James, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle, was set to enroll in the fall as Kelly’s first major recruit at Notre Dame. The All-American chose the Irish on National Signing Day over Ohio State and Cincinnati. Police said James, 17, was “drunk” at the time of the fall, which occurred around 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Days Inn Motel in Panama City Beach. An autopsy showed James died of brain injuries. He was vacationing with six parents and 40 fellow students from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, police said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Matt James in this most trying of times,” Kelly said in a statement Saturday. “On a personal level, I got to know Matt quite well over the past few years, and he was a wonderful young man from a great family. Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family.” “We are united in our grief over Matt,” St. Xavier president Fr. Tim Howe said in the release. “Our community is strong, and I know that the strength we receive from our faith in Jesus’ resurrection will help us get through this difficult time. Our love and prayers are for Matt and his family as we accompany them in the coming days of shared mourning.” Irish football coach Brian Kelly said his program was “in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness” following the tragic death of top recruit Matt James, who fell from a fifth-floor hotel balcony and died while on Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Fla., on Friday. Visitation will be held at St. Xavier High School on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., and a funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Xavier Church in downtown Cincinnati, according to a Tuesday press release from the high school. “We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this tragic time, particularly the family at St. X,” James’ parents, Jerry and Peggy, said in a statement Saturday. “Matt was a very special young man, and it is gratifying to us that you all could see that as well. We are touched by this outpouring of love.” James’ high school quarterback, Luke Massa, is an Irish commit and was also on the Spring Break trip, according to the AP. “This is just such a tragedy because he was just a wonderful, wonderful kid,” Massa’s mother, Mary, told the AP. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Author, activist and scholar Willie Baptist highlighted the serious challenges America faces in the fight against poverty and homelessness when he shared his personal experiences with poverty during a Monday discussion. The Higgins Labor Studies Program sponsored the talk, which was held in Geddes Hall. In his introduction of Baptist, John Wessel-McCoy, an organizer for the Poverty Initiative and Poverty Scholars program at New York City’s Union Theological Seminary, said the program’s mission “came out of the great history of organizing what Willie Baptist embodies.” “[The Poverty Initiative] is dedicated to raising up generations of religious and community leaders committed to building a social movement to end poverty led by the poor,” Wessel-McCoy said. “We don’t want to make it kinder, gentler or slightly better. We want to end it.” Wessel-McCoy said mobilizing the poor to fight systemic causes of poverty is crucial to American social progress and the elimination of the growing wealth gap. “We have the productive capacity and means to … lift the load of poverty, and the fact that we have growing ranks of poor in America is what we feel is the defining issue of our time,” he said. “We must build a network of leaders who are organizing, working in congregations as religious leaders and engaging the plight and fight of the poor.” In a short film promoting his book “Pedagogy of the Poor,” Baptist, a formerly homeless father who now serves as the scholar-in-residence of the Poverty Initiative, said the poverty organizing movement must address root causes of American poverty to find a solution. “We have to look at the root structure of what produced the problem … The polarity of wealth and poverty in America means that the people most affected by it need to organize and be educated to solve problems,” he said. “Poverty scholarship is an understanding of the complexity and globalized character of poverty.” According to the film, the polarity in wealth distribution has led to a situation of “abandonment alongside abundance,” in which the top five percent of American earners have enjoyed unprecedented gains in wealth in recent years, while 46 million Americans live below the poverty line and one-third of the population lives on incomes just above that threshold. Baptist said this and several other contradictions characterize the reality of American poverty. “Every year, 46 billion pounds of food are thrown away in America, when it only takes 4 billion pounds to feed everyone in the country for a year,” he said. “California is capable of producing enough food for everyone in the world, but people go hungry in our own country. These are the antagonisms that we face today and that each and every one of you confronts on your watch.” Baptist used the rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence to highlight these unjust contradictions and urge his audience to take action to eliminate them. “Everyone is created equal … We all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But how can you have the right to life if you don’t have a home or a decent job?” he said. “This immoral, irreligious contradiction we face challenges us to take a stand to do something like others in American history.” Baptist said his book, co-written with Union philosophy professor Jan Rehmann, challenges readers to consider their role in the fight against