Notre Dame’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity celebrated almost a year’s worth of effort in the community at the dedication of the organizations 16th home in the South Bend area Sunday.South Bend resident Melissa Jones and her two sons are the new occupants of the Campeau Street residence.Nathan Marsh, volunteer coordinator of Notre Dame’s Habitat for Humanity, said turnout for the event was indicative of how important the project was for the local community.“Melissa and here family, along with members of her church, and Notre Dame alumni and students were all there today,” he said.Marsh said the Notre Dame chapter is unique in that it is one of the few college campus chapters that builds and completes a house every year.“We do all the fundraising and getting materials on site,” he said. “We also see to it that contractors work on time. We walk through the whole thing as students.”Volunteer efforts were particularly important to the success of the project, Marsh said.“We had a fantastic turnout of kids every Saturday and Sunday, even football weekends and when it is 10 degrees outside,” he said.Marsh also said Melissa Jones was active in the construction of the house, as per Habitat for Humanity policy.“In addition to having two sons and a full time job, she came to work at the house every weekend,” he said.The Jones family also had to meet other Habitat requirements in order to participate in the project.“They actually have to go to a class about maintenance and finance for a first time homeowner,” Marsh said.Marsh said Melissa Jones’s spiritual life was an integral aspect of the effort she put into the program.“The faith she had throughout this project was amazing. There was a lot of work she had to put into it,” he said.In addition to student volunteer work and the Jones’s efforts, Marsh said South Bend’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity helped in the process, from construction to selecting the Joneses for the program.Marsh said the process of constructing the house took nearly the entire academic year.“We started planning for it at the end of the summer. Most of our construction occurs during fall break. Over 100 students show up with Notre Dame alumni,” he said. “Once the weather warms up in the spring, we do landscaping.”One of the special aspects of this particular Habitat for Humanity project is the site that the house was chosen for.“Both of [the Jones’s] neighbors will live in Habitat houses,” Marsh said. “This will be great for neighborhood relationships. Part of what we work on is building community roots.”After months of effort, Marsh said everyone involved felt a strong sense of achievement with how the project turned out and what it means for the Jones family.“Working on it all year with Melissa, starting from a dirt lot, and celebrating the accomplishment of finishing this house which she will move in with her family is really amazing,” he said.
In early September, Michelle Joyce, a Notre Dame chemistry and biochemistry faculty member, decided to take her passion for service, education and science and make a difference. What resulted was the ND LIGHTS program. LIGHTS stands for “Laboratory Instrumentation Giving Hope To Students.” “The program is an initiative that takes lab equipment no longer suitable for our research needs, but that is still considered a good teaching tool and putting it into the hands of high school science teachers in underdeveloped schools,” Joyce said. The program will initially benefit schools around the country that are connected to Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). Eventually, Joyce would like the program to grow to other underdeveloped schools, including some in the South Bend area. “It takes a lot to outfit a lab appropriately,” Joyce said. “It makes a huge difference to students when the correct tools are there.” Joyce knows all too well how hard it can be for teachers to work with insufficient or outdated equipment, as her father has been a Catholic high school principal for 40 years. “These high school teachers work tirelessly with almost nothing,” Joyce said. “This is kind of my way to honor my dad.” Due to the nature of research conducted at Notre Dame, professors need to have the most up-to-date equipment. This initiative will take outdated equipment as well as tools from retired labs and donate them to high school labs. ND LIGHTS has already collected six pieces of lab equipment at Notre Dame, including a volt and pH meter, Joyce said. Notre Dame faculty members, if they choose, can also be involved in the process of designing experiments to go along with the donated equipment. Joyce said once a piece of equipment is deemed a surplus item and a charitable donation, an experiment would be designed to go along with basic high school science curriculum and the piece of equipment. ACE teachers would learn the experiments during their training sessions on campus and integrate them into their classrooms. “This is our way to contribute to the University’s Catholic mission,” Joyce said. “Professors that donate equipment can have their undergrad or grad students develop experiments.” The collaboration between the Colleges of Science and Engineering and the Office of Sustainability helped begin the ND LIGHTS program. Each piece of lab equipment has to be deemed practical for a high school to maintain and implement in their curriculum. The Office of Sustainability ensures all the paperwork is correctly completed and each piece is approved, Joyce said. Currently, the program’s goals are more about the quality of the instruments and experiments than their quantity. Joyce plans to follow up with all the teachers receiving equipment to gauge how the program is working after it is introduced into the high schools. “Right now, the potential is way bigger than we even can see this first year,” Joyce said.
