The Council of Representatives (COR), a diverse advisory group to student body president Pat McCormick, focused its discussions this semester on three primary goals outlined by McCormick in his “State of the Student Union” address. “The first pillar is uniting the Student Union to make it a more effective advocate, the second, delivering on constituent services and … [third,] dramatically extending student government’s ability to work on issues of consequence,” McCormick said. This semester was the group’s last as the COR’s last and most significant topic of debate resulted in its consolidation with the Student Senate. “There was something of a contradiction in COR,” McCormick said. “There was the sense that these members of the Student Union should advise the president on student policy and programming. But while we allow them to advise on policy, there was no architecture within student government to let them engage in policy terms.” McCormick said the group’s debates focused on how to expand representativeness in student government. “We tried to think through whether there might be a way to accomplish two objectives,” he said. “First, to cut through the red tape in student government that had increasingly come to be extraneous to the work of the Student Union itself, and secondly, to see whether there might be a way in doing so to unite the Student Union once and for all.” Following several months of revisions to the constitution led by COR member and Internal Affairs chair Ben Noe, the Council debated the merger for two weeks before holding a trial meeting with Senate. The senators approved the reform at that meeting last week. Before the merger, the Council did also address the second pillar, which McCormick refers to as “issues of convenience.” Council debate resulted in clarifying policies regarding student use of local taxi services, McCormick said. “We were excited to have the opportunity to discuss taxi reform and to get people’s feedback on transportation in general,” he said. “Providing more effective transportation to and from campus is routine, but important.” McCormick said the group’s conversations often centered on enhancing school spirit, and Notre Dame leprechaun Mike George even attended one meeting. “I extended that invitation [to George] in order to bring stakeholders together to talk about focusing on both student safety and school spirit,” he said. “We used COR to talk about stadium modernization and things like canned music.” McCormick said the group was helpful in his efforts to gauge student sentiment on the controversial game day updates. “COR serves as a sounding board to get a feel about where students stand,” he said. The Council’s final area of focus this semester, McCormick said, were “issues of consequence” relating to both University and external policy matters. “We talked about the education Forum, to discuss what worked in past years and how the Forum can be improved,” he said. “We talked about immigration reform in COR before Cardinal Mahoney came to speak at Senate, where we had the opportunity to bring in ideas from COR.” One of the most tangible results of dialogue in COR, McCormick said, was the passage of a comprehensive sustainability strategy by the University. “We had the chance to talk about sustainability, which contributed to my own approach toward working for a sustainability strategy at Senate, which resulted in our fourth resolution,” he said. “That was followed up with a report to the Board of Trustees, and now we have, for the first time in Notre Dame history, a public commitment to sustainability.” McCormick said the group’s greatest purpose this semester was to advance students’ role in policy change. “[The representatives] embody why the argument is so important, that students can be part of the project of building a Notre Dame consistent with the size of our hopes for the University,” he said.
The deadline for potential candidates to submit petitions for the student body presidential and vice presidential election is Friday, according to the Judicial Council website. The Judicial Council, which is accountable for the validity and fairness of Student Union elections, expects to announce the candidate tickets Tuesday. Feb. 4 is the tentative date for the student body presidential debate. The student body presidential and vice presidential election will take place Feb. 6.
