College explores school inequality

first_imgMcKenna said in order to make a change, more people need to care about the effects of poverty. A poor family lives on an income of $22,000 a year, she said. “There are 73 million children under the age of 17 in this country. Forty-one percent live in low-income families and 19 percent live in poor families,” McKenna said. “Part of that accountability means that we have to bring students up to their level in one or two year,” she said.”This allows for teachers to be able to teach the children in different ways.” “Educational inequality is not something that a small group of people can change. You need to tell other people and create a large group, and that will lead to real change,” Critchlow said. “Many of our students have issues with nutrition and health care. They have never seen a dentist. They have never had their eyes checked. They have never been taught about nutrition,” Jacobson-Reighter said. “This is because their parents do not have the means to provide these things.” Yolanda Turner-Smith, president of Xavier School of Excellence in South Bend, spoke about charter schools. Turner-Smith said many of the children who attend charter schools are not at their appropriate grade level. There are many children who are in the fifth grade but may be reading at a third grade level, she said. She also said charter schools have smaller class sizes and are funded by tax dollars. If a charter school is forced to close, it is usually due to financial issues, she said.Nancy Jacobson-Reighter, of the Coquillard Primary Center in South Bend, said Title I schools are government funded, which leads to an unequal distribution of funds between the schools. For students suffering from poverty, it affects every aspect of that student’s life, she said.center_img South Bend school representatives, from an elementary to university level, discussed how inequalities in education negatively affect students in a lecture at Saint Mary’s College Monday night. The lecture, titled “Equality and Education: The Faces and Facts,” began with Notre Dame professor Maria McKenna, who spoke about the problems of poverty and the education system in the United States today. “Charter schools in Indiana, as defined by the law, need to be unique, different and have high accountability,” Turner-Smith said. “This allows teachers to use different methods to reach children and teach them in different ways that they can understand.” “Three out of five kids are living in conditions where their food is not secure from day to day, their housing is questionable and positive interactions in their neighborhoods do not exist,” McKenna said. “I think the future of this country rides on the fact that we need to care enough about the child and their education for them to become productive citizens. But we are failing at that. Even though there are many people out there trying very hard to not fail, we are,” McKenna said. The event was sponsored by the Justice Education Department, the College Academy of Tutoring Program and The Katharine Terry Dooley Fund in Peace and Justice. Olivia Critchlow, assistant director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement, said there is a need to inform other people about these inequalities, and students can fill that need.last_img read more

