Month: January 2021
Members of the football team are not the only Notre Dame students to bring their talents to foreign shores. The International Open House presented an array of international opportunities to students in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Anne Hayes, assistant director of the Office for International Studies and one of the event’s organizers, said each year the International Open House is an opportunity for all undergraduate students to learn about Notre Dame’s various international programs. “The idea is to introduce students to the wide array of international options that are available through various offices at Notre Dame. Most students know about study abroad programs through Notre Dame, but we also want them to know about international research, service learning and internship opportunities,” she said. “The Open House provides underclassmen with a chance to begin exploring options to spend time abroad. It is also a great way for students who have already spent time abroad to reflect and to expand on [their] international experiences.” Senior Tom Mitchell, a finance and economics major, said he studied abroad in Hong Kong and is interested in returning. “I enjoyed studying in Hong Kong and I’m hoping to return through work or a research opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to visit the Career Center’s table.” Freshman Evelyn Bauman said she attended to learn more about study abroad opportunities in general. “I’m here to find out about study abroad, really anything I can get my hands on,” she said. “I’m considering language programs and I’m taking French, so I’m leaning toward Africa.” Freshman Daniel NilssonSjolander, an international student from Sweden, said he is considering opportunities to study in English-speaking countries. “I’m studying abroad as it is, but because I’m studying business it would be cool to spend half of the year in England or Australia,” he said. Hayes said an important aspect of the event was allowing students to network among themselves about international opportunities. “Because there were students who had already spent time abroad and students seeking to go abroad, there were plenty of opportunities for students to interact with one another,” she said. Over 20 offices from across campus sent representatives to discuss their international programs, Hayes said, including ND International (International Studies and International Student Services and Activities), the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Student International Business Council and the Center for Social Concerns. Junior Bobby Alvarez represented the Center for Social Concerns (CSC). Alvarez said he participated in two summer service learning projects through the CSC, one domestic and one international. Alvarez said the CSC participated in the event in order to pursue its overall goal as an organization. “The Center for Social Concerns is at this open house because our mission is making education work for justice and justice goes beyond our nation, state and city,” he said. “Justice is an international, worldwide concern.” Hayes said this year’s speaker at the event was Dr. Nick Entrikin, the University’s first vice president and associate provost for internationalization. Entrikin’s remarks focused on the importance of internationalizing a Notre Dame education. The event was co-sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and Notre Dame International, Hayes said. Hayes said Kellogg began sponsoring the International Open House in 2008, but this was the first year Notre Dame International co-sponsored it.
This week’s Justice Friday installment was presented by Saint Mary’s alumna Meredith Mersits about her experience working in an urban school environment, in particular, disciplinary action and how it affects the students.Mersits drew from her experience as a social work major at Saint Mary’s and her time as a special education teacher in a segregated school environment.“The reason why I’ve called this discussion is because I’ve realized it’s not enough to work in an urban community, but to actually advocate for that community and to embed yourself within the issues of the community so that you can understand the community and the people you are working with.”Mersits said she thought her background at Saint Mary’s would prepare her for interacting with students. However, Mersits said one doesn’t know what it’s like to interact with these students until they’re in the situation.“The school I’m working at is 100 percent African American which shows how segregated the community is … I didn’t realize how much of an impact that has on the community.”Mersits said she’s realized the students in the special education program tend to be the first students the administration expels.She said this is the wrong way to deal with special education students because they need to be in a positive, consistent environment and around positive people rather than sending these students to rehab facilities or another school where they are pushed further down the line.“I think schools don’t know what to do, I think it’s a quick fix, and there is not good rationale behind [expelling special needs students]. The students know they did something wrong, but they don’t know how to mend it.”Another downside of expelling or putting special needs students in in-school suspension (ISS) is it hurts the way they see the school system, especially students who have experienced trauma.