University President Fr. John Jenkins urged students to follow the humble example of Blessed André Bessette during his homily at Notre Dame’s annual Opening Mass Tuesday evening. Students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the start of a new academic year in the Joyce Center and were invited to attend a picnic dinner afterward on DeBartolo Quad. Blessed André Bessette, who will be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October, entered the Holy Cross Novitiate in 1870 and served the other members of his order in Montreal as the porter or doorman. “This simple man didn’t have great plans, but simply watched the door and waited,” Jenkins said. “He viewed each person who came through that door as a call from God to compassion.” There are various doors through which certain people and events come into our lives and we must watch these doors with compassion and attentiveness, he said. “As we get on with the exciting and invigorating work of this semester, I hope you all remember the simple brother from Montreal,” Jenkins said. Jenkins also stressed the importance of quiet prayer in the midst of busy lives. He said the Mass readings remind us that we must listen to what the Holy Spirit says to us. “So much in our world and nation is about achieving goals and solving problems, that we risk becoming our own master,” Jenkins said. “Notre Dame especially is a place where we should make time for quiet reflection and prayer.” During the Mass, students and faculty offered petitions in Chinese, French, Swahili, Irish, Italian and Spanish. University Provost Thomas Burish delivered closing remarks after Communion. “A University is a place of conversation, a place where people come to seek the truth together,” he said. “I wish to welcome back those returning to the conversation.” Burish also spoke about the Notre Dame family and entrusted new students with the task of carrying on this wonderful tradition and keeping it alive for others. “I hope you all learn what this place is about,” he said. The Mass closed with the traditional singing of the Alma Mater. “It really is a great way to start the year,” sophomore Kara Ryan said. “It reminds us of why we are here, who we are among and what it means to be a member of the Notre Dame family.”
Already a major date on Notre Dame calendars, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day had additional significance for the University. Enda Kenny, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, visited campus Saturday evening to present an Irish passport to University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. At a dinner celebration on the 14th floor of the Hesburgh Library, Kenny said he was proud to present the honor to Hesburgh. The award recognizes the president emeritus as an Irish citizen. “It’s a particular privilege, and a very special privilege, to meet Fr. Hesburgh here,” Kenny said. “He’s an extraordinary man. I am very privileged indeed, on behalf of all the people of Ireland, to shake [his] hand.” Chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees Donald Keough introduced Hesburgh and said doing so for such an important figure in the Notre Dame community is almost “unnecessary.” “It’s like introducing the Golden Dome. It’s impossible,” he said. “He’s the soul of this place.” Hesburgh set out with an “impossible” vision to create the “greatest Catholic university in the world” when he became president, Keough said, a mission that continues to this day. “He meant it,” Keough said. “He started this place on a journey, and it never ended.” Hesburgh said much of the progress of the University could be attributed to the many lay people, young and old, who have shared this vision. “The Church would be nothing today without the leadership of so many laymen,” he said. “It’s the laymen and the dedication they have for [Notre Dame] that make this place possible.” Hesburgh, whose grandfather was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States as an infant, said he recognized the relationship between Ireland and Notre Dame has been an especially significant one throughout the University’s history. “It’s a link at the heart of all that we are, and I think it’s at the heart of all that we aspire to be,” he said. Hesburgh said the University was honored to host such a major Irish political figure on the holiday. “To be here with us on this Feast of Saint Patrick, it’s the kind of miracle we get used to at Notre Dame,” he said. In welcoming the Taoiseach to campus, University President Fr. John Jenkins said Notre Dame has always possessed a strong Irish presence, stretching back to the founders and ranging from University presidents to the student body. He said this is embodied in the name “Fighting Irish,” which originally possessed derogatory meaning. “The name ‘Fighting Irish’ was originally intended as a slur in the 1930s to indicate a University of rowdy, unruly drunken Irishmen,” he said. “But the University embraced that name, and transformed it to represent a real resilience.” Now, regardless of ethnicity, all members of the University community are part of this heritage, Jenkins said. “Today, at Notre Dame, we’re of Asian, African, European and Latino ancestry, but we’re all Fighting Irish and very proud of that,” he said. Hesburgh said the evening offered an opportunity to celebrate this spirit. “It’s an evening that we can all be Irish for a while, even though we may be half or a quarter something else,” he said. This spirit applies to the people of Ireland as well, Kenny said. “I am thrilled about this ‘Fighting Irish’ concept, for we have no fear for the future so long as we respect where it is that we came from,” he said. Kenny said he knew before coming to Notre Dame the importance of the University in Irish-American heritage. “Somebody said to me before I left, ‘When you go there, remember you are in the center of the soul of what it means to be Irish-American,’” he said. After taking part in Chicago’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade earlier in the day, Kenny said he recognized how important the spirit of his nation is to many people in the United States. “Everyone wants to be Irish,” he said. The Taoiseach is also set to visit New York City and the White House in his trip to America. As the Notre Dame football team prepares to square off against Navy at Dublin on Sept. 1, Kenny said he is excited for Notre Dame to reciprocate his visit. “We look with great excitement to the flights incoming from the west into Dublin in September when Notre Dame comes to destroy Navy,” he said.
