Inn at Saint Mary’s hosts student photography contest

first_imgPhotography by three Saint Mary’s seniors will decorate the walls of the Inn at Saint Mary’s even after they graduate from the College on Saturday.  Seniors Julie McGrail, Elizabeth Munger and Guadalupe Quintana are the winners of a photography contest hosted by the Inn, and their work will decorate the walls of its guest rooms.  The Inn at Saint Mary’s was renovating 11 guest rooms last fall when one of its owners decided to replace the existing photos with new images, general manager Kim Kudelka said. The contest opened in December. The owners of The Inn selected the three students’ photographs from over 150 photos submitted to the contest. The Inn announced the contest winners in March. “At The Inn, we felt that we needed to get back our strong relationship with the College,” Kim Kudelka said. “I have been working here for 10 years, and we all thought it was time to rebuild the relationship. This photo contest was a great way for us to begin.” The new photos capture scenes from the College campus, she said.  “The old photos were pretty conservative and dated,” Kudelka said. “The ones that we have chosen bring light to the new rooms, and add more of the Saint Mary’s charm to each room.”  Munger said she had already taken pictures of campus when she received the email about entering the photo contest.  “My dad takes pictures, and I was given a big, professional camera for my high school graduation, so I also really enjoy taking pictures,” Munger said. “When I received the email, I already knew which pictures I wanted to send in.”  Munger’s chosen photo, titled “Reflection on Lake Marian,” depicts Haggar Hall reflected on the lake on the Saint Mary’s campus. During a walk from Notre Dame to Saint Mary’s campus, Quintana said she decided to take a snapshot of the trees lining the Avenue.  “I just happened to have my camera, a small digital one, and saw a perfect picture to capture of the fall leaves and trees,” Quintana said. “My photo is titled, ‘A Belle’s Walk Home.’” McGrail said she had a folder of photos taken on a walk from Saint Mary’s to Notre Dame last spring.  “I sent in about five different pictures, and two of them were chosen to be displayed,” McGrail said. “They are titled ‘Spring at Lake Marian’ and ‘Spring at the Grotto.’” The seniors said they were all equally surprised to find out they won the contest.  “I was excited because the Inn is so pretty and so many people stay there when they are in town,” Munger said.  Quintana said she was surprised the Inn chose her photo out of from 150 submissions.  “This was really nice because I am a senior and it is something that I can leave behind at Saint Mary’s,” Quintana said. The Inn honored the winners in April for their achievement.  “There was a reception held at The Inn for each of the winners where we were able to see our photos blown up, framed and hanging up in the renovated rooms,” McGrail said. “There is a suite that holds all of the photos that won the contest. It was really amazing to see our work hanging up at The Inn.”  So far, the Inn has received tremendous feedback on the new rooms with the new photographs, Kudelka said.  “We plan on holding another contest for more photos to be displayed in more renovated rooms,” Kudelka said. “We really want the relationship between The Inn and the College to get back to the way it was.” As they prepare for Commencement on Saturday, the three seniors said they were glad to leave a lasting mark on Saint Mary’s.  “This contest was such a great way to have a student’s perspective of their home they have lived in for the past four years,” McGrail said. “It is truly a wonderful collaboration.” Contact Jillian Barwick at [email protected],Photography by three Saint Mary’s seniors will decorate the walls of the Inn at Saint Mary’s even after they graduate from the College on Saturday. Seniors Julie McGrail, Elizabeth Munger and Guadalupe Quintana are the winners of a photography contest hosted by the Inn, and their work will decorate the walls of its guest rooms. The Inn at Saint Mary’s was renovating 11 guest rooms last fall when one of its owners decided to replace the existing photos with new images, general manager Kim Kudelka said. The contest opened in December. The owners of The Inn selected the three students’ photographs from over 150 photos submitted to the contest. The Inn announced the contest winners in March. “At The Inn, we felt that we needed to get back our strong relationship with the College,” Kim Kudelka said. “I have been working here for 10 years, and we all thought it was time to rebuild the relationship. This photo contest was a great way for us to begin.” The new photos capture scenes from the College campus, she said. “The old photos were pretty conservative and dated,” Kudelka said. “The ones that we have chosen bring light to the new rooms, and add more of the Saint Mary’s charm to each room.” Munger said she had already taken pictures of campus when she received the email about entering the photo contest. “My dad takes pictures, and I was given a big, professional camera for my high school graduation, so I also really enjoy taking pictures,” Munger said. “When I received the email, I already knew which pictures I wanted to send in.” Munger’s chosen photo, titled “Reflection on Lake Marian,” depicts Haggar Hall reflected on the lake on the Saint Mary’s campus. During a walk from Notre Dame to Saint Mary’s campus, Quintana said she decided to take a snapshot of the trees lining the Avenue. “I just happened to have my camera, a small digital one, and saw a perfect picture to capture of the fall leaves and trees,” Quintana said. “My photo is titled, ‘A Belle’s Walk Home.’” McGrail said she had a folder of photos taken on a walk from Saint Mary’s to Notre Dame last spring. “I sent in about five different pictures, and two of them were chosen to be displayed,” McGrail said. “They are titled ‘Spring at Lake Marian’ and ‘Spring at the Grotto.’” The seniors said they were all equally surprised to find out they won the contest. “I was excited because the Inn is so pretty and so many people stay there when they are in town,” Munger said. Quintana said she was surprised the Inn chose her photo out of from 150 submissions. “This was really nice because I am a senior and it is something that I can leave behind at Saint Mary’s,” Quintana said. The Inn honored the winners in April for their achievement. “There was a reception held at The Inn for each of the winners where we were able to see our photos blown up, framed and hanging up in the renovated rooms,” McGrail said. “There is a suite that holds all of the photos that won the contest. It was really amazing to see our work hanging up at The Inn.” So far, the Inn has received tremendous feedback on the new rooms with the new photographs, Kudelka said. “We plan on holding another contest for more photos to be displayed in more renovated rooms,” Kudelka said. “We really want the relationship between The Inn and the College to get back to the way it was.” As they prepare for Commencement on Saturday, the three seniors said they were glad to leave a lasting mark on Saint Mary’s. “This contest was such a great way to have a student’s perspective of their home they have lived in for the past four years,” McGrail said. “It is truly a wonderful collaboration.”last_img read more

