Runners eat to victory for relay race fundraiser

first_imgFew would think to combine donuts and a relay race, but that is exactly what happened on South Quad Sunday. The track and field team held the Riley Donut Run Sunday as a fundraiser for Riley Children’s Hospital. “We came up with the idea based of a fundraiser held at NC State,” junior Doug Onuscheck, the event organizer said. “There they run two miles, eat a dozen donuts and run two more miles. Risk management wouldn’t let us do that, so we shortened the run.” The donut run was a relay race where teams of four ran the length of South Quad, ate three donuts and ran back. The first team to have everyone finish won. “The first race is more of a fun run,” Onuscheck said. “The second race is more exciting and competitive.” Not all the participants were track team members or even runners. Some just decided to form teams because they thought it sounded like a good time or because the money was going to charity. “We joined at the last minute. We were just drawn into the event,” sophomore Chrissy Finkel said. Finkel and her team, Jump for Children, were excited to have a good time while raising money for charity. They were a last minute entry; one of their runners even wore jeans. “I didn’t even have to worry about trying to keep up, everyone was so much faster,” Finkel said. “It was just a really fun event.” While some teams were there for fun, others were there to support Riley and run a competitive race. Team Deca, made up of the decathletes on the track team, won the relay. They came out strong and at one point were almost a minute and a half ahead of the rest of the competition. The second place finisher was the team No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service, who are all jumpers on the track team. Rounding out the top three was Team Gryffindor, made up of two members of the track team, a student manager and a regular student. In the end, what really helped Team Deca clinch their victory was their donut eating strategy, especially that of senior Justin Schneider. “First I squished all three donuts into one big ball which I dunked in water. Then I squeezed the water out of the donuts into my mouth, which got rid of the sugar,” Schneider said. Other runners tried to shove all three donuts into their mouth at once. Some ate each one separately, but everyone had a great time comparing their eating strategy. This is the first year for the event and the track team was just trying to see how excited people would get before they set any goals for fundraising. “We aren’t sure how much we’ve made yet, we’re just kind rolling with it and seeing how it ends up,” Onuscheck said. Overall, the event was deemed a success, Onuscheck said.last_img read more

Computer science professor aids Somaliland’s election

first_imgThe government of Somaliland asked Notre Dame computer science professor Kevin Bowyer with graduate students Amanda Sgroi and Estefan Ortiz to use their iris recognition biometric research to improve the legitimacy of their elections.Somaliland is a self-declared independent state directly north of Somalia recognized by the international community and U.S. as an autonomous region of Somalia. According to a College of Engineering press release, it is transforming into a rare, multiparty democracy in the Horn of Africa and is working to establish honest, respected elections.“Someone in Somaliland sent me an e-mail asking me to help with improving their voting register,” Bowyer said. “They said they wanted to use iris-recognition technology and asked us for help.”“The ultimate goal is that you can only vote one time,” Sgroi said. “If you’re trying to vote a second time, then the iris recognition system is going to block you before you can even cast your ballot.”Bowyer said they kept in constant e-mail contact with the Somaliland government and were able to produce results that they could use to help achieve the Somaliland government nation status within a short period of time. In the press release, he said the data acquisition for the field study took place over a five-day period in registration centers in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, and Baki, a town 60 miles away from Hargeisa. The data was transferred electronically to the Notre Dame team, who sent the results back after conducting iris recognition analysis.“They wanted to take some current technology, go to a couple of towns take some data and seed it with some duplicates,” Bowyer said. “They wanted to give us the data basically, if we could tell them which registration belonged to the same person and which actually belong to different people.”Bowyer said the challenge revealed issues with the flexibility of their current technology despite the already extensive research into iris recognition.“The key things we identified were the challenging images,” Sgroi said. “We had some people with had  some medical issues with their eyes and some eyes that were blurry so they were poorly acquired, so having some quality checking is going to be necessary for their final system.”“Since 2004, we’ve been doing iris recognition [research] here — 10 years,” Bowyer said. “We’ve looked at thousands of images of several thousand people, I’m guessing. They sent us the images of around 500 people … and there were at least two things I’ve never seen before … that broke all the segmenters we had.“It drove home that if you’re developing code for the U.S., the U.K. and big cities like in China and then take it to say, Africa, you’re going to run into these eye conditions you’ve never seen before and the software is not going to work — and the software doesn’t know it’s not going to work either. So that’s a new topic of research we could work on.”Bowyer said access to this data could update the U.S.’s dated biometric scanning technology currently in use. Bowyer said the experience also provides domestic insight on the ethics of collecting data from private citizen.“The country of India will have one to two billion people with a national ID to link with their economic identity that’s working from fingerprint and iris, and I think the United States will be behind,” Bowyer said. “We talk about having secure borders and stuff, yet we’re not willing to do stuff about secure ID.”“I think the climate right now, we’re really sensitive about security with the NSA stuff going on,” Sgroi said. “I think that maybe, not in the United States, this similar voter ID thing would be popular and more successful, but it will not happen here. There would be a discussion on whether we want it, but it will take a lot to convince the public to run with it.”Tags: Computer science, Somalia, Somalilandlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s father inspires message of hope

