SGA discusses recent campus changes

first_imgDuring the first meeting of the academic year, the Saint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) discussed several changes that have taken place at the College.  In addition, a meeting was set up to form a subcommittee to work specifically with the office renovations.  SGA also discussed issues that related to different segments of the board including a short discussion about the success of Student Activities Board’s Belles Bash that was held Sunday. In addition to conferring about the co-exchange program changes, SGA discussed new renovations they planned to make to the SGA office in order to make it more user-friendly for members of various clubs and organizations.  Chesley announced that the executives of SGA planned to meet with Karen Johnson, vice president for Student Affairs to discuss the matter in depth.  Chesley said the co-exchange program was terminated due to the expense of the program. She said the College planned to put the money saved into a general fund. Other members of SGA suggested using the money for other dining resources on campus. Chesley said she plans to discuss these issues with Johnson. Other board members offered suggestions of what to discuss at the meeting with Johnson. center_img Rachael Chesley, student body president, opened the floor to discuss the recent elimination of the co-exchange meal ticket program at the College.  SGA closed their meeting with reminders about Activities Night, which will be held Sept. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “They felt that [the money] could be better spent here doing things for Saint Mary’s College specifically,” Chesley said. “Obviously we all got the sudden e-mail that was sent on Saturday,” Chesley said. “I can tell you that [as] student government, we are the voice of the students and we’ve been receiving lots of e-mails from students in regard to this issue.” One idea SGA posed for the renovations of the office was to have an art student paint a mural in the office.  SGA also discussed setting a deadline and a timeline of when the office should be completed.last_img read more

Students dance to raise funds

first_imgDedicated students spent 12 hours on their feet to benefit Riley’s Children’s Hospital Saturday at the Saint Mary’s College-Notre Dame Dance Marathon, held from noon to midnight at the Angela Athletic Facility. Dance Marathon President Katie Fadden said more than 500 Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross students and community members attended the event. Families of children who are treated by Riley’s Children’s Hospital also attended and were invited to speak about their experiences with Riley’s. “We had eight different families speak throughout the night,” she said. “Hearing the families’ stories is a great way to inspire the participants and also to remind them why they are here.” In its sixth year, the event raised more than $63,000 for the hospital. The marathon’s theme of “Under the Sea” was carried through the event’s decorations, games and prizes. The entertainment for the night included performances from Troop ND, Notre Dame student Zach Dubois, Bellacapella and Notre Dame Alum Pat McKillen, as well as relay races, inflatables and carnival games. Executive committee member Caitlyn Wonski said the event’s attendance was higher than previous years because of the increased number of families present at the marathon. In previous years, the twelve-hour marathon was held from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. “The time change allowed for more Riley’s kids and families to attend the event,” she said. “That was really important to us because we do this all for the kids, and we want them to be able to enjoy the marathon as well.” Wonski explained that holding the marathon at an earlier hour also helped with the morale of the marathon. “I definitely saw a different in the physical activity levels of the dancers,” she said. “It’s easier to dance for 12 hours when you are dancing in the afternoon and evening rather than the early hours of the morning.” South Bend restaurants Chipotle, Papa Vinos, Subway, Jimmy John’s, Hot Box Pizza and Geno’s East Pizza donated food to the marathon. Along with the time change, this year’s marathon had other improvements. The Notre Dame Pre-Professional Society joined the executive committee, making the event officially shared by Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame. “The Pre-Professional Society played a huge role in recruiting Notre Dame students,” Wonski said. “We saw an increase in the number of Notre Dame students participating, and we hope to see that number continue to increase in the future.” A new Dance Marathon fundraising website was also established, which allowed participants to gather donations online from family and friends. Wonski said the website made donating faster and easier and lead to an increase in donations from non-participants. Fundraising and planning for the event began in the fall. The Dance Marathon committee hosted several fundraising activities throughout the school year, including the Trot for Tots, a bowling night at Strike’s and Spares and numerous giveback nights at local restaurants, among other events. The SMC-ND Dance Marathon committee also oversees various “mini-marathons” at local high schools. Junior Stephanie Cherpak attended the event as a dancer and was pleased with the marathon’s atmosphere. “It was upbeat and energetic,” she said. “And it was so great to see so many people coming together for a great cause like Riley’s. You could sense the passion and love in everyone present.” Fadden said the increased energy, as well as participation and fundraising, are things that the committee plans to continue to improve on in the future. “We’ve gotten great feedback all around,” she said. “So we really just want to keep building every year and continue to do anything and everything we can to help the Riley’s kids.”last_img read more

