Eight new editors will join The Observer’s Editorial Board for the 2011-12 year, incoming Editor-in-Chief Douglas Farmer announced Monday. Junior Caitlin Housley, sophomores Megan Doyle, Sam Stryker, Allan Joseph and Brandon Keelean and freshman Meghan Thomassen will join the Editorial Board in their new positions after Spring Break. Pat Coveney and Maija Gustin, both juniors, will take their new positions in the fall when they return from studying abroad. Doyle, a resident of Lyons Hall, and Stryker, of Knott Hall, will serve as co-news editors. A native of South Bend, Doyle currently serves as Associate News Editor and has covered the student government beat for most of the last year. She is an English major with minors in French and Francophone Studies and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Stryker is a Television major with a minor in European Studies. He is from New Canaan, Conn. Sryker covered Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District race between Jackie Walorski and Joe Donnelly. Joseph will serve as sports editor. A resident of St. Edward’s Hall, Joseph has worked for the department since his freshman year and covered Bengal Bouts, the national runners-up men’s lacrosse team last spring and this fall’s national champion women’s soccer team. Joseph is pursuing a double major in Economics and Pre-professional Studies. He is originally from Dublin, Ohio. A resident of Le Mans Hall from Hazard, Ky., Housley has covered Saint Mary’s news since her freshman year. Thomassen, hailing from Rowley, Mass., will take over the Viewpoint department. She is a resident of Pasquerilla East Hall. Gustin will join the Editorial Board as the Scene editor. Gustin, currently spending the semester studying abroad in London, has already contributed to The Observer from overseas, covering the red carpet at the Orange British Academy Film Awards Saturday. She is from Chicago and is majoring in English and Film, Television and Theatre with a concentration in Film. Coveney is also spending the semester participating in Notre Dame’s London Program, but will assume the role of photo editor in the fall. A Political Science major from Keough Hall, Coveney has covered the Irish women’s soccer program’s two trips to the College Cups in the last two years. He is from Geneva, Ill. Keelean will serve as Graphics editor. He is a Graphic Design major from Holland, Mich. The other editors previously selected for the Editorial Board include Managing Editor Sarah Mervosh, and Assistant Managing Editors Adriana Pratt and Chris Masoud, in addition to Farmer.
Paccoini said she announced a few games during her first year, but has worked at almost all of the home games this season. Since then, announcing the beginning part of the game has been the highlight of her job. Additionally, Paccoini said she enjoys trying to engage the crowd with the play-by-play. “My favorite part sometimes is introducing the players and their hometowns because I know that I take pride in my hometown, so I really like to make that special,” Paccoini said. “And then, if they have a back-to-back good play or something, I put more enthusiasm into it.” The crowd seems to appreciate her announcements, Paccoini said. “All the fans usually applaud, and I think it gets them more into it, especially if somebody is coming to watch their friends,” she said. Paccoini said she has enjoyed basketball her entire life and played from fourth grade through high school. Though she does not play for Saint Mary’s, she still enjoys being a part of the atmosphere. “I played basketball pretty much my whole life so I knew about it and I thought it would just be fun,” she said. Paccoini said she finds it difficult to remain unbiased when an opposing team is winning the game, but said she does her best to keep the atmosphere open and friendly. Paccoini said she enjoys her job and plans to announce the basketball games throughout the rest of her time at the College. “I get so much more into the game because I have to pay attention and it’s so much fun, ” she said. Sophomore Chelsea Paccoini said becoming the voice of Saint Mary’s basketball never crossed her mind when she initially thought about working at the Angela Athletic Center. But when it came time to sign up for a job, she only had two available options. “I wanted to work in Angela, and I decided to do intramurals, and then we have the option to be game day workers,” she said. “By the time I went to sign up the only things that were left were ticket selling or [announcing].” Paccoini said she is pleased she chose to become the basketball announcer. “It’s just fun because I know a lot of the girls on the team and I’m friends with them and so I’ve gotten to know them more,” she said. “It’s fun to be able to announce them when they do something good. I’ve gotten to work with a lot of people at Angela and they’re really nice.”