The Notre Dame Wall Street Club held an information session Thursday evening to introduce freshmen and sophomores to the club and make the path to Wall Street a little bit easier. Four senior leaders, Greg Bennett, Anne Lenzi, Tom McMackin and Chris Masoud, who is also one of The Observer’s Assistant Managing Editors, led the event. The event gave students a broad introduction to the activities of the Wall Street Club and demonstrated how the club can facilitate acceptance into a position on the Street. Caitlin Lynch, a 2011 graduate, employee at J.P. Morgan and Wall Street Club founder, said the club helps Notre Dame students succeed by giving them skills beyond those taught in class. “What we were trying to do was to create a platform of support to help students get jobs in sales and trading and investment banking,” Lynch said. “We wanted to provide a network of guidance and support as they traveled through the recruitment process.” The club was started by seniors last year and just recently gained official recognition from the Student Activities Office. Lenzi said this year’s leaders plan to focus on reaching all students, not just upperclassmen searching for internships. “We want to reach out to freshmen and sophomores more,” Lenzi said. “We want to let them know what is available to them earlier.” Notre Dame Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Scott Malpass helped forge an important connection between club members and alumni. Malpass said he decided to connect the Notre Dame Wall Street Club with the Wall Street Leadership Committee alumni group after James Ingallinera, a 2011 graduate who drafted the club’s charter, approached him about networking opportunities. “The main charge [of the Committee] is to promote Notre Dame on the Street,” Malpass said. “I connected the two, and the combination has been just really fabulous for Notre Dame.” Freshman Pedro Suarez said he attended Thursday’s event to obtain more information. “I’m possibly interested in investment banking and wanted to find out more about it,” Suarez said. “I also wanted to learn more about how to prepare myself for that career.” For students like Suarez, leaders of the Wall Street Club wanted to emphasize the increasing attention Wall Street firms are giving Notre Dame students. “Recruiters are coming more and more to Notre Dame every year … because our students have been going to all of these big banks and crushing it,” Bennett said. “They realize that Notre Dame kids are intelligent, hardworking and humble.” Malpass said this increased attention is due in large part to the Mendoza College of Business’s number one ranking and the hard work of Notre Dame alumni on Wall Street. “Our alumni who have been out there for years have developed a great reputation,” he said. Malpass added the key to continuing this momentum is to increase the amount of information provided to students earlier in their college careers. “We’ve had a presence on Wall Street for a long time, but because [Notre Dame] is not located on the East Coast, it’s not as natural of a pull,” Malpass said. “But that’s changed; our students are now much more aware of the opportunities available and how to seek them.”
Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, a teacher present during the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, spoke Wednesday night in the Hesburgh Library about how hope helped her overcome her experience, found a non-profit and publish a book in the wake of the shooting.Despite the grim events that acted as a catalyst to Roig-DeBellis’ talk, her words were optimistic and encouraging.“Your perspective determines how you react or not to every situation in your life,” Roig-DeBellis said, “You have the choice. You alone have the power … it will make the impossible feel possible.”Roig-DeBellis described the events and choices that molded her life, from her adoption as an infant to her first teaching job at Sandy Hook — all of which involved “the balance found in life. There are highs and lows, there is good and bad found on any one day, in any one moment.“Both are always present,”Roig-DeBellis said. “It is a choice which to focus on.”Roig-DeBellis said during the shootings, her choice became one between life and death for herself and her 15 first-grade students. She said she ushered her students into a tiny bathroom, and together they hid in silence as gunshots rang out.“For myself the only decision that needed to be made was, ‘Do I want my students and I to survive?’” Roig-DeBellis said, “The only answer to that was yes. … What I was asking them to do must have sounded impossible. Our classroom bathroom was a three-by-four foot space.“ … We stood there huddled, squished like sardines, listening to the sheer horror of what was happening on the other side of the cinder block. Pure evil reigned. My students looked up with me with pleading eyes and said, ‘Miss Roig, I want to have Christmas this year,’ ‘Miss Roig, I want to have my mom,’ ‘Miss Roig, I don’t want to die today.’ I said, ‘I know, it’s going to be all right.’“I did not think it was going to be all right … and so in that moment that I was sure was going to be our last, I told my students how lucky I was that they were in my class, how happy I was to be their teacher and that I loved them all very, very much. I wanted something positive to be the last thing they heard.”Following the shootings, Roig-DeBellis said she struggled with a loss of independence as a result of trauma.“I couldn’t go anywhere in public. … I couldn’t be in the dark. … It was infuriating,” she said.However, Roig-DeBellis said in choosing hope, she was able to begin the healing process through starting a non-profit and penning a book.“Instead of focusing on questions that I was never going to answer, I had to focus on the ones that I could,” she said, “And in focusing on those questions … it gave me renewed hope because it gave me a purpose.”As gifts poured in for the Sandy Hook survivors from across the world, Roig-DeBellis said her class responded by sending gifts to an elementary school in Tennessee, who in turn sent white boards to a class in Arizona, and a chain of giving began.From this pattern Roig-DeBellis said she founded Classes4Classes, a non-profit which aims to “actively engage students in learning a social curriculum through the exchange of gifts with other K-8 classrooms, which fulfill a need or vocational objective,” according to its website.Roig-DeBellis said she also decided to write a book about her experiences during the shootings and how her choice to hope helped her overcome her pain. Her book, “Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Your Life’s Darkest Hour,” will be available in stores in upcoming weeks.“I am an ordinary person. I am a teacher, I am a wife, I am a runner, I am a survivor,” Roig-DeBellis said. “I am just like you. … I am somebody who made a choice that what could have been unbearable wasn’t going to be. We each have that choice.”Tags: choice, Hope, Sandy Hook
As part of the Justice Friday series, a Saint Mary’s student discussed the implications of being openly gay as a college student and explored ways to make the College a place where all students feel safe to be themselves.Junior Maranda Pennington started the discussion by reminding everyone that coming out is an individual decision and providing some background about the LGBTQ community.“I want to make sure you understand that even though I’m going to be discussing coming out and why I think it’s important, I’m not urging everybody that is closeted to come out, because it’s such a personal thing,” she said. “You have to feel safe and ready for it … but I do want people who are at that point or who are going to be at that point to feel empowered. I would never want somebody who chooses to conceal their identity feel to ashamed because they’re not out.”Pennington said the word queer has been reclaimed as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community. “Coming out is admitting to yourself that you do identify as LGBTQ,” she said. “ … The first step is coming out to yourself, and then you can choose keep building on that and disclose it to other people.“There is no uniform way to disclose this aspect of your identity,” she said. “For some people, I chose to write a letter to them because I was too uncomfortable to say it in person. … It’s continuous. Throughout my entire life I’m probably going to have to come out to people several times.”Coming out can be necessary for several reasons, Pennington said, ranging from personal emotions to visibility for the LGBTQ community.