Saint Mary’s hosted Fr. Michael Driscoll, associate professor of theology at Notre Dame, as the final part of the “Catholicism at the Crossroads” lecture series. Driscoll emphasized the history of liturgical reform and how the nine primary English-speaking countries of the world decided to collaborate to form one universal understanding of the English language.Driscoll said the ultimate goal would be for an English speaker to “go from country to country and participate in the liturgy without any hesitation.”Driscoll then addressed the three concerns of Synod of Bishops, which are liturgical, theological and ethical. This helps people better understand the mystery of how the Eucharist works in that, the way people pray leads to the way they believe which leads to the way people live. “The Eucharist is a mystery to be celebrated, believed and lived,” he said.The liturgical concerns have to deal with the active participation of people, both outward and inward, within the Catholic community. “The liturgy is an art unto itself. It is enacted and embodied,” Driscoll said.Driscoll said the theological concerns are how the community believes in the presence of God — past, present and future and ethical concerns imply the mission that a person is undertaking after leaving the Church.“We’ve been nourished at the table of our Lord, so that now we can move on to our mission,” Driscoll said. “There has to be this strengthening between life and mission.”Driscoll also addressed the Aesthetics of Worship, which involve the three levels of mystagogy. The first level focuses on an excellent, careful, well-planned and well-executed liturgy. The last two emphasizes the reflection and sharing of the liturgy between an individual and community.“The liturgy is a full conscience and active participation of all of the baptized,” Driscoll said.
Despite fears of China’s growing strength, it is unlikely that China will ever become a large expansionist state, Assistant Professor of Political Science Victoria Tin-bor Hui said. In her presentation at the Hesburgh Center on Thursday, Hui said she looked to China’s past as evidence of non-growth. “History shows it’s not in [China’s] DNA to expand,” Hui said. Her research reveals that even at peaks of its power, China has never made huge territorial conquests, and she predicts China will grow peacefully instead of threateningly. “China has never sought expansion in history and therefore will never seek it,” she said. China contains multiple regions and nations that have not always been unified. Chinese dynasties have conquered and then retreated from peripheral areas to the West as these dynasties grew and declined. This created a cycle of alternating periods of unified and divided China, she said. “Unity is not the norm. It’s the opposite. Peripheral and interior unity has only been the case for the last 81 years,” she said. Hui added that the desire for emperors to “rule everything under heaven” and to expand was always offset by power balancing forces in Asia. “Every unified dynasty wanted to expand to the periphery,” she said. The huge expenses of war often forced China to stop expansion and retreat. Mobilizing human and material resources, manufacturing weapons and conscripting and paying troops added to logistical difficulties, like moving supplies, food and troops to the edges of the empire. As the territory stretched, these costs only grew, naturally stunting the expansion, she said. “Distance makes it difficult to project power,” she said. Additionally, the costs of maintaining new territories only grew as China’s territory expanded. The expense of occupation and the suppression of revolts meant the more China grew, the less money China had to expand further, she said. This often led to an over-stretch of resources, and China eventually ran out of money and pulled back. “Every conquest was a drain on the central treasury … Over time, they would run into budget deficits,” Hui said. Hui said several reasons account for the past 81 years of a unified China, including international loans, revenue from European exports of resources like tea and ceramics and other nations labeling China as a unified state. “International recognition mattered as much as internal control,” she said. China’s history of non-expansion past its peripheral regions shows China is, by its nature, not going to aggressively acquire territory in the future, she said. Despite this thesis, Hui acknowledged that current foreign policy of modern China still leaves the possibility of China expanding and falsifying her assessment of its future. “When we look at the logics, two systems [the desire to conquest and the balancing of forces] working against each other … makes it almost impossible to make a solid prediction,” she said. “The future will not be dictated by what happened 2,000 years ago, it will be decided by what we do today and tomorrow.”
Sunday’s welcoming South Bend weather warmly greeted a new crop of prospective students visiting campus for the “Meet Me at the Avenue” event at Saint Mary’s. The annual, invitation-only event showcased Saint Mary’s and its campus to women who have been accepted to the College, but may or may not have made the official decision to attend, junior Meghan Feasel said. Feasel, a student worker in the Alumnae Relations Office and an admissions office volunteer, served as a tour guide for the event, which hosted approximately 600 admitted students and family members. “As a student who volunteers to lead tours, I take it upon myself to make the incoming students love Saint Mary’s as much as I do,” Feasel said. “This event is a great way to provide ample information to the students and their parents.” Feasel said prospective students were encouraged to ask tour guides any questions they had about the College. “This year, there was a ‘green card’ system, so guests were able to write down their questions and hand it to their tour guides to answer,” she said. “This eliminates the ‘I don’t feel comfortable’ issue of asking questions in front of parents.” In addition to campus tours, prospective students learned more about each other and the College through icebreaker activities, a panel discussion on student life at Saint Mary’s and a club and activity fair in the first floor of the Student Center, Feasel said. “In the morning, the groups participate in icebreakers as a way to introduce themselves,” Feasel said. “Team building exercises are also used to help the girls get to know the rest of the group, since they may be attending Saint Mary’s together next year.” Feasel said the variety of activities leads some students to spend much of the day exploring campus with their families. “There are so many things you can do during ‘Meet Me at the Avenue,’” she said. “Girls can set up a First Source Bank account, or they talk to professors in their intended majors. They can even see the dorms.”