With rising anxieties about population growth, global warming, fossil fuel use and the Earth’s food supply as a bleak backdrop, Dr. Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute, explained his organization’s initiatives to change global agriculture in a public lecture Wednesday. The Kansas-bred Jackson, who has worked as a professor, an author and a farmer, said the Institute’s work and research aims to solve the “problem of agriculture” presented by tilling annual seeds through the development of revolutionary perennial grain hybrids. “The Land Institute is about breeding perennial grains that will allow us to bring processes to the farm that have been denied with the annual [grain planting] tradition,” Jackson said. These hybrid perennial grains generate higher yields due to their complex root systems, a large ratio of vegetation to grain and a longer photosynthetic period, Jackson said, which makes them a sustainable alternative to annual planting practices that drain soil resources and require large amounts of carbon-rich energy. “If these perennial plants reduce erosion risks, manage nutrients better, produce higher yields … what’s holding us up [from planting them]? What else do we need to hear? What do we do?” Jackson said. “With perennials, the ecosystem becomes a more powerful conceptual tool.” Jackson outlined what he calls the “3.45-billion-year-old imperative” of all life to consume energy-rich carbon to sustain growth and its influence on monumental stages in the development of human civilization, including the first Mediterranean agricultural revolution, the use of forest carbon during the Bronze and Iron Ages and the discoveries of coal, natural gas and oil as sources of energy. As humans became increasingly dependent on energy for agricultural production, policies and institutions changed accordingly, especially the passage of three influential American agricultural bills by 1914, Jackson said “In [19th-century] Britain … people began to realize they didn’t need slaves if they had power and energy,” he said. “In Civil War America, the establishment of the land-grant college system democratized knowledge in every state and spread it throughout newly acquired territory.” Jackson said the post-World War II development of the Haber-Bosch process of ammonia production from nitrogen is “responsible for 40 percent of the standing crop of homo sapiens today.” But this innovation also began the transformation of modern American agriculture into a carbon-hungry, fuel-guzzling industry that relies on large government subsidies and has produced a “dead zone” at the end of the Mississippi River the size of New Jersey, Jackson said. “As a general law, high energy destroys information of a cultural and biological variety,” he said. In addressing modern agricultural practices that rely on fossil fuel-derived fertilizers, annual grain subsidies and large-scale industrial farming, Jackson said the logical solution is to look to nature’s self-sustaining ecosystems as models of perennial polyculture and survival, such as tropics and grasslands. “Those … ecosystems are real economies. They use … sunlight and recycle materials,” Jackson said. “The genius of the Kansas grasslands during the Dust Bowl years is that it survived, whereas [annual monoculture] crops died.” Jackson said exploring the potential of ecosystem agriculture, or “agroecology,” as a model for sustainable agriculture presents a major challenge to human thinking, but its benefits could provide solutions to agricultural problems. “If we look upward to the ecosystem level, there are answers to questions we haven’t learned to ask,” he said. “Since [Rene] Descartes and [Francis] Bacon, the hardest thing to overcome for our industrial minds … has been the reductive approach to problems that pays no attention to emergent properties present at every level.” In order to reverse the destruction caused by current agricultural methods, Jackson said he and some of his colleagues in sustainable agriculture hope to implement sweeping changes in American farming practices over the next 50 years, with a goal of flipping grain percentages to 80 percent perennial and 20 percent annual. Jackson said he has helped develop a 30-year mission for a sustainable “green revolution” that would send 110 Ph.D-level scientists to various locations around the globe to implement these new agricultural practices. “The last green revolution gave us a tripling of yields, but its principles are not good,” he said. “The mission of the next synthesis is to move agriculture from an extractive to a renewable economy and rescue us from the fallen world.”