A football game was not the only event to bring together the various groups within the Notre Dame community this weekend. Hosted in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall on Friday, the first installment of this year’s Professors for Lunch series featured discourse among faculty, alumni and both undergraduate and graduate students. The discussion focused on the book “Just and Unjust Peace” by associate professor of political science and peace studies Daniel Philpott. Philip MuÃ±oz, director of the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and American Public Life and associate professor of political science, created the Professors for Lunch series last year. He said part of the purpose of the series is to promote the work of professors like Philpott. “One of the aims is to celebrate significant faculty accomplishments, like Daniel’s book,” Munoz said. “We have this world-renowned scholar down the hall, let’s have lunch with him and learn from him.” Philpott spoke first, followed by comments on the book from Margaret Pfeil, assistant professor of theology, and Paolo Carozza, professor of law and director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. The professors then opened the floor to questions and comments from the audience. Philpott said he agreed to participate in Professors for Lunch because the event is a valuable occasion for conversation. “It’s a fantastic series,” he said. “This is just what we need at Notre Dame. Substantive interaction between professors and students,” he said. “College is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go deep into ideas and shouldn’t be wasted.” Philpott discussed his book and its emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation as a means of bringing peace in the wake of civil war, dictatorships and other periods of turmoil. “The central idea is the restoration of relationships,” he said. “This way of thinking comes to us from religious traditions. Religious traditions offer concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation that can inform a global conversation among the religious and the non-religious.” He cited the ongoing peace process following the more than 20 years of war in northern Uganda as an example. “When I visited [Uganda], I was told, ‘There’s an end to war, but no peace here,’” Philpott said. He said a coalition of Ugandan religious leaders is advocating the philosophy of forgiveness and reintegration. “Forgiveness was an important part of their portfolio,” Philpott said. A rejection of the message put forth by a dictator or perpetrator of war crimes is another important part of the peace process outlined in his book, Philpott said. “The ‘de-legitimation’ of the perpetrator’s message is something victims desire out of a sense of justice.” Philpott said. “It is symbolic, but as important as monetary reparations. The two go together.” Philpott said the rejection of the perpetrator’s message often requires uncovering and publicizing the experiences of the victims. “You want something that’s going to be seen as a national narrative,” he said. In her comments, Pfeil focused on the importance of restorative justice to Philpott’s ideas. She said there is a need for more to be done in situations of systematic institutional injustice. Pfeil said she decided to participate in the program because she enjoys the topic of the book. “This is an area of scholarship of great interest to me, in particular the area of restorative justice,” she said. “In my work, I study restorative justice and Catholic social teaching.” Carozza said Philpott’s approach to peace is better than the current conventional approach to human rights issues. “It is contrary and superior to the dominant method by which human rights have been addressed for 60 to 70 years,” Carozza said. The book also shows how reconciliation is reached over time, Carozza said, and it is not a concept that can be achievedin a single peace accord. “Reconciliation is something that becomes a human experience,” he said. “It becomes the experience of a people and it emerges over time.” Junior Neal Ravindra, one of three students helping to organize the series, said the event is beneficial to both students and faculty. “This event is a great opportunity for students and faculty to meet in a forum and exchange ideas,” Ravindra said. MuÃ±ozsaid the topics of the lunches are decided upon based on the relevance to the campus community. “The goal is to create a forum where students and faculty can share a meal and learn from each other about a topic worthy of conversation and of interest to the community,” MuÃ±ozsaid. The next installment of the series will be located in North Dining Hall at 12 p.m. Friday, and the discourse will focus on the Department of Health and Human Services healthcare mandate, Munoz said.
Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series about the Call to Action movement and the experiences of minority students within the Notre Dame campus community. The town hall meeting held March 5, 2012 to discuss racial discrimination was the first step to mobilizing the Notre Dame community in the Call to Action Movement. In the year that has followed that meeting, assistant vice president of student affairs Dr. David Moss has been an administrator walking at the forefront of the University officials trying to follow that lead. “The students have a very powerful voice on our campus, and when they decide that this type of activity, this type of harassment, is no longer acceptable in our community then it will be eradicated,” Moss said. To ensure that the students’ voices dominated the Call to Action discourse, Moss said he intentionally structured his work with the movement so that he would facilitate student-led initiatives. “I’m there for support and to get things done on my level of the administration, but this really needs to be a student-led movement because I think that gets us longevity,” Moss said. “My advice has been for them to find their own voice, because in the past I would say that these efforts were primarily generated and moved forward by the administration, and though that solves the issue for the time being, if the students aren’t behind it and if they don’t buy into it then those gains sometimes are not long-lasting.” ‘A grassroots movement’ From the very beginning, leaders focused on enlisting the support of many different groups – student and administrative – to increase the movement’s capacity to act, Moss said. “The idea of having all these different entities involved with this process ensures that we will have long-term conversations, and I think that’s where the most effective change happens,” Moss said.Moss said most critical to the facilitation of productive conversations is maintaining each conversation’s focus on the movement’s driving force: the needs of students. “We’re really trying to be a grassroots [movement],” Moss said. “We’re not talking at 30,000 feet. We’re right down on the ground, [talking] about how this is the experience of our students and that this is how your department might interface with that experience – so let’s have a conversation about making that Notre Dame experience the best that it can be. Iris Outlaw, director of multicultural student programs and services, said the call for cultural change at Notre Dame found support from the Student Senate, which requested institutional reform related to racial harassment last spring. Following the March 5, 2012 town hall meeting, the Senate passed a resolution asking for a reevaluation of residence hall staff training and clearer reporting procedures for incidents of harassment. Outlaw said this resolution complimented internal discussion within Student Affairs at the time regarding discrimination. “When the resolution came from the Senate it went up to the [then-vice president of student affairs Fr. Tom Doyle], who had at the time already put some things together to investigate and make some changes,” Outlaw said. “As a division we were already talking about how some things need to be changed … this helped to add credit to what the students were saying … and to push forward our own review.” As the current vice president of student affairs, Erin Hoffmann Harding has maintained her predecessor’s focus on fostering diversity, Outlaw said. ‘A welcoming environment’ In keeping with that Student Senate resolution, Moss said administrators within the Call to Action movement have worked closely with the Student Activities Office to ensure administrators consider the needs of individual students as they go through freshman orientation. “We’ve been doing a lot of work with Student Activities to make sure we are aware of the kinds of things that can alienate incoming students,” Moss said. “I don’t believe that Notre Dame is a malicious place, by any stretch of the imagination, [but] I just think that we get so comfortable with it being a nice place that we sometimes don’t pay attention to the things that we should. “Our goal is to heighten the awareness of what could be welcoming and what could be alienating to our students.” Student Affairs plans to work with the Resident Assistants as they are selected for the 2013-14 school year to ensure they can maintain a welcoming environment in their halls, Moss said. His department also conducted a review of over 70 Notre Dame websites to ensure they presented a welcoming message, he said. Moss said the review focused on honestly portraying the degree of diversity on campus so that Notre Dame’s websites represent all of Notre Dame. “[Based on the results of] that survey, I actually made telephone calls to those individuals and to those halls, to those departments our students indicated [needed to review their website],” Moss said. “Everyone was more than willing to … see what changes could be made to make sure that students felt included on welcome on our campus.” ‘A reporting culture’ Moss said the community needed a clearer mechanism for reporting racial harassment and discrimination.”If we don’t have a reporting culture, then these issues continue to fester,” Moss said. “If a student believes that if they report an incident that it’s going to take