Notre Dame announced Katie Washington of Gary, Ind., as the valedictorian of the graduating class of 2010 Wednesday.Having earned a 4.0 GPA in biological sciences with a minor in Catholic Social Teaching, Washington said she owes the success she’s had to the support she’s gotten from loved ones.“By no means do I feel like I’ve done this on my own,” she said. “I’m humbled and grateful to have had this experience at Notre Dame.”Washington, who received the announcement Tuesday evening, said she is still processing the news.“I’m still trying to distill my feelings and get a grasp on what it really means,” she said. “It’s very surreal.”During her time on campus, Washington was the director of the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir and active with the Center for Social Concerns, serving as the student coordinator of its “Lives in the Balance: Youth Violence and Society Seminar.”For more than two years, Washington has worked in a research lab with biology professor David Severson, with whom she co-authored a research paper. Washington said working as an undergraduate in a research lab has been one of the most significant parts of her college experience.“It has been a really transformative experience,” she said. “I was able to take charge of a project on my own but also build relationships with people in my lab.”Washington said her work in the lab with mosquitoes that transmit diseases like dengue fever and malaria has cultivated her interested in global health equity.“These diseases account for many of the deaths of people in impoverished countries,” she said.University spokesman Dennis Brown said the Valedictorian Selection Committee unanimously chose Washington from a group of 11 students.“The Valedictorian Selection Committee was greatly moved by the address that Katie Washington wrote for her fellow graduates and their families and guests,” Associate Provost Dennis Jacobs.Jacobs said Washington is an exemplar for the graduating class.“Katie’s time at Notre Dame exemplifies the principles by which she lives — excellence in all she does, compassionate service to those in need and a deeply rooted faith life that animates her,” he said. “Katie’s humble but determined spirit represents well the Class of 2010 and will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”Upon graduation, Washington plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. dual degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
Monthly Archive: January 2021
Roughly five months after she shaved her head for the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser, “The Bald and the Beautiful,” junior Elise Jordan said her morning routine is considerably shorter. “It’s growing in a lot nicer than I thought it would,” she said, running her fingers through her short hair. “I get to sleep in longer in the mornings, too, because I don’t have to mess with it.” Jordan was one of few girls to go bald last spring for the charity, which benefits childhood cancer research grants. She said she shaved her hair, which reached the middle of her back, for many reasons, but she has also learned things she could not have imagined. “There’s a lot of pressure placed on young girls and teenage girls. The last thing they should be worrying about if they have this terrible disease is looking pretty,” she said. “I hope I can just show at least one girl that you don’t need hair to be beautiful.” Jordan called her shaved head a “vanity check.” “The first six to eight weeks after I did it, I was concerned,” she said. “I kept asking, ‘Is it growing in fast enough?’” She said she met new people while on campus this summer, and they were all curious about her hair and the charity. A summer vacation at a family home in Vancouver, British Columbia, also proved interesting — many family friends asked her about her shortened hair. “People were really supportive. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from people,” she said. “I’ve had guys say it looks better shorter.” Her hairstyle continues to make an impact; she still receives checks in the mail for donations for the charity. “People are intrigued by the entire event,” she said. “It’s a three-day event on campus, but it spans the entire year. We can still raise money.” She said she is unsure of how much money she raised personally, but she believes the event raised over $40,000 for the charity. “I don’t know how much I made,” she said. “I did online donations and have had extra money donated after. I don’t really care — it was all about how much we raised in total.” To anyone considering shaving their hair for the charity, she said it requires some thought. “Take your time,” she said. “It was very different. Some days I wanted my hair back. But it’s all about confidence. You’ve got to remember you did it for a good cause. It changed how I see myself.” She also cited her mom, a physician, as inspiration — or, more specifically, her mom’s patients. “She’s had tons of women come back in who went through chemo and were in remission with cancer again,” she said. “The first thing they say is they don’t want to do chemo again — they want to keep their hair.” While she’s uncertain if she’s going to grow her hair out or keep it short, Jordan said it’s a theoretical, and literal, weight off her shoulders. “It’s something so stupid. Why should your hair define you?” she said. “Some of my friends have long hair. I have short hair. There are a lot of things more important than a head of hair.”
