College dedicates Unity Garden

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Unity Garden will stand as a symbol of social justice and sustainability, Director of Justice Education Jan Pilarski said. The garden, located in front of Havican Hall, was dedicated Tuesday. Pilarski said Karen Borja, a 2011 graduate, spearheaded the project. Senior Heather Smith took responsibility for planting the garden this summer as an intern with Unity Gardens, a South Bend nonprofit that advocates community building through gardening. “I hope this garden becomes something bigger [so] that we can have an option for healthy food that students can grow and learn about,” Smith said. To achieve that “something bigger,” Smith said she tapped into landscaping services at the College to help her expand the garden. “When I started planting, I realized the garden was pretty small, so landscaping helped me double the size,” she said. “They did the labor, like tilling the land and building the [wooden support] frames, and I cared for the garden.” Smith said she enjoyed having the freedom to choose what vegetables went into the garden. “I went with a salad theme for the garden. If students saw okra or a huge head of cabbage, they might not know what to do with it,” she said, “I planted lots of leafy lettuce, mustard greens, kale, swish chard, tomatoes and herbs.” On Mondays over the summer, preschoolers from the Early Childhood Development Center, which has its own Unity Garden, joined Smith to help weed and pick vegetables, she said. “It was great to have them out there, helping, tasting lettuce,” Smith said. “They were great.” Smith said the garden raised her awareness about local food security problems. “There are some people who need healthy food but can’t get it from anywhere else [other than the Unity Gardens],” she said. The garden was made possible through the Dooley Endowment, a fund intended for student-initiated social justice projects, Pilarski said. The endowment is named after Saint Mary’s alumnus Katherine T. Dooley, ’28. “She was passionate about social justice and Saint Mary’s,” Pilarski said. There are 41 other Unity Gardens of varying sizes in the South Bend area, Sara Stewart, executive director for Unity Gardens, said. Stewart added that the gardens help close social divisions. “We live in a society that separates us, and gardens are a natural way to share,” she said. “By bringing together people that would usually never interact, we can see our strengths in different ways.” Stewart said the interactive aspect of the gardens is more significant than the gardening itself. “This isn’t just about access to healthy vegetables,” she said. “It’s more about unification of the community and social cohesion.”last_img read more

