If you walk out of your dorm room this month and see only half the lights on in the hallway, chances are it isn’t an accident. Keeping lights on the “half-on” setting typically used after parietals is one way dorms are saving energy during this month’s third annual Dorm Energy Competition. The main objective of the competition is for students to realize how much energy they are actually using, said Rachel Novick, education and outreach programs manager for the Office of Sustainability. “The goal is for students to become more conscious about the energy they use and particularly the energy that gets wasted,” Novick said. “And also to see what kind of creative ways they can find to save energy.” The title went to Walsh Hall in 2008 and Cavanaugh Hall in 2009. Cavanaugh was able to reduce their energy use by 34 percent for the month. Former rector Amalia de la Torre said she believes one factor in particular was crucial to her dorm’s success — parietals lights. “We kept half of all our hallway lights out,” de la Torre said. “In other words, we kept the lighting the same as it would have been after parietals. I think that made the winning difference.” Overall last year, residence halls saved 58,800 kilowatt-hours. This is equivalent to 84,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and adds up to a savings of $2,940 for the University, Novick said. Some common approaches to saving energy include hang-drying laundry and unplugging electronics when they aren’t being used, Novick said. Novick’s goals for the competition not only include saving energy and money, but also having participation from every dorm. “I’d definitely like to improve on the overall savings and costs to campus, but also to really try to get every dorm to be involved,” Novick said. “I think that the dorms that were most engaged last year did an amazing job.” Cavanaugh, the returning champion, is employing some of the same tactics as last year but also stressing the simple things, co-president Caitlin Desmond said. “This year we are doing similar things, but also emphasizing to the girls to unplug things when you leave the room, such as turn off power strips, unplug computers and chargers,” Desmond said. Some dorms don’t have a great chance at winning the competition due to long-standing traditions. Sorin College president Colin King said his dorm has never done well. “Sorin is infamous for always coming in last in this competition,” King said. “We have a tradition to put incredible amounts of Christmas lights up right before Thanksgiving and leave them on at all times.” The competition runs through the end of November and the winning dorm will receive a $500 prize, Novick said. “We have runner-up prizes too, and awards for sustainability commissioners who do really creative programs to get people involved,” Novick said.
The recently completed Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and the how old Innovation Park building were awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and Silver certification, respectively, by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), according to a University press release. “[LEED certification provides] third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts,” according to the USGBC’s website. “As part of the University’s goal to ensure that its Catholic character informs all its endeavors, we seek to minimize the environmental impact of new campus buildings and the act of constructing them,” said Doug Marsh, Notre Dame’s associate vice president and University architect. In addition to the two newly certified buildings, Stinson-Remick Hall, Geddes Hall and Ryan Hall have LEED Gold certification. The University is also currently pursuing LEED certification for the Compton Family Center Ice Hockey Arena and Carole Sandner Hall, as well as the Stayer Executive Education Center, a building currently in the planning and design stage. “We expect to continue to embrace the LEED certification process and seek it for future new campus buildings,” Marsh said. “Most of our design and construction staff in the Office of the University Architect have earned the distinction of LEED Accredited Professionals and continue to track the ever-evolving LEED credit system.” Marsh said the high percentage use of regionally manufactured and harvested construction materials, rapidly renewable materials and building materials made from recycled content, the diversion of construction waste from landfills and the highly efficient energy systems helped the Purcell Pavilion and Innovation Park building to receive the LEED certification. The LEED certification program promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability, which necessitates the incorporation of collective factors into a building’s design and construction. “It is a fully integrated process that begins with the initial site planning for each building, continues through the detailed design phase, and carries through construction and a post-occupancy survey of building occupants,” Marsh said. “Everyone on the design and construction team — architects, engineers, construction managers — must all work together to achieve the goals established by the LEED credit system.” Notre Dame’s receipt of the LEED certification for these buildings and its ongoing participation in the rigorous certification process reflects the University’s environmental stewardship and its leadership and innovation in regard to sustainability issues, Marsh said.
