Members discuss role of Off-Campus Council

first_imgAt this week’s Council of Representatives (COR) meeting, members discussed the role of the Off-Campus Council and how possible improvements could increase effectiveness and take more of the burden of handling off-campus concerns from other groups, leaving more resources for other issues. “So much of the focus of on-campus bodies has been off-campus issues,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “We think one of the things we can do is to really bolster the power of the Off-Campus Council.” Referencing the group’s constitution, Soler said the Off-Campus Council’s purpose is to “sponsor functions and disseminate information to off-campus students, which has been the goal of student government this whole year.” Hoping to reduce ambiguity about electing members to the council and better express the group’s intended purpose, Soler raised a discussion about potential constitutional amendments. One of the unclear clauses pertains to eligibility to run and vote for off-campus positions. Under the current rules, only current off-campus students can vote for the following year, and in practice, only off-campus juniors have tended to run for these offices. “I guess it’s just been implied that you have to live [off campus] junior year to run for these positions,” off-campus president Ryan Hawley said. “It doesn’t really make sense. What we’re thinking is having people who are going to live off campus be able to run and vote so it’s much more representative of off-campus students.” Soler said expanding eligibility for participation could attract more applicants and ensure the most capable students are given the opportunity to fill the positions. “We think we can really up the quality and get more people to apply for this if we could get on-campus students who are living off next year to run,” she said. After it was suggested that the Off-Campus Council’s level of activity has been lacking, Hawley said the problem was figuring out how to get interested off-campus students involved and maintaining a consistent meeting schedule. “We don’t really have meetings which is part of the problem,” he said. “It’s been hard. People want to get involved and help but actually getting them involved has been difficult.” Hawley introduced the idea of off-campus ambassadors, whose role would be to facilitate the flow of information between off-campus students and the on-campus president, as well as maintaining positive relationships with members of the community. “We were thinking about having neighborhood ambassadors who would go around neighborhoods introducing themselves,” he said. “They would report directly to the on-campus president.” Soler said she felt redefining the purpose of the Council could also help with the group’s current funding problems. “The focus was thought to be that it was a programming board,” she said. “But if we decide that it’s disseminating information then it’s probably something that could be taken more seriously, if this is a more legitimate need for funds.”last_img read more

Annual Riley luncheon honors Dance Marathon

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s College-Notre Dame Dance Marathon (SMC-ND DM) executive officers were invited to the annual Hope Happens Here Luncheon for the Riley Children’s Foundation in Indianapolis on Friday. “The Annual Riley luncheon is one of my favorite events to attend because it helps put into perspective what Dance Marathon helps support,” president Rebecca Guerin said. Junior Amy Tiberi, vice president of internal relations for the SMC-ND DM, said around 1,500 people attended the Hope Happens Here luncheon. All of the attendees were donors to Riley Children’s Hospital in some way. Also in attendance were Riley patients, parents and doctors, as well as executives for the hospital, Indiana University and Butler University. “It was a reminder of what Dance Marathon does for the patients and staff of Riley,” Tiberi said. “It was renewing and made me much more motivated to make this an amazing year for our marathon.” The luncheon is an annual meeting to touch base with all the donors and let them know how their profits have been put to good use at Riley Children’s Hospital, she said. The Riley Board of Governors, amongst other speakers, expressed gratitude toward the donors and detailed plans for future fundraisers. Junior Maureen Parsons, vice president of finance for the marathon, said the luncheon was an opportunity for the Riley Foundation to thank those who have given to Riley over the last year, including SMC-ND DM. “People, including Riley’s CEO and President, spoke to the attendees, and we saw videos of what Riley is doing for kids and their families,” Parsons said. “It reminded our executives of why we spend all year raising money and awareness for Riley Hospital.” In addition, eight Riley patients were recognized as 2012 Riley Champions for their ability to inspire others and raise awareness in their communities, which made an impact on multiple SMC-ND Dance Marathon executives. Parsons said the Riley Champions shared their stories and helped others understand all the amazing work continually done by Riley Children’s Hospital. “Some of these kids would not be alive today if it weren’t for the doctors are Riley Hospital,” she said. “I could tell that the champions really built a relationship with the doctors and nurses who had made them feel at home during their visits.” Senior David Fosselman, Notre Dame DM executive, said the luncheon was an great experience for him and the other executives. “Two years ago I volunteered to be a counselor at Camp Riley — it is a summer camp for the children at Riley,” Fosselman said. “While I was at the luncheon, I was able to see some of my old campers and co-counselors, which was nice and unexpected.” Senior Elizabeth Downs, DM campus relations executive, said the luncheon made her especially excited for the marathon in the spring. “I had a great time. It makes me really excited for the actual marathon because I have a newfound gratitude for where all our donations go,” said Downs. “It makes me realize that what we’re all doing really makes a difference.”last_img read more