Jingting Kang: “Foreign Aid and International Volunteering: Problems Behind the Vision of Service”Kang, a sophomore, said she previously had participated in a service trip to a rural part of China. Though she found meaning in her trip, she said she was disheartened to learn her work did not hold significant meaning for the people they purportedly were there to serve. Her group, the seventh team of well-intentioned volunteers that taught the alphabet to local children, completed a trip that was “the farthest thing from service,” Kang said.“It was not only worthless, but damaging,” she said. “We took away local jobs, and we used the orphans just to get ‘likes’ on Facebook. We weren’t looking at the bigger picture that involves policy or culture. We weren’t aiding development. What we were doing was perpetuating the cycle of inequality.”Kang said she urges the one million Americans who volunteer internationally every year to remember three principles: Service is not a transaction, service does not mean saving the world and service requires respect. Michael Mesterharm: “Don’t Miss the Trees for the Forest: Learning to Leverage (and Appreciate) Small Data”Mesterharm, a 2009 alumnus pursuing a master’s degree in nonprofit administration and working at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, said small data could influence decision-making for the better.Mesterharm said he charts students’ homework completion and class grades to see whether students are being served at school and whether staff members are mentoring the students effectively.“There’s not a single number in that [spreadsheet],” he said. “You don’t need to be a math person. All you need to do is think systematically about how to set up your life.”Beyond the workplace, tracking his emotions in spreadsheets based on trigger factors has helped Mesterharm through difficult personal times, he said. Thomas J. White: “Tourette Does the Talking”When White started to speak, he warned the audience to expect “something absolutely, positively and completely different.” And he was right — in an eloquent speech, White narrated his life as a Notre Dame student with Tourette’s, a neurological condition that he said “forces [him] into battle every single second of the day.”“I might lose that fight once or twice up here, so you’ve been warned,” White said.Occasionally pausing to collect himself, White said his life, which “seems almost fake because of its absurdity and its serendipity,” helps him to remember that “each word is a celebration, and each one has hope.”White said he is one of a relatively small number of individuals with Tourette’s whose symptoms include both motor and verbal tics, including involuntary cursing, which he said makes his daily life much more difficult. Still, he said he focuses on viewing life as a “celebration of sorts.”Even in the most “absurd circumstances, the most abysmally uncomfortable circumstances, a laugh can be had, a smile flashed,” White said. “For a long time now, Tourette has done the talking for me. … [This] peeled back the face of Tourette for one second — I, Thomas White, am doing the talking.” José E. Lugo: “Quantifying Design Aesthetics: A Multidisciplinary Story”During his first internship, Lugo, an engineering graduate student, worked for an automotive company at its proving grounds. There he said he realized, “There is this relationship between form and function that is stressful, but I did not quite understand it.” His philosophy at the time was that form always followed function, meaning to him that “he’s going to save 10 pounds in the car and make it faster [and not] care if it looks weird.” But then, he found products with the same function but different form, which challenged his philosophy. So, Lugo said he applied Gestalt Principles to quantify the aesthetic measurement of items, determining that the aesthetic should represent a “bridge between form and function.” Christa Grace Watkins:“The Strength in Vulnerability: Healing Through Portraiture”Watkins, a freshman, said she was sexually assaulted in her fourth week at Notre Dame and has since used therapeutic photography to help her release tension and build trust again.“[Photography] was a natural choice for me because I grew up loving photography, but there was also another reason why it was important that I made an effort to regularly photograph,” Watkins said. “And this was that when I was assaulted, there were people present who were photographing me while it happened.”Watkins shared some of the pictures she has taken in the last few months, including self-portraits.“On days that I woke up and felt like my body was tainted and foreign to me, I took pictures of myself until it was familiarized again to me,” she said. “It took taking these pictures and recognizing myself in them to begin to reconcile myself with my body.” Jake Markowski: “A Means of Communication”Markowski, a freshman, rapped about his love of rap, a creative medium that helped him find his voice and passion.“I have a dream that over time inspiration is not that hard to create, and it’s pretty easy to relate to one another and see others as our sisters and brothers when we learn to communicate,” he said.Markowski said rap is the mode of communication through which he finds joy.