Students to Receive Local Discounts

first_imgLocal businesses will offer more discounts for students shopping and eating in the South Bend community as early as fall break in an effort to engage students better with the surrounding area, off-campus concerns chair Emily LeStrange said. “We are taking a step towards acknowledging the possibility for embracing the college town environment in South Bend while respecting the community at the same time,” student body president Catherine Soler said. The program, officially titled Students for South Bend, will allow Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students to find discounts at local venues after presenting their student IDs, Soler said. “This is our cohesive attempt to reach out to the community in all different ways,” LeStrange said. “Students for South Bend is definitely a key component of the beND program.” The beND campaign is student government’s initiative to foster better community relations between South Bend and the Notre Dame student body. Student government began a list of more than 60 businesses it approached to offer discounts, and that list will continue to grow as student representatives work with Downtown South Bend and the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph’s County, Soler said. “We are looking especially for local places so students really have the chance to go into the real South Bend community,” LeStrange said. LeStrange said the vendors will display a window decal in their storefront to let students know that they offer discounts. “This program really benefits smaller local places,” LeStrange said. “It gets their names out and attracts student business that might not otherwise be there.” Some proposed venues include Studebagels, Ritter’s Ice Cream, Five Guys, Granite City, Papa John’s and Uptown Kitchen. Student government from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross will also present the discount plan to businesses such as Target, Isabella’s Boutique, Meijer and Ten Thousand Villages, LeStrange said. “We can let [South Bend] know that the student body does not just want to stay on campus,” LeStrange said. “We want to be in the community too.” Advertising these discounts through, the student government website, and hall staff in residence halls would be a critical part of the project so students can know what is available to them, LeStrange said. “A lot of places like Between the Buns already issue discounts but students do not really know about them,” LeStrange said. Discounts would not apply to alcoholic beverages because of standard University policy, LeStrange said. The idea behind Students for South Bend began when student government tried to investigate applying Domer Dollars and Flex Points to off-campus venues, Soler said. Students overwhelmingly preferred discounts at local businesses than having Flex Point access in these restaurants and shops, she said. Past programs sold discount ticket booklets with coupons that students could present at local venues but the Students for South Bend program would avoid this option, LeStrange said. “Students do not want to pay for a discount,” LeStrange said. “And to a certain extent I feel like you should not have to in a college town.” LeStrange said vendors would have the option of choosing when and how to offer the student discounts so they can participate in the program on their own terms. “We want the vendor to feel comfortable too in this program,” LeStrange said. “We do not want them stuck in something that they do not want.” Sophomore Catherine Hermann said accessing these local business and restaurants would present a challenge for some students. “Finding transportation is time-consuming for me,” Hermann said. “But for students who have a car here [off-campus discounts] would be really nice.” Underclassmen that do not have cars on campus would be less motivated to go into South Bend to use the discounts, she said. “If discounts were applied to deliveries then I would definitely be more inclined to take advantage of them,” Hermann said. Junior Jack Dobmeier said he thought discounts in local restaurants would be beneficial to him because he lives off-campus and eats out for many of his meals. “I never used fourteen meals in a week when I had a regular meal plan,” Dobmeier said. “I would order pizza or Jimmy John’s when I got sick of dining hall food.” Incorporating the University in local business by offering student discounts would definitely continue to develop an atmosphere of a college town, he said. “During my freshman year I did not think of [South Bend] as a college town, but it does seem to be becoming more of that now,” Dobmeier said.last_img read more

Outfitters drawn to Eddy St.

first_imgUrban Outfitters will open a store in Eddy Street Commons in September after Notre Dame students promoted the location to the popular retailer, according to Gregory Hakanen, director of Asset Management at Notre Dame. “Urban Outfitters is a fantastic retailer,” he said. “It is really terrific for college-age and student audiences so we are thrilled to have them at Eddy Street.” Kite Realty Group, based in Indianapolis, talked with Urban Outfitters for about three years before closing the deal. Former student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber made a video pitch during the 2009-10 school year for Urban Outfitters with the help of other student leaders. Kite suggested the video as a “grassroots” effort to bring the retailer to South Bend, Schmidt said. “It was not just the development that wanted [the retailer] but Notre Dame students thought Urban Outfitters would be successful too,” Schmidt said. Schmidt and Weber asked the student body for suggestions on retailers at Eddy Street Commons in an e-mail last fall. “The student involvement was just extraordinary,” Hakanen said. “I have been doing this for a while, and I have never seen anything like it.” The video began with an introduction from Schmidt. “We have been working all year with Eddy Street Commons trying to evaluate what would be successful and what would be appealing to the Notre Dame student body,” he said. “And I can honestly say that an Urban Outfitters would be a huge success.” Schmidt wore a Polo sweater in the video. “The reason I am not wearing Urban Outfitters clothing is because we don’t have one,” he said. The video showed students from around campus explaining why they would shop at Urban Outfitters in Eddy Street Commons. The retailer received overwhelming support, Schmidt said. “Once we got those votes, we thought Urban Outfitters would be extremely successful,” he said. “There were really not that many retail stores that were close to Notre Dame’s campus.” Schmidt said the store will draw shoppers from campus as well as from the local community. “It is one of those trendy stores that I think will be popular with both Notre Dame students and with South Bend,” he said. “I think we saw, as well as Urban Outfitters and Kite saw, that [Eddy Street Commons] would be a location that would attract both of those markets.” The petition and the video were sent to Urban Outfitters along with a packet of information about the local area, Schmidt said. Hakanen said Urban Outfitters should be successful in this area. “Prior to Eddy Street Commons, there was extremely limited retail close to campus,” he said. “There are a number of college-age retailers at University Park Mall but Urban Outfitters was conspicuously absent.” The next phase for the development will expand Eddy Street Commons onto the next block south, but planning has not begun for the new space, Hakanen said. Hakanen said he hoped Urban Outfitters would draw similar retailers to the development. “We have a strong restaurant line-up, and it is important to balance that,” he said. “Urban Outfitters will be a wonderful, wonderful retailer for the area.”last_img read more