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Oxford chancellor named Commencement speaker

first_imgTags: 2014 Commencement, Christopher Patten, Commencement Speaker, Hong Kong, Oxford University, United Kingdom Christopher Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, chancellor of the University of Oxford and chair of the BBC Trust, will be the 2014 Commencement speaker, according to a University press release. Patten will speak and receive an honorary degree on May 18 at the University’s 169th Commencement.“Chris Patten’s global experiences and expertise — from higher education, to government service to the broadcast media — are remarkable and sure to resonate with our graduates,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said. “We have had the honor of hosting him on our campus in the past, and we are so pleased that he has accepted our invitation to return and address the class of 2014.”Courtesy James Yuanxin Li Patten, who was bestowed the title of baron in 2005, was elected chancellor of Oxford in 2003, and previously served as chancellor of Newcastle University. Queen Elizabeth appointed Patten in 2011 as chair of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corp.Patten graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied history. He began his career in the Conservative Party’s research department, first as a desk officer and then as director. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Bath in 1979 and served for 27 years as minister for overseas development in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in the Cabinet as secretary of state for the environment.In July 2002, he was named the 28th and final governor of Hong Kong until its handover to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. In 1998 he chaired the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland for one year, set up under the Good Friday Peace Agreement, and from 1999 to 2004, was one of the United Kingdom’s two members to the European Commission.“One of Britain’s and world’s preeminent Catholics, Lord Patten was called upon by his government to help resolve some of the most daunting issues on the world stage, including his masterful governance of Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule, and his groundbreaking reforms of policing in Northern Ireland,” Jenkins said. “Many thought impossible the preservation of Hong Kong’s prosperity in the face of communism, just as others deemed unattainable police reform in a society so long divided by sectarian prejudice and violence.“Lord Patten proved the doubters wrong.”In 2010, the prime minister tapped Patten to direct the preparations for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom, the country’s first papal visit in almost 20 years. He has been recognized as one of Britain’s most influential Catholics.last_img read more

