Patel highlights value of interfaith dialogue

first_imgEboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core, discussed the importance and implications of interfaith narrative and dialogue in a lecture titled “Interfaith Leadership: Engaging Religious and Non-Religious Diversity in the 21st Century.” The lecture was sponsored by Notre Dame’s Multicultural Student Programs and Services.Patel, who also serves as an member of the Inaugural Advisory Council for the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said the need for coexistence and cooperation among various religions would become a defining question of our time.“The question of how people orient around religion differently, or interact with one another, whether that be based on conflict or cooperation, will be one of the most engaging questions of the 21st century,” he said.Patel said becoming an interfaith leader is a process that involves viewing one’s identity as a person of faith as an opportunity to create relationships among multiple communities of faith, which helps establish cooperation and dialogue.“You could look to make [your faith identity] a barrier of division, you could look to make it a bludgeon of domination or you could look to make it a bridge of cooperation,” Patel said.Patel said civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist, was an example of a successful interfaith leader because he took inspiration from the peaceful protests of Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu, and cooperated with prominent leaders of multiple religions.“Martin Luther King is many, many things, but amongst them, he is certainly an interfaith leader,” Patel said.Patel said interfaith leadership is developed through three key experiences or “moments.” He said these moments include being inspired by a person or ideal of another faith, engaging and cooperating with people of multiple religions and observing and collaborating in solutions to combat interfaith violence.“You being inspired by an ideal or a person from a different religion; you recognizing and lifting up your memories of partnering with people of different religions whose endeavors are beautiful and great and holy; you recognizing the scourge of religious violence and thinking to yourself, ‘there has to be something done about this and I will take some responsibility’ — these are the kinds of moments that help you craft your own story of interfaith leadership,” Patel said.Patel said interfaith dialogue requires youth leaders who create inspiring and innovative discussion on faith. He focused on the concept of storytelling in the process of developing as an interfaith leader and said interfaith leaders “tell new stories to the world and embody those stories in their lives.”He said storytelling involves creating narratives and environments that are defined by similarities among, rather than by division of, people of different faiths.“Part of what leaders do is shape environments that make salient the commonalities between people from different religions,” Patel said.Tags: Eboo Patel, Gandhi, interfaith, interfaith dialogue, Martin Luther Kind, Multicultural Student Programs and Serviceslast_img read more

