Students teach fifth graders

first_img Hunter said her students were excited for the field trip, but they relaxed once they were placed in smaller groups with the engineering students. John Enszer, an instructor in the First Year Engineering Department, said he hopes I2D2 becomes an annual event.  “The kids like anything where they get to make something or work with something,” Karen Hunter, a South Bend teacher, said. “It’s exciting for them to see projects from start to finish.” “I can’t wait until I get to go to school here,” said Pangallo. “This is a day in class for us right now, just sitting her playing LEGOs with you,” freshman Erik Jenson said to students. The older students were able to act as mentors to the youth, who learned about energy and motion as well as how scientists and engineers design, build and test their experiments. After experiencing a day like this, students like Pangallo think college must be cool and it gets that thought in the back of their mind. The students participated in the Irish Pet Project and the 2010 Domer Freewheeling Derby. The activities had students brainstorming ideas for robotic pets and building and racing LEGO vehicles. “My favorite part of today was building and racing a car,” fifth grader Martha Alsip said. “It was really cool.” As an outreach project to get more involved with local South Bend youth, the College of Engineering first-year students held a technological discovery day called “I2D2—Imagination, Innovation, Discovery and Design at Notre Dame.”center_img The event was held Friday at Stepan Center and welcomed nearly 350 students from the South Bend Community School Corporation to campus. The afternoon aimed at answering two questions engineers deal with most: “Why do things work the way they do?” and “How do we make them work better?”  “It’s important for the kids to be able to visualize what they’re learning,” she said. “They very much look up to them.” For part of the afternoon, the engineers and fifth-graders broke into small groups to work with LEGOs and  to give the youth a chance to talk with the older students about anything from building a LEGO coconut to what it’s like to go to college. “Today is really fun, but playing with the LEGOs is the best part,” fifth grader Taylor Pangallo said.  Hunter said it is more than an educational field trip to the students.  “It’s an ongoing incentive to go to college,” she said.  “It’s exciting to have fifth graders talking to college kids,” he said. “It’s a chance for them to meet role models and it’s a chance for Notre Dame students to interact with the community.”  last_img read more

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Union protests outside hiring

first_imgWhen a group of local union members began picketing in September in front of her soon-to-open Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream at Eddy Street Commons, Tricia Wainscott wondered why. “When I first saw the protesters, I felt horrible,” Wainscott, general manager of the store, said. “My initial reaction was to ask, ‘Why is this going on? What did we do?’” The protests came in response to Kilwin’s choice to use outside workers instead of union workers from the South Bend area, which did not help stimulate the local economy, said Troy Warner, assistant business manager of Local Union 153. Starting Sept. 23, several Local 153 members began picketing at Eddy Street twice a week in support of local workers, Warner said. The group held up signs that read, “Honk for local workers,” in hopes of raising awareness of the issue at hand. “We want the community and Kite Realty to know what’s going on, and we want to put pressure on Kilwin’s because another building at Eddy Street has yet to be developed,” Warner said. “We felt that this was the right time and the right place to get the message out.” But Wainscott said the Kilwin’s franchise, based in Michigan, chose the general contractor for the project without her individual input. “I would never not support non-union or non-local labor,” Wainscott said. “It was nothing personal, and it was all said and done before I knew anything had happened.” Although the general contractor was not locally based, Wainscott said local workers were employed in the installation of the store’s audio, security and fire alarm systems. The decision was also made without the influence of Kite Realty Group, which owns the Eddy Street Commons development, said Ashley Bedell, a project manager with Kite who worked on the Eddy Street project. She said each individual retailer has options when it comes to developing the space they rent. “We own the overall buildings, but when we do leases with individual retailers, they have the option of taking the space in a shell condition and hiring their own contractors to complete the buildout,” Bedell said. “The amount of work Kite does determines what the rental rate is, so it’s part of the business deal, and it varies from tenant to tenant.” Bedell said Kite has the power to control whether the development’s tenants choose contractors that complete quality work, and the general contractor for the Kilwin’s space, Indianapolis-based Alt Construction, has a history of completing quality developments. Bedell also said some union contractors were employed in the construction of the larger buildings at Eddy Street Commons. Warner said Kilwin’s use of a non-local general contractor did not support the struggling local economy or help to improve the unemployment rate of the members of Local 153, which he said hovered around 25 percent for the past year. “The unemployment rate in my union will probably get up to 30 or 35 percent this winter,” Warner said. “But this isn’t just a problem at Eddy Street. As the economy has tanked and construction has slowed, we’ve been seeing workers brought in from all over who are taking jobs from local workers.” So far, Warner said the public response to the protests has improved since the pickets first began. “The first week or so, people would just look at us as they drove by,” Warner said. “Now that we’ve been out there, they know why we’re there and they honk and wave, and some people even brought us food and coffee. “The reception from the public has been tremendous.” But Bedell said there have been no complaints from any of the other Eddy Street Commons retailers. “It’s an unfortunate situation and we wish it wasn’t the case, but it doesn’t cause too much of a disturbance,” Bedell said. Jay Murphy, manager of Kildare’s Pub, which is adjacent to Kilwin’s, has only noticed minor effects on his business because of the protests. “The only kickback we’ve gotten is that we got a call from a few suppliers who were double-checking that the workers were not protesting Kildare’s,” Murphy said. Warner believes the positive response from the community is important because it emphasizes the support for workers who are part of the South Bend community. “We need to support workers who pay taxes here, go to church here, whose kids go to school here,” Warner said. “It makes sense to keep as much money in the community so it can churn back through local businesses.”last_img read more

