Professor talks about passion for acting

first_img “What’s amazing about plays is, about a week before it opens- every play I’ve been in- you think, ‘there is no way we’ll make it, no way.’ But somehow, that last week it just comes together,” Svelmoe said.  “A lot of work gets done in the last week, a lot of work.” He said one of his favorite parts about participating in plays is seeing all the bits and pieces come together in the final week. Professor Bill Svelmoe, who has acted in Saint Mary’s plays for the last ten years, said said the success of a play depends on a group mentality — something that’s very different from the independent nature of a professor’s job. “Sitting there night after night, and seeing how everything came together, amazed me,” he said. “For several years I continued to take on very small roles, but eventually the director cast me in a lead role.” Svelmoe said he soon became fascinated by the acting process. “Taking part in theater is very different from what I do as a professor,” Svelmoe said. “A lot of my work as a professor is solitary — sitting in my office, preparing for class … Everybody is involved with theater — the backstage folks, the actors, the directors, the costumers — everyone.” One Saint Mary’s College history professor said his passion for acting has allowed him to engage with the College on another level. “Eurydice will be visually fascinating,” he said.  “It’s not your typical play.  It’s much more poetic and has the potential to be very emotionally powerful.” “It is a very different relationship,” he said. “To my students in class, I’m ‘Professor Svelmoe,’ but for the students I act with, I’m just ‘Bill,’ another actor.” “To me, [theater] taps into that same creative area of your brain; you have to be able to richly imagine something,” Svelmoe said. “You have to imagine a scene and project yourself in to it.” “You could not have pulled me onto the stage with a hook,” he said. “The thought of acting was terrifying. To me, acting is really putting yourself out there.” Svelmoe, who also writes fiction, said he enjoys acting because it is a “wonderful” art form that has similarities with creative writing. He said he’s currently writing a series of novels. Svelmoe said that over the years, he’s been cast in several lead roles at Saint Mary’s College, as well as in community theaters like the South Bend Civic Theatre and Niles Theater. Svelmoe said taking part in plays is a way to get to know students outside the classroom.   Svelmoe will appear in Saint Mary’s upcoming play, “Eurydice,” which will debut at the Little Theatre in the Moreau Center for the Arts on Thursday, Nov. 10. He said he had never acted before coming to Saint Mary’s. But ten years ago, after continually turning down one of his students’ requests that he take the male lead in an upcoming play, he said he decided to give it a shot.last_img read more

"Professor talks about passion for acting"

Belles snag second in CPA case competition

first_imgFour students from Saint Mary’s College brought home a second-place finish from the annual Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) Case Study Competition, which took place in Indianapolis on Nov. 16. Senior Chelsea Pacconi and juniors Christina Boesler, Christine Czajkowski and Morgan Mlinac made up the team of students, and Mary Ann Merryman, accounting and business professor from the College, held the position of faculty advisor for the competition. The 2012 competition is the ninth year students from Saint Mary’s have participated in the CPA competition, Merryman said. She has been the advisor for the previous years as well. “I think that I have seen an increased confidence on the part of the student team members. The Saint Mary›s team has been in the finals seven of the past eight years,” Merryman said. “The students are definitely not cocky, but when you put the time and effort into the competition that they have, you know that you are prepared.” Pacconi, who took on the mentor role for the group, participated in the competition last year as a junior and stayed on as a senior to help the students new to the competition. “[Being a mentor] was definitely a transition from my role last year,” Pacconi said. “Being the mentor for the team taught me how valuable last year was. I had great mentors who led me in the right direction of how to mentor the team.” Pacconi noticed how much experience in this competition makes a difference from one year to the next for the group. “Christina, Christine and Morgan really challenged me to be the best I could be and to set the example of how each member should work toward the project,” Pacconi said. As far as selection of team members, Merryman said the process is a contribution of her input as well as the input of the students who participated the year before and would like to join the team again. “We try to select students who will work well together and who are willing to make the commitment,” she said. “I was extremely impressed with and proud of this year’s team. They went from knowing virtually nothing about a very technical topic (business acquisitions) to giving a professional presentation on the topic in less than a month’s time.” The competition itself presents participants with a case study that required the Indiana college teams to compile a package supporting or rejecting the acquisition of one company by another. The teams were given very little information about either company and were instructed to draft and document any assumptive details necessary. “The competition was very difficult. In addition to regular work for classes, the case demanded a lot of work in a short amount of time,” Pacconi said. “I can relate the case to the Saint Mary’s business senior composition, although that is prepared over a semester and this only allows 10 days.” For the topic this year, Pacconi said she and her team felt it was particularly difficult because none of the students had firsthand experience relating to this topic. “Also, when submitting the paper and preparing the presentation, our team did not know what other teams’ approaches would be including their assumptions and even the formation of the teams,” Pacconi said. Overall, Pacconi and Merryman were happy with the results of the competition and the students that participated. “The competition is an enormous amount of work but it is well worth it in terms of the value gained from the experience,” Merryman said. “Every year the students amaze me all over again.  The competition is truly one of the highlights of the academic year for me.” Pacconi said she felt proud of the accomplishments she and her team members made during the time they worked together and know that the challenges the group faced were a great learning experience. “It was a little disappointing not to win first place again this year, but I don’t think there was anything our team could have done differently to win and that’s all I could ask for,” Pacconi said. “I compare this year’s competition to the movie ‘Bring It On.’ So many challenges were overcome to make it to the finals and then to get second place was truly rewarding.”last_img read more

