Students joke about “Facebook stalking,” which involves searching through social network website Facebook to gain information on another person. But what happens when employers begin using these same techniques to find applicants online? This presence may be protected by privacy settings used to limit access to individual accounts, but even with just the name of a person and a little information on where that person is from, virtually anyone can be found online. Posts, photos, videos and comments posted on Facebook can cause problems for students as they begin to search for opportunities beyond the undergraduate level, associate director of the career center Kevin Monahan said. Monahan said the context of a post is not taken into account if an employer happens to check a profile. “This isn’t limited to Facebook. If you rant and rave, make homophobic, sexist, or racist remarks under the guise of sarcasm, we don’t have the luxury of reading body language or the circumstances surrounding the things we read or see something online,” he said. Companies such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young — two major recruiters of Notre Dame graduates — have Facebook pages, suggesting that while they may be there for people to “like” them on Facebook, they also navigate the online forum. Photos depicting parties, often including underage drinking, have brought about many issues. “I haven’t had trouble with it, but my employer back home said that any pictures posted of us doing illegal activities, while wearing any part of our uniform, would subject us to termination,” freshman Nicole McMillan said. Some students respond by putting their profiles on full lockdown, with as much privacy as possible. A few students even change the name that appears on their profile, which senior Nick Normandin did once he began applying for jobs. “I changed my name so it’s not recognizable. I don’t know what exactly they’re looking for, but whatever it is, I don’t want them to find it on my Facebook,” he said. Even while posts can be monitored to some extent, once something is placed online it is difficult to minimize its impact and impossible to remove, Monahan said. “Once it is out there, it’s like trying to put toothpaste back into a tube; it stays out,” Monahan said. However, Monahan said companies are not maliciously tracking down every candidate online. In fact, most aren’t. “Most employers have a policy telling their managers and human resources: do not look at these sites. There have been lawsuits about these from individuals who feel they have lost opportunities because of Facebook, Myspace or other social media sites. Those are still pending,” Monahan said. Sophomore Jacqueline Patz, whose sister worked in human resources, understands the basics of why this rule has been set at many companies. “Her company is specifically not allowed to go and look at people’s Facebooks. When you’re hiring, you’re not supposed to take into consideration things like race or gender, and if you look at Facebook, you can’t avoid seeing that in their pictures or on their wall,” Patz said. When this occurs, the main question returns: are employers justified in looking at Facebook profiles or are they overstepping certain boundaries? Two main theories have emerged on the topic. The first opinion is based on the Internet as a public forum. “I don’t think that employers overstep any boundaries in checking Facebook. It’s a public website and anything you post on there is something you should expect everyone to see,” McMillan said. Others, like Patz, find there is a clear division between a person’s professional and personal life. “I think that there’s a big difference between the two, and whenever that line starts to get blurred, that’s crossing the rights of your employees,” she said. Monahan said both sides have convincing arguments, but ultimately the Internet is a public forum that anyone can access. “There are valid arguments on both sides, but when you post things out there, even under the guise of a personal site, it’s been made public. If you don’t want these comments or pictures being read, you should not be putting that information out there. I guess the courts will decide what that privacy levels — or privacy expectations — should be, not just for companies, but for all individuals,” he said. With all of this discussion on how dangerous the Internet may be, some students rush to edit their profiles their profiles when applying for jobs. But students can take a step back and breathe again. There are ways job applicants can use the Internet to their advantage, and even combat negative social networking from their past, Monahan said. “Developing a strong, positive online presence is key. Writing a blog offering industry advice or recommendations can help. Another way is to create a website that details some work or class experiences you’ve had,” Monahan said. “By making these active, when an individual searches your name, your more positive aspects will show up first, and that’s what you want them to see.” As students forge their own career paths, students like Normandin have come to realize that growing up amidst a social networking boom is beginning to show its effects. “I think part of our generation, now that we’re mature, has grown up and is now realizing the consequences,” he said.