“We can say that we understand [students who have been through trauma] all day, but how do we implement it? We need to ask ourselves as teachers, are we trauma-informed teachers? Do we teach with trauma in the forefront? Often times, schools are punitive. We punish these kids for something they can’t help”Mersits said ISS hurts students academically, because they fall behind and it is very hard to catch up students with academic needs. Mersits said this can be frustrating for the students.Mersits said students often act out because expectations are not clear; students should be allowed to think freely, but putative school systems oppose creativity.“We push this form of free thinking, but when the punitive system comes in, we tell them they can’t do that … If a kid in class knows the answer and blurts it out, we have to punish him for that.” Mersits sad, “I think there is a very fine line between teaching someone to be an upstanding citizen, which is part of the skills you’re supposed to learn in high school, versus punishing them at every chance we get.”Mersits offered a substitute to suspension such as holding parent conferences before suspension and students being granted access to the proper classwork they are missing while in ISS.Mersits said teachers need to meet students half way in the classroom and try to set clear expectations so students are encouraged to succeed.“As teachers we often don’t think, ‘What did I do in that situation and how did I set up that student for success or failure in that situation?’”Mersits said in education, there is a principle where students are causing trouble because of purposeful defiance versus unclear expectations.“A kid doesn’t necessarily want to be defiant. I think the cases where students are purposefully defiant are slim, I think most of the times kids don’t know what to do.“We are not teaching them why they [were punished] so I don’t think it’s beneficial we’re just giving them a consequence; it’s not training their brain to critically realize why they got a demerit.”Mersits said she has learned how important it is to acknowledge there is bias when dealing with students.“We have this inherent bias and, even if we say we don’t or don’t want to have it, we see students of privilege [and think] what can we do to help them. But then when it comes to kids who come from rough neighborhoods or family situations we think we need to send them away because that’s what’s best of them. If we were informed trauma teachers, that’s not what we do.”Justice Friday installments take place every Friday from 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. in Conference Room A and B of the Student Center.Tags: Justice Friday, saint mary’s, urban education
Assistant director for life sciences research and outreach Fr. Terrence Ehrman gave a lecture on the significance of water Tuesday night in Geddes Hall. The lecture was part three of a six-part series hosted by The Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing entitled “A Broader Vision of Reality: Integral Ecology within the Great Lakes Watershed,” which focuses on the intersection between the environment and religion.The lecture covered a variety of topics, including what and where water is, Great Lakes water use, a broader vision of ecology in relation to water and the theology of creation focusing on water. Ehrman said the discussion is important because water is vital to life on Earth.“As far as we know, water is essential for life,” he said. “Any planet in our solar system that we know of that has life — its requirement is water. So it’s essential for life. Water gives life.”Despite water’s importance, Ehrman said this resource is not readily accessible for a large portion of the world’s population.“There are a lot of people across the world who don’t have access to water,” he said. “There are a billion people on this planet right now who lack access to clean water, to safe water. That’s 18 percent of the population — 3.5 million people die each year from water related disease. Waterborne disease claims more lives each year than wars, and half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water-related illness.”Ehrman said because water is an “inalienable right,” it should be considered a “public good” and properly handled by the public.“In Catholic social understanding, access to water is an inalienable right,” he said. “As a vital element essential to survival, everyone has a right to it. But by its very nature, water cannot be treated as just another commodity among many, and it must be used rationally and in solidarity with others.”In spite of water’s value, Ehrman said, it is easy for the Midwest region to take water for granted given the Great Lakes’ vast supply of fresh water.“Of all of the water on the planet, 2.5 [percent] is fresh,” he said. “Of all that fresh [water], only 1.5 [percent] is surface water. It’s estimated that the Great Lakes are 20 percent of all the world’s fresh water … and it’s used for all sorts of different purposes and uses.”Ehrman said there are still steps that need to be taken to ensure the Great Lakes Watershed continues to be a viable resource.