After spending a summer in a remote part of the world, any student would find settling back into life at Notre Dame a challenge. For a group of students who participated in service or research abroad this summer, a course titled “Cultural Differences and Social Change” offers tools for integrating their abroad experiences back to life at home. The course, taught by anthropology professor Vania Smith-Oka, is designed to facilitate reflection and cooperative learning fueled by the students’ diverse experiences, senior Alyce Kanabrocki said. “Our summer experiences are the foundation of the class. Professor Smith-Oka is our guide, but she does a great job of steering us in the right direction and then letting us go,” she said. “While we have readings that we do for most classes, we only use them as a very basic theme of what to talk about.” Kanabrocki spent her summer in Helekpe, a small village in the Volta region of Ghana, working with an NGO called Adaklu Youth Education Committee (AYEC), providing consulting services and teaching local youth. The course has helped Kanabrocki expand upon the development she experienced in Ghana, she said. “Being completely immersed in Notre Dame and American culture makes it really hard to continue to continue working through issues and carrying over lessons that I learned while in Ghana,” she said. Kanabrocki said her classmates can relate to her experience in a way most others cannot. “Though we all went to different places around the world and did different things, it’s so helpful and refreshing to talk to people who understand the otherwise unexplainable,” she said. “It’s also great to be surrounded by people that want to talk about their experiences as much as you do.” Senior Kristen Kelly, who spent the past two summers doing research in Uganda, said sharing in other students’ stories and challenges has offered her greater perspective into her own. “Talking to other students who also traveled abroad allowed to me to reflect on my own experience in a new light,” she said. “As we discover similarities and differences in our reflections, we all learn to think about our service and research in new ways.” Kelly said the course has offered a cushion for transitioning between two differing realities. “[The class] helps you deal with the realities of reverse culture shock and think critically about your time abroad,” she said. Kelly said one of the course’s primary projects, developing a specialized website, provides students with a tool for building off their foreign experience beyond their in-class work. “These websites provide an avenue through which students might continue dialogue about their experiences,” she said. “By publishing their thoughts and analysis online, they create a lasting exposition of their summer service or research experience.” Despite their diversity of experience, the common lessons learned by members of the course have served as a strong reminder for Kanabrocki of the commonalities across human culture. “It really shows how small the world is and emphasizes the fact that even thought there are so many different cultures around the world, we’re all human beings with desires, dreams, fears and a responsibility to not fall victim to ignorance of the world’s problems and cultural richness that exist everywhere,” she said.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, became known as Pope Francis when he made his first public appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday, approximately an hour after his election by the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Catholic Church and the first to take the name “Francis.” History professor and papal historian Thomas Noble said Bergoglio’s choice of name highlights elements of the new pope’s self-image. “There has never been a Francis,” Noble said. “The message here is that this is a man of the people, a humble pastoral pope, but does this accord with the new evangelization?” New evangelization focuses on “‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those … who have experienced a crisis of faith,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. History professor R. Scott Appleby said Bergoglio’s choice of name might indicate his intention to focus on this new evangelization. “Pope Francis is an interesting choice of name with two possible implications: Francis [of] Assisi, who embraced holy poverty, strictly imitated the life of Christ and helped renew the face of the Church, and Francis Xavier, a Jesuit like Bergoglio, who was the great missionary to Asia,” Appleby said. “This might signal Pope Francis’s enthusiasm for the … new evangelization, which is necessary in the Church.” Theology professor Ann Astell said because St. Francis of Assisi was known for his poverty, humility and penitence, Bergoglio’s choice of name sheds light on how he will likely lead the Church. She said this is in line with the way he has lived as archbishop of Buenos Aires – eschewing the diocesan mansion to live in a small apartment, taking public transportation and cooking his own meals. “I think he’ll want to convey more by actions than by words that the Church of Christ is the servant of all,” Astell said. “[To do that,] we need to renounce those things that can be objects of pride and of worldly wealth and to present the Church in its most attractive guise as the servant of all the world and its people.” Theology professor Robin Darling Young said although Pope Francis will no longer live as simply as he used to, he will likely maintain his connection with the people he serves. “I think that people hope that he will not regard [the] opulence [of his new position] as a sign of personal privilege or even institutional privilege, but that he will put his office at the service of the people for whom the Gospel is directed,” Young said. Young said Pope Francis can focus the Church on serving its people by demonstrating a commitment to social justice. “In the past 50 years, the pope has become such a