Class explores impact of climate change

first_imgAs the semester draws to a close, the professor and students of a new interdisciplinary course, the Politics of Adapting to Climate Change, are able to reflect on the course’s first semester. The course, offered by the political science department, was taught by political science professor Debra Javeline. Javeline said the course is open to students in any major and will be offered again in the fall semester of 2013. Javeline said the class focuses on adaptation to climate change and its political implications. Most classes dealing with climate change expose students to the concept of climate change mitigation, she said. “Most students who study climate change study ways to slow, stop or reverse climate change; that’s mitigation,” she said. “But the fact is that we’ve reached a point where even our best mitigation efforts can’t prevent some climate change. Adaptation refers to the measures taken to prepare for and protect ourselves from the inevitable climate change. The question is how to adapt to this new climate reality.” The topic of adapting to climate change is primarily the concern of environmental scientists, which makes the class thoroughly interdisciplinary, Javeline said. She said students do not, however, need a background in environmental science. “It is a science topic, but we have to make political decisions about it,” Javeline said. “I make sure that students have enough science to get at the politics.” Javeline said they examine current issues of climate change adaptation as a class and discuss the political questions raised by these issues. “The questions we look at are questions for urban planners and engineers. For example, in addition to preparing for future Hurricane Sandy’s, what should our major coastal cities be doing to prepare for rising seas? This class talks about the politics of it all,” Javeline said. Sophomore Christina Gutierrez, a political science, French and Italian major, was a member of the course’s first class this semester. She said she enjoys the relevance the course has to current events worldwide. “It’s about everything our country, and others, do to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” she said. “I like being in a class where all of the material is really relevant, and it’s great to have an idea of the changes going on in the world.” Sophomore Arthur Laciak, a political science and math major with a minor in German, also took the course this semester. Laciak said the course also looks at impediments to adapting to climate change and that he enjoyed the opportunity to engage in research based on primary sources. “The class looks at the strategies to adapt and factors that get in the way – politics, economics and public opinion. We also cover the basic background of what climate change is,” Laciak said. “I like that the class provides the opportunity to do our own research and to look at primary sources,” he said. Javeline said an important part of the course is learning how to make decisions with incomplete information. “Adapting to climate change is urgent; we can’t keep waiting around. The changing climate is already having an impact,” she said. “Policy makers have to make decisions about climate change before they have all of the information. It’s called decision making under conditions of uncertainty, and it’s what makes [climate change adaptation] a political science topic.” Javeline said one of the major areas of concern in the politics of climate change is the idea that economic and environmental interests are at odds. “One thing we talk about is that politicians often present the economy and the environment as competing interests,” she said. “The truth is, adapting to climate could be one of the most economically efficient things we can do.” She said one of her goals in developing this new course is to show students the economic benefits of adapting to climate change. “I hope that students leave this class knowing that protecting the environment is good economics [and] is in everyone’s interest,” Javeline said. Javeline said she is excited about the diversity of majors among the students in the class. “Most students are political science majors, and the second most common major is Environmental Sciences. There are also quite a few business majors and a sprinkling of architecture, math, economics, history, sociology, Russian, and Italian majors and philosophy, language, energy studies and sustainability minors,” she said. Javeline said almost all course readings were written within the last 10 years. She also said the course is essentially paperless with all readings available online. “It is a paperless class. I tried to be true to the nature of the class, so everything is online and the links are in the syllabus,” Javeline said. She said the conspicuous lack of textbooks for the course was not the result of a deliberate decision. “No textbooks on this topic exist, so it isn’t even a choice,” she said. Javeline said her students benefit from being exposed to recently published and even incomplete research. “Students can learn a lot from seeing ongoing research. They can see how policy makers make decisions even as the science is developing,” she said. “Some of the assignments are even drafts of policy statements. These allow students to see the thought process of policy makers.” Lociak said it is difficult to work with these drafts and other incomplete materials, but he values the insight they provide into governmental processes. “Sometimes the research we read is incomplete, and that can be difficult. But it shows us the stages of the government’s response,” he said. Javeline said she has spent the past four years working on issues related to climate change. Initially, she began by helping biology professors Jessica Hellmann and Jason McLachlan with their work related to species extinction due to climate change as survey research specialist. She said the experience sparked her interest in the subject, to which she now devotes most of her research efforts. “It was my side-project, but it’s grown to be all-consuming,” Javeline said. Javeline said she created the course as a way to inform students who go on to work in the government or private industry about the pressing issue of adapting to climate change. “One of the things I’ve learned is that communicating about climate change is important; people recognize it but don’t appreciate the urgency,” she said. “By teaching about it, I’m doing my part. I’m conveying to talented undergraduates the need for their contributions.” Gutierrez said she registered for the course because of her past experiences with Javeline. “I had Professor Javeline last semester for a class we created together called Food Politics, so I wanted to take another class with her,” she said. Laciak said his previous interest in the subject of climate change led him to take the course. “When I was searching for classes, this one seemed the most interesting. I have an interest in climate change and the debate about what should be done,” he said.last_img read more