SMC students fundraise for cystic fibrosis research

first_imgFor five senior marketing majors at Saint Mary’s, picking a charity for a marketing management class project was one of the easier tasks they have taken on this semester. As part of the class, students must create a fundraising event for a charity of their choice. One group, composed of seniors Antonia Infante, Ashley Ward, Debbie Neal, Liz Leeuw and Jessica Vravis, chose the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, because the members have multiple connections with the disease. “My 18-year-old sister has cystic fibrosis (CF),” Leeuw said. “This is one of the reasons why we chose to raise money for CF and all of the families it affects.” Ward said the group chose to sell tickets to the South Bend Silver Hawks game scheduled for April 20 to target the South Bend community, especially children. “I remember when I was younger and our school would have a night where all the kids and families would come to ‘The Cove,’ or Coveleski Stadium, where the Silver Hawks play,” she said. “It was always a really fun time for everyone involved.” Ward said she babysits for a local two-year-old child with cystic fibrosis, and the boy’s grandfather purchased 50 tickets for his business. The group has sold more than 100 tickets in total, Infante said, and if they sell 100 more, a guest of their choosing may throw the first pitch at the game. Vravis said the Silver Hawks made organizing the fundraiser fairly simple. “When we were deciding on what type of event we wanted to hold, we realized that having a fundraiser for a current event would be the best route to take,” she said. “The Silver Hawks already participate in charity events, so this outlet was perfect for our cause.” Neal said the group created a Facebook page for their fundraiser and hung posters and flyers around campus. They also sold tickets in the Student Center, she said. “We have also advertised for our event at Urban Swirl in Granger, [Ind.], and we were selling tickets at Sam’s Club all weekend,” Leeuw said. “In addition to these advertisements, we have been handing out little bells for people to personalize that have a message about CF on them.” Ward said raising awareness of cystic fibrosis is important to the group, because it is not a well-known disease or a cause to which people often donate. “Research has come so far over the years, and it is all due to donations and people wanting to help,” she said. Ninety cents of every dollar raised for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation support research, Leeuw said. “We really want CF to get the awareness is deserves,” Leeuw said. “Let’s make CF stand for ‘Cure Found.’” Tickets are available to students, faculty and the greater community and cost $6 each. Donations are also accepted. Ticket orders can be sent to Leeuw at [email protected] by Wednesday at 5 p.m.last_img read more

Conference addresses climate change

first_imgThe inaugural Climate Change and the Common Good Conference, an event focused on the “multidisciplinary exploration of the challenges and opportunities society faces in addressing climate change and resource scarcity,” was held April 8-10 in McKenna Hall. “[The conference was designed] to show how an important scientific issue also demands help,” associate biology professor Jessica Hellmann said. This multidisciplinary event brought together the fields of technology, science, theology and philosophy in facing this issue. “We wanted to show the University that climate change is critical to our mission,” she said. Almost 450 people registered for the event, and attendees included representatives of various universities as well as members of the local community. The topics of the conference included “The Long Thaw: How humans are changing the next 100,000 years of Earth’s climate,” “Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics” and “An Inconvenient Mind: The Mental Barriers to Confronting Climate Change.” “[We hope to] strike a balance between scientific theory [and understand] the response of the religious community, particularly the Catholic religious community and how it is that other responsible communities are responding,” theology professor Robin Darling Young said. On Monday, the conference included “several interesting talks and discussions with the audience,” Professor Hellmann said. “Two speakers presented different strategies of reducing different greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “Both agreed, however, that without action, society is on a disastrous course that will threaten human lives and environmental health.” The panel of scientific researchers spoke about the need for scientists to help society understand the scope of the climate challenge. Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the University of California, San Diego Veerabhadran Ramanathan opened the conference with a talk on ways to reduce black carbon emissions in India. The last talk of the conference will be given today by Bob Doppelt, instructor at the University of Oregon who will speak on Buddhist base theory and the process of “get[ting] out of the self-centered communist mentality.” Video tapes of the conference will be available at a later date through the event’s website the event website at Contact Charitha Isanaka at [email protected]last_img read more