poverty. “What do you see is right or wrong? How will you live out your life?” Baptist said. “[The book] challenges us to take up Martin Luther King, Jr.’s manner and become real scholars through engaged scholarship, theology and intellectualism because poverty is a complex, globalized problem due to the current technological revolution that renders people superfluous to production worldwide.” Baptist said his experience as an organizer for the United Steelworkers laid the foundation for his efforts to organize the poor and homeless, especially in his work with the National Union of the Homeless. “When I organized with the [National] Union of the Homeless, we were working with 25 local unions in 25 states at its height,” Baptist said. “Union members were becoming homeless union members, and homeless people were organizing homeless people.” The public perception of homelessness as a self-inflicted condition has presented an obstacle to fighting the issue because it overlooks the knowledge and talents of homeless people, Baptist said. “Despite the public opinion of homeless people as those who can’t fight for themselves, there’s a rich reservoir of geniuses having to manipulate with meager means how to get from one day to another, but we allow that to lay waste in considering the consequences of poverty,” he said. Baptist, an African-American male who was once homeless, shared an anecdote about an encounter with a middle-aged Caucasian woman in Philadelphia in which his presence inflicted “the most God-awful fear in her eyes.” He said such encounters impede progress in American social relations. “Dr. King suggested that we have to somehow overcome the miseducation and stereotypes that exist that keep me from knowing the story of that lady and her knowing what my story is,” he said. “This is the challenge before us to keep our nation moving forward.”
Director of Career Crossings Stacie Jeffirs said she values the insight alumnae involved in various professions can offer to students interested in those jobs. “Thinking about pursuing a career in law is something very common for our students to think about,” Jeffirs said. “Panels, like this, offers students networking opportunities and show students just how passionate our alumnae are about their careers.” Jeffirs moderated the panel, which included a discussion on a wide range of topics. Each panelist began by describing the unique paths that led to their acceptances into law school. “From a very young age I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer,” Janet Horvath, a current partner at Jones Obenchain, LLP of South Bend, said. Kristina Campbell, associate professor of law at the University of District Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, said her path to law was “by no means direct.” “I pursued other programs after I graduated from Saint Mary’s,” she said. “Ultimately, I knew I wanted to be active in social justice and a law degree is a great tool for instigating social change. I was an idealist hoping to change the world through law.” MaryBeth Wilkinson, assistant general counsel of Owens-Illinois, Inc. said she joined law for the sole reason of “making money.””I grew up on a small farm in Michigan and wanted a ticket out,” Wilkinson said. “I joined law to make money, but over the years I have developed a strong passion for litigation. Litigation is like a war-zone or a game. I love being a part of this game.” Horvath said she truly loves her job working in insurance defense and litigation. “Not only do I work in a family friendly place where I can balance my family and my job, but I love going into work and knowing I am taking a burden away from other individuals,” she said. “When someone passes away in the family or a business needs to be passed down, a lot of people do not know what to do. I am there for those people, and it is truly rewarding.” Campbell said she became better equipped to tackle the challenges associated with working in an adversarial profession because of the challenges she overcame as a woman beginning work as a lawyer. “The law profession, litigation in particular, is very adversarial. You really need to have tough skin and not let little criticisms bother you,” Campbell said. “I often look back on my career as a young female lawyer and think about how my gender was actually an advantage. People underestimated me and it turned out to work in my favor.” The panelists said women have made significant strides in the legal field. Wilkinson said she believes the legal profession asks its lawyers to handle great responsibility. “Law is one of the most powerful positions you can be in, especially for women,” she said. “As a lawyer and as a professional, all you really have is your reputation. You can’t fake integrity and you can’t fake ethics.” Wilkinson said the two most important assets to have when pursuing any profession – not only law – are integrity and passion for the job. “Know yourself inside and out,” Campbell said. “My Saint Mary’s liberal arts education prepared me for the real world because I was well aware of my own personal values. With these values I could then start a career in immigration law that I now love.” Horvath said students should begin to search for opportunities now. “We are here to help facilitate your pursuits,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up and take advantage of the different opportunities this college has to offer. We all cannot repeat enough that we are here for you. We want to see you succeed.” Saint Mary’s alumnae in the legal profession advised students interested in law about how best to pursue a career the field in a panel discussion Tuesday night.The panel, titled “Women in Law: The Lawyer Alumnae Panel” featured three alumnae from all different sectors of the field.
