Community remembers fifth-year student

first_imgXavier Murphy, a fifth-year student and former resident of Zahm Hall, died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer. He was 22. Zahm Rector Corry Colonna said he and Murphy both joined Zahm in 2007 and got to know each other well during Murphy’s four years in the dorm. “He had an amazing energy about him, always so positive. He greeted everyone with a big smile,” Colonna said. “He was soft-spoken but confident and always respectful.  He had a sensitivity about him that attracted others to him.” Murphy was diagnosed with leukemia exactly one month before he died. He developed pneumonia over the weekend. Murphy, who is from Anderson, Ind., graduated with a degree in political science with the class of 2011, but was on campus this semester to finish one class and intern with the football team. “It is so very hard to imagine that energetic person is now passed,” Colonna said. “As a person of such energy, of good faith, and kindness will be how we remember him.” Murphy’s mother, Marcia Murphy, said her son was a quiet, private person, but the time since his diagnosis allowed her to see a different side of him. “He did begin to open up more and share and tell us things like he never would,” she said. “That very first day, I’ll never forget how he said, ‘I’m just so scared.’ That was so un-Xavier to open up that way.” But throughout his battle with cancer, his mother said Murphy rarely complained. Instead, during one of his most painful days, Marcia said Murphy comforted her when she cried. “It’s really weird because he got this big smile, and he did have a beautiful smile, and said, ‘Why are you crying, mom?’” Marcia said. “And I said, ‘Because it is so hard to watch you suffer.’ He took my head in his hands and said, ‘It’s okay, I’m going to be okay.’ “He didn’t fight it. He wasn’t afraid. He comforted me in his suffering.” Murphy’s father, David, also remembers Murphy’s ability to comfort those around him. “He was a gentleman in the sense that he didn’t want people around him to feel badly about themselves [or] to feel sad,” David said. “He was a lovely guy who is going to leave such a huge impact on all of us.” His parents also said Murphy embraced God during his last few weeks, and asked for confession before he died. David said Murphy loved Notre Dame and his time living in Zahm. “He loved the family he found at Notre Dame,” David said. “He loved Zahm. He loved that place and those boys were his brothers … They have been so loving and supportive, and it has meant a lot to our family.” Murphy’s younger brother, Julian, also attends the University. Zahm celebrated a Mass in honor of Murphy on Tuesday in the dorm’s chapel, followed by a walk to the Grotto. Over 150 students processed into the Grotto with candles, and many members of the crowd raised their arms in an “X” above their heads to honor Murphy. Murphy served as one of the three senior football managers last year and was interning with the football team this year. Head Football Equipment Manager Ryan Grooms called Murphy trustworthy and loyal. “Immediately, he’s one of those kids you kind of fall in love with,” he said. “He had one of those attitudes and personalities that just kind of lights up the rooms and brings happiness to everybody around you.” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in a statement Murphy will be missed by the Notre Dame community. “Our prayers and condolences go out to Xavier’s family and friends,” Jenkins said. “By all accounts he was an exceptional and greatly loved young man who will be deeply missed.” Prior to Murphy’s passing, Zahm had planned events to support Murphy and raise awareness for cancer patients. Colonna said he hopes to continue with the events. He said Zahm hopes to hold a “Raise an X for X” campaign during the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game Oct. 29, which would have been Murphy’s 23rd birthday. However, Colonna said he wants to get permission from the Murphy family before moving forward with the event. The campaign would ask the student body to stand and make an “X” with their arms over their heads, mimicking the symbol residents of Zahm traditionally make during the Celtic chant. “X isn’t just for Xavier, it is for us, but it can be a variable for anyone who is fighting cancer,” Colonna said. Zahm would also sell red T-shirts and bandanas to raise money and awareness for those battling cancer. As part of his leukemia treatment, Murphy needed to receive frequent blood transfusions. Colonna said Zahm will hold a blood drive Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. A funeral Mass will be celebrated for Murphy on Saturday at 11 a.m. The location is not set yet, but will be in one of two churches near Murphy’s hometown. Douglas Farmer and Megan Doyle contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Students abroad in Rome celebrate new pope