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Seniors head to Peace Corps

first_imgNotre Dame ranked 18th among medium-sized schools this year to send the most volunteers to serve in the group, according to a University press release. The University jumped five spots on the list from last year as the Peace Corps prepares to mark its 50th anniversary, the release said. Notre Dame was included on this list for the past 11 years. Peace Corps recruiter Rok Teasley said Notre Dame averaged 23 applicants to the group in each of the past four years. Nineteen seniors applied already this year, and the rolling application process is ongoing. Current seniors wishing to join the 25 Notre Dame alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps must first complete a grueling application process, according to the release. Senior Claire Brosnihan said the process includes a lengthy online application, an hour-long interview with very specific and personal questions, and multiple steps of clearance, contributing to months of waiting. Brosnihan, a political science major with a minor in peace studies, said she would be stationed in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa to work on a malnutrition-focused public health program. “The Peace Corps gives you a different perspective from South Bend, Indiana and Notre Dame,” Brosnihan said. “Putting all of your beliefs into action is a big part of it.” Brosnihan said she would like to work in international relations or at an international non-profit organization after her time in the Peace Corps. Senior Shannon Coyne will also join the Peace Corps after graduation. A political science and Arabic double major with a minor in peace studies, Coyne said she will be teaching English in either Jordan or Morocco. “I was attracted to the principles that underlie the mission of the [Peace Corps],” Coyne said. “I was interested in post-graduate service, and it seemed like a logical choice.” Coyne said her minor in Peace Studies prepared her for her time in the Peace Corps. “Peace Studies classes are good for helping you think about ways to promote international development,” Coyne said. “But more than my studies, my experiences outside the classroom really prepared me.” Coyne participated in service through the Center for Social Concerns and the Kellogg Institute, and traveled to Ghana and Cairo, Egypt through the University, which provided invaluable service experiences for her. Coyne said she is most interested in gender issues and will seek a master’s degree in development after leaving the Peace Corps in hopes of working for a non-governmental organization. Megan Conway, a 2006 Notre Dame graduate, also studied Peace Studies while she was a student. She joined the Peace Corps after graduation and is now at the University of Michigan Law School. Conway said a class on tropical African politics she took as an undergraduate piqued her interest in Africa. She was stationed in Cameroon, where she worked on public health initiatives. “We worked with potable water projects, AIDS education, basic health and hygiene and environmental education classes,” Conway said. “And I focused in pre-natal care projects.” Although her time in the Peace Corps was rewarding and worthwhile, Conway said she learned that international sustainable development, more specifically public health, was not the field for her. “I had a phenomenal experience, but I realized that I didn’t want to live abroad for the rest of my life,” Conway said. Conway said the unique undergraduate experience at Notre Dame contributed to her choice to join the Peace Corps. “I don’t think I would have joined the Peace Corps if I had attended one of the other universities I was thinking of,” Conway said. Notre Dame’s relationship can be attributed to the University’s mission to serve others, Coyne said. “It’s definitely the emphasis that Notre Dame students put on service,” Coyne said, “and taking what you learn in the classroom to give back to others.”last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s TOMS club celebrates World Sight Day