Irish Novelist Reflects on Changing Times

first_imgIrish novelist Patrick McCabe drew on his personal experience growing up in Ireland to address the effects of technological development Friday in a talk titled, “Irish Village Life Over 100 Years: From Brass Band to Broadband.” The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies sponsored McCabe’s talk in the Hesburgh Library’s Rare Books Room. McCabe quoted the poem, “A Sofa in the Forties” by Seamus Heaney, the recently deceased Irish poet to emphasize the changes that have taken place in society and morality in Ireland over the last century.  He said he agrees with Seamus Heaney and others who argue the core of Irish society always has been the family and the parish, and then the county.  “Everything radiates out from that,” McCabe said. “Familiarity and neighborliness is written into DNA.” McCabe said his mother’s awareness of everything going on in their neighborhood evidenced that community orientation so dominant within Irish society. “I thought what a gap exists between [my mother’s awareness] and a person who lived all his life in Wexford town. He could decompose merrily in the Christmas season, right through the spring and not be discovered until St. Patrick’s Day,” he said. McCabe began said a story from a March edition of the Irish Times demonstrated this decreased sense of community.  “The neighbors decided to pay a visit-they knocked on the door and there was no reply. They opened the door, and the [Christmas] lights were there, wishing the season along its merry way, and there was a skeleton there, sitting in the easy chair,” he said. “And it got me to thinking how times have changed.” McCabe said he is amazed that in today’s society, “the apotheosis of achievement is eating live bugs and worms on television” and “authority which for so long had held sway was now openly flouted.” McCabe said modern society is not without God, but a profusion of gods. Quoting G.K. Chesterton, he said, “When man stops believing in something, he starts believing in everything.””  McCabe said he cautions against willingly submitting to a kind of impersonal, godless society, “where the life of the sidewalk and the front yard will have all but disappeared.” “These are challenging times, and choices will have to be made,” he said.last_img read more

Expert restores statue of Jesus

first_imgA pedestal reading “Venite ad me omnes,” Latin for “Come to me everyone,” still stands on God Quad, but the invitation currently lacks a speaker. The pedestal normally supports the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, which has stood there since 1893, according to the Notre Dame archives, but this image of Jesus was removed in late November for restoration. Charles Loving, director and curator of the George Rickey Sculpture Archive at the Snite Museum of Art, said he put the University in touch with Thomas Podnar, a sculpture conservator from the McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio. Podnar is to restore the Sacred Heart of Jesus and three other campus statues: Notre Dame (Our Mother) at the north end of Notre Dame Avenue, Father Sorin on God Quad and Thomas Dooley near the Grotto. Loving said the University reached out to the outside conservator because he will be better equipped to meet their restoration goals. “If we had done nothing, it would have just rusted out and collapsed, so [the number] one [goal of the restoration is] to ensure its long-term preservation,” Loving said. “[The number] two [goal is] to make it look like what it looked like initially.” Loving said Podnar restored the other three campus images without removing them, but the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue had to be transported to Ohio for proper refurbishing because it had suffered extensive damage from “weather and age.” “There’s probably some atmospheric fall of pollutants from places like Gary, Ind., and East Chicago, but primarily just weather,” Loving said. “Like an old car, eventually the paint will wear off. Many of the sculptures are not painted metal. Many are cast bronze, but that particular one is cast iron.”  Because the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue is painted, most of the restoration entails stripping paint from the statue, repairing cracks in it and repainting it, Loving said. “The paint is coming off and in places it’s cracking, so it was removed,” he said. “They’ll chemically take off the paint. They’ll repair the cracks by welding them and somehow finishing them so the welds don’t show, and then they’ll repaint it.” Loving said Podnar will attempt to recreate the original paint color of the statue, which will look quite different from the weathered version the campus is accustomed to seeing when the statue returns next February. “It might be a little shocking to some people, but in the long term it’ll be good for it to have been preserved so it’s there for future generations,” he said. “It’s something that any sculpture requires over time. It doesn’t suggest any deficiency in the way it was manufactured or the way it’s been taken care of. It’s just part of the process.” Even though restoration is an important part of maintaining outdoor statues, Loving said the University does not have its statues restored very often. He said he believes this is the first time since 1893 the statue has been repaired.  Within the past five years, members of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Gettysburg noticed damage on the statue of Fr. William Corby outside Corby Hall, a copy of which also stands in Gettysburg, and raised funds to restore it, Loving said. “It’s kind of nice when people who are alums or friends of Notre Dame recognize the need and come up with the money,” he said. “As far as I know there’s no existing budget line to take care of these statues.” Contact Tori Roeck at [email protected]last_img read more