“It’s important to be true to yourself and feelings,” she said. “Concealing something so personal and vital to who you are has detrimental effects. It turns you into the master of lying and hiding how you feel. It can also take away energy from other aspects of your life.”Pennington shared her own coming out story. “Growing up, I always felt like I had to be two people all the time.” she said. “ … I was super involved and successful. But I had another side of me. I became so good at hiding that side of me. No one knew the level of anxiety I had and how generally unhappy I was.“I didn’t really let myself figure out my sexual orientation, or even think about it, until my freshman year at Saint Mary’s. My shame, anxiety and internalized homophobia made this probably the most difficult thing I ever had to go through. I felt terrified and honestly thought being gay would make me unhappy forever.”Pennington said she was able to tell a professor, who recommended a counselor to her. From there, she was able to slowly come out to her friends and family. “You continue to get strength as you tell more people,” she said. “ … The love and support I received was so overwhelming that it made the rejection I faced less scary.”Pennington said people can make a difference by educating people on different perspectives, showing empathy and kindness and embracing and empowering each other, regardless of any aspect of our identity.“I feel like I have this new confidence, a weight just lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “I’m more comfortable speaking up when people say something offensive or homophobic. Some days, that does take a lot out of me, but other days I feel pretty empowered by it.A good addition to the College, Pennington said, would be an LGBTQ resource center where those struggling with their identity could go for help. Pennington also suggested covering more LGBTQ topics during faculty and administration training as a way to help make Saint Mary’s a more welcoming environment.“The LGBTQ community at Saint Mary’s needs more visibility on campus,” she said. “It’s hard to feel validated and welcomed somewhere when your identity is not even acknowledged as existing. You feel pretty invisible all the time.”The Justice Friday series takes place at Saint Mary’s every Friday in conference rooms A and B in the Student Center from noon to 12:50 p.m.Tags: coming out, Justice Fridays, LGBTQ, saint mary’s
The University will be required to turn over evidence showing financial support received by Notre Dame from the family and businesses tied to a former academic coach who allegedly harassed a Notre Dame student, according to an article from the South Bend Tribune. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 30, 2015, alleges the University employee coerced the student into a sexual relationship with her daughter, according to court documents.An order was filed in the St. Joseph Circuit Court last week, and Special Judge Michael Scopelitis ruled today that Notre Dame must turn over certain records that show the financial ties between the former tutor’s family and the University, the Tribune reported Tuesday. Earlier this month, the lawsuit claimed the University employee had previously harassed a different student, but that the University had failed to discipline her on account of her financial ties to the University.The suit also alleges University administrators knew about the misconduct and, citing Title VI and Title IX, had a responsibility to intervene for the student’s well being, which was compromised by a racially and sexually hostile environment.The student’s attorney argued that information about the former employee’s financial relationship with the University could serve as evidence as to whether or not Notre Dame was aware of the misconduct and failed to take proper action.According to the court documents, the suit alleges the University employee — “Jane Roe” — coerced the plaintiff — “John Doe,” an African-American student at the University — into a sexual relationship with her daughter, who attends a “nearby school” but is also an employee of the University. Notre Dame said it placed the woman on leave after the complaint was filed in August 2015 and fired her in October, after an investigation.Tags: Sexual harassment, St. Joseph’s County, Title IX
Saint Mary’s students have brought the skincare and cosmetics company Ginamarie Products to campus through an internship in which they promote products on social media and compose monthly articles for the company’s website.Gina Marie McGuire, the owner of Ginamarie Products, has run the company by herself for almost 30 years, her daughter Christina McGuire, a junior at Saint Mary’s, said. She said this internship gives her classmates an opportunity to try the products she has used for as long as she can remember.“As her daughter, I’ve used the products my whole life, but now other people — especially here — are using it,” McGuire said. “Seeing that it actually helps people is the best part about doing this for me.”McGuire said her mom’s mission is to show women prioritizing the health of their skin leads to beautiful results.“It is to empower women — that is my mom’s main goal,” McGuire said. “You don’t want to just put a product on your skin without knowing what it’s about, knowing what’s in it. When you have healthy skin, beauty automatically follows.”Sarah Sniegowski, junior and Ginamarie Products intern, said the brand’s message goes beyond skincare.“Our mission statement is to be role models to all women and to make an impact on the women around us,” Sniegowski said.Sniegowski said this internship provides her with valuable business experience and the opportunity to try new products.