Time to Heal Dinner to promote solidarity

first_imgThe Gender Relations Center (GRC) will host its annual Time to Heal dinner Thursday evening in the Morris Inn ballroom, bringing Sexual Violence Awareness month to a close.“The Time to Heal Dinner affords an opportunity for our community to come together over a meal, to share stories and to extend support to those who have been affected by sexual violence or interpersonal violence,” Regina Gesicki, assistant director of educational initiatives for the GRC, said.The event, which is open to all in the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and greater South Bend community, will include a business-casual dinner and a keynote speech delivered by a survivor of sexual violence, Gesicki said. The speech will be followed by a healing ritual, a prayer for healing and a vocal performance with songs centered on courage and hope. The program will also include a recitation of “impact statements,” providing testimony to the many ways violence pervades student life as well as the ways the community is working to heal from and prevent future violence.“I have attended the event the past two years, and the atmosphere is very welcoming and empathetic,” junior Chizo Ekechukwu, an event facilitator for the GRC, said. “Unless you have personally experienced sexual violence or know someone who has, you are unable to completely relate to the survivors. But just being there to support them and walk with them in the healing process means the world.”The dinner is the last event of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Other events throughout the month of October included a mass of healing in the Log Chapel, bystander intervention workshops, a Men Against Violence pledge drive and the distribution of free GRC t-shirts and cups.“Our objectives this year were to raise awareness, to support survivors and to provide concrete ways for members of our community to take action to prevent future incidents of violence,” Gesicki said. “The Time to Heal dinner is a space to accomplish all three of these goals. We come together after this month of varied events to listen, support and commit to taking care of our brothers and sisters.”Ekechukwu said the event is both a learning opportunity and a stance of solidarity.“Many students do not know much about sexual violence or the toll it can really take on people’s lives,” she said. “This event allows students to become more aware of the issues and reassures survivors that they have a whole community of support here at Notre Dame.”Solidarity with survivors and keeping an open mind is imperative for this event, Gesicki said.“We hope that our campus culture will continue to shift toward one in which violence of any kind is not tolerated,” she said.Tags: Gender Relations Center, GRC, sexual violence awareness, Sexual Violence Awareness Month, Time to Heallast_img read more

Office of housing returns to old move-out inspection policy

first_imgThis year, preliminary end-of-the-year student room inspections took place in some residence halls the Sunday before the final week of classes. This change is a transition back to the policy of prior years; last year was the only year in which inspections took place during finals week.Karen Kennedy, Director of Housing, said the “change” in procedure is actually a reversion back to the procedure that was observed for more than a decade.“The practice of requiring all student rooms to be inspection-ready by 10 p.m. on the Sunday before the last week of classes has been long standing at the University,” she said. “Last year’s move-out process was handled differently and, because those changes did not produce positive results, it was decided to return to the previous time line for readiness for room inspections.”Kennedy said there are two goals for student rooms to be ready for inspection by Sunday at 10 p.m.“One is to provide for the University to be able to inspect rooms for critical repairs that must be made as soon as students move out, and the other is to confine the noises associated with furniture moving and assembling/disassembling prior to the start of study days and finals,” she said.Kennedy said the procedure benefits students as they study and rest for finals.The transition back to the old policy is a direct result of the negative feedback and logistical issues created from the change last year, Kennedy said.“We received feedback from both students and hall staff that the procedures implemented last year provided for additional noise throughout finals week and also made room inspections more challenging, resulting in untimely damage billing charges and other challenges in preparing the halls for Commencement and summer guests,” Kennedy said.Kennedy said students who fail to comply with move-out procedures may be subject to a fine.“These fines help ensure compliance and, when applicable, cover the costs of repairs, undue cleaning and lost keys,” Kennedy said.Kennedy said elevated beds, which are permitted to be constructed in residence halls without modular furniture, have been required to be down by 10 p.m. the Sunday before the last week of classes for at least a decade.“Students who choose to construct elevated beds are notified of and agree to this when they sign the elevated agreement form at the beginning of the year,” Kennedy said.Kennedy said this procedures are always being revised according to feedback received from individuals throughout the Notre Dame community.“I understand and appreciate the concerns shared with me by students, and will take student feedback into consideration when looking toward how move-out and room inspections will be handled in future years,” Kennedy said.Tags: Housing, move-out, Office of Housinglast_img read more