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Former sociology professor dies

first_imgFormer Notre Dame sociology professor Maureen Hallinan died Jan. 28 in South Bend at the age of 73 after an illness, according to a University news release.Hallinan, the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Notre Dame joined the College of Arts and Letters in 1984, the release stated. She was the second woman at the University appointed to an endowed chair and the founding director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity.“It is impossible to think about Notre Dame sociology without thinking of Maureen Hallinan,” department chair Rory McVeigh said in the release. “Her extraordinary research accomplishments and her high visibility in sociology, and in education research more generally, put a spotlight on our department in a way that benefitted her colleagues and attracted strong faculty members and graduate students to Notre Dame.” Hallinan authored or edited nine books and more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals. Her research in the field of sociology of education included work on the effects of school characteristics on student achievement and social development, the formation of interracial friendships in middle and secondary schools and achievement gaps between races. She was renowned for her research on academic tracking and children’s responses to being tracked above or below their capabilities, the release stated.During her 28-year tenure at the University, Hallinan received Notre Dame’s Presidential Award Citation in 1997, the Research Achievement in 2003, the Faculty Award in 2006 and the Excellence in Research on Catholic Education Award in 2007. Beyond her work at Notre Dame, Hallinan served as president of the American Sociological Association in 1996 and president of the Sociological Research Association in 2000.A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by interment in Notre Dame’s Cedar Grove Cemetery.Memorial contributions can be made to the University’s Alliance for Catholic Education.Tags: Staff Reportlast_img read more

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Team discovers new MRSA treatment

first_imgA team of researches led by Professor Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang developed an antibiotic to combat Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a strain of a certain species of bacteria that is resistant to a considerable number of conventional modern antibiotics.“MRSA is a multi-drug resistant version of a very common bacterium called staph aureus,” Mobashery said. “Staph aureus grows in our skin, grows in our noses, and has been with humanity for a very long time. However, this version, which is drug resistant, first appeared in 1962 in the U.K. and has become a global problem.”Mobashery said understanding the biochemical properties of MRSA that allow it to resist the effects of conventional antibiotics gave them valuable information and resources to develop an antibiotic to respond to the problem.“How does this organism have these biochemical properties that make it so difficult for treatment? That is a question my lab concerns itself with,” Mobashery said. “We want to understand the basis for the drug resistance this very difficult organism has developed over the many decades after its appearance.“When we understand some of the details of the biochemical event, can we subvert them in a way that leads to the demise of the organism? The answer to that question is yes, and we have come up with strategies that lend themselves to specifically addressing the methods that MRSA has devised for resistance,” he said. “We are actually able to take that and turn [them] around to … kill the organism.”Mobashery said finding and developing the drug to exploit the weaknesses he and his team found in MRSA was a massive computational undertaking, narrowing  over 1.2 million candidates to just 118 compounds.“1.2 compounds were so called ‘docked’ and ‘scored’ and … then, out of a collection of 2,500 compounds that had promise, we did some further analysis on which one of those were worthy of pursuit because not all of them were easy to synthesize. So we wanted to ideally buy some of these compounds,” he said.“We ended up choosing the 118 compounds … because they were commercially available and synthetically accessible.”Mobashery said the compounds were observed to effectively destroy MRSA in mice infected with the bacteria and that he saw a promising future for his work with the organism with the help of the University and collaboration with other researchers,” Mobashery said.“In principle, the University is very much interested in exploring whether companies will step up and move this class of molecules forward into clinical trials. That is something we won’t be able to do ourselves and we need partners and that’s a possibility. But research is ongoing on MRSA because of our broad interest in this organism and I’ve been at it for something like a dozen years and I trust that in a dozen years I’ll still be at it.”Tags: antibiotic, drug-resistant bacteria, Mayland Chang, MRSA, Shariar Mobasherylast_img read more