Local non-profit organizations and student-run service groups joined together to showcase the plethora of social service opportunities available for Notre Dame students both on campus and in the South Bend community at the Social Concerns Fair on Wednesday. Annie Cahill Kelly, director of Community Partnership and Service Learning at the Center for Social Concerns (CSC), has invited South Bend service organizations to the Social Concerns Fair for 13 of the event’s more than 20 installments. She said surveys from these partner organizations demonstrate the impressive participation of Notre Dame students in community outreach over the past few years. “The agencies are reporting back to us that they’ve had over 3,000 student involved at all 60 organizations that I’ve petitioned,” Kelly said. “That’s not even a thorough count because it’s only 60 organizations and there are many more, but it’s a snapshot of just how many students are involved locally, providing some 180,000 plus hours of service. A lot of the students are doing a lot of great work.” Several of the South Bend organizations represented at the fair have had a long history of involvement with the CSC. AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist of Northern Indiana, which provides a variety of services for people living with HIV and AIDS in the six-county area, has been associated with the CSC for more than 20 years, said Debra Stanley, the CSC’s Community-Based Learning Coordinator for the organization. Stanley inherited the duty of representing AIDS Ministries at Notre Dame’s Activities Night when she began volunteering for the organization in 1992. “I came that first night and have been coming ever since,” she said. “Being involved led me to the CSC where I became a Community-Based Learning Coordinator, and so it’s just been a relationship ever since.” Student service groups also participated in the fair to distribute information and talk to potential volunteers. Senior Monica Townsend represented the Notre Dame chapter of She’s the First, a non-profit organization that raises funds to promote education for girls in developing countries. Townsend said the group’s desire to expand their outreach efforts motivated its participation in the Social Concerns Fair. “We are hoping this semester to branch out to the South Bend community and work with elementary schools that would like to get involved with She’s the First and think about what education means in the developing world, as well as at home,” Townsend said. Freshman Libby Wetterer attended the fair to find service opportunities that fit her interests and schedule. “I’m looking for volunteer work to do in Spanish for my Spanish class, and also for something to do over the weekends now that football is over,” Wetterer said. Wetterer said the fair introduced her to a volunteer opportunity at La Casa de Amistad, a community organization that provides bilingual tutoring. Freshman Pat Boduch said he was excited about getting involved in service that would allow him to meet people from the South Bend community. “It seems like mostly I’m around Notre Dame kids from ages 18 to 22,” said Boduch.”It would be refreshing to work with younger kids, and I think it’s good to serve the community as well.”
Saint Mary’s welcomed high school sophomores and juniors to campus Sunday for the annual Spring Day on Campus. The program, which is directed by the Admissions Office, aims to teach prospective students about the College and the admissions process. Admissions administrator Valeria Efta said it is a great opportunity for the girls and their parents to learn about Saint Mary’s together. “I think it’s great because not many of the rising juniors and seniors have done much with the college process yet, and this is some of their first experiences in thinking about college,” Efta said. Senior Katie Gutrich, a campus tour guide for the Spring Day, said the young students were in awe and struggling to process the many facets of college life. “We’re trying to make the best impression that we can,” Gutrich said. The day started with an information session led by members of the Admissions Office in O’Laughlin Auditorium. Admissions administrator Anne Reagan said many visitors appreciated the opportunity to ask questions alongside their parents. “The students were able to learn about the admissions process and play our ‘GPA game,’ where each girl participating had a designated GPA,” Reagan said. “We then went through and looked at each one and showed how a student with a 4.0 is not necessarily a better candidate than the rest.” A panel of current Saint Mary’s students in various disciplines then took the stage to answer questions. “We got a lot of questions about how we study in college, about going out on the weekends and then some questions about job placement after college and about the various majors,” Gutrich said.” After the panel, students ate lunch in Noble Family Dining Hall with their parents and then were able to venture to the different buildings and dorms on campus. Efta said this enables students to tour the buildings that most interest them. “If you’re not an athlete, you don’t have to go to Angela Athletic Facility but instead can go to the Science Hall if that better relates to your future focus,” Efta said. Later in the afternoon, prospective students and their parents had the opportunity to attend information sessions on studying abroad, financial aid and athletics, Reagan said. “There is a short reception with the coaches in the athletic department so that the girls can meet and speak with them,” Reagan said. The prospective students and parents ended the day with an optional mass in Regina Chapel. High school junior Natalie Woodley and her mother Lisa Woodley, from Michigan, said they are particularly interested in the golf team. “I have a cousin that graduated from here, and we came down last fall to check out the golf team because Natalie is a golfer, and we are maybe looking to play some golf,” Lisa Woodley said. Natalie Woodley said she enjoyed seeing the school and learning about college life. “I don’t mind that it’s an all-girls college since Notre Dame is right across the street,” she said. “I have really liked it so far.” High school junior Grace Frantz, from Sidney, Ohio, said her sister graduated from Saint Mary’s, and she holds the school in high esteem. “She loved it here, and I liked it each time I visited her, so now it’s really about my experience and if I will keep on liking it,” she said. Frantz said touring Saint Mary’s felt different than the other colleges she had visited. “I like how everybody here says the community gives them so much confidence and how they feel so empowered,” she said.