first_imgAs the capstone event of Support a Belle, Love a Belle (SABLAB) week at Saint Mary’s, Tom Seeberg, the father of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, addressed the College community in a lecture titled “Believe – Giving Witness to Hope,” in Carroll Auditorium on Thursday evening.Seeberg was a first-year Saint Mary’s student when she committed suicide following an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression. Her death came 10 days after allegations of an Aug. 31, 2010 sexual assault involving former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo. Students said the College community remembers Seeberg as an outgoing, smiling, caring student who loved Saint Mary’s and her fellow Belles.Senior and co-chair of the student government association’s (SGA) social concerns committee Kaitlyn Tarullo said SABLAB started in 2011 partly as response to Seeberg’s suicide.“Her story is extremely important, and we felt like it was an appropriate time to invite Mr. Seeberg back to reflect on his journey a few years later,” Tarullo said. “Hope is an attitude that can start with a daily struggle but then eventually, over time, transforms into a lifestyle.”Tom Seeberg began his talk by reflecting on the Saint Mary’s campus, which he said remains a positive place for him and his family.“It is always awesome to come to this campus, and you might think it wouldn’t be … [but] in the days that, if you will, followed Lizzy’s death, so many wonderful things happened for us,” Seeberg said. “I am honored that you think I can deliver some message of hope to you all … [for] this is such a great and spiritual place for us.”Though he has no professional credentials in speaking on mental health, sexual assault or spirituality, Seeberg said he does have the credentials of being a dad.“I’m Tom Seeberg, but I really love being known as Lizzy’s dad. It’s one of the proudest things anyone could call me,” he said. “And I can assure you that what I tell you about my journey here is not manufactured; the foundation of it came in the immediate days following Lizzy’s death, and the power of those days has never left me.”He said hope, for the Seeberg family, coincides perfectly with the mission of the Holy Cross order, the meaning of Spes Unica and the realization of the difference between little hope and what he called “capital-H Hope.” Before discussing how he found hope, though, Seeberg painted a picture of his loving daughter and Belle, Lizzy.“She was very, very outgoing – you would have to meet her several times before you understood she suffered from an anxiety disorder,” he said. “We became soulmates [and] closer through her struggle. We participated in some therapy together; we became real good buds.“She told us everything. There was never any holding back. Through her bouts of depression, she was always very good at raising the white flag and saying she needed a time-out.”He and his wife, Mary, first began dealing with signs of Lizzy’s anxiety and depression issues when she was in the eighth grade, Seeberg said.“She was going to be dealing with anxiety and depression for the rest of her life,” he said. “Difficult situations for everybody were always going to be more difficult for her … but the thing about Lizzy was, she wanted to get up every day and punch life in the face. She wasn’t going to be denied having a normal life, and [going to] college was an important part of that.”However, after a difficult first semester at the University of Dayton, the Seeberg family decided there must be another alternative for Lizzy to better support her mental health, he said. The alternative was Saint Mary’s, where Lizzy wanted to enroll as a first-year and have a fresh start in college.“She felt she knew more about herself, and she felt very confident [at Saint Mary’s],” he said. “Some of her doctors are on record saying she was as strong and determined as they’d ever seen her. She was very committed to us in saying ‘I’m going to use all my tools and all my resources,’ meaning diet and exercise, the counselors here, her friends [and] us.”However, in the final days of her life, Lizzy Seeberg faced challenges that were beyond her capacity, her father said.“[On September 9th], she went to a sexual assault awareness event, and for whatever reason, I think it hit her, and it all began to unravel and close in,” he said.Following his daughter’s death, Tom Seeberg said there came moments of grace that began to build “capital-H Hope.”“As we were walking the dog [that Sunday], we were talking and saying, ‘Let’s be real about this, something has hit us here that’s the worst possible thing that can happen, and it became this prayer – a simple prayer of ‘God, show us the way. We need this to be our finest hour. We need these next several days to be our finest hour,’” he said.For the Seebergs, the funeral and burial process were dark, but also beautiful, as the “Lizzy spirit” pulled the entire family together, he said.“Over that next week, we saw our faith; we saw hope and love carry us,” Seeberg said. “I was the only one able to make it to the memorial here, [and though] I’ve never been a touchy-feely faith guy, I’ve never been an evangelizer or anything like that … when Caroline Bacchus’ [Lizzy’s former roommate] mom embraced me, it was just incredible. And when we were about ready to walk into the chapel, and there were some 400 folks in there, it was incredibly moving.“And when Carol Mooney handed me Lizzy’s class ring … and said, ‘Once a Belle, always a Belle,’ I just about collapsed. I have to say, it was about the first time in my life I’ve been touched like that.”For Tom Seeberg, this build-up of spiritual moments led him to what he called “getting it.”“The reason why we are here on earth, we can know it intellectually, but I didn’t really get it until then,” he said. “It’s this ability to go beyond ourselves, to cry tears of happiness or tears of grief … it’s to experience love that is transforming.“That’s the big capital-H Hope, and all other hope rests upon that. Light does conquer darkness; life will conquer death, and we will see Lizzy again. And therefore, get about acting as a witness to that belief, and that means doing something. … For us, it meant moving forward, not moving on. Wear the scar – it’ll fade, but wear it for all it means. And do something positive with it.“That’s the spirit in which we’ve been living,” he said. “The reality of Lizzy never leaves me … so hope is where we live. Our prayer in desperation was answered.”In the conclusion of the talk, Seeberg discussed the issues of mental illness and sexual assault on college campuses, wishing for Lizzy to be a symbol of hope in such challenges.With respect to mental illness, Seeberg said he is grateful for an increased awareness of mental health and a decreased stigma compared to 10 years ago.“There’s hope in your efforts in Support a Belle, Love a Belle and Irish State of Mind initiatives. There’s hope in just talking about it,” he said. “There’s hope when people get a little edgy about it. … There’s hope in asking for help. You have to believe that help is available for you if you need it, and there’s hope in the help that’s available.”In regard to sexual assault, Seeberg said from his family’s experience and their approach in prayer, he wishes for an increased awareness of sexual assault support.“We just pray that we serve Lizzy’s memory well with our message and her wishes – which were to help the next woman,” he said. “… Being a gentleman works. And I think in a place where there’s world-class education and academics … world-class facilities and even world-class athletic programs, that we should know and demand for a world-class response to sexual assault.”Seeberg said he believes there is a lot of promise in developing attitudes to the issue of sexual assault, and we are starting to see more of a culture of commitment, but student activism needs to be behind it for it to be fully successful.“You’re not going to change the world by complying with federal regulations, you’re going to change it when students demand better of their institutions,” he said. “I’d like to believe that Lizzy’s name adds to that hope.”Senior Chloe Deranek, co-chair of SGA’s social concerns committee, said Seeberg’s talk perfectly underscored SABLAB’s message of hope for the community in raising awareness of both mental health and sexual assault.“Mr. Seeberg’s message showed students how valuable hope is to have and hold onto and more than that, how to find hope when you are lost without it,” Deranek said. “I think his talk underlined the power of the Saint Mary’s sisterhood and how it extended beyond his daughter to his family as well.”Tarullo said she hopes Lizzy’s story continues to inspire a conversation about mental health issues, for Lizzy is a symbol on campus for continued awareness and support.“Lizzy was, is and will forever be a Belle,” Tarullo said. “You may not know the story behind everyone on campus, but you should know that everyone has a story to tell.“It is my personal hope that people listen to Lizzy’s and Tom’s stories and reflect on their own. Do I model hope in my thoughts, words and actions? Do I seek to bring hope to others in need?”Tags: Irish State of Mind, Lizzy Seeberg, love a belle, Mental health, mental health awareness, mental illness, mr. tom seeberg, SABLAB, seeberg, support a belle, support a belle love a bellelast_img read more