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Dorms begin to decorate for Christmas season

first_imgIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on campus. Though there may not be snow on the ground, many dorms have already begun to get into the Christmas spirit by decking the halls with unique decorations.Rosie LoVoi From the outside, passersby can see Breen-Phillips Hall’s Christmas spirit shining through candles in the windows that are put out every year after Thanksgiving, Ashley Huffman — Breen-Phillips’ president — said.However, Breen-Phillips residents get more excited about competitive holiday-themed section decorating, Huffman said.“Each section will choose a theme, and everyone in the section decorates the whole hallway with that theme,” Huffman said. “We have judges come in and pick a winning section. … This year, we’re announcing the winner at a Christmas Party.”Past themes have included “Creaster” (a blend of Christmas and Easter), Harry Potter and naughty and nice. Most of the decorations are handmade, Huffman said.“The candles look really pretty when you see them on the quad, but [it’s] especially the decorations in the sections people really like,” Huffman said. “It’s cool to see, but it’s also cool to see all the sections because all the girls can work together and have fun doing that together.”Pasquerilla West Hall celebrates the holiday season with a tradition not to be found anywhere else on campus: a lighting and decorating ceremony of the bush located in the center of the roundabout in front of the dorm.“We have the ugly bush lighting ceremony every year around Christmas time,” Allison Huffman, Pasquerilla West’s president, said. “Everyone stands in a circle around the ugly bush, and we count down to the lighting of the bush. Once the lights are plugged in, everyone sings our ugly bush song to the tune of ‘O’ Christmas Tree.’ After singing, we go inside and have a memory night and look at all of the pictures from the past semester.”This year, Pasquerilla West will light the ugly bush Tuesday.“The ugly bush is unique to PW, so I think that a tradition only we have makes the girls in PW feel special and connected to something,” Huffman said. “It is also just a weird tradition, but it is fun and brings us all together.”The McGlinn shamrock shines as the dorm’s own Christmas star for the Christmas season. The shamrock was made by a student around 10 years ago to rival O’Neil’s signature “O wreath,” McGlinn president Madeline Petrovich said.“Around 10 years ago, a girl in McGlinn actually made it when she wanted to put something up for Christmas,” Petrovich said. “She made it with wires  and put the lights on. I guess it fell apart, but the workers who put it up fixed it, and they still put it up every year. … It goes up every year around Christmas.”Though the shamrock, made of garland, wires and lights in the shape of a giant shamrock, isn’t a traditional Christmas symbol, it has become one for the dorm over the years, Petrovich said. This year, the shamrock will be put up on Dec. 5.“Most people really appreciate it when you’re walking back from the library at an ungodly hour for finals and you turn around the corner on South Dining Hall and you see it,” Petrovich said. “It’s very nice, kind of calming. You’re like, ‘Alright, it’s Christmas.’”Tags: christmas, decorations, dormlast_img read more

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Song by Notre Dame Folk Choir featured in ‘Lady Bird’