As the Blue Angels flew over Notre Dame Stadium and the final notes of the alma mater rang out, many students’ beliefs were confirmed: the atmosphere of the Notre Dame vs. Navy game would be unlike any other this season. Sophomore Kim Mai said hearing the stadium fall silent for the Navy alma mater and witnessing the friendly camaraderie between the teams was the first time she had seen Notre Dame fans go out of their way to honor their opponents. “We treated them the same way we would treat ourselves,” Mai said. Senior Billy Raseman said the teams’ unity during both alma maters after the Irish victory summed up the history and significance of the Notre Dame-Navy relationship. “I think it was pretty much embodied in the fact that we stopped and the whole stadium got quiet for their alma mater,” Raseman said. “There’s just a good deal of respect both ways in the fact that, yeah, Navy’s a football team but first they’re over there for their country.” Meadow Jackson, midshipman fourth class in the Notre Dame Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) said she thought the ROTC midshipmen and Notre Dame student body respected the visitors because they understood that the game’s significance extended beyond the stadium. “We won’t boo the team,” Jackson said. “Whether we win or lose, they’re still our comrades in arms from a ROTC perspective. We know that footbal is not the main goal of these students, and we respect them even more because of that. “Football is just an extension of what [the Naval Academy midshipmen are] trying to do, which is develop themselves professionally to serve our country. We know that football is not the main goal of these students. The main goal is to protect and defend the people of the United States … we all have the common goal, just different ways of getting there.” Midshipman third class Liz Hart, a Saint Mary’s student, said she and her friends replaced the less-than-respectful phrase of one Notre Dame cheer and instead shouted “Nice try, Navy! Go Irish, go!” Hart said Notre Dame students invited midshipmen from the Naval Academy to stay in the dorms and experience a different collegiate environment. “All weekend I’ve seen [the Naval Academy midshipmen] walking around campus,” Hart said. “I saw them staying in the dorms, and I know that a lot of the Notre Dame community was really open to them.”We’re all in the Navy but our college experiences are so different.”The Blue Angels’ flyover during the “Star Spangled Banner” drew thunderous cheers from the student body and praise from game-watchers later. “That was the lowest flyover I think I’ve ever seen,” Raseman said. “It was sick.” Hart said the flyover stood out as an exciting start to the game and as another way of bringing Notre Dame and Navy together. “It was even more special because that was the first flyover since the sequester of the military and the government,” Hart said. “The fact that this was the first event that the Blue Angels came to was pretty awesome.” Jackson said the event highlighted the historic relationship between the two schools. “We know that the Blue Angels could be anywhere but I think they wanted to show the solidarity between Notre Dame and Navy and the tradition of this football game,” Jackson said. “During World War II, Navy pretty much kept Notre Dame alive … by a ROTC program that allowed us to keep the university open yet also allow men to serve,” she said. “I think the game between Navy and Notre Dame is kind of a thank you to the Navy and a show of respect to that.” Raseman, who is a member of the Notre Dame Glee Club, said he experienced the friendliness between Notre Dame and Navy three years ago when the group performed with the Naval Glee Club at a joint concert in New York. “When we sang with them, we actually exchanged cufflinks,” Raseman said. “A bunch of guys still have the Navy ones, and they still wear them.”
