Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) members voted unanimously to pursue an initiative that would eventually put printers in each residence hall and voted to dismiss a proposal for additional bike racks on campus. Both initiatives were ideas to spend the remaining $3,400 of the current SGA administration’s capital fund. Student body president Rachael Chesley brought technology into the dialogue. Updating technology has always been an interest of SGA, but all preceding administrations abandoned the idea after running into several obstacles, Chesley said. These obstacles include not having any one person responsible for the printer, which led to frequent state of disarray of the printers. According to Residence Hall Association (RHA) President Marianne Jones, RHA also has an interest in installing printers in the dorms, but funding is a roadblock. “Hall councils have been charged with coming up with a list of improvements to residence halls,” Jones said, “and the number one thing that everyone wanted was printers in the dorms, but this is out of RHA’s price limit.” SGA voted unanimously to officially pursue putting printers into the dorms. Chesley and student body vice president Laura Smith will meet with Coordinator of Student Computing Kathleen Hausmann next week to discuss a proposed plan of action, Chesley said. “I kind of see it as a phase process,” Chesley said. “It wouldn’t be all the dorms at once. I think it would begin with one dorm, one printer to prove to the technology department that we can do this, and then we can expand it in the future.” SGA also discussed installing more bike racks on campus. The bike rack proposal came from a series of comment cards SGA received from students through the comment card collection in the dining hall earlier in the year. Chesley pursued the suggestion with Building Services and brought price points and information to last week’s SGA meeting, but the initiative was moved to this week’s agenda. SGA members voted to dismiss the initiative due to lack of evidence that a majority of the student body supported it and due to the high cost of installing the bike racks.
After controversy over labor rights in an Indonesian factory prompted several universities to terminate contracts with adidas, the German apparel giant has reached a settlement regarding unpaid funds owed to laborers. As of April 8, 10 schools suspended their contracts with adidas at the urging of the United Students Against Sweatshops group, according to a USA TODAY report. The schools included Cornell, Penn State and Georgetown, but not Notre Dame. In 2005, Notre Dame signed an exclusive 10-year contract with adidas to have the company supply footwear and apparel to the Irish varsity athletic teams. The current contract lasts through the 2013-2014 season, according to a 2005 press release. A report dated Jan. 18, 2012, from the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a labor rights monitoring association said the PT Kizone factory in Tangerang, Indonesia, employed approximately 2,800 people before its closure in April 2011. It produced collegiate licensed apparel for adidas and Nike, and non-collegiate apparel for Dallas Cowboys Merchandising and other brands. The crisis began in 2010, when PT Kizone “stopped paying mandatory terminal compensation to workers separated from employment,” the report said. In January 2011, the factory owner fled the nation, “precipitating the factory’s eventual closure and leaving no money to pay severance.” The report said at the time of closure, employees were owed $3.4 million in total. Before the compromise was announced April 24, the WRC took issue with adidas being the only university-related company affiliated with the factory to not contribute or pledge to the severance fund or, according to the report. “Adidas has taken the position that it has no obligation to provide funds to the affected workers,” the report said. Before the settlement, adidas “did not disclose the violations, denied responsibility and refuses to pay anything,” it said. The report also said under university codes of conduct, “it is the duty of licensees to correct code violations.” Michael Low, Notre Dame’s director of licensing, said Notre Dame was the first university to adopt a Code of Conduct, which is applied to all of its licensees. Low said the University stayed in contact with adidas during the episode and reviewed reports and recommendations from the WRC and the Fair Labor Association. “Any time that there is an issue with factory workers and our licensees, we are concerned,” Low said in a phone interview Friday. “In our case, [Notre Dame’s] Code of Conduct doesn’t really address the issue of unpaid severance. “This was not an adidas factory, this was a factory that adidas contracted with, and this is a case where the owner of the factory basically left the country overnight and stole the severance funds that he was required to pay by the Indonesian government,” he said. “In talking to adidas, … we know that they paid their bills and paid into the severance fund. They did not believe, and our Code supported the fact that they were not responsible for the illegal act of a third party.” Low said he considers adidas to be “a worldwide leader” in its efforts to enforce codes of conduct in the factories they contract with. “It’s always unfortunate when these things happen, but at Notre Dame, we don’t force a settlement by canceling contracts,” he said. “We continue to work through issues with our licensees.” James Paladino, associate director for business operations at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, worked on the original formation of the Code of Conduct under former University president Fr. Edward Malloy. He said the University’s approach to issues of social justice focuses more on remediation than shaming. “Remediation goes along with the rights and responsibilities theme of Catholic Social Teaching,” Paladino said. “If you see an injustice, you shine the light on it. But you also work for positive change rather than just pulling out of the situation.” Administrators at other universities brought a different approach. Rodney Erickson, president of Pennsylvania State University, sent a letter to the company on March 13 to announce his university’s decision “to suspend the adidas license with Penn State for 60 days, effective immediately.” “We are confident that adidas’s actions fall short of our expectations for fair, just and humane behavior by licensees toward the laborers that sustain a system from which all of us, particularly our licensees, benefit enormously,” Erickson said in the letter. The letter stated that if adidas pays its portion of the funds owed to the workers denied compensation within 60 days, the university “will lift [the] suspension and proceed under [the] prior relationship with adidas. However, should adidas fail to do so to the satisfaction of both the Worker Rights Consortium and Penn State … the university will terminate the license.” Paladino said his past experiences with workers’ rights disputes in Latin America emphasize the benefits of remediation over termination. “I went down to El Salvador with a group, and we met with workers who had been laid off. They said, ‘whatever you do, fight for us. Don’t make them pull out,’” he said. “They really wanted to go through remediation. That’s the true piece of justice, making the changes and getting the situation resolved.” On April 24, adidas announced a solution to the situation in a letter to its university partners, provided by Notre Dame’s associate vice president for auxiliary operations David Harr. The letter said a compromise had been reached to the satisfaction of both adidas and the PT Kizone workers. “We have been and remain sympathetic to the plight of all former PT Kizone workers,” the letter said. “We have been supportive of the factory workers since we first learned of the factory’s closure and the workers’ hardship. “The additional aid comes on top of adidas’s earlier contributions in humanitarian aid, job placement services and advocacy on issues related to workers’ rights,” the letter stated. When a third party is involved in such a dispute, as it was in the PT Kizone case, Low said the University relies on the reports from the Worker Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association to advise courses of action. “Our expectation is that if the company is found to be at fault, they will remedy [the situation] appropriately to satisfy the issue,” Low said. “There’s no issue for us as long as the companies are working in good faith [and] going through remediation.” The Code qualifies in terms of ethical principles:, “Notre Dame Licensees must be committed in the conduct of their business to a set of ethical standards which are not incompatible with those of Notre Dame.” The Code of Conduct includes honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and “respect for the unique intrinsic value of each human being” in its list of ethical standards, according to the document. Paladino said Notre Dame’s Code is unique in its strong emphasis on the dignity of labor, which is another part of Catholic Social Teaching. William Purcell, associate director of Catholic Social Teaching for the Center for Social Concerns said the compromise is a “victory” for both adidas and the global community. “The bottom line here is how we can apply Catholic Social Teaching. It only happens in a practical way,” Purcell said. “You can have all the ideas of solidarity and rights and responsibilities, but how does it get carried out? It’s not just any one thing, but looking at the whole package. “We integrate Catholic Social Tradition in all we’re trying to do, including in a practical way using the University’s resources and the resources we engage in our local community and the global community,” he said. Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]
Echo, a subset of the Institute for Church Life, added a new program this year, titled “Echo Teaching Theology,” to train recent college graduates to teach high school theology and to equip them with a Master’s degree in theology from Notre Dame. Echo Teaching Theology combines a focus on formation with an intense study of theology, Echo director Colleen Moore said. “We hope to prepare young people who are not only trained to be successful theology teachers but to be mature and integrated and inspiring witnesses of the faith,” she said. Echo addresses intellectual and professional-ministerial formation to foster a strong understanding of theology from academic and career angles, Moore said. “The main part of the intellectual formation is the [Master’s] in theology,” she said. “There’s professional-ministerial formation, which is their placement, whether they’re in parish ministry or campus ministry or in high school teaching theology.” Moore said the program also seeks to foster communal and spiritual formation. “[Participants] live in intentional faith communities,” she said. “That means they share not just the living space but they share their lives, they share faith. … There is a serious commitment to prayer and spiritual direction within the Echo program. We also have a very rich series of theologically-based retreats.” Moore said Echo incorporated a teaching program because many of its graduates had gone on to teach theology and credited Echo for their success. “We also had diocesan partners around the country who have said, ‘We have a need for stronger high school theology teachers. What you all are doing with your parish catechetical apprentices could be very helpful in preparation of high school theology teachers,’” Moore said. John Cavadini, director of the Institute for Church Life, said the United States has a shortage of good high school theology teachers. “There’s no such thing as an unemployed Echo student because they’re so much in demand,” Cavadini said. “We thought the need for education in the faith, the catechetical need, is a need that comes through at school. too.” Moore said teaching theology used to be predominately a job for professed religious, and now fewer American Catholics choose a religious vocation. Schools often ask teachers with other areas of expertise to teach theology, which is not an ideal situation for students’ spiritual growth, she said. Cavadini said expertise in theology should influence how one teaches the subject. “Theology has its own pedagogy, you might say,” he said. “So the pedagogy has to be directly related to the theology and flow from it.” To be able to train young people to pass on the faith and educate the next generation of Catholics is an invaluable opportunity, Cavadini said. “I think somebody’s high school theology experience can be one of the most important ones of their whole lives,” he said. “And I think to try to increase the chances that it’s really properly theological and oriented toward the faith and to faith formation and to just really helping students become attached to the faith and understand it more deeply – that’s something I can’t pass up.” Contact Tori Roeck at [email protected]