University unveils plan to end coal use, reduce carbon footprint

first_imgIn advance of Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States this week, Notre Dame is acting on the pontiff’s message of sustainability and care for the environment.After Tuesday morning’s town hall meeting in Washington Hall, University President Fr. John Jenkins and Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves held a press conference to discuss the University’s new initiative to end all use of coal by 2020 and to reduce the University’s carbon footprint by more than half by 2030.The initiative, announced in a press release Monday, comes as a response to Pope Francis’s May encyclical “Laudato Si,” Jenkins said.“We have had efforts in sustainability … and we made really very good progress over the past decade, at least,” Jenkins said at the press conference.“But this summer, when Pope Francis promulgated his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, I went to John [Affleck-Graves] and I said, ‘John, let’s look at it. Can we take a further step? Can we do a bit more to respond to the Pope’s encyclical, to respond to the challenge of the environment?’”According to the press release, Notre Dame will also invest $113 million in renewable energy including geothermal, solar, hydroelectric and biomass sources. Affleck-Graves said the University will keep its options open with these technologies, including possibly installing solar panel fields somewhere on campus.“We would like, in the end, to have a fairly diversified strategy so that we have a little bit of each of those and eventually get to a stage where we can be fully renewable,” Affleck-Graves said.“But that’s probably going to take 40 to 50 years to get to be a fully renewable campus.”Jenkins said this project will carry significant costs, but he and Affleck-Graves said they ultimately think the investment in sustainable energy will pay for itself. Eventually, the University hopes these technologies will decrease Notre Dame’s carbon dioxide emissions by 47,500 tons per year, or the equivalent to taking 10,000 cars off the road, according to the press release.“It will cost us,” Jenkins said. “It will cost us; however in the long run, I’m hoping that some of these fuel sources can be cost effective.“I think in a way, it’s the Pope calling us to take the long view. Often we take the short view, and if you take the long view, and if you’re innovative, there’s some pain up front, but in the long run, it’s more sustainable, and, we think, cost effective.”The new initiative “is a continuation, but a kind of augmentation” of the University’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact, Jenkins said. Affleck-Graves said Notre Dame has decreased its coal use from about 85 percent of campus’s total energy use in the mid-2000s, to 15 percent now. A large part of the strategy going forward, Affleck-Graves said, is conservation.“We’ve been working very hard since the early 2000s on the concept of ‘it’s the responsibility of everybody to honor the planet and to leave the planet in a better state than we got it,’ and a big part of that is conservation,” he said.“We estimate we can decrease our carbon footprint by 15 to 20 percent just by conservation efforts, so we’ve worked hard on those. And then there are a variety of other issues that we’re looking at.”Jenkins will be in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and Thursday for Pope Francis’s visit, and said he hopes the University’s renewed and more aggressive approach to reducing its carbon footprint will resonate with other universities and the general population as a way to heed the Pope’s call to care for the planet.“I hope it affects other universities, but I hope it also gives an example just to the population at large, just about taking these issues seriously and taking the steps we can,” Jenkins said. “Again, we want to join with the Holy Father, the Pope, in his call to take these issues about nurturing the environment seriously.”At the afternoon town hall meeting, Jenkins gave an overview of changes to campus life, including sustainability, and Affleck-Graves announced campus facility updates. Vice President for Human Resources John McQuade also explained the changes being made in the health insurance of staff and faculty.Jenkins spoke on the need for the University to become more efficient in order to offer more support to students and their families.“Notre Dame costs a lot of money for the families who send their children here,” he said. “It is extremely important that we are efficient and conscientious in running this place. We work very hard in providing financial aid, but we still have to be conscious about this. … You read that higher education is bloated and inefficient, complacent, it’s not run effectively, and I cannot believe that’s true for Notre Dame.”Affleck-Graves said the University is planning two off-campus building projects: a boathouse for the men’s and women’s rowing teams at Viewing Park, set to be completed in December, and the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility in South Bend’s Innovation Park.“This [facility] not only is going to help with our research, but it will also help the economic engine in our community,” Affleck-Graves said. “It’s a wonderful collaboration to help with the city and its businesses and the people. In this facility, what they’re going to do is test gas turbine engines.”Affleck-Graves said the University is addressing several faculty-raised facility issues, including a lack of short-term parking and elevators in need of repair at Flanner and Grace Halls. He said the University will be adding short-term parking lots near O’Shaughnessy Hall and Galvin Life Science Center, and the elevators in both Flanner and Grace Halls will be fixed over the course of several months.“The good news is we can replace each of the six elevators,” he said. “The bad news is that it’s much more complicated to fix than I thought. Each elevator has to be replaced and they have to redo the shaft and it takes three months per elevator. We have a plan to do this over nine months total in each building.”Staff health insurance will be undergoing changes, McQuade said, with the addition of a new high deductible plan and a switch to active enrollment.“It’s not like all the plans are going to dramatically change,” he said. “But it is imperative that you be informed about your health care choice because we are adding plans, and it’s absolutely critical to us that the right people choose the right plans.”Tags: Carbon footprint, coal, fr. jenkins, John Affleck-Graves, laudato si’, Pope Francis, town halllast_img read more