“I talked about areas of concern, which are identified areas within the Watershed where there has been an impairment or reduction of the chemical, physical or biological integrity of the Great Lakes Watershed and water,” he said. “ … In 2010, the Great Lakes restoration initiative was begun to accelerate efforts to protect and restore some of these areas of concern.”Water particularly connects to Scripture through its prominent featuring in creation and redemption stories, Ehrman said.“A month ago, in my first lecture, I talked about this relationship between creation and redemption,” he said. “These are two elements that need to go together. They’re two elements of God’s single divine economy of salvation. With so much of Scripture, there are images of humankind’s redemption being imaged as a new creation. So creation and redemption can’t be separated.”Ehrman said these elements are applied to the use of water in the Christian sacrament of baptism, in particular.“A Christian understanding of this image of restoration from Ezekiel finds its fullest realization and manifestation in Jesus Christ,” he said. “So when Jesus has died on the cross and his side is pierced with the lance, blood and water flow out. Jesus is the temple, he identifies himself as the temple and this water coming from the pierced side of Christ is this life-giving water. The water and the blood are images of baptism and Eucharist … baptism gives life [and] one is reborn of water in the spirit.”Tags: Great Lakes Region, The Center for Theology Science and Human Flourishing, water
Photo courtesy of Grant Mudge Actresses Angela Ingersoll, Celina Dean and Kiah Stern play Beatrice, Ursula and Hero, respectively, in “Much Ado About Nothing.”To make this production stand out from other productions of “Much Ado About Nothing,” it is set in the U.S. during World War II. Though Shakespeare did not live through World War II, Mudge said he understands the dynamic in society when men come home from war, which is present in “Much Ado About Nothing.” Mudge was also excited about the formality and music of the time period, he said, which is performed live by a 12-member, all-women big band in the play.“We began asking, ‘Well, who is this band?’” Mudge said. “It didn’t seem right to have returning soldiers be musicians, and then we thought, ‘Well, who’s left behind when the guys off to war in 1943?’ And it’s the women.”The play also features women in the role of the factory workers, the friar and the constable.Mudge said the music for the big band was composed by Scotty Arnold, who used inspiration for the music from a musical written by his great-uncle, John Caldwell.“Some of the tunes you’ll hear in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ are from 1945,” Mudge said. “Scotty has altered a little bit here and there, changed some of the lyrics using some of Shakespeare, some of his great-uncle and some of his own lyrics. It makes the music all the more special that he’s had a chance to, through the music, get to know this great-uncle of his who died the year he was born.”Besides the professional company, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival features three additional programs, including ShakeScenes — the kickoff program for the festival in July — and Shakespeare in the Streets. Shakespeare in the Streets, a new item for this year’s festival, was a partnership with the Fremont Park Foundation and allowed South Bend community members to participate in a nine-week program and perform on stage in Fremont Park.The touring company, which performed “Twelfth Night” from July 16 through Aug. 21, uses a cast of the apprentices from the professional company show and allows them to tour regionally in locations such as Valparaiso, Mishawaka and Plymouth. The apprentices include students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, in addition to students from colleges such as Carnegie Mellon.Together, the professional and touring company allow the young actors a paid experience similar to an internship during the summer. Mudge said the apprentices also have opportunities to participate in mentorship-like experiences with the professional actors in the professional company to learn about the industry and acting as a career.“We bridge the gap between professional theater and the training world,” Mudge said. “We’re really existing in both, which I think is unique among universities.”Tags: Much Ado About Nothing, notre dame shakespeare festival, Shakespeare Now in its 18th year, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival is drawing to a close with its summer production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Drew Fracher. Performed by the Notre Dame Shakespeare professional company that includes student apprentices as well as professional actors, the play runs from Aug. 15 to 27 in the Patricia George Decio Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.Grant Mudge, the Ryan Producing Artistic Director for Shakespeare at Notre Dame, said he wanted to do a Shakespeare comedy after last year’s production of “The Tempest” — especially since the professional company had not produced a comedy in a long time. Mudge said he also liked the language of the play — which he called one of the Shakespeare’s most successful — and its ability to display the characters’ level of emotion.“There’s no magic, there are no fairies in this play,” Mudge said. “The magic that happens is between two humans and between friends and family.”