Students create app for Day of the Dead

first_imgIn honor of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a group of Notre Dame students created an education application for iPads and iPhones. The students were working with Tracy Grimm, head of the Institute for Latino Studies Library and Archives, and visiting professor Joseph Segura. The app, called “Day of the Dead — Experience the Tradition,” is the first internally produced app at Notre Dame made available to the general public, Grimm said. Segura said while the app is designed as a tool for teachers, it also represents Notre Dame’s involvement in the Day of the Dead. “It will help teachers present the Day of the Dead in a more logical way, especially in primary and secondary schools,” Segura said. “The app also gives another view of Notre Dame and shows the significant number of people here with an interest in Latino art.” Junior Stephanie Aguilera, a student who worked on the app, said the app provides a new way to learn about the holiday’s impact in the United States. “The Latino population is the largest, fastest growing minority group in the nation so it’s important to share its culture in order to create a society that is more understanding and appreciative of the many cultures that come together at Notre Dame and in the United States,” Aguilera said. Segura said the application features images and information compiled by the Institute for Latino Studies during 10 years of Day of the Dead celebrations at Notre Dame since 2001. Student involvement was vital to the collaborative effort of developing the app, Segura said. “They put the passion on the table to drive it,” Segura said. Grimm said 2011 graduate Kevin Li, senior Stephanie Pedicini, IUSB senior Maclovio Cantu and Aguilera worked on video production, programming and graphics for the app. “Working on the app was more interesting and rewarding than any class project because all the students involved contributed our own areas of interest,” Aguilera said. Aguilera said she had the most difficult part of the process was organizing information and narrowing the material included in the app. “We interviewed various scholars who have a passion for Latino culture, like Rev. Virgil Elizondo, so there was more information that I would have liked to include,” Aguilera said. Li served as Information Technology manager for the Institute for Latino Studies from spring semester of his senior year until the end of summer in 2011. Li said he enjoyed the creative freedom students were given in creating the app. “My favorite part of working on the app was seeing how far we could push the envelope. One of the most promoted features of the app is a sugar skull. You can actually turn the skull around to view it from any angle by moving it with your hand,” Li said. Li also said the app’s creative and entertaining elements each serve an educational purpose. “We didn’t just do the skull thing because it was cool. [The skulls] tend to be 3D physical art pieces and it made sense to depict the skull in a way that let users experience that these artifacts exist in a physical space versus being on a canvas or a screen,” he said. Grimm said her favorite part of the project is its collaborative and interdisciplinary nature. “We were able to work across campus with the Snite Museum, FTT students, Fine Arts students and students in Latino Studies. It was like a real world project,” Grimm said. Grimm said the most challenging part of the process for her was understanding the technological possibilities. “The most difficult part was orienting myself to understand the potential of the technology — I’m not a computer person. Kevin Li … translated his technical knowledge into something we non-technical people could understand,” Grimm said. Grimm said there are plans to create new apps similar to this one. “The Julian Samora Library would like to produce another app to display our collection of original documents,” Grimm said. Aguilera said the app is important to her personally due to her heritage. “Dia de los Muertos is a day to honor those who have come before us in a celebratory manner,” she said. “It’s also important to me because it’s a tradition shared by both sides of the border, it began in Mexico but has traveled to the United States. In a way, it’s a union between my Mexican and American roots.”last_img read more