Justice Friday returns to SMC

first_imgSaint Mary’s associate professor of communicative disorders Susan Latham spoke about “Parenting with Disability” Friday afternoon as part of the Justice Education Department’s weekly Justice Friday series.Latham said parents with disability have the right to raise their own children without interference.“When we look at the evolution of parenting in the disability community, we know that these individuals have the desire to become parents regardless of cultural and political boundaries,” she said. “This is a desire many people have.”Many people with disabilities face legal, personal and medical resistance to their dream of being a parent, Latham said, resistance encouraged by the disability stigma.“What happens is people base the ability [to parent] on the disability rather than the behavior itself,” she said.Latham addressed the disability stigma through a video about Miles Forma, a young man with cerebral palsy. Doctors, parents and tutors held different perspectives on Forma’s ability to function with disability, but Latham said the one perspective that mattered was Forma’s, who gave a speech at his Bar Mitzvah against all odds.“How would you feel if people thought things like ‘You’ll never do much of anything’ or that maybe you don’t have the same life plan as someone else because you have a physical disability, based on the stigma around disability?” Latham said. “We have to step back and think about whose desires are these versus our perceptions. [Forma] wants us to understand that he has the same dreams.”The Earl family achieved a similar dream, Latham said, the dream to marry and have a family despite disability. The couple met in an assisted living home, married and eventually had a daughter in East Lansing, Michigan, where Latham said they later faced legal challenges in raising their daughter.“There was a quiet effort to take the child away … based on only the premise that they were two individuals with disabilities,” she said.After fighting a legal battle, Latham said the Earls were able to keep their daughter.Although numerous technologies are available for parents like the Earls to raise their children, Latham said programs are necessary to train parents with disability to use these technologies.“Fairness is not everyone getting the same thing,” she said. “Fairness is everyone getting what he or she needs.”The 20th-century eugenics movement, during which more than 65,000 Americans were involuntarily sterilized for reasons including mental retardation and disabilities, highlights the significance of the issue, Latham said.“Even today, 24 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, several states still have some form of involuntary sterilization laws on their book,” she said. “Women with disabilities today still contend with corrosive tactics to encourage sterilization, to encourage them to have abortions because they are deemed unfit for motherhood, not based on their capacity to parent but based on their having a disability.“Despite this harrowing history, many people with disabilities still choose to become parents.”In her experience working with parents with disability, Latham said she sees numerous examples of success. For many children, having a parent with a disability teaches them to respect those who are different and look past the disabilities of classmates, she said.Parents with disabilities face challenges in social acceptance, education and income, Latham said. These are the arenas that need to become more adaptive in order to assist parents in achieving their goals, she said.“When we think about the dignity of human beings and what people’s desires are, rather than saying you can’t achieve these desires, we need to ask ‘How can we help you achieve them?’” Latham said.The next Justice Friday lecture will take place Nov. 7 at 12 p.m.Tags: disability, Justice Fridays, Miles Forma, parenting, Susan Lathamlast_img read more

