Elizabeth “Dolly” Duffy, associate director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, has been appointed executive director of the association, as well as associate vice president for University Relations, according to a University press release. Duffy will succeed Charles F. “Chuck” Lennon in July when he leaves the University after 30 years leading the most extensive alumni network in the nation. “I’m absolutely thrilled to build on the strong outreach, programs and service that Chuck and this wonderful staff have accomplished over many years,” Duffy said. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with our alumni, parents and friends to deepen their connection to Notre Dame.” The association connects the University with its nearly 132,000 alumni. Lennon increased the number of clubs from 151 to 276 during his career. “As we begin this next chapter in the history of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, I have great confidence that Dolly will build upon an organization that is considered a model for excellence in higher education with the wisdom, enthusiasm and commitment to excellence necessary for still further growth and greater good,” said Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations. “Her experience as an entrepreneur, combined with her deep faith and commitment to family, uniquely qualify her to take on this important role in the broader Notre Dame family.” Duffy is a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame. She was selected for the position after a four-month worldwide search for Lennon’s replacement. “I am delighted for Dolly and her family,” Lennon said. “She brings a breadth of experience, a knack for relationship-building, a keen understanding of the University and a passion for our University. This array of qualification and abilities will serve her well in her new position. I am confident she has the ability, experience and passion — as well as the support of the University administration, Alumni Board, club and class volunteers and staff — to take the Alumni Association to the next level.” Duffy earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Notre Dame. She has worked as a press secretary for a U.S. congressman and an account executive for public relations firms in St. Louis and Kansas City. Duffy also purchased Atchison Products in 1990 with her husband and grew it substantially over 17 years before it was acquired by BIC Graphic USA. Duffy served on the board of directors for Notre Dame clubs in Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Kansas City, and she became associate director of the association in early 2008. She directed the launch of a new online platform and strategy called myNotreDame, designed to help alumni connect more easily with one another and the University. She also supported the creation of ND Women Connect and led a strategic review of the association’s programs and initiatives. Duffy and her husband live in South Bend with their five children.
With blasting beats and mashed-up mixes, senior Walker Anderson’s High Velocity Professional DJ Services has become a major performer in South Bend at events ranging from dorm dances to weddings. Anderson said he began the service three years ago based on experience jockeying in high school. The student-owned business now averages two shows each weekend, he said. “Once I got to college, I went to a few dances and I was like hey, I could do this,” he said. Anderson said he made detailed business plans the summer after his freshman year, and started the company in the fall of 2009. “I had to do the research on things like taxes, business law, client interaction, how to sell things, marketing strategy, everything associated with running a business,” he said. “It’s largely been self-taught.” The company became profitable just months after its opening and earned back Anderson’s investments in legal fees and other start-up costs, he said. “It was probably halfway through the first semester that … it’s paid for itself over and over again,” Anderson said. “The numbers speak for themselves in terms of growth and our potential.” Anderson hired a manager and three DJs after High Velocity gained more momentum, he said. The company is composed of all Notre Dame students and now does multiple shows every week. “At first it was me, and then once I got going I was able to acquire more equipment, which meant I could send out more than one crew at one time,” he said. The role of student employees servicing their peer’s needs is key, Anderson said. “My business model is for students, by students,” he said. “My three goals are to be more affordable, more professional and more personal” Anderson said he offers clients shows with top-quality equipment at a low cost. He also offers special rates for charity events. “I’ve gone out and done price comparisons with what’s available in the area and then cut it,” he said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community that’s let us grow” Notre Dame’s tight-knit community offers Anderson’s company an advantage in marketing, he said. “We have a client focus because at the end of the day, the best advertising is word of mouth,” Anderson said. “It’s easy to grow fast at Notre Dame. “ The aerospace engineering major is able to balance his business and academic responsibilities, since the nature of his business does not conflict with his class schedule. “It’s tightened my schedule at some points because I do like to meet with my clients beforehand, especially with wedding clients,” he said. “Other than that … the work is limited largely to the weekends, so it impacts more of my social life than academic life.” Anderson said for those considering a start-up of their own, careful planning helps turn ideas into successful businesses. “Reach out to people who know about this stuff and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said. “You just have to break it down into steps.” Anderson said his experience with High Velocity helped him secure a job in technical consulting in Atlanta after graduation. “This experience has helped me get my job and it’s going to help my manager and DJ’s build their portfolios,” he said. “Not only do they get to showcase their talent, but they get to learn about client interaction.” Anderson said he plans to continue running the company from Atlanta, with the help of members of his staff remaining on campus. “The reason I didn’t sell it is because I knew no student could afford buying the company up front, and I didn’t want to sell it to a non-student who didn’t have that connection with Notre Dame,” he said. Anderson said he is thankful for the chance to run his business at Notre Dame. “It’s been an awesome ride. It started off as an idea and it’s been a very rewarding experience,” he said. “We have the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross to thank for continued support.”