first_imgNotre Dame shares a connection with the five-time Oscar nominated film “Lady Bird,” as it features a song by the Notre Dame Folk Choir at the end of the movie.“Lady Bird” — which depicts the coming-of-age story of a girl as she attends a Catholic high school, fills out college applications, experiences her first love and navigates a tumultuous relationship with her mother — utilizes the song by the Folk Choir during a crucial point in the main character’s journey, choir director Karen Schneider-Kirner said.“The song is featured at the very end of the movie, when the lead character, played by actress Saoirse Ronan, has an awakening moment and realizes the gift of her family and mother in particular,” Schneider-Kirner said in an email.The song, Schneider-Kirner said, is “Rosa mystica,” a song from the Folk Choir’s 1996 album, “Prophets of Joy.” She said Trappist monk Fr. Chrysogynus Waddell composed the song as a hymn to Mary “with a text dating back to the 16th century.”Senior and choir president William Maher said part of the reason the scene in which the song plays is poignant is because the lyrics to “Rosa mystica” parallel the stage Ronan’s character has reached in her life.“The song, the lyrics themselves talk about changing and the transformation that happens when you accept Christ into your life,” Maher said. “Everything about it was just perfect.”Maher said “Rosa mystica” had a particularly significant meaning to the Folk Choir even before it appeared in “Lady Bird.”“It is definitely a song that we love to sing; it is something that we find really special as well,” he said. “When we are all together at our tours or social gatherings, we sing this song, and it was really special to see and hear that in the context of the movie.”Because the song holds such deep meaning for the choir, Schneider-Kirner said it was important for her and the rest of the choir to hear the song featured at what they believe is a pivotal moment in the film.“A large group of us went to see the film at [the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center] this past Saturday night,” she said, “It was a tear-jerker moment when I heard the song during the movie, as I’ve often directed that piece through the years during my [20-plus] years of association with this choir, and I knew the composer, who is now deceased.”Maher said it is unclear exactly how the production team of “Lady Bird” chose “Rosa mystica” to be in the movie, but he believes the piece must have touched them the way it touches the members of the Folk Choir.“We were just lucky in that we had this piece that we have been singing for decades now that they found to be appropriate,” Maher said.Schneider-Kirner said she is nearly certain there is some kind of Notre Dame connection within the production team of the movie. Either way, however, Schneider-Kirner said she is proud the Folk Choir could contribute to the film in this way.“The most rewarding part of this experience is being able to share this piece that we have long known and loved, appropriately dedicated to Our Lady, with a worldwide audience,” she said. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our choir.”Tags: coming-of-age, Film, Lady Bird, Music, Notre Dame folk choirlast_img read more

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Alumni describe involvement with service group

first_imgAttending an information session can change a life.Entering her senior year at Notre Dame, Victoria Ryan (‘15) knew she wanted to participate in a year of post-graduate service, but was unsure of her long-term plans. She attended the career fair and the service fair, but it was not until she chanced upon an information session about the Passionist Volunteers International (PVI) that she decided what to do immediately following graduation. Photo Courtesy of Katherine Merritt Katherine Merritt (’14), center, with two of the students she worked with through the service organization PVI for a year after her graduation. PVI offers recent graduates the opportunity to volunteer in Jamaica.“I just so happened to hear about an information session for a program that was year-long, living in community in Jamaica, and I only even went to the information session because it was at the perfect time in my schedule — it was right when I knew I’d be leaving dinner and I’d be leaving for the library,” she said.At the information session, she met Fr. Lucian Clark, the director of PVI.“I really loved talking to him and hearing everything he had to say about Jamaica and his passion for the program and the work that they were doing in Jamaica,” Ryan said. “I didn’t really stop thinking about it.”A month later, she learned she had been accepted into the program. While in Jamaica, Ryan worked at various sites, including a health clinic, a preschool and a home for orphaned boys.For Ryan, serving as a nurse’s aide at the health clinic helped her discern her career path.“Career-wise, the clinic was phenomenal,” she said. “I’m planning on attending an accelerated bachelor’s of nursing program, starting in May, so that really helped me decide what I wanted to do and really sparked my interest in global health, which I think is what I want to do long term.”According to Passionist Volunteer International’s website, the program was founded in 2003 and is currently based in Mandeville, Jamaica. Ross Boyle, assistant vocations director at PVI, visited campus Monday and Tuesday to discuss the program with Notre Dame students. Boyle said the program usually consists of a group of six to eight volunteers each year.Boyle explained PVI is run by the Passionists, a Catholic religious order with a special focus on serving the marginalized, whom they term “the crucified of today.”“Every year, we send a group of volunteers to go work for just a few weeks over 12 months,” he said. “The whole goal of the program is we work with the crucified of today. … Truthfully, the crucified of today can really be anyone. The idea of the cross, Christ crucified, is one that can kind of be anyone who bears a cross.”Before arriving in Jamaica, volunteers do not know which mission sites they will serve. However, Boyle said, this practice allows PVI to match individual volunteers with the tasks best suited to their interests and skills.“Our program really gets to know who you are and we spend three weeks with you in the country to figure out what your strengths are, to figure out what you like doing, what you hate doing [and] what areas of your life you want to grow in,” he said.Katherine Merritt (‘14), who studied science business at Notre Dame, was assigned to work in a health clinic and teach classes at an elementary school. In particular, she said she enjoyed getting to know the Jamaican people at each of her sites.“I worked in a small community clinic, so eventually we kind of started to get to know everyone,” she said. “The nurses I worked with started to become really good friends with all the patients that we were with as well. It’s just kind of different in that it’s a lot more relational and everyone is very community-based.”Ross McCauley (‘13) began support groups for HIV/AIDS patients and mothers of children with disabilities while serving with PVI. Now in medical school, McCauley said his experiences with the organization have helped him to better empathize with patients and led him to contemplate how to best serve the poor.“I think coming from a point of privilege in life, it’s hard to know how to approach some of the problems I saw, just in terms of abject poverty and things like starvation and lack of basic needs — how to approach that with sensitivity and the right motives,” he said. “It is very difficult and it is something I struggle with, even in the South Bend community I now work in.“It’s something I think we should all be aware of and think about, especially as people lucky enough to attend Notre Dame — how best to kind of inject our skills and interests in this world without being offensive or making the problems worse.”Tags: Alumni, Health care, Jamaica, Passionist Volunteers International, Post-graduate servicelast_img read more