first_imgThe eyes of the world turned to the Vatican to watch the white smoke billow out from the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday, but Notre Dame students studying abroad in Europe were able to stand in St. Peter’s square below and witness the announcement of the new pope firsthand. A report from the Associated Press said the smoke signal came around 8 p.m. local time or 2 p.m. EST. Approximately an hour later, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, stepped onto the balcony above the crowd and greeted them as the new pope, adopting the name Francis.  Junior Megan Leicht, an architecture student abroad in Rome, said she and her classmates immediately ran to St. Peter’s square upon hearing about the white smoke, joining the tens of thousands of people gathered there. “We all sprinted down the street, dodging people and umbrellas and honking cars and speeding vespas… while trying not to slip on the cobblestone streets and travertine curbs,” Leicht said. “We finally made it and snuck our way as close to the front as possible, just like everyone else. “The suspense continued as we waited for an hour to see the window open for the mystery cardinal. When he finally came out, everyone was so happy to see him we all began clapping and cheering at the first words of his speech.” Another architecture student in Rome, junior Patrick Riordon, also sprinted more than two kilometers from his classroom to the square at the news of the white smoke. “I threw all shame to the wind, grabbed my camera and ran down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which leads almost straight from our building to the Vatican,” Riordon said. “I grabbed my rosary out of my pocket and started to pray, but the excitement of the crowd and my friends around me got to be too much. We were speculating about who would be chosen and what name he would take.” Riordon said he was surrounded by flags of all nations and people representing every race, and the entire square was ringing with cheers and chants in all languages. The news was not understood immediately because of the noise and chaos, he said, but once the message was translated and received by all, cheers went up for “Francisco Primo.” “When he finally came out on to the balcony, the look on his face was grave, obviously trying to take in everything that was happening,” Riordon said. “His words were confident and the focus of everything he said was prayer. “The entire congregation joined him in praying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be in Italian, and he closed by saying ‘good night and rest well,’” he said. “I think his humility and austere lifestyle are good indicators that he will be an exemplary leader and inspire the world.” Molly Carmona, another junior architecture major, said the evening was “an amazing experience that is irreplaceable.” “No other event in the world would have the driving force to gather hundreds of thousands of people from all different locations and cultures together in one square in a matter of 30 minutes,” Carmona said. “I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to witness history being made in the Catholic Church.” Junior Kelsie Corriston, a participant in the Rome program, made two trips to the Vatican on Wednesday, one to see the black smoke after the morning vote and another for the celebratory moment in the evening. She said there was a “sense of impending history” in the square, and the opportunity to witness it with fellow members of the Notre Dame community was “amazing.” “We cracked open some champagne we had brought for the occasion, toasted to the new pope’s health and waited for the announcement about the identity of the new pope,” Corriston said. “It was pouring rain, cold and pure chaos, but we had an amazing time … we waited and waited, just taking in the amazing, glorious scene. “We broke out our ‘Conclave Like a Champion Today’ banner, [and] the best part was waiting for the announcement, because curtains kept moving on the second floor of St. Peter’s. … [Finally], the crowd erupted into cheers of ‘Francesco, Viva Francesco.” Maria Kosse, a junior in Notre Dame’s London program, made the trip from England to witness the conclave in action. She said “the entire square erupted” at the unexpected sight of white smoke.      “We got to St. Peter’s square around 5 p.m., and stood in the pouring rain for two hours until we saw the smoke,” Kosse said. “Everyone was hugging and cheering ‘Viva Il Papa’… The electricity in the crowd was tangible. “When he came onto the balcony my entire body had chills, and when he addressed the crowd it was silent, all of the thousands of people in unity praying with him. And then the rain stopped right when he came out.” Bergoglio is the first non-European pope elected in the modern era, and junior Nathalia Conte Silvestre, a native of Sao Paolo, Brazil, who is studying in Bologna, Italy, said she believes the historic selection represents “a new phase” in Church history. “I’m really happy to see the Catholic Church branching out and picking someone from a part of the world that is so faithful and that adds so much to the Church,” Silvestre said. “Personally, I’m not Catholic, but his benediction, and especially his humble request for prayers before he himself could offer his blessing, makes me very glad to see the Catholic Church is in great hands.” Junior Claire Spears, abroad this semester through the Rome program, said the moment when Bergoglio stepped out from behind the curtain in the Vatican was “indescribable.” “Being in Rome [during the] conclave, seeing the white smoke and receiving Pope Francis’ first benediction are experiences that can’t be paralleled,” Spears said. “I will remember this night for the rest of my life as one of the best things I’ve been a part of. As a Catholic, this is something that I cannot forget.”last_img read more