The Student International Business Council (SIBC), the University’s largest student organization, changed its membership requirements at the start of the school year to permit only students pursuing a major or minor in the Mendoza College of Business to join.Dr. Angela Logan, SIBC’s faculty advisor, said these changes occurred after SIBC came under the purview of the Mendoza College of Business. Previously, the Student Activities Office (SAO) had authority over SIBC, which has about 500 members and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.“Due to its commitment to ‘ask more of business,’ and its emphasis on providing Mendoza students with opportunities to gain educational experience around the world, the Student Activities Office and Office of Student Affairs asked the Mendoza College of Business about the possibility of SIBC returning to its original oversight in Mendoza,” Logan said in an email.“After conversations with key leadership in Mendoza and the benefactor regarding the current challenges and future opportunities for growth of the organization, the Mendoza College of Business welcomed SIBC under its stewardship,” Logan said. “As the organization celebrates its 25th anniversary, we are excited and poised to continue SIBC’s commitment of ‘peace through commerce’ across the globe.”Senior Alessandro DiSanto, one of SIBC’s co-presidents, said the council’s move to Mendoza forced it to limit its membership.“As of the end of August, we were officially moved from under SAO to the Mendoza College of Business,” DiSanto said. “As an organization officially housed within the college of business, our membership is excluded specifically to those … who are either majors within the Mendoza College of Business or have minors or concentrations in a program that requires courses in Mendoza as part of their mandatory curriculum.”DiSanto said the student leadership of the council was informed of the decision to move into Mendoza on Aug. 24. He said no students were involved in the decision-making process.“We were informed of the decision after they were made, at the end of August as we arrived onto campus,” he said. “We were not privy to the discussions as they were being had over the summer between SAO, Development and Mendoza.“It is our understanding that the justification is that now that SIBC is housed under Mendoza, when students go out and represent themselves as SIBC members to companies through these projects, they are representing, implicitly, the Mendoza College of Business, and the [Mendoza College of Business] Dean [Dr. Roger Huang] would not want any students representing themselves as the Mendoza College of Business without having the education certified and provided by Mendoza courses.”DiSanto said though he and other members of the council respect the decision, he feels open membership offers SIBC constituents a more integrated experience.“Previous to this year, we were housed under SAO, and one of the requirements of SAO to be a club is that you must be open to the entire campus,” he said. “That’s something we prided ourselves on was that we allowed ourselves to be an opportunity for students across campus who might be of a specific technical discipline like engineering or a broad social discipline perspective [like] PLS or any Arts and Letters discipline and allow them to enter into the business environment, to learn that language, and see if that’s something they might want to apply into their own lives.“We certainly understand the perspective of the Dean from a liability and quality management perspective, but it is our overall philosophy that we feel that a broad membership criterion is more in line with the mission of the University, as far as diversity of opinion and diversity of thought,” DiSanto said. “We feel that within a real-life business world, a group of individuals with a diverse background can produce better results than those with a limited technical training.”DiSanto and fellow senior and SIBC co-president Alisha Anderson estimate SIBC’s current membership is 20 to 30 percent non-business students. DiSanto said the outcome of the new membership requirement will be most visible in the consulting and global development divisions.“I think the largest impact on the council will be within the global development and consulting divisions,” he said. “Our consulting division has historically drawn a large number of interdisciplinary students, including engineers, who are both drawn to consulting companies because of their multifaceted, big picture approach to company problems, as well as consulting companies, which are very much drawn to people with engineering backgrounds because of their technical training.“Within the global development division, we anticipate a very large impact. A large number of the students draw from more socially-conscious training programs within the College of Arts and Letters. … The [global development] projects normally have large international service-based aspects, which make them a big draw to students not only studying business.”Anderson said SIBC established a “pretty generous” grandfather clause, which allows any non-business students who have been active in the club to remain members, to accommodate previous members who do not meet the new requirements. Freshmen who have yet to declare a major must show intent to enter the Mendoza College of Business at the end of the year, she said.“All those who have participated in the past [and have been] active in the past, typically meaning [they] paid dues, regardless of your college or your association, you are allowed to participate. … Freshmen just have to be business intent this year.”Freshman John White, who intends to major in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), said he “was definitely surprised about the new requirements.”