public person in the universal Church that one of the best things he can do is set a good example,” she said. The pope’s humility will enable him to direct the Church toward self-reform, Astell said. “It seems that his humility … has been very striking to people who know him,” Astell said. “It was very evident in his first public appearance [yesterday] afternoon in the way he just stood there in silence before the large crowd. It was a silence that moves people to prayer.” Fr. Tom Doyle, a faculty fellow in the Institute for Educational Initiatives, said Bergoglio’s first appearance as Pope Francis spoke volumes about the type of leader he will be. “The protocol called for the pope to greet each of the cardinals personally before going to meet the people waiting, [but] Pope Francis reversed the order because the people in St. Peter’s square were waiting in the rain,” Doyle said. “His first public prayers were not for us, they were with us – the universal prayers of the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be. “His first edict was … a humble request, that we pray for him.” Pope Francis is the first non-European pontiff of the modern era and the first South American pope. As a Jesuit, Pope Francis will also be the first of his order to lead the Church. Astell said the pontiff’s ties to the “old world” and the “new world” will emphasize the Church’s global character and universality. “I think he will be a wonderful bridge figure between the new and old worlds,” Astell said. “He’s lived and studied in Germany as well as in his native Argentina. … He is a child of Italian immigrants and his father worked for the railroads. He comes from humble origins, which I think will help him to stay in touch with the little people.” Appleby said he expects Francis will exhibit the traits many Jesuits cultivate while in the order. “If the new pope is anything like his fellow Jesuit, our own [theology professor] Fr. Brian Daley, … he is erudite, disciplined and dedicated to the apostolic works of the Church,” Appleby said. Bergoglio was the subject of unproven allegations of misconduct during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” when the military junta in power from 1976-83 kidnapped and killed thousands. Despite these accusations, Bergoglio played a crucial role in helping the Church reconnect with Argentinians after some Catholic leaders were implicated in the terror. Noble said Francis’s leadership through that challenging time suggests what he could accomplish as pope. “He’s a very humble man, a very austere man that has brought one of the most conservative Catholic churches in the world into the modern era,” Noble said. “In Argentina, the Catholic Church was very much aligned with a series of very repressive regimes for a long time. So, is that [revitalization of the Argentinian Church] a signal of what he might do as pope?” Noble said the pope’s experience managing the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires might enable him to usher in a new era of curial reform. “Apparently, he has been a very efficient administrator of his diocese in Buenos Aires, which is a large and complex diocese,” Noble said. “How he deals with the appointments and reappointments in the Vatican will tell us a lot about how we should think of him.” Noble said the new pope will be challenged to effectively manage the Roman Curia, which rules the Vatican, to respond to increasingly strong evangelical strains of Christianity in Latin America and to address any other crises that might arise. The election of Bergoglio might imply the Vatican’s willingness to accept a pope who would ‘clean house,’ especially within the Curia, Noble said. “The question of the [cardinals] was whether or not they would try to build consensus to pick someone who would maintain the status quo, but obviously they’ve reached far outside of that group,” Noble said. “Is this a signal that they want someone to come in and clean house? “For more than a century, the Church’s response to crises has been to circle the wagons and to protect the institution. A lot of the time that is noble, admirable, but at other times that has gotten the Church into trouble. I think the sex abuse scandal is the best example of that [trouble] … If they had said ‘We are going to clean house,’ they might have been better off.” Appleby said Pope Francis embodies many of the qualities necessary to help people recommit to the Church. He will likely be especially effective in reaching young people, Appleby said. “The young people of the world in particular seek authenticity in a pope – the authentic face of Christ as a humble servant, clear teacher and moral and spiritual example,” Appleby said. “Pope Francis is known as an accomplished administrator, serious of purpose and dedicated to running a tight ship. “He seems to not be tarnished by the sexual abuse scandal. He has spoken out on behalf of the poor, and lives a simple life with a humble spirit. All of these qualities will be welcomed by Catholics, not least [by] young people.” To be named Pope, Bergoglio needed to receive 77 votes, two-thirds of the 115 votes of the Cardinals in attendance. Bergoglio was elected on the fifth ballot in one of the fastest conclaves in years, though he was not seen as a frontrunner before the conclave began Tuesday. Reportedly, Bergoglio was the second choice for the papacy during the 2005 conclave that resulted in the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Astell said Bergoglio will likely view his candidacy in 2005 and 2013 as evidence of God’s will that he serve as pope. This sense of God’s will and the support of Catholics worldwide will give him courage, she said. “He asked for our prayers, and that’s the really beautiful thing – the courage to step into those big shoes of the fisherman with an openness to God’s will,” Astell said. “I think he must rest at peace knowing that this is God’s will and that that will give him strength. There really is a grace of office.”
