Monthly Archives: January 2021

Robinson Center celebrates ninth anniversary

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first_imgFor the past nine years, Notre Dame faculty, staff and students as well as members of the South Bend community have volunteered their time to better their lives of local children at the Robinson Community Learning Center. The Center, an off-campus educational initiative sponsored by the University, celebrated its ninth anniversary Friday afternoon and gave thanks to the support of its volunteers.Speakers at the event included University President Fr. John Jenkins and South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke.Jay Caponigro, the founding director of the RCLC, was officially appointed to the position of the Director of Community Engagement for the University, a promotion effective March 1. No announcements about his replacement at the RCLC have been made yet.Friday’s festivities also included the recognition of various community volunteers and Notre Dame faculty and students who work to further the Center’s ventures.In addition, the James Kapsa Take Ten Award was presented to a local school leader and awards were given to the top 12 schools in the Take Ten poster design contest.The Take Ten Program is an outreach project of the Robinson Community Learning Center encouraging students to “Talk it out, Walk it out and Wait it Out” before taking action. The Center lists the mission statement of its Take Ten Program as one working “to promote choices and strategies that cultivate nonviolent communities.”Two Notre Dame seniors, Jarred Carter and Austin Dwyer, were recognized for their service within the center at the celebration.“We pretty much have an occupation where we are able to help kids, play with them, tutor them and also give them advice about the world and guide them in their future endeavors,” Carter said about his two and a half years of volunteer service at the Center.Members of the John Adams High School Jazz Band provided musical entertainment to guests, mainly consisting of parents of the students and elderly members of the community, Carter said.Each semester over 250 Notre Dame students volunteer at the Center.In a recent press release about his new promotion, Caponigro said he would continue to work to improve Notre Dame’s presence in South Bend and build relationships with both community leaders and ordinary citizens.  He also expressed hope that these partnerships would last, sustain, and grow because they are the “foundation of the Robinson Center.”last_img read more

Alum advances dialogue

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first_imgA Notre Dame graduate who now works as Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction spoke Tuesday about education reform and the progress he has encouraged during his tenure. Michael Flanagan’s talk “Education Reform-Mongering: A Practitioner’s Perspective” in Carole Sandner Hall was the latest event in the Notre Dame Forum 2011-12: Reimagining School. Flanagan said the most pressing challenge for today’s educators is addressing the needs of the urban and poor. Sharing his experience of growing up in a working class family on Long Island, N.Y., he said education plays a critical role in realizing one’s potential. “I think there’s a certain point that when you see other people believe in you, it changes your whole trajectory,” Flanagan said. Flanagan said his critical point was when he had to adapt to his new environment after his family moved from Brooklyn to Long Island.  Flanagan said when a teacher informed him he would be placed in the “89er” program, he assumed it meant he was going to “be put on the short bus” because he was a troublemaker. However, he said it turned out to be the opposite ­— a program for talented eighth graders who would be given ninth grade work.  “It taught me a lesson that so much of this [education] is about expectations that you have for every child, and that almost without exception they can reach great heights if we believe in them,” Flanagan said. While it is important to believe all kids can learn, Flanagan said change cannot be conceptualized until we begin to act on an individual level.  “You have to be careful to design reforms that don’t make you feel good about all [the children, and in the process] forget to reach down to every child,” he said.  Even after 30 years as a local, regional and state superintendent, Flanagan said he continues to act on the lesson he learned early on in his career when he examined a particular district: the need to improve the quality of education is more important than what people want to hear.  “Overall, they were high achieving, but they didn’t look at individual schools,” he said. “I said that I bet we’re just like everyone else, that we’re losing women in science by high school.” When he brought his findings to public attention, the reactions were far from positive, he said.  “The headline the next day didn’t help me: ‘New superintendent comes to town, girls test scores go down,’” Flanagan said. “That and the reaction taught me a real lesson that you have to be willing to realize that change is easier said than done, that you have to confront the status quo.” Flanagan said one of his most recent pushes for reform has been to raise the “cut scores,” or the cut-off score that students have to attain on standardized tests to be considered at grade level, which encourages greater achievement in Michigan schools.  “All we did was raise the bar, and even though fewer kids could jump over that bar, we saw that they all ended up jumping higher than they did before,” he said. Flanagan said his other goals include providing free ACT testing to all Michigan students, improving reading proficiency levels, establishing tenure procedures that protect teachers and require achievement and developing ways to address the varied needs of Michigan’s children. The Notre Dame graduate said at times, critics have targeted his Catholic faith.  “I’m very concerned with determining what’s right for the kids, and I know that some of this process is painful for the adults involved,” Flanagan said. “I know that’s part of the job.” Fr. Tim Scully, director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the Center for Social Concerns, said this is due to Catholicism’s clearly defined positions on these contentious issues. “Unlike some religions, we have a social teaching, that for example, takes a position in regards to parent choice. All parents should have the opportunity to choose a decent school for their kids,” Scully said. “Because this tradition has this teaching, it implies a certain stake in the ground in debates.” Surprisingly, Flanagan said the economic downturn in Michigan helped them to enact these reforms.  “We wouldn’t get some of these reforms and innovations if we had enough money where we could just keep throwing money [at problems,]” Flanagan said. “[It’s not] that money makes no difference, but … you almost have to use it as an excuse to revamp the whole system.” Scully said Flanagan’s speech continued the Forum’s focus on broad development in education reform.  “I think Mike Flanagan is an example of a leader who has entered into a really contended field and has made a difference because of his deep empathy,” Scully said. “We hope that the people here today will leave asking questions, and at a Catholic university these questions are exactly the kind of questions that we ought to be raising.”last_img read more

