The Campus Life Council (CLC) continued to discuss the prevention of alcohol-related problems both on and off campus at its Monday meeting. Student government president Catherine Soler began the meeting with a recap of the University’s meeting with South Bend Police Capt. Jeff Rynearson Thursday. “We basically laid the foundation for a continuing relationship,” Soler said. “We spoke about how right now, we don’t have a productive relationship.” Soler said the meeting was helpful and plans to have ongoing correspondence with Rynearson. “It was a great conversation, we got a lot of questions answered. We plan on meeting him again,” Soler said. “We’re hoping to get a meeting with the [Indiana State] Excise Police as well.” Soler summarized Rynearson’s explanation of the shift in recent years from warnings and citations to arrests. “The captain told us in the past few years, they’ve gotten much more assistance from the excise police,” Soler said. “Years ago it could have been a knock on your door, ‘Please turn down the music,’ because they didn’t have the manpower.” Student body vice president Andrew Bell said the recent police activity was associated with this extra assistance from the excise police. “There was nothing said about a change in student behavior or a change in policy,” Bell said. “It focused mostly on the expanded number of those enforcing it.” Soler said the police consider it a risk to allow students to leave parties after they’ve been drinking, which results in officers becoming more inclined to arrest rather than simply issue a citation. “There’s been lawsuits with the city so now releasing a student with a citation creates a liability. Taking them to jail can be seen as part of the process of keeping them safe,” Soler said. “I know as students we usually don’t think of that as keeping us safe.” To deal with some of the issues facing Notre Dame students more effectively and to improve on-campus and off-campus life, CLC will divide into task forces. Each task force will deal with one aspect of student life. The tentative divisions are On-Campus Programming, Discipline at Notre Dame, Residential Life at Notre Dame and Culture Shift, which will deal with the changing nature of issues such as alcohol, gender and social pressure at Notre Dame. Also at Monday’s meeting, Soler opened the floor to discuss student-alumni relations and possible improvements in preparation for a presentation to the Alumni Association on Thursday. CLC members discussed a desire for greater connections between dorm residents and alumni. Denise McOsker, rector of Lyons Hall, cited a positive response when Lyons residents reached out to hall alumnae in regard to the Mara Fox Fun Run. Corry Colonna, rector of Zahm Hall, said Zahm hosted a football weekend event with a pre-game lunch and post-game Mass for alumni and residents. “It’s about bringing people in and letting them see what’s going on in their halls,” Colonna said. While CLC previously decided against altering its bylaws to include an alumni representative, multiple members agreed the council could do more to improve alumni relations. “We need to find a way to tap into the potential of the Alumni Association,” said Fr. Pete McCormick, rector of Keough Hall. “I think there’s a lot of good will but sometimes I don’t think they know how to express it.” Last on the agenda was this Friday’s pep rally at Irish Green. Student government is hoping to institute a new tradition of a 5:45 p.m. student walkover from the South Quad flagpole, which will be led by the Notre Dame Fire Department, Notre Dame Security Police and the leprechaun. There will also be a dorm spirit contest judged by members of student government. “Whichever dorm comes out in the most spirited fashion … gets Brian Kelly to come speak to their dorm,” said Mike Oliver, Hall President Council Co-chair and one of the judges. “We’ve been looking at creating a new format for student pep rallies,” Soler said. “We really want to encourage everyone to come and participate in the pep rally walkover.”