‘Tis the season of celebrating together over food and drink. However, many Americans will be hungry and cold during this holiday season. To combat this issue, the Saint Mary’s College Student Diversity Board (SDB) will host a Hunger Banquet this Tuesday before winter break. Caroline Brown, chairwoman of the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board (SDB), said the event is well suited to the mission of the College. “The Hunger Banquet is designed to raise awareness and understanding within the Saint Mary’s community,” Brown said. “It is a great opportunity to experience what it is like to be placed in poverty. As a Catholic institution, our social responsibility plays a large role in the mission statement of Saint Mary’s, as well as our diversity board.” Students, faculty and staff will take on new identities to give them a true sense of the struggle faced by the hungry, she said. Identity slips will be given upon entry to the Banquet, placing participants in either the lower, middle or upper economic class. The participant’s role will determine which and how much food is placed on his or her plate. The Banquet will simulate each economic class and participants will be asked to manifest this identity throughout the evening. Brown said SDB decided to go forward with the event because the members believe hunger and poverty are prevalent issues that are greatly overlooked at Saint Mary’s. “We hope that our participants will take a couple things away from this event,” Brown said. “First, as Oxfam International and SDB believe, aid alone will not solve hunger, education will. We hope that our participants will come out of this event more educated and aware of the implications of hunger and poverty, and with the knowledge of how to take action. Second, we hope that our participants will take away a sense of passion for helping those in need around the world.” In addition to the roles given, SDB will give a short presentation about getting involved through organizations like The Center for the Homeless, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Hope Ministries and others. Brown said that although the content of this event is serious, the event will also be an enjoyable and educational. “Hunger is not an option, so where will you sit?” said Brown. The Hunger Banquet will be held on Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. in the Student Center Lounge. Contact Chelsey Fattel at [email protected]
The Saint Mary’s Justice Education Program presented a discussion on LGBTQ justice Wednesday as part of a new semester-long series called “Justice Wednesdays” hosted by Dr. Adrienne Lyles-Chockley with presentations from various students.The discussion of LGBTQ issues centered on how students could support family and friends in the LGBTQ community. Presenters junior Molly Smith and sophomore Bri O’Brien spoke about their personal experiences with supportive friends and faculty in the Saint Mary’s community.Smith said she suffered from an eating disorder in her high school years that made discovering her own sexuality more difficult. She said she never considered questions of sexuality or gender despite therapy and group work.“No therapist or anyone put that out there,” Smith said. “A doctor asked me if I was straight and I automatically answered yes.”Smith said there seemed to be no resources to help her consider her sexuality throughout her four years of struggling with an eating disorder. She said she began to feel more like herself the first time she opened her mind to being lesbian or bisexual.Smith said she believes talking about the issues surrounding the LGBTQ community eases the problems that come from having a relationship on campus.“Having more open conversations can help those who question or who are out,” Smith said.Smith said she and O’Brien, her girlfriend, have close friends who accept and love them, but she said she also faces conflicts with people who have opposing views.“The first semester of the year was fine, but then we found out people were spreading rumors and it was almost a slap in the face,” Smith said.Smith said she and O’Brien knew little about the rumors and received dirty looks from girls on campus.O’Brien said she thought about switching schools after friends said they did not support her and Smith’s relationship. She said the conservative atmosphere of the Saint Mary’s campus increased her desire to transfer.“I thought it would be easier to go to Western Michigan [University], where they have a center for the LGBTQ community, but I decided to stay because what will happen to the LGBTQ community?” O’Brien said.Assistant professor of communication studies Marne Austin said she believes students have more potential to create change than faculty. She said she would incorporate student suggestions into the readings for her courses and would share the suggestions with other faculty members.“Neutrality is a guise for oppression,” Austin said. “Challenge to say something.”Austin said she believes speaking up for the LGBTQ community can do more than refusing to talk about the issues the community faces.“Silence is a choice. And when you choose to stay silent in moments of hate, you choose to let that hate perpetuate,” Austin said.Tags: Justice Education, Justice Wednesdays, LGBTQ, Saint Mary’s College