Bishop celebrates Red Mass for lawmakers

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first_imgYesterday was a red-letter day, as members of the University community, particularly, the law school community, celebrated the traditional Red Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend presided over this year’s iteration of the annual Red Mass. He said the Mass is a long-standing Church tradition that invokes the aid of the Holy Spirit for people in law-related vocations. “The Red Mass is a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, the 13th century,” Rhoades said. “It is called ‘red’ because the priest or bishop wears red vestments, red being the color of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is asking God’s blessing and guidance on those in the legal profession.” Rhoades said each year, the Red Mass and his homily are dedicated to a specific topic relevant for Catholics in the legal profession and civic office. “Last year I talked about the injustice of the [Health and Human Services] mandate and religious freedom,” he said. “This year, the topic is the meaning of freedom and what a culture of freedom is. True freedom is rooted in moral truth.” The Red Mass is celebrated worldwide each October, Rhoades said. He said he presides over two Red Masses each year, one in Fort Wayne and one in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This year’s Mass was his fourth at Notre Dame. Red Masses often attract prominent members of the legal profession and politicians, Rhoades said. Me`mbers of the United States Supreme Court attended the Red Mass held in Washington, D.C., this past week, and the governor of Pennsylvania used to attend the Red Masses over which Rhoades presided when he was Bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., from 2004 to 2009. Rhoades said various judges, lawyers and civic officials from the area joined professors, law students and undergraduate students in the Basilica for yesterday’s Red Mass.  His homily focused on current world issues relevant to the topic, as well as the teachings of St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, and the “rich teaching of soon-to-be St. John Paul II.” More serves as a powerful example of a faithful lawyer whose dedication to truth serves as an example for Catholics in the legal profession, Rhoades said. More died defending the freedom Rhoades spoke of in his homily. “More’s faithfulness to the truth led to his being beheaded,” Rhoades said. “He was really a martyr of freedom and conscience.” Rhoades said he referenced the writings of Blessed John Paul II in his homily because the late pope had a great deal to say about freedom and truth. “He wrote on this theme quite a bit, and I have reflected often on his teachings,” Rhoades said. “He taught that freedom can lead to a lot of trouble if not rooted in moral truth.” Rhoades said he values the Mass as a chance to meet, advise and pray for the Notre Dame Law community. “[The Red Mass] gives me an opportunity to meet law students and law professors, and to encourage them in living their faith in their profession,” he said. “There are excellent scholars here who help the Church, so it’s good to come here and pray for them.” Notre Dame’s Red Mass has always been sponsored by the Law School, but last year the political science department joined in, and this year the constitutional studies minor has followed suit, Rhoades said.  It’s been a positive development in the last year,” he said. In his homily, Rhoades said he believes the current and future leaders of law and civil service in attendance can work to ensure moral truth is part of a shared notion of freedom in the United States. “You can help to rebuild the moral foundations of a genuine culture of freedom,” he said. “I believe the future of our nation depends on a culture that adheres to the moral truths and values without which our democracy is imperiled.” Contact Christian Myers at cmyers8@nd.edulast_img