Ann Curtis Jessica Richmond, the assistant director of The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County, speaks on Saint Mary’s panel “Finding Peace: Empowering Women and Children Experiencing Homelessness” on helping women and children experiencing homelessness and violence.Fritzberg said many services and some policy focusing on homelessness in South Bend seem to be aimed at men, which is problematic as it ostracizes a large population of the homeless who are women and children. “In my work in the city over the past few years, it’s certainly been clear that many of our services are catered towards men, based on either data or based on data and a mix of assumptions that men are the ones who need those services,” she said. “I think too often when we think of [homelessness] as a genderless problem, it ends up being a male problem because we use men as the norm in the way that we design a lot of things.”Haynes said St. Margaret’s House tries to combat this focus on men who are experiencing homelessness by attempting to satisfy the specific needs of women and children in the community. “A place like St. Margaret’s House is important because a lot of times when programs are developed, they are not developed with the needs of women in mind,” she said. “Women and children have very specific needs, and what is very unique about St. Margaret’s House is that we are a safe place for women and children.”A misconception about homeless centers is that they simply exist to feed and shelter people, Haynes said, but this is not the case for St. Margaret’s House. “We have had the opportunity to help women on a holistic scale,” she said. “We have a portion of our guests who come just for the sense of community. They come because they need counseling or because they are looking for employment or need to know how to make a plan for their life. A portion of what we do is to help supplement some of the income and needs of the women who come in.”Women who are experiencing homelessness are often dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence and abuse, Richmond said. “One in four women in the U.S. are homeless and are survivors of domestic violence,” she said. “The new statistics are showing that one in three women are going to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. So if we’re thinking about that in terms of homelessness, there are so many aggravating factors that cause survivors to deepen their homelessness journey.”Richmond said The Center for Family Justice helps survivors of abuse navigate the economic and safety concerns that accompany homelessness. “A lot of our survivors are dealing with not only the physical [factors] but the economics, and when I say economics I mean maybe they don’t have access to the debit card or the bank accounts or they have terrible credit,” she said. “We have to find her a safe space to stay, with or without children, and most of the time we have to think about the fact that there’s often a stalking component that comes along with domestic violence — so how are we going to find affordable housing that’s going to keep her safe that isn’t going to have a landlord that is going to threaten to evict her if she has to call the police to protect her and her children?” Many children in the South Bend community also experience homelessness and the stress and violence that accompany it, Lombardo said. “Probably a third of homeless kids have seen a stabbing, a rape, a murder,” he said. “Probably a third have been a victim of domestic abuse or violence. They’ve moved probably 16 times more than the average family. Every time they move, they probably have to change schools, and changing schools means a period of adjustment. … So think about a kid in school, maybe on the verge of homelessness, maybe on the verge of just moving from an apartment to grandma’s house, do you think that kid is worried about spelling in school? No. He’s worried about where he’s going to sleep that night.” While the population of homeless people in South Bend has “actually decreased slightly since 2011,” Fritzberg said, the stigma behind homelessness is still pervasive.“Where people are staying, particularly unsheltered people, has shifted within the city to be in more visible areas, and that has a provided really a more profound opportunity for businesses and agencies to recommit to this problem and take seriously the needs of a group of vulnerable people,” she said.Lombardo said students can help the homeless community by donating their time to tutoring homeless youth or by simply listening to those experiencing homelessness. “Sit and talk with the people you are serving and listen to them because, unfortunately, they don’t get listened to very much,” she said. “But if you’re there, listening, you’ve given them that dignity and that respect, and that’s what will help them move on to self sufficiency.”Listening to those in need helps to individualize and humanize those experiencing homelessness, Haynes said. “The bottom line is the golden rule: treat people how you want to be treated,” she said. “These are women. They are survivors and have been through a lot in life, so I talk to them the way I talk to anybody else.”Richmond said those looking to serve women and children who are experiencing homelessness should not do so by offering them a handout. “When you walk into the center, there’s a sign that says, ‘You are braver than you think,’ because when you walk into the Family Justice Center, for a lot of women, that is the bravest moment of her entire life,” she said. “I always tell our staff, it’s a hand-up, not a handout. The women who come into the center aren’t looking for a handout, they don’t really need anything except an ear to listen and somebody to continue to believe them at face value, because a lot of the time the system is up against them. We learn to know them as people. They’re no less than me, no less than anyone sitting at this table. We’re all people and we all just need each other, and that’s something beautiful about the community of South Bend and about the social service agencies within South Bend.” Tags: domestic violence, Homelessness, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, St. Margaret’s House, The Center for the Homeless, The Family Justice Center Four South Bend experts who specialize in working with women and children experiencing homelessness and domestic violence spoke Thursday at Saint Mary’s to clear up misconceptions of homelessness and shed light on ways others can support the homeless population in South Bend. The panel, entitled “Finding Peace: Empowering Women and Children Experiencing Homelessness,” included Ebony Haynes, the assistant director of guest services at St. Margaret’s House in downtown South Bend; Suzanna Fritzberg, the deputy chief of staff to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Jessica Richmond, the assistant director of The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County; and Peter Lombardo, the director for community involvement for The Center for the Homeless in South Bend.