“Despite not having a major within Mendoza, I am very interested in a career in business, and I believed SIBC would be a great way to pursue that interest,” White said.White said he joined the Notre Dame Wall Street Club, which helps students network and find careers in business, to continue that pursuit.Amidst the changes, Anderson said she looks forward to the opportunities Mendoza can provide SIBC and its members.“We are excited to return to Mendoza,” she said. “We are a business club, and we had previously been housed in Mendoza, so this is sort of returning home for us.“We see this as a great opportunity to engage more with the extensive faculty and staff on hand. Especially for our founder, this move is important to him, too. We are excited to return home and have this opportunity to improve upon our organization and programming.”Monica Laidig, SIBC’s program manager, said despite some negative reactions to the membership requirement change, the council will still strive to excel in its mission to spread “peace through commerce.”“For 25 years, SIBC has been open to all students at the University of Notre Dame,” Laidig said in a written statement. “The new membership requirements were administratively designated when SIBC was brought into the Mendoza College of Business at the beginning of the semester.“This has understandably created a strong reaction by SIBC members and alumni as well as the student body. The Student International Business Council’s vision of ‘peace through commerce’ will continue to encourage discussion regarding the restrictions, while at the same time moving forward in a professional manner.”Tags: Membership, mendoza college of business, SIBC, Student Activities Office, Student International Business Council
Former Prime Minister of Poland Hanna Suchocka visited campus Tuesday evening to address a public audience in the Jordan Auditorium about the transition of Poland from a communist to democratic nation at the 2014 Nanovic Forum lecture.Ann Marie Soller | The Observer A. James McAdams, the director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies since 2002, introduced Suchoka, who was the first woman to serve as the Polish Prime Minister, and explained her selection as the 2014 Nanoic Forum lecturer.“The founders of the Nanovic Forum, Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic, had a brilliant idea to bring some of the most distinguished European leaders to Notre Dame in any field and give them the opportunity to engage students and faculty on whatever themes they wanted to in whatever form they wanted to,” McAdams said. “The idea was not simply to get famous people but instead to get people who had really made a difference — people who have changed the world in important ways and done so in a way that makes sense for Notre Dame’s distinctive mission and values.”McAdams said Suchocka, who played an integral role in converting Poland from a communist into a democratic nation, is a person who has made such a difference.Suchocka, who also served as Polish ambassador to the Holy See from 2002-2013, focused her remarks on the political and economic transformation of Poland in a lecture titled “Democratic Poland: 25 years After the Fall of Communism.”Suchocka began her lecture by noting the special nature of Poland in Central Europe as the first country in communist Europe to distinguish itself from Communism with public free democratic elections, held in June 1989. Suchocka served as Prime Minister from July 1993 to Oct. 1993.She said the situation in Poland between 1981 and 1988 was very depressed, catalyzed by the declaration of martial law in December of 1981, and it was not until the Polish Round Table Talks in April 1989 that the situation began to improve.“The Round Table Agreement opened the way for free democratic elections,” Suchocka said.The Agreement, by introducing the office of president and therefore negating the power of the Communist party general secretary, resulted in an election held on June 4, 1989 that transferred power to the non-Communist Solidarność party of Poland.Suchocka said the June elections were essential in the shift from communism to democracy.“I am of the opinion that as a consequence of the June elections that everything has changed,” Suchocka said. “After June 4 the political dynamism as a result of the elections went beyond the political round table agreement. It changed completely the whole political system. … We can see it is an agreement which opened the way to semi-democratic elections.”However, Suchocka said the transformation to a democratic nation was not without challenges, most notably, the public criticism to the economic changes of post-Communist Poland.The public reaction to the transformation of Poland was separated into political and economic spheres, she said.While most of the public supported the abolition of Communism, the public voiced much criticism over the economic changes that occurred as a result.“Society at that time was not completely prepared for such changes because we suddenly tried to establish a free market,” Suchocka said. “We tried to make better social conditions … but suddenly we faced this completely new phenomenon [the free market] that changed the nature of the economic system and society was not prepared.”Suchocka said public passivity and lack of political culture rooted in the history of a non-democratic nation also made the initial transition difficult.Despite the initial struggles of post-communist Poland, Suchocka said she found the resilient nature of Poland able to overcome and succeed as a democratic nation.Suchocka said what helped the new government prevail was the late formation of a constitution. The Constitution of Poland was not adopted until April 2, 1997 – almost a decade after the free elections.Suchocka said an immeadite formation of a constitution would have been rooted in old thinking. The passing of eight years allowed the government to face several ups and downs and realize what would construct the best policies for a democratic Poland.Tags: Communism, Democracy, Hanna Suchocka, Nanovic Forum, Nanovic Institute, Poland, Poland Prime Minister, Prime Minister