The Observer announces new department heads

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first_imgSeven new and two returning department heads will complete The Observer’s 2016-2017 Editorial Board, incoming Editor-in-Chief Margaret Hynds announced Wednesday night. The new department editors will join Hynds as well as incoming Managing Editor Kayla Mullen and Assistant Managing Editors Clare Kossler, Zach Klonsinski and Alex Carson in running editorial operations for the paper.Juniors Erin McAuliffe, Jimmy Kemper, Wei Cao and Caitlyn Jordan, sophomores Katie Galioto, Nicole Caratas, Marek Mazurek, Susan Zhu and freshman Claire Radler will take over their respective departments March 13.McAuliffe, a junior in Pasquerilla East Hall, will continue to serve as Scene Editor. A marketing major with a minor in journalism, ethics and democracy, she began writing for Scene her freshman year. Originally from Cincinnati, McAuliffe is also a WVFI DJ.Kemper, a native of Alpharetta, Georgia, will begin working as Web Editor. He began writing for Scene his freshman year and has covered a variety of arts and entertainment topics, including Taylor Swift’s business relationship with Spotify and Kanye West’s shoes. Kemper, a resident of Zahm House, is an economics and English double major. Cao will continue to work as Multimedia Editor. An aerospace engineering major and Walnut, California, native living in Dillon Hall, Cao has been with The Observer since his freshman year. He has his own art blog and plays the tuba in the marching band. Jordan will join the Editorial Board as Photo Editor. The Saint Mary’s junior hails from Ashburn, Virginia, and lives in Le Mans Hall. Jordan is a communication studies major with a minor in film studies. She works with photography and video media and hopes to pursue a job in filmmaking. Galioto, a resident of Walsh Hall, will head the News department. She began her work with The Observer in fall of 2014 and has since covered a variety of campus issues, including the ESPN lawsuit and Mental Health Awareness Week. Galioto hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota, and is pursuing a degree in finance with minors in Italian and journalism, ethics and democracy.Caratas, a native of Lake Villa, Illinois, currently living in Holy Cross Hall, will take over as Saint Mary’s Editor. Caratas is a sophomore English writing and humanistic studies double major. She has been writing for The Observer since her freshman year, covering issues such as Title IX and “The Hunting Ground” documentary. Mazurek will take on the position of Sports Editor. A Mishawaka resident, he currently resides in Carroll Hall on campus. He is pursuing a degree in history with a minor in journalism, ethics and democracy and has been writing for The Observer since his freshman year. He currently covers men’s basketball and has previously covered women’s soccer and cross country. Radler, the incoming Viewpoint Editor, began working for The Observer this fall as a copyeditor for the department. Currently living in Pangborn Hall, she was born and raised in Winnetka, Illinois.  She is a freshman English and political science double major and also works for the First Year of Studies. Zhu, originally from Granger, will assume the role of Graphics Editor. A resident of Ryan Hall, she has been a graphic designer for The Observer for two years. She is a chemistry and political science double major and also works for the Snite Museum of Art. Tags: department editors, Editorial Board, Observer editorial boardlast_img read more