a lot of time, and it’s going to take a lot of effort and then they’re going to be frustrated with the result then they just won’t report.” Outlaw said mechanisms to support a more defined reporting culture have been created in partnership with the Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), building what he called a “one-stop shop” for reporting discriminatory incidents. Keri Kei Shibata, assistant chief for safety services, said NDSP staff met with student leaders following the March 5, 2012 town hall meeting to discuss safety concerns that had been presented during that discussion. “We talked through some of those things and they said that some of the police procedure they weren’t aware of, and that it might be helpful to all students if it were available to them,” Shibata said. “We also talked about specific situations [mentioned at the meeting], and many of them we had never been aware of as an administration … we stressed to the students that it’s really important that if there is a concern that something was handled wrongly, we want to know about it right away because then we can address it and correct it.” To increase student awareness of police procedure, Shibata said her department created a webpage called “Know your rights and responsibilities.” The website specifically explains the rights of both students and officers in many common situations, she said. Shibata said the department also implemented a policy that requires officers to offer their business cards to students after any interaction so thes then can express positive or negative feedback about thedofficer’s behavior. The department has maintained other ongoing racial sensitivity training to continue to improve officer communication, even in high-risk situations, she said. “We’re here to help, we’re here to serve. … we want to interact and to have honest conversations about things that happened, and also just to help people learn to be safe in the way that they go about their lives,” Shibata said. “We welcome any feedback that people have and any suggestions that they have about how we can improve our service to the community.” Cultural competency Outlaw said the Call to Action leaders have also worked with academic programs, looking to develop a curriculum on cultural consciousness. “That’s one of the things we wanted, to get a cultural competency course that … all students would have to go through regardless of their major,” Outlaw said. Elizabeth LaFortune, academic advisor for First Year of Studies, is currently the primary instructor for the first iteration of the voluntary, one-credit “Intro to Cultural Competence” course. LaFortune said the course is part of a broader initiative within the First Year of studies to increase students’ ability to engage with cultures different from their own. “Students learn why cultural competence skills have become essential to functioning successfully in the present environment, what those skills are, and how to acquire and demonstrate them,” LaFortune said. Even in the initial class meetings, LaFortune said her students’ experiences in her class appear already to have begun to change their perspectives. “We began the course with a discussion of the unearned privileges of being part of a dominant culture, based on nationality, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic group, race, ability and gender,” LaFortune said. “Our discussions have been honest and lively. The greatest effect on the students as a whole has been a greater awareness of their own cultures and how their cultures affect how they interact with the world.” Outlaw said the First Year of Studies program provides many opportunities for students to explore the diverse array of cultures represented at Notre Dame, that have been complimented by MSPS initiatives and other programs across the University. The goal of these efforts is to encourage students to think outside of the box, she said. “Thinking beyond the comfort zone of your own race or ethnicity – that’s all we’re really asking,” Outlaw said. “We want to shift people’s paradigms so they will think in a broader context while interacting with people and not rely on stereotypes – but learn about people one-on-one.” ‘A long way to go’ Change at Notre Dame on these issues will take time. For Moss, these various administrative steps with Call to Action only reflect a beginning. “Honestly, I think there is a long way to go,” Moss said. “It’s not as bad as it used to be but [I think it’s important] for us not to have any illusions about how far we need to go, because there are still people here who have experiences here that are not what we would call [experiences] of the Notre Dame family.” Moss said he hopes the movement motivates people to actively work to make the Notre Dame environment more inclusive. “One of the things I’ve always said about Notre Dame is that this is not an intentionally hostile or discriminatory environment, but it is not an assertive environment either,” Moss said. “For me, the result of this movement – I hope – is going to be that when individuals hear about racism, or sexism, or heterosexism, or whatever the case may be, that when they hear about it that they’ don’t just heart [it] and do nothing, but that they actually become involved … and somehow let people know that these types of activities are not acceptable.”