ND hosts first intercollegiate mechatronic football game

first_imgThey’ve got jerseys and boast muscles of steel, but have never taken to the field before. Tonight, the Fighting Irish will battle the Polar Bears of Ohio Northern University in the first intercollegiate mechatronic football game in the Stepan Center at 7 p.m. Michael Stanisic, associate professor of mechanical engineering, said though the team has held a Blue versus Gold game for the past three years, this will be the first match between two different universities. He said the robots have specialized positions and are directed by student “coaches” through running and passing maneuvers in the game. “There’s a center, a quarterback, a running back, linemen, receivers, kicker, punter and they all do the things you would expect such a player to do. If students want to win, they start getting into these things, and they have kickers who are very dependable,” Stanisic said. “They have quarterbacks and receivers with somewhat sophisticated control systems on them.” The robotic linemen have removable tops with moving arms to block passes, and the quarterback has two spinning wheels with a feeder mechanism to replicate the action throwing a football. Stanisic said the machine can throw the ball 40 or 50 feet. The robots can communicate with each other, but coordination between student controllers and robots on the field allows the team to complete a pass, Stanisic said. “For this year, the students have developed a system of ultrasonic beacons that the players listen for, and when they hear the beacon they can compute how far they are from the beacons which tells them where they are on the field in relation to each other,” Stanisic said. “The quarterback then knows where the receiver is, and can line up with it and know exactly where to throw it.” Senior Waylon Chen, a student coach, said he is looking forward to seeing the developments in action Friday. “I am most excited about getting the trilateration system working in the actual game, and being able to complete the first-ever football pass by a robot,” Chen said. Senior Rebecca Sees said her favorite part of the project was seeing the robot designs develop. “Everything started out as just a bunch of ideas and sketches, and it’s cool to see how we got to this point from those first stages,” Sees said. “We’re all passionate about getting these robots to work and about trying new things to make them work better.” Stanisic said the commitment stems from the many hours students devote outside of the classroom to the construction of their robots. “The team puts in at least 12 to 15 hours a week, which is a tremendous amount of time,” he said. “Every time I go down to the lab, they are working.” Friday’s game will also display the humor student members brought to this project, Stanisic said. “[The students] like to give them names that are in some cases silly, in some cases make fun of their faculty that have been lecturing at them and in some cases make fun of themselves,” he said. Stanisic said he hopes the game will pave the way for the formation of an intercollegiate mechatronic football league. “We’ve played this game Blue vs. Gold for three years. Last year, we invited Ohio Northern to build three players and play on the Gold squad,” Stanisic said. “We have representatives coming from two or three other schools to see the game, and then the hope is that we can establish a league and get sponsorship by a professional society.”last_img read more