College to engage students in business-related workshop series

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first_imgThe Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at Saint Mary’s will host a six-week series titled “Entre. Lead. Her.,” designed to help students cultivate a personal and professional brand, develop leadership skills and learn innovative strategies towards success. Running from Jan. 25, this program will feature guest speakers and interactive workshops addressing topics such as team building, pitch presentation, the benefits of podcasting, stress reduction, positive social impact and the importance of empathy in the business world. Joan McClendon, the current director of The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) said she initially became involved as a community member participating in the organization’s 2010 pilot program. “I came in [to the WEI] and participated in a leadership style session, and it changed my life because it made me feel as a woman that I had purpose and I had meaning,” McClendon said. “We don’t always have these opportunities to meet with other women to explore who we truly are. That session really transformed me, and I am still friends with the women that I’ve connected with through the WEI.” Since her first experience seven years ago with the WEI, McClendon said her exploration of leadership has continued through her time spent as the associate director, and now project director of the WEI. As director, McClendon is responsible for scheduling events, such as the upcoming workshop series, that will help women in the Saint Mary’s and South Bend community navigate leadership roles in their personal and professional lives. “My passion is to bring the community of women into Saint Mary’s College and have them experience the same thing I’ve come to learn: that we are a college of amazing and incredible women,” McClendon said. Though the WEI is open to all Saint Mary’s students and communities outside of the college, McClendon said most of the individuals involved are graduates of SPARK, a Saint Mary’s program providing that assists women who earn low wages in starting their own businesses. “Entre. Lead. Her.” will offer a chance for graduates and others to scale up their businesses and continue building a brand, McClendon said. “Part of the series will work on creating and refining a pitch, a skill that I think all the women at Saint Mary’s College could benefit from learning,” McClendon said. “These sessions are not your typical business classes, but they will provide you with the things that are going to give you an edge in your personal life and in your business.”In order to make the upcoming series more accessible, McClendon said the WEI has made admission free for students and continues to offer availability to the general public. She said attendance will be capped at 40 to keep sessions personal and thorough. McClendon said she hopes each participant will walk away from this experience with a better understanding of her leadership style and the process of creating a business, for they will have had the opportunity to grow personally.“That’s why we start these sessions by sharing Sr. Madeleva Wolff’s words on discovery,” McClendon said. “‘We promise you discovery: the discovery of yourselves, the discovery of the universe, and your place in it.’”Tags: discovery, Entre. Lead. Her., SPARK, Sr. Madaleva Wolff, Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiativelast_img read more