The Saint Mary’s College Department of Global Studies announced Thomas Herder, General Counsel of the Energy Division of Siemens AG, as the inaugural speaker of its new lecture series, titled “On Developing Global Mindset.” “We are delighted to have Tom Herder as our inaugural speaker in the series,” department chair and business professor Jill Vihtelic said. “He values [a] global mindset and women’s roles in globalization. He will offer good insight to our students.” In his role at the Munich-based electronics and electrical engineering company, Herder manages a global department of more than 150 lawyers, contract managers, paralegals and support staff located in more than 20 locations in eight countries. This broad experience and insight makes him an ideal addition to a speaker series highlighting people in successful global careers, Vihtelic said. “We want students to hear firsthand how they can develop a global mindset,” Vihtelic said. “We want students to be able to dialogue with him and learn what his job is, what education prepared him for his role in the company and what sort of previous experiences he has had abroad.” Herder is no newcomer to Saint Mary’s College. He and his wife, Sally Herder, a 1978 alumna, are co-chairs of the Saint Mary’s College Parent Council, and their daughter, Julie, is a senior communications major. (Editor’s Note: Julie is employed as a photographer for The Observer.) Susan Dampeer, assistant to College President Carol Ann Mooney, recommended Herder as a potential speaker, Vihtelic said. “As the parents of a senior, they understand the importance of bringing real world experience to our students,” Dampeer said. “Mr. Herder’s talk about his career in international law should be both informative and inspirational to our students.” Though the Global Studies major is a new addition to the College’s curriculum, Vihtelic said its students can already begin considering career paths in the international job market that tie into the department’s business and economics concentrations. “An important part of this major is not only academic skill, but to also get our students thinking about different professional opportunities,” Vihtelic said. “A speaker like Mr. Herder complements the business concentration of the major.” But Global Studies students are by no means limited to careers in business, Vihtelic said. “For future lectures in the series, we would like to include government officials, non-profit organizers and global leaders of education,” she said. “It is important for students of the major to see all types of global careers.” Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]
Moreau Art Galleries is featuring Saint Mary’s alum Kristin Stransky alongside Marilyn Minter, an artist recently featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Though the two exhibits, which opened Friday, Aug. 30 are wildly different in medium, their themes overlap. Tiffany Bidler, assistant professor of art and director of the galleries, said her aim is to provide students with professional and educational pieces that are challenging and innovative in both content and media. “My first consideration is whether or not I feel the work will inspire students,” Bidler said. Secondly, she seeks works that engage the various missions of the college. “We educate women at Saint Mary’s College and so I try to bring in the work of women artists whose work touches on issues of gender,” she said. The Galleries’ director believes the Stransky and Minter’s exhibits, located in the Sister Rosaire and the Hammes Gallery, respectively accomplish that mission. “The Marilyn Minter exhibition that I curated considers makeup’s materiality and its role in gendered performances that elicit desire and construct femininity,” Bidler said. “My favorite work by Stransky is “Landing Strip.” It’s a brilliant piece about sexuality and boundaries.” Technology plays an integral role in both the conception and process of Stransky’s pieces, Stransky said. “Ultimately, I saw art as a vehicle to explore both ideas and creation, both intellectual and hands on,” she said. The Little Theater and Sister Rosaire galleries also previously featured Kristen Stransky’s pieces. The Saint Mary’s alumna is currently pursuing a master of fine arts in Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver. “Coding and other technical formats often require adherence to strict processes and syntax to create a working unit, and I like to think that I bend those rules through meaning and the application of technology to craft and sculptural mediums,” Stransky said. Bidler, an art historian, said she likes to spend time comparing works of art, especially in her classes. “Marilyn Minter is an internationally renowned contemporary artist. I first saw Green, Pink, Caviar while it was on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The video is very sensuous, colorful, and hypnotic – it draws you in,” Bidler said of Minter’s piece. Bidler said she loves the hypnotic quality of the Minter video, which sucks the viewer into a world of color and pleasure. “I love that the context Minter provides about the photograph of her mother is at odds with some of the assumptions we might make about her mother based on a cursory glance at the photograph. I enjoy having my assumptions challenged by other artists,” she said. Bidler said the exhibition is a comparison of early work by Marilyn Minter and a late work by Marilyn Minter, at a basic level. “It seeks to draw out themes that persist over time in her work,” she said. As for the connection between Stransky and Minter, Bidler encourages students to make their own conclusions. “I have some ideas about the thematic ties between the Kristin Stransky and Marilyn Minter exhibitions, but I’d love for viewers to come in and make these connections for themselves,” Bidler said. Moreau Center for the Arts will feature the free exhibits until Sept. 20.