John Ritschard: ‘He loved the kids, and they loved him’

first_imgIf South Dining Hall was ever serving Carl’s chicken as the special, John Ritschard made sure the students knew.Photo courtesy of I Am Notre Dame He’d swipe their ID cards, give them a smile and tell a joke. Then he’d suggest a meal for them to try.“He was a walking, talking menu,” his wife, Lila Ritschard, said.John died Sunday afternoon at age 86. He had been diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer, in March 2015. But that didn’t stop him from coming to work in the dining hall for months after his diagnosis.“He loved it. My husband loves young people,” Lila said. “He loves to tell jokes and riddles and tease. He enjoyed students coming in and out, getting to know them. We just loved being here.”Lila started working as a day monitor in 2007. When John was hired in 2008, the two took the night shift — 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — on Mondays through Thursdays.Over the years, they became an integral part of the Notre Dame community.“Notre Dame was the greatest support over all these years,” Lila said. “It just blows me away — the love that has been shown to us both here.”Jack of all tradesJohn was born and raised in South Bend, Lila said, but didn’t have much to do with the University until he started working in the dining hall.“He found his niche here,” she said.After high school, John worked in the Studebaker plant for a couple years. He worked at Sears in Elkhart for more than 20 years as one of the top salespeople. After stints in the real estate industry and other odd jobs, he made his way to Notre Dame.The pair — John and Lila — quickly became a staple at South Dining Hall. They almost never missed a day of work.“We just were always together. We just enjoyed each other,” Lila said. “I don’t think we were ever off up until the last three years.”John and Lila met in January 1999. She was working in a beauty shop at the time and a big blizzard had just struck the town. As she was cancelling the day’s appointment, in came John, traipsing over snow banks, to use his coupon for a free haircut.“Everybody used to call me the coupon bride,” she said. “I said, ‘Yes, he came in for a free haircut. See how much it cost him? The most expensive haircut of his life.’”John was the type of person that would do anything for anyone, Lila said.“I had to be careful what I said,” she added. “He was a jack of all trades. There was nothing he couldn’t fix, nothing he couldn’t make.”He made all the wood furniture in the couple’s house. He made all of Lila’s lamps. He made the table that stands in the middle of the dining hall entrance, with carved Notre Dame logos.And once, he even made his own plane, Lila said.“He was a pilot,” she said. “And he taught his whole family how to fly. They used to fly about everywhere they went.”All in all, John was a man who loved to help others, Lila said.“He would reach out to anything in need,” she said. “He loved to teach and he loved to learn.”A contagious smileSenior Marta Poplawski said she met John during her first weekend at Notre Dame. He stopped her as she was walking into the dining hall and asked for her name.“The next day, he remembered me,” she said. “It was the first moment someone was really welcoming here outside of hall staff.”A week later, Poplawski was going to eat dinner alone around 4:30 p.m. — then she saw John and Lila at a nearby table.“So I sat down and just ate with them,” she said. “And that started three years of friendship.”Over the years, John and Lila kept up with students and graduates. John won the Irish Clover Award last year, given to two individuals each year for outstanding service to the student body.“I felt like John and Lila were my grandparents away from home, in a sense,” Poplawski said.John’s smile was simply contagious, said senior Adam Degand. And it was always the same.“He had such a goofy smile,” he said. “He would make you stop for a second, show you that smile and ask you about whatever’s going on.”“Especially if you’re a freshman or new to the school — it makes you feel like you’re part of the community,” he added. “That’s special.”Dining hall monitor Dee Michael said John always had a joke of the day.“He loved the kids, and they loved him,” she said.Some days, the dining hall would run out of certain dishes — because John talked about them too much.“The cooks used to get so mad at him because he’d be telling them what the specials were, and people would listen to him. So we’d be running out of it,” South Dining Hall manager Ruth Pajor said.Dennis Smith, a manager at South Dining Hall, said John’s warm and welcoming presence will be missed by all.“The night is not the same when he’s not around,” he said. “He just had a glow about him.”The simplest things Sami Zuba, a 2014 Notre Dame graduate, said in her freshman year, her birthday fell during the first two weeks of school. And she wasn’t having a great day.“It was my first birthday away from home and everything,” she said. “But then I got up to the front of the line, John swiped my card and told me happy birthday. It just absolutely made my day to know that someone on campus cared.”It was small acts like this that showed John’s big heart, Zuba said.“It was just such a simple thing,” she said. “And I think a lot of people walk out of Notre Dame hoping they can do big things to make a difference in people’s lives. One of the best ways you can do that is just doing little things.”Editor’s note: Sami Zuba was an assistant managing editor for The Observer.Every Tuesday and Thursday, sophomore Amy Mansfield and her service dog Juniper would eat dinner in South Dining Hall before folk choir practice. And every time, John stopped them to ask how they were doing.“You don’t expect someone to have such a big impact on your life when it’s a 30-second interaction each time you see him,” she said.When people complained that the chairs the monitors sat on were too tall, John took one home each night and cut it down, until they were all shorter.“That’s just the kind of guy he was,” Smith said.John had the ability to immediately light up a room, Poplawski said.“You could not enter with a bad mood into South Dining Hall,” she added. “I would wear headphones, and he would make me take them off to talk to him.”John did much more than greet people, Mansfield said.“I don’t know if it was his goal to touch every student, but I feel like everyone who walked through their line during dinner was somehow impacted,” she said. “Their day was probably made a little bit better.A visitation for John will be held Sept. 24 at Osceola Methodist Church from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will be immediately followed by a service. Both are open to the public.Notre Dame Food Services is going to provide the meat and cake for the luncheon.“We’re just so blessed and humbled to be a part of this community,” Lila said. “I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”Tags: John and Lila, John Ritschard, Notre Dame Food Services, SDH, South Dining Hall, South Dining Hall monitorlast_img read more