"Belles snag second in CPA case competition"

Heritage Tours explore history, roots of SMC

first_imgIn between preparing for exams and writing papers, students at Saint Mary’s have the opportunity this week to explore the history of the College during Heritage Week at the College. The week is an annual event sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and is designed to celebrate and educate students about the rich traditions at Saint Mary’s. Throughout the week, students, faculty and staff are treated to various presentations, dinners and giveaways. The Heritage Tours, led by Sr. Veronique Wiedower, vice president of mission at the College and Sister of the Holy Cross since 1973 continually attract Belles ready to learn about their campus.  Students visit multiple halls, rooms and buildings on campus and are given a history lesson as they walk throughout campus. Senior and student body president Maureen Parsons said the tours are a great way for students to get in touch with the roots of their education and develop a deeper appreciation of the four years they spend at the College. “We offer Heritage Week Tours so current students can learn about past women at the College who made a difference while they were here and after they graduated,” she said. “It is also an opportunity to see how far the College has come over the decades and improved over the years.” Wiedower said the College was first founded more than 150 years ago when four sisters traveled from LeMans, France to Notre Dame, Indiana. They ended up in Bertrand, Mich. where they remained until 1855 when they moved to the College’s current home, across the street from the University of Notre Dame. “When we first came here, we were a big farm,” Wiedower said. “There was nothing here.” Wiedower said Saint Mary’s Academy, which became Saint Mary’s College in the late 1920’s after the construction of LeMans Hall, has always been “more than just a finishing school.” “From the very beginning, we’ve tried to educate the whole woman,” she said. “We try to incorporate the fine arts, sciences, math and language.” Mother Augusta served as the first headmistress of Saint Mary’s Academy. Her parents loved the land so much, they moved to the area from Ohio to be with their daughter. According to Wiedower, the Avenue, one of the College’s most iconic features, resulted from the work of Mother Augusta’s stepfather. Wiedower said she likes to start the tours on the front steps of Holy Cross Hall because of the special view it grants the participants. “From the front porch of Holy Cross, you can see the Avenue,” she said. “Some of the sycamore trees that line that road are over 150 years old. They’re one of our legacies from the early days.” In addition to the Avenue, the College is also home to many courtyards and gardens. Wiedower said these are prevalent throughout the campus because of the College’s mission statement. “It says in our mission statement that we strive for aesthetic appreciation,” she said. “That’s why on campus we try to incorporate beauty in a lot of ways.” In the early years of Saint Mary’s Academy, Wiedower said about half of the Sisters of the Holy Cross left their education commitments in Notre Dame, Indiana to answer President Abraham Lincoln’s call to religious women to act as nurses during the Civil War. “We were on the ship ‘Red Rover,’ which was the traveling hospital on the Mississippi River,” she said. “After the war, we received a letter from the U.S. Navy saying we were the first naval nurses.” Wiedower said the College has always prioritized the maintenance of a strong relationship to Notre Dame. “Back then, we saw the campuses as one big campus,” she said. “Over here, we had women. Across the street, we had men.” These connections and ties between the two schools came about as a result of the work of Fr. Sorin, founder of Notre Dame, and Mother Angela, the directress of the College from 1853 to 1870 and again from 1886 until her death in 1887. “As a young girl, Mother Angela was visiting her brother, who was a student at Notre Dame,” Wiedower said. “Fr. Sorin spoke to her and in the week she was here, she decided to stay as a Sister of the Holy Cross. She was American-born, with lots of political and military connections and an American education.” Mother Angela and Fr. Sorin worked together to develop the two schools over the years, in a legacy that Wiedower said still lives on. “What Fr. Sorin had envisioned, Mother Angela built,” she said. “Together, the two of them built up Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame together.” Wiedower said the focus of the College has evolved over the years in order to adapt to the changes of the times. She said in the early history of Saint Mary’s, the College was focused on building institutions. However, the Sisters of the Holy Cross focus more on global issues. “We wan to instill values in people, like about the Earth and climate crisis, non-violence and solidarity with the poor,” she said. “Now, it’s not about adding buildings but building people of values. We want students to leave Saint Mary’s prepared to make a difference and understand what is going on in the world and what are the needs of it.” Heritage Tours are available throughout the rest of the week at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. To experience a tour or other events throughout the week, visit the SGA Facebook page and sign up via the Google Document. Wiedower said she also offers tours other times throughout the year, including during the upcoming Junior Mom’s Weekend. To check availability and find out about scheduling a tour at other times during the year, call the Office of Mission.last_img read more