“As GM girls, we get to try all the skin care and some of the makeup products, and we also get to work on our blogging, photography and marketing throughout social media,” Sniegowski said. “We really focus on how it’s all clean cosmetics. All the makeup is water-based.”Madison Marshall, junior and Ginamarie Products intern, said she feels proud to promote Ginamarie Products because she can share her input and experiences with the world.“That’s our job, to get the word out and really inform people about how great Ginamarie Products are,” Marshall said. “And I can actually say that because I’ve actually used them.”Marshall said this internship has made her passionate about skincare.“I just want everyone to take an interest in their makeup and their skincare and start really educating themselves about what they’re putting on their skin and what makeup they’re using,” Marshall said. Tags: ginamarie, internship, makeup, skincare
At 18:42 military time Sunday, a live broadcast showcasing Notre Dame students, alumni, faculty and friends through a variety of interviews, performances and events kicked off for 29-straight hours.The broadcast’s start time was symbolic — Notre Dame was founded in the year 1842. And after nearly 176 years of generation after generation making its mark on the University’s history, the fifth-annual Notre Dame Day strived to reconnect the Notre Dame family by sharing campus stories while raising funds for student and alumni groups with a direct impact on students. Ann Curtis | The Observer Students in the Glee Club participate in Notre Dame Day, a 29-hour fundraiser for student and alumni groups. Over 200 live interviews, 40 performances and competitions took place.With its official close Tuesday morning, Notre Dame Day program director Pablo Martinez, a 2011 graduate, said the event hit record-highs by accumulating over 115,000 views on the broadcast’s website alone and over 31,500 gifts totaling over $2.1 million.“When it was all said and done there were 880 groups that had a stake in Notre Dame Day,” Martinez said. “ … Our goal is to tell the Notre Dame story more broadly [and] get more people to realize yes, you can have an impact with a gift because that really impacts the group.”According to the percentage of votes an organization received over the course of the 29 hours, a $1.1 million University challenge fund was divided to add to the donors’ gifts and encourage competition between different groups, Notre Dame Day’s website said.Every initial $10 donation made to an organization featured on Notre Dame Day’s website counted for five votes, while every subsequent gift from the same donor counted as one vote, assistant director of volunteer leadership Ellen Roof, a 2015 graduate, said. By limiting the number of additional votes, Roof said the program pushed for involving a broader audience of people.“Other than the freshmen, everyone on campus has experienced a Notre Dame Day now, so all the student groups are already counting on that budget money and they know how big of a difference that funding makes,” she said.In addition to increased viewership and funding, Martinez said more groups leveraged the resources given to them to market their campaigns and communicate their messages to alumni more effectively.“We probably consulted with 200 groups individually across the board, [and] that includes our Alumni Association groups, that includes the centers and institutes, that includes the dorms and that includes all the student groups and clubs from [the Student Activities Office],” he said. The stories featured were captured year-round through submissions or “any University communication” that signified the Notre Dame message of being “a force for good,” Martinez said.“We want to share a few laughs, we want to show you some incredible stories and we might even shed a tear or two,” he said. “ … You’re trying to engage the entire Notre Dame family, so you’re talking about your grandpa 1961 alum who’s in Florida to the 2016 [graduate] who’s in Chicago. How do we give something that will entertain everything? … So we try to be very balanced in our approach.”The organizers found that balance, Martinez said, with over 200 live interviews, 40 performances and competitions such as an Observer-sponsored lip sync battle and the “Fighting Irish Forty,” in which students representing different dorms raced in a 40-yard dash. According to the program’s schedule, other keystone events included interviews with Masters Champion Patrick Reed, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Lindsay Meyer and four-star admiral and 1984 graduate Christopher Grady as well as performances by former Celtic Woman artist Chloe Agnew and four members from the cast of “Hamilton,” amongst others.