Cargill, a company that produces and markets food, agriculture and other products, donated $20,000 to Notre Dame’s Haiti Program, the University announced in a press release. The donation will go toward purchasing raw salt for the Haiti Program, which works to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, a disease that affects approximately one-third of the Haitian population. It is caused by parasites that cause extensive swelling in arms, legs and other body parts. Cargill’s donation is important to the Haiti Program because lymphatic filariasis can be treated with the use of table salt. “Medicated salt has been proven as the most effective secondary treatment, particularly in Haiti where diets tend to be salt-rich,” Fr. Thomas Streit, founder of the Notre Dame Haiti Program, said in the press release. The average Haitian consumes the exact amount of salt in their diet to be an effective treatment for lymphatic filariasis. This salt will come from Cargill’s solar salt facility in the Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Bromo Industrial, a Dominican Republic company and customer of Cargill, will deliver the salt to the Haiti Program. “When we talk about why our salt business exists, we say it is to nourish people and enhance lives every day,” Ruth Kimmelshure, president of Cargill Salt, said in the press release. Cargill and Notre Dame previously both worked with the Salt Institute, based in the U.S., which is the world’s foremost source of information about salt and its uses. Cargill produces salt for agricultural, food, water conditioning, industrial and packaged salt control. The Haiti Program began working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in Haiti nearly 20 years ago. The program plans to administer drugs for lymphatic filariasis across the entire nation of Haiti by 2011. This plan is still on target despite the January earthquake in Haiti. “By helping to address this problem in Haiti, Notre Dame provides hope and relief to the Haitian people while living out the Notre Dame mission to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many,” Streit said.
For nearly eight months, Jonathan Lutz, owner of The Mark restaurant in Eddy Street Commons, has lugged bags of recyclable waste from his restaurant to his home recycling unit in order to salvage as much reusable waste as possible. The restaurateur, who also owns Uptown Kitchen in Granger, said there have been no affordable recycling options in the Commons — a joint project of the University and the city that opened in 2009. To make his business somewhat eco-friendly, Lutz has recycled from home since the restaurant’s opening in August 2010. “It’s been one of my greatest frustrations,” Lutz said of the work it takes to carry the waste between work and home. Eddy Street Commons finally received two recycling receptacles on Feb. 22 to be collected once a week. Kite Realty, the developer of the facility, will increase frequency as demand dictates. The University has worked closely with Kite on developing the Commons as a student-friendly commercial area. Lori Wick, director of marketing for Kite Realty, said while the apartments at Eddy Street Commons have offered recycling options since the facility opened in August 2009, the retail and office components were not able to recycle due to space issues. “While it was always the intent to have a recycling program in place for the retail and office components at opening, the challenge of executing this initiative was not thoroughly addressed until recently,” she said. Gregory Hakanen, director of Asset Management and Real Estate Development, said the University recently became aware that the businesses in the Commons have not been recycling. Hakanen said Kite Realty has full responsibility for managing the development. The University plays no role in decisions like recycling, he said. “Having said that, the University is committed to green principles on and off campus, and we are pleased that Kite has launched its recycling program for commercial tenants at Eddy Street Commons,” he said. Wick said the company has been working for several months to implement recycling with the help of service provider Waste Management. She said Kite expects tenants to participate in the service. “Eddy Street Commons will require all tenants to recycle as part of its initiative to ‘Go Green,’” Wick said. “It’s clear that single-stream recycling is a priority and we will require all tenants to support this effort.” Wick said Kite Realty would continue to work in cooperation with the University’s vision. “Notre Dame sets a great example on a wide array of initiatives, including recycling and sustainability,” she said. “We look to these examples and standards as we continue to improve day-to-day operations at Eddy Street Commons.” Some workers in the Commons say the lack of recycling up to this point has been frustrating. Despite recycling some waste from the Mark restaurant by bringing it home, Lutz said he can never recycle 100 percent of what could be recycled. “It’s an incredible amount of work,” he said. Nan Mullaney, an employee of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore satellite store in the Commons, worked at the cash register during football season in the fall. She has seen all the cardboard boxes and plastic bags that held the Notre Dame apparel thrown away. “There’s a crusher in the back where the trash is put into every night,” she said. When she first started at the Bookstore nine months ago, recycling was one of the first issues Mullaney, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate, brought up to management. “They just said there’s no recycling because it’s expensive,” she said. The city of South Bend does not offer recycling for free. “It’s egregious, just so egregious,” Mullaney said of the recyclable waste she has seen thrown away at the Bookstore for the nine months she has worked there. Heather Christophersen, director of Sustainability at Notre Dame, said off-campus projects like Eddy Street Commons do not count toward third-party evaluations of the University, like the Sustainability Endowments Institute’s annual report card that evaluates the environmental impact of national universities. Notre Dame most recently received a B+ overall grade for sustainability efforts. “Technically [Eddy Street Commons] is not part of campus, but because Notre Dame employees are there I’d love to be able to count their recycling and waste numbers,” Christophersen said. “So that is something we need to work out.” Lutz said any push for recycling would be a positive change. “If it’s the case, it’s wonderful,” he said.