Snite Museum of Art reopens sculpture park

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Gina Costa A new sculpture is featured in the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, which reopens Friday and is located on the south side of Notre Dame’s campus. The park features work from artists around the globe.Director of the Snite Museum and curator of the sculpture park Charles Loving said the sculptures were selected to reflect the park’s theme by favoring both the natural environment and human spiritual nature.“Because the site was historically a landfill, I asked landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to image what it might have looked like before Notre Dame was founded,” Loving said.The park includes sculptures created by artists across the globe and by Notre Dame alumni, faculty and individuals in the South Bend community. Snite Museum’s director of marketing and communications Gina Costa said the park is an effort to “return to our nature.”“We’re rescuing [the area] from being a landfill to a beautiful, indigenous place with water elements, prairie grasses, sloping hills, and we put in 12 sculptures [created] by some of the top national and international sculptors,” Costa said.Additions to the park include new walkways, water elements and artwork such as a site-specific sculpture by Philip Rickey titled “Life of Christ/Cycle of Life,” which Loving said will create “a new sacred spot on campus.”With the sculpture park’s proximity to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the future Walsh Family Hall of Architecture, Loving said the park is the next step toward creating a “fine arts district.” Future plans include an art museum within the park and a Department of Art, Art History and Design in the area, he said.“The arts district also creates a literal bridge to the local community through its adjacency to Eddy Street Commons and by virtue of community outreach programs offered by the Snite Museum of Art and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center,” Loving said.According to the Snite Museum’s website, the eight-acre site will soon feature an amphitheater to be used for concerts, poetry readings and tour groups. The outdoor exhibit will remain open permanently and can be freely explored at any time or day.“The function of the park is for the University campus and local community to come picnic and chill out,” Costa said. “It’s just a beautiful, reflective, contemplative environment.”To celebrate the project’s completion, an opening reception will be held at the park Friday afternoon. The reception will feature speeches by community members, the opportunity to plant in the park’s soil and free food and souvenirs for the first handful of attendees.“This is a great opportunity to leave something of yourself at Notre Dame,” Costa said. “There’s going to be all sorts of things to eat, plantings, some vendors [and] just sort of a nice, chill atmosphere.”Tags: Art, Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, fine arts district, sculpture, Snite Museum of Art After five years of construction, the Snite Museum of Art will be reopening a public sculpture park on the south side of campus Friday.Themed “Reclaiming our Nature,” the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park features a myriad of acclaimed sculptures situated in an outdoor exhibition stretching across Edison Road.last_img read more