After four years of sisterhood, 18 graduates of Saint Mary’s will be entering their fifth year of study at Notre Dame to complete the Dual Degree in Engineering program. This program provides Saint Mary’s women the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from the College and a second bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University. Brynne DuBois, a 2018 graduate from Saint Mary’s, said her decision to partake in the dual degree program stemmed from a desire for the experience of both a small liberal arts school and a larger university. She said the combination of the two give “a well-rounded college experience.”DuBois earned her degree from Saint Mary’s in computing and applied mathematics. At Notre Dame, she will be working toward a degree in computer science. Due to the program’s five year duration, a student holds senior status at Saint Mary’s while remaining a junior at Notre Dame. Dubois said being both a senior at Saint Mary’s and a junior at Notre Dame kept her busy.“I was in the depths of my computer science curriculum,” Dubois said. “I had so much to do. I always had exams really early in the morning.” Despite the intensity of her classes and juggling between two campuses, DuBois said that Saint Mary’s is a special place for her and that her Belles are friends for life. Similarly, Rachel Bonek, another 2018 graduate, said she will miss living with her roommate of four years, especially in LeMans Hall. It will be a nostalgic adjustment for her. As a strenuous program, various obstacles unfold for students to endure, Bonek said; aside from the dense course load and juggling of two campuses, unexpected challenges surfaced she said. For instance, Bonek said there had not been many electrical engineers in the program before her, meaning nobody was ahead of her for guidance. Bonek received her degree in physics and applied mathematics from Saint Mary’s and will be earning a degree in electrical engineering from Notre Dame. ”Now that I have one degree I can see the ball rolling,” Bonek said. “I am looking forward to Notre Dame but I will definitely miss Saint Mary’s.”Saint Mary’s alumna, Morgan Matthews, class of 2018, said the dual degree program allowed her to experience “the best of both worlds.”“When I came to visit campus, about a month before I moved in, I found out about the program and it was a two-for-one,” Matthews said. “I had to take it. It was right up my alley. I really wanted to do engineering and I really loved chemistry.” Additionally, Matthews said the program satisfied both her desire to obtain a degree from Notre Dame and to experience the community at Saint Mary’s. “There are 17 others who have graduated the Saint Mary’s portion of the program with me and we’ve become so close,” Matthews said. “I really felt like I could give my all at Saint Mary’s.”The transfer to Notre Dame this year has not quite set in for Matthews yet, she said.“It’s kind of surreal now, going into your fifth year,” Matthews said. “I’m almost just going through the motions. Once I get into the school year I think it will hit home that this is my final year.”Tags: College of Engineering, Dual Degree in Engineering, Transfer, Welcome Weekend 2018
On Wednesday evening, two religious leaders spoke in Nanovic Hall to discuss the need for interfaith dialogue in modern times, especially between Muslims and Catholics. The Keough School of Global Affairs hosted the event, an interfaith conversation between Daoud Casewit, president of American Islamic College, and Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago. The conversation, entitled “Commemorating the Sultan and the Saint: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue,” celebrated the 800th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi crossing battle lines during the Fifth Crusade to meet peacefully with Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil of Egypt.University President Fr. John Jenkins introduced the speakers and explained the importance of the event.“Tonight’s event allows us to fulfill our mission to be a place of dialogue and a Catholic institution where all sincerely-held religious beliefs are respected, and a place where we seek ways to develop peace and deepen understanding,” he said.Scott Appleby, dean of the Keough School, delivered a second introduction. Though differing in beliefs and traditions, he said, Islam and other world religions share an emphasis on human dignity with Catholic social teaching.“Our mission is to advance integral human development, which is a concept taken from Catholic social teaching …,” he said. “Although that concept comes from Catholic social teaching in that formulation, it has great resonance and affinities with many of the values and principles of Islam and other world religions — even many secular wisdom traditions — in it’s emphasis on human dignity as the center of our efforts to advance human flourishing.”The event was moderated by Mahan Mirza, an Islamic scholar at the Keough School and executive director of the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion. Mirza began the conversation by allowing each guest to deliver opening remarks, starting with Cardinal Cupich.“We live in an era where the idea of a clash of civilizations is shaping the understanding of international relations permitted, particularly in terms of the power between Islam and the West in our time,” Cupich said. “The event we are remembering challenges that description with a message of hope. … While I do realize that there are significant areas that our scriptures do not agree on, we both are anchored, and anchor our lives in devotion to God through the daily practice of prayer and religion,” he said. “In doing so, we can bear witness to the world of the core values of our traditions with God as the center of our lives.”Daoud Casewit then delivered his opening remarks. He reflected on the meeting of St. Francis with Sultan Al-Kamil, and said that openness to such dialogue is supported by Islamic scripture.