Saint Mary’s senior Nichole Clayton is the latest Belle to be named an Orr Fellow, a two-year entrepreneurial opportunity for undergraduates seeking post-graduation experience. Orr Fellows are selected from a pool of applicants each year to enter the professional world through paid positions with Indiana’s most dynamic, high-growth companies, a College press release stated. Clayton, from Bay City, Mich., double majors in communication studies and business administration with a concentration in management. For the next two years, she will work with Courseload, a company dealing with digital textbooks. Clayton said the process of attaining the fellowship began by networking with Saint Mary’s alumnae and current Orr Fellows Melissa Jackson and Amanda Lester, the first SMC students to become Orr Fellows. “I first heard about the fellowship when [Jackson and Lester] came to class to discuss the opportunities within the fellowship,” she said. “From there, I visited them at the [Notre Dame] Career Fair in September and moved forward with the interview process.” Clayton said the process lasted four months, ending on Finalist Day in December. “It was a long process filled with a series of in-person interviews, personal essays and meet-and-greet information sessions,” she said. “After each event, a few more candidates made it through to the next round. “Finalist Day was an exciting yet long day of interviews. I was interviewed by four different companies that partner with the Orr Fellowship. Half an hour after my last interview for the day, I received a call from the director of the fellowship offering me a spot in the fellowship and a position with Courseload. I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Clayton said. Lester, who was assigned to work for TinderBox for her fellowship last year, said Clayton will benefit in numerous ways from being named a fellow. “As an Orr Fellow, Nichole can expect to be challenged professionally and personally as she enters the business world,” she said. “She will be given a lot of responsibility on Day One at her host company, Courseload, this coming June.” “In addition, Nichole will be given the opportunity to gain executive mentorship and be given tasks that would not normally be given to a recent graduate,” Lester said. Jackson, who was partnered with Aprimo, Inc., said Clayton will learn valuable lessons about the business world. “As Nicole prepares to break into her professional career, she can expect to learn very quickly working in the tech community,” Jackson said. “Although she will be challenged both personally and professionally as an Orr Fellow, she will have the unique opportunity to work alongside some of the best and brightest minds in Indiana so early in her career.” Clayton said Saint Mary’s has provided her with excellent preparation for her next two years at Courseload. “The professors and courses I have taken at SMC during these last four years have taught me to act on opportunity, prioritize listening, stimulate learning and embrace change,” she said. “I wholeheartedly believe that the opportunities and doors that have been opened for me are because of my education at SMC.” Contact Kelly Rice at [email protected]
The Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality (CFS) will kick off its 2013 fall lecture series titled “Justice and Its Many Facets,” sponsored by the Saint Mary’s College Annual Endowed Lecture Series Fund, on Sept. 12. Michelle Egan, associate director for the Center for Spirituality, said because the college is focusing on its core value of justice this year, the decision to highlight this topic in the fall lecture series was easy. “Justice is an important and timely theme to build three thought-provoking lectures around, and broad enough to explore some of the various facets of justice,” Egan said. The first of these speakers will be Fr. Daniel Groody, associate professor of theology at Notre Dame, who will discuss immigration Sept 12. “In an era in which war, economic impoverishment and ecological degradation lead millions of people around the globe to migrate from their homeland, and at a time when the U.S. Congress is debating immigration reform legislation, Fr. Groody’s lecture will help the campus community to reflect on these realities from a Catholic perspective,” Egan said. Emily Reimer-Barry, assistant professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego will present a lecture Sept. 26 titled “Saying Yes to More than the Dress? Elements of a Pro-Woman Theology of Marriage.” “At a time when women feel social pressure to have weddings in a style that costs an average of $25,000,” Egan said, “Professor Reimer-Barry’s lecture will discuss a theology of marriage that ‘Says Yes to More