Annmarie Soller | The Observer David O’Connor, an associate professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, encouraged audience members Friday to think more broadly about the history of concepts of beauty in his keynote address at the 10th annual Edith Stein Project Conference in McKenna Hall Auditorium.“What I wanted to do, to start out the conference, was to think in a pretty broad and historical way about how there have always been tensions surrounding the status of beauty,” he said.There is both a biblical and philosophical history to the tensions of beauty evident in two formative passages found in both disciplines, O’Connor said: the creation story in Genesis and Plato’s Phaedrus.The creation story in Genesis is biblically the most formative passage about beauty because it shows the connection between God’s creative power of man and man’s creative power of beauty, O’Connor said.“God is the absolute creator, and so when we reach the passage in Genesis that God will create humans beings in the image and likeness, the primary reality is that we will share in God’s creative power – we will be procreative,” he said.O’Connor said the Genesis passage emphasizes how the creative power humans possess as images of God is best expressed by humans’ ability to procreate.“It is actually through our sexuality that we image God,” he said. “The ability to bring a human life out of love from the point of Genesis is the power that shows us most immediately what God is giving us by letting us be created in his image.”Forgetting the divinity ingrained in sexuality would corrupt the definition of beauty that is expressed as sexuality, O’Connor said.“To reduce sexuality to something purely human would cut us off from something of which we are an image,” he said. “Imagine being an image and no longer remembering … of what you are an image.”O’Connor, who next referenced the philosophically derived tensions of beauty evident in Phaedrus, said beauty is proposed as a dangerous power. He said Plato describes beauty as a privilege that other great goods such as courage are not because beauty is immediately powerful to our senses.Plato toys with the philosophical idea that human life can be improved without beauty, O’Connor said. Beauty, and the sexuality connected to beauty, is a power and therefore dangerous.Although he said he agrees with Plato that beauty is a power, O’Connor said he warns against giving the power of beauty a negative connotation or avoiding it for fear of exploiting it.“It’s a false simplicity to think that beauty is a bad thing,” he said. “Now, it’s equally a false simplicity to think that beauty is a always a good thing and to embrace the beauty of images.”O’Connor said the example of religious art shows how people have always struggled to find a balance between the two poles of avoiding beauty for fear of exploitation or exploiting beauty.Guido Reni’s painting “Saint Sebastian” was removed from a church after women confessed to sinning at the sight of it, O’Connor said. The painting was an example of how, despite religious intent, beauty can become an occasion of sin.“The power of an image is not fully contained by the religious or moral narrative that it means to illustrate, and what escapes the frame is our response to physical beauty,” he said.The examples of Reni’s “Saint Sebastian” and other similar paintings are proof of a need to find a way to live with the power of an image that we cannot contain, O’Connor said.“We are created male and female in the image in God,” he said. “It is a great power and gift, and we cannot simply refuse the gift – even if we fear or know that we will misuse it. And those, for me, are the anxieties of beauty.”Tags: beauty, David O’Connor, Edith Stein, Edith Stein Project Conference
The end of the semester marks the conclusion of the first semester of the Moreau First-Year Experience, a year-long, two-credit course for freshmen that replaces the previous physical education requirement.The Moreau First-Year Experience is intended to ease new students’ transitions to the University and convey Notre Dame’s educational philosophy, Maureen Dawson, an assistant dean in the First Year of Studies program, said.Throughout the fall semester, administrators have emphasized program elements that are working well and reworked aspects that are not, Dawson said. After fall break, the length of the course’s readings were changed, and efforts to educate students about lesser-known campus resources were re-emphasized.“From the semester’s midpoint to now, we actually trimmed back some of the assignments. We cut back assignments’ minimum word count, to make things more focused and flexible for students,” Dawson said.These changes were driven by student responses to a midterm survey and observation of student work submitted in Sakai, Dawson said. The survey had a more than 60 percent response rate, Dawson said, and it prompted classroom conversations between instructors and students about how to improve discussions and streamline assignments.