"Heritage Tours explore history, roots of SMC"

Hesburgh reflects on coeducation

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the next installment in a five-day series discussing the role of women at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, in honor of the 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University this year.  Long heralded as the driving force behind coeducation at Notre Dame, University President Emeritus Fr. Ted Hesburgh said he had simple reasons for opening the University to undergraduate women in 1972. “When God made the human race he didn’t just make men, he made men and women,” he told The Observer this week. “So since this is considered the best Catholic university in the world ever, well, why shouldn’t half the people here be women as well as men since women … are just as important in the scheme of things as men?” This clear-headed logic seems obvious today, but Hesburgh said his ideas were “heresy” to many Notre Dame supporters 40 years ago. “They said, ‘You’re giving away the store. This is the greatest macho, male-dominated thing. … The place will go soft. It won’t amount to anything anymore,’” he said. “I said, ‘Look, I’m in charge, and this is what I think is important. If we’re going to be the greatest Catholic university, we should be open to women as well as to men.’” Though he faced no overt opposition to the proposed inclusion of women, Hesburgh said the process of coeducation required extensive discussion and personal initiative. “People didn’t come out with battle axes trying to shut the place down or something. … Like anything else that goes on in a university, [coeducation] got thoroughly discussed and there were pros and cons, but someone had to make the decision,” he said. “I figured I was the president, so I made the decision that No. 1, we were going to be coeducational, and No. 2, women were going to have the same … profile of excellence as the male students.” Hesburgh said he also thought women deserved access to personal space in dormitories separate from male students. “Someone said, ‘Well, let’s put men and women in the same dormitories,’” he said. “I said, ‘No, I think women have a life of their own and they can’t really follow it if they’ve got men looking over their shoulders every hour of the day or night.’ “I can see where women can entertain men in the halls, but come midnight, the old bell goes off and the men leave, and the women get in their PJs and talk women talk. The space is all theirs.” Hesburgh spent 35 years in the Office of the President, leading Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987. But he said introducing coeducation to the University was the best decision he made in all that time. “In any event, I moved ahead quickly, and I’ve never regretted it,” he said. “I think women are holding their own here and putting together a very good record, of which I’m very proud.” ‘Impossible conditions’ Although Hesburgh’s personal convictions about the role of women in University life propelled the transition to coeducation, the final decision came after long discussions with Saint Mary’s College about a potential merger between the schools. “We discussed it at the highest level of administration of both schools,” he said. “We decided in principle we would like to merge the two schools. But you couldn’t just do it because there were all kinds of overlaps of programs and things.” Administrators from both schools came close to approving the merger on several occasions, but Hesburgh said “impossible conditions” prevented Notre Dame from agreeing to merge with Saint Mary’s. “After two or three of these forays … I said, ‘Well, why don’t we just say it’s been an interesting discussion. We’re still open to merge with Saint Mary’s at any time. If you want to reopen the discussion that’s fine, but there’s no point getting into a discussion where one side has a strong power blocking every time we get close to a merger,’” he said. “That’s where we are now.” More than 40 years after the proposed merger failed, Hesburgh said his feelings about the prospect have not changed. “I was in favor of the merger and I think the superior general [at Saint Mary’s] was in favor of the merger … To this day, I favor joining, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said. “I think we’ve become closer to [Saint Mary’s] in many ways. … I think we have the best of all worlds short of a merger, so I’ve been happy to see that develop.” Hesburgh said the mutually beneficial relationship between the schools is due in part to their shared history, beginning when Fr. Edward Sorin founded Notre Dame in 1842 and the Sisters of the Holy Cross followed suit in 1844. “I think it’s interesting that when Sorin began the school in those days, there were no mixed schools,” Hesburgh said. “[Notre Dame] became a men’s school, but only a year or so went by before [Sorin] asked the sisters to start a school on the other side of the road. Our history is almost identical … and from [the 1840s] on, we’ve been close together and should be. [Saint Mary’s] has been helpful to us and vice versa.” ‘A more normal human situation’ In the 40 years since undergraduate women first entered Notre Dame, Hesburgh has seen their successors make significant contributions to the University’s intellectual, athletic and religious life, complementing the work of their male counterparts. “Women more and more have had their say on campus. … Men and women tend to think very much along the same lines at a Catholic university,” he said. “I’d have to work hard to scrape up a problem [between men and women]. … I think we get along as a happy family where we’re both making good contributions to the good of the whole enterprise.” Hesburgh said he thinks the inclusion of women made the University a microcosm more representative of the world in general. “Having women here makes it a much more normal human situation. … It seems to me that year after year we get closer together instead of drifting apart,” he said. Indeed, the world outside Notre Dame had a major impact on coeducation and the University as a whole, especially in the midst of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and other political turmoil at home and abroad. “The great national decisions that were going on … all of these things that affected the world were bound to affect the University,” he said. “I was very happy that the students were very active in world affairs and came at them from different points of view as men and women.” Though the political and social climate outside the University has changed considerably since 1972, Hesburgh said such a dynamic environment encourages Notre Dame students to consider their role in the world after graduation. “I think [involvement in world affairs] was a good thing for education at Notre Dame because we don’t want to be in another world,” he said. “We want to be in the world that exists right now, we want to compete in that world and we want to be leaders in that world, and that’s true of both men and women.”last_img read more