The Observer announces 2018-2019 department heads

first_imgFive new and two returning department heads will complete The Observer’s 2018-2019 Editorial Board, incoming Editor-in-Chief Courtney Becker announced Sunday. The new department editors will join Becker, incoming Managing Editor Tobias Hoonhout and Assistant Managing Editors Elizabeth Greason, Lucas Masin-Moyer and Claire Radler in running the paper’s editorial operations.Juniors Jordan Cockrum, Dominique DeMoe, Joe Everett, Mary Freeman and Nora McGreevy and sophomores Ann Curtis and Natalie Weber will take over their respective departments March 18.Cockrum, a native of Munster, Indiana, is the incoming Saint Mary’s Editor. She began her work with The Observer her freshman year and has covered a variety of topics, most recently the student health fair and human rights efforts on campus. She is pursuing degrees in humanistic studies and communication studies, and she currently resides in Le Mans Hall.DeMoe, hailing from Clayton, Delaware, and a resident of Flaherty Hall, will take over the role of Graphics Editor. Majoring in industrial design and minoring in computing and digital technologies, DeMoe began working with The Observer’s Graphics department during her sophomore year to develop her graphic-design skills. She also does graphic-design work for Legends and The Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing.Everett, who has been writing for The Observer since his freshman year, will take over as Sports Editor. A native of South Bend and a resident of Stanford Hall, he is currently pursuing a degree in the Program of Liberal Studies with a minor in peace studies. Before leaving to study abroad in London this semester, he covered men’s basketball, men’s soccer and cross country.Freeman is returning for a second year as Viewpoint Editor. She began working for The Observer as a copy editor for the department during fall of her sophomore year, and she is a current resident of Walsh Hall. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Freeman is a Program of Liberal Studies major and theology minor.McGreevy will be the Scene Editor after serving as interim head of the department during spring of her sophomore year. She is from South Bend and majoring in history and Spanish and minoring in art history. McGreevy began writing for Scene in her freshman year and enjoys writing about museums, movies and all things related to South Bend. She is a member of the Badin Community in Pangborn Hall.Curtis will take over as Photo Editor, and she is pursuing a degree in communications with a focus in public relations at Saint Mary’s. Originally from Frankenmuth, Michigan, Curtis now lives in Holy Cross Hall and has enjoyed working for the Photo department since her freshman year. Her favorite sport to photograph is hockey, and she has covered a variety of other events for the paper.Weber, a resident of Cavanaugh Hall, will head the News department. She began her work with The Observer in fall of 2016 and has since covered a range of topics, including Notre Dame’s relationship with the Naval Academy and the University’s various student organizations. Weber hails from western Colorado and is pursuing a degree in English with minors in journalism, ethics and democracy and computing and digital technologies.Tags: department editors, Editorial Board, Observer editorial boardlast_img read more