Committee studies worker participation

first_imgKeri O’Mara | The Observer Since 2013, a committee of students, faculty and staff has been compiling data and researching the impact of the freedom of association policy in Notre Dame’s Licensing Codes of Conduct, more commonly called “the China Policy.”“This began in the late 90s when there was a lot of activity around sweatshops, and the previous president, Fr. [Edward] “Monk” Malloy instituted a campus-wide committee to look into what Notre Dame’s response would be,” University Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said. “That committee met and wrote a report with a series of recommendations.“The major recommendation in it was Notre Dame should not allow products produced with Notre Dame’s logo on it to be manufactured in countries which didn’t have complete freedom of association.”This week, the Worker Participation Committee will put forth its findings to the Notre Dame community through a series of events focused on explaining the current policies and proposed alternatives. The following week, students and faculty will have an opportunity to respond in an open forum with committee members.“The question on the table is to engage or not to engage, and I think the question we’re going to explore [this] week is: does engagement make sense as a way to improve the experience of workers in these factories?” Christine Cervenak, associate director of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, said. “Or, I think it’s very possible that a lot of the conversation will be around why not to engage and to allow the existing policy to continue.”Worker participation refers to factory workers’ right to freely associate, including their ability to form unions, Cervenak said. Under current rules, apparel companies like Under Armour, which the University currently licenses to create apparel, cannot produce Notre Dame products in factories where workers cannot freely associate.“The right of association is the right that the initial policy focuses on, and this committee is really focusing on what we’re now calling workers’ participation,” she said. “If you’re unhappy with your wage or your safety or environmental issues, you should be able to complain to your employer.”According to the Worker Participation Committee’s website, the current Freedom of Association policy, enacted in 2001 after Malloy’s committee released its recommendations, stipulates, “University licensed products cannot be manufactured in countries lacking a legal right for workers to organize and form independent labor unions of their own choosing.“Since then, China and 10 other countries (Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Laos, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates) have been on a list of countries where licensees were prohibited from producing Notre Dame-licensed products.“Notre Dame is the only university with such a policy.”Affleck-Graves said the policy was born out of the University’s desire to lead peer institutions like Duke and Stanford in demonstrating the possibility of doing ethical business abroad in countries where working regulations and human-rights laws differ.“It’s very important that Notre Dame always does things that it feels comfortable with and that it meets the values and morals and ethical standards that we would be proud of,” he said. “And at the same time, our mission is to be a source for good in the world and to encourage and foster change for the better wherever we can.“That’s what’s driving this project. Is there a way where we can be an example to others of how to do ethical business in a country like China? It’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another thing to actually do it and provide a proven and tested model that then other people can implement.“… If we can’t, then we won’t do it. But if we can, I think it would be an exciting opportunity for Notre Dame to take the lead in this area.”Affleck-Graves said the office of the executive vice president typically reviews each of Notre Dame’s policies about every 10 years to ensure their continued relevance. Cervenak said Affleck-Graves and Notre Dame administrators realized in their review of the licensing codes of conduct that, though well intentioned, the sanctions against China and nine other countries had not yielded a substantive positive impact.“As I understand it, there was a hope that Notre Dame would be at the forefront of getting other universities to get behind a movement that would put pressure on China to change its labor policies,” Cervenak said. “I think there was some hope, real hope, tangible hope that that would happen, and in the end, the universities that might have joined with us did not do so.”Student body president Lauren Vidal, who served on the panel with student body president emeritus Alex Coccia, said the fact that many Notre Dame students come from China and that the University itself has fostered a strong presence in China encouraged Affleck-Graves to review the licensing policy.“It’s a unique opportunity because when the committee met to discuss this initially, we realized that although we banned production in China, we’ve seen no change due to the ban,” Vidal said. “… We think that this may be a unique and very constructive way to approach improving the lives of workers in a deliberate way.”Besides compiling research, the Worker Participation Committee’s responsibilities have included considering alternatives to the China Policy. A proposed pilot program would allow “three or four” audited Chinese factories that meet certain standards of working conditions and agree to a “rigorous analysis” to begin producing Notre Dame apparel, Affleck-Graves said.