Richard Notebaert, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, was re-elected for a three-year term at the Trustees’ meeting May 1, the University announced Friday.Notebaert was a member of the Board of Trustees since 1997 and became chair in 2007. He is also a Fellow of the University and previously served as chair of the board’s University Relations and Public Affairs and Communications Committee.Douglas Ford was also elected a Fellow of the University at the meeting. Ford is a Notre Dame alumnus who served as a member of the Board since 2001.The Fellows of the University are comprised of six men and women and six Holy Cross priests. The Fellows elect the Trustees and are responsible for maintaining the University’s Catholic character, according to the press release.Ford succeeds Terrence McGlinn, who served on the Board since 1994 and was elected to be an Emeritus Trustee at the spring meeting.Robert Biolchini, Michael Geddes and Thomas Larkin were also elected as Emeritus Trustees. Four alumni were also elected as new Trustees as the meeting. James Dunne III, Fr. Thomas O’Hara, James Rohr and Anne Thompson bring the board to a total of 49 active members.Dunne, a Notre Dame alumnus, is the senior managing partner of Sandler O’Neill + Partners. He heads the Executive Committee of one of the largest full-service investment banking firms serving the financial services sector.O’Hara serves as the president of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a Holy Cross institution. He earned his bachelor’s degree from King’s and his master’s degree in theology from Notre Dame.Rohr, a Notre Dame alumnus, serves as chairman and CEO of the PNC Financial Services Group. Previously, he was elected vice chairman of the company in 1989, a director in 1990, president in 1992 and chief operating officer in 1998.Thompson is the chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News, reporting on issues such as global warming and land usage. She began her career at WNDU-TV in South Bend after graduating from Notre Dame.
In continuation of the College’s “Support a Belle, Love a Belle” Week, a group of Saint Mary’s students shared their personal experiences with depression and anxiety in a panel discussion Tuesday in the Student Center Lounge. Freshman Victoria Otteson opened the discussion by recounting her battle with depression and anxiety to event attendees. “I made poor choices in my life and I made depression and anxiety define me,” she said. Though people deal with the challenges of their lives in different ways, Otteson said her struggle with depression and anxiety negatively impacted her ability to cope with specific situations. “One person’s way may be different from mine. … Life sometimes throws you things that you think you cannot survive,” Otteson said. “You can choose to fight [depression] with all you’ve got, or you can let it win.” Sophomore Molly Smith shared her personal experiences with the audience. “As a kid I was very normal,” she said. “Then I started bottling up my feelings and my mood began to decline. … I completely shut down.” Despite the challenges depression presented her, Smith said recovery is an achievable goal. “[Mental illness] can be a lifelong battle. … But no matter how impossible it seems, it’s completely possible to recover,” she said. “It takes patience and time.” Contrary to widespread public perceptions of mental illness, freshman Rebecca Jenkins said mental illness can affect anyone. “People think that mental illness is something unstable people bring upon themselves, but it does not discriminate,” she said. As a result, Jenkins said people who suffer from mental illness should muster the courage to seek help instead of struggling alone. “My fellow Belles, don’t be afraid to speak up. There is nothing wrong with looking to others for help. … We’re all here for you,” she said. “Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, and that’s okay.” Junior Allie Richthammer said support systems are crucial for those fighting mental illness. “There are always people who can make you brave,” she said. “You do not have to go at it alone.” The panelists also encouraged audience members to support friends and family members who suffer from any type of mental illness by discussing their personal sources of love and support, including family, friends and teachers. Above all, the panelists stressed mental illness should never stop people from reaching their potential or attaining happiness. “Your life is worth way more than you know, and you deserve to live life to the fullest,” Jenkins said.