Explore Celtic Iron Age ruins? Check. Examine six-thousand-year-old Neolithic agricultural land? Check. Survive a gale that suspended the ferry system? Check. Rain or shine, 12 Notre Dame students in the Archaeology of Ireland class ventured out each day during Fall Break to study the interdisciplinary facets of archaeology in coastal Ireland. Professor Ian Kuijt, who has taught the course for the past five years, said the trip offered students an experience of the country far more intensive than that available to casual visitors. “[There is] an adaptive, spontaneous aspect to it. You see sites off the beaten track, not ones you’d take a tourist bus to,” Kuijt said. “Most are in remote locations and [students] probably won’t ever see them again.” Kuijt planned this year’s trip in collaboration with Director of Irish Studies Chris Fox and received funding from Richard Sweetman, ’58. Kuijt, accompanied by John O’Neill, a professor at Ireland’s Carlow College, led students in exploring five to eight sites each day. Each student took charge of a site, preparing a tour with write-ups and maps. “When we went to the site, [the student site leader] had to wear a very attractive red safety vest and give a tour for 30 to 40 minutes. They were essentially in charge of that educational moment,” Kuijt said. “That person always got to go on the site first, because it was theirs.” Some of the sites included areas where Kuijt had done archeological surveys in the past, including Omey Island and Inisbofin. Kuijt and his students were prevented from visiting one of their planned sites by an intense gale that shut down the necessary ferry. Kuijt said the students dealt well with the severe weather conditions. “We went out in full rain gear but were getting sunburned on our faces and hands. It’s the roughest I’ve seen it in five years,” he said. “But they took great advantage of it in good spirits, which isn’t something all people can do.” Junior Ryan Lion said the opportunity to employ the skills and knowledge he learned in class made the trip worth the difficult weather and sparse sleep. “Archeology lets you contextualize a period. You can read about it and have it ingrained in you, but when you actually stand in the remains of a building from the sixth century, it really impacts you,” he said. “It was really active, involved learning.” Lion said he was drawn to the Portumna Workhouse site because of his interest in health. “It provided information on the health of Irish workhouses and the diseases affecting the people living in them at that time. People suffered from cholera and typhoid,” he said. “The infirmary was understaffed and even those few workers lacked a medical background.” Lion and his classmates wrote papers and constructed posters on the sites they visited. He said the students’ firsthand experiences of the sites will enrich their projects more than traditional research. “We’ll do a lot of secondary research for the papers and posters, including statistics and any reading relevant to the topic,” he said, “but primary observation is important for insight — we’re not just spitting out academic blurbs.” Once the posters are completed, Kuijt said they will be exhibited at Flanner Hall, where they will be judged by an Irish researcher. Beyond the expanded knowledge about Irish culture and archeology, Kuijt said the students will benefit from the development of communication and presentation skills required by the projects associated with the trip. “They get this local experience, a hidden Ireland with some zany instructors, but they get a whole range of transportable skills as well,” he said. “That’s what’s paying off.” Lion said the trip offered an understanding of the course’s subject beyond what he could learn from lectures or textbooks. “We got to think like archeologists rather than just reading about it,” he said. “I just loved having the chance to learn about the unique identity of Irish culture and how diverse it is within its own national boundary.”