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Author delivers lecture on free speech

first_imgDr. Keith Whittington never expected to write on the topic of free speech. As Whittington introduced himself before his lecture on his new book, “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech,” on Thursday afternoon, he explained that he set aside projects more related to his specialty in constitutional interpretation to focus on an issue he could no longer ignore.“I think it’s critically important that we collectively think seriously about what it is we want universities to do and what that implies about how we ought to conduct ourselves on campuses and what we ought to tolerate and engage in on college campuses,” Whittington said.Whittington spoke as part of the Constitutional Studies’ effort to delve into American society’s conflicted attitude toward free speech and how it affects the conversations on college campuses. Whittington said that the issue of free speech is not a new one but that the American people have been grappling with its implications for as long as public opinion surveys have been used in research.“Regardless of what kind of audience you ask, whether it’s the mass public or lawyers or college students or the like, overwhelmingly Americans tend to say that they value free speech, they value the First Amendment, they value tolerance, they think all those things are very important,” he said. “But then when you start pressing them on, ‘Well, what about this particular example of speech that you find particularly repellent?’ well, then they start trying to carve out exceptions.”This dilemma, Whittington said, is part of the challenge of living in a liberal democracy, and it requires us to accept that supporting free speech means tolerating speech that is at times troubling. Whittington said this tolerance is especially important on college campuses, where the pursuit of knowledge is tantamount.“In the context of a university in particular, we’re particularly concerned with trying to press forward to better understand the world,” he said. “And pressing forward to better understand the world means leaving lots of space open for people to make mistakes, for people to ask hard questions, for people to come to uncomfortable answers in response to those hard questions. Universities lose a lot of their value if they can’t get to that anymore.”Throughout his lecture, Whittington discussed the importance of having an open environment conducive to what he called “robust intellectual inquiry,” which means issues of free speech and universities are intimately connected both for that reason and for the danger of allowing universities any power that could be used to suppress speech.“I think campus officials will do what they’ve always done, which is try to suppress speech they find particularly embarrassing and that they think might provoke public controversy and might draw unwanted news attention,” Whittington said. “That will stretch across a wide range of different conversations. That will sometimes mean silencing speakers on the right but also mean silencing speakers on the left. It will sometimes mean silencing minority speakers and sometimes it will mean silencing other kinds of speakers.”An attack on any kind of free speech, Whittington said, is an attack on all free speech; a speaker with views outside the norm can still have something to contribute to the conversation. Yet controversy for controversy’s sake, Whittington said, should never be the goal of inviting a speaker to campus.“When we’re making decisions about whom to invite to campus to speak, the goal should be neither to stack the deck with our closest allies nor to sprinkle in the most extreme provocateurs,” Whittington said. “The goal should be to make available to the campus community at large thoughtful representatives of serious ideas.”That responsibility to choose speakers wisely lies with both faculty and students since students deserve to have power over the debates in which they engage. Whittington said protest is a form of intellectual exploration and advocacy and that students have a right to protest, as long as their efforts do not destroy the free speech of others.“It’s perfectly reasonable to protest those ideas, to complain about those ideas, to have a public conversation about whether or not the given speaker has good ideas or bad ideas, whether or not it’s a good idea to invite a given speaker to campus and the like,” Whittington said. “But disruptions, disinvitations, tearing down signs, throwing out papers are all efforts to quash the communication of ideas and shut down the free exchange of ideas among students and others on the college campus rather than to advance that free exchange of ideas by advancing better ideas in their stead.”Ultimately, Whittington argued, university administration, faculty and students must allow themselves to be challenged in order to continue the debates integral to the purpose of the university.“If students are to prepare themselves to critically engage the wide range of perspectives and problems they will encounter in the world across their lifetimes, they must learn to grapple with and critically examine ideas they find difficult and offensive,” Whittington said. “ … Recognizing and respecting the principles of free speech is challenging, but there is no alternative if we are dedicated to pursue truth. And ultimately, to pursue truth is the noble and important mission of the modern American university.”Tags: Free speech, keith whittingtonlast_img read more