Photo courtesy of Amy Ackerman The Notre Dame Dance Company will host its annual Spring Showcase on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Washington Hall.The show consists of 24 student-choreographed dances by 111 dancers from the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s student body.Sophomore Maura Doré, the public relations executive officer of the Dance Company, said the rehearsals for the Spring Showcase began in February.“We kind of jump right into preparing through rehearsals once we get back from winter break,” she said. “We have many different rehearsal times and have about 10 official hours of rehearsal time allotted for our dancers each week, but then the choreographers can also choose to find more rehearsal time.”The showcase is unique because it is entirely student-run, Doré said.“All the students and the choreographers have a lot of power,” she said. “They get to decide how many people are in their dances and if they want to practice even more outside the allotted hour per week.”At the beginning of the semester, any member in the Dance Company who wants to choreograph a dance shows a little piece of their dance. The dancers then sign up for the dances of their choosing, Doré said.Doré named the burlesque piece, as well as a Beyoncé mix, as certain crowd pleasers.New to the Showcase this year is a dance performed only by the seniors, Doré said.“The seniors are all doing a little bit of their favorite style one last time,” Doré said.The annual showcases that occur once a semester are what the dancers prepare for all year, she said.“Throughout the year, the Dance Company participates in some smaller events, like the Dance-A-Thon, but the annual spring show is our time to shine,” she said. “We all just look forward to show week and to finally get on stage and put on stage everything that we have worked for.”Tickets are $5 and are sold at the door.Tags: ND dance company, spring showcase, Washington Hall
Caitlyn Jordan Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, left, converses with NBC news correspondent Anne Thompson, a member of the Notre Dame class of 1979, on Wednesday night in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.“We booked it over here … we got here at 5:15 or so, but we didn’t get tickets until 6:45,” she said. “There were more people behind me than there were in front of me. The line was all the way outside. There were hundreds, hundreds of people.”Those who were unable to get tickets in the Leighton Concert Hall, where Sotomayor spoke, had the opportunity to watch the event live streamed in the lobby and in Decio Theatre.Sophomore Cameron Engel, one of those who watched the event from the overflow area, said Sotomayor came out before the program and began to address the people unable to get seats.“She’s very open and very kind,” Engel said. “I liked the way she came up to us. … She came up to the overflow and shook peoples’ hands, and that’s just not normal for a speaker. Especially one of her importance, I would say.”Other students echoed this sentiment; Billion said she found herself impressed by Sotomayor’s ability to relate to her audience.“Everyone in the room feels as if she’s speaking directly to them,” she said. “Her speaking style and what she has to say is very intimate, but also universal, so it feels like she connects with everyone on a very personal level even when she’s speaking to a crowd of so many people.”Senior Elizabeth Anthony said she had not been particularly familiar with Sotomayor prior to going to the event, but she found great insight in what the Justice had to say.“I thought she was very articulate and gave really good advice,” she said. “I was really impressed just by how personable she was and how honest she was. I think my favorite part was her discussion of how personal views play into decisions and how it really is about the law, and I thought that was really awesome.”After barely getting her ticket, Schoenbauer said the experience was “incredible.”“The way that she articulated things that I had thought before and things that I knew I wanted to hear from somebody in the Supreme Court but that I had never heard somebody say before, she articulated that very well,” she said.While junior Rachel Ganson said she enjoyed what Sotomayor talked about, she stressed more broadly the importance of taking advantage of opportunities like this one on campus.“I just think it’s a really awesome experience for undergraduate students — even if you aren’t interested in law — to come hear someone as prestigious and influential as a Supreme Court Justice,” Ganson said. “I think no matter what your political views are, it’s really insightful to get to speak to someone and to hear what they have to say. And not hear it through various media sources, but to hear it from her directly.”Tags: debartolo performing arts center, Notre Dame Law School, Sonia Sotomayor, Sotomayor Braving this week’s heat wave, hundreds of students waited in a line that wrapped around the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) last night, hoping to be one of the few students who would secure a seat at an event featuring Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor when general admission tickets were released at 6 p.m.“We heard the line was going to be out the door by 3 p.m.,” junior Leah Billion said.Though perhaps slightly exaggerated, the prediction warranted some merit; junior John McCready said that by the time he arrived at 4:30 p.m. there were nearly 50 people in front of him in line.Sophomore Emmy Schoenbauer was the last person in the general admission line who was able to get a ticket.