"Hesburgh reflects on coeducation"

A revolutionary pope’

first_img Freshman Steven Fisher said the moment Pope Francis stepped out onto the balcony, he became a symbol of hope, a pope who will actively engage the people of Latin America again. Fisher, whose family is from Mexico, said he is “very optimistic” about the new leader. “Many among the Latino community have expressed excitement and satisfaction with the conclave’s decision,” he said. “A cardinal from Buenos Aires represents a new voice for many in the wider context of Latin America, and Catholics everywhere… expect his experiences as a Latin American, especially those involving poverty and violence, to influence the papacy ahead.” Fisher said the reality of the Church has undoubtedly changed over the centuries, and Catholics must find a balance between their visions for the future and the traditions of the past. “A Latin American pope reflects a Church that has grown beyond its core foundation in Europe; our Church today no longer resembles the Church that Saint Francis of Assisi [knew], when it remained confined to the Eastern Hemisphere,” he said. “Our Church today has encompassed all continents and continues to grow.” Sophomore Cecilia Ruiz, whose family is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, said the decision represents the sense that “the face of the Catholic Church is becoming more Latino.” “I believe that the selection of Pope Francis reflects the fact that… the face of the Catholic Church is changing,” she said. “It has been a well-known fact that much of Latin America is Catholic… [and] I feel that with Pope Francis as our pope, the Church will grow more. “It feels right that it should be led by someone who can connect with a large portion of the Church not only in a spiritual manner, but also on a cultural level,” Ruiz said. Although she has never felt the Church was disconnected from Latin America, Ruiz said Francis’ Latino heritage fills her with a sense of solidarity. “[The Church] is being led by a man who can relate to my family and me on a different level,” she said. “The fact that he speaks our language gives me a stronger tie to the Church… [but] no matter what ethnicity the pope may be, his leadership should make the faith of the Church stronger.” Esteban Rojas, a sophomore with family ties to Colombia, said he believes the choice is the cardinals’ way of acknowledging a “momentum shift” within the Church, as the Latino Catholic numbers continue to grow worldwide. “Over the past century, the Church has definitely expanded in the Americas as opposed to staying in the European cultures,” Rojas said. “I think [the cardinals] want a fresh take on the Church, and the new pope has proven that things will be different with his humility and leadership already. “With Francis being a Latino, his background and culture can contribute to the Church beyond its European identity,” he said. “He’ll bring different insight that will benefit the Church worldwide, not just in Latin America.” Rojas said while the election of a Latino pontiff hasn’t changed the way he thinks of the Church, it has energized his faith. “The cardinals obviously want a leader for the Church as a whole, and Francis is an excellent leader for the entire Church, not just the Latino population,” he said. “It is exciting to see one of our own represented in such a high position, though, especially because it’s never been seen before.” This is a “revolutionary pope,” he said, and he will evangelize to the world by the way he leads his life. “Something exciting is going to happen [in the Church], because he has already changed a lot of the standard protocol or traditions for popes in their first couple days,” Rojas said. “I’m really excited to see what he has in store and how he handles such a huge leadership position.” Katia Fernandez, a sophomore born in Lima, Peru, said she did a double take when she first saw the new pope appear on the balcony. His Latin American background makes him family to her, she said. Fernandez said she thinks a Latino pope will unify the Latino population in the United States and throughout Latin America. “This election has strengthened my identity as a Latina Catholic,” Fernandez said. “Having a Latino pope has brought me closer to my family and community, and I hope that Pope Francis… will be a household name for Latino families. Sophomore Juan Rangel, a native of Mexico, said he hopes Francis will make Latin American issues known worldwide and bring new energy to the search for solutions. “His actions just after assuming the role of pope, like insisting on paying rent and deciding against other papal traditions, demonstrates that he wants to portray himself as one of us,” Rangel said. “I hope that image of himself is maintained and strengthened during his time as pope. It will not only help within the Church as Catholics are warmed by this personality, but assist in international affairs as he meets leaders around the world.” Rangel said he has high hopes for the papacy and it strengthens his faith to see that the faith is truly universal, not limited to Europe. “I’m really excited to see what Papa Francisco will do during his papacy,” he said. “I envision him to be as great as Pope John Paul II was, and I hope his background and personality truly aid in his role as leader of our Church.” For Fisher, the bottom line is not the cultural identity of the new pope but rather the legacy of faith he brings. “Each pope offers new wisdom and gifts with the opportunity to serve Christ and the Church, and I look forward to this with Papa Francisco,” Fisher said. “But while I have faith in the new pope, my faith itself or how I think about my Church, does not depend on his nationality. “I only pray for a papacy blessed with true charity and love. I could not ask for more, and I expect no less.” Contact Ann Marie Jakubowksi at [email protected] The world knows him as Pope Francis, the newly elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church. To his fellow Latinos, he is Papa Francisco, and his cultural heritage reflects the new energy and broader scope of today’s Church.last_img read more