Than the Dress.’” The final lecture of the series will take place Oct 10. Mary Doak, associate professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego will present her lecture, “Consuming Women: Sex Slavery and the Body of Christ in a Market Dominated World.” “Professor Doak’s lecture will invite us to explore the meaning of our commitment to justice in a world in which millions of women and children are trafficked both within and across national boundaries for the sex industry or coerced labor,” Egan said. Religious Studies Professor Margaret Gower said she advises all of her students to attend these lectures and believes the topics covered are very pressing and applicable to the core value of justice this year. Gower especially expects the students in her Catholic Social Thought class to attend the lectures. “Altogether, I hope that the talks will help us, to think about when our relationships, institutions and social, political and economic orders are just and unjust,” Gower said. “From there, we can talk together about what we can do to work for greater justice and more humane order.” The tradition of the CFS lectures is important to the Saint Mary’s community in further educating the minds of the students, Egan said. “The Center for Spirituality has brought prominent scholars to campus since its inception in 1985,” she said. “They share their wisdom on contemporary religious issues and address broader issues of how faith and reason interact.”
Tags: NDSP, Notre Dame Fire Department, South Bend Fire Department A 77-year-old Pennsylvania man went into cardiac arrest Monday at 8:15 a.m.at the bus stop by the University’s main gate, University spokesman Dennis Brown said in an email to local media that morning.“The Notre Dame police and the Notre Dame and South Bend fire departments responded immediately. The South Bend Fire Department transported the man to Memorial Hospital. Notre Dame has no other details to report,” the email stated.
Bree Newsome, an activist, filmmaker and musician, delivered a lecture on her work fighting racism Tuesday night in an event sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services. The lecture also served as the keynote address for Walk the Walk Week.Newsome opened her remarks with a discussion of consciousness, which she defined as being aware of unconscious behavior. Newsome said she is conscious that she “live[s] in a particular time and place in human history where racism” exists.She said her sociopolitical consciousness on this issue arose during the summer of 2013 when she and her family visited the Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. That same year, the U.S. Supreme Court declared parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Chris Collins | The Observer Activist Bree Newsome delivers the keynote speech of Walk the Walk Week. Newsome discussed her efforts to fight racism, including her role in removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol.To speak out against the changes, Newsome participated in one of the Moral Monday protests against the changes to the Voting Rights Act. Newsome said she came to several realizations as a result of her participation.“One was the realization of how quickly our rights could be taken away,” she said. “… What was I really doing to ensure that these rights exist for myself and future generations?”Newsome was arrested after participating in a sit-in at the North Carolina state capitol over the issue.“There was no moment where I said to myself, ‘OK, I’m going to be an activist now,’” she said. “That was never the thought. The thought was just, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a moment of crisis and we have to draw attention to what’s happening here.’”Around the same time, Newsome said Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, which sparked a new movement and awareness.“Like many, I was deeply disturbed by the facts and circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death,” she said.After the Charleston church shooting in 2015 when nine African Americans were murdered at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, among other events, Newsome said a group of people decided they needed to take down the Confederate flag that flew next to the South Carolina state capital.“[The Charleston massacre] shook me to my core that here we were in the year 2015 and this level of racial hatred and terrorism was still happening,” she said. “ … A sense of shock and demoralization had overtaken the movement. The United States and South Carolina flags were lowered to half mast, yet the Confederate flag remained high and fully unfurled.”While Newsome said she did not want to get arrested again, she thought the cause was strong enough that it was worth risking the climb to take the Confederate flag down.After a day and a half of training to scale the flag pole, Newsome climbed the pole to take down the flag while James Tyson, a white activist working with Newsome, stood guard and helped to deescalate the situation with the police.Newsome said she worked with the team to accomplish the task and there were many roles to fill.