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Professor reflects on Chavez’s death

first_imgThe death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday leaves a number of questions for the South American nation, which now adds a presidential election to the list of complex challenges it already faces. Professor Michael Coppedge, a political science professor specializing in Latin-American politics and global democratization, said the future of the regime – at least in the short term – will be determined by Interim President and Chavez’s chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro. “A lot of it depends on what Maduro will do now that he’s not in Chavez’s shadow, because he’s been very loyal to Chavez and has hidden his own tendencies to demonstrate absolute loyalty,” Coppedge said. “Now that he doesn’t have to do that, we’ll see what kind of person he is. I expect he’s not a liberal democrat, but whether he’ll be more open [to opposition] … remains to be seen.” Coppedge said Maduro’s initial statements after the president’s death suggest he intends to keep a short leash on opposition, at least in the weeks leading up to the election. “There was a subtext that the opposition better behave itself, that this is not a time to cheer or call for radical change, it’s a time to remember our fallen leader,” Coppedge said. “I think there’s a fear the opposition will try to capitalize on the moment.” The Venezuelan government announced an election will be called within 30 days, and Coppedge said he believes Maduro, the candidate for Chavez’s socialist party, will likely be the winner. “If I were to place a bet right now, I’d say Maduro will probably win, in part with the election coming so close after the death, he’ll get the vote,” Coppedge said. “A lot of Chavistas are out to prove their movement will not fall apart. … I think they’ll be motivated to campaign hard and win.” While Maduro is the likely victor, Coppedge believes the opposition could have a substantial presence in the election. “There are a lot of things for people to be unhappy about, and without Chavez to hold his group together, some of these complaints may lead to divisions,” he said. “Purchasing power has been declining, public services have been declining. … People are not happy with the extremely high crime rate.” Although the opposition stands to benefit from economic conditions, its most prominent leader does not appear to be mounting a power grab. “The opposition will probably be behind Henrique Capriles Radonski, but he has exercised some calming leadership,” Coppedge said. “He hasn’t been a polarizing leader and after Chavez’s death he expressed solidarity with Chavez’s family.” While much is uncertain for the political future of Venezuela, Coppedge said the change in leadership could present new opportunities for the country’s relationship with the United States, which was strained under the Chavez regime. “The Obama administration can act as though this can be a new opportunity to do things differently,” he said. “Obama’s statement was expressing hope for better democracy and stability in Venezuela, so I think the [United States] is going to be happy to talk and send out feelers to see whether relations can be better.” The supply of oil from Venezuela to the United States is unlikely to be disrupted during the transition, Coppedge said. “Venezuela is not in a good economic situation,” he said. “It can’t afford to stop selling oil to the [United States]. It makes economic sense to sell to us because we’re so close and have established relationships.” If Maduro wins the election, Coppedge said he is doubtful relations will improve. “I think it depends on whether Maduro, or whoever the president [will be], is going to use the same tactics as Chavez, which is to demonize the [United States] to build support at home,” he said. “I think Maduro is cut from that mold.”last_img read more

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Digital Week lecture examines ethical use of robots

first_imgAt a lecture last night, philosophy professor Don Howard was introduced by a robot.To kick off Notre Dame’s second annual digital week, Howard delivered a lecture discussing the ethical issues regarding the widespread implementation of robots. After a screen attached to a mobile stand projected the face of a man named Elliot who introduced Howard, the professor said something which quickly proved difficult to refute.“There is a revolution underway that is going to transform our world more rapidly and more radically than even the Internet and information revolution did. This is the robotics revolution,” Howard said.This will be even more widespread than the industrial revolution, he said. Both individuals with jobs in the service industry and those requiring higher education are being threatened by mechanization. Howard said this could lead to the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of people.“Already we’re seeing the almost total displacement of human drivers by wholly automated transport,” he said. “Personally, I think this is the single biggest ethical problem facing us today in connection with robotics.”With this advent of widespread robots and their increased capability, Howard stressed caution is of the utmost importance when implementing these machines.“In the past, we have made some really huge mistakes with technology,” Howard said. “We failed to anticipate what the downstream, long-term consequences of a carbon fueled economy were going to be, and now we pay the price for that failure.”However, Howard said the ethical implications of this sort of replacement are not all negative.“Driver error is the ultimate cause behind most fatal accidents,” Howard said. “In theory, we could save 30,000 lives in the U.S. alone and 1.2 million lives globally every year if we replaced human drivers with self-driving cars.”This benefit is impossible to discount, Howard said. Another similar, near future use for robots could include using teleprompters like the one used to introduce Howard earlier to actively engage bedridden students in the classroom, he said. Howard said he expected schools and universities like Notre Dame to begin implementing similar systems soon.“What is a robot?” he asked. “Not all robots have humanoid features. … We cannot let uncertainty about the consequences of new technologies simply stifle technological development because, as we all know, there are many examples of new technologies which are, for the most part, for the good of human kind.”Howard urged those attending the lecture to rethink what they consider to be robots. By doing so, their greater capacity for good might be revealed. Rather than create robots and then discuss their ethical implications, Howard said the two processes should be intertwined.“I think that we need to build a world in which engagement with ethics is an everyday part of the world,” he said.Howard also said it is ultimately humans who determine the ethical implementation of robots. Nobody else is going to ensure this is done fairly.“Why are most humanistic robots white or Asian?” asked Howard. “And why do so many of those robots have attractive female features? Have you ever seen an African-American robot?”According to Howard, humans need to carefully watch themselves to ensure this robotic revolution happens in an ethical manner. It is not the machines which we need to fear. Any concerns regarding an emotionally complex or sentient robot should be distant thoughts, Howard said.“Whatever you do, don’t turn to Hollywood for advice,” he said. “There is no robot apocalypse in the offing.”Tags: Digital Week, ethics, robotslast_img read more