Freshman spotlights ND community on blog

first_imgEvery person at Notre Dame has his or her own story, and one freshman is trying to tell as many of them as possible on her new blog.  Freshman Laura Gruszka lives in Cavanaugh Hall and operates the recently established blog, “I Am Notre Dame.” Gruszka officially launched the blog on Nov. 21 and said the page already has over 4,000 views, more than she ever imagined.  The blog seeks to tell the story of people within the Notre Dame community, whether the subject is a student, faculty member, fan or has some other connection to the University, no matter how small.  The blog’s “Our Goal” section says, “Notre Dame is more than just a campus. More than just a college. More than just a university. People who pass through campus even once (or never have the chance) find themselves irrevocably entwined into the ‘Notre Dame family,’ a community of people that spans generations, continents, genders, orientations, creeds and colors.” Gruszka said she was inspired by a similar blog, “Humans of New York,” which features short posts about people in New York City with accompanying pictures.  “I saw the blog Humans of New York and I was fascinated. Seeing that made me realize there was more to the world than my own little bubble,” Gruszka said. “And when I came [to Notre Dame] I realized how connected everyone is and how special this place is.” Gruszka, who is originally from Valparaiso, Ind., said she does not restrict the blog to students and faculty of Notre Dame.  “It’s not limited to just the students. Even the people of South Bend who aren’t a part of the University are still affected by it and have a story,” Gruszka said.  Gruszka plays percussion for the Notre Dame band and said her friends in the band opened her eyes to the diversity of the University. “There’s more diversity here than there was at my high school, and meeting all the people on drum line made me realize just how special Notre Dame is,” Gruszka said. Gruszka said she will interview “basically anyone” for the blog, but she needs to be brave enough to approach someone she thinks is interesting. Gruszka said people have been “crazy willing” to talk to her for the blog. “That’s just the Notre Dame family, I guess. When I ask people if they have a minute to talk, they always say ‘yeah,’” Gruszka said.  Gruszka said she is grateful for the support and encouragement she has received from friends and strangers alike. “I am so humbled and grateful that I just don’t know what to say,” Gruszka said. “Everyone has just been very supportive.” Gruska said she plans to keep the blog active throughout her time at Notre Dame, but does not yet know what she will do if the blog is still fruitful at the end of her senior year. “I though it would be cool to keep it running through my four years as a testament to my time at Notre Dame,” Gruszka said. “If it lasts until senior year, I’ll figure out what to do with it then.” Gruszka said she tries to keep herself out of the blog and simply let people tell their own stories.  “It’s not about me. I want it to be about the people of Notre Dame and I am the vehicle for them,” Guszka said. “I try to keep myself out of it as much as possible.”  Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]last_img read more

