Students brave cold for Center for the Homeless

January 26, 2021

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first_imgFacing one of the coldest days of the year in only sandals, shorts and T-shirts, men of Siegfried Hall walked to class, stood in front of buildings and collected donations for South Bend’s Center for the Homeless. Sophomore Andrew Ritter, Siegfried Hall president and coordinator for the Day of Man, said this annual event has allowed the men of Siegfried Hall to stand in solidarity with the homeless since 2007. “By standing with the homeless for a day, even though it’s not nearly what they go through the entire year, it creates waves on campus,” he said. “When you see a guy walking around in minimal clothing on a day with a negative one [degree] for a low, you notice. We’re showing our support for the South Bend community.” This year 200 of Siegfried’s 248 residents participated, Ritter said, demonstrating strength and humility. “It’s the toughness of being able to say you can stand in that weather, but for the right reasons,” he said. “We stand outside of DeBartolo Hall and North and South Dining Hall with cups that people drop money into.” Freshman Michael Harvey said that, despite the cold, he finds encouragement from other Notre Dame students. “I’ve learned how cold negative 15 [degree] wind chill is and that I’ve noticed a 5 degree increase in temperature since the morning,” he said. “Your fingers and toes go numb as you walk from Siegfried to DeBartolo, but people are supportive which makes it a lot better.” Lisa Knox, a representative from the Center for the Homeless, said the organization and its guests appreciate the time these men dedicate to raising money. “We think these guys are stellar. The fact that they’ve done this unique fundraising is really humbling,” Knox said. “Their impact is great and the money they raise for the shelter is critical, but most importantly, they raise awareness of our organization and its volunteer opportunities.” Siegfried residents also continue to collect money after the Day of Man. E-mails sent to friends and family bring in contributions, Ritter said, and the dorm ends collections around the end of February. “If people just want to make a check to the Center for the Homeless and send it to our rector [Fr.] John Conley, then we’d be more than happy to take donations any time during February,” he said. “But donations to the Center for the Homeless are always more than welcome.” Knox said the Center also welcomes students to volunteer and become involved in the organization. “Peter Lombardo, our director of community involvement, coordinates outreach on campus. If you want to volunteer, contact him or you can visit us online at cfh.net,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to help us or to check their local organizations and see what they can do.”last_img read more