“We’ve done an audit of six factories,” he said. “To get a sense of what we could do in an audit, we took a team over to China including Lauren and Alex to visit four of the factories. We were trying to verify that the company that was doing the audits for us had actually got the message on what we thought was important.”“So now the question is, would we actually be comfortable applying that program, and how would the companies operate under that system?” Affleck-Graves said.Notre Dame enlisted the help of Verité, a non-profit consulting firm, to identify and assess factories in China that might participate in such a program if the current policy were to change, Cervenak said.Last September, Vidal toured four potential factories in China with seven other individuals, including Coccia and assistant provost for internationalization Jonathan Noble, who also directs Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway.“We visited four factories, two of which were pretty phenomenal in terms of worker representation,” Vidal said. “We also visited two other factories which we decided we wouldn’t be comfortable manufacturing in. I was very happy to see that the delegation all agreed on that.”Affleck-Graves said the Worker Participation Committee’s work and recommendations offer the campus community a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue about an issue that matters not just to the University’s mission and operations but also to concerns of the global economy.“China is the focus of the committee because it’s the second-largest economy in the world,” Affleck-Graves said. “Within the next few years, it will probably be the largest economy of the world.”“China is a very, very important country and so the ability to go into a country like that and influence behavior is something I personally think Notre Dame should be trying to do,” he said. “This can become a model not just for China. … By tackling one of the biggest countries, I think you have the biggest opportunity to create a role model for others.”Tags: China, China policy, Christine Cervenak, John Affleck-Graves, labor, Lauren Vidal, Notre Dame, Worker Participationlast_img read more

Author considers love in light of Christian teaching

first_imgJason Evert, a speaker on chastity and virtue and author of books such as “How to Find Your Soul Mate Without Losing Your Soul,” offered a take on chastity, relationships and love to a packed audience at Jordan Auditorium.The talk, sponsored by the Notre Dame Right to Life and titled “How to Save your Marriage Before Meeting Your Spouse,” focused on redefining the virtue of chastity for young adults who seek to form healthy romantic relationships.“Navigating the dating scene is obviously very tough,” he said. “What I’m proposing is a return to the concept of the virtue of chastity.”Evert said while the contemporary connotation of chastity frames it as a repressive attitude towards sex and sexuality, chastity is actually a virtue that, when practiced, liberates and ordains sexuality to God’s love.“Chastity is a virtue like courage or honesty that applies to your sexuality,” Evert said. “It does not eliminate your sexual desires; rather, what it does is it orders them according to the demands of human love. The purpose and function of it is to free the human person from a utilitarian attitude.”Evert said working with with young adults showed him the desire young people have towards forming loving and healthy relationships but also their inability to learn how to date and engage in romantic relationships in light of Christian teachings on abstinence and virtue.He said one problem in contemporary dating lies in men’s lack of initiative in pursuing relationships with women.“What’s happening is today, we’re not initiating love. We’re either initiating lust, or we’re initiating nothing,” he said. “… It’s one thing to want this kind of love, but it’s not enough to want to find it. We need to know how to give it and how to receive it as well.”Evert said women, meanwhile, feel social pressure against developing authentic relationships. He emphasized five points within his presentation that addressed the problems both men and women face when navigating contemporary dating. These points are enjoying and understanding oneself in single life, looking for love from within, facing fear, creating clear commitment and maintaining purity within relationships.Evert said the distinction between sexual desire and lust was important to understanding through what lens people should view men and women. According to Evert, sexual desire is natural to men and women, whereas lust is an unnatural perversion that impeded the ability to appreciate the person, and rather only appreciate the pleasure that could be derived from the person. He said abstinence allows people to know and love the person as whole, and therefore stop lust.“What we learn through abstinence, is that abstinence is not about waiting to love your girlfriend, it is about loving that woman perfectly, by caring about her body, and her soul, in all eternity,” Evert said.“When you grow in purity, you come to a greater awareness of the beauty of the human body, and that beauty becomes a light to your actions.”Tags: How to Save Your Marriage Without Losing Your Spouse, Jason Evertlast_img read more