When junior Ryan Gerspach applied to college three years ago, there was no question as to what school was his first choice. “Notre Dame was my number one, two and three,” he said. Gerspach, along with many other Notre Dame students, grew up visiting the University and watching countless football games because of the many Notre Dame graduates in his family. As a result, these students often have their hearts set on Notre Dame before they even enter high school. “I woke up watching Notre Dame football every Saturday morning since I was less than a year old, and I’ve been coming here since I was six or seven,” he said. “I wanted to come here from the earliest moment I realized college was a decision you had to make sometime.” Gerspach is one of the more recent additions to a long-standing Notre Dame tradition in his family. Both of his parents, two uncles and two cousins attended at the University, and he has a cousin and a sister attending the school with him now. The junior said his familiarity with the University has greatly enhanced his Notre Dame experience. “I knew the place so well and I knew what it was about before I got here,” he said. “I guess I felt kind of in-tune with the whole campus lifestyle. I thought it was really easy to become a part of.” For freshman Jess Guvanich, her previous knowledge of the University has made the first few weeks of college a little easier for her. Both of Guvanich’s grandfathers, both of her parents, two of her uncles and one aunt all attended Notre Dame. “I grew up with it, so it was a very familiar place,” she said. “I think I know a little bit more coming here. I know a little more about the history of certain places, and I’m interested in the connections [between the University and my family], like where my parents lived.” Guvanich said her family has been very interested to learn about Notre Dame from her point of view, and to find out what has changed at the University since their time in school. “They always comment on how nice the new buildings are and how much bigger the campus is,” she said. “[LaFortune Student Center] wasn’t like this when they were here, it was just a few study halls. And my mom always says the dining hall is 10-times better now.” Even though the University has changed since Gerspach’s family attended the school as well, he said its important facets remain the same. “From what I know it seems like it still embodies the same traditions, ideals, morals and goals,” Gerspach said. “It’s just as or even more prestigious as it was when they were here.” The prestige of the University and its post-college network both heavily factored into Gerspach’s decision to attend Notre Dame, he said. Although he knew his family would be thrilled if he chose to enroll in the University, Gerspach said he did not feel forced to make that decision. “They never influenced me, not directly, and I never felt any pressure to come here,” he said. “But what better place [than Notre Dame], you know?” Guvanich had a similar experience during the college application process. “They were very happy for me to go here, but my parents did not want it to be said that they made me come here,” she said. “They encouraged me to look at other schools.”