As a part of Spirit Week festivities, Saint Mary’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) sponsored a canoe race Wednesday afternoon for SMC students to earn spirit points toward the “Hall of the Year” distinction for their dorm. This third annual event took place on Lake Marion, located at the center of campus. Junior Emily Murphy, national communications coordinator for RHA, said the event is intended to promote camaraderie among Saint Mary’s students. “We have Spirit Week to promote hall bonding and to increase the spirit of the different residence halls,” Murphy said. “We want to have pride not only in our class, but also [in] where we live.” RHA sponsored students to rent canoes from St. Joseph County Parks at a discount, Murphy said, and those with the best rowing skills won recognition for their dorm. “‘Spirit Points’ will be given to the different residence halls throughout the week based on [their] resident’s enthusiasm and participation in the events,” Murphy said before the race. “At the end of Spirit Week the points will be tallied and whichever residence hall collected the most points will be named ‘Hall of the Year.’” Duos competed in the regatta, which took the form of a tournament, Murphy said. Before the race, junior Katherine Wabler said she sought to regain the championship title she won freshman year. “We are going to have to work out our arms before the race so they are in prime condition for rhythmic rowing,” Wabler said. Wabler’s partner, Shanlynn Bias, said teamwork is important. “Communication and synchronization is the key to victory,” Bias said. Classmate and rowing rival, Kirsten Bonnesen, said she competed with teammate Helene Tarnacki as one of the other 11 teams up against Wabler and Bias. “Our confidence as first-time rowers is very high,” Bonnesen said. “There will be some intense competition, but our eyes are on the prize.” The first place team, consisting of Julienne DeLee and Krista Mathews from LeMans Hall, won $25 gift cards to Target. Spirit Week will conclude Friday with the first home meet in seven years for the SMC cross country team. “We will be handing out free T-shirts, and would like to encourage everyone to come and show their support,” Murphy said. The meet will begin 6 p.m. Friday at the Saint Mary’s soccer fields.
With their works “Making Democracy Work” and “Democracy in America,” political scientists Robert Putnam and Alexis de Tocqueville respectively laid out theories on the positive relationship between civil society and more efficient, democratic governance within developed nations. In her lecture Tuesday titled “NGOs, Civil Society and Democratic Participation in Kenya,” Indiana University professor Jennifer Brass argued these theories from Putnam and Tocqueville are equally applicable to the world’s less-established nations. Brass said the increase of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kenya has resulted in a bolstering of civil society and a rise in democratic participation in the areas in which these organizations are concentrated. She used the Kenyan definition of an NGO as a “private voluntary grouping of individuals or associations not operated for profit or for other commercial purposes but which have organized themselves nationally or internationally for the benefit of the public at large.” Brass backed up her positive findings with the results of a survey she administered to 501 adults across three districts in Kenya, asking questions about their interactions with NGOs as well as about their recent political behavior. The survey revealed respondents in areas where NGOs visited two or more times were 27 percent more likely to participate in a political protest or demonstration than those without NGO exposure. Brass said this significant effect of NGOs on the likelihood of protesting in Kenya shows established theories about the relationship between NGOs, civil society and democratic participation are valid in the case of developing nations. “It shows NGOs can be considered to be civil society actors … that participatory development does have spillover effects into the political realm,” Brass said. Despite the correlation between NGOs and greater political and democratic participation, Brass said NGOs are mainly concerned with issues of general development and of improving standards of living. “Looking at Kenya, what’s interesting is most NGOs are not doing explicitly political work,” Brass said. Brass said NGOs are steadily gaining more control over areas in Kenya traditionally thought to be the responsibilities of local and national governments. “Looking at core policy services that we think states provide, we have NGOs either by themselves or jointly providing about 10 percent of services in education, 12 percent in healthcare and about 20 percent in security,” Brass said. Brass concluded the lecture by saying that the nearly exponential increase in Kenyan NGOs reflects the broader trend of donors favoring these organizations over governments when it comes to aid provision. Brass said donors view NGOs as more accountable, cost-effective, participatory and in touch with grassroots communities.
Poet Lauro Vazquez, a graduate of the Notre Dame Creative Writing Program and recipient of the Sparks Prize, gave a poetry reading at the Notre Dame Bookstore on Wednesday night.A native of Northern California, Vazquez is also coeditor of “Letras Latinas,” a blog sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies and recipient of a fellowship from Cantomundo, as well as a guest speaker at several universities, such as Iowa State University.Vazquez read several of his poems, including “Ode to a Pretzel,” “Homophobes,” “The Door,” “Fables” and many others.Vazquez said his poetry presents a combination of obscure and singular events, such as former President George Bush choking on a pretzel or a scientist attempting to save carrier pigeons from extinction, with themes of revolution, mysticism and U.S.-Latino relations.“Poetry is like a playground,” Vazquez said. “Language to me is very playful and experimental.”Vazquez said his upbringing in both Mexico and California has been a major influence on his writing. Many of his poems deal with Hispanic culture and its influence in California.Revolutionaries who have impacted both the U.S. and Latin America, such as Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Carlos Sandino and Irish immigrant workers in the U.S. appear often in his poetry, Vazquez said.