“When I say communication it’s not just words that I’m demanding,” he said. “It can be anything you love, anything at all, anything that when you do it you do it well and you stand tall and say that’s right I’m here, I’m good, I’m unbelievable.” Carmen-Helena Tellez: “Rituals, Perceptions and the Music in Your Mind”Tellez, a professor of conducting, said, to her, music and scores are a kind of sacred text in which the composer has embedded a message. In what she called the “cultural wars of high and low styles,” however, the modern audience increasingly struggles to connect with classical music, while many people believe popular music does not have the “necessary transcendent discourse” for the concert hall. Still, she said she finds that truly transcendent music is defined by more than that of one genre or another.“The art in the music is what we discover in it. The content is what we contribute to it,” Tellez said.Most important is that the audience participates actively, interacting with the ritual of the music in order to actively layer it with associations, Tellez said. JR Reagan: “The Face of Innovation: What Does an Innovator Look Like?”Reagan, a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and a guest lecturer at the Mendoza College of Business, said innovation has no age limit.Cassandra Lin, though in middle school, started a program to turn unused cooking oil into bio fuels to heat poor households in her neighborhood, Reagan said.“For her it was all about a problem. It was all about a passion,” he said. “It was all about, ‘What could I do to look at this problem differently?’”On the opposite end of the spectrum, Elizabeth Huttinger began a program late in life to destroy a deadly parasite in Africa, Reagan said.“What we’ve found is [innovation] isn’t an age-based type of indicator,” he said. “It doesn’t rely on a particular gender. It has no socioeconomic bend to it. It relies more on the ‘who’ and the ‘what.’ What are you passionate about and what are you willing to innovate for?”Tags: DPAC, lecture, TEDxUND Claire Fyrqvist: “Creating Community Amid Urban Decline: A Study in Resurrection”A Program of Liberal Studies major while at Notre Dame, Fyrqvist, class of 2005, said she left Notre Dame “thinking that we can and should make big gestures that have a wide impact, and that we have the capacity to do anything — and in many ways, we do.” After teaching at a rural orphanage in Honduras, she said she surprised herself by making her next home in South Bend among the homeless at the Catholic Worker house.“People in small communities with a collective, truthful vision can do anything,” Fyrqvist said. “You can do anything. I truly believe that.”No one illustrated this principle more than Sheila McCarthy, a “radically out of the box, deeply inspiring” woman Fyrqvist said she became acquainted with through the Catholic Worker house. McCarthy, Fyrqvist said, dreamt up a production of “Les Misérables” involving a 60-person cast, crew and orchestra comprised of the Catholic Worker community. To her, this and other pursuits of those at the house demonstrated that “people of good will come into the story as small but powerful agents of resurrection.” Michael Coppedge: “Varieties of Democracy: Global Standards, Local Knowledge”Coppedge, a political science professor currently leading an international research team on the varieties of democracy, said democracy is difficult to break down into finer distinctions.“When you try to measure democracy, you immediately run into a concept problem and a knowledge problem,” he said. “The concept problem is that people don’t agree on what democracy is. This is understandable because democracy is an amalgam of different philosophical traditions that have been evolving for 2,500 years.“The knowledge problem is that no one person knows enough about the 200 or so countries in the world to be able to rate them all well.” Nitesh Chawla: “Big Data for Common Good: The Synergistic Effects of Wellness in Communities”Chawla, a computer science professor and self-proclaimed “dataologist,” argued that Americans’ health and wellness would improve if they tracked data about their own personal lives, such as socioeconomic status and access to grocery stores and recreational facilities.Doctors could then notice trends between personal habits and certain diseases, he said.“What if my prescription when I left the physician’s office would just say … ‘I know you live in a neighborhood where you may not have any access to [healthy fruits and vegetables]. Let me incentivize you. Go have a 50 percent discount on the fresh fruits and vegetables you may buy from the grocery store. That may help you?’” Chawla said.Tracking personal data on a large scale could revolutionize the health care industry and improve Americans’ overall well being, he said.“You can be empowered to take the right action,” Chawla said. Third Coast Percussion: “Never Compromise. Collaborate.”Third Coast Percussion, Notre Dame’s ensemble in residence made up of David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and Sean Connors, performed part of a percussion piece.Skidmore said his favorite part of the song, which he plays on the clave, is completely drowned out by the rest of the group.“We realize that all of the clave music that is happening is really just background material to the epic solo that Rob’s taking on the IKEA spaghetti strainers, and my clave rhythm, which is very interesting on its own, will never be fully heard or fully understood by any audience that we perform for,” he said.This collaboration is good, however, because without it, the group’s four different opinions could never be synthesized, he said.The group performed twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Joel Ostdiek: “Music: A Language We Can All Understand”Ostdiek, a sophomore, said he understood the power of music as a universal language when he taught children in Uganda last summer.