Declan Memorial Fund aids students

January 26, 2021

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first_imgSince Declan Sullivan’s death three years ago, the fund his family created in his memory has sponsored 52 students at Horizons for Youth, a tutoring and scholarship nonprofit organization in Chicago. “We’re really happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish with the funds over the past few years,” Declan’s father, Barry Sullivan, said. “What pleases us the most is the idea that all these people who never had the chance to meet Declan are remembering him and are helping us to remember him in an appropriate way.” Declan Sullivan, a member of the Class of 2012, died in October 2010 after a video tower from which he was filming football practice fell. He was double-majoring in marketing and Film, Television and Theatre, and he was a videographer for the football team. Sunday marked the third anniversary of his death. When the Sullivans received abundant support from their community after Declan’s death, they decided to create something positive in his memory, according to Allison Ackerman, the communications manager at Horizons for Youth and a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame. “They were looking for causes to support that would reflect Declan’s life,” Ackerman said. “They knew Declan loved Notre Dame and loved his education, so they wanted to find something that would support low-income kids from Chicago.” Horizons for Youth is a scholarship, mentoring and community organization for children, Ackerman said. The program accepts students from kindergarten through third grade and supports them through high school graduation, sometimes providing 95 percent of tuition for students placed in private schools. Horizons for Youth also connects students with Big Siblings twice a month and with other individualized tutoring services. “Students are not selected based on academic ability level,” Ackerman said. “A lot of them are average and need help.” Ackerman said the Sullivans finalized their decision to make Horizons for Youth the primary beneficiary of the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund when they discovered the organization’s offices were located next to Old Saint Patrick’s Church, where Barry and his wife Alison were married and where all their children were baptized. Barry Sullivan said the fund receives other contributions throughout the year. The Sullivans put these funds toward their children’s former elementary and high schools, Old Saint Patrick’s Church in Chicago and the community center on Beaver Island, Michigan, where the family spent many summer vacations. Barry Sullivan said it’s also fitting that Horizons for Youth is the fund’s primary beneficiary because of the work the staff contributes to the main fundraising event, No Ordinary Evening. Every year, Horizons for Youth works with the Sullivans to host the 700-guest fundraising gala in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, Ackerman said. The inaugural event raised more than $600,000, and Horizons for Youth received the bulk of the proceeds. “We were able to accept 40 new students into our program and double our tutoring and counseling services,” she said. “The second event allowed us to sustain the first class and add 12 new students.” Ackerman said the size of Declan’s next class completely depends on the success of next year’s event, slated for April 5, 2014, at the same location. “For a student at a charter school, it costs $4,000, and for a private school it’s $8,000, but we need to sustain them year after a year,” she said. The title of the event comes from one of Declan’s favorite films, “American Beauty,” in which one character says, “I don’t think that there is anything worse than being ordinary.” “Declan was anything from ordinary,” Barry Sullivan said. The theme for the upcoming gala is “No Ordinary Evening In Wonderland,” Sullivan said. “Some if the craziness and the fantasy aspects seem to fit Declan’s personality,” he said. “[Declan’s siblings] Mac and Wyn were also involved in coming up with the theme. it was actually suggested by one of Wyn’s good friends. It just all struck a chord with us.” This Saturday, 20 students from Horizons for Youth and their mentors will attend the Notre Dame football game against Navy to meet and tailgate with the Sullivan family. “It’s a special game for Horizons,” Sullivan said. Contact Meghan Thomassen at [email protected]last_img read more


Presentation at SMC addresses victim blaming

January 26, 2021

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first_imgCatharsis Productions, the theatre group responsible for bringing the informative production “Sex Signals” to both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame first-year students, returned to Saint Mary’s Carroll Auditorium on Tuesday evening for an interactive discussion titled, “Beat the Blame Game: Silence the Snark – How You Can Be a Voice and Speak up for Victims of Rape.” The talk comes as part of the Belles Against Violence Office’s week of activism and the #YesallBelles campaign, addressing victim blaming and rape culture.Amber Kelly from Catharsis Productions led the audience of students and faculty in discussion, beginning with the underlying societal forces that prevent a supportive culture for rape victims and how many people tend not to realize the impact of sexual violence when it occurs.“Not only does victim blaming put the responsibility on [the victim], but we are also supporting some abusive and horrible behavior,” Kelly said.Kelly first projected an example of victim blaming from radio personality Bill O’Reilly, showing a transcription of his commentary on the topic of the rape and murder of teen Jennifer Moore. She then invited students to examine the text and decide who O’Reilly was really blaming for the rape and murder — the audience collectively agreed on Moore herself.Kelly then gave a brief overview of the Just World Hypothesis, the cognitive assumption that a person’s actions are ultimately destined to bring morally fair and fitting consequences to that person, Kelly said.“The Just World Hypothesis is when people believe the world is a just place,” Kelly said. “Have you ever heard, ‘Good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people?’ When people victim blame, the first thing people attack is character. ‘This thing that happened is bad; therefore, this is a terrible person.’”Kelly also led the audience in an interactive exercise in which she asked what adjectives people typically use when describing a woman who has sex. She then asked them to do the same for men.“‘Girls’ is negative,” Kelly said. “‘Boys’ is positive. How do guys feel about being called these things? Proud, good, confident. On the other hand, I don’t think you have any friends who want to grow up to be a ‘slutty thot.’”Variations of many terms determine their usage in culture on different genders, Kelly said.“‘Man whore’ is a good example,” Kelly said. “If you just say ‘whore,’ what list does it go on? The women’s list. We have to put a modifier in front of the word for the man.”An important element Kelly highlighted was the fact that not all men are defined by the words society and popular culture associates with them, such as “player,” “stud” and “the man.”“I will argue that this doesn’t actually define all men,” Kelly said. “What does this say about men? How often do they have sex? All the time. How do they feel about those women who they’re having sex with? They couldn’t care less. It gives a really limiting and negative perception of men in general.”Derogatory terms such as “slut” and “whore” are often thrown around carelessly without consequence, Kelly said.“Why do people still use [them]?” Kelly said. “[A slut is] … a girl who sleeps with anyone, on the first date, with multiple people. What’s the number of times a woman has to have sex to cross over into that area of ‘slut-dom?’ Four? One? Zero? We use these to create the bad category, and it’s not just men using this language on women. It’s women using this language on women. If we kept going, we could have gotten variations of these words like ‘town bikes’ and ‘door knobs.’”“Here’s the thing, I’m sure you guys have heard ‘don’t objectify women,’” Kelly said. “What is the job of a whore? To have the sex. All I asked for [were] words that describe women who have sex, not negative or objective.”Not only does consent from both parties make for a more enjoyable time for people, but the point of it is to respect another’s boundaries, Kelly said.“People think that asking people to have sex is awkward, like asking a chair for permission to use it,” Kelly said. “When we use this language, we’re valuing people less, and we really want to get rid of this, because this is the way we attack people in our current culture.”Tags: Catharsis Productions, Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office, Sex Signals, victim blaminglast_img read more