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Nora Clougherty The TOMS Saint Mary’s campus club celebrated World Sight Day Thursday, encouraging students to wear sunglasses all day in order to raise awareness for blindness and other visual impairments around the world.Nora Clougherty, president of the TOMS club, said she felt it was important for people to know that TOMS gives back in more ways than just their “One for One” shoe campaign.“This day goes along with their TOMS sunglasses [campaign], for when you purchase a pair of their sunglasses, either prescription glasses or eye surgery is given to people in need,” she said. “In turn you are helping to give sight, one for one, just as all of their other [TOMS] products do.”The TOMS club reached the SMC community with a table in the student center where they distributed tattoos and stickers to both students and non-students.To spread the message further, Clougherty said the club offered photo props and sunglasses to people to pose with in order to share pictures on their social media.“Throughout the whole day we asked participants to use #GiveSight when posting pictures,” she said.  “It could have been pictures of them in their sunglasses spreading the movement or of a view that they were grateful to see everyday.”Clougherty said she thought the club was very successful in helping people learn more about TOMS and spreading awareness of World Sight Day.“This is an issue that many people don’t know about or even know that it can be easily cured,” she said. “We had countless people coming up to the table asking why we were wearing our sunglasses.”The TOMS SMC Club also has several other events planned for the rest of the year, Clougherty said.“We want to have a ‘Style Your Sole’ party where you purchase a pair of classic TOMS [shoes], and we all come together to paint them,” she said. “Our biggest event is in the spring for ‘One Day Without Shoes.’”Clougherty said the purpose of “One Day Without Shoes” is to encourage people to go barefoot for an entire day so that someone else does not have to.“One of the main goals of the TOMS SMC campus club is to simply spread the message of ‘One for One’ and what TOMS does and how you can participate or help in the cause,” she said.Tags: #GiveSight, One for One, sight, TOMS, World Sight Daylast_img read more

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Students reflect on final game of the regular season

first_imgIn the final regular season game of the 2014 season, the Irish lost 49-14 in a game against USC on Saturday afternoon.The game concluded Notre Dame’s season, one that saw the University climb to No. 5 in the AP Poll after a perfect 6-0 start and fall out of the rankings after losing five of the next six games, finishing with a 7-5 overall record.The Irish were well supported in Los Angeles, as a strong Notre Dame contingent traveled to support the team, freshman Kelly Loughran said.“The tailgating environment was a lot of fun at the game,” Loughran said. “I was impressed by how well represented the Notre Dame fans were in Southern California.”Junior Lisa Wuertz said she was also impressed by the University’s committed fans.“One of my favorite parts of away games is seeing Notre Dame fans traveling from all over the country,” Wuertz said. “I sat in the Notre Dame section. There were a ton of Irish fans.”In the face of the USC loss, ND fans left the game with mixed reactions.“One positive is we have a month off to get ready for the bowl game and finally get healthy,” sophomore Ryan Loughran said.“The worst part was definitely the score, but enjoying one last Notre Dame game this year made it completely worth it,” Kelly Loughran said.Ryan Loughran said with the close of the regular season, he was curious about the possible quarterback competition between sophomore Malik Zaire and senior Everett Golson.“There needed to be some type of change to put a fire into this team,” Ryan Loughran said. “I don’t know who [Irish head coach Brian] Kelly will go with, but there definitely is a QB controversy.”Zaire took over the quarterback responsibilities from Golson during the second quarter of the game and ran for one of the Irish touchdowns. In addition to the quarterback switch, Kelly also subbed in redshirt freshman Mike McGlinchey at offensive tackle for fifth-year senior Christian Lombard.“We have a lot injuries, so it’s hard to really judge where we will be next year,” Wuertz said. “I thought Malik looked good and was a good change of pace.”In spite of the loss, the Irish were able to finish with a winning record for a seventh consecutive season.“With young teams, bowl preparation can be very beneficial to the development of a team leading into the offseason,” said Ryan Loughran.After a series of disappointing losses, the Irish aim to end the year on a high note as they turn their attention to bowl game preparation.Students say they are ready to move on.“I’m indifferent about a bowl game,” Wuertz said. “I sort of want to just start a new season and forget about the negatives from this one.”Currently, the Irish are predicted to play against the University of Tennessee in the Belk Bowl on December 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina.Tags: game wrap, USClast_img read more

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Dick Vitale and wife donate $1 million for student scholarships