“Music allowed me to land in this country with which I had no prior experience and, from day one, connect,” he said. “Rather than highlighting the differences between us, this common ground allowed me to simply be in relationship. Because music is a language we can all understand.” Tim Weninger: “Changing the Hivemind: How Social Media Manipulation Affects Everything”“Media determines the lens through which I view the world — what can be said, who can say it, how it can be said, who can hear it,” Weninger, an engineering professor, said.He described a study he conducted on reddit.com, an online conversation host that demonstrated the way content is aggregated and rated. Weninger’s computer program, which upvoted or downvoted the newest post every two minutes with a 50-50 chance of each result, demonstrated that if he upvoted something initially, the post is 20 percent more likely to appear on the front page, and if he downvoted something initially, it is 12 percent less likely to appear on the front page. Essentially, Weninger said, “One quarter of 1 percent of viewers determine what the rest of them see.” The only way for this new communication forum to work well is for everyone to participate fully, he said. “The internet, in my opinion, is like a democracy — it only really works well if all of the people contribute.” Maria McKenna: “Connecting the Dots: Caring Education, Joyful Learning and Human Integrity”McKenna, senior associate director of the Education, Schooling and Society minor, said education should be a source of joy for students, rather than a source of frustration.“We need spaces where there is difficult learning going on in lots of different ways with lots of different people so that every child and young adult and grown-up gets to experience that moment of discovery,” she said. “We need spaces where we go in not even realizing the exuberance or joy we might find in what we’re studying. And we certainly need spaces where relationships are privileged.” Marie Bourgeois: “Finding Your Visual Voice: How to Become an Empowered Consumer”Bourgeois, professor of visual communication design with a master’s in fine arts from Notre Dame, said visual communication is a powerful tool.Bourgeois said people continuously engage in visual communication when they dress or organize their desk.“All of these choices make us art directors of our own lives,” she said, “proving that we are surprisingly adept at communicating visually, yet the perception exists that in order to articulate yourself with images, you must have some degree or accreditation.” Kevin Lannon: “Searching for the Other 95% of the Universe: True Stories From the Energy Frontier”Lannon, a professor of physics, said the story behind the awarding of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics illustrates the limitless nature of academic discovery. The 2013 prize was awarded for the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, also known as the “God” particle, which represents the final piece in the puzzle of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Still, Lannon said the Standard Model explains only 5 percent of the universe, while the other 95 percent is made of dark matter and dark energy.This is a “really exciting time in participle physics because basically everything has been proven wrong or is in the process of being proven wrong,” Lannon said. Nineteen speakers, including six undergraduates, delivered 12-minute monologues about issues personal to them in the 2014 TED x UND event in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.Summaries of all the speeches, the videos of which will be available at tedx2014.nd.edu in the coming weeks, are provided below.Barbara Johnston / University of Notre Dame Augstin Fuentes: “It’s Not All Sex and Violence: Cooperation in Human Evolution”Though Fuentes, an anthropology professor, said the urges to pursue sex and violence are basic parts of being human, he said they are not the key to humanity’s evolutionary success. “Aggression is not a uniform or consistent discrete trait,” Fuentes said. “[So], if aggression is not one thing, it could not have been the target of human evolution. The nature of aggression is not in our genes — there are no systems in our body that are ‘for’ aggression. … We can do aggression, we can make our bodies do aggression, but it is not who we are at our core.”The real secret to human evolutionary success has been peaceful and collaborative interaction, Fuentes said, interactions that comprise the vast majority of day-to-day human activity. This includes everything from creating fire, to hunting large game, building large and complex tools, caring for the sick, and even engaging in acts of warfare. Peter Keon Woo: “The Value of a Paycheck and the Urgency of Now”Woo, The Observer’s business manager, identified predatory, payday lending practices as some of the most detrimental economic factors shackling those most in need of their complete paychecks to crippling debts. A typical annual percentage rate [APR] for payday loans reaches as high as 390 percent, he said. Still, he said he found inspiration for a response in the work of campus microfinance groups.“How ironic, that being poor is so expensive,” Woo said. “Addressing the rude mechanics of poverty is a daunting task, no less for a college kid like me. … I realized that these financial services were … also powerful tools to beat poverty.”So, Woo said he created the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion [JIFFI] in order to provide a service-oriented alternative lending option so South Bend residents no longer needed to resort to predatory lenders.