Speaker predicts economic stagnation

January 26, 2021

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first_imgThe man once named Washington’s funniest celebrity, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Austan Goolsbee, spoke Tuesday evening in the Eck Center on the future of the American economy. Emma Farnan | The Observer Austan Goolsbee, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, examines the past and present state of the U.S. economy in a lecture on Tuesday night.“It is usually the case that when you have a deep downturn, it is followed by a rapid recovery,” Goolsbee said. “We didn’t have this ‘V-shaped’ recovery after the worst economic downturn since we’ve had GDP data, it never came back.”These groups believe, according to Goolsbee, “we go through a recession, a financial crisis, and once the deleveraging finishes then we will start growing.”Goolsbee, who formerly served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to President Obama, said proponents of this idea rely on flawed logic. “The FED and the private sector have been wrong year after year because they have embodied in their mind an implicit return to normal,” he said. “In their mind what is normal is defined as what it was in 2006.”Goolsbee said the economy has undergone fundamental changes which disprove this theory.“All the V-shaped recoveries in U.S. history have come when the economy can return right back to what it was doing before the recession,” he said, “This time we had a [housing] bubble, and the bubble popped, and we can’t return to that.”A transformation of the U.S. economy from that which existed before the 2008 financial crisis, according to Goolsbee, is necessary for a full recovery.“Transforming from what we were doing to something new, and that is never a fast process, and it is never an easy process,” he said. “ … It’s happening, but it’s happening slowly, and that is why we never had a V-shaped recovery.”There are four major factors that many economists believe could help save the American economy: consumer spending, other countries, oil prices and Washington. All these fail short according to Goolsbee. He said other countries cannot help the recovery, and lower oil prices won’t help the economy because of low global demand for goods and oil and the lessened importance of oil in the economy due to energy efficiency.As for Washington, Goolsbee said if the government did anything, it might do harm rather than good.“Probably they would do nothing,” he said. “There is a small probability that they do something way worse like we like default on the U.S. debt for no reason.”Despite the forecast of many economists that the U.S. economy is entering a period of stagnation, Goolsbee said there is reason to be hopeful.“We start from a position of strength and not of weakness,” he said. “ … The cost of capital is favorable, we have a productive workforce, we have a strong rule of law, and it is consistently shown in survey … the number one place to invest is the United States.“We remain the most entrepreneurially-oriented, innovative culture on earth, if you look at data. … The ability of U.S. businesses to adopt to new technology … we have proven better at that than anyone else.”Tags: economy, Politicslast_img read more