The University announced Friday that it will host Idea Week in partnership with the city of South Bend, the city of Elkhart and other local community groups starting April 21, 2018. The week is designed to showcase innovation and entrepreneurship in the South Bend area and will involve entrepreneurship events, a concert at the Purcell Pavilion, a performance by a “major comedian” and a TEDx event. Tom Naatz South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers a speech addressing his experiences with innovation and advancement within the city at a press conference in the Studebaker 113 Building.Several high-profile community officials from the University, South Bend and Elkhart made a formal announcement regarding Idea Week at a Friday press conference, held at South Bend’s Studebaker 113 Building.University provost Thomas Burish said Notre Dame’s location in South Bend has been a key part of the University’s success.“It’s a truism to say that you can’t have a great university unless that university is embedded in a great community,” Burish said. “The reason is that unless you’re in a great community, a community that has a strong financial base, that has good schools and a low crime rate, prospective faculty and staff are not going to want to come to live in that community and therefore work at that university. Notre Dame has made a lot of progress in recent years, and it’s the result of this being a great community in which the staff and faculty of the University can live and work. On behalf of a grateful university, we want to thank all of you for that.”Burish said research at Notre Dame has blossomed in recent years, as the University has “nearly doubled” its external research budget, which refers to money coming from the government and other external agencies. Last year, Notre Dame’s research budget was $138 million. Burish attributed that success to the University’s administrators but especially to the work of the University’s faculty and staff.“That research growth is also a both a testament to the support the University receives from this community, and an important contributor back to the community,” Burish said. “About 75 percent of all the external research dollars we receive are spent locally.”Another truism of both great communities and great universities, Burish said, is a desire to constantly improve. He said past members of the Notre Dame and South Bend community worked to lay a strong foundation so today’s communities could “climb higher and see farther.”“Idea Week is an effort that signals the partnership between the community, and the University wants to do even more — in this case, in the area of commercialization, innovation and entrepreneurship,” he saidBurish said he hopes the results of Idea Week will improve the entire world.“We want to make sure the results of the research that I just described and the results of other innovations going on in the community … improve the world, improve the community,“ he said. ”That’s what we want to celebrate with Idea Week.”The next speaker was Scott Mereness, president of Elkhart’s Lippert Components, Inc., who discussed recent innovative developments in Elkhart, such as a “renaissance” in the RV industry and the increasing prominence of robots in the area.“Elkhart County embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and self-made manufacturing culture that now drives some of our nation’s bigger pastimes,” Mereness said. “With an appetite for risk the county’s manufacturing industry continues to dream up new and exciting products, all the while paying great attention to innovation and progress. When you look at these great innovation programs that Notre Dame and St. Joe County have in progress coupled with the manufacturing strength of Elkhart, it’s my belief that our two counties have much to benefit from working together with each other.”South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg reflected on the progress he said South Bend has made in recent years.“When I was a kid being driven to school past this area, past this building, past the ground that is now Ignition Park, it was taken for granted that there would be collapsing industrial infrastructure all around us,” Buttigieg said. “I didn’t even think to ask what it was doing there, because until I left for a little while for school I didn’t know that every city didn’t have collapsing industrial infrastructure … and I didn’t understand until later the story that it told.”Buttigieg said South Bend’s manufacturing heritage provided a foundation for the middle class. He said despite a downturn in recent decades, South Bend is on the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation.“The reason all of us are fortunate to be alive now, and in particular alive and in the South Bend-Elkhart region and connected either with industry or the social sector or the academy here, is that we are living present at the creation of a new, entrepreneurial era in our region,” Buttigieg said. “This building alone is a testament to it. And it’s not an accident the number of people who have begun to take an interest in our small city. In this building alone, this year alone, we have hosted people from the head of the international carpenters’ union, to the founder of the Dollar Shave Club, to the mayor of Los Angeles, to the CEO of Facebook … Because people are fascinated by the story of a city like ours, that went through an extraordinary industrial heyday, a near collapse and now this amazing moment of renewal. What’s powering that renewal, of course, is ideas.”Buttigieg referenced the work of Harvard professor of economics Ed Glaeser in explaining that cities are uniquely positioned to power innovation.“Ed Glaeser argued that the reason that cities create so much more intellectual activity … is that they create exchange — not just exchange of goods and services, but exchange of ideas and exchange of culture,” Buttigieg said. “And that is why we are so enthused about the concept of Idea Week.”The last speaker was Bryan Ritchie, Notre Dame’s vice president and associate provost for innovation. Ritchie said Idea Week has brought together a unique array of figures in the South Bend community.“As you were all coming in, [Burish] and I were watching you come in, and we were just commenting, ‘What a unique group of people all in one place,’” Ritchie said. “Business, government, academia — this is exactly the kind of cooperative collection of people that will be necessary to continue this progress that we have embarked upon in this region.”Tags: Elkhart, entrepreneurship, Idea Week, innovation, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend
Dominique DeMoe | The Observer Fr. Theodore Hesburgh dies at 97On Feb. 26, 2015, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, 15th president of Notre Dame and one of the most influential figures in higher education, died at the age of 97. Friends, family and the Notre Dame community came together to celebrate his life at his funeral held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on March 4, 2015.Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, M.A. class of 1975, topped a long list of dignitaries who offered reflections at the memorial service for Hesburgh in Purcell Pavilion on March 4.University President Fr. John Jenkins described Fr. Hesburgh as a moral force in a statement sent to the student body.“Next to Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C., no one has had a greater impact on the University than Fr. Ted,” Jenkins said. “With his appointments to the faculty, his creation of great centers and institutes for scholarship and research, his commitment to our Catholic character and, most of all, his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned what was a school well-known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.”Eleven ND, SMC students lost in four years2014 witnessed the death of one Notre Dame student and one Saint Mary’s student. Third-year Ph.D. student Akash Sharma died Jan. 1. Sharma was studying chemical and biomolecular engineering and worked as a teaching assistant. He was from India.Saint Mary’s former first year Madelyn Stephenson died when her car was hit on the driver’s side by a semi-tractor Jan. 3. She had a passion for learning Arabic, and her loved ones described her as a shy, smart girl.Notre Dame lost five students in 2015. Sophomore Daniel Kim was found dead Feb. 6 in his off-campus residence. A former fencer, Kim was a business student from New Jersey.Senior finance major Lisa Yang died March 3; her death was ruled a suicide by the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office. She was a resident of McGlinn Hall, and friends said she was naturally good at everything she tried.Senior Billy Meckling died in the early hours of May 16 after falling from the roof of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center; he was set to graduate the following day. Meckling was a four-year member of the Irish varsity fencing team, winning two monograms.Rebecca Townsend, a member of the incoming class of 2019, died July 2 after she and a friend were struck by a car during a Fourth of July celebration. Her friend recalls Rebecca saving his life by pushing him out of the way of the car.Junior Jake Scanlan, a mechanical engineering major from North Potomac, Maryland, died in his bed in Siegfried Hall on Nov. 11. His friends said he treated everyone like an old friend and loved to make people smile.Two Notre Dame students died in 2016. Third-year law student Karabo Moleah, 26, died March 31 in Philadelphia while studying in the Law School’s Washington D.C. program. His friends remember his questioning nature and intelligence.On March 9, junior Theresa Sagartz was found dead in her off-campus residence from natural causes related to a chronic medical condition. A third generation member of the Notre Dame community, her friends and family remember her as adventurous, self-assured and generous with her time.In 2017, Notre Dame lost two students. First-year law student Travis McElmurry, who was dual-enrolled at the business school, died in his off-campus residence on March 12. His friends said he had an easygoing nature and loved his dog.On March 31, former undergraduate student Edward Lim died at his home in Cincinnati. His friends said Lim had made a significant impact on the community during his time at the University, and remembered his love for music, philosophy and the Notre Dame Chorale.Notre Dame lost one rector in 2018. On Feb. 7, Sister Mary McNamara, the rector of Breen-Phillips (BP) Hall, died from complications related to a stroke. Sister McNamara’s loved ones said she found her dream job as BP’s rector. She was remembered for her sense of humor and her commitment to her ministry.Major Headlines in the last four yearsESPN sues Notre Dame for record access, Jan. 15, 2015On Jan. 15, 2015, ESPN filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame claiming NDSP violated Indiana’s public records law by refusing to release campus police records. Although the trial court judge ruled in Notre Dame’s favor in April 2015, ESPN won the appeal March 15, 2016 when the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that NDSP is a public agency.Donald Trump elected President of the United States, Nov. 9, 2016In the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016, Donald Trump officially defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th U.S. President. The reactions of students ranged from excitement to shock to fear. In the aftermath of the election, students formed a new student group at the University, We Stand For.Jan Cervelli inaugurated as 12th Saint Mary’s President, Nov. 12, 2016After officially taking office on June 1, 2016, College President Jan Cervelli was officially inaugurated as the 12th head of the school. Cervelli succeeded College President Emeritus Carol Ann Mooney, who served for 12 years before retiring in 2016. Vice President Mike Pence as 2017 Commencement speaker prompts walkoutOn May 21, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence gave the Notre Dame Commencement speech, prompting approximately 100 graduates to walk out of the ceremony in protest. The walkout was organized by We Stand For, a social-justice oriented student group. Reactions to the walkout were mixed and the event attracted national news coverage.University announces changes to contraceptive coverage policyAfter the Trump administration repealed the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandates requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage, the University announced on Oct. 27, 2017 it would no longer cover contraceptives through its third party, government-funded insurer. On Nov. 7, 2017, the University reversed these changes and said its third-party insurers would continue to provide contraception at no cost to those under its health plan. Then, on Feb. 7, 2018, Notre Dame announced it would abandon its third-party contraceptive coverage, as this plan included abortifacients. Instead, the University would pay for coverage of “simple contraceptives” through its own health plan.Campus Crossroads project completedAfter four years of construction, the $400 million Campus Crossroads project was completed with the opening of the Duncan Student Center, O’Neill Hall and Corbett Family Hall. The purpose of the project was to centralize every element of campus life in one location and included new classrooms, recreational facilities, meeting rooms and a student center. Tags: 2018 Commencement, Commencement 2018, Commencement Issue 2018, Four Years in Review