Senate met Wednesday night to discuss the new freshman requirements for physical education with Dean Hugh Page of the First Year of Studies Program.It recently was announced that a class focusing on overall wellness will replace the physical education requirement for freshman.“It is important that academic programs at every university undergo review every so often to make sure that you are on point with goals, able to serve evolving needs for students and that deep and sustained learning of all kinds is able to take place,” Page said.Page said the still-developing course will re-brand the University’s wellness initiative, an undertaking necessary because the landscape, challenges and stresses of being a student today are different than they were 10 years ago.The group addressed Page with its questions and concerns about the new course. Jake Wittenburg, representative for St. Edward’s Hall, raised concerns regarding the level of student involvement in the decision-making process.“As we move along with plans, we hope to continue and deepen student involvement and involve Student Government at a higher level,” Page said.Tags: Physical Education, Senate
Keri O’Mara | The Observer The total number of applicants to Notre Dame rose this year as early action numbers dipped, and the overall quality of the field improved, changes Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment Don Bishop attributed largely to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ switch from early action to restrictive early action.“There’s one restriction: you cannot apply early here if you’re applying to a binding early decision program,” Bishop said. “…We believe as many as 200 to 300 students that were admitted last year in early action were obligated to turn down their offer of admission at Notre Dame to honor an early decision commitment elsewhere.”Early action policies typically allow students to apply in mid-fall, before the regular deadline, and receive a decision between late December and mid-January. Regular applicants submit their materials in December and can receive decisions as late as April 1.Director of Admissions Bob Mundy said the newly-implemented restriction offers a better chance of admission to students for whom the University is a top choice, ruling out any candidates who would already be committed to attending another college or university by the time they hear a decision from Notre Dame.“The two biggies [in early application policies] are early action and early decision, and obviously, if a student is applying early decision someplace else and is admitted, they’re bound there,” Mundy said. “So we merely asked them to wait for that to run its course and then apply to us in regular action. We expected that our [early] applicant pool would be smaller because of that … [and] that is what happened.”Bishop said an increase in regular applications offset the decline in early applications, leading to a larger applicant pool overall. He estimated Admissions received 18,150 total applications, as compared to 17,901 last year.“My guess is we probably dropped out of the system about 800 to 1,000 apps [in the early action period], and then we replaced them with around 1,200 other apps [in the regular cycle], so our net gain was favorable,” Bishop said. “We also noticed that the very top of the pool did not decline. Seven percent increase in that top half of [the top] one percent in the nation, which means usually 1550 or higher on the SAT and 35 [or] 36 on the ACT, so the very top of the pool’s gotten bigger and better.”Bishop said the Admissions staff decided to implement the early application restriction after examining various policies at other colleges and universities and determining which would best preserve Notre Dame’s mission and the applicants’ freedom while still valuing the application readers’ time and energy. The staff examined three main options, including early decision — which Bishop said about half of the top 15 schools in the nation use.“We continue to believe that’s not the right choice for us, given our philosophy of trying to provide students with the most choice,” Bishop said.Top-tier universities often use early decision to improve their yield rate, which measures how many admitted students actually enroll in the university, Bishop said. Because all accepted students are bound to attend, the yield rate for early decision is 100 percent, a figure that impacts overall yield rate and helps with recruitment and fundraising.“Our yield rate would be even higher if we had early decision, but we’ve decided that’s not in the best interest of the students,” Bishop said. “We continue to try to make admissions policies that benefit the students more than the private agenda of a university. We view early action as a friendlier opportunity to applicants, and Notre Dame’s philosophy just as an institution is more aligned with early action.”Bishop said Notre Dame’s current yield rate reflects a high level of commitment from the applicants considering the University as a top priority.“One of the reasons why we don’t do early decision is we already enjoy a very high conversion rate — we’re in the top eight in the country, and if you look at the top eight, probably half of them have single choice and half of them have early decision,” Bishop said. “We’re probably the only one of the eight that doesn’t have one or the other that improves yield rate.“We’re lucky that students really view Notre Dame as not just a generic top-10 university, but they view it as their No. 1 choice,” he said. “Once they decide that their value system aligns with Notre Dame, we get them. Often the students we lose get in to other top 15 schools, but they ultimately don’t have the same value system. Something else is valued more than our value system here, and therefore that causes them to choose another institution, and we think that’s perfectly fine.”After deciding against early decision, Bishop said the Admissions office evaluated alternative early action plans, including single-choice early action, which is not binding but prohibits applicants from applying early to any other institutions. Most of the top five universities, including Harvard, use this method, Bishop said.“Our view was that there were a couple other schools that had this restrictive early action, not single-choice,” he said. “And we thought that was the best choice for us, and the reason why we wanted to make a choice and not just leave it open ended is that it was a one-sided relationship. The applicant had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted, and expected from us a certain loyalty of letting them know early and committing to them early.“I feel it should be a two-sided relationship, in that if a student truly has a preference for another university, I don’t think it’s fair to the rest of our applicants — who are extraordinary applicants — for that spot to be taken by a student that’s not committed at this point, that has by definition committed themselves to another institution’s identity.“If a student prefers to commit their allegiance to another school, they should be allowed to do that without taking a spot away from a student at Notre Dame until they know one way or the other,” Bishop said.Students who apply elsewhere through early decision or single-choice early action will still have the option of applying to Notre Dame through regular action, Bishop said.