Speaker emphasizes need for sustainable development

January 26, 2021

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One of Pope Francis’s top advisors challenged the Catholic community at Notre Dame and beyond to care for all those across the world affected by environmental degradation.Archbishop Benardito Auza, the Papal Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said the Catholic world should cultivate empathy for those that suffer acutely from climate change and the economic systems that create environmental damage Sunday night during the keynote address of a Mendoza College of Business conference titled “A Global Compact for Sustainable Development: Advancing Care for Our Common Home.”“Pope Francis shows us that the bond between concern for nature, concern for the poor and the commitment to the betterment of society … are all together inseparable,” Auza said.Keeping with the conference’s focus on Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, the archbishop began by highlighting the strengths of the pope, the accomplishments of his papacy and his influence in the world.“We have seen a pope who has already visited 21 countries … from war-torn Central African Republic to the United States, from Cuba to the Philippines, from South Korea to Mexico,” Auza said.With this international influence, the pope has also been active in international institutions, he said, highlighting the pope’s attendance in Europe and at a joint session of the U.S. Congress as examples.The strength of Francis’s words and actions have influenced people to act and have contributed to the pope’s status as the most popular world leader, Auza said. He said Francis has been instrumental in building bridges amongst people.“In all his words and examples and gestures, I see one golden thread. … [It’s] a unifying inspiration that has overarching implications not only for the spiritual and pastoral activity of the Church but also for the primary socioeconomic and political concerns of our time,” said Auza.Auza then focused on another form of leadership on a global scale: the United Nations. The UN serves as a conduit for important diplomacy, and the issues discussed through this institution are fundamental concerns for the Church, rooted in Jesus Christ, Auza argued.“If Jesus cares about these things, then the Church cannot but care. There is nothing genuinely human that is alienable to the Church,” he said.In speaking of these concerns, Auza again cited the pope’s Laudato Si’. He said Francis’s encyclical on the environment emphasizes the interconnectedness between humanity and nature and argued that different perspectives need to be brought together to foster discussion on sustainable development.“In this specific encyclical, he made it a point to say that, ‘With this encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all the people about our common goal,’” Auza said. “Pope Francis wants to bring into conversation individuals and entire societies, state institutions and civic organizations, each one bringing its specific contribution.” Auza concluded by emphasizing the need for a new approach to politics and economics embracing the interconnectedness of society and nature. He said the conferences and discussions being held in the world are indicative of the collective will to protect the environment and are steps towards attaining sustainability.“Although our common home is falling into serious disrepair, as [Pope Francis] says somewhere in the beginning of the encyclical, ‘In the end we can reverse this trend because while we are capable of the worst, we are also capable of the best, rising above ourselves, choosing again what is good and making a new start.’”Tags: Benardito Auza, environment, laudato si’, Pope Francis, sustainability read more


Ricci family donates $5 million for marching band practice fields

January 26, 2021

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first_imgThe Band of the Fighting Irish will soon have a new home on campus: a permanent outdoor rehearsal field.A $5 million gift from Kenn and Pamela Ricci of Willoughby, Ohio, will be used to create three fully-lit, artificial turf football fields adjacent to the Stepan Center, according to a University press release. The Ricci Family Fields will provide a practice space for the marching band, including a new storage building, restrooms and locker room facilities. The field will also be used for RecSports activities throughout the year, according to the release. John Affleck-Graves, University executive vice president, said Notre Dame is grateful for the Riccis’ gift. “[It] will not only impact the marching band and students participating in RecSports, but will also allow the University to continue to pursue our ambitious path toward carbon reduction,” Affleck-Graves said in the release. “The Ricci Family Fields construction project creates an opportunity to build a 1,350-ton geothermal well field beneath the new playing fields, therefore maximizing the benefits to the University from this single important site.”According to the release, construction on the Ricci Family Fields will begin in spring 2017 and is expected to be completed by August 2017. Kenn Ricci is a 1978 graduate of the University and was a member of the band during his undergraduate career, according to the release. “The band in many ways is the audio spirit of Notre Dame, and we are very proud to contribute to its continuing mission and successes,” Ricci said in the release. Ricci, who is currently a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, has also contributed money to create the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall and the Ricci Band Musical Excellence fund.The gift was announced amidst a number of other campus construction projects working to improve student life at Notre Dame, including the LaFortune Student Center renovations, the construction of two new residence halls and the Campus Crossroads project.“The Riccis’ gift will not only ensure the band has a first-rate, permanent home to practice, but will serve generations of students through our nationally-renowned club and intramural sports programs,” Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president of student affairs, said in the release. Tags: band, Band of the Fighting Irish, Kenn Ricci, Pamela Ricci, Ricci Family Fieldslast_img read more