Gender relations club aims to promote discussion

first_imgJunior Caylin McCallick saw a lack of conversation between different genders at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame and decided to found the Justice Education Gender Relations Group (JEGRG) in order to spark and facilitate that conversation.“I realized that I had no outlets of engaging in academic conversation with different genders,” McCallick said. “I just want to talk to people. I want to engage in higher-level discussion about the issues we face — and I want to do it in an environment that’s void of solo cups and Tinder.”According to McCallick, the group, which she is doing as an independent academic study project, will meet once per week for four weeks. She said it will have a loose structure in hopes of creating open conversations about subjects varying from how different genders interact to sex positivity to DomerFest.“This group is my way of finding people with similar feelings who want to have a serious, safe dialogue about gender,” McCallick said. “What am I blind to? What do you know that I should know too?”McCallick said the main focus of the group is creating a space in which dialogue of this type can occur.“I realized that I didn’t really know how to communicate with opposite genders because on this campus mostly I just speak with females,” McCallick said. “I realized that was a common problem because I saw people … in different social situations. We’re all educated people, and yet when we meet each other, it becomes this dumb game. … I wanted to figure out why that is and delve deeper in the discrepancies between genders.”McCallick said she wants to create a continuous conversation in which women can speak with men on a professional level in addition to romantic or social contex in order to find the deeper meaning behind certain ideas about other genders.“I feel like I judge very quickly, especially men,” McCallick said. “I don’t know where that comes from in my soul. I just want to talk to someone face-to-face and figure out why I am having this defensive against you and figure out what we can do about it, so that we both can rise because there’s this strange social stigma and I don’t know where it comes from.”According to McCallick, the group will give members the opportunity to engage with and learn the perspectives of people different from them. The group’s dynamic will strengthen communication skills, a tool that will be beneficial later in life, she said.“I think it’s important because [Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are] both institutions of higher learning,” McCallick said. “We can benefit from representing our schools in the business world by knowing how to speak with someone appropriately and knowing what the other side of the issue is.”McCallick estimates the group will have 10 female-identifying members and 10-male identifying members, but it is open to people who identify as any gender.“I want it to be balanced among genders,” McCallick said. “I’m not just saying male and female — I want all genders. I want the balance because I don’t want any one to take control more than the other. … We can get really defensive, and the biggest thing is it has to be a safe environment to say things. You don’t want to get people on the defensive.”The group will begin meeting after spring break. For more information on how to join, email McCallick at [email protected]: Caylin McCallick, gender relations, Justice Education Gender Relations Group, saint mary’s, SMClast_img read more