“It is a minimal condition, just one single restriction,” he said. “If you’re ready to prefer somewhere else, go after that first. If you don’t get that, feel free to apply regular.And the good news is, we don’t over-admit early, so you have the same chance for selection in regular as if you’d applied early. There’s no penalty for applying regular.”Mundy said the restriction helps identify students who are serious about attending the University and prioritize it before single-choice and early-decision schools.“We’re trying to identify those students who are most serious about Notre Dame, without requiring them to make the ultimate serious choice,” he said.Bishop said the Admissions team uses numbers and test scores less in the overall process and instead places extra emphasis on the applicant’s aspirations and values.“The bottom line is … are they going to take the best advantage of what Notre Dame is trying to provide them, or not?” he said. “I think we are recognizing more now what are the elements that make a unique and successful Notre Dame student and alum.” Tags: Bob Mundy, Don Bishop, early action, early decision, Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Monica Villagomez Mendez | The Observer Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese speaks in Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall at Saint Mary’s College.According to Mooney, McAleese described the theme of her presidency as “building bridges,” as she hoped to resolve the tensions of the conflict that afflicted Ireland during the Troubles, which occurred between the late 1960s and 1990. After years of relieving frictions, the Good Friday Agreement, a peace deal, was struck in 1998 during McAleese’s presidency, which established a power-sharing agreement in Belfast and included political forces on both sides of the conflict, Mooney said.Now, McAleese is a member of the United Nations’ Council of Women World Leaders, and she is ranked the 64th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine, Mooney said.In conversation with Saint Mary’s professor Karen Chambers, who is the director of the Ireland study abroad program and an associate professor of sociology, McAleese addressed her view of the Irish presidency, her main goal during her terms and the historic visit by Queen Elizabeth II of England in 2011.McAleese first explained the three main roles of the Irish presidency, compared to that of the American presidency.“Here, your president has very strong executive functions, and the president in Ireland doesn’t, I suppose. The equivalent in Ireland would be the prime minister; he is the head of government,” she said. “[Ireland’s] president, on the other hand, operates in a moral or pastoral space, and although there are some executive powers, they are very limited.”The three roles of the Irish president, then, are to sign and pass legislation, to oversee the details of other elections and to be commander-in-chief of the army.However, according to McAleese, the other major duty that she assumed is to operate within the moral/pastoral space, as she defines it. It is within this space where the gateways to reconciliation between the north and south and between Britain and the Republic of Ireland could form and strengthen.With this goal in mind, McAleese set her agenda for her presidency: to build bridges of friendship.“The problems we have are essential problems with neighbors,” she said. “The truth is that nobody is going anywhere, so it’d be well to get on with one another. … We needed to know how much resistance there was … because we weren’t doing this for photo opportunities.”Instead, McAleese inspired attitudes of reconciliation amongst opposing forces, desiring for all to be decent to each other and to find platforms of shared and joint benefits.“And over a period of 14 years, that worked,” she confirmed. “[It worked because] we weren’t trying to turn anyone into Irish nationalists or Catholics. … What we were trying to do was turn them into people who could think of us as good neighbors, as people that they could have huge political differences with, but that those differences not be dealt with by violence.“My husband started work with the Protestant paramilitaries … and we began to realize the fact that we were from their areas … actually meant a lot to them — that somewhere inside of them, they were actually quite proud of us, that we belonged to them in some way or other,” she said.Then, the “miracle of friendships growing” occurred, and this culminated into a new infrastructure for government in Northern Ireland to build upon with good, positive compromises and an eventual referendum, she said.“It was a compromise that went hard on everybody … but everybody signed up to it. It’s still in operation … it’s not pretty, [but] no government is,” she said. “They argue, and they fight … but point me to a government anywhere that doesn’t have the same old, same old. And I’m really happy with that because I call that normal. That’s what we hoped for.“They’re less ugly than the politics of the past, and they don’t use the same contemptuous language anymore because they have to work with each other now.”According to McAleese, the education of religion has been drastically different amongst the current generation and the previous one, though she wishes more of the church’s focus would be on the gospel of loving one another.“I grew up in the church in Belfast and only began to notice in my early teens that the church maybe had an attitude towards women,” she said. “There’s a subtext in the church, a historic subtext, of thinking about women in ways that are deeply unhealthy. One of the things that’s worth looking at … is the 1917 code of canon law. … Women are actually referred to as objects of suspicion.”Director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) Dr. Elaine Meyer-Lee said McAleese’s lessons that she shared are easily transferable to what it takes to lead effectively in today’s complex and interdependent world.“As a Catholic woman who has pioneered and made a significant difference in addressing one of the more complex challenges of the contemporary world, I’d say Professor McAleese has lived our [Saint Mary’s] mission pretty much to a T,” Meyer-Lee said. “Of course, one could also say she is a model of intellectual vigor, religious sensibility and social responsibility.”Tags: Carol Ann Money, Elaine Meyer-Lee, female president, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese, Ireland, Irish Studies, Karen Chambers, Mary McAleese, President Mooney, president of Ireland, saint mary’s Addressing the topics of gender and religion in the present and future trajectory of Ireland, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese joined the Saint Mary’s community on Tuesday evening in Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall.College president Carol Ann Mooney introduced McAleese, who is the second women to serve as the president of Ireland and the first to come from the Ulster region.McAleese was elected in 1997 and served for two terms until 2011, using her time in office to address issues concerning “social justice, social equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation,” Mooney said.