“We discussed it and decided to remove the flag immediately, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together,” she said. “… For us, this is not simply about a flag. It is about abolishing the spirit of racism and oppression in all its forms.”Today, Newsome said, Americans live in a tumultuous time, which makes it the right time to fight for equality — something everyone must work together to promote. She said people don’t have to participate in marches to be on the front lines but should be working to make changes in the systems in which they live.“It is true that the darkest hour is right before the dawn,” she said. “I embrace this as a time of transformation and promise.”Tags: Bree Newsome, confederate flag, Social justice, Voting Rights Act, Walk the Walk Week
While students hunkered down in their rooms due to a severe cold front — nicknamed the “Polar Vortex” — that passed over South Bend on Jan. 30, the University called in workers it deemed essential to student safety and the maintenance of campus. Chris Abayasinghe, director of Campus Dining, said the University called in staff to make sure dining services continued throughout the deep freeze, providing food to both students and workers.“Our primary concern has and continues to be, obviously, for the wellbeing of our students, as well as our staff, and we balanced that concern to ensure that they would be able to report to work safely,” Abayasinghe said. Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, said precautions were taken to ensure the staff’s safety despite the low temperatures.“One of the things we arranged … was making sure shuttles were bringing those people that had a distance from where they parked because of the extreme weather,” Browne said.Abayasinghe echoed Browne’s point, saying that in addition to having the dining hall workers provide food for students, they also provided food for those who drove the transport vehicles. “Because the decision was made so far in advance for us for the emergency [that] we were also able to work closely with our friends and partners over at [Transportation] Services to be able to work through getting a shuttle, to be able to coordinate that shuttle to ensure our staff were as minimally exposed to the weather as possible,” Abayasinghe said. “We also had the fortunateness of having other Notre Dame staff members come in to drive some of these University vehicles to allow us to do that. So during this period … we also took care of the University’s essential staff so anyone who’s brought in to keep the campus safe and things like that. So we fed them as well.”Browne said those workers called in on Wednesday were notified around noon Monday, the same time students were notified that classes were cancelled.Abayasinghe said one of the other protections the administration put in place for dining workers was opening only locations at Notre Dame deemed “essential” by the University. “Our main thing as we think about our staff is obviously not to put them in harm’s way. So, when we declare an area as an essential service area, in our response this time … we opened NDH and SDH, and we also opened in collaboration with our friends over at student activities and student affairs, the Huddle Mart,” he said. “So we made a determination that we were primarily going to open those areas versus [the Duncan Student Center], for example or any of the other restaurants. So we were thoughtful to minimize how many people we had on campus, and then further with additional transportation services, being able to get them back to their vehicles.”In addition to these safety precautions, Browne said the University compensated employees appropriately.“We increased their compensation to reflect the harsher conditions, or the unusual conditions, and that applied to service workers and others,” Browne said. “ … [Those] who were not required to come in, they were not docked but they were paid, even though they didn’t have to come in.”Considering the dangerous and difficult circumstances the Polar Vortex created, Abayasinghe said he feels Campus Dining staff handled the situation well. “They just continue to amaze and impress me and especially when there’s a certain situation or emergency as to how they pull together. They’re pretty cool,” he said.Tags: Campus DIning, maintenance staff, polar vortex 2019