Campus Ministry hosts Las Posadas

first_imgThe Catholic liturgical season of Advent, which began Sunday, marks a time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, and Campus Ministry is hosting a corresponding celebration of Las Posadas, a traditional procession that celebrates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem before Christ was born. Las Posadas, which means “lodgings” in Spanish, will be celebrated Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at the Grotto. Participants will then continue to Fisher Hall, Farley Hall and the Coleman-Morse Center, all of which are co-sponsors for the celebration.Campus Ministry intern and senior Steven Fisher, who focuses on Latino ministry, said in an email that the event will be a condensed version of the traditional celebration. “If you were to grow up in Mexico, Central America or the Southwest United States, the celebration of Las Posadas would be a hallmark for nine days of your Advent season,” he said. “Each day you and your family would join a procession led by two individuals dressed as Mary and Joseph, and together, everyone reenacts their journey to the inn in Bethlehem. You’d arrive at certain designated homes in the neighborhood and in song ask for lodging until the homeowner finally recognizes Mary and Joseph. Once inside everyone joins together for prayer and good tamales, piñatas, punch and, if you’re my grandmother, a hidden bottle of tequila.”Fisher said the Notre Dame version will start with a short gathering at the Grotto before two students, in the role of Mary and Joseph, lead a musical procession to each building, where there will be a short prayer service and Gospel reading before refreshments are served. Coro Primavera, a Spanish choir, and MariachiND will lead the songs. “The song we sing goes back and forth between the procession and the hosts playing the role of the innkeepers,” Fisher said. “It’s one that illuminates my own childhood memories in Mexico of days leading to Christmas and allows my heart to swell with love for my own faith and heritage. To ask for lodging not only from the cold, but also from our own loneliness and longing to be loved and love others invites everyone to open their hearts. Together as a community, we serve as each other’s shelter.”Offering different Catholic traditions at Notre Dame is important because it exposes students to different “modes of expression that the Catholic faith offers for everyone’s spiritual growth,” Fisher said. “For Latino students and all who participate, Las Posadas presents an opportunity to forge culture and identity in creative alliance for an understanding of faith that collaborates with tradition, local experience and scripture, and as a result, reclaims the diversity of Catholicism as a source of vitality,” he said. Elaine DeBassige, rector of Farley Hall and the woman who brought Las Posadas to campus, said in an email that including cultural Catholic traditions is important because it embodies the Catholic faith. “Christ invites everyone to the table, and by including other cultural celebrations, it gives light to the many ways people from around the world come together to honor and praise God.” Tags: Advent, Campus Ministry, Las Posadaslast_img read more

Rape reported to University

first_imgA rape was reported Tuesday to a University administrator, according to the Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime log for Wednesday.The alleged rape occurred March 26 in a North Quad women’s residence hall, according to the entry.Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from NDSP and from the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention.Tags: NDSP, NDSP crime log, rape, sexual assaultlast_img