In the wake of the Tuesday assassination of Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three of his staff members during a terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in the city of Benghazi, Americans may be wondering what this act of violence means for their presence in countries embroiled in Arab Spring. Though tragic and unexpected, the Islamist militant-driven attack “wasn’t altogether surprising,” according to political science professor Sebastian Rosato. “It was a tragic event, especially given the circumstances. This is a guy who had worked hard to help Libyans overthrow [Col. Moammar] Gadhafi and clearly cared about the Libyan people,” Rosato said. “It was surprising that it was the ambassador … but it was completely unsurprising that an American representative was targeted and, in this case, killed by someone.” According to reports, fighters involved in the Benghazi attack said it was provoked by the release of an American-made film that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, as a “villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon.” The Benghazi attack also occurred just hours after an unarmed mob stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in protest of the same video. Such actions on the part of Americans do not go without provoking potentially serious consequences, Rosato said. “In this situation, people have started riots in reaction to a filmmaker who has made a crazy film. They’re upset and protesting and targeting Americans, but why is anybody surprised?” he said. “The United States is not a country that people like in the Middle East.” The strong American presence abroad, especially in the Middle East, combined with the extreme actions of a few individuals can create tense situations, Rosato said. “If you have a presence in other countries and Americans do crazy stuff like come out with movies like this, people are going to retaliate,” he said. “You don’t expect that they’re going to target and kill the ambassador, but things are going to happen.” Rosato said the extreme response to the American-made film in Benghazi is somewhat analogous to American treatment of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, using last month’s shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple as an example. “My understanding is that [the shooting] was done by someone who mistook Sikhs for Muslims,” he said. “The parallels are quite interesting: An extreme act by a small proportion of Muslims has led to people being killed on American soil, but the same thing happened when an extreme act by an American filmmaker has led to Americans being killed abroad.” While Americans may be quick to generalize about Libyans and their attitude toward the United States in the wake of Stevens’ death, Rosato said the attack has more to do with the mentality of a very small group of people than the collective national perception of Americans. “Just as Americans would get upset if someone in another country did something that violated their beliefs, people got upset in Libya,” he said. “But just because some people in Libya killed an American doesn’t mean all Libyans want to kill Americans. Was this a small fringe group that took advantage of a mass disturbance? My guess is yes.” Despite the tragedy of losing the first U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979, Rosato said deaths of Americans abroad are not unusual. “There’s a huge human tragedy here … but there always have been and always will be attacks on American nationals abroad,” he said. “The reason we’re paying attention to this one is because [Stevens] was so high-profile, but in terms of international politics, this is not a big event.” In reality, most Americans killed in other countries do not receive the heightened media attention given to prominent figures like Stevens, Rosato said. “I think the result tends to blow the event out of proportion. Americans get killed all the time in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we call that war,” he said. “This somehow seems worse because it happened to a civilian diplomat, but it goes on all the time.”
Like many in the Notre Dame community, South Dining Hall greeter Lila Ritschard started her Easter morning with a prayer. It was the only way she felt could make a difference. The previous night, her husband John Ritschard stopped breathing on his own and was wheeled into the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. “It’s the only thing I can do,” she said. “It comforts us to start every morning with a prayer.” John Ritschard, 82, regretted missing any time at his weekday job swiping cards during dinnertime at South Dining Hall over the past five years. So much that he spent the last two months at his post shaking hands, handing out candy bars and telling jokes to students while a severe case of pneumonia and a bacterial infection built up in his lungs. Doctors told Lila most people at his age have a 25 percent survival rate, but all John wanted to do was return to South Dining Hall. “He told me, ‘You just tell [the students] I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.’ And I [told] him that he won’t,” Lila said. “But he said, ‘I’ve got to get back to see my kids.’ … They’re his life. He really loves being out here and he misses it.” Lila said her husband’s health began to wane in January, when he came down with the flu. He started experiencing back pain, which they wrote off as a pulled muscle. Still, his lingering flu gradually turned into pneumonia and the couple discovered the persistent back pain turned out to be the result of a lung infection. On March 21, Lila said she noticed a slight change in her husband’s demeanor, which prompted her to request a day off of work for John. “He wasn’t happy with me about that but he didn’t have a choice,” she said. That afternoon, she said John collapsed in the couple’s Mishawaka home. “I wouldn’t have been there a half hour later, but thank God I was there,” Lila said. “So I called the ambulance and they got him stabilized and took him to the emergency room. They did a CAT scan and his whole chest cavity was full of fluid. … [They found out] the bacteria encased the lung and it was hard for him to breath. So they had to go in and scrap the lung. They peeled it like an orange.” In the following weeks, John’s health became even more complicated, Lila said. Doctors drained over six liters of fluid from his lungs and chest cavity and diagnosed him with congestive heart failure, which led to kidney failure. Meanwhile, his blood-thinning medication eventually led to hemorrhaging. Yet when her husband came out of surgery, Lila said she noticed the same John she had known in 13 years of marriage. “They were trying to settle him down in the ICU. They try to roll him over and he is telling them riddles. That tells me he’s okay,” she said. ” He keeps them in stitches up there [at the hospital]. He seems to be the hit of most of the nurses who take care of him.” John began walking on his own Wednesday and is expected to start rehabilitation by the end of next week. Lila said she hopes her husband will be home to celebrate their 14th anniversary on April 17. “[The doctors] are all amazed at how he has recovered so quickly,” Lila said. “He has been in the hospital only three times in his life, all before he turned 70. This was a lot. It did scare him though.” Despite the scare, Lila said the students he cares about at the University continue to one of her husband’s greatest concerns during his hospital stay. “He always asks, ‘Did you see so-and-so? Are they okay? Nobody’s telling them jokes,’” she said. “Even as sick as he’s been, he’s been very concerned with getting back there.” Lila spent 14-hour days at the hospital in the first week of John’s stay, but returned to South Dining Hall last week at his request when his condition began to improve. “He’s got a couple more weeks to go at least,” she said. “He’ll be [at the hospital] the rest of this week and probably into next week. If anybody wants to go see him or send anything to him they are more than welcome to. He’s in Room 5510 on the fifth floor. “He would be so appreciative. It would cheer him up so much.” If John continues to improve, Lila said she would schedule him to return to South Dining Hall for the last week of school. “Oh yeah, he always looks forward to it every day,” she said. “He always enjoyed being around young people. He just relates to them. He’s always got a great sense of humor and never gets upset or angry or anything. He would probably do it even if he wasn’t paid. He just enjoys it so much.” To the Ritschards, the support on campus “means the whole world,” as a few students have already visited John during the hospital’s daytime hours. But what does one give the man in Room 5510 who gives so much and asks for nothing but a smile in return? “We don’t do it for [money],” Lila said. “We do it because of the blessings. Students are a blessing and we love them. We have been extremely grateful for all the prayers. We always keep all of the students here in our prayers and we’re so thankful for theirs.”
Tags: Basil Moreau, Campus Ministry, Coleman-Morse Center, Fr. Pete McCormick, Moreau Day The Notre Dame community will celebrate Moreau Day today. Moreau Day marks the Feast Day of Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, who died Jan. 20th, 1873.Keri O’Mara | The Observer Campus Ministry and Le Cercle Français, Notre Dame’s French culture club, have worked in tandem to organize events to celebrate the Feast Day. Campus Ministry has organized a “selfie competition” for students throughout Moreau Day. Students will compete to win $100 in Domer Dollars by taking as many selfies with Holy Cross religious as they can and sending them to @ndministry on Twitter and Instagram.Fr. Peter McCormick, director of Campus Ministry, said he hopes the Moreau Day activities will have a noticeable impact to campus.“I think it’s an opportunity for us to be reminded of what our heritage is and who we are,” McCormick said. “When I think about any great institution, one wants to know what its origins were and how it is that we continue to live its that vision to this day.”McCormick compared the significance of Moreau Day’s at Notre Dame to Independence Day’s in the United States.“It’s an opportunity for us to shine light on key figures in the history of Notre Dame and also the Congregation of the Holy Cross,” McCormick said. “We remember figures such as Fr. [Edward] Sorin, Blessed Basil Moreau, and so many others who actively worked to build up this University to what it is today.”Campus Ministry has also organized a celebration of Mass at 5:15 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to honor Moreau and bless members of the Notre Dame community traveling Wednesday to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., which begins Thursday.Le Cercle Français coordinated with junior Kaitlyn Krall, who works with Campus Ministry, to serve crêpes from 8 to 9 p.m. in the Coleman-Morse Center according to Paulina Luna, treasurer of the French Club. Luna said the club will be serving “homemade crêpes with very traditional fillings.”“We are known for our great cooking and flipping skills, displayed when we host ‘Study Crêpes,’ so we were delighted to have been invited to share our skills as we celebrate Moreau Day with the ND community,” Luna said. “Campus Ministry also very generously offered our club new crêpe pans.”Luna explained the French Club’s involvement in Moreau Day, citing Basil Moreau’s important role in French history.“Fr. Moreau, alongside the other priests, worked hard to educate many in faith, even when the Church was under attack during the French Revolution,” Luna said. “In the present day, France is losing touch with its Catholic roots, but I think Fr. Moreau’s work is an inspiration to continue to grow spiritually.”