University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh earned national renown for his contributions to academia, politics and religion. In a Monday lecture in Washington Hall titled “The Civil Rights Legacy of Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh,” professor Jennifer Mason McAward said his advocacy on core civil rights issues in the 1960s especially changed the face of the nation. McAward largely focused on Hesburgh’s involvement with the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1957 to 1972 in her address. “The story of Fr. Hesburgh’s civil rights advocacy is a key to understanding how he emerged, in the words of Vice President Biden, as ‘one of the most powerful unelected officials this nation has ever seen,’” she said. McAward said it is important to understand the philosophical and theological framework forming the basis for Hesburgh’s views on civil rights. “For him, the crucial starting point is the sacred nature and God-given dignity of the human person,” she said. “Fr. Hesburgh argues that if compassion were the overriding conviction of our lives, then we would necessarily seek abiding human solutions to the great inequalities and injustices of our time.” Hesburgh’s time on the United States Commission on Civil Rights gave him the opportunity to learn directly about the suffering and closed opportunities experienced by racial minorities in this country, she said. The Commission toured areas throughout the South and “documented extensive voting rights and other civil rights violations,” she said. “Over time, it expanded its inquiries into housing, employment, education, public accommodations and the administration of justice,” McAward said. From the inception of the Commission, Hesburgh was a strong member and had great impact on much of the civil rights legislation passed in the era, she said. “By the end of Fr. Hesburgh’s tenure on the Commission, including nearly four years as chair, Congress had enacted roughly 70 percent of the Commission’s recommendations, incorporating them into critical pieces of civil rights legislation, including the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968,” she said. When Hesburgh first joined the Commission the majority of primary and secondary schools throughout the South were segregated, despite the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, McAward said. The Commission held extensive hearings on this issue, and determined that financial incentives could be a means through which integration could be achieved. “Indeed, Fr. Hesburgh became the leading proponent of promoting non-discrimination through the threat of withholding federal funds,” she said. “The following year, the entirety of the Commission adopted Fr. Hesburgh’s approach but only on a limited basis, recommending that Congress withhold funds from public colleges and universities that engaged in racial discrimination. “That wasn’t enough for Fr. Hesburgh, who wrote a second statement that the same condition should apply to all private schools, as well. The Commission adopted this recommendation the following year.” Additionally, Hesburgh exercised leadership on voting rights in a number of ways, McAward said. “He, of course, participated in the Commission’s influential policy recommendations, and he personally testified before Congress in support of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but he also intervened individually on behalf of frustrated African-American citizens,” she said. The Commission heard testimony on a case in New Orleans, La., of a white registrar striking some 2,000 registered African Americans from the voting records, McAward said. To re-register, these citizens were required to present two registered voters who could testify on their behalf. “Of course, there were no more registered African Americans who could serve as witnesses, and no registered white would vouch for a black voter,” McAward said. “The Commission heard of this problem from an African-American man who had been disenfranchised.” Unable to provide to provide witnesses, this man, a U.S. Army captain, went to the registrar with photo identification, his federal tax income, his professional credentials in dentistry and his honorable discharge from the Army, and still he was turned away, McAward said. “Upon hearing this story during a televised hearing, Fr. Hesburgh said, ‘Captain, I believe you, and I am sure everyone who is watching this on television believes you. Go back to that registration place tomorrow morning – if they don’t register you, call me immediately and let me know because I will then call the President of the United States, and I will tell him that one of his army officers is being prevented from voting in LouisianaI can promise you the President will make things so hot for everyone that they will wish they had never heard of him.’ It appears that the local voting registrar was indeed watching Fr. Hesburgh on television.” Hesburgh became a national figure as a result of his service on the Commission and was the group’s most prominent member during his tenure, McAward said. “He turned down requests to run for the Senate and the Vice Presidency, and instead became an uncompromising and savvy advocate for equality in the face of state and local resistance,” she said. Contact Catherine Owers at [email protected]