Faculty reflect on legacy of Fr. Hesburgh

first_imgThe effects of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore “Ted” Hesburgh’s life and work were felt worldwide but especially resonated on campus.Campus staff and faculty, some of whom worked at the University during his presidency, felt pride in working for a school associated with such a progressive, influential figure.For Edward Hums, who teaches accounting and serves as the University’s first faculty-in-residence with his wife, Shirley, Hesburgh’s influence was prevalent before he ever stepped foot on campus.“My mom and my dad would always talk about how they had this great young priest from Notre Dame who came to Mishawaka to do their Pre-Cana after my dad returned from World War II,” Hums said. “This handsome young priest was Fr. Hesburgh, so in our house, nothing was more respected than Notre Dame, no one was more respected than Fr. Hesburgh.”Hums was able to develop a personal relationship with Hesburgh throughout his time as a Notre Dame. He said Hesburgh had an active presence both on and off campus during his presidency.“As students, we felt pride in having Fr. Hesburgh as our University’s president,” he said. “There were all these other presidents of Universities, and all those guys were just bookworms. Our president was doing everything and doing so all around the world.”Hums said after he graduated, he worked with Fr. Hesburgh in the Main Building for many years.“He was a people person,” he said. “He cared for everyone, and people respected his opinions. We were at a contentious Board of Trustees meeting about signing an NBC contract, and Father got up and spoke for about a minute.“He expressed his approval, saying, ‘You know, I think this is a good idea. I might have done something like this when I was president.’ And the contention dissipated — it was decided.”It was this presence and power that Robert Schmuhl, chair of the American studies department, remembers as well.“Fr. Hesburgh was always a voice of moral clarity on domestic and international issues,” he said. “Just as importantly, his words led to actions that changed and improved the lives of the people affected by those issues. He was unafraid in addressing and taking a stand on controversial issues, never flinching in the face of criticism.”For a few summers in the late 1990s, Edward and Shirley Hums spent two or three weeks at Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, as Hesburgh’s guests.“He had a little rustic cabin on the property,” Shirley Hums said. “He was never more relaxed than when he was out on the lakes. He would read all night and come down to breakfast around 1 or 2 p.m. to pour himself a bowl of cereal and chat.”Although their time at the cabin was spent fishing and relaxing, Land O’Lakes served as a central spot for many of the historical decisions Hesburgh coordinated. For example, Hums said the cabin’s dining table “looked just like a normal dining room table” to him, until Hesburgh elaborated on its history.“Father would say, ‘Well, you know, this is the table around which we did the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights vote. This is where we made the Land O’Lakes Statement to define what it means to be a Catholic university.”Hesburgh was a man who was remembered by stories and decisions like these, but he was also remembered for his daily interactions, expressing warmth and gratitude to all he met.Jim Yates, a staff member at Hesburgh Library, was one of the many touched by these small but memorable interactions.“I work the weekends, and every morning, Fr. Hesburgh would come in and ask for his reader for the newspaper,” Yates said. “He was a warm-hearted man who embraced everything Notre Dame and this library are about. His presence is and will continue to be felt and embraced in this workplace.”Tags: Edward Hums, Hesburgh, Jim Yates, Robert Schmuhl, Shirley Hums, Theodore Hesburghlast_img read more

‘Disability is not the whole of who you are’