Editor’s note: This is the second and final installment of a two-part series about Muslim students who attend the University of Notre Dame. At the beginning of the school year, junior Yasir Malik woke up around 4:30 a.m. every day to scarf down some breakfast before falling back asleep until classes began. Despite the inconvenience, those five minutes were crucial to his day. That granola bar and bottle of water would be the only thing he consumed until the sun set later that evening — around 16 hours later. Malik and other Muslim students who practice Ramadan, which took place from Aug. 11 to Sept. 10 this year, abstained from food and drink from sun up to sun down. Despite fasting during a full schedule of classes and homework, Malik said it was a “fun month.” “The only time I ever really noticed it is when I got thirsty,” he said. “I never had problems with food. I watch the Food Network while I fast all the time.” According to the Office of Institutional Research, only 12 undergraduate students identify themselves as Muslim at Notre Dame, a university with an undergraduate student body that is 84 percent Catholic. Yet, Muslim students said it was Notre Dame’s focus on religion, in part, that attracted them to attend in the first place. Sophomore Sadaf Meghani said she never wanted to go to a religiously affiliated school, but when she visited Notre Dame and saw the presence of religion on campus, she changed her mind. “I came here and there were crosses in all the classrooms and statues everywhere,” she said. “You would think it would turn me against coming here, but everywhere you went there was the reminder of faith and religion.” Malik also said the religious presence on campus was a positive factor for him. “I’ve always been a fan of just spirituality in itself,” he said. Junior Hiba Ahmed said Catholicism and Islam share many beliefs, including the creation stories, the idea of giving to the less fortunate, and the belief in prophets. Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet, but not as God. “We believe that everything he did, he actually did except he’s not God,” Ahmed said. “All those miracles he did, they are miracles for us too.” Malik said the similarities between Islam and Catholicism make it easy to relate to other students. “The whole idea of just being a good person everywhere you go,” he said. “It’s definitely not hard to relate to people here.” Meghani said she enjoys Notre Dame students’ interest in religion, even though it is not her own religion. “My roommates and my friends, they go to [dorm] Mass and they celebrate Easter and they do things like that,” she said. “We’re all really faithful. I think it’s more about faith than it is about religion.” Meghani said other students often question her belief in the prophet Muhammad — some ask because they are curious and others ask to attack her belief. But she said this has made her a stronger Muslim. “It puts my faith on the spot where I have to reason through things, and that’s really helpful,” she said. In general, Meghani said Notre Dame students are tolerant of her religion. “I think people here are pretty open-minded. It would be better if people were a little more open-minded,” she said. “But at the same time, you can only ask so much.” For Malik, his religion and the associated behavior — fasting during Ramadan and abstaining from alcohol and dating — have not been an issue at Notre Dame. “[Notre Dame students] are the most tolerant college students you’ll find anywhere because religion is so important to them,” he said. Malik told his friends that he doesn’t drink once when he first met them and “it’s never come up again.” Despite Islam’s strict rules regarding alcohol and dating, Ahmed can enjoy going to parties with her friends and said she is not offended that other students drink or date. “I think anything related to how you spend your time on the weekends and what you do is a very personal choice,” she said. But being Muslim, and a minority, at Notre Dame is not without its drawbacks. “Before I came here, I was hoping there would be a closer knit Muslim community because that’s how my parents were raised and that’s how I was raised,” Meghani said. “Then I come here and it’s like, oh my gosh, … what am I supposed to do?” Though the Muslim Student Association (MSA) exists on campus, it has only three active members, including Malik and Ahmed. “We’re all juniors,” Malik, vice president of MSA, said. “Next year is our last year here. I don’t know what we’re going to do.” Another issue is that the dining halls do not provide halal meat, which is the Muslim version of kosher meat, Ahmed said. It is slaughtered in a way that causes minimal pain to the animal and a prayer is said before the animal is killed. As a result, Malik consumes a vegetarian diet when on campus. He said he does not expect the dining hall to accommodate the very few Muslims on campus, but he misses his mother’s spicy, traditional cooking. “I’ve never regretted a day that I come here, except for the days I have nothing to eat in the dining hall,” he said with a laugh. Ahmed recognized that she stands out as a Pakistani and a Muslim at this predominantly white, Catholic university, but said that doesn’t mean she doesn’t fit in. “I feel really, really welcome,” she said. “I look back on it and I know this is where I’m meant to be for my college experience.”