Three Notre Dame music professors will spend the next two weeks on a tour of East Asia, offering performances and information sessions in an effort to recruit prospective students and raise the profile of the department of music.From Oct. 7 to 19, professor of music Peter Smith, assistant professional specialist Tricia Park and associate professor of music John Blacklow will visit high schools and various institutions in Seoul, South Korea, and in Shanghai and Beijing, China, according to a University press release.Smith, who also chairs the department of music and specializes in music theory, said this tour not only aims to recruit musically talented students and bring attention to Notre Dame’s “outstanding” department of music but also to strengthen connections with the University’s alumni network in Asia through a variety of lectures, masterclasses and recitals.The team will focus its recruitment on 10 high schools in the three major Asian cities, Smith said.“We will offer musical performances, masterclasses and information sessions about the music department and Notre Dame in general,” Smith said. “A masterclass is a learning experience in which one student performs for the faculty member … the teacher then offers instruction to the student but frames the advice in such a way that it will be … beneficial to the larger group as well.”In addition to visiting schools, the professors will perform and teach at “significant” cultural and academic institutions, Smith said. Park, a violinist, and Blacklow, a pianist, will feature prominently in the performance events.“The three of us will offer … [a] lecture and recital at the Capital Library in Beijing, in an event jointly hosted by the Library and the U.S. Embassy, designed to foster cultural exchange,” he said. “We will also visit Beijing University — the Harvard of China — where I will teach a seminar on musical romanticism and my colleagues Tricia Park and John Blacklow will … perform a full-length formal recital.”In Shanghai and Beijing, the professors will also participate in “Discover ND” informational sessions, Smith said.“I will offer an introduction, followed by a performance by professors Park and Blacklow, and then we will break into smaller groups to answer questions for prospective students and their families,” he said.Smith said these information sessions reach a wider range of students and family members interested in Notre Dame, not just the “musically inclined.”“But the musical performance is a special attraction, given the interest and value placed on Western classical music in Asia,” he said.In Asia, both American education and musical instruction are held in high esteem, making the continent an ideal place to recruit international students, Smith said.“There is a strong interest … in sending their best and brightest students to study in America,” Smith said. “In addition to the high academic standards … the Asian educational system places great emphasis on the study of music and Western classical music in particular.”Blacklow said there is a more mainstream appreciation of classical music in the continent, and cites his experiences as a performer.“… On some of my own previous concert tours to Korea and Japan, it would not be uncommon to have full audiences in large concert halls, which is much more rare over here,” he said. “I think this results in a population who develop a serious knowledge and love for classical music, which translates into talented performers who are eager to pursue music seriously, whether as a performer or a scholar.”Notre Dame’s department of music has much to offer prospective students, Smith said.“[We have] a first-rate faculty, first of all, with leading experts in both music scholarship and music performance,” he said.Blacklow said Notre Dame’s well-rounded approach is vital to a performer’s musical development and also allows the student to pursue other fields of interest.“Advanced knowledge of theory and history will make a performer play with the needed conviction and understanding — and serious study of an instrument provides a foundation for knowing music ‘from the inside out,’ as it were,” he said. “It is also beneficial that so many students are able to double-major here. Our most serious students go on to graduate school themselves, but we have also taught many wonderful musicians who choose to go on to other fields.”Smith said compared with other schools, Notre Dame’s program is successful in offering instruction in both music theory and practice.“Many liberal arts programs stress music scholarship more heavily, while many schools of music place a greater priority on performance — the music department at Notre Dame strikes a balance.”Tags: Asia, Beijing, China, Department of Music, Music, Seoul, Shanghai, South Korea