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SMC seniors host Dad’s Weekend

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Katie Morrissette Saint Mary’s senior class invited their fathers to a variety of events at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame this past weekend for the annual Senior Dad’s Weekend.Class president CoCo Craig said the tradition of inviting fathers to campus has been part of the Saint Mary’s experience for decades.Craig said she spoke with a professor and alumna of Saint Mary’s who said when she went to Saint Mary’s, dads would come to spend the weekend with their daughters.“There’s always been an event for at least 50 years where dads would come to bond with their daughters,” she said.More than 425 people were registered for the weekend, Craig said, which was about 50 more people than expected. Craig said the weekend started with registration and a welcome reception with snacks and beverages. She said that different vendors from the area had stands at the reception and a percentage of everything the vendors sold went to the class. Saturday started with a tour of Notre Dame Stadium, which included the north tunnel entrance, the locker room and the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign, Craig said. Afterwards, students and their fathers were free to spend the rest of the day on their own, an opportunity which most people took to dine at South Bend restaurants and watch the Notre Dame football game. The Saturday night dinner was held at the Century Center in downtown South Bend, Craig said.“President [Carol Ann] Mooney spoke at the dinner,” Craig said. “We also had a silent auction during the dinner. … It can range from sports game tickets to any kind of goodie basket.”Craig said the weekend is a chance for students to spend time with their fathers while at school. “[Students] have personal time that they wouldn’t normally have at school to hang out with your dad,” Craig said. “They also get to meet everyone else’s family and their fathers. It’s a really fun experience that usually people don’t get to do while at school.” Craig said it is important to have Dad’s Weekend as part of senior year at the College.“At that point, you can show your dad all of the activities you do on the weekends and all of the fun places you like to go,” Craig said. “At the same time, you have your friend group. You know your friends and by that time, you can bond with everyone. All the dads can bond together and all the daughters can bond together. Basically, everyone can have quality time together.”Tags: Class of 2016, saint mary’s, senior dadslast_img read more

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Course organizes prayer service in honor of DACA recipients