Students are exploring local businesses and saving money using Groupon, a collective buying website that offers discounts. Groupon offers discounts for local services ranging from 50 to 90 percent off, Kelsey O’Neill, a spokeswoman for Groupon, said. “We drive new business and revenue to local merchants while providing customers with deep discounts on new ways to explore their city,” she said. Sophomore Michelle Yanik began using Groupon last year in her hometown of Raleigh, N.C., and now subscribes to the South Bend offers. She has purchased Groupon deals for local businesses, including Chicory Café and Salon Rouge as well as franchises like Barnes & Noble and Moosejaw. “Groupons do a great job of promoting local independent businesses,” Yanik said. “It allows people to discover new restaurants and shops in their own community, and from what I’ve read, it’s also a cheap form of advertising for the business.” Recent Groupon deals in the South Bend area have included Italian cuisine and salon, paintball and tanning services, O’Neill said. Sophomore Patty Walsh said Groupon has introduced her to businesses she hadn’t tried before, such as Indulgence Pastry Shop & Café in South Bend. “[Groupon] gives me an excuse to eat off campus more because if I have a coupon I’m more likely to go, and I think I’m getting more use for my money because [I’m] getting deals,” Walsh said. “For example, when [my friends and I] went to Indulgence, we paid $7, but we got $15 worth of food.” Groupon offers one deal every day, and each deal is available for 24 hours. Customers can sign up on groupon.com to receive daily e-mails specifying that day’s deal, O’Neill said. “The collective buying concept comes into play because each deal has a tipping point — a minimum number of users that are needed to activate the deal and make it officially ‘on,’” she said. “We encourage users to spread the word about deals via e-mail, Facebook [and] Twitter so all can enjoy.” Sophomore Charlie O’Leary said he likes that Groupon deals are easy to purchase. “They send the deals from South Bend right to my e-mail, so I know they’re applicable to me, and all it takes to buy one is a few clicks,” O’Leary said. O’Leary said he also uses an iPod application for Groupon. The application allows users to visit Groupon’s mobile website and use a given code to purchase deals. Customers can also visit the website or follow their cities’ Facebook or Twitter pages to see local deals, O’Neill said. Walsh said Groupon rewards users for recommending deals to other people. “Groupon has a thing where if you recommend it, you get money back, so the more people I send it to, the more I can benefit,” Walsh said. “If I send them an e-mail and they click on the link, then it bounces back to me, so that’s pretty great.” Yanik, Walsh and O’Leary said Groupon benefits college students. “I think Groupons are great for college students living on a budget, especially ones that [are] offered from restaurants,” Yanik said. “Restaurants usually don’t have an equivalent of a store sale. However, with Groupons, you can get that same satisfaction of a great deal.” Groupon is comparable to its competitors, such as Living Social, O’Leary said. “I think it’s an equally good service. The idea of having the online gift card that’s accessible and specific to my geographic area is really special,” O’Leary said. Walsh said she’s grateful for the excuse to escape dining on campus. “As somebody who doesn’t appreciate the magic of the Notre Dame food system, I definitely appreciate [Groupon],” Walsh said. There are currently over 30,000 Groupon users in the South Bend area, including Notre Dame students. O’Neill said Groupon was launched in Chicago in November 2008 and expanded to South Bend in January.
Caroline Genco University President Fr. John Jenkins speaks at a town hall meeting last June. The Board of Trustees re-elected Jenkins to his third five-year term Friday at their winter meeting in Naples, Florida.Jenkins, the University’s 17th president, was first elected in 2004 after serving as a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1990. According to the press release, he previously served as vice president and associate provost at the University as well as a professor in the philosophy department, earning a Lilly Teaching Fellowship in 1991-1992.The board also re-elected University provost Thomas G. Burish and Executive Vice President John Affleck Graves to new five-year terms Friday, according to the press release.The position of provost is the second-ranking official at the University and oversees academic affairs. Provost since 2005, Burish previously served as president of Washington and Lee University as well as the provost at Vanderbilt from 1993-2002.As the executive vice president, Affleck-Graves oversees the University operating budget and endowment, as well as human resources and University construction, according to the press release. Affleck-Graves joined the University faculty in 1986 and served for three years as the chairman of the department of finance and business economics. He has held the position of executive vice president since 2004.Tags: Board of Trustees, Dr. Thomas G. Burish, Executive Vice President, Fr. John Jenkins, John Affleck-Graves, University Provost University President Fr. John Jenkins was re-elected to his third five-year term Friday at the Board of Trustees winter meeting in Naples, Florida, chairman Richard C. Notebaert announced in a University press release.