“He put a smile on everyone’s face the second he walked into a room,” Caroline Trustey, Jake Scanlan’s girlfriend, said. “Whether it was the goofy outfits that he would wear, or the funny one-liners, or just the way he came in and made you feel so loved and welcome wherever you were. He just made people light up.”“It seems like every person in our grade, every person in our school, has a memory of Jake. Whether it’s from freshman tutorial, or they lived down the hall from him in the dorm, everyone has these memories,” she said.Scanlan died suddenly in his sleep Wednesday morning from what appear to be natural causes. A member of the junior class and resident of Siegfried Hall, he graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.“He was the kind of kid that it didn’t matter if you knew him for two days or two years or if he met you last week. It didn’t matter. He’d approach you like you were an old friend of his,” Jackson Fox said. “ … I made a lot of new friends this semester because I was around him. Being around him facilitates happiness and connection or friendship, almost.”Rachel O’Grady | The Observer Junior Ryan Bliss, who knew Scanlan throughout high school as well as at Notre Dame, said Scanlan was able to connect with people quickly.“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “You always felt next to him, no matter what, whether he met you 30 seconds ago, like you’d known him all his life. He’d always try to make you happy.”Junior Pat McMahon also went to high school with Scanlan, before coming to Notre Dame, and said he remembers meeting him the first day of their freshman year of high school.“I first met Jake when he was in my first period class, freshman year at Gonzaga,” he said. “I didn’t know a lot of people going into high school, and he knew some kids that he had gone to middle school with. He was so much himself, and so comfortable in his own skin, that he just wanted to include everyone else.“He would, without knowing me at all, just throw me into a conversation. He was so goofy and happy and everything, that it made me feel so much more at ease in a group of people that I didn’t really know.”Fox, a junior, echoed that sentiment.“[Scanlan] made people around him much more comfortable being themselves,” Fox said. “It’s easy to not feel self-conscious or afraid of doing something that people are going to look down upon, because he didn’t [care]. He would just do his own thing. And that really translated to everyone he was around”“Doing his own thing” worked its way into Scanlan’s sense of humor. Junior Brandon Burdine said one memory stood out in particular.“When I think of Jake, I remember him at football games. It would be 20 degrees out, and he’d be out there in his jorts, shirtless, yelling at people.” Burdine said.Many of his friends said Scanlan constantly used his humor to the benefit of those around him.“He always found the good in something,” junior Matt Habrowski said. “He had the ability to turn a not-so-good situation into something that could be funny or brighten someone else’s day.“It was always living outside of himself, trying to make other people smile or laugh. And I think that’s why other people gravitate towards him, and why he affected so many people. … His impact on others was second to none,” he said. “You don’t come across too many people like that.”Fox said that despite Scanlan’s goofy sense of humor, he was deeply committed to helping his friends.“He was a goofy guy, but at the same time he was very loyal,” Fox said. “If you were a friend of his, he’d help you out. If it was serious, he could be serious. If you just wanted to joke around and be funny, that’s who he could be. … It didn’t really matter what it was; he could be that.“ … It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re around Jake,” Fox said. “If you needed him to be something, he’d just do it. There was never any question. It didn’t matter what it was, if you needed his help, and he could help you in any way, then he would do it. It never needed to be asked, ever.”Burdine said Scanlan’s desire to make others laugh reflected his selflessness and loyalty to his friends.“He got so much joy out of life, and he always wanted to make someone else’s day a little bit better in any way he could,” Burdine said. “I think that’s a pretty rare quality to have, but he never seemed focused on himself or his own happiness.“ … He was a very genuine person, I think that’s what I admired most about him,” Burdine said. “He didn’t really care what other people thought about him, but everyone always liked him.”Tags: Jake Scanlan
Members of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross communities gathered Thursday evening to promote campus healing in the areas of sexual assault and relationship violence.The event, Take Back the Night, started with a kickoff and walkover to Notre Dame from Lake Marion at Saint Mary’s. Participants then gathered in the Great Hall of O’Shaughnessy Hall, where members of the community sat, listened and shared personal stories of sexual assault during the event’s speak out.Survivors of sexual assault among the community were invited to go up to the front and share their stories, and they were encouraged to share as much or as little as they felt comfortable sharing. Many took the opportunity to gain some sense of healing by sharing their stories of sexual assault, relationship violence, abuse and stalking. Several said it was their first time verbalizing their experience. Emmet Farnan | The Observer Students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s complete a march throughout the College and University campuses at the Grotto.Saint Mary’s junior Abigail Spica, who helped organize the event, said everything ran smoothly. Over 130 people attended the speak out, she said. “Every time I hear the different stories at the speak out, it’s so unique,” Spica said. “I stood at the back of [the group] this year, and it’s incredible when you see a story resonate with someone new and they realize that this is happening in our community.”Notre Dame junior Cameron Moore said the event helped clear up some misconceptions and attitudes of victim blaming that centered around over-drinking or faulting the victim for not doing more to control the situation.