Directors of student life organize TEDx event at Notre Dame

first_imgNotre Dame will host a TEDx event April 28 as part of Idea Week in the greater South Bend area. The event will feature 16 community members, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, delivering a TED talk based on scientific data. The event will be the third TEDx event Notre Dame has hosted in recent years, with previous events held in 2014 and 2015.Juniors Caitlin Murphy and Tim O’Connell, student government’s co-directors of student life, are in charge of organizing the event. The event is not an official TED event, with the “x” signifying its independence, but they did have to receive licensing from the TED Organization to hold the event.O’Connell emphasized the importance of student voices when selecting speakers.“We’re going to be coming from more of a student perspective, trying to make it interesting towards students,” O’Connell said. “Not so, ‘We’re Notre Dame, we’re awesome’ but like, ‘Here are things people at Notre Dame do that are amazing’ and why it’s useful to the community.”The main goal, O’Connell said, is to select a wide range of speakers.“We’re going to have students, we’re going to have faculty, and they’re going to have these innovative ideas, things that they’re working on,” O’Connell said. “You’re not going to have someone up there saying, ‘This is my research. This is cool.’ It’s going to be someone saying, ‘This is my research, this is why it matters to you and this is why you’re going to be talking about it tomorrow.’ We’re looking for speakers … who are trying to start a conversation.”Although all talks need to be based on scientific research, that does not mean the talks all have to relate to science. Murphy and O’Connell explained the scientific research requirement only means any potential talk must be backed up with data, while the research itself can cover any topic area.The format of TEDx 2018 will closely resemble that of the 2015 event, which “got a lot positive feedback,” Murphy said.“The format is going to be essentially identical,” she said. “It will be in [the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center], in one of the concert halls there. It will pretty much run exactly the same as that, but with a new set of speakers and new management.”Murphy said one key difference this year is the number of people who will be in attendance. If organizers want more than 100 people to be in attendance for a TEDx event, the TED Organization requires special certification for this to occur. Whereas the 2014 and 2015 iterations of TEDx at Notre Dame did not have this certification, with the help of Innovation Park, the event has obtained this certification for 2018. Notre Dame’s TEDx event will consist of two sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with eight speakers in each. There will be separate groups of around 300 attendees for each session, Murphy said.Despite the independence of the event, Murphy said, the TED Organization still gives strict guidelines the event needs to follow.“One of their requirements is that all of the live presentations are filmed and then posted on their website,” she said. “Everyone who speaks will ultimately be broadcasted to millions of people, the whole following base of the TED Organization, because it goes straight on their YouTube page.”Murphy said the University administration has also been involved in the planning.“We’re working very closely with the office of the provost,” she said. “[Executive director of academic communications] Pat Gibbons has been our advisor throughout the whole process and will continue to be until the end. He’s very heavily involved, and as we get closer to the deadline we’ll be pulling in other administrators, even running it by [University President] Fr. [John] Jenkins … [to] get the go-ahead and make sure it represents the University well.”Encouraging conversations is the overarching goal of the event, O’Connell said, which he hopes will “become a yearly thing.”“I think we’re trying to encourage the conversation to start, because … it’s just getting someone to start that conversation is the hardest point,” O’Connell said. “Now, giving the students the opportunity to start that conversation through TEDx and through the conversations that follow, I think that’s what we’re hoping for this.”Murphy added that TEDx has already drawn a lot of interest.“I think the more people from our campus community who are aware that it’s occurring, I think that’s definitely for the best,” she said. “ … I think one of the nice elements that we’re hoping is successful in the end is drawing together other parts of the Notre Dame family, or community, whatever you want to call it.”In many ways, the conversation has already begun, O’Connell said.“People are already talking about it and asking us to get involved,” he said. “We get emails every day about it. So clearly it’s something that’s already starting a conversation people want to be a part of.”Tags: 2017 Student Government Insider, Idea Week, TED talks, tedxlast_img read more

Junior Parents Weekend allows students to introduce their family to the Notre Dame community