“There’s so many different things that we try and broadcast,” Martinez said. “And those are all clipped and featured as little mini segments on the website now, so all these student groups can then grab those videos and say, hey this is what we do or this is a cool story and they can use it going forward. So it just doesn’t end on Notre Dame Day, they can tell their story on any other venue that they’d like.”The Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund — a non-profit organization seeking a cure for rare neurological disorder Niemann-Pick Type C — received the most from donors with 4,445 votes and over $38,900 raised, according to the program’s website. Saint Edward’s Hall, Rowing Club, Financial Aid and the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases occupied the next four slots on the leadership board, respectively.The Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, Saint Edward’s Hall and Rowing Club landed in the top five slots for the second year in a row. Martinez and Roof said these groups see consistent success by investing more time and effort into Notre Dame Day throughout the entire year. “I think these groups also do a great job of thanking everyone after the fact and keeping everyone up-to-date throughout the year rather than just waiting until next year to hit them up again,” Roof said. “So these alumni still feel like they’re involved and they’re still actively aware of everything that’s happening, so that’s why they’re definitely willing to go above and beyond in terms of giving back and also sharing their message.”For the first time, Martinez said last year’s top 100 groups with the most votes received an invitation to the Dahnke Ballroom in the Duncan Student Center to represent their organization in the broadcast and spend more time with Notre Dame Day staff to work on marketing strategies. “We have this idea where you can make a gift and then you get votes and it’s this fun competition,” Martinez said. “It’s very much a pride thing for a lot of groups … [some] don’t even know what they’re going to do with the money. And that’s the first thing we tell them is: What’s your plan, why are you doing this?”Another significant change, Martinez said, was the broadcast’s main location in the Duncan Student Center instead of LaFortune Student Center.“[Duncan Student Center] was such a better venue,” he said. “I think students could watch and enjoy the broadcast that they wanted but they could also just go around the corner and study, and they could. LaFortune was too small of a space to do that, you were either there watching the broadcast or you had no place to go.”Overall, Martinez said Notre Dame Day is a fun way to share the impact funding can have on students while connecting alumni with students in the greater Notre Dame family — which is the program’s ultimate goal.“Alumni like being nostalgic,” Roof said. “People consistently write back [to the dorm emails] and they’re reminiscing on their days, they’ll cc all their old friends from their section and it’s kind of fun. So that’s always great to see those positive memories come back as people remember their time as a student.”Though other schools may raise more money on their giving days, Martinez said, Notre Dame is different in that it doesn’t target a select few people who can give out million-dollar gifts.“The numbers speak for themselves — 31,000 gifts, as far as we know that’s a higher education record,” Martinez said. “But that’s not why we do it. … We say we want everyone to have an impact so we can show you the collective impact of what it means to have a collective impact. That’s why we have a Notre Dame Day.”Tags: 29 hour broadcast, funding, live broadcast, Notre Dame Day, Notre Dame Day 2018
The Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD) alerted the Notre Dame community in an email Saturday to phone calls from scammers posing as law enforcement attempting to blackmail individuals for money.The NDPD said its officers never ask individuals for payment or personal information over the phone.The scammers’ call appears to come from the NDPD’s main phone number or a general number. If the call is answered, the caller ”informs the person they are involved in an online drug crime; sometimes claiming there is a warrant for their arrest,” the email said. Students are then asked to send money in order to prove their innocence. Students at times received further calls from individuals claiming to be the chief of police or another law enforcement agency.The scammer knows the name of the person being called. The email said that ”when challenged, the caller has become verbally abusive, vulgar and threatening.”Attempting to call the number back may result in a charge from your phone service provider, NDPD said.NDPD recommended students who receive scam phone calls verify any claims made by the scammer, never give out personal information and ”scrutinize any solicitation before making payments.” Students are encouraged to hang up immediately if they believe the phone call to come from a scammer.To report additional information, contact the NDPD at (574)631-5555.Tags: Campus Safety, NDPD, Notre Dame Police Department, scam, Scam Phone Calls
The Office of Undergraduate Studies announced an extension for students to elect to take a COVID-related leave of absence (CRLOA) in a Tuesday email.The email said students may declare a CRLOA through Nov. 12, the last day of classes for the fall semester. Courses will be removed from a student’s transcript if they take the option prior to Oct. 9. After Oct 9., all courses will receive withdrawals (W’s) on their official transcript.Students who elect to take the leave of absence are required to have a health clearance before returning to the University in the spring.According to the email, students who take a leave of absence must be in contact with the Registrar to register for spring 2021.“A student who fails to register and enroll in the Spring 2021 semester will be considered as having taken a voluntary withdrawal between semesters and must apply for readmission,” the email said.On-campus housing in the spring is not guaranteed for current on-campus students who chose a CRLOA. Transfer credit will only be rewarded if the credit is deemed necessary for sequential courses.Tags: coronavirus, fall semester 2020, office of undergraduate studies, withdrawal