The Truth Initiative Campaign awarded Saint Mary’s College a grant to make campus tobacco-free. Junior Noel Keen and sophomore Addie Bobosky are the College’s student leaders to organize events to inspire a tobacco-free lifestyle.Vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said in an email that the College was approached by the Truth Initiative to apply for the grant.“The organization has been focusing on minority-serving institutions and women’s colleges because these are the groups that are most targeted by the tobacco industry,” Johnson said.The Truth Initiative is funded by the settlement with big tobacco companies that hope to speak to youth and provide information about the effects of smoking, Keen said in an email.“Through research and community engagement, the campaign uses tactical events to encourage participation in tobacco-free lives,” she said. “The campaign primarily seeks out minority colleges, such as all women’s colleges, to help create tobacco-free campuses through their grant program.”Keen and Bobosky said in an email that their goals include eliminating tobacco and e-cigarettes from Saint Mary’s and to enlist 15 percent of the student population through a text-in system.“Through the grant, we will be hosting several events on campus that will promote a tobacco-free environment,” Keen said. “We will be hosting two events before the end of the semester that will introduce our exciting ‘Saint Mary’s Lives Tobacco Free’ campaign. We hope to strongly inform our peers about the true facts of tobacco, and encourage our campus to live healthier lives.”The pair traveled to Washington D.C. in early November to participate in the Truth Initiative’s New Grantee Conference, Bobosky said, where they learned how to lead the community toward their goal. “At this conference, we sat through several seminars and workshops focusing on leadership development, true facts about tobacco, community organizing and crucial messaging tactics,” she said. “We met with many different schools from across the country and were able to collaborate with a wide array of backgrounds. The Truth Initiative staff was incredibly welcoming and motivating in their efforts to teach us about the message and how to best implement it on our campus at Saint Mary’s.”The grant allows the leaders two years to engage the community with sponsored events to spread awareness of the dangers of smoking.“Our goal is to make Saint Mary’s College a tobacco-free campus by August 2019,” Bobosky said. “We will include everybody in the community and are looking to get more people involved. Noel and I want to encourage as much participation as possible from students of all backgrounds.”Keen said she hopes to provide the Saint Mary’s community with information to encourage an end to smoking.“By having a tobacco-free campus, the Saint Mary’s community will live healthier lives,” she said. “Forty-one-thousand non-smoking adults are killed by exposure to secondhand smoke every year. Tobacco products kill 1,300 smokers every day. We want to educate our community about the facts and encourage our campus to take the next step in decreasing these statistics.”Bobosky said the pair is working on creating a video and urges community members to reach out if possible.“We are currently seeking individuals who have been affected by smoking, whether it be personally or in general, to participate in a video project,” Bobosky said. “Please contact Noel or I … to get involved. In addition, cessation assistance will be provided for those who do smoke.”Tags: Tobacco, tobacco-free campus, Truth Initiative
Fictional character Leslie Knope marked Feb. 13 as a day for “ladies celebrating ladies” in the now-infamous “Galentine’s Day” episode of television show “Parks and Recreation.” Since then, the Knope-ism has exploded into a real holiday, which has become a nationwide celebration of female friendship.“Here at Saint Mary’s, Galentine’s Day allows us to focus on our female friendships and sisterhood,” sophomore Abigail Pinnow said at her sophomore class council Galentine’s Day event. “It’s a great way to celebrate the platonic love we share.” Each class council planned a Galentine’s Day-themed event for the week of Feb. 10. Pinnow’s event, organized along with fellow sophomore class council representative Sydney Hutchinson, featured cookie decorating, give-aways and a playlist titled “Girl Power Anthems.” The College has participated in its own celebration of Galentine’s Day for many years. It has become somewhat of a tradition for Saint Mary’s students to receive a carnation in the dining hall on Valentine’s Day from Sodexo.This year, Megan Briegel, Sodexo’s field marketing coordinator, said Sodexo will be treating Belles to Astor Chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and that there will be a “mystery pop-up event” Thursday, Feb. 13. But besides surprises, treats and proclamations of love and female empowerment, what does the advent of Galentine’s Day say about American society? Mary Celeste Kearney, an associate professor of Film, Television and Theatre at Notre Dame, said the media is “the great normalizer.” “Media has a lot to do with normalization,” she said. “Since the early ’70s, there have been representations of young, single women not going directly into marriage, like Mary Tyler Moore, or Marlo Thomas. And if you can see it, you can be it.”Kearney has studied women in music videos, the girls of punk rock, riot grrrl, feminism and finally, the teenage girl as an icon. A big part of Galentine’s Day is its fixation upon the promotion and celebration of female friendships outside that of a traditional, heteronormative romantic relationship. Kearney said she feels that the figure of the teenage girl has helped to normalize the continuation of girlhood as it prevents acceleration into womanhood.