first_imgRosie LoVoi | The Observer Becky Ruvalcaba, assistant director of multicultural ministry in Campus Ministry, speaks in the Geddes Hall chapel on Monday at a prayer service honoring DACA recipients. A course known as “Advocacy for the Common Good” organized and hosted the service.Members of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross College community gathered in the Geddes Hall chapel on Monday for a prayer service in honor of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.Hosted by members of the “Advocacy for the Common Good” — a one credit course that aims to inform students of advocacy tools and mechanisms — the prayer vigil featured two speakers, Juan Constantino, development director of program staffing at La Casa de Amistad, and Becky Ruvalcaba, assistant director of multicultural ministry in Campus Ministry. The course, offered by the Center for Social Concerns, is taught by Michael Hebbeler, the Director for Discernment and Advocacy at the Center for Social Concerns, focuses on the building of a DREAM Act campaign as a focal point for the class to rally behind. The timeline of the class’s advocacy strategy was altered with the announcement that the congressional vote was moved up from March 8 to Thursday.Freshman Grace Stephenson, chair of the event team, said the class chose a prayer vigil as its platform of advocacy because it embodies the Catholic identity of the University.“This is not a protest but a chance for the community to come together in solidarity for the 40 plus DACA students on the three campuses,” Stephenson said.Jackie Navarro, a junior at Holy Cross College and member of the event planning team, said this issue is a big part of the campus identity.“We can’t just be Catholic by name,” Navarro said.Following an opening prayer, Ruvalcaba spoke on the definition of an eligible DACA candidate. She provided the government definition and then incorporated scripture.“There’s a moral and spiritual commitment we all have a role to play,” she said. “Regulation and security are necessary, but Catholic social teaching dictates that all initiatives be oriented for the common good.”Costantino followed with his own testimony as an recipient of DACA. He told stories of growing up in South Bend with the constant fear of deportation and the opportunities Holy Cross provided him with scholarships. “Like many other DACA recipients, I’m the member of a mixed family with undocumented, DACA registered and citizen members.” The prayer service concluded with a prayer to St. Frances Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants. Stephenson said one of the biggest obstacle with the nature of advocacy is increasing participation when not everyone has a personal stake in the issue.Junior and member of the event team, Rathin Kacham, said he is a DACA recipient himself, having immigrated from India. He said he credits the support he’s received on campus with having encouraged him to become more public about his status as a DACA recipient.“We all probably have friends who are on DACA and don’t want anyone to know,” Kacham said. “There’s a fear that comes with that status, but it also can be liberated.” Tags: Center for Social Concerns, DACA, Dream Act, Geddes Hall, La Casa de Amistadlast_img read more

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Corcoran, Ogden reflect on accomplishments thus far while looking toward next semester

first_imgCorcoran and Ogden are moving forward with many of the key aspects of their platform. Though the pair is working hard on their initiatives, they could benefit from better communication with the student body as a whole. Much of their progress is not known by a majority of the student body, and they would benefit from better publicity.Grade: A-Tags: 2018 Student Government Insider, Corcoran-Ogden, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association Seniors Madeleine Corcoran and Kathy Ogden, president and vice president of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA), said they were prepared for many things during their time as leaders — except former College President Jan Cervelli’s resignation. Regardless of this occurrence, Corcoran said the transition from Cervelli to Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil was smooth and an opportunity for Corcoran and Ogden to work well with the administration. “I think overall, this transition was much smoother than anyone probably would have expected. We had such great support, especially from [vice president of student affairs] Karen Johnson, [vice president for mission] Judy Fean, [Interim] President Nekvasil, of course, and [chair of the board of trustees] Mary Burke,” Corcoran said. “ … That’s why we had the All-Student Assembly, so we could have as open and honest of a conversation as possible for students. We’re obviously here to answer any questions, but we know just as much as everyone else, so it was good, I think, for everyone to hear from those people who are the new leaders of the College.”Nekvasil has been willing to work with the pair in achieving their goals this semester, Corcoran said.“We love President Nekvasil. She’s been so helpful in working with us, and she’s really here for the students, which I think is something super special and important in a president,” Corcoran said. “She knows Saint Mary’s so well, so we’ve been really fortunate to have that because [Cervelli’s resignation] was definitely unexpected and could have had a lot of hard road blocks along the way, but we’ve been really fortunate.”Corcoran said she and Ogden have been able to work toward accomplishing many of the points on their platform, specifically getting Blinkie, the student shuttle, running on Sundays and enhancing a few technological aspects on campus.“We’ve been working very hard to get a couple things done. One is printing from your own device. … That hopefully will be implemented very soon,” she said. “They worked very hard on it over fall break when students were gone. Also, we’re working on a ‘This Week at SMC’ newsletter that will be like a weekly email with all the events instead of so many all-SMC emails.”Ogden said another initiative from the team’s platform is to enhance Campus Ministry events. To this end, the team began “Lemonade and Le Mans” Mass on Wednesday evenings.“On Wednesdays at the 9 p.m. Mass in Le Mans, they have popcorn and lemonade,” Ogden said. “I talked to Tara Nelson, who is an [executive] for mission, and she said that normally they had maybe eight girls at Mass, but the attendance has gotten up to 25, 30 girls at Mass. They hang around and they eat popcorn and drink lemonade. [Corcoran] and I have been able to go to quite a few of those Masses, and it worked out well.”Another major part of the job has been addressing day-to-day issues, Ogden said.“Things pop up, and you don’t realize you need to work on it, so we did,” she said. “Having graduation — there was an initiative to move it inside of Angela, so we really fought hard for the students, and it’s now officially outside of Le Mans, weather permitting.”The pair also recognized a need to enhance the collaborative spaces available on campus, Ogden said, such as the SGA office located on the second floor of the Student Center.“We’re redoing the SGA office. [Corcoran] and I saw that it was a well-used office,” she said. “All the clubs and organizations are welcome to use it, and they each have closets. That’s taken a good amount of time, and hopefully after Christmas break, it’ll be completely finished. It’ll be nice for all the students to use.”Another way the team hoped to enhance collaboration and communication between the leaders of SGA’s Big Boards — Residence Hall Association, Student Diversity Board, Student Activities Board, Class Council and Student Government Association — was to switch from weekly to biweekly meetings, Ogden said.“[The meetings] are biweekly, but we’re able to sit down and have a longer meeting where it’s very much discussion-based,” she said. “We’re all more engaged. It’s not just a tap in, quick meeting, so we’re all really engaged in what each Big Board is doing. It’s conversation-based, and I think that’s really helped with collaborating with all the clubs and organizations.”Though many of the pair’s initiatives focus on the Saint Mary’s community specifically, Corcoran said they are working on a major event to unite the members of the surrounding community.“There’s already a ‘Back the Bend’ event that Saint Mary’s is already a part of, but Student Government is hoping to promote it more and be a greater part of it this year,” Corcoran said. “That’s in the spring, so our community co-chairs will be working on that more specifically to hopefully build, first of all, community within the tri-campus community, but as well as South Bend in general, our greater community.”Corcoran and Ogden have been continuing work on past initiatives, Corcoran said, like expanding the uses of Munch Money.“We talked to Karen Johnson about it very early on this year as well as Ken Acosta. They’re very much supportive of it,” she said. “They said for this year it’d be hard, but they see the need, and they’re working on seeing what options are the best for Saint Mary’s students and the most feasible. I definitely think we’ll work on it more. At first we thought it’d be a two or three-year timeline for the project, but we think even next year it might be a possibility, so that’s great.”Throughout the semester of work, both Corcoran and Ogden said they could not have achieved what they have without one another and the other board members.“[Ogden] and I definitely lean on each other at times, too,” Corcoran said. “If one of us has a tough week, I think we’re pretty good about being able to say, ‘Can you go to this meeting this week?’ or ‘Can you send the emails?’ or something like that. I definitely couldn’t do it without [Ogden] and our entire student government board. Everyone is so great at doing their jobs, so we don’t have to be sending reminders constantly or anything like that, which is really important.”As the two continue working toward the end of their positions, Corcoran said she’s hoping for a smooth transition to the next pair of SGA leaders.“I think something that’s really important is that transition to whoever’s in our position next year, so that we can really clearly explain exactly what we have done so far and where we’re at, so if anything isn’t finished that they feel that it’s an important enough item to complete,” Corcoran said. “Hopefully that way we can have a smooth transition and strong communication with next year’s president and vice president is definitely something really important to us.”last_img read more