Obama receives Democratic nomination

first_imgRising stars, tenured figures and supporters of the Democratic Party converged in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which marked the party’s official nomination of President Barack Obama for a second term in office. Former President Bill Clinton gave the formal nomination in a much-lauded address. Susan Ohmer, a professor of modern communication, said the choice of Clinton for this role was significant. “That speech was remarkable … that a former president nominated a sitting president. President Clinton provided specific and detailed counterarguments to Republican criticism of the Democrats’ weakest area, the economy,” Ohmer said. “[Clinton] referenced his proven success with the budget and linked his work to that of President Obama, in a way transferring his success to the President.” Although her speech was also highly visible, First Lady Michelle Obama had a very different role in the convention, Ohmer said. “It seems to be the role of the First Lady or the candidate’s wife to humanize her husband for the audience,” she said. “They are generally not politicians and have their roles because their husbands were elected, not them. So generally they are careful not to speak as political figures.” That being said, Ohmer said nominees’ wives speeches tend to draw parallels to the big issues. “Yet of course their speeches and presentation of their personal experience link to the party’s themes: family, values, hard work, the immigrant experience, the American dream,” she said. “They may show a softer side, but it is no less strong in supporting the party and the candidate’s goals.” While Ann Romney gave a similar speech at the GOP’s convention last week, Ohmer said the First Lady’s ability to speak of her husband’s experience in the White House made her address more effective. “I would give the edge to Mrs. Obama, because she was able to connect her personal life with the president more directly to his political work. She can testify to his long hours and concern about American citizens. Mrs. Romney can talk about the concern that her husband has shown for people in his church, but it’s not the same,” she said. “A First Lady can offer personal testimony about her husband in situations that presidents face and that a political candidate hasn’t faced.” Camille Suarez, president of College Democrats, also found the First Lady’s speech more impactful. “I think Michelle Obama’s speech was more successful. She talked about Obama as a person and about things people could relate to,” Suarez said. “For example, college loans, that’s something students, and just about him being a parent. She hit a wide spectrum that I don’t think Ann Romney did.” Ohmer said an array of factors went into determining the rest of the speech lineup at the convention. “First and foremost, the party wants to address key issues in the campaign, build support for its candidate, and contrast its platform and ideas with those of the other party,” Ohmer said. “A party can demonstrate its diversity by its choice of speakers and appeal to demographic groups who either clearly support it or whose support the party wants to ensure.” Ohmer, who teaches a course titled “Media and Presidential Elections,” said convention coverage varied across outlets, but was generally more extensive for the DNC. “I think the media have been more enthusiastic about the DNC than the RNC – certainly they have raved strongly about some speeches more than others – but in general I’ve been struck by the extensive analyses journalist provide,” Ohmer said. “We really do have a rich pool of media to choose from and one can get a good sense of the different approaches of the conventions from journalists’ analyses.” Regardless of the relative effectiveness of one convention to another, conventions do not determine the race’s outcome, Ohmer said. “It is too early to be a ‘make it or break it’ point, but I think conventions can shift the grounds of discussion leading up to the election … so in that sense the arguments or commercials after a convention start from a different place.” Suarez said she felt the DNC reinvigorated the party’s support base more effectively than the opposition. “From what I’ve been reading and people I’ve been talking to, I think people are more inspired,” she said. “I think they kind of lit a fire under people.”last_img read more