first_imgESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale and his wife, Lorraine, donated $1 million to Notre Dame, the University announced in late September. Their gift will fund the creation of the Dick Vitale Family Spirit Scholarship.Although neither Dick Vitale nor his wife attended the University, Vitale said they both have strong ties to Notre Dame.“I formed a connection to Notre Dame because both of my daughters, Terri and Sherri, became students at Notre Dame in the mid-90s and loved the school so much that they became ‘Double Domers,’” Vitale said. “Notre Dame runs deep in our family.”The scholarship fund is geared towards undergraduate students who have demonstrated need, and preference is given to those who are members of spirit groups on campus such as the marching band, Irish Guard, Irish Dance Team and the cheerleading squad.“I love the University — I love everything it stands for,” Vitale said. “I believe in Notre Dame’s quality of education. The young people that go there put together such an incredible résumé to be able to be admitted to the University, and I just wanted to maybe be able to bring a little happiness to some youngster who needed financial help.”The focus on athletic spirit groups stems from Vitale’s long-time involvement in collegiate athletics. Vitale graduated from Seton Hall University in 1963 and received his master’s degree in education from William Paterson University. He coached basketball at the University of Detroit from 1973-1977 and went on to be head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 1978. Vitale said both of his daughters were also involved in athletics during their time at Notre Dame.“They played tennis on the varsity tennis team and were scholarship athletes and married two guys that were also students at Notre Dame,” Vitale said. Vitale said his connection to Notre Dame remains among his few favorites, despite the ties he has created to many other universities and colleges throughout his career.“I am very proud that I received an honorary alumni degree in 1997 and have been very active speaking at the pep rallies and on the campus on a regular basis as much as I can,” Vitale said. “It is everything about people who really, really want to make something of their lives, who have really put together a dedicated plan to the game of life and are really dedicated to pursuing their dreams to the best of their abilities.”Vitale said his hope is that this scholarship fund will allow students to accomplish great things in both athletics and in spirit activities, just as Vitale has been able to do himself.“I have been blessed in my life financially and in many ways,” he said. “I just love giving back. Notre Dame represents all that’s good about an education. I hope that these students go on to chase their dreams and goals and pursue them to the best of their ability and be able to, later in life, do the same for someone else — to be able to give back”Tags: Dick Vitale, donation, scholarshiplast_img read more

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Panelists promote awareness of unhealthy relationships