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Fisher Hall to host annual regatta

first_imgStudents, alumni and friends of Notre Dame will gather at St. Mary’s Lake at 1 p.m. for the annual Fisher Regatta. The dorm will provide free food and music for its signature event, which invites residence halls and campus organizations to participate in a boat race.  This year, funds will go toward St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, junior Frank Dijak, the event’s commissioner, said.“This year, [the raised funds are] for air conditioning in the junior high,” Dijak said.Previous fundraising had gone toward a new gym floor, AC units, new concrete slabs and a new check-in area at the school, senior Dan Blackburn said.While most funds come from t-shirt sales, in addition to the small fee to enter a boat, Dijak said a few independent fundraisers on Eddy Street this semester and proceeds from Fisher Hall’s fall signature event, the car smash, will also be donated to St. Adalbert. Courtesy of Frank Dijak One of Fisher Hall’s boats compete in their namesake regatta on St. Mary’s Lake.Sophomore Owen Donnelly said the hall purposefully chose to hold the Regatta before finals.“Having the Regatta at the end of the year is nice, because everyone looks forward to it the entire year [and it’s] the culmination of all the year’s events, and by that point, everyone’s already great friends, so you can really enjoy it together,” Donnelly said. For the men of Fisher, the Regatta is rooted in tradition, and they rally together in preparation for the event, Dijak said. Freshmen often adopt “Regatta Hawks” for the event, Donnelly said, and some even shave the letter F into the back of their heads. Blackburn said the upperclassmen hype the Regatta as early as Welcome Weekend to the incoming freshman, telling them it is ranked as one of ESPN’s top 100 student-run college events. “It’s never been disproven,” Donnelly said. On the day of the race, the hall wakes up at 7 a.m., when residents bang on doors with rowing oars. Two freshmen are chosen to drive a golf cart, coined the “Toro,” with a speaker and megaphone around campus. “They go around campus telling people that it’s the day of the Regatta,” Dijak said. Blackburn noted the diverse representation of student groups around campus who participate in the event. “A lot of people have somebody that they can root for in the race, whether it’s their dorm, friends they know in a club [or] an organization they are a part of,” Blackburn said. “Everybody has something they can cheer for.” Dijak said the Regatta effectively fosters both community and competition on campus. “I think [the Regatta is] one of the few signature events that asks for participation from a lot of halls and gets participation from a lot of halls. The Keenan Revue is also a big event, but it really doesn’t require anybody but Keenan to put it on,” Dijak said. “There are a lot of people who have tried to mimic the Regatta. … We have been pretty successful in getting usually around 20 halls to participate.”Dijak encouraged students to come out the event and enjoy the day.“Part of the Notre Dame experience is to go the Fisher Regatta,” Dijak said.Tags: 25th annual Fisher Regatta, boats, fisher halllast_img read more