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the fifth day in a series on disability at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story focuses on the social impact of disabilities at the College and University.For students with disabilities, the University and College provide notetakers, extended test time and accessible dorm rooms, among other resources.But the impact of disabilities extends beyond the classroom and the residence hall, and the Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities and the Disability Resource Office cannot solve all the challenges that come with everyday social interactions for those students.  Elizabeth Anthony, a senior with autoimmune conditions including lupus and celiac disease, says the accompanying chronic fatigue has impacted her social relationships.“Just because it feels so stupid to always say you’re tired, but when you have chronic fatigue it’s not really something that you can just explain to other people. Going out for me is just not really an option, because I can’t drink, I cannot stay up past midnight — it just doesn’t work for me,” she said. “And trying to explain that to people, and then trying to still be engaged in social things. My friends have been great, but it’s changed our relationship a lot, just in what I’m able to do.”Anthony said she has felt that a number of times throughout her career at Notre Dame, she has had to choose between friends or school work. “So you know a lot of times, you’ll see things that say, ‘You can have a social life or sleep or good grades — but not all three’? And I think that’s true for every Notre Dame student, but for me sleep is no longer a choice,” she said. Grace Agolia, a junior who is deaf and uses a cochlear implant, says because her disability is an invisible one, she has to constantly remind people of effective communication strategies, such as speaking with an appropriate volume. “In situations with background noise, it’s very hard. I often feel lost, and I have to turn to the person next to me and say, ‘What was that?’ And people can get very tired of doing that, and I understand that’s annoying,” she said. When eating in the dining hall, Agolia said she always attempts to position herself to hear as many people at the table as she can.  “Even just people like diagonally from me, just across can be really hard to hear. Because South Dining Hall can be really loud — North is better in terms of acoustics because it has carpeting. South Dining Hall has no carpeting, and high ceilings, so the acoustics are bad,” she said. “So I try to make my needs known to my friends, like can we sit in a table in a quieter part of the dining hall, like in a corner or something, or can I sit over here, because it will help me hear better. So a lot of times that has to come from me.”Agolia said she is appreciative when friends recognize what she needs without her having to ask for accommodations. “I really, really appreciate it when my friends remember to walk on my right side, and not on my left, it’s super helpful. It just makes my day when people remember,” she said. “And when I feel lost or confused in a conversation, when one of my friends sees my look of confusion and turns to me and speaks closely to my implant, especially in a noisy situation, just telling me what that person said. And having patience when I say ‘what’ fifty times in a row.”Fiona Van Antwerp, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s with dyslexia, said she told her friends about her disability halfway through her first semester of College, and it took them a while to figure it out and understand, but they have been supportive.“They ask me, ‘What can we do for you? How can we help you?’” she said. “My roommate asks if she can play music because she knows I’m an auditory learner.”Ross Kloeber, a first-year law student who is hard of hearing, said he wishes people would push through their discomfort with his disability. “For me, a lot of times people will get uncomfortable when the communication breaks down, so if I’m not hearing you, with stress, I stop lip-reading as well, with things like that,” he said. “All those things happen, and they get frustrated, they feel like they’re doing something wrong or there’s something wrong with me — all those things happen at once. It just creates this breakdown in communication, and people do not see the interaction as worth getting over that breakdown.”Megan Crowley, a freshman at Notre Dame, has Pompe disease, which progressively weakens muscles.  Editor’s note: Crowley spoke to The Observer with the assistance of her nurse, Debbie Larsen, who is quoted below.“One of the things that bothers her the most is she understands some people don’t talk to her, but she prefers that to someone who’s talking to her and acting like they understand her and they really don’t,” Larsen said. “They don’t want to ask you to repeat yourself. She’s okay with repeating herself as many times as she needs to, but people don’t usually ask.”  Jessica Ping is a freshman at Notre Dame who has CHILD syndrome, a limb and skin deficiency, and has only partial limbs on her left side. “One thing I notice a lot is people are almost, I don’t really want to say afraid, but they don’t know how to handle the situation, so they don’t really confront it,” she said. “They’ll be social, but most of the time I have to be the one to initiate the conversation, which is fine, but it would be nice for a reciprocal type thing.”Kloeber said he has found navigating the social aspect of law school to be “what you make of it” with a disability.“Obviously, people with disabilities face unique struggles with socializing, but I want to be careful and not try to homogenize it,” he said. “Everyone has different struggles — whereas my thing might be trying to communicate with people in a loud bar, it would be different from what someone else might be dealing with. It’s not one experience, it’s just different.”Agolia said people have been accepting of the fact that she is more than her disability.“Disability is not the whole of who you are,” she said. “It is a part of my identity, but it doesn’t define me.”News writers Megan Valley and Madison Jaros contributed to this story. Tags: disabilitylast_img read more