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Notre Dame prepares for day of service in South Bend community

first_imgTags: back the bend, Community Service, Robinson Center Over 300 Domers are preparing to spend a day breaking out of the Notre Dame bubble.On Saturday, students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross College will serve in 17 volunteer sites across South Bend. Back the Bend, an effort between student government and South Bend community partners, will allow students to get away from their college campuses and engage with the surrounding South Bend community. Courtesy of Fritz Schemel Students participate in Back the Bend last year, painting murals at the Robinson Community Learning Center.The tri-campus community, along with volunteers from other local colleges, will devote four hours on Saturday to planting trees, spreading mulch, painting murals and completing several other projects across South Bend. Aaron Benavides, sophomore and the director of faith and service for student government, said the service day allows students to bridge Notre Dame to the surrounding South Bend neighborhoods.Editor’s Note: Benavides is a former News Writer for The Observer.“One of the really unique missions that Back the Bend has had since the beginning has been the whole idea of connecting students with the South Bend community,” Benavides said. “Oftentimes, we feel like we live within these walls at Notre Dame. We never really get out of our bubble.”Benavides said over 315 volunteers have already signed up for Back the Bend, and he expects over 350 students to participate in the service projects.Fritz Schemel, the director of community outreach and engagement for Notre Dame Student Government, said he is excited for his second outing with Back the Bend. Last April, Schemel participated in the “Keep the Lead Away” project, an effort to spread mulch and prevent lead exposure at homes in the Near Northwest Neighborhood of South Bend. This year, Schemel is leading a group of students from Dunne Hall in the same project.“Something that I find really cool about it is, yes, it’s really great that students are going into the community to engage with these community partners, but I’ve also noticed that dorms or different clubs will come together for service projects,” Schemel said. “They’ll group together, and it’s definitely a bonding event for those people too.”Other projects include planting trees at Fremont Park and painting murals at the Robinson Community Learning Center. Andy Kostielney, the assistant manager at the Robinson Center, said he has worked to foster the relationship between the Robinson Center and student volunteers.“One of the things we do in the community is we’re a bridge between the University and the Northeast Neighborhood,” Kostielney said. “It’s great to see students go out and get to see parts of South Bend that they might not have seen before.”To plan 17 volunteer projects, Benavides and Schemel worked with several community partners across South Bend. The student government representatives met with their partners on Friday mornings at the Robinson Center.“I hadn’t heard a lot about these other community partners before, and so getting to interact with them and getting exposed to them and learning about their missions has been really informative for me, and I hope students will be able to get that out of Back the Bend as well,” Benavides said.The day of service begins with registration at 9 a.m. at Irish Green, across from Eddy Street. Student volunteers work at their volunteer sites from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Following the day of service, volunteers will gather at the Robinson Center for a picnic.“People might do service at the Robinson Center or the Center for the Homeless or go work at one of the hospitals, but this is a cool opportunity for people that don’t really have the time to volunteer multiple times a week off campus,” Schemel said. “It provides a platform for people to get involved who haven’t gotten involved in the past.”last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s student creates petition for pass/fail classes, gets attention of Dean