Benjamin Padanilam | The Observer Following an attack on London’s Houses of Parliament, the University confirmed the safety of ND abroad students.Students studying abroad in London this semester were put on lockdown in the midst of an attack Wednesday near the British Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge. The University confirmed the safety of all 167 students currently studying in London less than an hour after the incident, including nine students interning at Parliament at the time of the attack.Junior and Parliament intern Jim English was at work when the attack occurred and said he had a view of some of the action from his office window.“Outside my window on our ground floor office, there is a parking lot where a lot of [members of Parliament] park their cars,” he said in an email. “I was just chatting with my supervisor and another colleague when there was shouting out in the lot, and … [a] few seconds later, Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed through the parking lot and guided into a car where she was eventually taken away. We then learned that there was a shooting and the policemen were yelling for everyone to stay in their rooms.”Junior Hadyn Pettersen is studying abroad at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland this semester, but he was in London for a brief visit with his dad and uncle. Pettersen said in an email that he saw the aftermath of the attack firsthand.“I was on a tour bus with my dad and uncle, who had flown to St. Andrew’s earlier in the week to visit me,” he said. “… While on Westminster bridge, another passenger pointed across to the sidewalk and gasped. I looked and saw several people on the ground. A few had gruesome injuries. A few were motionless. I first thought a driver had lost control of his car, but looking down the length of the bridge it became obvious to me that the act was intentional.”Junior James Woodley is interning at a school in London through Notre Dame and was at the school when he learned about the attack from a friend interning at Parliament.“I believe the attack happened at [2:40 p.m.] or so, and at [3:05 p.m.] — when class was dismissed — the intercom asked the teachers to not dismiss the students,” he said in an email. “I have a friend who is one of the, I believe, nine interns at Parliament and he texted me explaining what info he had at the time and that he was alright. I stayed put at the school until they released the students, about a half hour later … I have always thought of London as a very safe city, and today was the first day I was worried walking around.”Junior and Parliament intern Caitlin McAuliffe said she had taken her visiting parents on a tour of the Parliamentary estate the day before the incident, but was not at work at the time of the attack.“My backpack was stolen at lunchtime from the pub I had eaten at with my parents, so I was in the Notre Dame building sorting out my stolen laptop, credit cards and phone when my Parliament intern group chat went off with people talking about it and being very upset,” she said. “Right now, I just feel really lucky that I wasn’t at work [Wednesday] or that I wasn’t showing my parents around the Parliamentary estate.”Junior Jaclyn Daily said students in Notre Dame London’s residence buildings generally felt more removed from the “tragic situation.”“Everyone was very calm as we all felt safe and fairly separated from the situation,” she said in an email. “We were on lockdown for 30-60 minutes. … Notre Dame accounted for all students within an hour and was constantly updating us with relevant information via emails.”Junior and Parliament intern Emily Gust said in an email that the quick work of local and Parliament authorities helped her stay calm and feel safe as she waited in lockdown at Parliament.“I was shocked as I saw it unfold, and when I heard it was a terrorist attack it made me a little nervous about a potential further attack,” she said.“But being in parliament, I felt very safe, because I could see all of the police officers and knew they had the area secured. It was a scary situation, but by remaining calm and trusting the authorities to do what was best, it felt a lot less frightening. My office really helped calm me down with their relaxed attitude, and I think that helped a lot.”While he was “shaken up” by his experience, English said he is grateful to those who prevented the situation becoming any worse.“It’s a bit surreal. I kind of feel like I just walked out of the movie theaters or off of a film set, so I don’t know if it’s completely hit me yet,” he said. “I’m definitely a bit shaken up by it, just considering how close I was to everything that happened. But it could have also been much worse, so I am very grateful and blessed at the same time. I’m thankful to all of the men and women who neutralized the situation [Wednesday] at Parliament and I’m grateful for the care and protection Notre Dame provides us with, especially in times of crisis.”Tags: London attack, London program, Parliament, study abroad