“While such an appreciation of the religious ‘other’ has generally been the exception rather than the rule, with the world of today so prone to exclusivism and bigotry, there is a solid basis for it in the Quran,” he said.Casewit then performed recitations of two passages from the Quran, followed by English translations. Casewit said that, in his opinion, the Sultan would have recognized St. Francis, though not a Muslim, as “a humble man of God,” as described in one of the passages.After both guests had made their opening remarks, Mirza launched the conversation by asking both Casewit and Cupich how participants in Catholic-Islamic dialogue should deal with the faiths’ complex history, which, he said, despite the meeting of St. Francis and the Sultan, “in general terms … is one of conflict.”Cupich said both parties must make the active decision to engage in open dialogue.“We have to in some way find the internal freedom to make a decision to make our lives count. If what they did 800 years ago is an aberration, then I want more aberrations,” he said.Casewit said such conversations need to be approached with care to ensure that one does not relativize their faith.“Every religion encloses both an inclusivistic aspect and an exclusivistic aspect. … There’s a danger when one goes to inclusivism of starting to relativize things,” Casewit said.Mirza addressed the tension between exclusivity and inclusivity, and asked the guests if accepting interfaith dialogue was possible without one party attempting to convert the other.“Can we truly get peace by accepting another as permanently remaining as another [religion] or is there somewhere, deep down in every interfaith conversation, the desire to convert?” he asked.Casewit responded by saying, “It takes a great deal of restraint and heart and patience for the other to listen to someone expound on their own perspectives on truth, theology and so forth. From a certain point of view, it isn’t necessarily good for the listener’s own faith. Quite often I think collaborative social work [between Catholics and Muslims] would be more effective than words. But dialogue still has its place, and I have taken part in a lot of it.”Cupich said that engagement with others should not just be about trying to convert them, but living authentically.“We do have a difference between what we do in sharing our faith, and engagement with people in order to increase market share for your community, and that’s not what we’re about,” he said. “What we should be concerned about is living our lives in an authentic way, so that God gives the other person the inspiration to take up the life that inspires them.” Tags: interfaith dialogue, Keough School of Global Affairs, Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion
In light of the University suspending in-person classes until April 13, Notre Dame will remain open and adjustments to student life and offices will be made, Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for student affairs, said in a follow-up email.All student extracurricular activities will be suspended through April 13, and student-athletes will be contacted regarding decisions related to varsity athletics, the email said.The small population of students who cannot return home must be approved to remain in the residence halls by March 13, and the Office of Residential Life will contact these students. According to the email, North Dining Hall will open twice a day for brunch and dinner between March 15 and April 13. The dining hall will undergo a full sanitation between each meal.Faculty members will contact students regarding books and course materials, and essential materials may be shipped to students by filling out a form.“Any students who are still local or on campus should only take what they need from their rooms at this point, including passports, identification, keys, course materials, and laptops,” the email said.University Health Services (UHS) will continue operation, and students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are advised to call UHS or their local health care providers.“If a health care provider determines that a test for COVID-19 is necessary for a student still residing on campus, the student will relocate to housing near campus and follow self-quarantine guidelines while results are in process,” the email said. “Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will shift to self-isolation guidelines and be subject to monitoring by the local health department.”Students are encouraged to continue engaging in student services offices with most offices continuing to have normal business hours.“ If you are away from campus, please use technology (e.g., phone, email) as a first point of contact with student services offices to ensure that you reach them quickly,” the email said.The University Counseling Center will remain open for students remaining on campus and will maintain their regular business hours, and students residing in the Fischer Graduate Residences may remain until the end of their leases.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Erin Hoffmann Harding, Office of Residential Life