Saint Mary’s initiated a new social media campaign this semester by implementing two new Instagram hashtags, #BellesOfSaintMarys and #SMCseniormoments. Junior communications major Kate FitzMaurice, who is a new Saint Mary’s media relations intern for Director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien, thought of the hastag #BellesOfSaintMarys in order to get students involved with the College on social media.O’Brien said she initiated the campaign due to the past success of another Instagram tag, #SMCsummerlearn. “Social media is one way … to give other students, prospective students and parents an opportunity to have a glimpse of what goes on here and what the student experience is,” O’Brien said.FitzMaurice said her idea was inspired by the popular blog, “Humans of New York.” “I was thinking about how much I love that blog and thought, ‘Why don’t we do something here?’” FitzMaurice said. “Humans of New York” is a blog started by photographer Brandon Stanton, according to its Facebook page. Stanton goes around New York to interview people on the street and features these peoples’ stories on his blog. “He finds and brings out interesting things about them,” FitzMaurice said.She thought a similar idea would be a fun way to bring the Saint Mary’s campus to life on social media, FitzMaurice said. “I thought there are a lot of faces that you see and recognize on campus, but you don’t really know anything about them,” FitzMaurice said.O’Brien said she quickly approved of FitzMaurice’s idea.“I wouldn’t have come up, honestly, with the ‘Humans of New York’ idea on my own,” O’Brien said. “I need the younger perspective — it’s very valuable.”FitzMaurice said she hopes the campaign promotes a sense of community for students. “I hope that #BellesOfSaintMarys further promotes the sense of community we have here at Saint Mary’s,” FitzMaurice said. “It gives us a chance to celebrate and be supportive of each other’s unique talents and ideas.”Senior Melissa Fitzpatrick, who is also a media relations intern under O’Brien, came up with the hashtag #SMCseniormoments exclusively for Saint Mary’s seniors.“It’s their bucket list of things they want to do before they graduate, or their feelings and thoughts about Saint Mary’s, or what Saint Mary’s means to them,” FitzMaurice said. Fitzpatrick said her idea was inspired by her feelings about her final semester at Saint Mary’s. “There are so many emotions — excitement, fear, relief, accomplishment — overall, it’s bittersweet,” Fitzpatrick said. “I want this social media campaign to give the senior class a chance to slow it down, recognize our accomplishments, laugh a little and, most importantly, remember our final moments at Saint Mary’s.”Both campaigns were made for the students, O’Brien said. “The students have this energy that is truly what Saint Mary’s is,” O’Brien said. “It’s confident, it’s fun, it’s fresh. It really can be anything they want to be. “Who knows what we’ll find out as students start sharing their stories.” Both interns said they have enjoyed interacting with the Saint Mary’s student body on social media. “Honestly, it’s just so fun getting to know people,” FitzMaurice said. “I’ve loved interviewing people and I hope that I can bring that excitement to all of Saint Mary’s through the social media campaign.”Tags: #BellesOfSaintMarys, #SMCseniormoments, Gwen O’Brien, Saint Mary’s College, SMC, SMC media relations
According to Saint Mary’s student body president Emma McCarthy, the College’s Student Government Association (SGA) spent the summer brainstorming ways to foster open communication among members of the campus community.McCarthy’s administration is striving to create a comfortable campus environment where all opinions are valued, she said. “My number one goal for the year is to engage the student body in what is going on around campus,” McCarthy said. “We want students to feel connected and like their needs are being fulfilled. There are always things going on campus, and we want to make sure that the student body is aware of these events, and if they feel that there is an area that needs attention, we address those needs.” McCarthy said she wants to advocate for students and voice their concerns.“I want to be available to receive the students body’s input and establish myself as someone who students feel comfortable talking to,” McCarthy said. “Everyone deserves to feel that [her] needs and interests are being met and filled, and I am here to make sure that happens.” Student body vice president Mary Joy Dingler said she and McCarthy will organize events called Monthly Mingles, where attendees will engage in dialogue about issues on campus.