Robinson, Blais unveil plans for student government

first_imgCorey Robinson said in some ways, his two roles on campus — student body president and a student assistant to the football team — can be similar. Both allow him to help others reach their goals.“Here at Notre Dame, we have world changers,” Robinson said. “And we’re just trying to put them in the best position to be successful.”Photo courtesy of Becca Blais After a summer of brainstorming and organizing, student government is ready for the new school year, Robinson said. He and student body vice president Becca Blais have plans to roll out a number of new initiatives this semester. And they’ve got big ideas for big events.For the upcoming presidential election, for example, student government will host a campus-wide debate over policy points, with representatives from the College Republicans and College Democrats, followed by a mock election.“We hope to have a big turnout because it’s going to be what everyone’s talking about,” Blais said.The group plans to continue to build upon and improve some of the main points from their campaign platform last winter. That’s why they’re here, Robinson said.“It’s the reason we ran and the reason all of our cabinet’s here — to serve the student body,” he said.InnovationThe administration hopes to help student entrepreneurs build and execute their ideas, Robinson said, with the help of two main initiatives: the Student Venture Incubation Program and a Shark Tank-style innovation competition scheduled for Oct. 10.“At Notre Dame, we’re so centrally focused on service and this idea of making a difference in your community, creating social good wherever you are,” Robinson said. “And entrepreneurship has often been pitched as making money.”But student government hopes to pitch it as a way for students to use their ideas to make a difference in others’ lives.“I think we will have a huge take up,” Robinson said. “Because that’s what Notre Dame students are all about.”The incubation program, led by senior Cornelius McGrath, aims to give student entrepreneurs access to financial resources, material resources and mentors. The project will start this semester, with a group of 18 to 22 students identified by McGrath and his staff who will work to develop their student-run businesses over the course of the term.Similarly, student government plans to promote innovation by asking students with ideas to promote social good in their communities — local or far away — to enter them in the upcoming competition.Robinson, a San Antonio native, said a student could propose a financial literacy course — an example he thinks would create a tangible improvement in his hometown. The student with the winning idea will work with the University to create an online course of sorts to be accessed by people from the target area.“MIT, USC, Northwestern, Chicago — they all push innovation,” Robinson said. “We’re going to do the same, but the Notre Dame way.”SafetyThe administration launched SafeBouND, a version of the free campus transportation service, in an email to students Tuesday. Robinson said they decided to rebrand the program, formerly known as O’SNAP, to reinforce the mission of the service: safety.“A lot of people didn’t understand what O’SNAP was for,” he said. “We’re trying to help students understand the whole point — that this is a safety shuttle service for students trying to walk back to their dorms on campus.”Students can call or use the SafeBouND app to request assistance during the service’s new hours, adjusted around parietals. According to the email sent to the student body, golf carts will only be used Sunday-Wednesday, and walking escorts will be available Thursday-Saturday.Robinson said Student Government is also working to bring a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to campus for the spring semester, though they had initially tried to have something ready for the fall.“There’s been some unexpected push back, for multiple reasons,” he said. “The problem with the rape kits is you need to have a lot of experience before you administer it.”“You get one shot,” Blais added.Student government will implement two new measures aimed at improving safety and community on campus: a sexual assault survivor support group and a faculty ambassador program, which will allow professors to volunteer as sexual assault reporting resources.The survivor group is the first of it’s kind, Blais said, and was organized by senior Grace Watkins, University policy liaison.Robinson said faculty members participating in the ambassador program will be non-confidential reporting resources, who likely undergo some sort of training.“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking to administrators about sexual assault,” he said. “We want to continue to be able to break down those doors and barriers, and I think this is a great first step.”InclusionFor the first time, student government is planning Race Relations Week, a four-day series aimed to create conversation about race and its role on campus.The week — which will run Oct. 24 through Oct. 27 — will examine race in relation to psychology, the presidential election, sexual assault and opportunity. Events will feature a number of speakers and discussions with the ultimate goal of garnering interest and reflection on issues surrounding race.“Race relations and the campus climate surrounding them haven’t ever been examined like this,” Robinson said.Student government also planned a tailgate for the Nevada game targeting freshmen who may not have a number of tailgates to jump back and forth between.“We wanted to provide a safe, no pressure, fun tailgate that the entire student body would have access to,” Blais said. “So we came up with this.”The event will take place on the quad between DeBartolo Hall and Eck Hall of Law on Sept. 10.In the spirit of involving students, Robinson said he and Blais have an “open door policy.”“Come in any time you want,” he said.Student government has also launched an Instagram account and Snapchat for people to follow along with their plans and events. They plan to release a monthly newsletter, highlighting different departments and initiatives.“We’re excited that everyone’s back — because over the summer, campus was kind of lonely,” Robinson said. “And I’m excited to wake up every morning to do this.”Tags: Becca Blais, Corey Robinson, Student governmentlast_img read more