PrismND held its annual “Coming Out Closets” event on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in support of the LGBTQ community. The event, which took place both in front of DeBartolo Hall and on the Fieldhouse Mall, gave students the chance to walk through a doorframe lined with rainbow streamers and “come out of the closet” as whatever they wished, in an attempt to spread a spirit of acceptance of personal identities across campus.“People will go through the door frames as a metaphor for coming out of the closet, but they’re going to come out as any part of their identity,” vice president of PrismND Lily Crawford said. “They can come out as a business major or an engineer or a band geek or an artist, or whatever they want to come out as. We want to show everybody that the entirety of their identity is valued and they don’t have to keep a part of it hidden if they don’t want to.”President of PrismND Bryan Ricketts agreed, saying the metaphoric “coming out” is a visible way to show support for people.“If they want to come out but are unsure that Notre Dame is a safe place, we want to show them that it is a safe place to come out,” Ricketts said.LGBTQ identity and its place on Notre Dame’s campus has always been something of a shaky subject, according to both Crawford and Ricketts.Up until “a culture shift within the last five years” the lack of an LGBTQ presence at Notre Dame was “a much bigger issue,” Ricketts said.“There was a silence on campus. Then people started talking about it, and it turned out that most people on campus are very accepting and loving and it just needed a push to get that out in the open,” Ricketts said.“There are students who e-mail us before they make a school decision,” Crawford said, referring to LGBTQ-identifying high school students who fear that because Notre Dame is notorious for its staunch Catholic values, it will not be an accepting campus. “We tell them that yes, for a few people here, that stigma is kind of correct and there’s sort of a lack of understanding and an ignorance, but there are people like that at a lot of different places.“Notre Dame is pretty accepting, a lot of people are really nice about it. There might be a few things that they’re ignorant about, but they’re usually very understanding,” she said.PrismND began after a 2011 campus visit from Senator Brian Sims, who gave a speech on “how four out of five college students are accepting of LGBTQ individuals, but they only think that one out of three of their peers are,” Crawford said. Prior to Sims’ speech, there were LGBTQ student organizations that were denied club status [at Notre Dame]. But, the “echo” of the Four-to-Five Movement, as Sims referred to his statistics, was a call for a club.“In the fall of 2012 Father Jenkins called the division of student affairs to do a review of services for LGBTQ individuals, and it was found in that review that there was not enough service and support for LGBTQ students,” Crawford said. “The report suggested to have an organization, and that organization is Prism.”“Coming Out Closets” was “inherited” from preexisting councils at Notre Dame on gay and lesbian student affairs, and it has occurred before PrismND’s inception two years ago, Crawford said. On Wednesday, crowds of students passed through the rainbow-decorated doorframes in front of DeBartolo Hall and the Stonehenge Fountain, and many took the opportunity to come out of their “closet.”“I’ve done this for the past few years,” Melanie Sajbel, a senior in Pasquerilla East, said. “You come out as something that you’re proud of, and I’m proud that my brother is gay. I think it’s something that he’d be excited to see because we have a pretty conservative campus and he’s not Catholic.”Josephine Jackson, a Lewis sophomore, went through her closet for different reasons.“I went through the closet for my mom,” Jackson said. “She’s bisexual … And my stepmom has been in my life for about five years, so I came out for her because I know that her coming out was very difficult, coming from a very conservative household, it took a lot for her to do that.”Ricketts and Crawford emphasized the role of “allies” in LGBTQ acceptance on campus throughout the event.“We have plenty of members who aren’t LGBTQ who just come out to support their friends because that’s something they believe in,” Ricketts said.“Allies are a big part and they help make this a safer spot,” Crawford added, “Having a lot of allies there shows that you don’t have to feel so alone.”If safety and acceptance were the goals of “Coming Out Closets,” participating students seemed to feel this was achieved, Crawford said.Sorin first year Tyrel London said for him, coming out during a public Notre Dame event had a deep significance.“It means that I don’t have to be afraid anymore,” London said.Tags: coming out, coming out closets, prism, prism nd