Saint Mary’s names Nancy Nekvasil as Provost, senior vice president for Academic Affairs

January 26, 2021

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first_imgProfessor of biology Nancy Nekvasil will now fulfill the position of Provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, President Jan Cervelli said in an email sent to the College community Friday.Selecting Nekvasil — who held the position on an interim basis since July 1 — involved considering the opinions and feedback of many individuals, Cervelli said in the email.“I want to acknowledge and thank our dedicated and hard-working Provost search committee, co-chaired by vice president for enrollment management Mona Bowe and associate professor Karen Chambers, and the firm Academic Search for their guidance and for helping Saint Mary’s identify the right person for the College at this time,” Cervelli said. “Feedback from various stakeholder groups — including the Faculty Assembly Leadership, the Provost Search Committee and the Academic Affairs Council — and from many of you following this week’s campus forum with [Nekvasil] made it evident that she is an outstanding fit for the permanent position.”Nekvasil’s past experience will benefit her immensely, the email said.“[Nekvasil] brings multiple dimensions to this role,” Cervelli said. “As an accomplished physiologist, a distinguished teacher committed to Saint Mary’s undergraduate and graduate education and an experienced campus leader and administrator, she has demonstrated her wide-ranging expertise and commitment to the College’s mission. I am grateful that [Nekvasil] will continue to share those gifts with the campus community in this vital position.”Tags: Academic Affairs, provostlast_img read more


Saint Mary’s declares Dining Hall ‘strawless’

January 26, 2021

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first_imgTags: Noble Family Dining Hall, skipthestraw, strawless, The Last Plastic Straw To limit its environmental impact, Saint Mary’s will no longer offer straws in Noble Family Dining Hall, according to a College press release.College President Jan Cervelli and seniors Carolyn Arcuri and Kristhel Torre launched this campaign in an effort to combat plastic waste, since Americans throw away an estimated 500 million plastic straws every day, the release states.“Disposable straws are piling up in landfills and harming the environment, adding substantially to the tons of plastic waste discharged into the ocean and lakes every year,” Cervelli said. “If you can make a choice to skip using a plastic straw, why not? And if you can make this one choice, maybe you can do even more.”Director of dining services Kenneth Acosta is looking into providing reusable straws for purchase, according to the release. Eco-friendlier options include straws made out of glass, silicone or washable stainless-steel.Cafes on campus will still offer straws as an option, but the move to eliminate straws from the dining hall is intended to encourage students to avoid straws. Students are encouraged to join the movement on social media by using the hashtag #SkipTheStraw and by check out the anti-straw advocacy organization The Last Plastic Straw, the release states.last_img read more