JPW brings together students, parents for weekend of events

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first_imgPhoto courtesy of Rachel Belans Junior Rachel Belans, right, cultures cells with her parents in a lab in Jordan Hall of Science on Saturday.“As a junior student, I was on cloud nine with meeting friends and family through different events,” Schweninger said. “ … I was really struck by how the Notre Dame community embraced our families this weekend and the opportunity to thank our families for all they’ve done to form us for this community now.”With the availability of the new Duncan Student Center, Schweninger said, there were possibly more changes to JPW this year than ever before.“The gala was especially different, with four levels of programming in Duncan and student performances throughout the night,” she said. “And the brunch was also hosted in the Duncan Ballroom, with open seating and a brunch buffet for guests to come in on their own time. I think the changes offered a great variety of social spaces for our families.”Alongside such changes, Schweninger said the JPW committee did its best to make the events accessible and affordable for more juniors.“This meant widening the range for the gala’s recommended attire, as well as promoting financial assistance for tickets, housing and travel through the Office of Student Enrichment,” Schweninger said.The weekend opened with the gala Friday night, which gala chair junior Daniela Iezza said in an email is the exciting moment in which students get to introduce friends and Notre Dame families to their own families.“The Duncan Student Center buzzed with chatter, music and laughter as classmates and families came together to begin one of the most memorable weekends of the Notre Dame experience,” Iezza said.The gala was an exciting challenge, Iezza said, due to its new location.“We had so many amazing things we wanted to show off, and for our inaugural year in the student center, we were blessed to be able to do just that,” she said. “We had portrait photographers, an awesome DJ, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, dancing and a wide variety of incredibly talented student performers all working together to give life and variety to our evening.”The weekend also featured academic workshops that allowed parents to experience students’ chosen colleges. As the chair of the Arts and Letters showcase, junior Emily Hirshorn said her goal was to help parents see the value of a broad liberal arts education in a “warm and welcoming” manner.“It was really such an honor and really rewarding experience because you can represent the college that you love and also bring people together in the community for that morning,” she said.As leaders of the JPW planning process, Schweninger said she and a committee met weekly to touch base on different aspects of the program. Another big part of the preparation, she said, was answering hundreds of emails over the last few months alongside junior Joe Crowley, the JPW vice chair.“What drew me to become one of the leaders for JPW was the mission of the weekend,” Crowley said in an email. “All of the planning of JPW is dedicated towards creating a weekend which facilitates the encounter of parents with those people and experiences their student has come to call their very own Notre Dame family.”A particularly powerful moment, Crowley said, was seeing families engage in “quality conversations” during Sunday brunch, drawing parents further into students’ experiences as members of the Notre Dame family.“[When] a parent meets a professor whom they’ve heard so much about, visits their son or daughter’s favorite study spot where countless hours of sweat and thinking have been expended or finally gets to have a conversation with another student who has come to play such a role in their own student’s life; it is in these moments that the mission of JPW is fulfilled and defined, in these moments when our community extends a little further to encompass our parents and their love for us now and their dreams for our futures,” he said.Tags: JPW, juniors, parents The class of 2019 and seniors who spent the spring semester of their junior year abroad welcomed parents to campus Friday for Junior Parents Weekend (JPW), an annual University tradition.According to the JPW website, the weekend featured a variety of events for students and parents including a gala, a Mass, a president’s address and a Sunday brunch. JPW’s executive chair, junior Maureen Schweninger, said in an email that, based off visitor feedback, JPW 2018 was “an incredible success.” [Editor’s Note: Schweninger is a former sports writer for The Observer.]last_img read more

Pipe bursts in Duncan Student Center, forcing evacuation

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first_imgPhoto courtesy of James Martinson The Duncan Student Center is flooded after a sprinkler main burst on the third floor.“Due to the cold conditions, a sprinkler main broke on the third floor, causing damage there and on floors one and two,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said in an email.According to an email sent out by the University, the center will remain closed for the rest of the day but will tentatively reopen Friday at 7:30 a.m. Restaurants will be open normal hours and the Smith Center for Recreational Sports will open at noon, the email said.Tags: duncan student center, Polar Vortex, RecSports Almost two hours after campus reopened on Thursday, a pipe burst in the Duncan Student Center at approximately 2:50 p.m., forcing all inside to evacuate.last_img