Rector provides details on Walsh Hall renovations

first_imgAs the fall semester drew to a close, the Walsh community girls gathered for a meeting with the Walsh Hall renovation team to discuss the changes to the building. According to Liz Detwiler, the Walsh Hall rector, the building will have a number of updated features including expanded rooms and new common areas.“For the new renovations, I know that all of the piping and plumbing in the building is going to be new,” Detwiler said. “Some of the rooms are going to be resized to be more appropriate to the amount of people in them. … We’re going to have lounges on every floor with full kitchens.”The dorm will have a new elevator and the private restrooms connected to individual dorms will be replaced with public restrooms. The renovated residence hall will also include new apartments.“We’ll be getting a new apartment space for in-residence priests, or faculty members and probably most importantly, it’s going to be accessible for people of all physical abilities now,” Detwiler added.Walsh Hall president Aly Sonnen said before the meeting, the Walsh community girls did not know much about the renovations.“We had a ton of questions,” Sonnen said. “Until the presentation, we really did not know much about what was going on. You can’t see that much from outside the building.“There were a lot of questions just about what it’s going to look like and what our lives next year are going to look like as a result of the renovation. They answered them all really well, though.”Freshman Sammie Escamilla said she thinks Pangborn Hall is a nice building, though she has not lived in Walsh Hall yet.“I was never in Walsh, so I know nothing different,” Escamilla said. “To me … [Pangborn is] nice. Other people say it’s not so nice. When you tell people you live in Pangborn, they kind of give you the ‘Oh, I’m sorry face’ but I mean, I think it’s a nice building. The rooms aren’t too small. We have no headroom but other than that, it’s not too bad.”In Walsh Hall, each floor consisted of one long hallway and there weren’t any sections. Junior Shea Kelly-Buckley said she first noticed Pangborn’s hallways when moving into the dorm, as they were very distinct from Walsh’s.“It was different,” Kelly-Buckley said. “It felt a little bit smaller. There were sections, which was new. Just having corners was something kind of different. But my room in Pangborn is actually bigger than the rooms in Walsh, so it’s been very comfortable.”Pangborn’s smaller hallways have been an adjustment for the community, according to Sonnen.“I think the biggest thing is that Walsh as a building made for community really easily,” Sonnen said. “Pangborn has a lot narrower hallways and a lot less common space that, when we’re throwing events or even just meeting new people, it’s harder to do that.”Sonnen said the “non-physical” aspects of Walsh have not changed.“We talk about ‘Walsh Love’ a lot and we have three main tenets of our being,” Sonnen said. “They’re safety, inclusion and community, so that’s really what we’re trying to cultivate in Walsh.”Kelly-Buckley said in some ways, moving to Pangborn has not changed the feeling of dorm life for the Walsh community.“Because they kept the whole Walsh community together, it feels the same to me inside the dorm,” Kelly-Buckley said. “Obviously the physical location is different, but you know, we’re still Walsh.”Tags: Construction, Pangborn Hall, Walsh community, Walsh Halllast_img read more

Student senate discusses academic honor code

first_imgIn this week’s session of the Notre Dame student senate, Hugh Page, dean of the First Year of Studies and vice president and associate provost for undergraduate affairs, took the floor with student members of the University Code of Honor Committee to discuss the ongoing review of the Academic Code of Honor.“One of our goals is to try and do a fairly thorough rewriting of the Honor Code but before we do that we figured that it was really important for us to solicit feedback from as wide a cross section of students as we can, and also to solicit feedback from faculty,” Page said.Page spoke of the student survey that was distributed this past fall as well as a faculty survey, the results of both indicating the need for further conversation among the entire academic community, which the committee plans to facilitate through a series of focus groups. The members of the senate broke into smaller committees to discuss what kinds of questions would be most relevant in the discussions of the upcoming focus groups.Committee member Nate McKeon, a senior, led discussion about the clarity of the Code of Honor.“How clear is [the Code] in defining actual academic dishonesty, like, you know, if you’re going into an assignment or an exam, do you have a good grasp on what academic dishonesty is?” McKeon asked.Students shared a common concern in deciphering the grey areas of academic dishonesty. All agreed that while copying the answers of another student on a final exam is an obvious violation of the Honor Code, there is more ethical ambiguity in collaborating on homework assignments, projects and small quizzes.Sophomore Dillon Hall senator Tim O’Connell said further obscurity arises when considering the distinct styles of learning and teaching in different fields of study and said a large part of the responsibility falls on the professors to clearly delineate their expectations.“We as a group thought it was more of the professor’s job to kind of outline,” O’Connell said. “[In engineering] we think there’s a lot of not so much of a grey area on the homework because professors are usually, ‘Hey, work on the homework together just turn in your own,’ and then for tests it’s pretty obvious, just do your own. … We had some kids in Arts and Letters and Mendoza who thought it was kind of more of a grey area ’cause they have a lot more, kind of multiple choice, Sakai quizzes.”In fact, whether the professors should claim responsibility in clarifying their interpretations of the Code or the students should be expected to apply the code in a “one size fits all” mentality was a popular point of discussion. McGlinn senator, sophomore Maria Palazzolo, said her group was surprised to learn the professors did not share their own opinions on the code. “We said we think it’s more of the professor’s job to say for the specific class, because it’s different for each class what they would want or how it works,” Palazzolo said. “ … But Natasha, who facilitated the discussion, said that the professors think it’s the student’s job. So it’s a miscommunication that needs to be fixed.”Additionally, the ease of obtaining increasingly common online resources further complicates the issue of cheating, as sophomore and Cavanaugh Hall senator Brittany Benninger said.“We talked about online resources, if you will, so like those sites where you can buy tests … how does that play into the new Honor Code?” Benninger said.Tags: academic honor code, academics, cheating, Senatelast_img read more