Student government, administration discuss routes to address inclusivity survey

first_imgStudent government leadership met with members of the Notre Dame administration and Board of Trustees to discuss the results of the Inclusive Campus Climate Survey released in October. Student body president Gates McGavick, student body vice president Corey Gayheart and chief of staff Briana Tucker, all seniors, discussed the problems the survey presented and potential solutions with vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffman Harding and chair of student affairs subcommittee on the board of trustees Anne Thompson. The main survey result that McGavick, Gayheart and Tucker discussed with the administration was that the majority of discrimination that Notre Dame students faced was classified as student-to-student. “It’s a very intangible problem, and we’re trying to come at it with tangible solutions, which is obviously a good thing but we want to do it in an organic way,” Gayheart said. One of the areas that the students want to address is the structure and attributes of the Moreau class, McGavick said. “We talked about some tangible ways that we felt we could improve on the results of the inclusive campus climate survey,” McGavick said. “One idea that we were discussing in senate, then brought to Erin, was having student leaders interact with Moreau in some capacity, maybe not fully teaching but leading some lessons and kind of trying to build more student-to-student connections in important places like Moreau, as opposed to teacher-to-student.”Gayheart added that some of the specific changes they suggested making to the Moreau class include adding a student mentor program to the class, making the class pass/fail, adding bystander training to the class and making sure the class makeup is diverse. “One of the issues that we heard about when we were discussing Moreau with different people was, second semester, there was a university staff member teaching a class with 13 males and one female,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to have a conversation on gender relations at Notre Dame if you have a class makeup of that. And also we need to be sure that we’re not tokenizing certain people within these classrooms as well and tokenizing their experience, but it still brings up an important point that the classes need to be representative of the student body as a whole.”Gayheart said making Moreau a pass/fail course could help take some of the pressure off students and promotes dialogue between students.“We feel that the grade actually hinders high-quality conversation,” he said. Another issue student government hopes to address in response to the survey is diversity in leadership roles on campus, specifically in regards to residence hall staff.“We also focused a lot on residence life, so diversifying hall staff and working to form more inclusive financial policies that allow students to take advantage of opportunities within the residence hall and not be financially exclusive,” Gayheart said. McGavick said that the time commitment involved with leadership combined with the lack of fiscal support can make it difficult for students who need to have a job on campus. “There are kids here who have a full class load but also have to take a job on campus, and then there’s just not enough hours in the day to do a high-level student government or RA [position],” he said. Tucker echoed McGavick, saying the leaders suggest offering some kind of financial incentive or stipend in order to make it more possible for students from diverse backgrounds to hold leadership or hall staff positions.“Everyone’s not made to have a job, be a student and do this. It’s very taxing,” Tucker added. “That shouldn’t be the standard for you to be able to participate and want to have a seat at the table. And so making sure that there are financial considerations, because we do work a lot and this is very demanding, and it’s a lot to ask of a student to do this full time and also work 20 hours a week but also be a student.”Gayheart said, in addition to diversifying people in leadership roles, it is important to make sure that all students feel welcome in their residence hall communities.“Part of it is financial incentive for socioeconomic inclusivity,” he said. “But another part as well is making sure our residence hall communities are welcoming for all, no matter their race, religion, background and so again, that’s a very intangible concept … but it is important to make sure that everyone feels welcome in these communities and everyone’s voice feels valued, and we feel that a lot of these more tangible steps will make students feel more welcome in these places.”McGavick said that the administration and board seem willing to financially support methods of increasing diversity in leadership roles. “Erin and Ann both agree that there can’t be any financial barriers to kids who want to get involved in extracurricular activities, especially student leadership at Notre Dame,” he said. “I think they really heard us there, and they expressed a willingness repeatedly to spend money on issues that we felt were important, so hopefully we’ll possibly see some movement in that area.”In addition to these measures, Gayheart said student government is committed to increasing club funding, especially for groups that focus on diversity, like the Gender Relations Center and the Office of Student Enrichment.Tucker said the group framed their proposal around three values — accountability, consistency and leadership.“We want the University’s mission and values to be consistent, so it’s not just starting with welcome weekend or just heard one time, it’s continually being reinforced in a way that’s genuine, so that students feel empowered to hold their peers accountable, and that all kind of stems back to leadership,” Tucker said. “We need, obviously, student leaders to help with this, but also leadership from the administration to really walk the walk, if you will, in regards to that.”McGavick added that students will have to work with the administration to truly improve the results of the survey. “We just feel like the community can only be improved by forging stronger relationships between students and the leaders in our administration,” McGavick said. “As the adults and as the people in charge of the administration, they’re the ones that we look to for guidance on what kind of culture and community this should be.”Hoffman-Harding said in an email that the University will be hosting student focus groups in order to gain feedback on ways to improve the campus climate at Notre Dame. “The kind of climate shift we’re aiming for, in which students of all backgrounds and identities feel they belong and no one experiences adverse treatment, will require a campus-wide response and efforts from staff, faculty and students alike,” she said.Gayheart said that students will have to be honest with each other in order to truly understand the varied experiences that make up the Notre Dame community.“Ultimately, it also comes down to honesty,” he said. “Our students have to be honest with each other, they have to be honest if someone doesn’t understand a problem another person faces. That’s okay, but it’s a learning experience, and I think we all have to be honest in our assumptions about people. We have to be honest in our lived experiences, and we have to be honest in addressing problems when we come across them, because that’s what it’s going to take to change this place for the better.”Tags: Board of Trustees, Inclusive Campus Student Survey, Student governmentlast_img read more