"A revolutionary pope’"

ND Fan Council enhances experience at athletic events

first_imgIt’s not just members of the athletic department who help craft the Notre Dame fan experience. A group of 24 passionate Notre Dame fans make up the ND Fan Council, a diverse group of Notre Dame athletics fan who work with the athletic department to enhance the Notre Dame experience for students and visiting fans at various athletic events.Assistant athletics director Brian Pracht said the athletic department tried to choose an accurate representation of the many types of Notre Dame fans for the Fan Council, which is now in its second year.“We had an online application system where we got to know a little bit about them,” Pracht said. “They were able to tell us why they thought they would be a good Fan Council member … and then we did the best that we could from that grouping of applications. … We’ve averaged about 600 apps the last two years, and then we combed through those applications to try to find what we felt like was a good representation of Notre Dame fans, a cross section of fans.”Associate American studies professor Richard Pierce, a member of the Fan Council, said in an email the diversity of the Fan Council is one of the group’s most valuable assets.“In the many committees I’ve been a member of at the University, this one is as good — or better — than any of them,” Pierce said. “The diverse perspectives add layers to and about events which I thought that I knew well. It’s been very refreshing.”Senior member of the Council Robert Murphy said in addition to the differences between members of the group, their common bond through Notre Dame athletics helps them work together toward mutual goals.“It’s cool because we’re all brought together under one passionate fandom, so even though some people are flying in, some are subway Domers, I think we’re able to build off each other because we all want to see, more or less, similar things happen,” Murphy said. “We want to see good teams out there, we want to see passionate fans and the ways in which, coming from different places, we’re able to add our different insights is really what brings value to the program.”The group meets four times a year, Pracht said, but continues to be productive between meetings due to the open communication between members of the Fan Council and the athletic department.“What we’re trying to do is build relationships with fans who maybe felt like they haven’t had a voice in the past,” he said. “There’s been … much positive [collaboration] to come from the interactions that we have between the meetings because there’s been a good, open dialogue with our fans, and these are fans that we typically don’t know a lot about other than maybe what they presented to us in their application, so it’s really been good.”Assistant director of Notre Dame research Veronica Kozelichki, a Council member, said in an email she hopes to be able to fully take advantage of the opportunity she and the other members have been given to help improve a place they have all come to love.“Everyone on the Council came to love Notre Dame through their unique paths in their lives,” Kozelichki said. “I was really touched hearing others’ stories of how they became fans and how much Notre Dame means to them. … As for me — I’m hoping to further ingrain myself into Notre Dame. There’s a lot more I can learn from Notre Dame and, in return, I want to make Notre Dame go from great to the very best.”Murphy said he appreciates having his voice heard as a student and learning further explanations about decisions that affect the student body.“I think there’s three students on the committee, and I like the idea that we’re getting a voice in the process, especially when it comes to things like ticketing process and how that works, because that’s changed a few times — at least while I’ve been at school here,” he said. “I know they’re constantly refining it, and kind of being able to hear their side of the story and their logic as well as our side — it’s good to know that there’s communication there.”Pracht said he tries to focus on topics that have a significant impact on the fan experience at Notre Dame during the meetings.“We generally are talking about things that have an impact on the fan experience or fan engagement opportunities that we are either considering or have recently launched, new initiatives and things that feel like could be beneficial to the fans and to the athletic department,” he said. “There’s a myriad of marketing, digital media, ticketing-type discussions that take place.”The group also has more interactive discussions. Murphy said one of his favorite moments during the Fan Council’s first four-hour long meeting was a question and answer session with vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick.“We had basically a one-hour open Q-and-A session with Jack Swarbrick, which was probably the highlight in terms of just being able to pick his brain a bit about whatever we were interested in, and that was really cool,” he said. “Being able to see what he does and how many different things he is looking at, at the same time, was really cool and it really gave me a new appreciation for his job and the great job he does at it.”It was these activities, as well as the liveliness and camaraderie of the group that made the meeting fly by, Pierce said.“We had a four-hour first meeting, and it didn’t feel like four hours,” he said. “Any committee meeting where time doesn’t drag is a very good thing.”Pracht hopes the Fan Council members take away a sense of “ownership” in the Notre Dame athletics brand from this experience.“What I’ve said to them, and I feel like last year’s group agreed, is that by the end of the season they are truly brand ambassadors for Notre Dame athletics because they know a lot more about our operation and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Pracht said. “They know the challenges, the obstacles, the opportunities and they feel like they’re just much more educated about what we’re doing and we’re very transparent with them, and they feel like they actually have some ownership in what we’re doing from the fan experience and fan engagement side of our business.”Kozelichki said she already feels as though the group is making a difference.“It is a magical experience when you gather the right group of highly passionate and motivated individuals around a worthy cause,” she said. “The ND Fan Council is a catalyst for positive change and it is a true honor to be a part of such a dynamic group of people.”Tags: athletics department, Fighting Irish, ND Fan Councillast_img read more