Judith Fean, director of Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry since 1995, will be the first laywoman to lead the College as vice president for mission.The vice president for mission position is a joint appointment of the president of the College and the president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Fean will head the Division for Mission, working with both the College and the Congregation to integrate the Saint Mary’s College mission statement into community life.Fean said she looks forward to continuing to integrate the mission throughout the College.“I’m excited to work with so many people who have been developing and living the mission,” Fean said. “The position also means continuing our relationship with the sisters and assessing what it means to be a Catholic women’s college in the liberal arts tradition and how the mission guides us.”Fean said she is inspired by an iconic quote of former College President Sr. Madeleva Wolfe: “I promise you discovery — discovery of yourselves, discovery of the universe and your place in it.”“I believe in this quote because I discovered myself here and what it means to be a woman in the Church,” Fean said. “I’m excited to see what this new chapter looks like and how we can continue to promise young women discovery of themselves.”Fean said she sees the importance of connection and using the core values as stepping stones to make connections with students, faculty and staff.The four core values of Saint Mary’s are faith/spirituality, community, learning and justice, which go hand-in-hand with the mission, she said. The interconnectedness of the core values is important in making Saint Mary’s a place for young women to call home.“Coming here, students realize the importance of women and how they can develop their gifts and what a wonderful unfolding it is,” she said. “Everything we do is grounded in the philosophy of education, divine providence of God [and] the hope of prayer, and the question is how do we integrate the core values and bring them to life on campus?”In her experience as director of Campus Ministry, Fean said she has seen the mission statement guide programs such as the Ministry Assistant Program. The program, new in 2012, trains and develops a leader in each of the four residence halls to be an extension of Campus Ministry and to help students explore and deepen their spirituality.Fean said she will miss watching students grow and develop on such an intimate level, but she looks forward to working with faculty, staff and students to further the mission of the College.“I’m looking forward to breaking open the stories of the Saint Mary’s community and seeing how the lives of students, faculty and staff are centered around the mission.“The sisters were mentors for me, and I look forward to carrying on the guidance I received and making a difference.”Tags: Judith Fean, New VP, saint mary’s, Vice President for Mission
The Muslim Student Association of Notre Dame hosted an installment of the Prayers from around the World lecture series Tuesday evening in the Coleman-Morse Center student lounge as part of Islam Awareness Week. The event, entitled “Understanding the Hijab,” featured two speakers from the greater South Bend area who teach and practice Islam.Imam Mohammed Sirajuddin said the hijab is a concept that is found in different forms in various other faiths.“Hijab is a practice, not just when we piece off cloth that we put on our heads,” Sirajuddin said. “Hijab is the concept of modesty that exists in all other Abrahamic faith traditions. If you look at pictures of Christian and Jewish women from 100 years ago, you will find hijab.”Sirajuddin said the term hijab that the many associate with the hair covering of women is relatively new.“In the classical Islamic jurisprudence, this word itself is used many times in the Quran, but not particularly to describe the hair covering,” Sirajuddin said. “The word hijab literally means ‘screening,’ or ‘barrier.’ So it is used many times in the Quran, but not with the same meaning that we use today.”“When we say hijab, what Muslims mean is a modest dress, lowering our gazes, showing modesty towards the opposite gender, and not displaying our parts of beauty and the ornaments that could provoke the passion of the opposite gender,” Sirajuddin said.There is a similar verse in the Quran prior to the verse regarding women that pertains to men, Sirajuddin said.“The verse instructs men to lower their gaze, be modest and not to show off,” he said. “There is a modesty in the dress in men just as there is for women, but not necessarily the same requirements.”Sirajuddin said the connection between prayer and everyday life makes the debate about the proper time for hijab unimportant in the Muslim faith.“Inside the prayer, there is a consensus that covering parts of body, especially your hair and your head, is an obligation,” Sirajuddin said. “In the ritual prayer that Muslims offer five times a day, it isn’t controversial, but in the classical Muslim jurisprudence, you don’t find any difference between having hijab during prayer and having it outside of prayer.”Sirajuddin said the controversy about hijab inside the Islamic community is a byproduct of society.“This question of whether hijab is an obligation or whether it is a suggestion for Muslim women is a product of our times,” Sirajuddin said. “We see toward the Islamic tradition and in the Muslim jurisprudence that there has never been a dispute about this issue of modest dress for Muslim women.