Joe Bock, a faculty member in Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, is seeking to represent Indiana’s second congressional district (which includes St. Joseph County), putting to use his experience responding to crises around the world. Bock, who previously served as the director of global health training at Notre Dame’s Eck Institute and director of external relations at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, announced his candidacy for the congressional seat Nov. 4. He is seeking the Democratic nomination and hopes to replace incumbent Republican Jackie Walorski. In his written announcement, Bock said he wants to challenge Walorski because he thinks she votes based on partisan politics, a growing problem in Washington. “In times of crisis, you don’t have time to consider the politics of those you’re trying to help or worry about your own agenda,” he said. “I’m frustrated with politicians in Washington, including our Congresswoman [Rep. Walorski], who are refusing to put aside their differences so they can govern effectively. If there is one place in the world right now that needs conflict resolution, it’s Washington, D.C.” While serving in the Missouri state legislature from 1986 to 1992, Bock said he found people were more interested in finding pragmatic solutions than in resorting to particular political ideologies. Bock said the same cannot be said for Congress, especially in the aftermath of the recent government shutdown. “[The government shutdown] is symptomatic of the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., that needs to be rectified, needs to be fixed, by people who are able to be problem solvers rather than getting involved in partisan theatrics,” Bock said. Much of Bock’s research as an academic has been centered on the study of violence prevention, he said. This research has taught him the importance of early warning and early response efforts. “A lot of times, problems can be best solved if you respond to them before they become a major disaster,” Bock said. “I think that is true with governing as well. When there are major warning signs of a problem and you can offer a solution in a timely way, then you can be much more cost- effective in going about dealing with certain problems.” Bock has eight years of work experience with Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, Islamabad, Pakistan and Jerusalem. He said he has been involved with conflict resolution for some time and right now there is a need for conflict resolution in Washington. “The vast majority of my career has been focused on service – as a legislator, as a humanitarian worker and a trainer of people who are going to work in some of the toughest places in the world and with my background in crisis response,” Bock said. “I feel like the best place I can focus my efforts on right now is on the crisis in Washington, D.C., in trying to make our government work again for the people of Northern Indiana.” This is not the first time Bock has taken a leave of absence from the University. In 2010, Bock left to work for the American Refugee Committee in Haiti. “They had a need for someone to go down and help them get their program set up in response to the earthquake and because I know how to do that and have done it in a lot of different places around the world, I felt like it was an appropriate thing for me to do,” Bock said. “In a sense, I really wanted to do it because I wanted to help.” Bock said if he were elected to office, the first issue he would address would be job creation. “I think the first and foremost [issue to focus on] is to work to get more jobs for people,” Bock said. “The situation we are at right now is that we are at the beginning of recovery from a horrible recession and, as we do that, there are a lot of businesses who have money, who are sitting on the sidelines waiting to invest, and they are not going to until they get a sense of stability. Something like a government shutdown is the inverse of what we need in terms of conveying that stability to those business people.” Bock, who self-identifies as a pro-life Democrat, said he has been listening to the people of Northern Indiana for the seven years he has been living in the area and they agree with him on the issue of abortion. “I think that [is] the overwhelming sentiment of the people in Northern Indiana. They come at it from their faith and a substantial amount of them are pro-life, but for me it is an issue of morality,” Bock said. “I do understand where people who are pro-choice are coming from, but I feel that for me there are certain things I can’t do as a legislator, and one of those is compromise my morality.” Bock, who is involved with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s anti-violence task force and is a member of the safety and security committee of the South Bend School Corporation, said he has received overwhelming support from community members. “They have been very enthusiastic,” Bock said. “It is amazing the number of people who come up to me and say, ‘Thank you. We are glad we have an incredible candidate to run against [Walorski].’” Bock said the Notre Dame community has also added a great deal of enthusiasm to the race. “I need to be clear that I am running as a private individual and not as a representative of Notre Dame, and anything that anybody at Notre Dame does to participate in the campaign is as private individuals,” Bock said. “There is a great deal of enthusiasm among people at Notre Dame – my co-workers, students, etc. We will channel their support in ways that are most effective in winning. We plan to win.” Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]
Hannah and Friends’ “March Dance Party” brought student volunteers and disabled participants together to stomp, jump and groove Saturday.Hannah and Friends is a national organization that works to improve the lives of children and adults with special needs. Saint Mary’s students visit the residential home owned by Hannah and Friends every Wednesday to volunteer with special needs residents. Photo courtesy of Chelsea FattalOnce a month, Hannah and Friends holds a dance party at its 30-acre farm in South Bend. Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students joined in on Saturday.Student coordinator Emily Hazen, a Saint Mary’s junior, visits local grade schools to help spread the message to “be a friend to all people with all different abilities.”“We’re just working to help spread their [Hannah & Friends] message of awareness and compassion on SMC and ND’s campuses,” Hazen said.Hazen said she was first drawn into the Hannah & Friends organization because of a dance party, she attended during her freshman year.“It’s great,” Emily Small, a first year at Saint Mary’s College, said. “It’s so happy here!”Small and her two friends, Kelly O’Reilly and Meghan McDonough, attended the dance party because they wanted a different service experience.