Members of the advisory committee for Notre Dame’s Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy gathered Nov. 24 for a panel discussion about “traditional” versus digital news and how online publications are changing the face of journalism.The event, titled “The New York Times vs. BuzzFeed: Can Traditional Journalism Compete with Digital News?,” gathered six advisors and program director Robert Schmuhl, chair of the American Studies department. Panelists included Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News; Meg Martin, associate editor for mobile and breaking news at Minnesota Public Radio; Tom Bettag, producer for NBC News; Maddie Hanna, reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer; Daniel Leduc, senior officer and editor for The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post.Schmuhl began the discourse by asking whether the dynamic between the traditional news media and new digital outlets would be better described as competition or conflict.Costa said the internet is an equalizing force, but the traditional brand weight carried by established news outlets is an advantage.“If you want to be creative with your coverage, you can do that from any platform, any organization,” he said. “If it’s quality, it will get read, and it will get noticed. The only thing the traditional media still has an edge up on is when it comes to traditional things – if the president wants to sit down with an organization, he’s likely not going to sit down with BuzzFeed.”Bettag agreed and said “brand is everything.”“In this era when there are a hundred possible outlets, having a brand that stands for something [means] that I recognize that and I’ll go there, out of all 280 of these channels and all the different options,” he said. “Brand consciousness is the key to success.“People identify themselves with certain … media outlets, and these become loyalties that are so important for outlets looking for the young demographic. Once you say you’re a committed viewer, you’re going to carry that until you’re 80 years old. If they can get you now, you will stay with that.”Martin said the idea of “traditional media” is misleading because of blending platforms.“I do have trouble with the idea of the traditional media because if the Washington Post is talking to the president, they’re not just going to print that in the paper,” she said. “They’re going to put it on their website immediately. They might even live stream it. So is that television? … Yes, it’s a newsroom that has been around for awhile, a lot longer than an online organization, but I still have a little trouble with the [traditional media] construct.”Social media is another factor at play, and it can diminish brand power, Hanna said.“Maybe there’s some sort of brand loyalty, but there’s also this egalitarian system where I happen to see a link that’s being circulated on social media, so I’ll visit the site,” she said. “It’s not really because it’s from any particular news outlet, so I think that’s the biggest way that the web levels the playing field.”Thompson said her biggest concern with BuzzFeed or other internet sites such as Gawker or the Huffington Post is that the information verification process might not be as meticulous as it is with a more traditional news organization.“I don’t know what [BuzzFeed’s] oversight is, so as a consumer of news, I am wary of what I see or read from them,” she said. “I know that if it’s in The Washington Post or The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or any of the three broadcast networks or CNN, there is a vetting process it goes through to catch potential mistakes.”Leduc said he sees BuzzFeed and other digital-only outelts already moving to more “ambitious” coverage.“BuzzFeed and a couple of other sites who are trying to increase their ambition, they’re doing it by trying to do what traditional media does,” he said. “BuzzFeed made a big deal of creating an investigative unit, and they hired someone experienced to run that unit.”Bettag said he believes the two extremes can coexist if the audience is willing to use each on its own terms.“To some extent … they’re like apples and oranges,” he said. “I think offering people two different things with different standards that promise people different things is perfectly fine. …That’s a business, and it’s good business.”Thompson said she does not think network news will die, but rather that people will access it in different ways.“Maybe instead of watching it on TV, you watch it on your iPhone. You watch it on your iPad,” she said. “What’s great for you is that journalism is not a dying industry, it is a growing industry.“Technology is changing the way we access journalism, but people still need to know what’s going on. They still need somebody to get out there and ask questions and investigate, and it will take different forms.”The panelists discussed their personal news consumption habits, ranging from radio broadcasts to Twitter to traditional newspapers. They agreed that Twitter is a valuable medium for both consuming and disseminating news.“I read Twitter constantly; it’s like my headline service,” Thompson said.“I also am a constant checker of Twitter,” Hanna said.“I use Twitter lists a lot,” Martin said. “There’s no way I could follow the billions of people I follow if I didn’t organize them. I check my Minnesota list; I check my regular feed; I check my breaking news feed; I have a Catholic Church feed.”“Twitter is a great way to compete,” Costa said. “It keeps people on edge. You don’t want to be consumed by it, but you want to make sure you’re engaged. … Our editors at the Post are always telling us to share what you know, in an article or on Twitter, but show people that the Washington Post is on top of it.”Tags: American Studies, Anne Thompson, brand consciousness, BuzzFeed, Daniel Leduc, Gallivan Program, Journalism, Maddie Hanna, Meg Martin, Minnesota Public Radio, NBC News, news, Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Costa, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Washington Post, Tom Bettag, traditional media