ND Votes hosted its final Pizza, Pop & Politics of the year Tuesday evening, concluding a year of informal lectures from a range of positions on the political spectrum. This week’s installment, “Peer to Peer Politics,” highlighted three seniors who completed theses related to politics in today’s society. Senior Michael Finan spoke about his research regarding the white working class’ unforeseen influence on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The 2016 election was not unprecedented but a reflection of recent voting trends, Finan said.“The white working class over the past twenty years has been becoming more Republican,” Finan said. “You can see back in 1992, if you were in the white working class you were actually more likely to identify as a Democrat, and they’ve kind of shifted from a democratic stronghold — blue collar, union workers — to now identifying and voting for Republicans.”This shift led to Donald Trump’s 39 point advantage over Hillary Clinton among white working class voters, Finan said. Finan’s thesis seeks to explain the difference between the voting trends of the white working class base and the white college educated base. He looked at party identification, prominent election issues like economic concerns, moral traditionalism and racial resentment, which he said could not fully explain the gap in voting tendencies. Because of that, he added a third factor: feeling thermometers that measure voters’ attitude toward the candidates.“There’s a lot of debate about the issues, but I don’t think there’s as much attention about the role of the candidates themselves and the role their characteristics played,” Finan said.Positive feelings toward Trump far outweighed negative feelings toward Clinton, belying the narrative that sexism drove Clinton’s loss, Finan said. He concluded that white working class voters are more likely to have a weak party identification and to focus more on the issues and candidates in a particular election.“In the long run, ultimately, I think the Democrats will have to find support elsewhere and the Republicans are going to have to try to incorporate the white working class into the coalition that they have right now,” Finan said.Senior Sarah Tomas Morgan’s thesis discussed the capabilities approach to human development formulated by philosopher Martha Nussbaum and its effect on the United Nations’ sustainable global development goals and the greater involvement of civil society in their creation. The capabilities approach, Tomas Morgan said, is set apart from other comparative methods because of its emphasis on the individual and individual freedoms.“Every individual is an end in and of herself in the capabilities approach,” Tomas Morgan said. “It does not attempt to total or average societal well-being, but rather to compare societies based on the opportunities available to each person. This focus on the individual creates a respect for self-definition, a pluralism of values and a concern for social injustice and inequality in society.”Nussbaum’s theory outlines 10 capabilities deemed necessary to a dignified human life, including health, bodily integrity, practical reason, and control over one’s own environment, Tomas Morgan noted.“They’re answers to the question: What is a person, an individual, able to do and to be?” Tomas Morgan said. “They’re opportunities to choose and to act — a set of substantial freedoms. They’re not just abilities that reside in a person, but they’re freedoms and opportunities created by a combination of personal ability and the political social and economic environment.”It is therefore the task of an effective government to secure a base level of these freedoms for all citizens so they can pursue a “dignified and minimally flourishing life,” Tomas Morgan said. The way to implement such freedoms is through the involvement of civil society, which played a central role in creating the sustainable development goals the UN set forth in 2015 and is necessary to creating a better life for all members of any community, Tomas Morgan concluded.“Deliberative democracy grounds democracy in the exchange of reason for the purpose of democratic decision making,” Tomas Morgan said. “The primary aim of all these bodies is the same — to enhance both the rational justification for and the popular sanction for political decisions.”Senior Roge Karma discussed the dichotomy of the American narrative, which pits the narrative of the nation as a source of oppression and against that of American exceptionalism. Neither of these narratives, Karma said, truly capture American history. Karma’s thesis explores the question of ideal civic education from the perspective of creating the ideal citizen. The two central parts of that education, Karma said, are estrangement and love.“Civic estrangement is the intellectual or emotional experience of grasping fundamental contradictions between what a given society states are its ideals and reality,” Karma said. “As a result, the perceptive citizen is no longer at home, no longer at one with the nation, but recognizes it as strange, foreign, not in harmony. It’s a disjunctive experience. You don’t feel at home because the ideals that you identify with are not being lived up to.”This estrangement is necessary to identifying the gaps between a nation’s ideals and its realities, Karma said. Patriotic love, on the other hand, is necessary to fixing those gaps — together, Karma said they create an ideal citizen willing to criticize and also fix his nation.