DJ Pam Blair reflects on 11 years of service to Saint Mary’s community

first_imgAfter 11 years of dedication to the Saint Mary’s community, DJ Pam Blair is looking forward to a future of music, poetry, warm weather and relaxation as she announced her departure from Saint Mary‘s. She will be taking a new job at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame.Blair began her career at Saint Mary’s in March 2007 and brought her insight to various departments on campus including Career Crossings, the psychology department, gender and women’s studies and English — she has also been a DJ during Midnight Breakfast.Blair first began working at Saint Mary’s in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership. “When I first was hired here, I was hired into CWIL,” Blair said. “I had a great passion for CWIL. It is the intercultural office. It was the first time ever that I worked in a multicultural office where I was not the only black person. There were people of other races and they all had a passion for unity and racial reconciliation and I fell in love with that.”Blair’s experience at Saint Mary’s has been filled with everlasting connections between staff, faculty and students.“When I first started working at Saint Mary’s about 10 years ago, I always heard people talking about Pam Blair,” associate professor of psychology Bettina Spencer said in an email. “Based on what they said about her, I assumed she had been here for decades. It wasn’t until I met her years later that I realized we had started working at Saint Mary’s at the same time. She had made such a big impression on so many people so quickly that it had sounded as if she had been here forever. Once we began working together I got to see firsthand how Pam makes this impression on those around her. She is a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend to so many people in the Saint Mary’s community. She personally connects to students, staff and faculty, and always has words of support and encouragement for anyone who needs them. Pam is an important part of our community, and she has changed it for the better.” Senior Teresa Brickey describes Blair as “a staple to the [Saint Mary’s] community.” Brickey said she admires Blair for her willingness to make the world better and always being open to difficult discussions. “I can’t believe Pam is leaving, but I know that she will do well outside of SMC,” Brickey said. “She is talented, driven and compassionate. I wish her the best. I hope we are able to meet again.  Her talent in the work of poetry is phenomenal and if anything I hope she gets more time to focus on it now.”When asked what she learned from Blair, Stacy Davis, professor of religious studies and gender and women’s studies, said she admired Blair’s positivity.“I will carry with me from my time working with Pam the importance of positivity,” Davis said in an email. “Even when things are difficult, Pam has believed in the importance of kindness and creativity to get through challenging circumstances. I am grateful for that.”Associate professor and department chair of psychology Karen Chambers said Blair contributed to a warm community at Saint Mary’s.“I was always grateful for her creativity and always bringing another way of looking at things,” Chambers said. “Also, students were always hanging around in her office. She made the psych suite feel a little more like home.”Blair has been an involved member of the Saint Mary’s community but also an active participant in the South Bend community. She created The Poetry Den, an open microphone event known for poetry and inclusivity. Blair said she learned a lot from students and enjoyed building a relationship with faculty. She enjoys sitting in the Diversity Dialogues Saint Mary’s holds. “Sitting in those circles for the last seven years, I’ve learned a lot by hearing people’s experience from students and non-traditional students,” she said. Blair said she has gained a lot from her experience in academia and that Saint Mary’s had changed for the better since she began working at the College in 2007. Blaire said there are more first-generation students and that the College feels more like a home but she still encourages Saint Mary’s to still strive for more change.Blair’s final advice to students was to be themselves and remain humble.Students and faculty gathered in the psychology suit in Spes Unica on Wednesday to wish Blair a “bon voyage.”Editor‘s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Pam Blair is retiring. Blair is departing Saint Mary‘s and will be taking a new job at Notre Dame. Additionally, a sentence was misattributed as a quote. The Observer regrets these errors.Tags: Career crossings, CWIL, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, DJ, Pam Blair, Poetry Den, Religious Studies, Saint Mary’s English departmentlast_img read more