Irish engineers study at ND

first_imgThough every Notre Dame student may be Irish in spirit, five graduate students in Notre Dame’s ESTEEM program are also Irish by birth. Ireland natives Tom Collins, Conor O’Donoghue, Shane McQuillian, Shane McCarthy and Anthony O’Sullivan are students pursuing graduate degrees in Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Excellence masters program (ESTEEM). The ESTEEM program is structured so interested students can study advanced engineering concepts while learning the fundamentals of innovative business practice.  The program equips science and engineering graduate students to create marketable, profitable business products with whatever specific technical expertise they possess. O’Donoghue, native of Clonakilty in County Cork and University College Cork (UCC) graduate, said the ESTEEM program fosters ingenuity in its students. “In the ESTEEM program, they’re always encouraging us to come up with our own ideas and pursue them. … We may or may not have a few ideas on our own, we might start up our own companies,” he said. The adjustment to living in the United States has been relatively easy one, the students said.  McQuillan, a native of Carrickmacross in County Monaghan and Dublin City University alumnus, said one of the biggest differences appears at mealtimes. “They hold their knife and fork in the wrong hand – we do it the other way around,” McQuillan said. “I have allergies, so I can’t find as much to eat. … I can’t eat wheat.” O’Sullivan, born in Killarney, County Kerry, and a UCC alumnus, said he misses the Irish landscape. “I live out in the countryside, up on a hill. … Where I am, there are mountains all around me,” O’Sullivan said.  “It’s less green here and very flat. … It’s different.” Collins, from Clonakilty, West County Cork, and alumnus of University College Dublin (UCD) said he’s noticed Americans have certain expectations of Irishmen. “There’s a big difference between what they perceive Ireland to be and what Ireland actually is. … I don’t think we live up to expectations,” Collins said.  “They think we’re fakes, we have to keep proving we’re Irish because apparently other fellows put on the accent and because we don’t all have ginger hair. … I think they expect us to be jigging about the place and drinking all the time.” O’Donoghue said watching the Irish play Navy in Ireland was an amusing experience for the graduate students.  “We were at O’Rourke’s Public House for the Irish-Navy game, and this camera crew found out we were Irish, and the reporter came over to interview us,” O’Donoghue said.  “We told her we came over [to the U.S.] to watch the game.” O’Donoghue said the academic atmosphere provided for the students allows for collaborative innovation and building networks. “There are a bunch of start-up companies in Innovation Park, and we’re immersed in there,” O’Donoghue said.  “It’s a great place to be located. … There are a lot of research labs and plenty of room.” ESTEEM’s students study in Innovation Park, the space developed to house multiple start-up companies in addition to the program’s participants.  Students complete 12 credit hours of customized commercial courses and six credit hours of science and/or engineering electives.  Collins said Ireland’s undergraduate universities structure their programs very differently from the American model. “We’d have maybe three assignments at most in a given month, whereas here, there’s at least something every week – it’s a different kind of system,” Collins said.  “I bought one book in my four years of undergrad, and I have seven at the moment.” Each student in the ESTEEM program also completes a capstone thesis, a yearlong project culminating in the defense of the thesis in early June.  The projects are picked based on personal skills and interests, McCarthy said. “One great thing about ESTEEM is that even though my project wasn’t on the list over the summer when we were trying to work out what our projects should be, when I came they could see that I wasn’t exactly fitting into a project that suited me, so they saw that this other project is going on somewhere else and put me into that stream,” he said. McCarthy said he wanted to use what he learned as an energy engineer in his undergraduate studies in his thesis project. “My technical basis is generating electricity, and I did charity work in Zambia, which are brought together perfectly for me in my project,” McCarthy said.  “I’m working on bringing renewable technologies into third world countries to promote economic growth.” O’Sullivan said his association with his project grew out of his ability to bring a unique perspective. “I’m working on the development and application of ionic liquids,” O’Sullivan said.  “The reason that they’re interested in me is that everyone who was helping them so far were all chemical engineers and all think the same, so they were looking with someone who thinks differently – that’s why they’re interested in me.” McQuillan said he is excited about the potential of his project as a marketable concept. “I’m working on a healthcare mobile application,” he said.  “I think it has a lot of potential – it’s a big market and I think it will be a good area to get involved with.” Collins said the program is perfect for science and engineering graduates who harbor ambitions about pursuing business. “I think all of us have ambitions to go into business, it’s ideal for that point of view,” Collins said.  “It’s a fantastic opportunity to pursue.”last_img read more