“The student midterm survey gave us a lot of really clear, concise responses from students about what they thought was working, what was uninteresting and what was laborious,” she said.Survey responses also showed students liked the small group setting and the sections built around residential neighborhoods, Dawson said. The instructors also completed a survey, and responses to that survey were influential in determining future changes to the curriculum.“They said that they really enjoyed working with students on a weekly basis, though they critiqued the reading materials,” she said. “So we took that into consideration for next fall and for the spring.”The present classroom size is successfully creating community and facilitating discussion, Dawson said, though even smaller class sizes are a future possibility.“Going into spring, students self-register, and right now the registration is going pretty smoothly. Many students are asking to stay in the same section with the people they had already studied with, and we’re pretty happy with that,” she said. “For discussion you really need a small environment. Long-term, if you could make class sizes smaller that would be great, but in 50 minutes many more than 19 students is not conceived well.”Dawson said she expects the Moreau First-Year Experience will help students understand Notre Dame’s complexity and access its resources, and it will facilitate students’ holistic development and enable students to identify things that excite them. This excitement will help students engage with the University itself and with the diverse communities within and around Notre Dame, Dawson said.“I think over time we’ll evolve that ability to showcase resources more pointedly,” Dawson said. “Now we’re at the stage where we’re sharing information with students, and we’re building a base for reflection and discussion. … With each successive semester, we’ll be able to move students more directly in contact with these resources and opportunities around campus.”Tags: FYS, Moreau First Year Experience
Over the summer, five Saint Mary’s students — juniors Teresa Brickey, Jessie Purvis, Madeline Moeller and Michaela Mwachande and sophomore Nguyen Nga — volunteered with the Sisters of the Holy Cross to help run a summer camp for school children in Park City, Utah.Moeller, a economics major, said she found out about the program through the Saint Mary’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement, the campus’ resource for service opportunities.Brickey, a Global Studies and Intercultural Studies major, said the program caters mainly to immigrants, especially from Mexico and Latin America. She and the other Saint Mary’s students aided in the summer school programs, teaching “non-cognitive” subjects, such as anti-bullying or hygiene.“A lot of the kids come from very low-income families or families where their parents are always working,” Brickey said. “During the day and at night, they might not have anyone at home, so we would do lessons where their parents might [only] teach them if they have the time.”Moeller said they also led activities such as archery, crafts, fishing and swimming during the week.“It was priceless and rewarding to see the kids fully engaged with activities we planned,” she said. “I enjoyed getting to know the Sisters and the community in Utah.”Although not all children were necessarily immigrants or second-generation immigrants, most of the students spoke Spanish, Brickey said. She said she was able to communicate with them in Spanish and English, although some children knew only Spanish.“I think it makes people more comfortable, knowing that they’re understood,” Brickey said. “I hope I made them feel like a human. … There’s a lot going on right now, and they might interpret that as not being worthy because of the language they speak or the income level they live within. Just being with them and having fun with them … and them knowing they’re so loved [is important].”Brickey said one student would not participate during class or activities. Eventually, she said, she realized the student could not understand English well enough to follow along with class, so she began translating the lessons for him.“After he realized that I understood him, he lit up and opened up,” she said.This experience helped Moeller become more flexible and open-minded, she said.“My Saint Mary’s experience enabled me to learn to reach out and help others in need,” she said. “I hope the community saw I always tried to do my best.”This opportunity helped Brickey connect closer to the people around her, she said.“We’re all called to be one with another,” Brickey said. “It’s not ‘service’ or ‘volunteering.’ It’s just being a human being, working together [with them] in this world. I didn’t do it to be a savior. What I wanted was a community and to be opened up to learning about the world, and I think they taught me about the world.”Brickey said she chose a program in the United States because she wanted to help address issues within her own country rather than participating in a service program abroad.“We like to think that we don’t have problems, but we do,” she said. “We’re called to address those problems, not because we’re better, but because this is our country. And just because someone is an immigrant doesn’t make them less American than I [am]. They have the right to education and healthcare and having someone just be with them.”The experience helped her put Saint Mary’s values into action, Brickey said.“The [values] are all tied into human rights and human dignity,” she said. “Understanding that everyone has a God-given dignity — or if you don’t believe in a god, then just a dignity given to us by being in this universe — we’re all called to respect each other.”Tags: Human Dignity, service, Sisters of the Holy Cross