“How I define patriotic love is as ends-oriented,” he said. “It operates with the ideal of the nation in mind. So what I love about my nation isn’t necessarily everything it does, but what it stands for, what it aspires towards. I argue that this form of patriotic love is actually necessary in order to be willing to close the gap between ideals and realities. If we’re trying to cultivate the ideal citizen, we can’t rely on self-interest. I can’t just fight and struggle for an issue because it affects me.”Karma examined what he said is the most popular American history textbook used in high schools today, ’American Pageant,’ focusing specifically on foreign policy in the Woodrow Wilson era, and found it pushed an agenda of American exceptionalism that failed his criteria for creating an ideal citizen.“What this narrative serves to do is it puts forward an affirmative national narrative trying to cultivate a sense of love for country,” Karma said. “But in doing so, it conflates American ideals and realities. It leaves no room for critical thinking, no room for empathy, no room for estrangement. If you believe that every one of your nation’s actions are going to be necessarily just and good, how are you ever going to spot a gap between their ideals and those realities?”Tags: Michael Finan, Peer to Peer Politics, Pizza Pop and Politics, Roge Karma, Sarah TomasMorgan
The emeritus student body leadership presented the spring Board of Trustees’ report to the student senate Wednesday.Emeritus student body president Rebecca Blais, emeritus student body vice president Sibonay Shewit and emeritus chief of staff Prathm Juneja shared their report on representation in leadership with the senate.Blais and Shewit, seniors, and Juneja, a junior, presented to the Board of Trustees in the fall regarding alcohol culture on campus. For their spring report, they decided to report on the representation of women, racial minorities and people of low socioeconomic status in student and University leadership.“We’re looking at leadership both amongst the student body — so RAs and in the student union — and we look at faculty, administration, who’s in the president’s leadership council … all the way up to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Fellows,” Blais said.They found that 28 percent of the Board of Trustees are women, compared to 49 percent of the undergraduate student body; and 4 percent of the president’s leadership council are people of color, compared to 30 percent of the undergraduate student body, Juneja said.Shewit said these statistics demonstrate “that our leadership does not at all mirror what we see in our student body.”Because of the small number of women in leadership roles, it is difficult for female students to find female mentors among University administration, Blais said.Representation of students of color is low in both hall staff and University newsletters, Shewit said.“In the Arts and Letters exemplar newsletter … only 13 percent of the students highlighted were students of color,” Shewit said. “We are asking that instead of putting students of color on brochures or inviting them to dinners, actually highlight the work that they’re doing and make sure that they’re represented just the same as all of our other students.”The University should also encourage and incentivize students of low socioeconomic status to become RAs in order to increase support for undergraduates in similar situations, Juneja said.Blais, Shewit and Juneja are also asking to decrease the severity of the punishment for students caught with marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia on campus.Currently, the punishment is immediate on-campus housing suspension. They hope to change the punishment to housing probation for a first offense, Juneja said.“For my peers that I know that have been kicked off campus, it was more of a detriment to me to have them not be in the community, and it was more of a detriment to them because they were isolated … and didn’t have people to support them during this tough time,” Juneja said.While the students will discuss several topics, the main purpose of the report will be to bring the topic of minority underrepresentation in leadership to the board, Shewit said.“The reason that we wanted to pick this topic is because we’ve seen the importance of having representation in leadership and we’ve seen that influence our own work, so we wanted to bring that to the attention of groups that we don’t think have had as many conversations about this,” Shewit said.The senators also discussed the new clear bag policy that the University recently announced would be enacted next semester.Dunne hall senator and sophomore Zachary Spitzer said that many universities will begin using a similar policy.“All of the schools in the SCC conference are implementing the policy in their stadiums and a whole bunch of other schools in other conferences as well … have started implementing this, especially in light of everything that’s been going on in recent months,” Spitzer said.Diversity council chair and junior Alyssa Ngo suggested that the University give out free clear bags at the beginning of the school year to aid the transition. She also said women, in particular, will be affected if they desire to bring feminine hygiene products into the game.“I don’t really want to bring that in a plastic bag, for obvious privacy concerns,” Ngo said.The senators also approved the bestowal of emeritus status on Matt Ross, the judicial council president for the previous term.The senators unanimously approved each of the nominations for vice presidents of judicial council, the SUB executive board and the assistant student union treasurers.After the duration of the meeting surpassed an hour but before the meeting was adjourned, senators began leaving. After several had left, Gayheart said that no other senator could leave or the senate would lose quorum and would be unable to adjourn.“You all committed to this and you need to be here to represent your constituents when we vote on things,” Gayheart said.No other senators left and the final senate meeting of the semester adjourned.Tags: Board of Trustees report, clear bag policy, representation, student senate