“Monthly Mingles will be a way for students to voice their concerns and beliefs in a supportive environment,” Dingler said. “All students need to actively participate in events and Monthly Mingles in order to nurture a welcoming and non-judgmental community on campus.” SGA committee chairs will continue to dedicate certain weeks of the school year to raising awareness about relevant topics or issues, Dingler said. “Each of these ‘Big Weeks’ gives students a chance to come together as a group, to support each other and to learn something new,” Dingler said. “Heritage Week is great because students can learn more about the history of Saint Mary’s, while Love Your Body Week is an amazing opportunity for girls to support each other and embrace themselves exactly as they are.” According to Dingler, all activities SGA hosts this year are aiming to encourage students to discover new viewpoints and grow closer to one another. “I hope the events our committee chairs plan engage the student body and encourage students to come together as one,” Dingler said. “Saint Mary’s is a wonderful place that fosters friendships and community, and I want to see that community strengthened this year.” SGA will cater its activities to the interests of students, according to McCarthy.“Fostering unity comes in a variety for different forms,” McCarthy said. “Most important is planning campus events that engage the entire student body, not just target groups. We want everyone to feel that there is something going on on campus that sparks [her] interest and will engage [her].” Prioritizing open communication will change Saint Mary’s for the better, according to McCarthy. “The biggest thing I hope to do by the end of my presidency is to leave Saint Mary’s in a better place than when I started,” McCarthy said. “I want all students to know that no matter what their interests may be, there is a place for them at Saint Mary’s, and they have the ability to write their own Saint Mary’s story.” McCathy hopes students feel comfortable approaching her or Dingler with any questions or concerns they may have, for she believes open communication and transparency will achieve a tight-knit campus community, she said. “Working on fostering a welcoming and non-judgmental environment will not happen overnight, and it cannot happen with just a few students working toward this goal,” McCarthy said. “It needs to be an environmental change that we will all work together as a campus community to achieve.” Tags: Belles Beginnings, Freshman Orientation 2016, Jan Cervelli, Saint Mary’s College
On Monday night, students were welcomed back to campus with a typical South Bend chill and a slight drizzle. However, a temporary source of light and warmth on God Quad sliced through that dreary weather: candles with “Walk the Walk Week” labels on them that sat in front of Main Building.The Main Building Rotunda was packed with students and faculty holding candles and celebrating a message of equality during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commemoration. After the celebration, the candles were left by the statue of Jesus in front of Main Building.Michael Yu | The Observer Speakers for the event included University President Fr. John Jenkins, director of campus ministry Fr. Pete McCormick and associate provost for undergraduate studies Hugh Page; music was provided by Voices of Faith.Jenkins opened the event with a tribute to King’s character.“He was someone who could point out bigotry and injustice, yet do so in a way that calls us to a deeper unity,” Jenkins said. “He was someone who was truthful about the struggles we face, yet did so in a way that inspires hope. He was someone who could confront hatred but [did] not hate.” Jenkins led a prayer that emphasized the need for determination and unity in sorrow, joy and pain to continue to fight against inequality.“May our celebration tonight in the weeks ahead propel us, may it motivate us, may it energize us, may it unite us in the commitment to respect,” Jenkins said.Page reflected on the relationship between the biblical Amos and King. He cited the famous phrase, “Let justice roll down like waters” from King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and its original conception in the Book of Amos.“Amos serves as kind of textbook for those elected to serve as agents of resistance,” Page said. “We should not be surprised therefore by the frequent reference of Amos of the various writings of Martin Luther King Jr.”Page said King often found himself in conflict with establishment forces in the political and religious spheres. He said many people do not realize that he was at times in odds with some of his church colleagues that felt he was moving too aggressively with the campaign of civil rights. Page said this should encourage people to “give up their mythical notions of when and how to act in the fact of injustice.”“So does Dr. King encourage us here and now to strive to a commonwealth where character is the … true measure of success,” Page said. “He reminds us in no uncertain terms … that the time is always right now to do right.” Page said each individual is a prophetic presence in the place they live, work and worship. He encouraged those who attended the event to take inspiration from both Amos and King.“May we work tirelessly without ceasing as members of the ND family, to promote freedom and justice not for few, but for everyone everywhere,” Page said.