2019 Saint Mary’s Class Council reviews

first_imgSenior Class CouncilThe Senior Class Council representatives are Kassandra Acosta and Michelle Lester, and they are tasked with planning Senior Week, which includes a formal and a trip to a Chicago Cubs game. Neither Acosta nor Lester responded to multiple requests for further information, and none was readily available when The Observer searched for it.Junior Class CouncilJunior Class Council representatives Meg Hemmert and Morgan Greene said they have enjoyed this past semester and have learned valuable lessons that will help them moving forward with the Council.“It was a fun semester because we got to help out with Senior Dads Weekend, which was a lot of fun and good to learn what we want to do for next year,” Hemmert said.Hemmert and Greene are currently planning another event for juniors, set to take place before the end of the fall semester, and have already begun planning for the spring.“We’re going to bring everybody together to de-stress before finals, and then we’re also just getting started on official plans for Junior Moms Weekend,” Hemmert said. “It’s very exciting.”Hosting a town hall to survey juniors on what they would like to see in 2020 Junior Moms Weekend proved to be extremely fruitful, Hemmert said.“We had a town hall to talk more about Junior Moms [Weekend] and to kind of get people’s opinions on what they would like to see,” she said.Hemmert said she and Greene have not faced any major challenges this past semester, and most events have received strong attendance.“My favorite event that we did this semester was a welcoming event for the first years we had in Haggar,” she said. “It was their first week of school, and they were really excited and really nervous. They just came over, we had pizza and they could tie-dye shirts. It was just nice getting to talk to all the first years about how their time had gone so far and also what their plans were for this semester. We were just talking to them about what they were worried about, kind of reassuring them that they were in the right place and that everything would all work out. So that was really fun to be able to talk to them and to see where they were at and how we could help them.”Sophomore Class CouncilSophomore Class Council representatives Sydney Hutchinson and Abigail Pinnow said they were happy to see so many students respond positively to their events.“This has been a delightful semester for the class of 2022 Class Council,” Pinnow said in an email. “It is always so much fun to see our class come together and take part in whatever activity my co-rep Sydney and I have planned.”The Sophomore Class Council representatives have hosted two events this semester and plan on sponsoring two more in the upcoming spring semester, Pinnow said.“My personal favorite event was our recent end-of-the-semester Christmas Celebration event that we held on Dec. 3,” she said. “We had ornament decorating and Gigi’s Cupcakes for the second year in a row. It is a great way to relieve some of the stress of the upcoming finals week.”Pinnow said she and Hutchinson are working towards even greater attendance in the next semester.“We have some very exciting activities and giveaways planned for the spring, so we hope to see even more SMC sophomores at these events,” she said. First-Year Class CouncilFirst-Year Class Council representatives Jane Alexander and Abby Maday said they have enjoyed helping plan events for students on campus as well as getting to meet and bond with upperclassmen.Though the first event hosted by the first-year representatives, a Christmas-themed social with hot chocolate and ornament making, is Wednesday, Alexander said she and Maday joined other Class Council representatives in preparing for Senior Dads Weekend.“Our first event for our class is this Wednesday, but everyone on Class Council worked for Senior Dads Weekend, and it went really well,” she said.Thus far, Alexander said the only challenge has been planning events for a date and time that fits varying student schedules.“There hasn’t been anything considerably difficult, but it has been challenging to figure out a date for our events that is optimal for student participation,” she said in an email.Students returning to campus for second semester can expect to see more events scheduled, Alexander said, as well as more opportunities to meet other students within the first-year class.“Next semester we plan to organize more events and philanthropic opportunities,” she said.Tags: Saint Mary’s Class Council, Student Government Insider 2019last_img read more