International and domestic students can celebrate their cultures together during International Education Week (IEW), sponsored by the International Student Services and Activities (ISSA) this week. McKenna Pensak, assistant director of communications and outreach for ISSA, said the nation-wide initiative brings different communities and cultures together. “International Education Week is a national event that is coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to celebrate and promote global exchange between the U.S. and other countries,” Pensak said. ISSA sponsors the week of cultural events annually, Pensak said. “I think this is a great week for all students, faculty and staff to learn about other countries and cultures,” Pensak said. “It’s also a really great way to celebrate the international student community at Notre Dame.” Students learned about formal meal etiquette around the world at the Career Center’s International Student Etiquette Dinner on Monday night to kick off the week. “We [talked] about formal etiquette specifically related to interviews or when you’re on the job, and how you should act in a formal meal situation,” she said. Pensak said she expects the most popular event to be the second annual International Taste of South Bend held Wednesday in the LaFortune Ballroom. “We have eight international restaurants from the community that are providing international cuisine samples,” Pensak said. “It’s totally free and a lot of fun.” Approximately 200 students attended the inaugural event last year, Pensak said. Students from the International Ambassador program, a team of both international and American student leaders, helped organize the dining event. Pensak said the ISSA also sponsors a sale of goods and handicrafts from the fair trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages every year during IEW. “Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade organization which provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handiwork and telling their stories in North America,” Pensak said. The products will be sold throughout the week in the atrium of Hesburgh Library. Although she is looking forward to attending the Ten Thousand Villages handicraft fair, Lynn McGreevy, a sophomore from Ireland, said the lack of European-themed events is disappointing. “It’s mostly catered to the Latino community and there’s something for Brazilians too, but there isn’t really anything for Europeans,” McGreevy said. “I think it’d be nice if there was, but I also think there’s not enough of us [Europeans] on campus for it to matter too much.” McGreevy said she hopes this week will help domestic students realize that foreign cultures vary greatly from the Notre Dame culture. “Notre Dame has such a strong culture — like everyone knows Notre Dame and its football and the huge religious side,” she said. “But when I came here I didn’t know anything about American football. I didn’t understand tailgating or any of that stuff.” Karina Rattaccioli, a freshman from Nicaragua, agreed that IEW should encourage American students to learn more about the places international students call home. “It should make everyone else aware of who international students are and what their cultures are,” Rattaccioli said. “It’s interesting finding out about all that and seeing the different backgrounds people are coming from.” Last year, Pensak said IEW also began to collect donations for the Refugee Resettlement Program at the St. Joseph Chapter of the American Red Cross. The program needs children’s toys, school supplies and unopened toiletries, Pensak said. “The St. Joe’s chapter became an authorized refugee resettlement agency in 2010,” she said. “They help settle refugees in the South Bend area. We will be collecting donations for them in 105 Main Building and at the International Taste of South Bend.” For a complete list of the times and locations of the IEW events, visit issa.nd.edu
In the first meeting after spring break, Campus Life Council (CLC) members discussed the possibility of reopening the Notre Dame Bike Shop. Student body chief of staff Claire Sokas said the Bike Shop was displaced when part of the Art, Art History & Design Department moved to the Old Security Building, where the shop was previously housed. Student advocates are trying to find a new space to work from, she said. “It has no place to function, so it doesn’t exist right now,” Sokas said. “They’re looking into a lot of options, but no one has stepped forward to offer a place.” Student body president Pat McCormick said mechanics at the shop repaired approximately 331 bikes in the 2010-2011 school year. Sister Carrine Etheridge, rector of Farley Hall, said the Bike Shop offered an important service to students on campus. “The campus has expanded so much, you almost need a bicycle,” she said. “And if you’re a freshman with no car, where else do you go if your bike breaks?” Members of CLC also discussed other ways to aid students in on-campus travel. Etheridge said an auction for old bikes would be helpful for students. McCormick said Student Senate would discuss a resolution calling for the University to take definitive actions to make space for a bike shop before the fall semester. “It will continue in a sustainable way, using salvaged parts and student mechanics,” McCormick said. “I’d also like to introduce a resolution expressing Campus Life Council stakeholders’ support to see if we can engage some other partners on campus as we move forward.”