first_imgRosie LoVoi | The Observer Panelists gather in DeBartolo Hall on Wednesday night to teach students how to identify and cope with unhealthy relationships. The speakers confronted issues such as stalking and emotional abuse.The panel was comprised of Heather Ryan, an on-campus Deputy Title IX Coordinator; Maggie Skoch, a senior resident assistant (RA) and former president of National Alliance of Mental Illness at Notre Dame (NAMI-ND); Maureen Lafferty, a psychologist at the University Counseling Center; and Ben Brockman, a senior RA.Throughout the panel, audience members were presented with specific scenarios involving various types of concerning behavior. They were then asked to text in opinions on how they would handle the situation based on options presented in a follow-up poll. Both panel members and audience members examined the poll results together and went on to engage in open discussions on the situations, behaviors and solutions presented. Audience members were able to freely ask questions, offer insight and disagree with panel members.The first scenario presented described a college-aged boy, “Robert,” who has recently started dating a new girlfriend and finds himself being contacted continually and aggressively by an ex-girlfriend over text, Facebook and email. The ex-girlfriend’s reactions range from angry to nostalgic to desperate. Audience members were presented with three options for how to handle the situation: confront the ex-girlfriend forcefully, give her a chance to explain herself or ignore her.Led by the panelists, audience members picked apart the scenario, considering, for instance, if they knew definitely that Robert did not want to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, and if confronting her would take the form of a fight or a conversation. Rather than choose a ‘right’ answer, the short-term and long-term benefits and disadvantages of each method of reaction were weighed by both the audience and panel members.“I would say the most important thing is to understand the breadth of the situation,” Brockman said, “So that’s asking more questions. You may feel like you’re prying, you may feel like you’re being blunt with so many questions, but that’s what you have to do in order to get answers. So most important is to understand what’s going through their head, how they’re feeling and going from there to make decisions.”After discussing the situation thoroughly, audience members were asked how their reactions would differ if certain aspects were different. When presented with the question of how the situation would differ if the genders of Robert and his ex-girlfriend were reversed, panel members stressed the behavior described is equally concerning regardless of gender and regardless of if the couple had been homosexual instead of heterosexual.Panelists and audience members then shared opinions on when the situation could begin to be considered stalking, noting that there isn’t always a clear set of guidelines to defining such behavior.The second scenario presented described a hypothetical friend, “Laura,” approaching audience members and confiding that she was recently sexually assaulted but is now seeking counseling. Audience members answered a poll which offered three different ways of handling the situation: to keep an eye on Laura but not mention the issue with her; to continually press her to talk more about the assault; and to tell an RA that Laura may need help without describing her specific situation.Panel members discussed the importance of respecting someone’s privacy and comfort levels, while walking the line between intrusion and providing necessary help.“I understand that it’s [important] to respect their privacy, but maybe more important, before you walk away from the situation, is to express both love and also let her know that this is absolutely not her fault by any means,” Brockman said.“I think when we’re working with someone who has experienced this, we are hoping to give back their agency,” Lafferty said, “And so I think it’s really important to consider how the decisions that you’re making could impact that agency.”RAs were noted as a useful resource to go to when one is confronted with a friend facing sexual assault. The importance of assessing a friend’s wishes in such a situation was also emphasized.“I think affirming their decision to seek help at a counseling center was really important,” Skoch said, “Asking permission to ask questions is OK, too. ‘Do you mind if I ask a couple questions about this?’ If they say no, that’s OK. It’s OK to be present to what the person is experiencing without being fully able to fix or address what they’re going through.”Various methods of appropriately approaching a friend with concern were discussed as well.“You might start with, ‘I’m worried about your mental health,’ ” Skoch said, “I say that with a slight chuckle, but very sincerely, it’s OK to say the words that you’re trying to get across. You don’t have to necessarily beat around the bush, you don’t have to be blunt in an insensitive way, but it’s OK to ask that question itself, because I think it names what’s going on, perhaps in a way that ‘Laura’ hasn’t thought about it yet.”The third scenario presented described a roommate, “Ashley,” whose new boyfriend has caused her to become cut off from friends. Additionally, Ashley’s self-esteem has visibly suffered due to her boyfriend’s constantly belittling comments. Audience members were once again presented with three options: confronting Ashley with a group of friends; trusting Ashley’s insistence that her relationship is a healthy one; and suggesting that Ashley makes an appointment with the counseling center to get a second opinion.Confronting Ashley as a group was generally disavowed by audience members, who came to the consensus that such a method would come off as too adversarial and ‘ganging up’ on her. Audience members were advised to ‘be careful, not confrontational,’ and to approach friends in similar situations from a place of concern and care.“They may very well say, ‘Yeah, I’ve noticed these things too, but it’s just who they are, that’s how our relationship works,’ “ Brockman said, “At that point, there’s cause for concern simply in the fact that a lot of times our gut opinions aren’t wrong. It may be that you need to go talk to another friend about this, or that you can have not a confrontation, but a conversation.”The “Ashley” situation was particularly interesting because it bordered on the line between simple devotion to a significant other and a significant other acting controlling. Audience and panel members discussed how to notice signs for concern amidst typically normal behavior within a relationship.The fourth and final scenario described an argument between two platonic best friends and roommates, “Carlos” and “Mark,” escalating into physical violence. After Carlos receives a black eye from Mark, Carlos has reservations about continuing to live with him, but brushes the punch off as a “kind of thing” that “happens between the guys all the time.”Panel members pointed out that physical violence should never be justified as simply typical, ‘boys will be boys’ behavior among males, and that physical escalation in an argument is never acceptable.While audience members were informed on the difference between domestic violence and Carlos and Mark’s situation — which would not qualify as domestic violence due to their platonic relationship — they also discussed how the situation would be different if the two were boyfriends instead of best friends, noting the intensification of emotional impact that situation would bring.Throughout the panel, Gender Relations Center (GRC) members stood at the back of the room to offer support for audience members who might become emotionally upset at the scenarios being discussed. Additionally, multiple sources were cited as resources to turn to in cases of various types of emotional and physical violence.Above all, bystander interaction was stressed in all situations.“Often an early intervention is not going to get a whole lot of play,” Lafferty said while describing “Ashley’s” hypothetical boyfriend. “She’s not letting (herself) hear this. I think as a friend, if you’re sensing that, you back off and say, ‘OK, just checking, concerned, but love you,’ and then you stay in her life. You make sure that you’re there if and when she starts to get scared or worried that this is a problem. Because sometimes we get frustrated with friends like this, when we see them doing something self-destructive, and then we just back down.“Then, when they need someone, there’s no one around.”Tags: Ben Brockman, deputy title IX coordinator, Gender Relations Center, Heather Ryan, Maggie Skoch, Maureen Lafferty, NAMI, Title IX The Gender Relations Center hosted a panel Wednesday night in DeBartolo Hall entitled, “What would YOU do?: When a relationship may not be healthy.” The panel, which featured four main speakers and interactive dialogue with audience members, closely analyzed several concerning situations within relationships and how to handle them appropriately.last_img read more