Tim Phillips, chair and co-founder of the global initiative Beyond Conflict, spoke about his experience working with leaders around the world for over two decades in the Eck Hall of Law Tuesday evening.Beyond Conflict began in 1992 to facilitate discourse between societies divided in conflict, focusing on the human element of conflict and the experiences of other leaders transitioning to peace. Phillips said his network includes 75 initiatives in more than 22 countries in regions like the Middle East, Latin America, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Africa and Northern Ireland.“What we do is find the relevant experiences around the world to bring and share with leaders at all levels,” Phillips said. “We describe leaders as not just political elites. Civil society, grassroots, anybody that exercises leadership in a society — we engage them.“We assist leaders in divided societies struggling with conflict, reconciliation and societal change by facilitating direct contact with leaders who have successfully addressed similar challenges in other settings.”Phillips said Beyond Conflict’s method of resolving conflict in those societies is grounded in three rather basic, but perhaps undervalued principles: people can learn from the experiences of others; people can change; and seeing that others can change is empowering. Phillips said these three principles are powerful, even on a natural, biological level.“People don’t respond to the legacy of repression, violence and trauma with their national identity card. They respond as humans” Phillips said. “Of course, every country will have their own unique experience, but when people respond to trauma and loss of agency, these are human experiences.”Phillips said despite national, cultural or religious differences, his global network focuses on serving the universal experience of tragedy.“The DNA of our organization is this recognition of shared human experience. That doesn’t say that every situation is analogous and alike. But again, people respond as humans. Culture, ethnicity, race and ideology center of this operating system called the human brain.”Phillips said Beyond Conflict’s work has taught him valuable lessons for approaching future projects in the same vein. He said since the initiative’s birth, important themes within peace building include confronting dictatorship and victimhood, recognizing the need for change, changing paradigms and mindsets and building trust among enemies.“Inclusion is the basis of sustainable change,” Phillips said. “The flip side of that is exclusion is the main driver conflict, in my view. People need to be acknowledge as how they see themselves and understanding is more important than trust.”Tags: Beyond Conflict, Eck Hall of Law
Michael Yu | The Observer Reza Aslan speaks in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business on Thursday night.“You are, according to the FBI statistics, more likely to die from faulty furniture, than to be killed by a terrorist. You are more likely, in this country, to be shot by a toddler than killed by a terrorist,” Aslan said. “However, we cannot dismiss this fear by calling it irrational, we must recognize it and we must confront it.”According to Aslan, one percent of Americans identify themselves as Islamic, while 73 percent of American’s identify as Christian. The prominence of a religion in any state makes it easier to dissociate violent acts with religion, he said.“We live in a country where, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 73 percent of [people] consider themselves Christians,” Aslan said. “When you live in any kind of society where you are surrounded by Christianity in all its diversity, it becomes very easy to dismiss fringe versions of Christianity.“It is much easier to disconnect that behavior with the religion of Christianity. When we see acts that represent the fringe of Islam, as we are not familiar with normative Islam, we are unable to dissociate it with the religion.”According to Aslan, there are two typical responses to Islamic extremism; the first is “Islam is not like that,” and the second is, “Islam is exactly like that.” However, Aslan said both these answers are incorrect.“I understand the impulse of any community of faith when confronted with extremists to say ‘that is not us,’” Aslan said. “But this is wrong. It is incorrect because a Muslim is whoever he or she says is a Muslim. Those who act violent in the name of Islam — we must take that seriously.”Aslan emphasized that all religions have violent fringe groups. He credits this to the rise of religious nationalism around the world. According to Aslan, the failure of secular nationalism led to this religious nationalism.Aslan also made a distinction between Islamism and Jihadism. He noted that these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a remarkable difference between them. Aslan defined Islamism, as a type of religious nationalism, that most contained within the borders of a pre-determined state.In contrast, he defined Jihadism is transnational, yet anti-national. According to Aslan, Jihadists do not want to create an Islamic State, Jihadists want to rid the world of states in general, and re-organize the global as a single world order under their control.“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean when we say religious. We get caught in this polarization,” Aslan said. “Religion, it’s important to recognize, is not just an order of belief and practices. Religion, above all us, is a matter of identity.“It’s about how you are, how you identify yourself in an indeterminate world,” Aslan said. “It is not a faith statement; it is an identity statement.”Tags: Dean’s Fellows, ISIS, Reza Aslan According to Reza Aslan, more than 49 percent of American’s are scared of becoming a victim of terrorism.Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, spoke on campus yesterday in a lecture titled “Islam and ISIS” hosted by the Dean’s Fellows of the College of Arts and Letters. The lecture, in which Aslan tackled the topics of religion and violent extremism, attracted to many students that there were more than four filled overflow rooms to accommodate those who would not fit in the Jordan Auditorium in Mendoza.