As April — sexual assault awareness month — approaches, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), campus ministry and the wellness program teamed up to present “Trauma and Spirituality,” a conversation on the effects of trauma on overall health, spirituality and belief systems.The discussion addressed questions of how one can overcome negative or stressful thoughts about the current pandemic, as well as how to use prayer for meditation and stress relief.“This event is particularly valuable during this time in our society where coronavirus has affected our daily lives and may have altered the way we think about faith,” BAVO coordinator Liz Coulston said in an email to students.Sophomore Emily Karalus, a BAVO Student Advisory Committee (SAC) member, said “Trauma and Spirituality” served the purpose of including all of the different faiths and spiritualities on campus in the healing process. “It allowed the panelists to explore different coping mechanisms and self-care practices after traumatic events,” Karalus said in an email. “It was an event that all of our students could participate in despite their differences in faith. Our main focus was on showing students that there is a way to overcome trauma despite what your beliefs may be, before and after the traumatic event.”Though the College is not allowing anyone on campus currently and classes will be completed remotely until the end of the semester, Karalus said BAVO still wanted to continue to hold this event as it is an important topic for many, even when students find themselves stuck at home. “We also chose to continue with this event because it is extremely beneficial during this time of chaos and disarray,” Karalus said. “We knew that this event could help ground our students and to ensure that they are taking care of themselves. It also provided us an opportunity to let the students, who have experienced trauma, know that there are still resources and supports available for them on and off-campus. We described that during a time like this, it may be harder or easier to heal from the trauma that they have experienced.”Karalus said the event did not change much since it was moved online. “We incorporated all the same questions and panelists, and we sent the goodie bags to the student‘s home address instead of them having them pick them up if the event was in person,” Karalus said. “It was not hard to make the transition to a virtual event since we had great panelists and many of our ideas already laid out.”The event panelists included assistant director of Campus Ministry Liz Palmer, BAVO coordinator Liz Coulston and senior ministry assistant Annie Maguire.Maguire said cross-campus events such as those between BAVO and Campus Ministry are important since she believes her community can accomplish more when working together. “When we utilize and harness the assets, wisdom and resources we have in our community, we broaden our reach to students, cultivate our capacity for change-making and deepen our prosperity as an institution,” she said.Maguire said the event‘s partnership between Campus Ministry and BAVO promotes a holistic approach to healing, especially in the midst of a global health emergency.“I found myself [beginning] the process of healing when I reflected upon the questions on the panel,” Maguire said in an email. “Everyone is affected by this pandemic differently, and this panel helped me open my heart and my mind to the ways I could touch others with my words and reflections to inspire collective healing as well.”Maguire believes her experience ministry assistant on campus at Saint Mary’s can uplift others right now. “I think it‘s important that students know that despite the distance that separates our community, the community of Saint Mary’s never leaves them,” Maguire said. “Saint Mary’s is here for them no matter what. It’s time to extend our love to each other across the miles in creative and meaningful ways.”More than 70 students registered for the event via Google Forms, with more than 50 people appearing on Google Meet during the event time. “We are glad that we could provide support and insight into these topics to so many students today,” Karalus said. “This is one of the greatest turnouts we have ever had for BAVO events, and we are so happy that we could stay connected as a community today.”BAVO will continue to post tips regarding self-care activities, quotes, recommendations and academic study tips, as well as host more virtual events for students, including GreenDot training overviews and stress-management sessions.Tags: BAVO, online events, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, smc campus ministry, trauma, wellness