ND seniors revel in last week on campus

first_imgDuring the days leading up to graduation, Senior Week offered members of the class of 2016 one more chance to celebrate and come together through several different events.Senior Week committee head Sarah Price said her experience working Senior Week as a junior last year equipped her with the skills and knowledge necessary to plan this year’s agenda.“I know that a lot of different people were talking to the senior class officers and I was, I think, one of the few people who had gone through it last year, so it gave me a lot of good insight into what I wanted to improve, change upon or even keep the same,” she said.While Senior Class Council (SCC) was included throughout the planning process, SCC vice president Shannon Montague said she gives full credit to Price and her committee for organizing a fun week of events.“Sarah has done an absolutely incredible job with Senior Week — we couldn’t have asked for a better person,” Montague said. “We pretty much trusted her with everything, and she always kept us in the loop.”Online ticket sales were a new change to the week this year, Senior Week committee member senior Ted Cogan said, and allowed more students the opportunity to secure tickets to popular events. In past years, seniors had to purchase tickets in person, but this year all ticket sales were coordinated through Student Shop ND, an online platform for student group sales and donations.Another new addition to Senior Week was Domerfest 2.0, a recreation of the class of 2016’s freshman year Domerfest, Price said.“Basically, we are doing exactly what you think it is. It is Domerfest all over again in Stepan Center, just like we had it when I was a freshman,” Price said in an interview before Senior Week started. “That’s one thing that I’m really actually proud of, and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. It’s really ridiculous now, what we have going on for it, but there’s going to be just basically unlimited ice cream, donuts and coffee, Chick-fil-A, pizza, six-foot beach balls and glow sticks, so it’s just going to be crazy — it’s going to be a fun night.”Price said Domerfest 2.0 garnered a surprisingly strong response from the senior class, with about 1,300 people attendees.  Additionally, the service project was a popular event, Cogan said, and came as a pleasant surprise to the committee.“We sold out of the service event really quickly,” he said. “It’s kind of cool that people made it their mission to say they want to do service on this week that’s really supposed to be about us. … We’ve been urging people to find other ways to do that because, even though the Senior Week committee can’t provide it, anyone can reach out to all those different organizations.”Price said each senior class has its own vision of Senior Week, which this year’s committee has taken into account while preparing for the week.“We put a lot of time and a lot of hard work into all of [the events], so I’m just looking forward to seeing all the seniors show up to all of them and just enjoy,” she said in an interview before the events. “It’s supposed to be a fun week — each event we’ve taken a lot of time and care with, so we’re really making sure that the day of, everyone is getting what they want.”The senior class’s engagement in Senior Week is indicative of the spirit of the class of 2016, Cogan said.“I think we’ve been very pleased at how well our class has engaged in it,” he said. “On certain events we were worried about numbers. … But I think we’re kind of one of those classes that just says, ‘Everyone’s going to Finni’s on Monday night to see standup,’ or ‘Everyone’s going to Corby’s for this one thing,’ and I think that very much shows in our Senior Week attendance.”Price said one of the highlights of Senior Week will be the annual Commencement Ball on Wednesday night.“I think I’m probably most excited for the Commencement Ball, to experience that with my own friends as a senior,” Price said. “Last year, I was there as a junior and I had a blast working it, so I’m excited to actually attend it in my own right.”Cogan said in an interview before the week that he thinks the class Grotto trip, the final event of Senior Week, will be a fitting end to the week.“[I’m excited for] the Grotto, actually,” he said. “It’s the last event of the whole thing, and I think … after all this hectic craziness of Senior Week and the fun exhausting stuff, that’ll be really nice for everyone to come together and just kind of be with each other for one last sentimental, reverent time.”Aside from the events she and the committee planned, Price said Senior Week serves as an opportunity for members of the class of 2016 to connect one last time without any distractions.“I think it’s a culmination of our four years, and at this point I think a lot of us are just really excited to have that last week on campus without any class, without any tests or papers due and just really be able to enjoy everyone around you and catch up with people that you may not have seen even for a couple of years,” she said. “I think there’s definitely going to be a lot of tears shed, but happy tears.”Montague said she appreciates members of the senior class having a chance to celebrate with each other one last time before graduating.“Yes, I’m going to miss everyone, but the fact that we get to celebrate this entire week with the campus all to ourselves is such an incredible opportunity,” Montague said. “I wouldn’t want to spend my last days on campus with anyone else.”Tags: Commencement 2016, Domerfest 2.0, Graduation, Senior Weeklast_img read more