“All qualified Islamic scholars throughout history agree on the obligation of hijab. It is not a religious symbol, it is not a cultural symbol to differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim women, rather it is a dress code ordained by law on Muslim women.”The event’s second speaker, Jamille Jojo, said the choice to cover her hair and practice hijab was an easy one.“My father came to me, he showed me the verse in the Quran, and he asked what I thought,” Jojo said. “I said, ‘okay.’ The next day, with God as my witness, I covered my hair and I continue to do so. “Jojo said her consistency is as much as a character trait as it is a dedication to her faith.“I’m not a halfway kind of person,” she said. “If I’m going to learn something I’m going to learn it to the maximum that I can. If I’m going to have a slice of pie, it’s going to be a good slice. So why wouldn’t I take that same approach with my faith?”Jojo said she covers her hair simply because it is what she has been asked to do.“It wasn’t because I’m now going to be a women’s liberator,” Jojo said. “It wasn’t because I wanted to stand out in a crowd. It’s not because I want people to come up and ask me why I’m covering my hair. I covered it specifically because its what God tells me to do in the Quran.”Jojo said there is a modesty requirement for both men and women within Islam, but they are different because of the nature of the male and female body.“For women, to be honest, their hands and their face can be shown because a woman is a sexual being by definition,” Jojo said. “A man, on the other hand, could be shirtless, and nobody is going to say a word. He has to wear a pant above the knee or the middle of the knee, so he can’t walk around in short shorts either.“That’s just the way it is because of the way a man is versus a woman. That doesn’t make them better; it just makes them different.”Sirajuddin said hijab is commanded by God, and obeying God is central to what it means to be a Muslim.“We are Muslims, which basically means that we will submit to the will of God and obey God’s commandment, and you follow his teachings, not because of good feelings or spiritual accomplish, as a result you will have those things,” Sirajuddin said. “You do it because God commanded you to do it, and you obey God because he is God.”Tags: Muslim Student Association, Prayers from Around the World
Notre Dame has created a new position to bolster its commitment to supporting local economic growth through partnerships and named the first office-holder, according to a University press release. Jack Curran will serve as associate vice president of new business development.Curran is the former vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Textron Inc., a Fortune 500 company that owns and operates several subsidiaries including Bell Helicopter and the Cessna Aircraft Company.His previous experiences with the Notre Dame community, Curran said, helped convince him to join as the associate vice president of new business development.“My interest in deciding to accept the position was driven by the quality of the people I met, their desire to continually improve the University and the exciting goals that have been established to enhance both the University and the community,” Curran said in an email.Explaining the nature of his new role, Curran said his main responsibility is to help the local community around Notre Dame continue to grow through strategic partnerships.“Through partnerships, alliances and similar arrangements, the resources and capabilities of Notre Dame can be combined with the strengths of other parties to benefit the regional community, the University and the other parties,” Curran said.The University has a strong interest in the economic health of the local community given that it relies on it for a large number of employees, Curran said.“The more successful and appealing the region, the more successful Notre Dame will be in continuing to attract and retain world class talent,” he said.Curran said his extensive experience in the private sector gives him a strong perspective and useful skills that will allow him to succeed as associate vice president of new business development.“I worked for a company that has a number of businesses. Although those businesses operate in different fields than the ones Notre Dame addresses, there is the similarity of needing to understand different businesses and trying to find areas where different businesses can work together and share capabilities,” Curran said.Additionally, Curran said his work at Notre Dame will involve creating teams for specific functions and projects, a process he has done many times at Textron.“Although multi-functional teams currently are being used at Notre Dame, my role is to bring more focus to the process and increase the number of projects that can be considered and completed,” Curran said.As he enters into his new role, Curran said his top priorities include meeting with a variety of Notre Dame employees, potential partners and community leaders, improving his own understanding of Notre Dame’s capabilities and focusing on creating successful partnerships.Tags: Jack Curran, New Business Development, Textron Inc