With the 50th anniversary of the Hesburgh Library less than a year away, Notre Dame officials decided it was time to give the campus landmark a much-needed facelift. Members of the Notre Dame Facilities Design and Operations office renovated the Library over the summer, guided by input from the University Architect’s Office and a team of librarian planners. Head librarian Diane Parr Walker said these renovations aim to modernize the Library and make it a more welcoming facility. “As a place where students spend a great deal of time in intellectual pursuits, we wanted the library to offer inviting, inspiring and comfortable spaces that will foster intellectual engagement,” Walker said. In response to complaints of drab interior decoration, the renovation team focused on remodeling the first-floor periodicals room, more commonly known as “The Fishbowl.” The popular study area was repainted and carpeted, its furniture was replaced, new lighting was installed and its remaining periodicals were moved to a nearby reference room. The new first-floor design also features a “digital sandbox” area equipped with a Microsoft touch-screen surface table. Walker said the Office of Information Technology hopes to use this area to determine which services and technologies students find helpful and to expand upon that information for future planning. Walker said plans are also underway to install a cafÃ© in the former vending machine area, also on the first floor. Projected to open in November, the cafÃ© will serve coffee, pastries, soups and sandwiches, and is intended to accommodate students studying in the library for long periods of time. “We’re anticipating the cafÃ© will be a great service for people who are studying long hours in the Library to be able to get breakfast, lunch or a snack without having to leave the building,” Walker said. The design team also revitalized the Library’s exterior courtyard near the reflecting pool by planting a variety of trees and shrubs while bringing in benches and bistro tables for additional outdoor seating. Walker said the courtyard will be completed by early September. Walker said the renovation was initially set to be completed before the end of the last school year, but was ultimately delayed by furniture issues. “We were hoping to do the project really quickly and have it available by the middle of the spring semester,” Walker said. “What always happens with construction and renovation projects, though, is however much time you think they will take, you should go ahead and double or triple it.” Walker said new furniture was also ordered for the Library’s music and media area this summer after students complained the old tables were too small and inflexible to accommodate their equipment needs. The furniture is expected to arrive before the academic year begins. Walker said student input was highly valued during the renovation process, so students can expect to have future opportunities to express their concerns and provide feedback. “I hope students will be excited to see how many of their ideas we’ve included,” Walker said. “We held many discussions and planning sessions with students last spring to gather input, and we incorporated as many ideas as we could.” Although no additional projects are planned at the moment, Walker said the Library would carry this summer’s momentum into establishing a comprehensive interior renovation plan. Overall, Walker said she hopes to realize University President Emeritus Fr. Ted Hesburgh’s vision of the Library as Notre Dame’s academic heart and a modern center of inspiration and higher learning. “Twenty-first century libraries should offer a variety of spaces to foster and inspire intellectual engagement across disciplines,” Walker said. “Many peer institutions have already renovated their libraries to offer these kinds of services. I’d like to see us at Notre Dame do the same for our students and faculty.”
Bellah has compiled for his forthcoming book, “The Modern Project in the Light of Human Evolution,” which engages the consequences of rapid industrialization, especially environmental degradation and the way the human is viewed as a person. Bellah described the startling impact of industrialization by tracking the growth of human expansion with a social development index. In 2000 BCE, human society earned an unimpressive rank of 4. By 100 CE the Roman Empire reached 43 on the index, a limit or “hard ceiling” which remained unbroken for centuries. The industrial revolution in century Britain shattered this “hard ceiling,” as the index topped 1000 by the year 2000 and is expected to climb to an immense value of 5000 in the next century, Bellah said. Such increases, though they drive his research, cause challenges for humanity. In the face of this extreme change, Bellah said, “How do we as a species adapt to a rate of change that no biological species has ever faced before?” To explain the immediacy of this question, Bellah considered Malthus’ famous prediction that humanity will deplete its resources and encounter a “hard ceiling” beyond which it cannot pass. Although industrialization may have raised the ceiling, whether society will collide softly or violently with this boundary remains to be seen, Bellah said. The boundaries that humanity faces brought to mind the uniqueness of the modern condition and led him to ponder if the great religious traditions could provide relevant solutions in a rapidly advancing society. In viewing the new understanding of the human person that accompanies modernization, Bellah said religion remains pertinent. In the second half of his lecture, Bellah examined how the recognition of human dignity has evolved alongside industrialization, as seen in “The Declaration of Independence” and the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration on Human Rights”. Though the idea of the dignified human person permeated multiple societies, from ancient Palestine to imperial Rome, Bellah emphasized these documents “put the demand for human rights on the table.” Bellah acknowledged “Gaudium et Spes,” produced during the Second Vatican Council, as a critical, Catholic contribution to the global focus on human rights that did not limit the special value of the human person based on creed or ideals. The unprecedented transformations of modernization coupled with the value of the human person form is what Bellah said he considered two enormous societal tensions in a world that has been made fragile by exponential human growth.,Dr. Robert Bellah, professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, delved into the dilemma of human evolution, religion and modernization in his lecture on Tuesday in the McKenna Hall Auditorium. The lecture drew together concepts of the modern world Bellah has compiled for his forthcoming book, “The Modern Project in the Light of Human Evolution,” which engages the consequences of rapid industrialization, especially