Landscape Services details annual snow removal effort

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first_imgDespite South Bend’s reputation for frigid winters and heavy snowfalls, members of the Notre Dame community need rarely worry about snow or ice on walkways and parking lots during even the coldest months of the year. Each year, Landscape Services partners with the Athletic Grounds Team for the enormous undertaking of Notre Dame’s snow removal operation, which Tim Dyczko, assistant superintendent of landscape services, described in an email as “the best in the business.”“We use a combination of 1/2 ton trucks all the way up to two 1/2 ton dump trucks to clear 21 lane miles of roads and 93 acres of parking lots,” Dyczko said in the email. “Our walks total over 41 miles across campus, which are cleared using large mechanical brooms as well as snow blades when the snow becomes too deep for broom operation. We also take care of [over] 40 sets of stairs/steps as well as cut throughs from the parking lots and all the bus stops across campus.”A “lane mile” is a technical term meaning one mile long by 12 feet wide.Landscape Services prepares for the first snowfall months in advance, Dyczko said. When a snowstorm or heavy snowfall is anticipated, they will lay down liquid anti-icer in advance to prevent snow from sticking to walkways. In addition to physical removal of snow, granular salt is applied to sidewalks to melt accumulated snow and ice.“We have had other institutions inquire about how we are able to keep our walks in such good condition during the winter with little to no damage to the grass come springtime,” he said. “The machines we use for the walks are custom-built to remove snow and place granular product and anti-icing liquid all in one pass. It is a complex yet very well-organized operation of highly skilled operators who know their areas of responsibility extremely well every time it snows.”Dyczko said the crews maintain 22 hours of coverage every day from Dec. 1 to April 1.“When we are faced with a snow event, our crews come in at 2 a.m. with the goal of having campus clear and safe for our campus community by 7 a.m. unless conditions dictate otherwise,” he said. “Often times during big snow events, our crews will work 12-hour shifts for several days until the event is over.”Dyczko said that removing snow and ice is crucial for University function during the winter months.“It is a safety issue most of all,” he said. “If it is not safe to drive and walk on campus, then the entire operation of the University is at risk.”Dyczko praised the Landscape Services employees for their hard work year-round ensuring that the campus remains clean and safe.“The staff that is charged with snow removal is the same team that does such a great job in maintaining the campus in spring, summer and fall,” he said. “They are highly dedicated employees who work very hard to ensure that campus operations, including classes and research, are not interrupted by even the worst of winter weather.”Tags: Anti-icing, Athletic Grounds Team, De-icing, Landscape Services, Snow Removallast_img read more

Trump nominates Notre Dame alumnus to be Director of National Intelligence for second time

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first_imgPresident Donald Trump announced in a tweet Friday he is nominating Notre Dame alumnus Congressman John Ratcliffe, a Republican from Texas, to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI).“Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished. John is an outstanding man of great talent!” Trump said in the tweet.If successfully confirmed by the Senate, Ratcliffe will replace acting DNI Richard Grenell. Trump had previously indicated he wished to nominate Ratcliffe to the DNI post — vacant after former Indiana senator Dan Coates resigned from the role — last July. However, Ratcliffe withdrew from the nomination process after Republicans and Democrats alike voiced their concerns about his qualifications for the role.Ratcliffe graduated from Notre Dame in 1987, earning a bachelor’s degree in Government and International Studies and the Arts and Letters Program for Administrators.Tags: Director of National Intelligence, Donald Trump, John Ratcliffe, U.S. Senatelast_img read more

Jenkins comes under fire for appearing to violate University health and safety protocols

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first_imgThis report was updated Sept. 27 at 3:02 p.m.A video circulating online shows University President Fr. John Jenkins failing to wear a mask or socially distance at the White House ceremony for law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination Saturday.Marcus Cole, dean of the Law School, was seated next to Jenkins and appeared to be wearing a mask.Upon arrival at the White House, both Jenkins and Cole were directed to a room where individuals attending the ceremony were tested for COVID-19, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne said. Every guest was tested by nasal swab prior to entering the ceremony.“Only when the test results returned negative were they and others in their group escorted into the Rose Garden for the ceremony,” Browne said in a statement.However, according to CNN, “two of Barrett’s colleagues at Notre Dame, who attended the Rose Garden event … said they were not tested for the virus by the White House.” The two guests also said they did not hear of any coronavirus testing precautions prior to the event, according to CNN reporting.Earlier in the academic year, Jenkins issued an apology for failing to follow recommended health and safety practices while taking phots with students.“While all of the scientific evidence indicates that the risk of transmission is far lower outdoors than indoors, I want to remind you (and myself!) that we should stay at least 6 feet apart,” Jenkins said in his prior apology.Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, COVID-19, John Jenkinslast_img read more