“I’m really fascinated by the figure of the teenage girl as a kind of cultural icon,” she said. “A lot of people don’t because they think she’s silly and superficial, but part of my argument is that the teenage girl helped Americans become more comfortable with this notion that girls and women, especially women, could be doing things besides being wives and mothers.”Although “Parks and Recreation” might have been the first to name and commercialize a phenomenon like Galentine’s Day, Kearney said the concept of a “Galentine’s Day” has been performed long before the television sitcom got its start.“It’s been happening for longer than that — as long as there’s been single women who’ve been alone,” she said. Galentine’s Day encourages relationship independence while also focusing on the interdependence between women and girls. Yet, Kearney said she feels not enough of the conversation is focused on what kind of girls have the agency to pursue an unencumbered independent selfhood.“Teenage girlhood is not an experience that most working girls get to enjoy,” she said. “Many poor girls end up dropping out of high school on behalf of their families, either to have a job outside the family home or to stay at home because both parents are working and they need to take care of the siblings, do laundry, etc. So who has the opportunity to spend time as an independent? That tends to be upper-middle-class and wealthier girls who have a chance to delay that trajectory towards motherhood or marriage.”Kearney said she feels the celebration of platonic female friendships should happen more often than just one day a year. “I would just hope that girls and women get to celebrate each other and their friendships all year and not just the day before Valentine’s Day,” she said. “It’s a little crazy that we have to take one day out of the year to do that.”Sophomore Andie Srdoc said she feels Galentine’s Day is every day at Saint Mary’s. “It’s for all women, whether or not they’re in relationships doesn’t matter,” she said. “We go to a women’s college — we have to support each other and love each other. Galentine’s Day is a good excuse to do that.”For senior Anastasia Hite, Galentine’s Day is more than just a commercialized holiday — she said that Galentine’s Day can be a way to extend love “to the human race.” “It’s a day to appreciate your fellow sisters throughout the world,” she said. Tags: friendship, galentine, Galentine’s day, Leslie Knope, love, Parks and Recreations, Sisterhood, Valentine’s Day
Courtesy of Cait Prestage Saint Mary’s sophomore Emma Berges boards a flight back to Rome to collect her belongings before evacuating with the majority of students studying abroad.Making emergency travel plans was especially difficult, Prestage said.“Trying to work that out is hard, especially when you’re seven hours away from your family, or the people who are supposed to be helping you,” Prestage said.In the days before Saturday’s announcement, Saint Mary’s officials told students they were safe to remain in Italy, Gibson said. At the same time, Notre Dame students also studying in Rome were having regular meetings in their villa, discussing the possible consequences if the travel advisories were to escalate.“We were out with Notre Dame people and they were telling us that if [the warning] hit Level 3, then they were going home,” Gibson said. “We knew that if they were going home, we would be going home.”Saint Mary’s students were soon alerted of their immediate departure, following the heightened safety risks.“Saturday morning, we all woke up to the email saying we need to basically needed to pack our bags and have a flight booked, but they didn’t tell us what we needed to leave by,” Gibson said.Students were told to leave Italy by midnight on Tuesday and were instructed to complete a three-step check-in during the return process.The students said they were frustrated by the lack of clarity from the College, which lead to widespread confusion. Following a week of assurances, the sudden influx of emails from the administration Saturday was overwhelming, Floerchinger said.“I personally felt a little frustrated at the beginning of this whole frenzy because I was like, ‘What’s going to happen to us, what’s going on?’” she said. “We weren’t getting full transparency.”However, Prestage said she and other students appreciate the support they have received from College administrators, particularly Jennifer Zachman, the faculty coordinator of study abroad programs.“I know she’s heartbroken and I know her email must be blowing up,” she said. “No one can prepare for a pandemic, right? No one can prepare. No one saw this coming.”Floerchinger, Gibson and Prestage plan to fly out of Rome on Monday morning. Upon returning to the U.S., they will be screened and submitted to up to 14 days of quarantine at home, with limited contact with family members and pets.“We’ve all been super confused what the quarantine means,” Prestage said.These students will complete their John Cabot courses online and are to remain mostly isolated for about two weeks.“I think that’s the hardest part for me is like, my sister is at school, my brother works full time and my parents work full time,” Gibson said. “I’m going to be in my house alone for two weeks just sitting there. It’s going to drive me crazy.”Waiting to learn if they have contracted any forms of coronavirus is in itself daunting as well, Gibson said.“I think we’re all kind of anxious about like what the future holds,” she said.Interim vice president for student affairs Linda Timm said the College made the decision to bring the students back to the U.S. with their safety as their highest priority.“Saint Mary’s officials made the difficult decision on Friday evening to bring all students home from Rome for the remainder of the semester,” Timm said. “The Center for Disease Control and the State Department have raised the advisory against non-essential travel for Italy to Warning Level 3 due to the widespread outbreak of the novel coronavirus.”The College has created a webpage with emergency information, travel advisories and other resources for students currently abroad and those returning to the U.S.While the remaining Saint Mary’s study abroad programs are not impacted at this time, Timm said, the College is closely monitoring the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department and will “follow their guidelines regarding international travel.”