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Law enforcement discusses safety with students

first_imgLocal law enforcement responded to questions about the new dorm swipe access policy, emergency blue lights on campus, discrimination at Notre Dame and other student safety concerns during a panel hosted by student government and the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD) in the LaFortune Ballroom on Wednesday night.Panelists included NDPD captain Rob Martinez, NDPD major George Heeter, NDPD deputy chief Steve Smith and major Steve Noonan of the St. Joseph County Police Department. Attendees were invited to submit questions through the app, Poll Everywhere, or ask them publicly using a microphone.Natalie Weber | The Observer Multiple questions centered around whether NDPD has considered increasing the number of blue light phone systems, which are mainly located on the perimeter of Notre Dame’s campus. There are about 65 blue light emergency stations on campus currently, Martinez said. Smith said there has been discussion about increasing the number of blue lights, but currently, they are not used very frequently.“I think folks know where they are, and they know they can utilize them anytime they want, but to be quite honest, very few calls … are actually coming through those devices,” Smith said. “So if there is a need to increase [blue light emergency stations], we would certainly do that, but again we don’t get a lot of information or a lot of requests for service through those.”Several attendees also raised questions about safety following the implementation of the new dorm swipe access policy, which restricts students’ swipe access to their own dorms. Questions raised were concerns about people allowing strangers into their dorms, and attendees asked if there were any policies in the works to address this issue.Smith said he doesn’t know of any pending policies yet that are to be implemented in the dorms soon.“The one thing I would suggest is make sure you never leave a door propped open,” Smith said. “That’s been an issue in the past. … We encourage you not to do that, because it invites folks to come on in anytime they want. So to the extent that you can, I would ask that you monitor who comes in and not necessarily just let anybody in.”In response, one attendee submitted a question, raising concerns that women in particular might not feel comfortable turning away men who come to their dorms. The question asked if “full-time clerks” could be implemented in dorms to monitor who enters and exits.“That would be a great solution,” Smith said. “However, I think trying to staff an entrance like that is challenging.”Smith said NDPD has also considered installing cameras at the entrances of dorms to keep track of who comes into the dorm.“It’s early on in those discussions, but that is something that could help mitigate some of that,” he said. “And I understand it’s challenging. So what I would recommend, again, is getting to know your officers in the building. If there’s certain times of day that this is becoming an issue, let your officers know. Make them aware of that, and we can set extra patrols during that time.”In response, a student asked why the dorm swipe access policy was implemented, and suggested tracking students’ entrance to dorms with ID cards would be easier than other proposed safety solutions.“I think the University would have a perfect solution to address that issue, but it is very challenging to utilize a card so that every single person has to go through and that access is recorded, so we have documentation of that,” Smith said. “Again, that comes down to a University decision.”Martin added that the policy mirrored what other schools have enacted.“There was some benchmarking done on the process,” he said. “They’ve also been following some other universities that have actually implemented this policy.One question asked about how NDPD would response to racist slurs and threats to students of color on campus, especially in light of threats to minority students at Syracuse. NDPD is also investigating reports of “biased slurs” directed toward students Friday and Saturday that sparked a protest against hate speech.“Obviously, that’s something we want folks to report to us,” Smith said. “If you see behavior like that, or you learn of behavior like that, we want to know about it right away.”In response to a question about discrimination against LGBTQ students, law enforcement also encouraged students to report incidents to the police.Smith also discussed options for students who report sexual assault to law enforcement.“You have the option of saying ‘I want Notre Dame Police Department and the investigative team in Notre Dame Police Department to investigate that,’” he said. “Or, in St. Joseph County, we also have a Special Victims Unit … and as a student, you have the option of opting for them to investigate that crime as well.”When asked about safety in South Bend, Noonan recommended traveling in groups and being aware of one’s location. He also explained the situations that generally give rise to violence in South Bend.“Generally that violence is directed for a variety of reasons,” he said. “Sometimes it’s gang activity, sometimes a social media post can trigger violence. … The best thing for students is to stay in a group [and] always know where you’re going.”Heeter offered similar advice.“Know your surroundings, [there’s] strength in numbers, so always be with a group of other individuals,” he said.Tags: NDPD, St Joseph County Police, Student government, student safety summitlast_img read more