Author explores Arab-Israeli ties

first_imgIsraeli author Sayed Kashua spoke about the Arab-Israeli dynamic and his latest novel “Second Person Singular” in a presentation at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on Wednesday. Theology professor Michael Tzvi Novick introduced Kashua and read two selections from the novel, while Kashua discussed the book’s context. Novick said Kashua’s novel provides a valuable Arab perspective on the problems of modern Israel and includes “snippets of hope for his country.” Kashua said the novel centers on the first-person narratives of two characters. One is an unnamed Arab lawyer living in Jerusalem, and the other is a young Arab social worker/art student named Amir. Both characters are Arabs living in East Jerusalem and both stories include detailed references to locations in the city, Kashua said. “The book is a lot about Jerusalem; it has specific stores, cafes, streets in Jerusalem. It is a very Jerusalem book in that sense,” he said. Kashua said he did not give the lawyer a name because he could not find one the fully captured his character. The lawyer is successful, has a wife and kids and is part of a group that works with Israeli authorities on behalf of East Jerusalem Arabs. He said the lawyer’s journey begins when he finds a love note in a used copy of Tolstoy’s “The Kreutzer Sonata” which appears to be written by his wife for another man. Amir’s journey begins when he takes a night job watching over a rich Ashkenazi Jewish man who is in a coma. Amir gradually begins to read the comatose young man’s books, listen to his music and wear his clothes. Eventually, Amir applies to art school using the young Jewish man’s name and identification. Kashua said both protagonists explore ideas of culture and identity and meet at one point in the novel. In addition to talking about his novel, Kashua shared his personal experiences about living as an Arab and a citizen in Israel. Kashua said Arab-Israeli novelists are rare because it is often easier for Arabs to be accepted into Israeli culture as lawyers, doctors and laborers than in the arts or academia. “Even though I am now a successful novelist, my parents still say writing is for Jews and Arabs should have a profession,” he said. “My father will read my novel and say, ‘That is a very good piece of work. Someone who can write so well in Hebrew should be a lawyer.’” Kashua said the first real novel he ever read, which was “Catcher in the Rye,” he read in Hebrew at age 15 while at a boarding school in Jerusalem. “When you read that book at 15, it can really affect you,” he said. “I learned that I can have doubts.” Although he is ethnically Arab, Kashua writes his novels in Hebrew because that is the language in which he was first exposed to literature and he can better utilize it to tell stories. Kashua said he has a complicated opinion of the language, which he calls his “step-mother tongue.” More Arabs have access to his books because they are written in Hebrew, since there is no way to market books in Arabic in Israel and very few Arabic booksellers, according to Kashua. Kashua said he writes in Arabic for television and film because he recognizes the struggle to preserve Arab identity through the use of Arabic. “Arabic has political and national meaning. We’re in a huge struggle to protect the Arab language,” he said. Kashua writes a popular prime-time Israeli television show called “Arab Labor” that is primarily in Arabic rather than Hebrew, Novick said. Kashua said he also has done some writing for film and writes a column for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. “Second Person Singular” is Kashua’s third novel and he has already begun work on his fourth, he said. His first two novels are “Dancing Arabs and Let it Be Morning,” according to the Kroc Institute’s website. The lecture was co-sponsored by the department of theology, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.last_img read more

Circle K club hosts ‘Turning Over A New Leaf’

first_imgOn Saturday, members of Circle K, the largest student-run service organization on campus, braced the cold and raked leaves in the greater South Bend community. Circle K club president Mina Golubovich said the annual event is titled “Turning Over A New Leaf” and is one of the many volunteer opportunities the club sponsors throughout the year. “We went into the community and raked leaves for South Bend residents who can’t do so themselves,” Golubovich said. “We had about 100 people turn out for it and we cleaned over 32 houses and community lots.” Circle K, associated with the international service organization Kiwanis, partners with several community organizations, including: Catholic Worker House, Center for the Homeless, Dismas House, Hannah and Friends, the South Bend Humane Society, La Casa de Amistad, Logan Center, Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Queen of Peace Catholic Church and School and Saint Mary’s Convent, Golubovich said. With over 12 partner organizations and multiple volunteer opportunities every day of the week, club president Mina Golubovich said members have flexibility with their schedules. “A lot of our volunteers that do go to a specific site end up returning every week,” Golubovich said. “But if you have a busy week or a test coming up, it’s not a big deal if you don’t make the shift.” Service projects include bowling with the Logan Center, where members bowl with adults with disabilities, preparing and serving dinner at the Center for the Homeless and tutoring recently released prisoners at Dismas House, Golubovich said. Sophomore Annika Fling said her favorite Circle K project involves visiting retired nuns at Saint Mary’s Convent. “They all have amazing life stories and share all their goodness with us,” Fling said. “We’re doing service, but really they’re serving us more than we’re serving them.” In order to coordinate logistics, Hilary Johnson, the club’s vice president of service, said Circle K employs commissioners for each project. “Anyone can volunteer to be a commissioner, but there’s really no compensation for it,” Johnson said. “They’re the ones responsible for coordinating the volunteers and providing transportation to and from the site.” On Dec. 8, the club will be hosting one of its signature events called “The Aiden Project”, Johnson said. She said it involves making fleece blankets for cancer patients.”It’s our biggest project of the year,” Johnson said. “We rent out an entire side of South Dining Hall, spend around $3,000 on fleece and make 500 blankets or more.” In order to fund these projects, Golubovich said the club relies on donations, a tomorrow fund and various fundraisers. Johnson said all students are welcome to participate in service through Circle K’s projects and events. “We do have a membership fee, which lets you join the larger Kiwanis International Organization,” Johnson said, “but you don’t have to be a member to participate in projects.” Golubovich said Circle K’s centers projects on its three tenants of fellowship, leadership and service. Through these tenants the organization works to be a force of good within the community, she said. “I think one of my favorite parts is just the fellowship because you’re brought together with people who love doing service just like you,” Golubovich said. “You build relationships both with your fellow volunteers as well as the people at the actual sites.” Students interested in becoming involved with Circle K should attend one of the club’s weekly meetings at 7 p.m. on Sundays in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune. Contact Lillian McGill at [email protected]last_img read more