The Judicial Council president and the student union parliamentarian presented potential changes to the Student Union Constitution as a result of complications during the recent election cycle to student senate Wednesday evening.Due to mutiple unheard appeals, sanction discrepancy and confusion about constitutionally acceptable actions during the petitioning, campaigning and voting processes, senior Judicial Council president Matt Ross and junior parliamentarian Colin Brankin said they have discussed many constitutional changes.“Right now, I already have 11 amendments that I have written,” Brankin said. “It’s not just one, big thing. This is going to be a multi-faced process.”Ross said he wants to release the election results publicly after every election, including student body and class council elections. This previous election cycle, the results for the primary election were not released.“I just think that there really isn’t a really good reason as to why we don’t release it,” Ross said. “I think for transparency’s sake and accountability’s sake, moving forward … it would be good if percentages, the pie chart and voter turnout get released for every election.”St. Edward’s Hall senator, senior Chris Scott, said because of the several sanctions on the candidates during the elections, some of his constituents expressed concern that their votes did not count in the run-off election.“Someone was telling me that it seems unfair that their votes were taken away,” he said. “This person thought it seemed that their votes didn’t even matter.”The sanctions, however, do not take away a person’s vote but are a sanction on the percentage of the vote that the candidate receives, Ross said.“The first time that we decided to take away a percentage of the votes, that 10 percent, we spent a significant amount of time thinking of other options and trying to figure out if … this was most appropriate for the violation,” Ross said.He also said the sanction of forfeiting a percentage of a candidate’s vote is fairly common practice among collegiate student body president elections.Ross said he also desires to change the appeal process because of the issues caused when senate was unable to meet quorum during the emergency meetings, leaving two appeals unheard.“We are trying to make [appeals] a bit closer to the actual United States courts’ judicial system,” he said. “In that court, you can’t really just appeal because you feel like it or because you don’t like the decision.”The change would only allow a person to appeal a decision if he or she found a procedural defect in the way the process was handled or if the constitution was misinterpreted, Ross said.Ross said he also hopes to give more information to the person the allegation was filed against prior to the initial hearing, allowing them more time to prepare and ideally eliminating the necessity of filing an appeal.Junior vice president-elect Corey Gayheart said that — had he and junior president-elect Gates McGavick been given more information on the allegation before their hearing — his ticket probably would not have had to appeal.“The origins of most of our appeals were that we didn’t have all of the information going into the Judicial Council hearing to be able to defend ourselves fully with all of the evidence and witnesses that existed,” Gayheart said. “If we had the information beforehand … there’s really no need to appeal, because you’re doing all you can to defend yourselves to Judicial Council.”Fisher Hall senator junior James Deitsch suggested removing senate from the appeal process altogether in order to streamline the process and eliminate the possibility of not meeting quorum, thus being unable to hear the appeal.“I like that idea and I like keeping it all in house,” Brankin said. “Involving [senate] can be somewhat problematic at times. The reason why we do it, though, is mainly because you guys are the representative voice of the entire student body.”Although the emergency senate meetings were last-minute and time consuming, Club Coordination Council president senior King Fok said he believes involving the senate is important in order to achieve a separation of power in student government.Judicial Council also hopes to write an amendment regarding what to do when there is no majority in a runoff election, how to withdraw an appeal and that, during election season, any rule can be changed with a three-quarters vote by senate.In the remaining two senate meetings of the Blais-Shewit administration, Ross and the Judicial Council will propose the constitutional amendments to the senate members for the senators to vote on, allowing the changes to take effect during the next student body election cycle.Senate also approved the nomination of junior Bethany Boggess to be the new Student Union Board (SUB) executive director.Current SUB executive director, senior Jackson Herrfeldt, presented his nomination for Boggess to the senate. Boggess has been on SUB for two years as a member of the concerts committee.