With finals and the end of the semester right around the corner, student stress levels are on the rise. Two Saint Mary’s professors — Jennifer Bauer, assistant professor of nursing, and Catherine Pittman, associate professor of psychology — both studied stress and its effect on students. Bauer said she conducted a stress study on sophomore nursing majors who were vocal about being stressed when she worked at the University of Indiana-South Bend. “Every day before class, I would have everyone close their eyes,” Bauer said. “I did too, and we would practice deep breathing. Later I introduced guided imagery.” According to Bauer, guided imagery is a meditation technique that has the participant evoke mental images that stimulate the body and all five senses in order to elicit a relaxing response. “At the end of the eight weeks, almost all of my students said they would continue using the techniques to de-stress in everyday situations, like waiting in a long line at a store or at the post office,” Bauer said.Bauer said that it is better to introduce these techniques to younger students. “I found that it was more beneficial to teach these relaxation techniques to younger students so that they can utilize them throughout their academic careers,” Bauer said.Pittman, a psychologist, also studied stress and wrote a book titled “Rewire Your Anxious Brain.” Pittman said worry and overthinking can cause stress, and that stress is directly related to certain parts of the brain.“The part of the brain called the cortex is what people tend to think of when they think of the brain,” Pittman said. “[The cortex] contains hundreds and hundreds of channels, and some of these are ‘worry channels.’ Those worried thoughts increase anxiety.”Pittman said the best way to combat worried thoughts is to keep busy. “Turn worry into a plan,” Pittman said. “Set goals like reading something this night, and looking over notes the next night. Try and do what you can, don’t strive for perfection, and don’t argue with your thoughts. We have control over them, but we can’t just change the channel, it takes time.”Pittman said another great way to reduce stress is through exercising. “The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response, and it is triggered by large amounts of stress,” Pittman said, “The amygdala is not logical. It thinks that the right answer when worried is to run away, so exercising is a good way to trick your amygdala into settling down. When I’m really stressed, I go from my car to the office in the morning as fast as I can because if your amygdala thinks you’ve escaped, it will calm down, and ultimately calm yourself down. Even a brisk walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes can calm the amygdala down.” Bauer said prayer and meditation are two other good sources of stress relief.“Prayer — if you pray — is a great stress reliever,” Bauer said. “Anything with calming thoughts that gets you to sit down and focus on something other than your worries is great for relieving stress.” Bauer said as a professor, she tries to alleviate her students’ stress as much as she can and feels other professors can do the same. “Professors can help students de-stress, especially before an exam,” Bauer said. “They can dim the lights so the lighting’s not too harsh. They could even play some ocean wave music to relax everyone before an exam.” Pittman said that before finals, students should get all the sleep they can.“The amygdala can become unstable without enough sleep, which can cause an increase in anxiety,” Pittman said. “So it’s important to work on sleep and manage time effectively around sleep.”Bauer said deep breathing exercises can also help curb anxiety, especially prior to an exam.“Deep breathing, especially in the few minutes before an exam can be extremely beneficial,” Bauer said. “I know I used to be guilty of looking over any notes and note cards up until the test was handed out, but it’s important to use that time to just breathe.”According to Pittman, deep breathing is another method to calm the amygdala down.“The amygdala gets the adrenaline pumping through our bodies, and it can be hard to calm ourselves and our thoughts down then,” Pittman said. “Deep breathing can help us focus our thoughts so we stop worrying. The amygdala is uncomplicated; scary thoughts scare the amygdala and get it going.”Bauer said if students know of anyone suffering from stress and want to help them, there is a few different approaches they can take. “Be there for them and remind them you understand what they’re going through,” Bauer said. “If they’re a friend, give them a hug, rub their back and remind them that it’s okay. If it’s more serious than that, professors are always available, either after class or in office hours, to consult with the student and talk with them about their fears and anxieties.” Pittman said it’s important to remember that worrying does not improve anyone’s score, and while worries do not go away with the snap of the fingers, de-stressing techniques can make final exams a little more bearable.“No one ever got a good grade because of worry,” Pittman said. “They got it because they studied hard. It’s important to remind students, especially with finals, that they’ve lived through it before and will again. Focus on reading and studying, not catastrophic thoughts, or the worrying thoughts that clog up the cortex.”Tags: Anxiety, relaxation, stress