environmental degradation and the way the human is viewed as a person. Bellah described the startling impact of industrialization by tracking the growth of human expansion with a social development index. In 2000 BCE, human society earned an unimpressive rank of 4. By 100 CE the Roman Empire reached 43 on the index, a limit or “hard ceiling” which remained unbroken for centuries. The industrial revolution in 18th century Britain shattered this “hard ceiling,” as the index topped 1000 by the year 2000 and is expected to climb to an immense value of 5000 in the next century, Bellah said. Such increases, though they drive his research, cause challenges for humanity. In the face of this extreme change, Bellah said, “How do we as a species adapt to a rate of change that no biological species has ever faced before?” To explain the immediacy of this question, Bellah considered Malthus’ famous prediction that humanity will deplete its resources and encounter a “hard ceiling” beyond which it cannot pass. Although industrialization may have raised the ceiling, whether society will collide softly or violently with this boundary remains to be seen, Bellah said. The boundaries that humanity faces brought to mind the uniqueness of the modern condition and led him to ponder if the great religious traditions could provide relevant solutions in a rapidly advancing society. In viewing the new understanding of the human person that accompanies modernization, Bellah said religion remains pertinent. In the second half of his lecture, Bellah examined how the recognition of human dignity has evolved alongside industrialization, as seen in “The Declaration of Independence” and the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration on Human Rights”. Though the idea of the dignified human person permeated multiple societies, from ancient Palestine to imperial Rome, Bellah emphasized these documents “put the demand for human rights on the table.” Bellah acknowledged “Gaudium et Spes,” produced during the Second Vatican Council, as a critical, Catholic contribution to the global focus on human rights that did not limit the special value of the human person based on creed or ideals. The unprecedented transformations of modernization coupled with the value of the human person form is what Bellah said he considered two enormous societal tensions in a world that has been made fragile by exponential human growth.
When the 2013 class of Army ROTC cadets graduates next month, a group that has followed a similar path at Notre Dame will disperse to all corners of the country to begin serving in the United States Army. Senior Michael Dompierre will head to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona in early June to begin officer intelligence training and will then proceed to his first assignment with the 4thInfantry Division, 1st Brigade based at Ft. Carson, Colorado. Dompierre said knew he wanted to join the Army ROTC when he was a high school student and joined as a freshman. “When I received the scholarship, I decided it was a no-brainer,” he said. “The Army would pay for school, and I would have the chance to serve the Nation afterwards, which is something I had always wanted to do – especially after 9/11.” Dompierre said he was surprised by the amount of leadership skills he developed after four years as a University cadet. “Looking back on who I was freshman year, it seems hard to imagine that I am the same person today as I was then. Our program excels at taking intelligent followers as freshman and turning them into even more intelligent and capable leaders by senior year,” Dompierre said. He said he is grateful to the ROTC program for preparing him as a cadet and as well as an adult. “Throughout my time in Army ROTC, I have been pushed and trained to successfully exert my influence as a leader and to get outside of my comfort zone,” Dompierre said. “I feel prepared, as the academic year comes to a close and my time at Notre Dame ends, to become an Army Officer and lead soldiers for the purpose of accomplishing our mission, whatever the American people determine that to be.” Seniors Arthur Kostendt and Abigail Nichols followed a slightly different path than most cadets. Kostendt and Nichols were not involved in the program their freshmen and sophomore years but instead attended a Leader’s Training Course (LTC) in Fort Knox, Kentucky, the summer between their sophomore and junior years. This qualified them for enrolment in the Army ROTC Advanced Course, allowing them to commission with the 4-year cadets. Kostendt said he decided to commission after graduation during the summer of his sophomore year; the University’s LTC program allowed him the opportunity to join the program. “For me, joining Army ROTC was a perfect storm of circumstances. Although my older brother has been involved with the Marine Corps for almost 8 years, military service was not really on my radar until sophomore year,” Kostendt said. “I received a mass-blast email from the Army ROTC unit, advertising the LTC. It seemed like a great way to entertain my new aspirations, while getting some money for college at the same time.” Kostendt said he was apprehensive about adjusting to a junior class of cadets that already had two years to bond, but he said he found that life as a cadet at Notre Dame was far less stressful than he anticipated. “Both ROTC cadre and my fellow cadets made a great effort to ensure that I was up to speed,” he said. “The army has high standards, and our battalion is composed of very high quality individuals, which made adjustment a breeze.” Kostendt said pride keeps him moving forward toward becoming an Armor Officer in the Ohio National Guard. “I experience a real sense of honor, camaraderie, and fulfillment when wearing the uniform, which isn’t something I totally bought into before joining, and it’s not something I expected to motivate me once I was in,” Kostendt said. “Though adventure and scholarship money were powerful enticements to join, pride has been a tremendous reward.” Nichols said she also decided to join the Army ROTC after attending the LTC program in the summer before her junior year. “It took a little while to adjust to a military state of mind, but after a while I developed a more intuitive sense of the army’s very particular culture which promotes hard work and creativity, but is also extremely structured,” she said. Nichols said the time commitment has been the most demanding aspect of being a cadet. “What took me most by surprise was the amount of involvement ROTC requires. It is not just a twice a week activity, but has rather evolved into a full time job, like it will be after we graduate,” Nichols said. Nichols will attend the Basic Officers Course for Military Intelligence this summer until she goes to her first duty post with the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in Fort Lewis, Wash. in October.