“She’s probably one of the hardest working members of SUB,” Herrfeldt said. “I completely trust her. Her dedication to student government and SUB in general is extreme.”Senate also approved the nomination of sophomore and current Judicial Council chair Shady Girgis to succeed Matt Ross as Judicial Council president.“There’s no one more qualified for this position than Shady,” Ross wrote in his nomination letter. “He is responsible, dependable and more than willing to sacrifice time for the betterment of the Student Union.”Both the nominations for Boggess and Girgis were passed with no oppositions.Tags: 2018 student government election, Judicial Council, ND student senate, Senate, Student government, Student government 2018 election, Student Union Board, Student Union Constitution, SUB
Since its founding by the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture (dCEC) in 2014, the Sorin Fellows Program has expanded programming and grown in size. The program, established in conjunction with the bicentennial anniversary of Fr. Sorin’s birth, was created as a student formation program within the dCEC and shares the center’s dedication to exploring and sharing the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition.“The program was started by the center to create a space for students to have an outlet for the integration and cultivation of their social, intellectual, spiritual and professional development as inspired by the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition,” student program director Pete Hlabse said in an email.However, Hlabse emphasized that the program is not exclusively for Catholics — anyone, of any faith, is welcome to apply. Photo courtesy of Maggie Garnett A group of Sorin Fellows students pose during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Israel during spring break this year.“We’re inspired by the Catholic identity of our University and center,” Hlabse said. “An important expression of that is not only engagement but friendship with anyone who thinks that the ideas of human dignity, authentic human freedom and the common good are important and relevant to grapple with.”Hlabse came into his role as director in October of 2017 when the dCEC created a new position to specifically oversee the program.“The program has grown substantially since I began working with the Center — primarily because there is now a staff member exclusively dedicated to student formation programming,” Hlabse said.Junior Michael Kurkowski, who became a Sorin Fellow during his freshman year, has witnessed this expansion of the program.“During my freshman year — even though that was only two years ago — I liked the things that they offered, but I don’t think it was as expansive as it is now,” Kurkowski said. “I really liked what they had to offer, and I really like how they’ve expanded and what they’ve offered since then.”One popular Sorin Fellows program is the Sorin Supper Club — a series of dinners in which a Notre Dame faculty member has a small group of students over to his or her house for dinner. There is no formal plan for the events — students and faculty simply share a meal and conversation.“It’s really nice to step off campus,” Kurkowski said. “I come from a big family, so it was nice to go to a professor’s house who also has a big family. I sort of felt like I was going back home for a little bit. It was nice to just sit back and relax and talk to them in that informal setting.”The Sorin Fellows Program offers a variety of events and opportunities to its members, including opportunities for grants and funding.“Some of our events are socially oriented, some of them are more intellectually oriented, some of them are more spiritually oriented and some of them are more directed towards professional development,” Hlabse said.A more recently established event that the program offers is, “The Book That Changed My Life” lecture series. The series was founded in response to student feedback.“Over time, it became clear that students were interested in engaging with faculty members beyond their interface with them in the classroom,” Hlabse said.The series features Notre Dame faculty members who speak about how a book they read has challenged and changed them.“Right now, it’s exclusive to Sorin Fellows, but next year I want to open it up to the entire campus community because I think this is a kind of interface that students want,” Hlabse said.Freshman Sorin fellow Maggie Garnett said one of her favorite events is a weekly female discussion group called Vocation to Love. The group does a reading and then meets to discuss it at the house of Suzy Younger, a fertility care practitioner in South Bend who is affiliated with the dCEC.“It’s a chance to sort of get out of the campus environment, and stepping out of the stress of classes and assignments and expectations of campus has been really important to me,” Garnett said.Besides opportunities for participating in events, the Sorin Fellows Program also offers its members a community in which strong relationships are fostered, Garnett said.