first_imgAccess to reliable internet, time zones and lack of textbooks and materials are just a few of the obstacles that students face in the transition to remote learning. In light of the extraordinary circumstances students are working in, Saint Mary’s College should account for this and move to a pass/fail system for all courses, junior dual-degree engineering student said Grace Kulin said. Kulin created a petition on change.org urging the College to allow for a pass/fail option for undergraduate students for the spring 2020 semester.Kulin felt the need to create a petition after seeing a similar petition circulate around the Notre Dame student body. “I couldn’t just wait for Saint Mary’s to do the same, so I thought I would take action,” she said. In her petition, Kulin said she feels each student faces a different set of circumstances when they leave the campus, making it unfair to assume each student has the means or ability to focus on school in a way that will allow them to be successful.“The optional pass/fail system will allow these students to focus on what matters most (which may mean something other than school, given the global pandemic) and ensure that they are not punished academically due to their necessary shift in focus,” the petition said. “This situation especially impacts low-income students who may now be working to help their families or are facing situations such as their parents being out of work, as a community we need to support these students in the best way possible — which includes implementing an optional pass/fail system.”Another population that could potentially be negatively impacted are students who live outside of the Eastern Standard Time zone (EST), the petition said. “[Those] who may now have limited access to live office hours or struggle to ‘attend’ live lectures, this is especially true for international students,” the petition said. ”We need to support them with a pass/fail option for their courses. The inequality that sets in when students leave campus cannot be ignored and our grading scale should reflect that.”Junior Gemma van Jacob signed the petition in support of extending the pass/fail grading option to include major and minor courses. “We’re facing a literal life or death situation; how can we be expected to follow a traditional system of grading when we are literally facing the possibility of losing our lives?” van Jacob said via text. With the switch to online classes mid-semester, books left at on campus, art materials, spaces for dance minors, labs for bio[lgy] majors — these are horrifically large disadvantages, she said. “It hurts people with disabilities and [those] who may live in adverse situations,” van Jacob said. “We can take a withdraw, but doing so means we’d have to retake courses, extending our stay at SMC when some of us cannot afford it, literally.”Dean of student academic services Karen Chambers announced that students will be given the option to take their elective and Sophia program courses with pass/fail grading, in an email sent to undergraduate students March 19. Kulin said she believes that if pass/fail grading can be an option for elective and Sophia courses, then it should be an option for all courses.As of Thursday, the petition has over 800 signatures — over half the number enrolled undergraduates at the College. “The College has always been supportive of all students — especially international students — who are being greatly impacted by these extraordinary circumstances,” Kulin said.Chambers announced in an email to undergraduates Thursday that the College will not be adopting pass/fail grading for major and minor courses. Chambers said Thursday’s message comes in response to several messages — including a petition signed by many Saint Mary’s students — regarding grading as a result of the transition to remote courses.In a response posted on Facebook, Kulin said she is disappointed and does not see much of a path forward in the push for the pass/fail option after this reply.Tags: COVID-19, Pass/Fail petition, Saint Mary’s College, student petitionlast_img read more

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