"ND Fan Council enhances experience at athletic events"

Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund director speaks about rare disease research fundraising to student senate

first_imgThe director of the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund promoted the fund’s new initiatives to raise money for research on rare diseases during an address to student senate Wednesday.The director, Sean Kassen, introduced three ways students can support the cause, including using “Coffee for a Cure” Keurig cups, collecting can tabs and taking the “Pucker Up” social media challenge.“I met with [student body president] Becca [Blais] probably about four or five months ago and said, ‘How can we partner with the students and see if we can get them more engaged?’” Kassen said.Blais suggested starting an initiative centered on three easy things students can do in the morning to fight childhood diseases, Kassen said.“Coffee for a Cure,” he said, emerged out of a collaboration between business professor and Keurig co-founder Chris Stevens and Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee.“[Mother Parkers] came to us and said [they] want to do a partnership where we do ‘Coffee for a Cure,’” Kassen said. “For every one of these little ‘K cups’ that are sold here on campus and externally, they actually give money back to the Parseghian fund.”Currently, Tim Hortons coffee sold from the L&S Personal Service Coffee website gives back to the Parseghain fund, Kassen said. For every K cup purchased, 5 cents will be donated to rare disease research, according to the website.Kassen said students can receive a discount using the code THNOTREDAME.“Not only is it a great cause, but it’s also the first recyclable cup,” he said. “You probably have some K cups in your student government office, and it’s probably Green Mountain or Starbucks, and you can’t recycle them.”The second aspect of the initiative is a can tab recycling program through the Ronald McDonald House, and the “Pucker Up” challenge is a social media-based fundraiser similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, where participants attempt to eat a slice of a lemon without puckering. Both programs are in support of rare disease research.“We’re committed to find a cure for these rare diseases,” Kassen said. “We’re trying to raise about a million-and-a-half a year.”Kassen said the Ara Parseghian Medical Fund supports rare disease research and has raised over $15 million for research on Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, which, according to the National Riemann-Pick Disease Foundation website, is also known as childhood Alzheimer’s. The website said Niemann-Pick Type C is a fatal childhood illness and has an estimated 500 diagnosed cases worldwide.“Niemann-Pick Type C is a cholesterol storage disorder,” Kassen said. “All the cells in your body actually create cholesterol. But in these kids, they can’t transport cholesterol out of their cells. The cholesterol builds up in their neurons, in their central nervous system, and that’s the first thing to go.”Three of Ara Parseghian’s grandchildren — Marcia, Christa and Michael — were diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C in 1994. Kassen said Marcia died at the age of 16, Christa at the age of 10 and Michael died just days shy of his 10th birthday.“In 1993, at about the age of 4 or 5, [Mike and Cindy] started to notice some issues [in Michael],” he said.Kassen said Michael was walking strangely and not responding to some questions. After having been to doctors all over the country with few answers, a doctor at Columbia University diagnosed the disease.“The doctor looks at the family and says, ‘I know what your son has,’” Kassen said. “‘It’s genetic, it’s fatal, only a few hundred kids have it and you have to test the rest of your kids.’”Parseghian’s son Mike and daughter-in-law Cindy lost three of their four children to the disease; only their son Ara Jr. did not have the disease, Kassen said.“As you can imagine, this was devastating,” he said. “Back in 1994, nobody knows anything about [the disease]. So [the Parseghians] said, ‘We want to try and find a cure.’”Working with Notre Dame and scientists around the world, Kassen said, the amount of research surrounding the disease increased greatly.Experimental treatments on children and animals have been able to slow the progression of the disease, and Kassen said he hopes to see the very first treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C approved within six months.Kassen said he hopes the “Coffee for a Cure” initiative continues furthering research and fundraising efforts on the Notre Dame campus.“Eventually, what Mother Parkers wants to do is have the first Fighting Irish Coffee,” he said.Duncan Hall senator and sophomore Steven Higgins recommended promoting the brand over email.“I think that if you sent out an email to student body saying that this is what buying this kind of coffee does, and here’s a link, that might be a good way for people to have it in the back of their minds,” Higgins said.Walsh Hall senator and sophomore Ellison Rooney suggested taking advantage of the [email protected] email as a way to advertise the coupon code for the coffee.Kassen asked the senators to promote “Coffee for a Cure” to their clubs and residence halls.“If you have an opportunity for us, let me know,” he said. “If student government will help push this out, even better. This is sort of a first conversation, which I hope is a long relationship.”Tags: Ara Parseghian, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, Notre Dame Student Senate, rare diseaseslast_img read more

"Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund director speaks about rare disease research fundraising to student senate"

Stanford residents, rector discuss community

first_imgNatalie Weber | The Observer Stanford Hall, pictured, was founded in 1957. The dorm is known for its annual pirate-themed dance and the Men of Virtue Dinner, where residents share a meal with guest speakers.McDevitt said while the dorm residents do not know a lot about its history, they are taking steps to learn about this aspect of the community. In light of the fact that the dorm celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, McDevitt said the dorm has a new historian to find out more about its history.“We now have a hall employee who is a historian whose job it is to both document current things and research past things,” he said.McDevitt also said hall president and junior Jack Corcoran is working on developing an alumni network.“We’ll send a blast out through development to all Stanford alumni ever asking them if they want to join an alumni list, which will be separate, but we’re going to ask them, even if they’re not interested in joining the list, if anyone has any old photos or stories to share them,” McDevitt said.Besides taking steps to learn more about its history, senior resident assistant (RA) Chris Westdyk said the Stanford culture is also changing.“It’s changed a lot since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think when I came as a freshman, not a lot of seniors stayed on my freshman year. We only had two or three that weren’t RAs around. The culture was very macho and there was a lot more hazing that went on than does now. A lot more seniors stay now.”Westdyk also said he likes how Stanford welcomes everyone.“There’s no archetypical Stanford Griffin,” he said. “Anyone can be a full member of the community without conforming to any standards, which I like for sure. Some dorms have a stereotypical member, but we don’t have that at all.”Since there were a lot of senior residents last year, Westdyk said there are a lot of freshmen this year, which means the culture can change.“There’s a big turnover happening for sure,” he said. “ … We’re in an interesting place right now making decisions about who we’re going to be.”Corcoran echoed the sentiment that Stanford is a welcoming dorm, saying people usually feel at home when they first walk in.“The first thing you do when you walk in these doors is J-Mac is in here and you say, ‘Hey, J-Mac,’ and you hear ‘Yo!’ from the back, whether he’s way in the back or sitting right here at his desk,” he said. “You always feel welcome when you walk in.”Corcoran also said people tend to leave their doors open when they are hanging out or playing music.“Whether it’s a bunch of juniors in a room, the freshmen are also going to be very welcome in there,” he said.During the year, Stanford hosts a variety of events, such as the dorm’s pirate-themed SYR. To raise money for the Center for the Homeless, the dorm also hosts the Irish Iron Classic, a heavy-lifting competition which will be hosted in Duncan and features free food.Another annual event, the Men of Virtue Dinner, is an occasion for residents to go somewhere on campus for a nice dinner and to hear impactful speakers. McDevitt said this year’s speakers will include faculty members Maria and Mark McKenna.The dorm also hosts section sports from year-to-year, including the section Olympics, although McDevitt said the dorm is also looking to be more inclusive of residents to whom athletics are not as important.“We compete in sports and stuff, but there’s no animosity,” McDevitt said. “It’s all friendly competition.”Ryan Govi, a junior resident in Stanford, said one of his favorite things about the dorm is the strong section culture. While he said residents do not always stay in the same section from year-to-year, the sections host dinners and snacks once a week.“I’ve spent six hours at section snack over the last three weeks,” he said.Govi said the sections do not take the place of the dorm, though, with no section culture being overly distinct from another.McDevitt said Stanford residents treat their sections like the rest of the dorm.“There’s no weird grudges,” he said. “It’s more like a section family.”Tags: Center for the Homeless, dorm features, men of virtue, Stanford Hall Editor’s note: This article is one in a series profiling the dorms. Previous articles have covered dorms built before Stanford Hall.While Stanford Hall’s physical building is connected to its rival and brother dorm, Keenan Hall, rector Justin McDevitt, more commonly known as “J-Mac” around the hall, and residents say the community at Stanford creates a unique culture.Dedicated in October 1957, Stanford is one month older than Keenan, and it is one of the first dorms to be named after a donor instead of a historical figure, McDevitt said.last_img read more