“It does sort of give that extra community outside of dorm life or classes or clubs,” Garnett said. “It’s like that additional circle that sort of grounds you in a place at this University. It’s been very much like a home for me, which I’ve been very grateful for.”Applications to the program are accepted on rolling basis, and the program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, there are 225 undergraduate fellows and 60 graduate fellows, Hlabse said.“The program really is what you make of it,” Garnett said. “If you want it to be your primary community and your primary extra-curricular, it can be. If it’s something that you come to from time to time, that’s also totally fine. There’s no minimum requirements, there’s no minimum GPA, there’s rolling applications, so there’s no point where you can’t apply — even if you’re a senior.”Hlabse said he hopes the Sorin Fellows Program helps shape students into thoughtful people who will further Fr. Sorin’s vision for Notre Dame to be a force for good in the world.“If graduating Sorin Fellows are committed to the idea that we don’t flourish as individuals, but as communities committed to the good, true and beautiful, then in a small way, the Sorin Fellows Program will have served a purpose,” he said.Tags: de nicola center for ethics and culture, sorin fellows, student formation
As the academic year began with the elimination of campus-wide dorm access and culminated in a global health crisis, senior Elizabeth Boyle and junior Patrick McGuire led the student body through unprecedented changes, victories and losses as student body president and vice president, respectively.Despite the challenges they faced and the controversies that took place during their term, both Boyle and McGuire expressed deep gratitude for their experience.“I wanted to go to Notre Dame like my whole life, basically, and I never thought I’d be able to graduate and say that I had the honor the student body president,” Boyle said. “I just felt like I got to know the school in such a more genuine and unique way this year and I’m really grateful to all the students who let [McGuire] and I do that and who entrusted us to do it.”After a year in office, Boyle and McGuire reflected on their time as leaders, the challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned throughout their time in office.Inclusivity at workWhen Boyle and McGrath decided to run for office, they had a mission of empowering students of all different backgrounds, Boyle said.“Everyone’s Notre Dame experience actually looks vastly different,” Boyle said. “I think sometimes we come in and you’re expected to fall in love with your dorm, have to double major, graduate in four years, go abroad, have a research position –– and we learned that everyone’s path can look vastly different. So we focused on how we could best serve as a vessel to support students in all of their myriad interests and to make them feel welcome no matter their background.”To achieve this goal, Boyle and McGuire strived to foster inclusivity within cabinets and departments, and “welcome all voices” into the dialogue.“I just felt like student government was so different,” Boyle said. “It finally became a place that was so much more open to students, really made an effort to reach out and wasn’t as insular as it was before. We made it a place where it wasn’t scary to walk into the office, and you didn’t feel like you had to have been there and had to be a part of the friend group to be heard and be involved.”Both Boyle and McGuire counted this change of environment as one of their greatest achievements.“We’re so proud of have our team for the spirit of inclusion and welcome that they really foster this year,” Boyle said. “I think when you have people at the very top who are buying into that, who are going to be filled with grace, and patience and love, and are not going to take rash actions that are going to think things through that are pouring their full heart and soul into this work and inspires those below them to kind of do the same.”An ‘unpredictable’ and ‘tiring’ year When asked to describe the year in one word, Boyle said the year was “unpredictable” while McGuire described it as “tiring.”“Right before we took office, our advisor’s were like ‘Cool, cool, this was your platform, but everything you thought was going to be the focus of the year is like, going out the window,’” McGuire said. “That’s just the nature of things, like what you expected is never going to be what happens.”Such unpredictability was especially present during the spring semester because of the pandemic.“It was difficult because when everything seemed to really be falling apart, everyone was still on spring break all around the world,” Boyle said. “So it was hard to coordinate efforts and … kind of react to it until everybody got back after spring break.”Notre Dame’s traditional culture sometimes made it difficult to enact changes, McGuire said.