Instead of the annual Welcome Weekend, the Office of Student Affairs and First-Year Advising will hold Welcome Week to safely introduce first-year students and their families to Notre Dame.Typically, first-year students move in the Friday before classes begin and participate in Welcome Weekend, a Friday through Sunday program that combines social events between dorms with academic sessions involving students and parents. This year, the first-year experience will look different given the risk of large gatherings in the midst of the pandemic.Lauren Donahue, program director for new student engagement in the Division of Student Affairs, said first-year students and guests were split into two groups with two different move-in dates of Monday or Wednesday. Those with a move-in date of Monday will have programming through Wednesday while those moving in on Wednesday will have programming through Friday.“Folks can expect to experience the same exact program, no matter if they’re in the blue schedule or the gold schedule, and we are working, and have worked, to provide them experiences that will mirror things that [other] students have experienced,” Donahue said.In addition to the events once families arrive on campus, the Welcome Week Steering Committee (WWSC) — a group of upperclassmen who work during the summer to plan Welcome Week events — created videos introducing families to important organizations on campus.“The video series hopes to ease the anxieties and uncertainties that students and families may be facing while navigating their first year at Notre Dame during these unprecedented times,” said Jordan Brown, senior and a member of WWSC, in an email.Junior and member of WWSC Isaiah Metcalf acknowledged that planning the welcome activities this year was difficult as a result of the health precautions.“There is a certain loss of personality when activities are moved online, so there was a fine balance we had to find between fostering community and keeping the campus safe,” Metcalf said in an email.Andrew Whittington, program director for first-year engagement in the Center for University Advising, said an emphasis was also placed on the importance of students’ academic success combined with their extracurricular and spiritual life at Notre Dame for Welcome Week.“Including opportunities for students to engage with faculty and staff was very essential, as well as celebrating Mass together as kind of a hallmark of our Holy Cross education,” Whittington said. “We believe praying together brings us together in a community in ways that the other things don’t.”While parents or other guests are expected to leave following the end of their assigned programming, student programming within dorm communities will continue up to the start of classes on Monday. Whittington said he hopes the extra time between move-in and the start of classes will give first-years the opportunity to slow down.“If I’m putting myself in the shoes of a first-year student, we have a few more moments in which they can take a breath and find a quiet moment with their roommates, or walk down the hall or walk down the quad and meet someone new,” Whittington said.The programming within every dorm is run by Welcome Week teams, members of each residence hall who move onto campus early to welcome first years to their dorm communities.To limit the exposure and spread of COVID-19, student-only programming will not include inter-hall events as in past years, Noble Patidar, co-captain of Keough Hall Welcome Week team, said.Patidar, a senior who has served on the Welcome Weekend team for the past two years, said although the schedule is different this year, he has high hopes for the experience.“I’m excited for us to do more close-knit events where kids from different sections [in the hall] get to know each other because the primary source of social interaction this year is probably going to be within your dorm, section to section,” Patidar said.Metcalf said he feels the dorm programming is one of the strongest aspects of the 2020 Welcome Week and will “help set up a more united dorm culture this year.”One challenge Patidar said he faced this year was having to cut his Welcome Week team from 18 people to three to comply with University limits on the number of early student move-ins.“That was tough because all these guys are all-stars of the dorm already, and then you have to cut on top of that, so we literally used a random generator. We couldn’t make the decision,” Patidar said.According to Donahue, the major theme of Welcome Week is creating an inclusive environment.“First and foremost, we want to ensure that students who are new to our campus find a sense of belonging and a sense of connection to this place, to people that they encounter in their residence halls and their classrooms,” Donahue said.Striving for Welcome Week to be a truly welcoming experience for each and every student has led many, including Brown, to have a strong desire to be a part of the Notre Dame tradition.“I wished to contribute my perspective as a biracial student to create an environment that is focused on inclusion and is comfortable for students, especially for those from underrepresented groups,” Brown said.Tags: class of 2024, COVID-19, First Year Advising, Office of Student Affairs, Welcome Week 2020
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Matt Hummel / WNY News Now.JAMESTOWN – The first major sign of the Holiday Season is now in place in Downtown Jamestown.Officials with the City of Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department harvested and installed this year’s Christmas Tree yesterday morning.The tree, donated by the Mazzurco Family, is a 40-foot tall White Spruce that was collected from their residence on Cole Avenue in Jamestown.Once the Spruce was transported to city hall, a BPU crane lifted and held the tree in place while it was secured in preparation for decorating with nearly 4,000 energy saving LED lights by parks staff members. Officials say the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas Tree will be announced at a later date.