first_imgThis past weekend, parents of Notre Dame juniors flooded campus for Junior Parents Weekend (JPW), a deep-rooted tradition in the Notre Dame community that has taken place annually ever since the first “Parent-Son Day” was held in 1953.The weekend kicked off with a gala Friday night in the Duncan Student Center, which featured music, food, dancing, cash bars and opportunities for photographs and caricature drawings. Saturday’s events included academic programs, Mass and the President’s dinner. The weekend concluded with a brunch Sunday in the Dahnke Ballroom. Sophia Lauber | The Observer Juniors and their parents eat at a brunch Sunday, which culminated the Junior Parents Weekend festivities.This year was the second year that the Duncan Student Center was available for use for the event, so, while JPW executive chair junior Eric Kim said that the committee followed a lot of precedents established last year, there were also a few changes made to the gala — the biggest of these changes being the decision to expand the opening gala to Corbett Family Hall.“I believe that student activities and division of student affairs will do this again,” Kim said. “It definitely eased the traffic that Duncan had last year and improved the crowd control.”Another notable change was the addition of more cash bars at the gala, a development that was implemented in response to complaints about the lengths of lines from last year.With the improved flow of crowds, Friday night went smoothly, except for a small incident with an elevator that got stuck. Kim said while he did not know the details of what happened, he saw a large group of people exiting the elevator shouting with excitement.“Someone told me they were stuck for an hour and 15 minutes or so,” he said.  “It must’ve been claustrophobic. Hopefully they made some good memories.”Overall, Kim said that he believes the weekend is an “opportunity for junior parents to explore our spiritual, academic and social lifestyle here at Notre Dame.”The academic programs that took place Saturday morning gave parents an opportunity to experience their students’ academic lifestyle within the University, especially those in the College of Arts and Letters, junior Shady Girgis said in an email.“I hope the parents that attended the Arts and Letters program got a good idea of what a true liberal arts education at Notre Dame looks like,” Girgis said. “Also, I hope they realize the absolutely open world their children can explore upon graduation with the mentorship and guidance of the incredible faculty we have in the College of Arts and Letters.”Another goal of this year’s committee was to carry on the efforts of last year’s committee to make the weekend’s events affordable for more juniors, Kim said.“Our main goal was to establish more publicity with the Office of Student Enrichment, so in every email that we sent out before tickets sales, we incorporated the idea that financial assistance is available for students that are in need of it and that do want the assistance,” he said.Kim said he believes this year’s committee was successful in increasing the number of students who applied for assistance.Junior Takunda Ushe said he was originally not planning on having his parents attend JPW until his rector reached out to him and encouraged him to look into financial assistance. With the help of the Office of Student Enrichment, Ushe was able to have both his local host mom and his parents from South Africa attend JPW. Ushe said the weekend was a big deal for both him and his parents, who have never been to Notre Dame or the United States before.“I think I navigate between two worlds — my life before Notre Dame and my life at Notre Dame,” Ushe said. “To have those two worlds come together is just like everything coming full circle for me. It still feels surreal. I would never think that I would have my parents walking down in front of the grotto or the main building. It’s just unthinkable.”The weekend offered Ushe and many other junior students the opportunity to share with their parents the aspects of Notre Dame’s community that cannot fully be expressed in words, Ushe said.“No one has told them about the whole educating not just the mind but also the soul — they just saw that for themselves,” Ushe said.Tags: JPW, Junior Parents Weekend, Office of Student Enrichmentlast_img read more