“When I went to college, I heard about these revolutionaries. They gave me an understanding of the world,” Vazquez said. “I’m an artist. The best I can do is reflect on their contributions.”Vazquez said the theme of revolution and the glory of revolutionaries across history connects easily with younger generations.“Young people, by nature, don’t accept injustice and tend to gravitate towards people who have upset the status quo,” Vazquez said.Vazquez said his experiences at Notre Dame helped shape his writing and his world views.“Notre Dame really helped me develop the aesthetic in terms of the artistry behind my poems as well as a broader understanding of history,” Vazquez said. “[It] helped connect me to a network of poets and I belong to a community that nourishes my writing.”Creative writing program director Orlando Menes said Velazquez has continued to grow as a writer after graduating from the program.“Lauro has made tremendous strides as a poet,” Menes said. “He grounds his cross-cultural poems in his sophisticated fusion of myth and history.”Tags: Lauro Vazquez, Legends, Notre Dame Creative Writing Program, Poetry Reading
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) recently named Notre Dame sociology professor Mark Berends a fellow in recognition of his scholarly contributions to education research. Berends was accepted as one of 22 members of the association’s class of 2014, which is currently composed of 557 AERA fellows. He will also act as the program director for this year’s AERA meeting, a conference with more than 2,400 presentations and dozens of features of leading researchers in education.“Part of this AERA fellows is recognizing people that have had a long history of research that is informative and helpful to the field, so I’m very humbled by it,” Berends said. “It’s a great honor. “AERA is an organization with some 25,000 people — there’s a whole array of people that do work like I do and people that do other work, so one never knows how they’re going to get recognized in that.”The AERA fellows are selected on the basis of sustained excellence over a long period of time, and Berends said his career began at the RAND corporation, an independent objective “think tank” that does research to inform policy. He said that’s where he began applying sociology to educational reform, and learning to work on large team-based research projects with significant policy implications. “When I was there at the time there was a policy movement called ‘comprehensive school reform’ — that they would redo schools, [with the idea] that our schools are terrible, we’re not competitive in the world, we need to break the mold,” Berends said. A large project was conducted over several years in the 1990s that examined new designs for schools, he said. “That work stood the test of time in some ways, and other people tried to replicate it,” Berends said. “It was very mixed because they were trying to develop these new designs for schools, but then they were basically selling their products to school districts which have certain constraints and regulations, and so instead of ‘break the mold’ ideas, it became more ‘fill the mold.’”While at RAND, Berends said he researched test score trends in different demographics and examined family changes and schooling situations of students. This eventually led to an appointment at Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education.“That [appointment] played into some of that work and also comprehensive school choice where we were fortunate enough to get a big research center funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to look at school choice, whether that’s charter schooling, home schooling, scholarships or vouchers, a whole array of these kinds of choices,” Berends said. “We looked not just at differences in test scores, but whether these schools were really different: was the organization different, was the instruction different, was the teaching force different?”Now at Notre Dame, Berends acts as the Director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO), part of the Institute for Educational Initiatives. His research continues to focus on school choice and educational policy, with a couple of projects currently underway.“One is that Indiana has implemented a choice scholarship program, a voucher, for low and modest income families to take money to attend a private school,” Berends said. “We have a data-sharing agreement with Indiana Department of Education, and we’re looking at the early effects of that on state test scores. Not only public schools, but a lot of the private schools [also] take state tests so it’s a nice comparison.”Although Berends is using shared data, he also supplements more traditional metrics with a comprehensive approach including interviewing and tracking student integration and social networks.“A lot of my work over time is not only looking at test scores, which sometimes tend to be a horse race, but more ‘what are the conditions under which schools can be effective, whatever the type’ — whether that’s a Catholic school, a charter school and so on,” Berends said. “We’re always trying to get more information, whether that’s through quantitative or qualitative measures.”Tags: AERA Fellow