Database promotes undergraduate research

first_imgKeri O’Mara The University of Notre Dame is currently in its trial phase of integrating a new undergraduate research database, Project Lever, as part of an effort to increase undergraduate research.Developed by Harvard graduate Svetlana Dotsenko, Project Lever is a database that matches students’ research interests with professors, courses, grants and other resources based on their search topicsAlex Sun, student government representative, said Project Lever aims to “increase the quality and quantity of senior theses.”“Project Lever is an online database that is meant to connect students with the resources that are available on their campus,” Sun said. “If we see a large increase in quality and quantity, we’re hoping to expand it to other departments.”Sun said the project is implemented through the College of Arts and Letters, although student government helps promote the initiative among the student body. Dean Joseph Stanfiel of the College of Arts and Letters said he serves as coordinator for the project. “It really has enhanced the educational experience of students in the college,” Stanfiel said. “It makes the connection with someone’s raw interests in research.”According to Stanfiel, representatives from Project Lever approached him on the possibility of implementing the project at the University several weeks ago. Stanfiel said he chose the political science and economics departments to first sample the program due to their overlapping fields of research. He said he felt students in both departments would benefit most from the trial period.“Dean McGreevy has made a very conscious effort to push undergraduate research and thesis writing,” Stanfiel said. “It struck me that this would contribute to that effort.”Although Notre Dame is still in its testing phase, Harvard, MIT, Columbia and Tufts are among a list of other universities already using the project.“The neat thing about Project Lever is that it is continuously updated,” said Sun. “It’s always searching for new resources throughout campus.”Members of the Project Lever initiative include Notre Dame economics professor Mary Flannery and political science director of undergraduate studies Josh Kaplan and associate director Carolina Arroyo. Flannery said Project Lever has a broad research focus and serves as a good introductory resource for sophomores and juniors as they investigate possibilities in undergraduate research.“Anything that gets students thinking about doing research and looking at what kind of research professors are doing is a good step,” Flannery said. “I see this ultimately as a resource for sophomores and juniors when they try to figure out what to do.”Both Stanfiel and Sun said they hope the trial phase proves successful enough to allow the initiative to expand to other departments and colleges across the University. “If the results are strong, I think [Project Lever] could help everybody,” Stanfiel said. Tags: Project Lever, Research Databaselast_img read more