“The best part is the atmosphere,” McDonough said.Katelyn Smith said her brother, who suffers from downs syndrome, inspires her involvement in the special needs community.“The Hannah & Friends Dance Party is a fun way to get involved and everyone benefits,” said Smith.Notre Dame seniors Amanda Frick and Gable Brady got involved with Hannah & Friends through their previous work experience.“I worked with AmeriCorps in the summer of 2012 and I also helped with a Hannah & Friends summer camp in tandem … So I decided to come back today, just to help in any way that I can,” Frick said.“Being with these participants is rewarding,” Frick said, motioning to the gaiety of the dancers at the Hannah & Friends facility. “Hannah & Friends is an organization of welcoming and genuine people.”Hazen said students can get more involved by visiting hannahandfriends.org.Tags: Hannah and Friends
Joseph Clark | The Observer Khoa Huynh, a Chili Cook-off participant and member of the HCRI, prepares his “Chipotle Adobo” Chili.Contestants in the cook-off ranged from students to advocacy groups around the local community. One such participant from Smoke Free St. Joe, Karl Nichols, was advocating his organization’s goal of “reducing the burden of tobacco in our community and increasing quality of life for all.” His chili fit the theme, which he described as being “Smoke Chili, not tobacco.”Participants of the cook-off included Khoa Huynh, research program manager at the HCRI, who made a chili using “chipotle adobo sauce” for his first time participating in the event.“We do a lot of fundraisers here,” he said. “This is a very fun, light-hearted event, but most importantly the entrance fee goes straight to research here.” One of the most loyal participants of the cook-off also included the Notre Dame Fire Department. Captain Robert Brown, a representative and participant in the cook-off, spoke of the importance of the event to the department. “We try to get involved with a lot of things on campus,” he said, “I have been on the department for 20 years, and for 10 years we have participated in chili cook-offs in one aspect or another”. Natalie Weber | The Observer The Notre Dame Fire Department, featured above, also competed in the Chili Cook-off. The firefighters have participated in the annual event for approximately a decade.Another huge part of the event, according to Cavalieri, was bringing people in the local community together and raising awareness for what the HCRI does.“We have local cancer advocacy groups participating, to people living down the street,” she said, “It is always fun trying to guess the secret ingredients used by some of the masters. We have had some interesting ingredients over the years … It brings people together, because who doesn’t love chili?”Tags: chili, Chili cook-off, Harper Cancer Research Institute, HCRI, Smoke Free St. Joe The Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) hosted its annual Chili Cook-off on Wednesday to raise money supporting research conducted by the HCRI. The entrance fee of $10 gave participants unlimited taste tests as well as 10 votes towards the best chili.Angela Cavalieri, external relations and special events program coordinator at the HCRI, said she was enthusiastic about the event and its ethos. “The Chili Cook-off has become a favorite … every penny of every dollar raised goes to support research at the Harper Cancer Research Institute,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much world class research happens right here at Harper.” This lack of awareness is something the Chili Cook-off is aiming to change.
The Junior Class Council (JCC) will hold its inaugural Snow Ball Charity Dance this Saturday in the Dahnke Ballroom. The event will run from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and is open to students of all grades. The main focus of the dance is to raise money for three charities that support the South Bend community. JCC vice president Margaret D’Auria said students will have the opportunity to choose to donate to Adopt-A-Family Christmas Initiative, College Mentors for Kids or Camp Sweeney. Renee Pierson | The Observer Junior Class Council members held a pop-up sale in South Dining Hall for tickets to the Snow Ball Charity Dance.“When you purchase a ticket, you get a choice between three charities,” JCC social committee member Liam Champion said. “The money gets split into four parts, and then each charity gets a quarter of the proceeds, and the last quarter of the proceeds is up for grabs and will be given to whichever club gets the most people to show up.” Members of the JCC actively worked to find charities that are not as prominent on campus to support, Snow Ball co-chair Ryan Vazza explained. “We looked at clubs on campus and how pronounced they were,” Vazza said. ”There was a couple of clubs that stood out that everyone hears about. We wanted to find that second tier of clubs that maybe weren’t the biggest, but could still do great things with the money.”Health and wellness committee member Matthew Kirchmier served as the JCC contact for Camp Sweeney because of his personal experience with the organization. “Camp Sweeney is the largest overnight residential camp for children with Type 1 Diabetes,” Kirchmier said. “It’s just a normal summer camp, except the counselors and the medical staff are trained to have on-the-clock management for their diabetes to make sure that they are well taken care of and that at camp, diabetes isn’t something they have to worry about.” Champion said the impact College Mentors for Kids has on the local community is significant. “College Mentors for Kids works with local schools in the area, grades first through sixth,” he said. ”We bring [students] to campus after their normal school day is done and we basically work with them and try to encourage them to seek out higher education.” Event co-chair Hannah Ueland said she hopes students who attend the dance are able to comprehend their impact on the community while also enjoying themselves. “They’re doing something that’s going to affect a family this Christmas on their Christmas morning,” she said. In order to bring a large volume of attendees to the event, the JCC organized a number of enticing attractions, from special guests to giveaways. “We’re gonna have a Snapchat filter, [the apparel committee]’s made t-shirts, mugs and ornaments, and a lot of other clubs are hosting events in the week leading up to culminate with the dance,” Vazza said. “There’ll be a lot of giveaways when we’re selling tickets. We’ll have a ton of food: Chick-Fil-A, mozzarella sticks, desserts and some other things.”D’Auria said they also hope to draw in students with a handful of additional attractions.