proposed tax plan.
Community CommitteeCommunity committee co-chairs Kelsey O’Connor and Giavanna Paradiso hosted many events throughout the semester, all of which were new besides pre-Domerfest and Bellesgiving. Even so, the juniors took pre-Domerfest a step further by improving the event with a theme, food and more giveaways. The community committee has hosted at least one event per semester and has successfully revitalized Dalloway’s Coffee House. The co-chairs are looking to make Dalloway’s a more permanent student space and hope their work will help all Belles feel as if they are part of the community. There are more events being planned for next semester. The increase in events and recreation of traditional campus events has created a successful semester for the community committee.Grade: AFood Services CommitteeJunior Giavanna Paradiso has continued her work from last year as the food services committee chair. The committee worked closely with Sodexo representative Jim Raischer and junior community committee co-chair Kelsey O’Connor to enhance Food Week events as well as to create new events. Paradiso said she is hoping to continue promoting events in Dalloway’s as well as gathering more student feedback on the dining hall. The committee’s events have brightened campus, and dining services has taken student input into greater consideration this semester.Grade: AMission Committee The mission committee is led by senior Kathryn Stalter and sophomore Tatiana Boehning. The committee works to emphasize the mission of the College through community events that focus on faith and spirituality. The chairs of the mission committee also have a seat on the mission council, which allows them to work directly with faculty and staff to develop more opportunities on campus to enhance the College’s mission. This semester, the mission committee has furthered the previous chairs’ goals through the expansion of “Lemonade and Le Mans” Mass, which now includes other community events after individual dorm Masses such as cookies after McCandless Mass and hot cocoa after Holy Cross Mass. Stalter and Boehning have also hosted holiday-themed events with the Sisters of the Holy Cross, including “Let’s Spoon FroYo Social” in Loretto on Halloween, and “Hot Chocolate Social” on Thanksgiving. While the mission committee has increased community involvement and spiritual awareness to an extent, they have done little to appeal to those who practice non-Catholic faiths.Grade: A-Sustainability CommitteeThe sustainability committee, chaired by seniors Kassidy Jungles and Courtney Kroschel as well as junior Rebecca Cesario, attempts to educate Saint Mary’s students about sustainability and ways to be environmentally consciousness on campus. Most of the funds the committee raise go towards providing recycling bins on campus, although the committee has hosted yoga events and a “Brain Food and Bagels” event. Through working with the Office of Civic and Social Engagement, the committee has been able to increase on-campus composting initiatives with the introduction of paper towel composting bins in the Student Center bathrooms. The sustainability committee has continued its efforts to provide students with viable ways in which to reduce their ecological footprint; while they may seem subtle, in the end, these efforts successfully encourage a more sustainable campus. Grade: A-Big Belle Little BelleSGA’s Big Belle Little Belle program is co-chaired by senior Moira LeMay and junior Sarah Austin. While September was a busy month for the committee, very few events have been scheduled for the end of the semester. November’s only event included the campus-wide “Lip Sync Battle,” which was hosted in conjunction with the Residence Hall Association. One of the highlights of Big Belle Little Belle’s semester was “Reveal Day,” which was hosted at the newly reopened Dalloway’s Coffeehouse and brought much attention to the Saint Mary’s iconic clubhouse. However, Big Belle Little Belle has not done much to increase total Saint Mary’s community involvement. Grade: B-SOPHIA Oversight Committee: This semester, the SOPHIA oversight committee, chaired by junior Addie Bobosky, has worked on soliciting feedback from students about the SOPHIA Program in Liberal Learning. The program is the core of Saint Mary’s Liberal Arts education and the linchpin of all first-year education at the College. Bobosky sits in on SOPHIA program planning meetings and advocates for a better system. The SOPHIA oversight committee will release a survey next semester to add students to the conversation and gather insights about the program. While the committee does not know what a re-imagined SOPHIA program would look like, they are eagerly moving towards improving the program with student feedback. Grade: BMarket Research and Media Committee The market research and media committee, led by sophomore Elizabeth Zaczyk, aims to inform students about events occurring on campus through means such as emails, posters and social media. Its biggest initiative is to create a platform —such as a website or singular email — with weekly updates to inform students of everything occurring that week, rather than flooding inboxes with numerous emails, Zaczyk said. The initiative is a work-in-progress, but Zaczyk maintained that progress truly is being made, and the committee hopes to be utilizing this soon.Grade: BTags: Saint Mary’s SGA, Student Government Insider 2019
In order to allow students to spend more time outside comfortably in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Mary’s student government worked to add new furniture to be placed on the grass between Le Mans Hall and Moreau Hall.The new furniture is similar to that which is located on Notre Dame’s library quad, including wooden lawn chairs, bonfire pits and hanging lights.Senior Giavanna Paradiso, SGA president, said her team just wanted to give Saint Mary’s students a nice space to enjoy company together outside with the addition of the furniture.“SGA was very excited to be able to help [the] students’ situations better,” she said.Student Activities Board (SAB), Resident Hall Association (RHA) and Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) said they will team up to use this space for future bonfire events.The space has been nicknamed “Belle’s Corner” by students, and the tables have been decorated with small plants and pumpkins for the fall season. The new additions have brought students out from their residence halls to sit under the lights to work or to just socialize with their friends.Senior Sarah Caldwell, a member of the SAB, said their organization hopes to bring Saint Mary’s students together by using the new space.“As Student Activities Board, we plan community-building events for Saint Mary’s students,” Caldwell said. “We host an annual bonfire event and were excited that we could utilize the new space to host this year’s event. We look forward to using the space in the future.”Although they have not yet planned an event using the space, Caldwell said she feels confident that these events will be enjoyable for all Saint Mary’s students.Although the semester will come to an end in a little over a month, the weather is expected to get colder soon, and students are encouraged to use the bonfires, before 5 p.m., as the temperatures continue to drop.Senior Morgan Burnett said she is excited for the cold weather this year.“I think the bonfire events are fun and [will] make the cold weather on campus more bearable,” Burnett said.While the fire pits will also double as tables and help provide warmth to students as they get their work done, senior LeeAnn Beaty also said she is excited to use this area for the winter months with a few modifications.“Hopefully, we will be able to place some of those tall, standing heaters so that we’re able to use this awesome area as the weather gets cooler,” Beaty said.Tags: BAVO, Residence Hall Association, Saint Mary’s student government