Notre Dame alumna, student collaborate on children’s book about faith, identity

first_imgCourtesy of Lisa Hendey Notre Dame senior Eric Carlson and alumna Lisa Hendey, pictured, are collaborating on a picture book called “I Am God’s Storyteller.”For Hendey, class of 1985, writing began as a hobby and a way to connect to other Catholic mothers when her children began elementary school. She said she founded her own website for Catholic-based parenting, CatholicMom.com, to facilitate these discussions and explorations of faith.Hendey soon after began her book-writing career with nonfiction works for mothers, but said her interests eventually turned to books for children. She penned a series of chapter books, “Chime Travelers,” and began visiting elementary schools.Hendey said interactions she shared with students during her visits inspired the idea behind “I Am God’s Storyteller.”“When I would visit the classrooms, I always have two messages. The first one is that we are each … a ‘saint in the making.’ We’re not saints yet, but we’re really working on our path to sainthood,” she said. “The second one is that God calls each of us to be his storyteller. He gives us gifts, whether that’s writing or singing or dancing or even making video games or making a movie, that’s a way to share a story of God’s love. … I began to see that those messages were really resonating with the kids.”When Paraclete Press approached Hendey about publishing a picture book after these visits, she said she took the opportunity to put this longstanding idea into writing. “I Am God’s Storyteller” features Biblical storytellers both from the Old and New Testament, such as Moses, Sarah and Jesus.Hendey said she wishes for anyone who reads the book to be able to see themselves in the story and wants children to see they all have the potential to be great storytellers.“I hope the children will understand, in a sense, this mission that they have,” Hendey said. “That they’ll understand it and that they’ll embrace it. That they’ll embrace it with enthusiasm. That whatever it is that God has created them to share with the world, that that gift is that — it’s a gift from God that is greatly needed right now. That they, even at a tender age, can be a messenger of God’s love and that there are lots of different ways to do that.”One potential gift, Hendey notes, is art. Though authors typically do not participate in choosing the artwork for their books, Hendey said her editor approached her with Carlson’s artwork after seeing their Notre Dame connection.Hendey said she felt very strongly about Carlson’s artwork regardless of their shared schooling.“I could just tell immediately that he understood what my goal was with the book,” she said. “Not only did he understand it, but that he would bring a whole other way of telling the story using his gifts.”Carlson submitted a portfolio of his work to Paraclete Press, and when the publishing company reached out to him to create sample illustrations for Hendey’s book, he said the process “went from there.”“The story is about how God is telling a story throughout all of history and how kids can get involved in that,” Carlson said. “That’s really the way I approached the illustrations. … At the end of the story [the kids] get to tell a story themselves with their own gifts and their own talents. It’s really about getting involved in God’s story.”Despite not being particularly inspired by the “Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, the author and illustrator with a very similar name as Carlson, Carlson said he had previously thought about becoming an illustrator.“I never expected to have gotten a contract to do a book so early,” Carlson said. “That was honestly, I think, a little bit of luck, and obviously, having a really supportive family friend to help and say, ‘Hey, go try it out,’ was awesome. I definitely thought about it before, but I didn’t expect to have a chance to make one so early.”Carlson said he still cannot believe he has “a book that people can actually buy,” and he is excited to share the work with those who inspire him.“We both got dedications at the start of the book, and I got to dedicate it to the kids who grew up next door to me,” he said. “I particularly dedicated it to the little girl who’s still young enough to read the book — her brothers are a little bit too old for it now — but it was super cool because I got to read the story with her over break. It was kind of cute to have her read the book and read it with her. It was fun.”It is the value of sharing a story with another Hendey said she hopes adult readers can remember after reading her latest work.“Some of my favorite time with my boys was family storytime,” Hendey said. “I just want every grown-up who reads this to recognize that that’s such a special way to pass the faith onto our kids, but also just a special way of growing close to one another. You’re never too old to unlock your inner storyteller.”Tags: God’s storyteller, Notre Dame alumni, picture book Every great story begins with its teller, and Notre Dame alumna Lisa Hendey intends to inspire the next generation of storytellers with her new children’s book “I Am God’s Storyteller.” The picture book features illustrations by Notre Dame senior Eric Carlson.(Editor’s note: Eric Carlson formerly drew comics for The Observer.)last_img read more