“We understand this is a very disappointing situation for students and parents but please know that we have all students’ best interests at heart and, more than anything, desire for their health and safety,” Timm said. “This health threat is having wide-sweeping impacts, and we are so very sorry that it has affected our students in this way.”Junior Zoe Ricker has decided to remain in Rome, through an “opt out” option offered by the College. This process required students to request a waiver, which was to be signed and scanned to the administration by 5 p.m. EST the same day the email was sent out.Ricker criticized the College for not deciding to call students home earlier in the week.Jennifer Zachman, the faculty coordinator of study abroad programs, told students that the administration had first met to discuss the status of coronavirus in Italy on Wednesday, Ricker said.“The way the situation was handled overall was messy, and the drawn-out decision-making stressed out most girls to the point that despite the option to opt-out, they have chosen to leave anyways,” she said. “The timing of school wide emails at 6 a.m. our time was ridiculous and could have been avoided by making a decision Wednesday when the administration first met.”John Cabot University is currently prepping students for midterms, and Ricker said the timing of the announcement made students so distressed that many decided to comply with the orders to leave Rome simply to avoid further trouble.“Overall, it felt like things could have been handled better, but I suppose there is no great way to do that in an emergency and with such a great time difference,” Ricker said. “And of course, I am now content with my signed and dated waiver to opt-out.”Ricker will be joined by another Saint Mary’s student who also intends to stay at John Cabot.“I think both of us feel more comfortable continuing with our studies as we have been [at John Cabot], and not worrying about whatever online courses are being concocted,” she said. “With the time difference, I doubt anything would be live or interactive, and I feel that that is necessary to my way of learning.”Despite more and more American universities calling for the return of their students studying in Italy, Ricker said most locals feel “no sense of urgency.”“My professors are unfazed and JCU and Saint Mary’s both continue to send out fairly general instructions to wash our hands and really just to use common sense,” she said. “I am only as scared as I am any flu season and will just be extra careful because of my location. Later, since now I know I can stay, I will be heading to the local grocery to get more hand sanitizer to keep around and hopefully some disinfectant wipes, but other than that, I am more concerned about my midterms and homework.”As an institution, the College does not support programs that are located in regions declared Level 3 or higher, Timm said, which is why students have been asked to return to the U.S.“This is an ever-changing situation, and we do not know if the risks will become greater if a student chooses to stay,” she said. “If a student chooses to remain and not return home at this time, they are required to sign an opt-out waiver. By signing the waiver, the student is assuming all responsibilities and risks for remaining in Italy.”Before leaving Italy on Monday, Floerchinger, Gibson and Prestage said they would each throw one last coin into the Trevi Fountain, and wish for safe travels home and good health for all students.“This last night is going to be the best last night we can possibly hope for, given the circumstances,” Gibson said.Tags: CDC, coronavirus, Jennifer Zachman, John Cabot University, Level 3, Rome, Saint Mary’s study abroad, study abroad, WHO Courtesy of Cait Prestage The Roman Forum appeared empty Sunday in wake of Italy’s coronavirus epidemic.Walking the streets of the Rome, sophomore Cait Prestage noted how empty the city felt.“It doesn’t feel right. We were all saying it feels like the apocalypse.” Prestage said. “And no one wants to get too close to each other to breathe when you’re out in public. You hear one person cough and everyone stares.”Trastevere, a neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber known for its artisan shops and restaurants, is particularly quiet, Prestage said. Only a few people sat in La Tavernetta 29 da Tony, or Tony’s — a favorite dinner location for Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students studying abroad in Rome.Many people in Rome wear masks as a preventative measure, Prestage said, even though the World Health Organization only instructs those who are sick or in direct contact with someone who is sick to wear masks.Just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Saint Mary’s announced that the 33 students studying at John Cabot University (JCU) in Rome would be immediately pulled from their study abroad semester and sent home. This decision follows the continued spread of coronavirus throughout regions of Europe, including parts of Italy.Sophomores Grace Floerchinger and Josie Gibson had been with Prestage in Rome for about seven weeks before the announcement was made.Prestage was traveling in Switzerland with a friend when she first learned that she and the other Saint Mary’s students would be heading back to the U.S.“I was visiting Switzerland with my friend Emma, and we were actually going in a big group to Switzerland originally, but then people ended up canceling their flights when everything started getting a little bit crazy,” she said. “We found out while we were in Switzerland, and it was just like a whirlwind of like, ‘Can we go back and get our stuff? Do we need to go back and get our stuff? Should we just go home from here?’” The Roman Forum sat empty under a clouded gray sky Sunday morning, the few visitors passing beneath the ancient stone arches wearing face masks. The Colosseum, one of the most visited monuments in Italy, was similarly vacant.Students from Saint Mary’s made their last rounds through their favorite historical spots in Rome Sunday, preparing to cut their semester abroad short.