Journalist offers insight to American-Catholic, Vatican relations

first_imgWhen describing relations between the Catholic Church in America and the Vatican, John L. Allen Jr. compared the climate to a game where two men take turns kicking each other until one of them gives up.“We are not actually engaged in a patient search for understanding,” he said in a lecture at Holy Cross College Thursday evening. “We are looking to score rhetorical cheap shots against people who we perceive to be our cultural, theological and political enemies.”The Vatican journalist and current editor of Crux, a Catholic news website, addressed the audience at the Pfeil Center as well as those watching the event online through a livestream. Allen offered wisdom about Vatican-American relations gained from decades of reporting on the subject under three popes. Jack Lyons | The Observer John Allen Jr. speaks on the American Catholic Church and the Vatican at the Pfeil Center on Holy Cross Campus Thursday.Allen focused on three perennial misunderstandings of perspective, law and time, which fray relationships between the Vatican and America, but also discussed misunderstandings which have appeared more recently during the Francis papacy.Allen emphasized the imbalanced perspective which some American Catholics have about their place in the world, citing statistics that the Church in the U.S. comprises only 6 percent of the global Catholic population.“Catholicism in our time is not a Western religion,” he said.  Referencing concerns about a decline of Catholicism among some American Catholics, Allen pointed to sub-saharan Africa, where the Catholic population has grown from 29 million to 130 million since 1975.Allen then proposed that American Catholics are also misled by the assumption that cooperation with civil authorities is the best response to the clerical sex abuse crisis across the world. While Allen agreed that such an approach makes sense in an American context, he argued that the approach could be dangerous for the Church to pursue in other parts of the world, citing regions dominated by Islamic radicalism.Americans Catholics and the Vatican also harbor misunderstandings about time and efficiency, Allen said. He employed a culinary metaphor to illustrate his message.“The United States is a microwave culture, and Rome is a Crock-Pot culture,” he said. However, Allen emphasized that the Vatican’s slowness is not a result of laziness or denial, but rather the product of a more methodical culture.“They simply have different instincts about when the right moment to rush in with the response is,” he said.  Allen also offered his thoughts about misunderstandings which have formed under the leadership of Pope Francis. Allen called the pontiff a typical Latin American pastor and said that while this archetype signifies great qualities in the leader of the global Church, it also signifies a skepticism of the United States.Looking at the recent example of Francis’ decision to halt the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from voting to implement new standards of accountability for bishops at their general assembly meeting in November, Allen suggested that the Pope does not always appreciate the American urgency for action.“I don’t think he likes being told what to do,” Allen said. “The pushier we get in insisting, ‘You must do x,’ the more likely he is to get his back up and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have to do this.’”Allen referenced the divisions in both the American Church and the global Church in an interview after the lecture. “It’s unfortunate. There’s great wisdom and truth in all sides of these conversations,” he said, before recalling his comparison at the beginning of the lecture. “The more you can seek that out rather than playing the three-kick rule, the better.”Tags: America, Catholic church, Crux News, Pope Francis, Vaticanlast_img read more