GALA-ND/SMC to honor SMC alumna

first_imgThe Gay and Lesbian Alumni group of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA) will host an award ceremony this weekend to honor Kristen Matha, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2003, with the Thomas A. Dooley Award.Chair of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s chapter of GALA Jack Bergen said this award was named after Tom Dooley, a former Notre Dame student who served in the Navy.“The Dooley award was established to recognize individuals who have been leaders in advancing the human and civil rights of LGBT individuals,” Bergen said. “Our organization chose Dr. Dooley as an inspiration for his courage, passion, commitment and for helping others and his love for Notre Dame. It also happens that he was a gay man who unfortunately had his military career end way too early as a result of his [sexual] orientation.”Matha said she is honored to receive this award, and is also excited for the opportunity this weekend will present to others in the community.“For some folks, this might be their first opportunity to really engage with the LGBTQ community of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame to this level, so I’m really excited about that and continuing to build community and support around LGBTQ inclusion,” she said. “I’m honored that my work is being recognized by my peers from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame.”Matha is being recognized for being a leader in advancing LGBT human and civil rights during her time at Saint Mary’s and at the NCAA, where she now works, Bergen said.“At Saint Mary’s, she was able to assist the development of a student leader workshop focused on creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus for LGBTQ students,” he said. “At the NCAA, she has championed causes to improve LGBT benefits for employees, and has facilitated numerous LGBTQ inclusion trainings for NCAA staff, student athletes and administrators. She has made a substantial impact everywhere that she has gone.”Bergen said he hopes this award serves as an inspiration to others in the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community.“By highlighting the accomplishments of someone like [Matha] and those award recipients before her, we hope to encourage everyone — including current students — to aspire to the same spirit of strength, leadership and compassion in working for change and improvement for the LGBT community,” he said. In addition to the award ceremony — at which GALA will also announce this year’s recipient of a scholarship awarded annually to an LGBT student from Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s — there will be a networking event Friday night at Legends for alumni and students. There will also be a panel of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame faculty and students, as well as a legal advisor, called “Reconciling Religious Freedom with Civil Rights” in Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library on Saturday at noon, which will explore how universities and colleges create a supportive environment for LGBT students while ensuring the rights of everyone in their communities.Matha said she hopes that people in the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame community are moved towards solidarity after this weekend.“When I was a student and I was only out to a few trusted friends, I felt very alone on campus,” she said. “I hope this level of visibility gives our students a feeling of solidarity and a feeling of hope that both campuses will continue to work at creating more inclusive environments, not only for LGBTQ students, but for all students that come from underrepresented groups.”Tags: GALA-ND/SMC, LGBT, sexual orientation, Thomas A. Dooley Awardlast_img read more