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Fourteen Notre Dame dorms lack wheelchair accessibility

first_img“If a student would have a class in that building, we would move it to a different location,” he said. Howland said when he came to the University in the 1990s, the Mod Quad residence halls — Pasquerilla East, Pasquerilla West, Knott and Siegfried Hall — were the most physically accessible dorms. “Right when I started, they were building Keough and McGlinn and Welsh Family. Those were kind of the ideal, at that point, to place students in,” he said. “And Ryan Hall — the Ryan family was very interested in accessibility, so they ensured that a lot of things were put in place for Ryan that were fully accessible.” University architect Doug Marsh said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was passed in 1990 and took effect in 1992, has facility and “built-environment” requirements. The state of Indiana also has separate accessible design criteria, and though the two codes are usually consistent, there are small differences. “Any building after 1992 is considered new construction and needs to be barrier-free,” he said. Jessica Ping is a freshman at Notre Dame who has CHILD syndrome, a limb and skin deficiency, and has only partial limbs on her left side. “In order to get around for long distances, I have to use a chair or a prosthetic, which I don’t use very often because of the skin thing. Most of the time, I just use the chair. I can hop short distances,” she said.  Ping lives in a quad in McGlinn Hall, but has her own room that has buttons allowing her to leave and enter more easily, as well as a shower with similar modifications. She will be living in the new women’s residence hall that will open in the fall of 2016. “Other than that, I’m not going to lie — McGlinn is supposedly one of the most accessible dorms, but I’ve had an awful time with it. It’s been really bad. The snow situation was just awful this year, with the parking lot out in front and nobody was willing to do anything about it. So that’s one thing I’m not happy with,” she said. Ping said the first snowfall of the year was on a Saturday night. “I was hungry, the dining hall was about to close, but my rector said I wouldn’t be able to get out. She was right, I got stuck, had to be pushed back in,” she said. “Long story short, we ended up calling NDSP to see if they could give me a ride in one of the cop cars to the dining hall, and they just threw a fit about it. They were so rude to myself, my roommates and my rector. They were unbelievably terrible to deal with and I didn’t try ever again with them. “But I did keep in contact with the disability services on campus and was like, ‘Hey, I’m having issues with the snow, can you fix it?’ And they always tried to word it in a way like they were really sorry, but they weren’t going to fix it,” she said.Marsh said the University has also worked to identify barriers in buildings that were constructed before 1992 and create a program to remove those barriers. Notre Dame’s historic campus, with more than 100 buildings constructed before 1992, presents unique challenges. For example, Alumni Hall, a men’s residence hall constructed in 1931, is sunk in the ground and has a “mid-level” entry. “They do each have those ramped entrances so people can get on the main level, but again, there’s the chapel, now has three steps down to step into.” he said. “You remove as many barriers as physically possible, but some just aren’t achievable.” Ping said the lack of working elevators in other residence halls, like Lyons, has kept her from being able to visit friends in their own dorms.“I can hop up the stairs, but I don’t feel comfortable, especially at night, leaving my chair outside for any passerby to mess around with,” she said. Megan Crowley, a freshman in Ryan Hall with Pompe disease, which progressively weakens muscles, said she specifically looked at wheelchair accessibility when she was visiting college campuses as a prospective student. Editor’s note: Crowley spoke to The Observer with the assistance of her nurse, Debbie Larsen, who is quoted below.“Some of the colleges were not accessible, so those got crossed off the list. Notre Dame was one of the ones that was really accommodating to her,” Larsen said.  Crowley said she has a parking space for her wheelchair-accessible van and special access to closer spaces for some buildings. She also has her own room in Ryan Hall. “Because she needs her own shower, she has a nurse twenty-four hours a day with her, and she needed the space as well for all the equipment and to accommodate her needs,” Larsen said. “The room is just amazing because it has a shower, it has access to water, she has a remote that opens the dorm doors. It opens the main doors for her and it also opens her own dorm room so she can get in and out.” Crowley said she is bothered by the fact that she might not be able to attend an event on campus because not all the buildings are wheelchair-accessible. “… But at this point in her life, she’s accepted that there are going to be places that she can’t access and, if they can fix it, that’s great,” Larsen said. “But she does understand that some of these buildings are very old and they can’t be fixed. It’s not realistic for her to expect that everything in her life is going to be easy, and that everyone’s going to be able to accommodate her needs, and she understands that and is fine with that.” Marsh said the University considers the requirements set forth by ADA and state codes to be minimums, and tries to exceed those minimums “in several key areas,” including ramp design. While ramps are allowed to have “about an 8.3 percent” slope, ramps on the University’s new construction aim to have a maximum slope of five percent. “It’s a big difference,” he said.”What these codes, and the ADA architectural provisions allow, is you to remove the railing because it’s such a subtle slope you don’t necessarily need it. From an aesthetic standpoint it doesn’t bring all this attention to the ramp, it’s just a subtle incline — you don’t need so many landings along the way. And, it’s more importantly, easier for people negotiate, depending on their disability.” Transitions in floor material, such as going from carpet to tile, or vinyl to tile or a wood floor, is another issue the University tries to be cognizant of in new construction, Marsh said.  “Again, speaking with people who’ve endured these challenges, those transitions, even allowed, can be jarring or, depending on their condition, quite painful,” he said. “Ryan Hall was the first of its kind to have a no vertical floor transitions.“We established different floor levels in the subfloor when we built the building, anticipating that the carpet is going to be this thick, but the tile is going to be this thick — we make the adjustment, so that when you roll across, or even if you’re walking but maybe have a malady that makes you drag your foot, it’s not a trip hazard to you. That’s not easy to do, but that’s our goal, to have a zero-transition change between flooring materials.” The Department of Justice also issued updated requirements for accessible design in 2010, but these changes were “fairly subtle,” Marsh said. “They didn’t change universal kinds of things, more dimensional, like the bathroom clearances changed. … It’s a matter of a few inches, but it’s important when you try to negotiate in a tight space,” he said. “Again it’s an area that we’re trying to make sure that restrooms and other small activity spaces, access to your offices are appropriate beyond the minimum, so if that change happens again, in the future, you don’t have that challenge.” News writer Megan Valley contributed to this story. Tags: accessibility, disability, Disability series 2016, Office of Disability Services, Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities Editor’s note: This is the fourth day in a series on disability at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s stories focus on student experiences with physical accessibility at the College and University.Lindsey Meyers | The Observer Scott Howland, coordinator in the office of Disability Services, said all current academic buildings are accessible for students with physical disabilities, aside from Riley Hall, which is home to the art, art history and design department.last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s seniors share favorite college memories