Senate shoots down reallocation of funds resolution

first_imgAfter last week’s closed meeting, in which the Notre Dame senate heard and declined to overturn an appeal regarding the sanction of the Dugan-Pozas Garza ticket, it reconvened for its regular programming last night. The agenda included further debate over the allocation of funding between Student Union organizations and the Club Coordination Council (CCC). First, the senate heard a presentation from senior director of Campus Dining Chris Abayasinghe, who spoke over the changes to come to meal plans for the undergraduate student body next fall. “We began this journey roughly four years ago,” Abayasinghe said. “What we heard were some common themes, and I think this also coincides with the announcement in 2017 about enhancing the on-campus residential communities including free laundry and the meal plans.”Abayasinghe said the decision to offer more meal plan options with flex points rollover and block meal plans came from the realization of two things: the value students see in flex points and how many meal swipes students have left over at the end of each week. After Abayasinghe’s presentation, the senate returned to debate over Resolution SO1290-27, which called for clubs to receive more funding. If passed, the resolution would allocate 46% of funds available from the Financial Management Board (FMB) to the CCC and 53% of funds to the remaining Student Union organizations. Currently, the CCC receives 40% of available funds and 59% goes to Student Union organizations. The 6% change was the cause of much tension in the questioning and debate period two weeks ago during the Feb. 5 senate meeting, in which the debate period was postponed. Wednesday’s meeting proved much the same. Approximately a year ago, the student senate debated a similar resolution and ultimately rejected it.Senior and CCC president Jordan Isner started the debate by encouraging those in attendance to try to remain ”unbiased.” He then presented a number of statistics in favor of the resolution, citing the surplus of unspent funds spent by the Student Union over the last three years. Not accounting for deficits, the Student Union ran a surplus of $51,323 for the 2018-2019 year.“I didn’t subtract out the deficits because Student Union boards shouldn’t be running deficits,” Isner said.Student body vice president Patrick McGuire added that the Student Union board had a roughly $30,000 deficit last year, which would be subtracted from the $51,323 Isner presented. Christine Arcoleo, Student Union treasurer and senior, who helped draft and sign off on the resolution, explained what happens to funds that are not spent each year.“[The surplus] can be rolled back into the endowment and it can earn interest to be used in the following year,” Arcoleo said. ”So basically it’s OK to have some leftover money to go back into the endowment, but it is a problem if there’s a huge surplus not going to any clubs or organizations.” Isner also cited direct quotes from club leaders who told him their clubs need more funding.Junior Class Council president Sam Cannova then took to the floor to argue against the resolution. Cannova explained the $26,508.25 surplus from the Student Union is due to how the Hall President’s Council (HPC) uses its funds.“For the last three years, HPC has run a $35 — $36 — $37,000 surplus, but for the two [years] prior, they were totally flat,” Cannova said. ”[I] talked to the HPC chairs who said it’s because of a problem in how they actually get funds to the halls to do their events. Basically, the hall throws the event, then they request the funds, without knowing if they’ll get the funds in the first place.” Cannova then cited information that only 25% of, or 106 clubs, receive CCC funding, and the other 75% of clubs are self-sufficient.“About 44% [of funds] go to athletic clubs and less than 9% go to cultural and service clubs,” he said. ”Basically what we are seeing is there is a need. It’s comparable to the Student Union, but it is not as dire.” Fisher senator and junior DC Morris also opposed the resolution.“Fisher guys are proud of the Regatta. Keenan guys are proud of the Revue,” Morris said. ”I don’t know if your dorm doesn’t have pride like that, but we are [about] to take money from things that help fund those and [give it] to clubs who quite frankly in my opinion, like men’s volleyball club, may impact 25 individuals on campus. … The dorms are the heart of the community at Notre Dame, and I just want to protect the dorms.” Diversity Council chair and senior Tiffany Rojas offered a different perspective.“Halls aren’t a source of community for all Notre Dame students,” Rojas said. “Most students find their communities in these 400 clubs. I think the thing with club sports is a bit unfair, because a lot of times this is where students can find their outlet outside of the academic sphere.” After a half hour of debate, the resolution was voted on and fell shy of the majority. With 14 votes for the resolution, 19 votes against it and one abstaining vote, the motion failed to pass. “Are clubs underfunded? The answer should be a resounding ‘Yes.’ Does student government effectively represent students? Tonight, senate proved the answer to this question is a resounding ’No,’” Isner said in an email. “I am disappointed that clubs will continue to struggle for funding, while Student Union branches waste tens of thousands of dollars every year.’’Cannova also commented on the passing of the resolution.“I’m glad that the senate could take the time to share a fact-based discussion on an important topic,” he said. “After last year’s decision to shift 3% of all Student Union funds into clubs, and with thorough review of Student Union budgets and broad figures on the CCC-funded clubs, it seems that we are already at a good balance. It’s important to remember that we’re all working towards the same end here: improving the student experience. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to finding more creative ways to collaborate with different clubs and other Student Union organizations through the rest of the year.”Tags: Club Coordination Council, club funding, Senate, Student Unionlast_img read more