The sounds of samulnori drums were heard throughout LaFortune Student Center on Sunday, ringing from the ballroom, which was transformed into a fair where three cultures came together to celebrate the languages, cultures and diversity at Notre Dame. The language programs of the department of East Asian languages and cultures held their fifth annual “Celebrate Asia!” event to celebrate the unique cultures of China, Japan and Korea.“Celebrate Asia!” is sponsored by the department of East Asian languages and cultures and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.Students got their creative juices flowing by hand-designing Korean fans called “buchaes” and practicing calligraphy in Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Some got competitive in “wuzi qi,” a traditional Chinese board game that resembles Connect Four. Others tested their motor skills by playing “ti jianzi,” a game that involves keeping a weighted shuttlecock in the airborne using their feet.Yongping Zhu, associate professor and Chinese program coordinator, highlighted the importance of this event.“We believe that language and culture cannot be separated,” he said. “Students will learn the languages better once they know the cultures. … Through this event, students will not only learn the culture in their target languages but also other related East Asian cultures.”As for next year, Zhu said he already had some ideas to further improve the event. He said each program replaces an activity or two each year to meet the students’ interests. While most booths exhibit traditional cultures of the countries, the planning committee is looking to increase the number of activities that better represent modern East Asia.Professional specialist Noriko Hanabusa said the event could make the Japanese program and Japanese culture more visible on campus.“Unlike Chinese and Korean, [the] Japanese program is facing serious challenges: We have very few native speakers or heritage speakers of Japanese on campus and in the South Bend community,” Hanabusa said. “ … So, it is difficult for students taking Japanese to use the language in the real-life context. We are actively planning to have extracurricular activities and events to get [these speakers together, and] ‘Celebrate Asia!’ is one of them.“The focus in our language classes is practicing the skills of languages, and we do not have enough time to talk about various cultural aspects. The event could introduce some unique culture on hands-on activities, which I think is very important.”Hanabusa said the faculty members of all three programs spent a lot of time planning to make “Celebrate Asia!” an annual occasion and that it is a testament of the three programs’ ability to communicate.In attendance were language students, international students, Asian Americans and students who just wanted to learn about the East Asian cultures. Students in a Chinese, Japanese or Korean language class were required to attend this class as part of the course requirements. A pamphlet listing all the activities and a brief description of each was provided to every participant. Students received stamps after visiting each booth, and eight stamps were required to receive the credit for attending the event.A number of participants brought friends outside of the language classes; some came for the culture, activities and fun, others came for the food.The event offered East Asian food not found in the dining halls. The Chinese program ordered entrees from JW Chen’s. The Japanese program provided a variety of sushi from the local Martin’s Supermarket. The Korean program offered sweet rice cake desserts from nearby Oriental Market.Qinfeng Wu, an international graduate student, said his favorite aspect of the event was the ability to introduce so many parts of the Asian culture in a fun way and in a short amount of time.“It’s like a crash course, very efficient in raising people’s interests in Asia,” Wu said.Wu noted some of the limitations of such an event. He said the activities represented only very small portion of the Chinese culture but also said that the fun activities kept the students engaged and is a good complement to the classroom lectures.Dennis Zheng, a student enrolled in second-year Chinese, said the event did a good job not only in representing and highlighting his culture, but also in showcasing the cultures of other East Asian countries.“As a Chinese American, I also caught a glimpse of how the Korean and the Japanese cultures engaged in recreational activities as compared to the Chinese,” Zheng said. “ … This event highlights expression of culture through recreational activities.”Tags: Celebrate Asia, Chinese program, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.
If you ask Notre Dame students, alumni or fans what makes this community so beloved, it is likely you’ll hear a recurring term: tradition. These traditions — whether it’s a dorm event, such as the Fisher Regatta, or singing the Alma Mater after football games — are crucial to the Notre Dame experience. Embedded in this culture of tradition at Notre Dame are some bizarre superstitions that have been passed down verbally for generations.When students come for a campus tour at Notre Dame or begin their first year on campus as a student, they learn about many of these superstitions. Undergraduate students are warned not to ascend the front stairs to the entrance of the main building; they must wait until graduation to climb these steps. Incoming students, according to superstition, are forbidden to walk on the God Quad grass, otherwise they will fail their freshman theology class — a course required for all students. Additionally, there are the “Ring by Spring” superstitions. Those seeking to be proposed to by the spring semester of their senior year are familiar with the idea that if they kiss their significant other beneath the Lyons Hall arch and walk counter-clockwise around the lakes holding their hands, then the couple will get married. But where did these traditions come from? Do current students wane on the side of caution and follow them?Given that many of these traditions have been passed down verbally since the inception of Notre Dame, it is difficult to say when exactly the superstition started and who started it. Some origins, including the Main Building steps, have been documented by the Notre Dame community. Fr. Thomas Blantz, a retired Notre Dame priest, knows of these superstitions but said he has never before looked into their origins.“About the Main Building steps, I just thought that since at one time that was about while the University President, Vice President, and other administrators lived there, they probably spent evenings and other periods relaxing on that beautiful porch, with the impressive view of the campus and down Notre Dame Avenue, and they did not want undergraduate students using that entrance and perhaps overhearing their conversations, occasionally private ones,” Blantz said in an email. Notre Dame’s website offers a somewhat similar explanation regarding student etiquette. This superstition “originates in 19th-century porch etiquette and smoking rituals. Only after successful completion of a degree program was a student deemed equal enough to ascend the steps and to smoke on the porch with his professors.” The Main Building and God Quad grass superstitions are two that have been passed down for generations at Notre Dame and are still honored by current students.