Notre Dame community members speak on climate change at South Bend Common Council meeting

first_imgPeople of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities, all sporting bright green stickers reading “Climate Champions,” filtered into the the City County Building in downtown South Bend Monday for the South Bend Common Council meeting regarding climate change.The room was filled — nearly to capacity — with young people, Notre Dame students and faculty who have teamed up to promote climate recovery in South Bend. This meeting, the first of two conversations on climate change with the Council, provides students with a platform to discuss the causes of climate change and the negative effects that have impacted South Bend and Notre Dame. Ryan Kolakowski | The Observer Notre Dame senior Tai Verbrugge speaks on the topic of climate change at a South Bend Common Council meeting Monday evening.Alan Hamlet, a civil and environmental engineering professor, shared an overview of the effects climate change will have on South Bend and Notre Dame. Hamlet presented the results from the Indiana Climate Change Impact Assessment, a project of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.“What people do in the 21st century, it plays a very significant role in how warm climate gets in Indiana,” Hamlet said. “It’s very important, what we do in terms of mitigating or correcting the situation with too many greenhouse gases in the environment.”Hamlet said South Bend residents need to be prepared for significant warming, even if practices are put in place to reduce carbon emissions. Models show average temperatures could increase between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit in Indiana, Hamlet said.“These changes are extremely large,” he said. “If this happens, we will suffer severe impacts in Indiana and as a nation going forward.”Notre Dame senior Tai Verbrugge shared his own concerns about climate change with the five present council members. He said that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached levels around 400 parts per million, higher than ever before in recorded history.“The greenhouse effect gives us relatively straightforward logic,” Verbrugge said. “The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the hotter our planet gets.”Verbrugge said that change must come from local communities like South Bend because national and global climate recovery efforts have not been taken seriously.“The Paris Agreement calls on each of its 184 ratifying parties to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, though contributions vary country by country,” Verbrugge said. “Though the Paris Agreement went into force in 2016, the White House has since signaled that American withdrawal from that is on the table, so it’s clear that federal help in this is not necessarily coming.”Senior Jacqueline Brebeck framed the impacts of climate change around South Bend and Notre Dame. A polar vortex brought sub-zero temperatures to South Bend with wind chills near 50 degrees below zero during the last week of January.“A couple weeks ago, we all had the pleasure of experiencing the polar vortex,” Brebeck said. “It is named the polar vortex for a reason. It should stay there … When we were experiencing the polar vortex, Alaska was actually warmer than us and having not a bad day, so that is one very real scenario that has already happened in South Bend.”Students from Good Shepherd Montessori School and John Adams High School aided Notre Students with their presentations. Council members Jo Broden and Jake Teshka led the audience in applause after the student presentations concluded.Philip Sakimoto, the director of the Program in Academic Excellence at Notre Dame, shared a public comment near the end of the Common Council meeting.“Wouldn’t it be great to, within the next month or two, hand Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] a climate recovery ordinance for his signature?” Sakimoto said. “Imagine him bringing that to the national stage saying that, ‘Look, this is what we did in South Bend. This is what the entire country can do.’”The South Bend Common Council will reconvene on Feb. 27 to continue the conversation about climate change. Next week, the council will focus on local solutions, said Therese Dorau, the director of the South Bend Office of Sustainability. The council members expressed gratitude for the presenters and other students in attendance Monday night.“First and foremost, let me all just thank you all,” Broden said. “What you have done tonight for our community and for our council is provide compelling science and compelling testimony. Your voices will not go unheard. Your plea will not go unanswered as far as I can help it.”Tags: Climate change, environment, South Bend Common Councillast_img read more