“I think these kinds of events bring to light what’s really hard for people to talk about,” Moore said. “It brings awareness to the actual severity of the issue.”Bellacapella, the all-female a capella group at Saint Mary’s, was invited to sing after the speak out, junior “Bella” member Kayse McGough said. The group sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day and “Quiet” by MILCK, she said. “Both are supportive, uplifting songs,” she said. “It was special to sing after the speak out, to kind of provide some empowering music before they marched across Notre Dame’s campus.”McGough said the speak out was an eye-opening experience, and singing in front of those who had the courage to share their stories was very powerful. “When you come to Saint Mary’s, you hear the statistic one in four,” she said. “But you don’t really realize what it means until you’re at an event like this, and what those numbers mean — that that is a whole class at Saint Mary’s, or one of four daughters. I’m glad I could be a part of it, and I’m glad we have Take Back the Night here.”Notre Dame junior Kaitlyn Keffler said she thinks most students are only made aware of the reality of sexual assault through the “vague, uncomfortable emails” sent out by Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP). She said events like Take Back the Night help in raising awareness, which she hopes will in turn lead to a reduction in sexual assault.“It’s more common than we think,” Keffler said. “I think that sexual assault is an issue that a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about, but it’s very important and pervasive in our campus life.”The event ended with a prayer vigil, where Saint Mary’s junior Leann Tulisiak was a cantor. Tulisiak said she decided to attend this year because she wanted to learn ways of supporting fellow students who have been through experiences similar to those of the speakers.“It was really humbling and inspiring to see these people’s courage,” Tulisiak said. “It inspired me to become more involved with [Belles Against Violence] and go back to Take Back the Night next year.” In the end, Tulisiak was struck by the feelings of support and comfort from everyone there, she said, and was glad she witnessed the courage of those who chose to speak.Notre Dame junior Carolina Ochoa said she believes Take Back the Night is a step toward a more comprehensive understanding of the gravity of sexual assault. Other than misconceptions about sexual assault, she said, people joking about sexual assault is also damaging to awareness of the issue.“Even if it’s harmless, it just makes it okay in some minute way that should not happen,” Ochoa said.Facing the reality of sexual assault through the uncensored stories of survivors aids in campus healing, Ochoa said.“It does bring awareness and starts a conversation about sexual assault, which is something that needs to be done,” she said.Tags: relationship violence, sexual assault, Take Back the Night, tri-campus community
Since theatre was first conceived, it has been a way to express historical narratives. Plays share stories across generational, cultural and racial lines to communicate multiple perspectives. Saint Mary’s is following in this centuries-old tradition by hosting Mad River Theater Works’ production of “Freedom Bound” in the Moreau Center for the Arts on Saturday.According to the company’s website, the one-act play tells the historical story of Addison White, an escaped slave traveling through Ohio by means of the Underground Railroad.“‘Freedom Bound’ brings history to life through original songs and an array of characters that pop right out of the past to relive the turbulence and hope of the Underground Railroad right before your eyes,” the website says.The company has started to visit the College’s campus annually, thanks to Richard Baxter, director of campus and community events. Baxter pointed out the value of bringing a play such as this specifically to the South Bend area.“It highlights one person’s path to freedom from the South to the North,” Baxter said, “We thought it would be especially meaningful for people in the community, because the Underground Railroad ran into Michigan kind of along this region. It’s an important part of our history and a wonderful way to bring the company back and have them present this for students.”Baxter commented on the specific outcomes of presenting a play that is rooted in history, also commenting on why learning and experiencing historical stories is valuable.“[It’s important] to highlight our history and our connection to all community members,” Baxter said. “Without a perspective on history, you’re doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again, so that’s why I think it’s important.”He also recognizes the value of this particular moment in history and its legacy, including the courage of some of the characters in the play.“I think slavery in particular is one of the darkest spots on this nation’s history,” Baxter said. “Our emergence out of that was very important. The people who [started] the Underground Railroad definitely had to do this with incredible courage and great risk to themselves. They kind of highlight that in the play.”The play not only educates viewers on history and its importance, but also aims to create a current cultural change.“Through theatre, we strive to challenge racism, xenophobia, sexism and intolerance,” the company said on its website.This pursuit is one reason Baxter decided to bring the play to Saint Mary’s. He also said he notices how the play highlights Christian values, which the College also promotes.“That’s why I think it’s important for us to include this in our performing arts series,” Baxter said. “It’s a wonderful and original composition about a vital topic. It just reminds us that the mission of the College is to value the dignity and individuality of every person. We hold them as the presence of Christ in our community.”Baxter said he hopes that the student body can connect with the stories and the problems of the characters not only in history, but also in their day-to-day lives. He encourages the students to confront all forms of hatred.“I hope they realize that even though this was long ago, some of these issues still face us, of people who don’t value every individual for whatever reason based on — in this case — ethnicity,” Baxter said. “That’s a story that continues over and over and over again.We need to identify hatred in all of its forms. We need to meet it head on. I would hope that students could look at this and be able to identify what forces of hatred they can see in today’s world and what they can do to combat that.”Tickets for Saturday’s performance are available at the Saint Mary’s Box Office. If cost affordability is an issue, Baxter said to let him know and he will ensure everyone who wants to see the show will be able to do so.“If anyone would like to attend who can’t afford a ticket, have them get ahold of me and I’ll make it possible,” he said.Tags: freedom bound, Mad River Theater Works, underground railroad