Panel discusses advocacy, activism efforts at Notre Dame

January 26, 2021

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first_imgFossil Free ND hosted a panel Tuesday in Geddes Hall titled “The State of Advocacy and Activism at Notre Dame” about challenges and resources for activism on Notre Dame’s campus. The panel, which aimed to encourage advocacy and open dialogue across campus, included members of Student Coalition for Immigrant Activism (SCIA), Irish 4 Reproductive Health (I4RH), Feminist ND, Fossil Free ND, Student Government, Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) and Notre Dame Right to Life. While each of the groups has had different experiences with the campus community, all expressed similar struggles with generating momentum and widespread participation. Part of that struggle, junior Adam Wiechman of Fossil Free ND said, are two forms of the “Notre Dame bubble.”“I think that a lot of our students sometimes have the sense of living life in a bubble at Notre Dame, not necessarily being forced to grapple with some very real issues that a lot of other people just outside our University deal with,” Wiechman said. “And I think that because of that, when things like social justice issues are brought into the arena of issues at Notre Dame they have to compete with more immediate issues like a paper due the next day.”This issue was seen, he said, in trying to get students to participate in rallies, which necessitates that students budget their time around academic commitments.“The second form that bubble takes is cross-issue bubble-ness,” Wiechman said. “The way that works is that we have a lot of really passionate people at this university and a lot of people with issues that they care a lot about. But unfortunately, when you get really passionate about an issue here it’s very easy to just join that club, get really into that issue and then forget that so many of these things are interconnected.”Another challenge, sophomore Anne Jarrett of I4RH said, was the frustration of having to appeal to an audience that does not “have skin in the game.” I4RH is not recognized by the administration and has not sought recognition, she said, because its mission to advocate for access to contraception and reproductive health resources often runs contrary to University beliefs.“Things that are contrary to these identities are very difficult or become very difficult to advocate for or to fight for simply because if the privileged and prevailing culture is not interested in these issues, then they won’t really be talked about,” Jarrett said. “ … What’s most difficult for us is that because of that, activism, specifically the activism that our group is doing, is not really perceived as necessary or important.”While Notre Dame Right to Life’s mission to uphold the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death does align with the Catholic ideals of the University, just having the support of the administration is not enough, senior Sarah Drumm said.“I think a lot of students tend to put our club and other clubs into boxes, so most people on this campus see us as an anti-abortion club and aren’t really interested in anything that we do,” Drumm said. “But really we do events advocating for the dignity of all life in all of its stages, and that overlaps with most clubs on this campus, but people aren’t always receptive to hearing that.”Senior Dom Acri of NASAND used NASAND’S continuous efforts to remove the Columbus murals in Main Building as an example of the difficulty behind maintaining a group’s mission through cycles of graduation, since remaining members choose to focus on other issues.“When it comes to students and whether they identify with the group that they’re getting behind or identify as allies with, the biggest barrier is the lukewarm effort that happens through cycles of different advocacy campaigns,” Acri said. “Without the University’s support for a lot of the things that students on this campus are advocating for that I’ve seen in the last year, it’s really hard for us to organize.”Many of the panelists agreed it could be difficult to work through the Student Activities Office (SAO) because it is understaffed and can be extremely inefficient. While Fossil Free ND has instead turned to Campus Safety to approve of their demonstrations, Wiechman said no one seems to know exactly what the rules or consequences of disobeying them are, and senior Emily Garrett said Feminist ND has all but dissolved due to the administration’s restrictions on their efforts.“The SAO rules were something we were very, very aware of because the kind of intersectional feminism that we wanted to bring to campus may not always align with the Catholic mission,” Garrett said. “So something that we found to be a very fine line with SAO is this idea of awareness rather than advocacy. The administration and SAO tends to be very open to awareness events, not necessarily advocacy events, and honestly, because of that, Feminist ND hasn’t done a whole lot.” Part of the issue is the administration’s comfort with the status quo and unwillingness to act unless the issue at hand brings public scrutiny upon the University, Drumm said. Senior Carolyn Yvellez of Fossil Free ND — who hosted the panel — pointed to the “4 to 5” movement of a few years ago that incorporated student activism and public pressure to make Notre Dame’s campus more welcoming to LGBT students. Jarrett, along with junior Gargi Purohit of SCIA, said vocal, educated students are key to any advocacy effort on campus.“One thing I think that people should keep in mind is trying to go to events like this — try to go to events where people are trying to educate you on a certain topic,” Purohit said. “ … Those are very critical parts of advocacy. Just remember that these issues are always ongoing.”Tags: activism, advocacy, Feminist ND, Fossil Free ND, Irish 4 Reproductive Health, Native American Student Association of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Right to Life, Student Coalition for Immigrant Activismlast_img read more