“It can be really hard to get stuff done at Notre Dame in terms of things that make learning great, like its culture and its cohesiveness,” McGuire said. “I think it can also make things difficult at times –– that applies even to the structure of the student union or the Constitution.”Despite the trying times they faced, Boyle and McGuire emerged with plenty of lessons. Boyle said serving as student body president taught her about leadership.“Being a leader, I think means knowing that even when those times are going to be tougher, the unpredictable things are going to come up, it’s kind of on you to carry your team through it and to do it with grace and love,” Boyle said. “So I’ll keep working on that for sure. But I’m really proud of the way that we all did that this year.”McGuire said his greatest takeaway from his time as vice president was the importance of assuming there are good intentions behind leaders’ actions.“My biggest lesson is the importance of assuming goodwill and the importance of relationships, because like, whether it’s an administrator or a student leader, no one pours themselves into a role like this if they don’t really care about what they’re doing, the people they’re serving,” McGuire said.Looking towards the futureBecause of the transition to a virtual semester, Boyle and McGuire were unable to see some of their projects come into fruition, like the Back the Bend 2020 –– the day of service in South Bend that was going to be held in April 25 –– and “Civics in Action” –– a dialogue group aiming to foster civic engagement in advance of the presidential debates. However, according to Boyle, the incoming Ingal-Galbenski administration might pick up these initiatives during their term.“I take a lot of comfort in the fact that they’re going to do a wonderful job and that I think they got a good foundation to start with,” Boyle said.In regards to the future, Boyle and McGuire said they hoped some of the positive changes they accomplished carry on in the next years, especially the improved relationship between student government and the administration.“I am really proud of the way that our entire team has worked with the administration this year because our team has been so vigilant of telling the administration that they have to include student voices. And I’ve been really impressed that they’ve listened to those complaints from students. It seems like they are moving in a direction of being better about that,” Boyle said.McGuire mentioned a change he hopes to see in the future: either paying or giving credit to student leaders. He believes this policy would allow marginalized students to participate in student government.“Elizabeth and I are in a privileged enough position that we can devote 20 to 30 hours a week to student government, we can afford not to support our families or have a job on the side. But that cuts out a lot of students,” McGuire said. “Student officers are doing it because they care, not because they’re getting paid for it. While it’s something that shows commitment, it does cut people out.”After reflecting upon tumultuous times, changes and unpredictability, Boyle and McGuire’s wish is to have made a positive mark at Notre Dame.“I hope when we’re all older and gray and thinking back on the 2019-2020 Student Government administration, you probably won’t remember what we did,” McGuire said. “I might not even remember what we did. But I just hope that people think we cared and we tried to make Notre Dame more inclusive and a more loving place.”Tags: commencement 2020, Elizabeth Boyle, Patrick McGuire, Student government
Saint Mary’s will begin in-person classes Aug. 10, eliminating fall break and completing the semester before Thanksgiving, Interim President Nancy Nekvasil and President-Elect Katie Conboy announced in an email to students Friday.“We are deeply committed to ensuring the well-being of our campus community, and we will require that additional protective measures be put into place on campus to enhance the safety of all campus constituencies, and especially vulnerable populations,” the email said.Friday’s decision follows plans announced by Notre Dame and Holy Cross for an early start and conclusion of the fall semester. According to the email, aligning the academic calendar is necessary as many students take classes within the tri-campus community.“We look forward to working as a tri-college community to address these challenges,” the email said. “For the next five weeks we will continue to finalize details of our plan — re-imagining what daily life will be like for faculty, staff and students.”Nekvasil and Conboy reminded students this plan is subject to change and is contingent upon the state of the pandemic and access to testing and diagnostics come August.Tags: 2020 fall semester, COVID-19, Interim President Nancy Nekvasil, president elect katie conboy