College hosts leading African women’s theologian

first_imgThe “mother of African women’s theology,” Mercy Amba Oduyoye, served as the honorary speaker of the 33rd annual Madeleva Lecture in the Carroll Auditorium at Saint Mary’s on Thursday evening. In her lecture titled “African Women’s Theologies, Spirituality and Healing,” Oduyoye discussed her work in founding the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and their development of spiritual practices of resistance and healing relative to violence against women.College President Jan Cervelli said elevating the contributions of women in theology has been the primary purpose of the Madeleva Lecture series since its inception.“The common thread of all the Madeleva lectures for the past 33 years is that women are dedicated to changing the way we understand and respond to the world around us,” she said. “What makes Saint Mary’s mission so distinct is what an enlightening evening like tonight highlights. It highlights a sense of discovery of what it means to embrace our core values of faith and spirituality with learning and community and justice.”Empowering women to work for justice is Oduyoye’s life work and is central to the mission of Saint Mary’s, not only as a Catholic institution, but as a women’s college as well, Cervelli said.“Mercy has had great influence on helping women around the world retrieve and share their own stories and in turn, nurturing person-oriented involvement in church and society,” she said. “That key objective is very much in line with Saint Mary’s mission as a Catholic college. We guide and challenge our students here to discover the connections between the mind, the heart and the soul.”Oduyoye introduced the audience to the Circle of African Women’s Theologians’ work for women’s empowerment in West, East and Southern Africa.“The women who formed part of the circles were not merely professionally-trained theologians, but also included laywomen who were deeply engaged in religious communities, like my grandmother theologian who sang her theology,” she said. “The women’s circle is also multi-religious. It represents a vision of solidarity and an inward self-critique of destructive cultural and religious practices that conditioned women into self-abnegation. If a woman is not at ease in her own home, how can she thrive in the wider community?”For decades leading up to the 21st century, Oduyoye said, the world and African culture have changed. However, she said, women are still expected to remain submissive and self-giving in our society.“Violence such as physical battering, psychological and verbal abuse and the denial of women and conjugal rights are diseases in our community,” she said. “This source of ill-health for women was for long hidden under the cloth of privacy. African women were admonished not to wash their dirty linen in public, so their wounds pestered. It became cancerous, spreading to all aspects of domestic relations and turning homes that should be havens into hell-holes for women.”Every illness, Oduyoye said, does not only affect one’s physical being, but also one’s spiritual being.“Healing from ill health can only come if we change our conception of who God is,” she said. “God is not a man, not me, but a God of compassion. It is the right of God’s creation, including humanity, to live what God saw and pronounced good in the present state of creation. However, today we’re living in a world where the women themselves are wounded. And these wounded healers are the ones that the whole community is dependent upon to do the healing.”Oduyoye highlighted a means to promote this healing through dialogue and discussion.“When people feel that they are heard, even that can be therapeutic,” she said. “Somebody has to talk about these difficult issues in order for healing to exist. We need to talk about masculinity and what it means to be a man in a community. My hope and the hope of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians is that we can ultimately help and heal the many wounds in our communities.”Tags: circle of concerned african women theologians, Jan Cervelli, Madeleva Lecturelast_img read more

49 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s graduates to teach with ACE

first_imgMany members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s class of 2018 will begin working full-time or attending graduate school after graduation. Of these students, 49 graduates from the two schools will start their careers with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and teach at Catholic schools around the country.According to the ACE Notre Dame website, the organization serves over 13,500 students at over 120 Catholic schools in 35 communities. Included in this year’s Notre Dame graduating class who will teach with ACE next year is senior Colin Riley. Early on in his undergraduate career at Notre Dame, Riley knew he wanted to work with ACE.“The most important one was all of the incredible people I had met that were involved in the program,” Riley said. “I knew that those were the people I really wanted to surround myself with to grow into the person that I wanted to be two years from now and that any program that attracted such amazing people must be doing some really fantastic work.”Riley will be teaching high school math at Academy of Our Lady in New Orleans next year. He said his decision to teach is due in part to his appreciation for the education he received.“I saw ACE as a great way to use the gifts I’ve been given to give back to the education system that did so much for me and to those who were less fortunate than I was,” Riley said. “Given that I am interested in a long-term career in education, ACE is also a great way to get some experience in education right away out of college. It doesn’t hurt that I get to stay a Notre Dame student for two more years.”Riley said he is looking forward to getting to know the community of five other ACE teachers who he will be living with in New Orleans.Another soon-to-be Notre Dame graduate, Hannah Beighle, will be teaching elementary school language arts for ACE at a Catholic school in Santa Ana, California.Because Notre Dame doesn’t have an education major, Beighle who had always considered this major, decided to minor in education, schooling and society.“I loved all the classes I took through this minor and was so inspired by the professors and their commitment to education,” Beighle said. “As I was finishing up my junior year, I realized that I wanted to do something after I graduated that I loved and was really fulfilled by. I knew deep down that I wanted to be a teacher and loved the mission of ACE, so it was a great fit for me.”For Beighle, her career after Notre Dame is much more than simply educating children — it’s a greater mission of love.“I’m drawn to teaching because, at the end of the day, being a teacher is about way more than providing information to students,” Beighle said. “Being a good teacher is all about loving your students. I am so excited to give my students a lot of love and see them as the unique and amazing kids God made them to be. I look forward to waking up every morning and knowing that the work I do that day will be valuable and meaningful.”Tags: 2018 Commencement, ACE, Alliance for Catholic Education, Commencement 2018, Commencement Issue 2018last_img read more