"Stanford residents, rector discuss community"

Students gather for sit-in against parietals, hate speech in Stanford Hall early Sunday morning

first_imgAround 30 protestors gathered in Stanford Hall from 2 a.m. to approximately 5 a.m. Sunday morning for a silent protest against parietals and for an end to hate speech on campus.In an email, University spokesman Dennis Brown said the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD) received reports of “biased slurs” being directed at individuals in Stanford Hall on Friday night and in Keenan Hall on Saturday afternoon. Both matters are under investigation by the NDPD, Brown said.“The rectors of Stanford and Keenan informed both halls about the incidents in an email on Saturday, reiterating that discriminatory harassment has no place in their communities or at Notre Dame,” he said in the email.Brown confirmed the student who reported Friday’s incident was present at the Sunday morning protest.The men and women who gathered for the protest had five demands, per literature distributed at the event: “End parietals,” “call it out when you see it,” “decolonize academia,” “decolonize this land” and “implement diversity training in each dorm.” Mary Steurer | The Observer A sign that reads “Make sexism embarrassing again” is taped up next to Stanford rector Justin McDevitt’s apartment for the student protest Sunday morning. Approximately 30 organizers sat protesting an adjacent hallway.The protest began at 2 a.m. in an inner residential hallway of the first floor near rector Justin McDevitt’s apartment. Seated organizers occupied the hallway holding signs calling for a more tolerant campus climate.At approximately 1:50 a.m., members of hall staff arrived to remind organizers parietals would soon be in effect. About 20 minutes later, McDevitt invited the group to move to a 24-hour space. After the group elected to stay, McDevitt called the NDPD.At around 2:30 a.m., two NDPD officers arrived on the scene. An officer gave a similar address as McDevitt, asking them to relocate to a 24-hour space and reminding organizers of their parietals violations. Protestors who did not leave would be asked to present their Notre Dame IDs, the officer said.About 20 protestors left before the officer made rounds for identification. The remaining 10 or so organizers resolved to stay until threat of physical removal.At 3:30 a.m., another police officer arrived and again attempted to persuade the protestors to move to a 24-hour space or disperse. The officer warned organizers that suspension and expulsion could be a disciplinary option if they failed to comply. Protestors elected to continue the sit-in.At 4:15 a.m., McDevitt came forward again, warning the University administration was prepared to invoke emergency actions and protestors would be summarily expelled if they did not leave, citing security risks.It is up to the University’s discretion to decide when an incident qualifies for emergency actions, he added.McDevitt advised the organizers to leave, arguing they had made their point and had nothing to gain from staying.“If the purpose is to get people listening, they’re listening,” McDevitt said.After a brief group meeting, the protestors announced they would comply on three conditions: a list of all disciplinary action leveled against the protestors; a clearer definition of “emergency procedures” and when the University can invoke them; and a list of all student rights pertaining to encounters with police.It is unclear whether the University will comply with the organizers’ requests.At the end of the protest, organizers said they plan to continue the sit-ins within a few days. They declined to provide further comment at this time.This report was updated on 11/17/2019 at 11:30 p.m.Tags: NDPD, Notre Dame Police Department, office of community standards, Office of Student Affairs, Parietals, protest, Stanford Halllast_img read more

"Students gather for sit-in against parietals, hate speech in Stanford Hall early Sunday morning"

Shuttle company to offer new route from South Bend to Chicago airports

first_imgFollowing the news that Coach USA would end their Indiana Supersaver route, another company has announced the introduction of a bus line between Northwest Indiana and the two Chicago airports, according to a report by the Northwest Indiana Times.Royal Excursion, a bus service based in Mishawaka, markets itself as the “the leading charter bus and luxury transportation provider in the Midwest,” the Times said.The route will initially stop at the South Bend International Airport, the University of Notre Dame, Michigan City, Valparaiso, Griffith, Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, but the article said Royal Excursion is hoping to include more of Indiana Supersaver’s stops — including Portage, Highland, Crestwood and more cities.The new route will roll out March 3. Royal Excursion plans to offer discounts to promote the new service — with $10 one-way and $20 round-trip ticket prices between March 3 and March 12. Tags: Airport Supersaver, Coach USA, Royal Excursionlast_img read more

"Shuttle company to offer new route from South Bend to Chicago airports"