ND Energy to host 14th annual Energy Week virtually

first_imgAmidst all the challenges that 2020 has brought, Anne Pillai, Education and Outreach Associate Program Director for ND Energy, said she hopes this year’s Energy Week can be a beacon of hope and a call to action for the future of the environment.“I think 2020 is a critical year,” Pillai said. “With the economic collapse due to COVID, there’s a chance that environmental initiatives will get swept under the rug due to lack of funding. And it is more important than ever — if we’re going to slow down climate change, we have to take very bold actions right now.” Energy Week kicked off Sunday evening with a showing of the documentary-style film “2040.” The movie takes an imaginative look into what the future could look like if society implemented all of the current research on how to combat climate change. “We need the will to get these things done, and we really want this energy week to be optimistic and forward-looking because we feel that everybody’s really already feeling down about COVID and racial justice and climate change,” Pillai said. “So we wanted something that would really give people hope and trying to fire people up to get out and do something.”Senior Kelly Moran, a member of the Student Energy Board, said the week will be filled with presentations from various professors and researchers in the energy community. Although Energy Week will be virtual this year because of COVID-19, Moran believes Zoom will offer a unique way to form connections.“So I think that will present a really awesome opportunity to learn more about the event and meet the actual people running it, things like that, or even just have more of a personal interaction,” Moran said.The full schedule of presentations and instructions on how to register can be found on the ND Energy website.Monday’s presentation, “ND Energy Bouts,” is an interactive activity where professors present arguments for why participants should invest their hypothetical money into the type of energy they research. At the end of the event, the professor who raises the most money wins the contest. Pillai said the event is meant to educate the audience about renewable energy sources.On Tuesday, Paul Kempf, Notre Dame’s Assistant Vice President of Utilities and Maintenance, will be leading a presentation titled “Notre Dame’s Energy Future.” “Notre Dame has some very exciting projects going on this year with the hydro plant down the river, and we’re going to help build a new solar panel field that we’re going to be helping,” Pillai said.On Wednesday, Patrick Regan, former Notre Dame professor and CEO of Crossroads Solar, will be leading the presentation “It can’t be done … or can it?” “The theme of this talk is kind of about getting stuff done that seems impossible. He used to be a professor of political science, and was really interested in the aspect of social businesses,” Moran said about Regan. “He also teaches in the prisons within South Bend and St. Joseph County, and he wanted to leave an impact in that area so he’s planning to hire.”Over the summer, Moran said she and three other Notre Dame undergraduate students helped Regan get the solar panel factory operational. Pillai said Regan ordered the equipment from China. But when the pandemic hit, the company wouldn’t send the equipment without the engineers, who weren’t able to get into the country.“So, Pat tells them, ‘No I’ve got engineers here that will help me, I really need these.’ So they ship it over, and he gets it,” Pillai said. “There’s a course here on campus through the College of Engineering that uses students to do good work in the community. So he was working with them all year, but this summer he had four specific students who helped take everything from crate to factory floor and get it set up.”Thursday evening’s presentation “The Gift of Solar in Puerto Rico” will be moderated by junior Álvaro Carrillo Marcano, the president of the Puerto Rican Student Association. The presentation will explore Casa Pueblo, a Puerto Rican organization, which is a project that is working to bring solar energy to its community.“We’ve stayed in pretty close ties I guess with this community organization called Casa Pueblo, where they basically are trying to run their whole community on solar power,” Moran said. “They really saved the day when Hurricane Maria hit and they were helping run people’s refrigerators who had medical needs and run dialysis machines and things like that.”Pillai said she hopes Energy Week will provide students the opportunity to explore different aspects of energy and discover what niche they feel they can make an impact in.“I strongly believe that the Notre Dame students should be at the forefront of this,” Pillai said. “We choose strong leaders, we choose students who come from very special backgrounds that are gifted in many ways, incredible talents, and if any group of people can make a difference, as they move on from here it has to be our Notre Dame students.”Tags: COVID-19, Energy Week, hydro plant, ND Energy, Puerto Rico, solar energy, zoomlast_img read more

The Observer elects Editor-in-Chief for upcoming term

first_imgThe Observer General Board elected News Writer and social media strategist Adriana Perez as Editor-in-Chief for the 2021-2022 term Monday.“Adriana is deeply committed to reliable journalism and well-versed in many sections of The Observer,” current Editor-in-Chief Maria Leontaras said. “Her knowledge and compassion will make her a great Editor-in-Chief. I have no doubt that Adriana will only continue to grow and inspire others to work hard and take the paper to the next level.”At Notre Dame, Perez calls Farley Hall her home. She is a junior pursuing a major in political science with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Adriana Perez | The Observer The Observer General Board elected junior Adriana Perez to be the Editor-in-Chief for the 2021-2022 term.“I owe The Observer and its people so much, and I feel honored and humbled to have this opportunity to lead it in serving the tri-campus community in the coming year,” Perez said. “I am incredibly grateful to the outgoing Editorial Board for the trust they have placed in me, as well as for their constant guidance and encouragement. I will do my best to live up to the great work they have accomplished.”Though she was born in Miami, Florida, Perez has lived her whole life in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from where her family hails. Perez began working for The Observer’s From the Archives project in 2019 and then became co-host of the paper’s Viewpoint podcast, The Sixth Seat, in early 2020. She also began writing for the Notre Dame News department last spring. In the fall semester, she became a social media strategist, helping to manage the newspaper’s Twitter account. Perez will begin her term as Editor-in-Chief on March 7.Tags: Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board, The Observerlast_img read more