The Postgraduate Service and Social Impact Fair will be taking place in the Joyce Center on Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m.The fair, which is hosted by the Center for Social Concerns, is an opportunity for any student with an interest in potentially pursuing a service job after graduation to meet, get to know and network with service organizations in a wide variety of fields. 70 different organization are attending the fair, 18 of which are international. Attending organizations include the Peace Corps, Teach for America and the Catholic Volunteer Network. At the fair, students with an interest in service will be able to talk to representatives for different service groups and organizations to learn more about what postgraduate service looks like, and opportunities to participate in the field of social service. Karen Manier, who helped plan the event and is the Center for Social Concerns lead coordinator for postgraduate discernment, said that event is open to students of all ages and from all fields.“Probably a majority of the people there will be seniors and juniors trying to identify opportunities for after graduation, but obviously the sooner the better, because when you start to get a sense for the range of organizations that are out there it gives you time to really fully engage in the discernment process,” she said. “So if you’re a first-year student or a sophomore and you think you might want to do service after school, then it would be great to just come by and talk to some of the groups with no pressure attached.”Manier said that in the last couple years, around seven percent of Notre Dame’s graduating classes have entered into service or social impact work, which she said is a great way for a person to discern what they would like to pursue in life. “Postgraduate service is a great sort of stepping-stone to a job, career path or grad school because it gives you a chance to try something out and see if you like that kind of work,” Manier said.In keeping with the idea of service as a method of discernment, the fair has invited service organizations from a wide variety of fields in order to give as many students as possible to opportunity to pursue or try areas they are interested in, while still serving the world and making a difference. Service in areas such as immigration, refugee relocation, restorative justice and education are common, but service opportunities also exist in areas like ministry, healthcare, administration and communications, social services and various forms of international service.“I’ve never seen doing a year of service or two work against someone in terms of their marketability,” Mainer said. “It’s a great way to explore your interests as well as make a difference for others.”Tags: Center for Social Concerns, postgraduate service, Postgraduate Service and Social Impact Fair
For many, finals week is marked by late nights at the library, a resurgence of caffeine addictions and a general air of grim determination. However, Midnight Breakfast at Saint Mary’s provides students with an opportunity to tear themselves away from textbooks and venture to Noble Family Dining Hall to enjoy a midnight feast Monday of finals week.In an email interview, Karen Johnson, vice president of student affairs, shared some of the history of the event, which has been a hallmark of the Saint Mary’s finals week experience.“Midnight Breakfast started in the early 2000s and possibly even earlier than that,” she said. “As far as we know, it has always taken place Monday of Finals Week. Student Affairs started it, and it is now a cooperative effort of Student Affairs, Student Activities Board and Sodexo.”At 10 p.m., students are ushered into the dining hall where they enjoy breakfast foods, music, singing and dancing.“Around 800 students attend, and faculty and staff are invited to sign up to serve the breakfast, which has always been the case,” she said. “The whole event is fun. It has evolved over time; we added music and some giveaways.”For Johnson, she enjoys the annual celebration of finals week as an opportunity for the College to provide students with a chance to de-stress in a school environment while enjoying food and fellowship with their classmates.“The whole event is fun,” she said. “It’s a stress reliever during Finals Week. There’s dancing, singing and games. I love to see students relaxing and having fun.”Junior Sarah Catherine Caldwell, vice president of Student Activities Board, has had a special interest in Midnight Breakfast even before being on the Board to help plan it.“When I was applying to Saint Mary’s, everyone always talked about Midnight Breakfast and how they said it was the perfect time to get loose for finals and de-stress,” she said. “It’s part of what they love about Saint Mary’s, and they didn’t know any other college that did it.”Reflecting on her time at Saint Mary’s, Caldwell said Midnight Breakfast is now one of her favorite memories from her time at Saint Mary’s as well.“It’s such a fun and unique event. It’s one of those things where you see your president dancing around. Faculty and staff serve, and that’s something that’s really nice, too, because you get to see your professors. They’re also stressed out like we are,” she said. “It’s a nice time to interact with the whole campus. You see people that you don’t necessarily get to see all the time because of classes and extracurriculars. It’s just one of those moments where you get to come together as a community. That’s something that is so big at Saint Mary’s, and this event just builds on that.”In addition to providing some much needed downtime and relief from the stress of finals, Midnight Breakfast also serves as motivation to get work done and to persevere to the end.“It helps me de-stress,” Caldwell said. “It gives me something to look forward to, and it helps me make sure I get my work done Monday night before the breakfast. I then have time to take a moment to breathe, and that’s something that’s really important during the craziness of finals week.”Tags: College Democrats Club of Saint Mary’s, Finals week, Midnight Breakfast, Sodexo