Key figures from ‘The Hunting Ground’ promote activism and awareness

first_imgAndrea Pino and Annie Clark, co-founders of End Rape on Campus (EROC) and featured figures in “The Hunting Ground” — a documentary released this past spring that highlights the issues of sexual assault on college campuses — gave a presentation called “A Culture of Commitment: Everyday Activism and Supporting All Survivors” at Saint Mary’s on Thursday. The event was sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Pino and Clark began their talk with a moment of silence in honor of all those who have lost their lives as a result of sexual assault, including Saint Mary’s student Lizzy Seeberg, who committed suicide five years ago Thursday. Both women then shared their personal stories of sexual assault.Clark said she was sexually assaulted by a stranger. She said despite the common misconception that most rapists are strangers, her case is actually rare and most sexual assaults are committed by people close to the survivor.Clark said she decided to seek resources to help her, not for adjudication, but for personal healing and well-being. She said she was blamed for her assault and was told to look back and see what she did wrong and what she could have done to prevent it. Clark said this led her to start a program for survivors to report assaults anonymously and to seek help. Unlike Clark, Pino said she was assaulted by someone she knew. She said she was involved in educational programs on the issue of sexual assault and believed she knew how to handle cases properly until it happened to her.“I thought I knew what my resources were, and I thought I knew what the signs were,” Pino said. “But I didn’t when it came to me because it’s not what we think it is. It’s not strangers. Sometimes it is a person who could also get your degree. Sometimes it is a person in your class.”Pino said she reported through the system that Clark had created, and this showed her she could help better the way campus sexual assault is handled even as a student.“I still wear my UNC class ring,” Pino said. “To us, being Tar Heels meant holding our school accountable. It meant that we had to push for a better Carolina because the Carolina way could not be the Carolina way if students were being assaulted and not graduating.”However, Clark said it can be difficult to effect change because of resistance from university administrations.“A lot of time, administrations are scared,” Clark said. “Really, what we want to do is make sure that everyone knows their rights, that you’re working with your administration. Because if you love something, you have to hold it accountable, which is what we were trying to do.”Clark also said the problem of sexual assault is not confined to any one college, but rather is characteristic of campuses across the United States.“This isn’t a one-campus problem. UNC is actually a microcosm of a national epidemic,” Clark said. “It’s not just Harvard or Yale or Notre Dame or UNC. It’s actually the same thing everywhere, and we need to do something about it.”They then went into detail about the legal proceedings regarding campus sexual assault. They said Title IX gives students access to equal education, which covers sexual assault because those incidents impede survivors from receiving equal education. The Clery Act is another important piece of legislation that requires universities to report on-campus crimes and send timely warnings to students, they said.They said the Campus Save Act also requires campuses to report crimes in addition to including an adjudication process for interpersonal violence and stalking. Finally, they talked about the Title II act, which grants survivors access to resources if they suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems after their assault.The two women went on to talk about what students can do to participate in activism pertaining to sexual assault on campuses. “There needs to be some clear, outlined understanding of procedures between Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross,” Clark said. “That just needs to happen because students are so transient among those three campuses. Also, I would find allies … and work with them on these issues.”“What we call ‘Everyday Activism’ is the radical notion that everyone can play a part in ending violence and oppression by resisting rape culture, supporting survivors and challenging our institutions,” Pino said.She said it means not only challenging schools but also challenging other institutions such as the criminal justice system and the overall society that sees women as disposable objects. Students can partake in this activism, Clark said. She said self-care and self-preservation are important as a particular form of activism. Both she and Pino said believing survivors and making sure survivors knows that they are not alone is crucial to addressing the problem.“Believing survivors is radical,” Pino said. “It seems to be the only crime in which no one is believed; It’s always alleged. It seems as if sexual assault never happens. Really, believing survivors, sharing the stories, believing those who come forward — that itself is radical. … We need to hold others accountable.“When someone comes forward and tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted the first thing you should say to them is you believe them, the second thing you should say is they’re not alone and the last thing you should say is it’s not their fault. These are oftentimes the three things survivors never hear.”Tags: Andrea Pino, Annie Clark, sexual assault, The Hunting Groundlast_img read more