Student body president and vice president McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorhead, both seniors, have worked to enhance transparency, accountability and enthusiasm for Student Government Association (SGA) this year.Beginning with transparency, Schuster said they want the student body to know what SGA does and what events are going on. They have organized a bulletin board in the Student Center with photos of all the SGA chairs so students know to whom they should direct comments and concerns.Schuster said their marketing chair, junior Katie Calhoun, has ramped up their social media campaign using Instagram to inform students about events, as well as utilizing fliers in the bathroom they call “stall news.”Responding to the SGA budget problems last year, Schuster and Moorhead have worked to hold their chairs accountable to their duties and positions.“We have worked on transparency and everybody has been working well together,” Schuster said. “We’ve seen a lot more follow through the things we have been planning are actually happening.”Moorhead said SGA has not seen the same kind of budget problems they had last year since she and Schuster have emphasized spending within the means, as well as revising the finance bylaws so everyone can see how much each club is allotted.Another one of Schuster and Moorhead’s goals was to increase attendance at events, which is happening in part because of their marketing campaign, but also due to the implementation of SMCards, Schuster said. She said attendance at SGA events has doubled due to the SMCards which reward students for attending events on campus like lectures, campus ministry events and sporting events.In addition to attendance rising at events, Schuster and Moorhead have worked to increase communication and openness in their office.“Our meetings are really productive, and we’ve really seen organization and follow though as a large improvement this year,” Moorhead said.Schuster said the various SGA chairs have been working together and holding each other accountable to make their events the best they can be.“People are being creative and taking the initiative, when people actually want to see things happen,” Schuster said.In the past, Moorhead said the sustainability chair position hasn’t been utilized to its fullest, but they saw that change this year as the chair helped to plan Food Week.This year, Schuster and Moorhead said they have been working with senior Kelly Gutrich, vice president of internal affairs, to revise SGA’s constitution.Moorhead said the constitution was not cohesive and concise and Gutrich and her constitution committee have been revising it all semester. They put forth the new version for a vote at the Dec. 10 Senate Meeting.Moorhead said they have reached out to the Notre Dame student body president and vice president, as well as the Holy Cross student body president and vice president, to keep them updated on what SGA is doing and to talk about the larger concern of campus safety.“We want to make sure that our students are safe on and off campus,” Schuster said. “We want students to know what cabs are trusted and make sure that cabs won’t deny students because Saint Mary’s is another block further.”Moorhead echoed Schuster’s concern.“We want to make sure Saint Mary’s students are as safe as other students,” Moorhead said.Schuster said SGA has had to overcome the complications ensuing from the disbanding of Student Involvement and Multicultural Services (SIMS) and subsequent loss of the three SGA advisors who served on SIMS.“It was good that we have been really organized and holding our chairs accountable because otherwise that transition to a new advisor might have been more difficult,” Schuster said.Schuster and Moorhead have a “Big Sister, Little Sister” program in the works where first-year students would be paired up with a junior to help guide the student through the challenges of the first year of college.“This program provides advice and guidance because the first year can be rough,” Moorhead said. “We believe we can help to fix that by pairing first-year students with someone who already knows and love Saint Mary’s.”This program differs from the Peer Mentor program, which provides a junior or senior to advise a class of all first-year students.“We want a program that exists outside of the classroom so students can go to their ‘big sis’ for anything,” Moorhead said.Schuster and Moorhead said they are focused on building the groundwork for SGA to be the best it can be in the upcoming years.“We want to make girls feel as welcome as we can,” Schuster said. “While this can’t necessarily happen during our time in office, we don’t want to just turn down good ideas because we can’t see them happen.“We encourage girls to keep going, and it’s exciting because we have many underclassmen who are enthusiastic and want to see their work continued.”Moorhead said they have exciting events planned for the spring, including a spring fling event to enhance campus unity.“It’s in the works, but it’s going to be a fun event for the whole campus,” Moorhead said.Tags: McKenna Schuster, saint mary’s, Sam Moorhead, sga, SMC, smcards, Student Government Association