The national unemployment rate among autistic adults is 90 percent, a statistic not surprising for Jan Pilarski, former director of the justice education program at Saint Mary’s, whose autistic son, Chris Pilarski was let go of his job after only three months of employment despite his attainment of a college degree, she said. “As a parent of a young adult with autism, I always knew that once our son, Chris, finished the end of his schooling that it was going to be a rough road,” Jan Pilarski said. “There’s that unknown of wondering what will happen after that, because everything has been supportive up to that point. I guess I put my social justice hat on and looked at it broadly and structurally to say there really is a systemic problem. It’s chronic unemployment for these young people, and [I] just sat with it for a while to think what can we contribute to this and how can we address the problem.” Jan Pilarski subsequently founded Green Bridge Growers, an innovative social venture providing skill-matched employment for underserved young adults on the autism spectrum through an urban aquaponics farm, she said. “I knew it had to be something that was more entrepreneurial, because traditional employment wasn’t going to work,” she said. By combining Chris Pilarski’s interests in science and organic farming with the study of other types of plant growth, Jan Pilarski said she saw alternative ways that food was being grown sustainably. She and her son toured the country to see how his love of natural sciences could be applied in an autistic-friendly work environment, she said. “He enjoys the outdoors much more so,” Jan Pilarski said. “Even office work is to a degree fine, but he likes the hands-on work. He found himself really enjoying the science work, the minerals in the water and how to do testing of the water, so for him that was where all the dots got connected and enabled him to use his skills.” Jan Pilarski said when she saw aquaponics in action for the first time three years ago, she made the connection between her son’s passion for environmental science and employment opportunities for autistic adults. “It fits very well, and we’ve taken it to others with autism,” she said. “It fits so well because you have to make sure the water has the proper chemistry pH levels, and people with autism really get into checking all that. They like to check things like the temperature of the water and the air [and] observe the fish and look at how they’re growing and doing. All of those different parts really accommodate the interest and skills of people with autism.” Now in its second year, Green Bridge Growers launched a crowdfunding campaign Nov. 20 on Indiegogo with the goal to build their second next-stage commercial greenhouse, Jan Pilarski said. “We have a clearly defined project on Indiegogo, which is to raise the funds for our aquaponics venture,” she said. “We have a prototype greenhouse with Hannah and Friends, and [we’re] working there with training and development with people in the venture.” The project itself will create jobs for five young adults with autism and grow 45,000 pounds of vegetables each year, Jan Pilarski said. Because of her history as the Saint Mary’s social justice coordinator, Jan Pilarski said she was able to find the link between social justice and sustainable food. “Through the classes I teach at Saint Mary’s that emphasize social justice … we’ve looked at things relating to climate and our personal use of energy and kind of looking at it through how our consumption affects the environment in the class that I teach,” she said. “Food and what we consume and how it’s grown – that all has an impact on the climate because of carbon outputs [and] also in terms of how sustainable we are. It fits in Catholic social thought as well.” One of the key members of Jan Pilarski’s six-person team is Aisling Sheahan, a native of Ireland currently visiting the area for three months. For Sheahan, who majored in childhood studies and wrote her thesis on autism in Ireland, the link with autism fit perfectly with her blogging expertise, she said. “I think it’s great the way they’re helping out young adults with autism, because when I was doing my thesis, it’s just all about children,” Sheahan said. “I’m reaching out to the autism bloggers, just to get mentioned under blogs as guest blogs, [and] blogging about their own experience with their child. We’re going to try to make a difference for when they’re older, because I think autism parents just focus on the now.” Jan Pilarski, who holds both Notre Dame undergraduate and master’s degrees, said she is hopeful the Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, and South Bend communities will contribute to Green Bridge Growers’ campaign and become actively involved with the entrepreneurship’s mission. “Partnerships with both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame are wonderful and help us meet particular needs that we have as a venture,” she said. Contact Emilie Kefalas at [email protected]