Speakers explore significance of Saint Mary’s education

January 26, 2021

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first_imgFollowing the presentations, attendants were given an opportunity to respond to the speakers.Sr. Eva Hooker emphasized the importance of being welcoming as a community when she recalled a conversation she had with two members of the South Bend community who were not sure it was OK for them to enjoy their picnic lunch on campus.Ufomata was then asked how she thought the College community could help people live out their potential and embody the mission of Saint Mary’s.“I think what we’re doing here is a start,” she said.A Tuesday report incorrectly stated Dana Strait, vice president for strategy and finance at Saint Mary’s, received her Ph.D. in music theory. Strait received her Ph.D. in neuroscience. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: Landscapes of the Spirit Margaret Cicchiello | The Observer Provost Titilayo Ufomata spoke Monday about Saint Mary’s mission and the enduring power of its founding sisters’ spirit. Members of the Saint Mary’s community gathered on Monday to hear Dana Strait, vice president for strategy and finance, and Titilayo Ufomata, the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, speak at “Landscapes of the Spirit.”Judy Fean, vice president for mission, introduced the speakers by discussing the event’s founding four years ago.“[The event was founded] so we could get a sense of how people here do live the mission and how being a Catholic Holy Cross Institution … makes a difference,” Fean said.Strait described several instances in which she’s experienced prejudice for being a woman, including being told to “stay realistic” when telling her mother she wanted to attend medical school and having a professor tell her “women just aren’t suited for Beethoven — it needs a man’s touch.”Strait said she went on to “devour Beethoven’s sonatas for the rest of [her] musical career,” and received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Northwestern.“As I learned more about who we are and how we were founded and the mission that guides us — a mission that was founded by the sisters of the Holy Cross, these radical, devoted women with the mission to improve the world around them — the flame that drew me into this campus began to take shape,” Strait said. “… The Sisters who founded us and who continue to invite us to share in their ministry forged a radical history of pushing the limits of what is acceptable for young women in contemporary society and in the Church, always in response to the needs of the complex world around us.”Strait said she found herself and her story, or her “flame,” woven into the sisters of the Holy Cross.“It’s a story of risk-taking and being on the leading edge of what’s acceptable and appropriate for women to be doing, of doing things … like playing a Beethoven sonata, that might be thought of by some as needing a man’s touch,” Strait said. “It’s a story of empowering women to be auto mechanics in the 1920s, to be medical professionals serving on battlefields during the Civil War … and to enter the male-dominated fields of business and accounting as early as the 1970s. For those in the Church, the sisters founded the first graduate school, where women could earn a theological education — the first in the world.”Strait said living her mission is about bringing her “full self” to work.“This is the first job where I’ve been able to live out all of the parts of me: my woman-ness, my big ideas, my scientific and analytical self, my creative self, my spiritual and Christian identity, my belief that God has a flame burning on this campus and that God invites me and all of my parts to be a part of it,” she said.Ufomata began her address by reflecting on the mission of Saint Mary’s.“What does it mean to live the mission at Saint Mary’s College?” she said. “… I look at this question from the perspective of God’s work on Earth, particularly of building a Christian community.”Ufomata said she learned this sense of community from her upbringing in Nigeria, and she now carries it wherever she goes.“We have a saying in my language that translates roughly to ‘what can be divided can be shared,’” she said. “I grew up seeing a lot of people in a lot of need who never lost their dignity … because the community ‘covered them,’ as we say in my language. People took care to protect the dignity of those they supported. They understood that membership of community includes responsibilities to the whole and to each other.”last_img read more