“My grandfather taught me about the Main Building steps and not to step on God Quad, but since he attended Notre Dame in 1962, when there were only male students at the school, there were more traditions that no longer exist,” junior Darby West said.Many students know about the superstitions regarding the Lyons Arch and lake walk. There may be no answer to when that theory began, but some Notre Dame couples have become engaged after participating in this romantic ritual, even in recent years. Regardless of where all the famous superstitions surrounding famous sites on Notre Dame’s campus come from, one important sentiment remains: Tradition is hugely important at this University. “One of our older priests used to say that if something happened once on campus, it was a tradition,” Blantz said in an email. “Thus, someone may have failed a theology class and then remembered he earlier had walked on that grass, or someone may have kissed a young woman under the Lyons arch and eventually married her, and thus a tradition started.” Tags: God quad, Ring by Spring, superstitions
Natalie Weber Paul Kempf, ND assistant vice president for utilities and maintenance, speaks on the University’s energy efforts on Tuesday in Bond Hall.Kempf said efforts trace back to 2010 when the University decided to make energy a main focus of its sustainability initiatives. Working towards carbon reduction, Notre Dame has depended on a number of strategies, Kempf said.“I think our perspective was that we wanted to take advantage of the assets the University already owned, and that we had invested in, and get our value out of those, but at the same time reduce in carbon,” he said. “And like a good investment portfolio, diversification is always a good practice.”One such way the University plans to reduce its carbon output is through the construction of a new hydroelectric plant in South Bend, for which the University broke ground on Aug. 19.“Hydro will actually produce, based on today’s usage, 7% of electricity we use on campus, and it will reduce our carbon foot by 9,700 tons,” Kempf said. “Our carbon footprint today is probably about 190,000 pounds. So it will reduce our carbon footprint by 5 or 6%. Not a huge number. But there isn’t a home run here, folks, there are a lot of little projects that go together to reduce their carbon footprint.”Kempf also explained how the University’s East Plant — which houses the geothermal fields’ mechanical equipment, water chillers and a thermal energy storage tank — functions. He said the water chillers work at night — a time when power is cheaper, or the University has excess power because of a lower energy demand. Using this load shifting, Notre Dame has been able to increase its energy efficiency, Kempf said.The University also uses energy from a solar array it owns near the local airport. According to the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame estimated the array would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 2,000 tons over the course of about 20 years.“Our plan was, we weren’t going to try to produce more solar energy than we needed for [the] facility,” Kempf said. “We really wanted to be able to have some amount of power we bought all the time and have the full benefit of the solar array to the facility.”Notre Dame also purchases about half of its electricity from Indiana Michigan Power, Kempf said.“What they do on their side of the ledger matters to us as well,” he said. “They have a partner on that side that’s doing things to try to reduce their carbon footprint.”As a whole, the University is continuing to look for more cost-effective and carbon-reductive strategies, Kempf said.“There’s a whole series of different projects, some of those ones that I just mentioned,” he said. “So we have a roadmap [but] we’re always looking to see if we can make a better roadmap.”Tags: carbon reductions, coal, East Plan, Energy Week, Geothermal Field, hydroelectric plant, renewable energy, solar power, sustainability, Utilities and Maintenance Notre Dame’s coal pile is dwindling as it focuses on taking advantage of other fuel sources and works towards its goal of stopping coal combustion by the end of 2020.Assistant vice president for utilities and maintenance Paul Kempf gave updates on the University’s progress towards this goal during a presentation Tuesday afternoon. During the talk, he focused on Notre Dame’s hydroelectric plant, purchased power, geothermal fields and a number of other strategies the University is employing to work on carbon reduction.
This report was updated Aug. 23 at 9:42 p.m.Two Holy Cross students have tested positive for COVID-19, College President Fr. David Tyson said in an email to the Holy Cross community Thursday.The students who tested positive have been placed in isolation, and individuals who were in close contact with the students are now in quarantine.“Team members will make daily calls with the students in isolation as well as those in quarantine, ensuring all needs are met such as meals and prescriptions,” Tyson said in the email.Tyson urged students to continue to abide by safety precautions.“We ask that you continue the daily health check, along with being mindful about physical distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hygiene to keep our campus healthy and safe,” Tyson said. “We will continue to use strict cleaning protocols to keep all areas of the campus sanitized.”Two additional Holy Cross College community members tested positive for COVID-19 College President Fr. David Tyson said in a Sunday email to the Holy Cross community, raising the total number of confirmed cases at Holy Cross since reopening to four.“They have been placed in supported isolation at this time, and their limited close contacts have been put in supported quarantine,” Tyson said.Tags: COVID-19, David Tyson, Holy Cross