The 2013-14 class of senators met for their last student Senate meeting Wednesday night, during which they discussed the nondiscrimination clause within the student Constitution for nearly an hour and 15 minutes and passed two new resolutions.The debate concerning the nondiscrimination clause involved two major opposing views. One group, spearheaded largely by Judicial Council president and senior Michael Masi, pushed for a broad statement that would refrain from naming specific groups protected from discrimination.In Masi’s proposed alternative, the clause would acknowledge “the beauty and uniqueness of all God’s children, and therefore prohibits any discrimination within the Student Union.”Other senators supported altering the originally proposed amendment with a revision put forward by seniors Alex Coccia, student body president, and Juan Rangel, chief of staff.Coccia and Rangel’s proposed amendment stated, “This Constitution recognizes the God-granted dignity of all persons and their right to respect, justice and a welcoming environment, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or disability, religion, socioeconomic status, documentation status and nationality. This Constitution forbids any acts of harmful and unjust discrimination within the Student Union.”Senior class president Carolina Wilson said many of her classmates reached out to her specifically asking her to vote in favor of a resolution containing specific groups that would be protected from discrimination. Wilson read from an email sent to her by a peer, which asked her to vote in favor of the revised amendment “to promote inclusivity on campus and to ensure members of the LGBTQ community are given a clear message that they are respected and valued.”Rangel said he and Coccia included documentation status in their version of the nondiscrimination amendment in direct response to interactions with undocumented students.“One of the reasons it was important for me to include documentation status in our nondiscrimination clause is because I’ve had a lot of conversations with undocumented students who have applied to Notre Dame, and quite a few have been accepted as part of our incoming class,” Rangel said. “But they have a fear that we are not an undocumented-friendly school.“I feel that if we don’t include them in our nondiscrimination clause, it will only hint that they are not a part of our student body yet, and it think to them it will be very meaningful.After a contentious debate, the resolution proposing amendment written by Coccia and Rangel passed.Sophomore senators Phil Krebs of Zahm House, Kyle McCaffery of O’Neill Hall and Rohan Andresen of Siegfried Hall presented a resolution “supporting enhanced communication among residence halls, residents and University administration.”Their proposed resolution addressed recent conflicts between students and the Office of Housing, particularly surrounding the transition of Zahm House’s five-man common rooms to common space.The Senate passed the resolution, which McCaffery stressed does not seek a reversal of the Office of Housing’s decision regarding the Zahm common rooms.Instead, the resolution requests that the Office of Housing “consult more closely those residential communities in which the administration is considering making changes in order to promote a greater understanding between the students and the administration.” It further requests that the “administration consider how to communicate changes in a more timely manner so that affected students can prepare appropriately.”“We all know how foundational the living experience is at Notre Dame, and we feel that with this experience in Zahm, there is a lack of understanding how deeply the students are affected by these changes,” McCaffery said.The Senate also passed a resolution presented by Fisher Hall senator and sophomore Michael Lindt calling on the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost for increased focus on and attention to the Faculty Fellows program. The program is an initiative within the Office of Student Affairs that seeks to have the University faculty become more involved with student life, particularly through the residence halls, to facilitate conversations and interactions.The senators voted on several different student and faculty awards and approved the assistant student treasurers as well as Irish Gardens manager.Tags: Faculty Fellows, inclusion, Office of Student Affairs, Office of the Provost, Senate