“We’re doing the mocktail bar, we’re doing DJ DuLac—a lot of big things that kids will want to go to,” D’Auria said. ”The mocktail bar will be hosted by a campus celebrity.” However, the JCC hopes this is not all that the Snow Ball is remembered for.“I hope [students] remember that while they are there to have fun, the greater purpose of the dance is to give back and the money that they are spending isn’t just going to the class and funneling back into later events, it’s going directly to charity to help kids who need it more,” D’Auria said. Vazza said he hopes attendees will have a better appreciation for how Notre Dame students can come together to support charities and groups on campus.Champion said students could benefit emotionally and spiritually from the event. “It feels good to give back to the community,” he said.All involved in the planning of this unique event had the unanimous goal of giving back to the community in true Notre Dame spirit. “That’s what Notre Dame’s all about—building community and supporting each other,” JCC president Sam Cannova said.Tickets for the Snow Ball are being sold in the LaFortune box office and by JCC members for $5. Tickets will be $7 at the door. More information leading up to the event can be found on JCC’s Instagram page.Tags: Adopt-A-Family Christmas Initiative, Camp Sweeney, College Mentors for Kids, junior class council, snow ball charity dance
Courtesy of Elizabeth Burman Elizabeth Burman began sewing masks solo during the pandemic. Now, she is working with several friends and organizations to sew nearly 5,000 masks for students in South Bend schools.Burman was inspired by a sister organization, Elkhart County Student Masks, which set a goal to sew over 26,000 masks for Elkhart schoolchildren. She said she wondered whether South Bend schools might also need masks, and they did. In total, 10 different South Bend Community School Corporation schools requested face masks. Burman started by canvassing the LNDSMC, but by June, the effort was quickly growing outside the club.“It started with us. We got our initial stash of fabric and a couple of people willing to sew, and then just reached out to other members of the community,” she said.As a result, a new group was born: Face Masks for South Bend Students.Cather Craker, adjunct professor at Holy Cross and in the Westville Prison Program, heard about Burman’s initiative at the church they both attend. Since then, she estimates that she has sewn between 175 and 200 masks, either with her machine or by hand.“Mostly I do sewing, and lately I’ve also been cutting out the no-pleat mask kits,” she said.Her children help with the most crucial role of all — picking the fabric patterns.Jennifer Staats and her husband both attended Notre Dame and live locally. Staats, like Burman, started making masks on her own but soon got involved with local sewing groups. Burman approached her in June, and the women worked together to solidify logistics for the group.Staats said their group’s kits are intuitive and fun.“The mask assembly process is simple, even for a novice,” she said in an email. “When you get the kit, you have all the pieces measured and cut, ready to sew. It’s so easy, and it’s fun to see what cute new prints will be in each kit.” Christopher Parker | The Observer Jennifer Staats, who is sewing masks for students with Burman, said they have created do-it-yourself kits for those in the community who want to help.Burman said her jobs earlier in life had taught her one thing about big volunteer campaigns.“Always partner up. We partnered up as fast as we could,” she said.Burman applauded Busy Hands of Michiana, a volunteer group who sewed over half of the masks. Other partners on the project included the Cathedral of St. James, Sew Loved Inc., the South Bend Community Schools Corporation and The Christ Child Society.Anyone interested in helping to make a mask can join the Facebook group, Face Masks for South Bend Students. Volunteering can entail cutting and organizing materials, delivering kits or sewing. People of all skill levels and genders are welcome.Helping others while helping themselves, Burman called it “ministry both ways.” In a time of isolation, she said, she was able to form a community and make friends with people she has never met in person.“Having a project like this that we can work on together has been important to me, and I gather it has been so for the others,” she said.Tags: Face Masks for South Bend Students, Ladies of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, PPE, sewing, south bend schools Elizabeth Burman has been stitching together PPE since the beginning of the pandemic.“I could probably sew a mask in my sleep,” she said.Starting as a lone seamstress who volunteered with local charities, Burman has since tapped into the tri-campus community and organized the production of over 4,500 face masks for South Bend schools.Burman moved to Notre Dame three years ago to accompany her husband, Thomas Burman, the Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute. She quickly joined the ranks of the Ladies of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College (LNDSMC). The organization dates back to 1934 and consists of many faculty members and their spouses.“I got involved with them for social events, and I found a couple of people who like to sew while I was working with them,” Burman said. “So when this opportunity arose, they were the first people I reached out to.”