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Transfer Nation: Sixteen students embark on first semester at Notre Dame in the spring

first_imgLast week, as most students were returning for their second semester of the 2019-2020 academic year, 16 new undergraduates were beginning their very first semester at Notre Dame, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions reported.“In the fall, the entire University is welcoming new students — new first-year students, new transfer students — we’re all thinking there are new people here,” said Erin Camilleri, the director of transfer enrollment. “In the spring, people are kind of in their zone and doing their thing. So I always think that it’s a little bit harder to transfer in the spring. It takes a student who has a really strong desire to be here.”A wide variety of students choose to matriculate spring semester. Some of these students, Camilleri said, are student-athletes who are starting their athletic training early, the semester before their freshman season begins. Others are students who were admitted for enrollment in the fall but, due to personal circumstances, chose to defer their enrollment until spring semester.A third category of spring enrollees, however, are selected from a separate pool of applicants. These students have attended a different college or university for at least three semesters, Camilleri said, and they have chosen to enroll at Notre Dame halfway through the academic year. Camilleri estimated that about 100 students apply from this third category each year. This year, only four students enrolled from that pool of applicants. The selection process, she said, is highly competitive.When looking at the applications of spring-semester transfers, the University considers how these students will handle the unique transition. First, the University must ensure that these students’ previous coursework will transfer smoothly, keeping the students on track to graduate with their credits, Camilleri said.“The further you get on [in school], the more difficult it is to align a different institution’s curriculum with our curriculum,” Camilleri said. “So we’re really looking to see [the] students get slotted in nicely.”Additionally, Camilleri said the admissions committee considers whether the students will be able to quickly immerse themselves in the Notre Dame community, making connections and friendships even though they are arriving on campus later than most students.“They need to bring a sense of adventure and excitement with them,” she said. “And it takes a student who’s willing to be flexible — [a] student who really want[s] to be here.”New students arriving in the fall begin the semester with four days of programming that’s designed to build community and adjust students to campus life. But for new students arriving in the spring, that Welcome Weekend programming is distilled into only a day and a half, Camilleri said. The spring Welcome Weekend is coordinated and overseen by other transfer students who have already been through the transition.“‘Transfer Nation,’ so to speak — the people who call themselves ‘Transfer Nation’ — they really do look out for one another,” Camilleri said.Junior Nyakeh Tuchscherer transferred after three semesters at St. John’s University, which he attended until the fall of his sophomore year before opting to transfer to Notre Dame. His decision to transfer was largely fueled by his academic interests — Notre Dame offered more resources for research and international opportunities, Tuchscherer said. But the transition — environmentally and socially — was somewhat challenging. Moving from New York City to South Bend, he was not initially prepared for the Notre Dame culture, which is more insular and homogenous than St. John’s, Tuchscherer said. Nevertheless, he’s glad he made the decision to transfer.“I have no regrets [about] transferring, even though it’s totally different and it’s not what I expected,” Tuchscherer said. “I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I’ve been getting today if it weren’t for Notre Dame, so I’m very thankful and glad to be here. That’s a privilege.”Camilleri said students who transfer tend to be highly involved, picking up extracurriculars that help them meet other students and connect with the campus community. Bringing fresh perspectives and strong school spirit, she said they add unique value to the school.“It takes a special person to be a transfer student,” Camilleri said. “I think one of the best things about them is that they have a wonderful sense of excitement for the University. I think that transfer students, as a whole, enrich the student body tremendously.”Tags: Transfer Nation, transfer students, Welcome Weekendlast_img read more

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