first_imgWith Commencement right around the corner, members of Saint Mary’s Class of 2017 took some time to share their memories and reflect on the experiences they’ve had during their time as a Belle.Communication studies major Jackie Rooney said one thing she will remember the most about Saint Mary’s is Midnight Breakfast.“A big one is Midnight Breakfast — what other school does that, you know?” Rooney said. “It’s just so fun, it’s like a party and it’s a great way to de-stress and also come together and celebrate the end of a semester that’s always so fun. It doesn’t matter who you’re sitting next to or who you’re standing by. You dance with everyone.”Rooney said she and her friends share a special memory they will never forget.“We do this thing, and we don’t do it often, but we’ve done it a few times and it’s just the best thing in the whole world,” Rooney said. “We park in front of Le Mans [Hall] at night time, and we turn on music and just blare it. We get out of the car, and we just dance in front of Le Mans to the music, and it’s just so fun and it’s magical, and you don’t ever want it to end. It’s a very special moment that I’ll hold forever. And I’m hoping when we come back for our reunions, we’ll still do it.”Rooney said the friendships she made during her time at Saint Mary’s will stay with her forever.“Every relationship you have here adds to who you are,” Rooney said. “I have friends that I met abroad. I have friends who live in Ireland who I am still very good friends with. And then my roommate and then a bunch of friends from all walks of life — I think they all add to who you are as a new person coming out of college.”Communication studies and Italian major Kate Fitzmaurice said that Saint Mary’s has helped her develop confidence.“Looking back to freshman year, I would have never guessed I would be in the position I am now, and I’m really proud of where I am and my life right now,” Fitzmaurice said. “And I think that, especially through classroom experience and just being in an environment where you are accepted and the girls are there not to judge you and not to compete with you, but really to build you up … that in itself builds confidence.”Fitzmaurice said her study abroad experience contributed to some of her best memories of her time at Saint Mary’s.“My love for other cultures stemmed from my time in Rome,” she said. “My friendships that I made in Rome are some of the best friendships that I could have ever asked for. I know those girls are going to be with me until the end of time.”Nursing major Maggie Carswell said working for Office of Civic and Social Engagement [OCSE] has been hugely rewarding and has provided her with some lifelong memories.“I’m the student director there, and I’ve been there since my freshman year, and definitely my favorite memories have been through that office,” Carswell said. “Just getting together with my friends and doing some community service, that’s definitely been great because not only do I get to build memories with my friends, I get to help out the community as well.”Carswell is also class council president and said the events she has put together have been some of her fondest memories.“Class council is meant to do events for the class, so I’ve been helping them plan events and also parent weekends and we also planned senior week,” she said.Carswell said one event in particular stood out to her when she thought about her what class council has done.“I’ve always liked our Galantine’s Day event,” Carswell said. “It’s just meant to celebrate your friendships with all your friends, and it is a night to relax. The event was just in the dorm lounge, and everyone could come, grab some food and write some letters to their friends. I liked the sentiment behind it.”Megan Carswell, Maggie’s sister and nursing major, said her best memories of Saint Mary’s go back to her first year.“Freshman year, I switched roommates within the third week, and I moved onto the fourth floor of McCandless [Hall], and right next to me were these two girls, and my roommate and I became really great friends through that year,” Carswell said. “I just have such fond memories of that little corner of McCandless we would always hang out in.”Megan Carswell also works in the OCSE office and said she is going to miss her friends from the office, along with others she has become close to on campus.“I think something unique to my Saint Mary’s experience has been the friends I’ve made though the service of this office,” she said. “I don’t want to say I’m going to lose those connections, but it is going to be weird not seeing my boss everyday, seeing my professors all the time and having those really strong mentors and everything right within my reach. And not having my friends close by — I really am going to miss not being close in proximity to my friends.”Philosophy major Stephanie Villareal said the best memories she has of Saint Mary’s are the times she remembers sitting in the dining hall with friends.“When you’re in the dining hall with your friends, you’re like ‘OK, we’re just going to go for a very quick meal,’ and then one quick meal that was supposed to take half an hour turns into like three hours,” Villareal said. “And three hours is a long time, but it doesn’t feel like a long time because you’re having a great conversation and a good time not doing anything with the people that you love the most.”Villareal said she will always remember how open and welcoming the people of Saint Mary’s have been since the very beginning of her time as a student there.“Freshman year, I lived in Holy Cross [Hall] and I remember my parents dropping me off and it was just like a movie,” she said. “They start driving away and I was standing right in front of Holy Cross and I remember just sobbing so much because I had never been this far away from home without knowing anyone. I just remember thinking ‘How am I going to find my place here?’”The community welcomed her in no time, Villareal said.“But after two days and meeting new people, what I will remember the most is just feeling completely welcome in a community that I was so new to,” Villareal said. “It’s just the relationships and the people. Saint Mary’s is a very special place, but I think it’s definitely the people that add so much to the environment and the community. It doesn’t compare to anything else. That’s for sure.”Tags: Class Council, Commencement, Office of Civic and Social Engagementlast_img read more