Senate requests ID card access policy info, debates allocation of funds

first_imgWednesday’s weekly Senate meeting started with a unified resolve to request information on the ID Card access policy and ended with postponing an ongoing debate over club and student union funds. The senate first passed a resolution which formally requests the Division of Student Affairs to release and share any and all unclassified statistics, studies, and/or documentation from the process by which the Division of Student Affairs analyzed, deliberated and implemented the new ID Card Access Policy.“We’ve actually delayed this a couple of months now,” sophomore and Alumni senator Jack Rotolo said. “We wanted to make sure we took all of the routes we could before passing this resolution.” Last fall, while in discussion with the Division of Student Affairs, associate vice president for residential life Heather Rakoczy Russell said she “would not be able to share the benchmarking and National Best Practices” sources used in consideration for the newly instated policy. “We’re asking for the documents directly,” Rotolo said. “This will go to Student Affairs Office where it will go to Heather Rakoczy Russell.” Parliamentarian Thomas Davis said the Student Affairs Office doesn’t have to honor the request, but he hopes it will.“We want to be very respectful. We are only asking for information that would be considered public,” Rotolo said in regards to obtaining only non-confidential information.The resolution was passed as well as another resolution concerning the postponement of the student body president and vice president election in the wake of senior Annrose Jerry’s death. The resolution suspends subsections of the constitution regarding the dates for run-off election and re-run-off election debates, and grants the Judicial Council the temporary power to delegate their own dates in light of the election’s overall postponement. The Senate then moved into what became a heated debate over the allocation of funding allowed between the Club Coordination Council (CCC) and other Student Union organizations. As it stands, the Student Body Constitution allows a minimum of 40% of funds to be distributed to clubs and organizations under the CCC, and the remaining 59% of funds from the Financial Management Board (FMB) go to Student Union organizations. The resolution which was debated would change these numbers to a minimum of 46% of funds to be designated for distribution through the CCC and 53% to be available for distribution to remaining Student Union organizations. Initial questioning was directed at CCC president and senior Jordan Isner.“I think the end goal is when we get to a point where clubs and student union (organizations) feel like it’s a balanced amount of funding,” Isner said. “I will say the reason we chose to go to 46% [for clubs] is because it seems not arbitrary … 46% would mean that clubs and the Student Union would be getting about the same amount of money.” Several senators asked if it would possible to ask clubs to fundraise more.“They fundraise a lot … clubs fundraise almost a million dollars each year,” Isner said in response. “Clubs spend a lot of time fundraising, which isn’t the point of a club.”Senators also asked if it would be possible to obtain more money from the FMB, to which Isner said the method had been attempted by the CCC for three years with no success. When the floor was opened to debate, off-campus senator and senior Quentin Colo made a pitch in favor of the resolution. He listed many examples of clubs, such as the Global Medical Brigade, She’s the First and College Mentors for Kids.“There’s 20 plus religious clubs, 10 political clubs, 30 plus cultural clubs,” Colo said. “Clubs are really important — 7,800 students are in clubs and I think there’s a really good case for why clubs should be getting more money.” Junior class council president Sam Cannova had a different take. Cannova presented his case by saying Student Union organizations serve 8,000 students, delivering $54 per student per year on average. He then said that the CCC supports less than half of all clubs.“Even if every student were in a club, and half of these were funded by the CCC, the amount per student is at minimum $93 dollars,” Cannova said.Cannova continued with a breakdown of funds between the CCC and Student Union organizations.“What I’m getting at here is how is the money getting back to the students?” Cannova said. “It seems the Student Union is doing it far more efficiently and using every dollar as well as they can.” Isner responded by saying Cannova’s statistics were misinformed and made without discussion with him or the CCC. Cannova claimed the CCC was not completely transparent with its funding information. “In terms of transparency on the CCC end, I gave a presentation last fall. I asked for any questions and I got none,” Isner said. “… The CCC has closed-door meetings because we can’t give away club financials, but I’m really trying to be as transparent as possible.” Isner continued arguing for the passing of the resolution.“Clubs are never happy with the allocation,” he said. “In a good compromise, both sides should walk away a little bit dissatisfied. In the compromise of allocations, clubs are walking away crying. … Student Union branches aren’t crying when they get their allocations.“… We are not cutting a lot of programming from the Student Union. There’s a lot of unspent money each year. … We are recovering the unspent money and moving it to clubs.” After nearly an hour of debate, the senate moved to postpone the debate and voting on the resolution to next week’s meeting. Tags: Senate, Student governmentlast_img read more

Additional COVID-19 Cases Reported Sunday

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageJAMESTOWN – Two additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Chautauqua County on Sunday.Health officials say the new cases involve a woman in her 30s and a man in his 70s.There is now a total of 74 cases with 27 active.So far, 43 have recovered, up three from Saturday. Since the outbreak began four people have died from COVID-19 in the county.last_img read more