By presenting on the Armenian and Yazidi genocides, Saint Mary’s senior Katherine Elliot hopes she can prevent history from repeating itself.During her presentation in Friday’s installment of Justice Friday, Elliot said her great-uncle was just a young boy living in Tadem, Armenia when the Turks invaded his village. She said his mother rescued him from the debris, but when he looked back at his mother across the river, he saw a Turk smash open her skull with a rock.“Obviously he was able to escape,” Elliot said. “But even as an old man, he would start crying when he would start talking about his mother and everything he lost there.”Despite its small size today, Elliot said half of Turkey used to be Armenia.Before the genocide, Armenians would travel to Istanbul, Turkey and incorporate themselves in society, Elliot said. She said they even became some of the top marketers, doctors and brokers, but the Turkish disapproved of the Armenian successes.“They were a really successful group of people,” she said. “The Turkish saw this as a sign that they were stealing jobs and were taking advantage of the Turkish people and were therefore a threat to Turkish people.”At this time, nationalism in Turkey was growing, and the Turks started to blame minorities for the issues in their country, Elliot said. The Turkish nationalist mindset was that Armenian success came at the expense of the Turkish.“They decided that they needed to alienate the Armenians to therefore get rid of this threat,” she said. “They started by taking away property, guns, and they would tax extremely highly until they eventually started killing them off.”There were mass deportations, camps and eventually mass graves as a result, Elliot said.“To this day, if you go to Syria and … some areas of the desert, you will find skulls everywhere,” she said. “It is so difficult to find information on western Armenia because everything was burned, everyone was killed and any books were seen as invalid and not as superior as Turkish texts.”Despite the mass killings, Elliot said people still question whether the Armenian genocide should be labeled genocide, because if the Turkish admit that it was genocide, they will have to give back all the land they took from the Armenians.“They use political pressure to make sure people are afraid to comment on it being genocide,” she said. “Even using the word ‘genocide’ [in reference to what happened to the Armenians] is illegal in Turkey.”Elliot said as younger generations of the Turkish are learning of Turkey’s history, the grotesque truth of the genocide is surfacing.“I’m hopeful because of the young people [in Turkey] who are coming out — they’re acknowledging [the genocide],” she said.It is essential to recognize the Armenian genocide as such because similar catastrophes are currently occurring in the world, particularly to the Yazidis, Elliot said. She said the Yazidis are one of the oldest and most misunderstood religions in the world. Even though the religion has many parallels to Judaism, Yazidis are often mistaken as devil worshipers and have suffered much persecution as a result, she said.“They are literally flinging themselves off this mountain to prevent IS from getting to them,” she said. “The U.N. has officially said it’s a genocide.”As students, Elliot said the best way the community can act on these events is to advocate for the cause. Students can donate to non-profit organizations to help the oppressed escape, she said.“Few people know of these events and how big a problem it is,” Elliot said.Tags: Armenian Genocide, Justice Friday
Saint Mary’s hosted its 10th annual China Night on Saturday, which featured crafts, games and 14 performances spotlighting Chinese dance, songs, instruments and poetry. The event also showcased a 10-year reflection and a historical Chinese fashion show. Every year, China Night celebrates Chinese New Year. This year is the Year of the Dog, an animal that symbolizes loyalty, honesty and working hard in Chinese culture. Yidi Wu, Chinese Culture Club’s co-advisor and a first-year professor at Saint Mary’s, teaches Chinese as well as East Asian and world history. She said China Night entertains as well as educates. “It’s great that they’ve been doing it for the past 10 years because the Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday every year in China,” she said. “Chinese students are the biggest number of international students on campus, so we feel like we should celebrate it and, at the same time, introduce Chinese culture to other people on campus. It’s a good learning opportunity as well as a celebration.”Chinese Culture Club president and