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College to host musical fundraising event

first_imgSaint Mary’s is hosting a chamber music concert, Music for Food, to promote local music groups and support the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.Music for Food is an event to raise money and awareness for food inequality throughout the United States while providing entertainment through concerts. The charity was founded by Kim Kashkashian, a Grammy-winning violinist, as a way to combine music and community service. Tanya Gabrielian is a renowned pianist who had previously performed in a Music for Food event before moving to Indiana. When she moved, she noticed that there was no Music for Food branch in Indiana. “I decided to start one here,” Gabrielian said. “So, I’ve organized this event [and] reached out to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana to be our community partner.”Gabrielian said she hopes that Music for Food will do more than raise money. She wants music in itself to be used to promote activism. “I hope that [Music for Food] will bring people to the concert that have not yet had the opportunity to hear live music performed in this way,” she said. “The concert is donation-based so that if someone can’t pay the suggested donation, they are still welcome to attend.“We are hoping not only to raise funds for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana but to make music accessible for all members of our community. Also, we are using music as a tool for activism, and I think this is a powerful force in social change.”Gabrielian said she is excited to be involved in a collaboration between musicians from local colleges.“I love performing, so every opportunity to do so gives me a great amount of joy. Also, it’s a great way to get local musicians involved,” Gabrelian said. “When I moved here in the fall, I realized how many local colleges there are and great musicians, but there wasn’t a huge amount of communication of camaraderie between them.“This concert features musicians from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, IUSB, Bethel College and Andrews University, and the very nature of chamber music involves working together with your fellow musicians to create a cohesive performance. I think this can stand as a metaphor for many things that we are trying to accomplish.”In addition to enjoying the performances, Gabrielian said she hopes attendees become aware of an ever-present issue of food inequality in the U.S.  “Music, and in particular chamber music, can be something that lifts you up. But also, pairing this concert with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, we are also addressing the issue of inequality in our nation,” Gabrelian said. “15.6 million households were food insecure [in 2016] — this is 1 in 8 individuals and 1 in 6 children.“These numbers have been constant since 2015, which shows that this is an unresolved issue that is likely to worsen as public assistance to families in hardship diminishes. It’s easy to forget about these issues if you are not of the population that deals with it on a daily basis.”For those who are passionate about music and fighting poverty, Gabrielian said there are ways for people to get involved in future events. “Please invite your friends, get the word out, do your own bit to shed awareness of food insecurity in our community,” she said.Music for Food will be held Friday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Moreau Center for the Arts.Tags: chamber music, Food Bank of Northern Indiana, food insecure, music for foodlast_img read more

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