director of China Night Yijie Ren said Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and sharing it with the community is imperative in order to encourage diversity within the community. “The Chinese New Year is the most important event. It’s like our Christmas,” she said. “We want to share it with the whole community and for people to see different cultures and diversity. Chinese students are the largest group of international students at Saint Mary’s College, so I think it is very important to show others the diversity at Saint Mary’s, too.”China Night began when, by chance, associate director of International Education Alice Yang met an American man named Jeff who spoke Mandarin Chinese and had visited China so often he had friends there. “Later that year, Jeff introduced me to Dr. Susan Kiang, a Chinese-American artist, who has lived in town for more than 60 years,” Yang said. “It is amazing that she also worked at Saint Mary’s but in the 1960s. She told me that she taught educational psychology at Saint Mary’s for a few years and that her original Chinese name was Hongnong Yang. The first art exhibition at Saint Mary’s Moreau Art Gallery was her Chinese paintings.” Yang said this meeting inspired her and many others to organize the first China Night event in 2008. “The event was organized by the then-called SMC/ND Chinese Students’ Association,” she said. “Our conversation crossed over 50 years of history and produced China Night at Saint Mary’s today. I was thrilled that we could continue the international education history on campus via the event.”The international students at Saint Mary’s take China Night very seriously and try to engage everyone, Wu said.“They try to make it very formal by inviting President Cervelli to be there, as well as our provost and deans,” she said. “The fun thing is, we try to involve as many community members as possible, especially children, because at China Night, we give red pocket money.”Red pocket money, or red envelopes, are given out at Chinese New Year in order to further good luck and ward off evil. Wu said red pocket money was given to each child or student who attended China Night.“We give out the red pocket money to both children and students, because that’s a ritual in China,” she said. “Usually, it’s the parents or grandparents that give it to their children.”Ren said many children attend China Night to learn about their own culture, as well as the culture of others. Some of the children in attendance performed on stage as part of the East Meets West Dance Company in South Bend. “Majority of the kids in attendance are first generation or born in America, so their parents are immigrants from China, Taiwan or Hong Kong,” she said. “For them, you can see they are learning their about own culture.”Ren said she encourages parents to bring their children to culturally enlightening events so that they can participate in cultural diffusion. “The administration, staff and faculty bring their children to China Night because they want their children to see a diverse cultural perspective and because this may be something they’ve never seen before,” she said. “I believe China Night is a good opportunity for children to learn and gain new perspectives about the other half of the world.” Ren said events like China Night are significant because they are opportunities to teach Americans about a big part of our world.“Chinese immigrants, or Chinese international students, are very largely spread out in the United States and also, in China, we have 5,000 years of history,” she said, “It’s pretty important for a Western country to learn from very different Asian backgrounds.”Wu said China is becoming more prevalent in the media every day, so it is important for Americans to be aware of its culture and languages.Yang said events like China Night allow students to prepare to become global citizens.“We live in a global society with interrelated economies and it’s important to learn about and appreciate each other’s culture,” she said. “Now more than 350,000 Chinese international students are studying in the United States. China Night is a great opportunity for our students to learn Chinese culture, language and history. It is one of our events and efforts for campus internationalization and for preparing our students to be global citizens. Cultural understanding will definitely contribute to world peace.”China Night is presented in English in order to accommodate a vast number of members from the South Bend community, Wu said. “China Night involves people both on campus and off campus, so it’s a good connecting event that involves a lot of people from a lot of different places,” she said. “We want to introduce Chinese culture to other people, that’s why we want China Night to be in both Chinese and English.”Ren said by hosting China Night each year, Saint Mary’s is encouraging inclusion and diversity. “We want to bring others into our culture and promote diversity here, so China Night gives the local people and our students a different cultural perspective and allows them to think about how international students impact the school,” Ren said. Tags: China, China Night, culture, International students