Saint Mary’s College will host “Extraordinary Women: A Musical Cabaret,” from April 5-7, stage director and associate professor of theater Mark Abram-Copenhaver said.“On Friday and Saturday, there will be an early and late show, with times to be decided,” he said.Abram-Copenhaver said the musical follows a musical revue style, revolving around a theme with songs from a variety of composers. This year’s theme highlights the women of various musical productions.“In a lot of musical theater, we end up with female characters whose sole purpose for being there is either to be wanted by a man, pursuing a man or something having to do with who they are relative to the male characters,” he said. “The male characters are doing something in the world, and the female characters are focused on them.”The musical will feature a variety of songs, which will be chosen to fit the members of the cast. The musical will also have non-singing roles, performed by show’s narrators.“What’s great about [the musical] is that it will be an evening filled with the show stopping numbers from lots of different musicals,” Abram-Copenhaver said. “We think we’re going to have somewhere between 20 to 25 songs in it. Exactly what songs depends on who auditions because we’re going to match the songs to the performers who come out.”This year, the musical will take place in Welsh Parlor, rather than the Moreau Center for the Arts, which hosted the performances in previous years.“All the audience will be seated at little tables as it is going to be performed in cabaret style with a small musical ensemble,” Abram-Copenhaver said. “It will be a unique experience, very different than other musicals we have done.” Abram-Copenhaver said the change in style from a traditional musical will give more students the chance to participate.“We wanted to do a musical this year, and this [style] gave us the opportunity to involve the largest number of students,” he said.The announcement of this year’s spring musical comes with the introduction of a new musical theater minor.“We are launching a musical theater minor this year, and we wanted to promote the maximum number of students in making musical theater, [because] we know that a lot of students worked in musicals in high school,” Abram-Copenhaver said.Abram-Copenhaver said he is excited to highlight women characters in musical theater who are more than just “sad girl[s] with crush[es].”“One of the pieces of commentary I read said that what musicals tend to do is to take female characters and turn them into sad girls with a crush, so what this evening is going to be is everything else,” he said. “It is going to have no sad girls with a crush. It’s an evening about dreaming, and characters who are struggling, and characters who are redefining their relationships, and also characters who are being inspirational, but also characters who are being defiant … and then we have characters who are being victorious.”Auditions will be held Jan. 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater.Tags: Musical, musical theatre, Saint Mary’s theatre, Theatre
Billy Joel will perform at Notre Dame Stadium at 8 p.m. on June 20, 2020, the University announced with Live Nation on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Sue Ryan Billy Joel will be performing at Notre Dame Stadium on June 20, 2020.Known for hit songs “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Joel is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has sold over 150 million records, earned 23 Grammy nominations and had 33 Top 40 hits since 1972, the South Bend Tribune reported.“As we continue to work to bring world-class events to Notre Dame and the greater South Bend/Elkhart region, we are excited to have Billy Joel play for his first time at Notre Dame Stadium on June 20, 2020,” Micki Kidder, vice president for University enterprises and events, said in a press release.The event will be Joel’s third performance at Notre Dame. He previously performed in the Stepan Center in 1996 and the Joyce Center in 1984.Tickets will go on sale on livenation.com Oct. 18 at 10 a.m.Tags: billy joel, Live Nation, Notre Dame Stadium
Kelli Smith | The Observer The Basilica of the Sacred Heart underwent several technological upgrades over winter break. “As this project took shape over the past several years we began to set aside funds from an endowment dedicated to Basilica renovations,” Barrett said. Barrett said she represented Campus Ministry in the discussions before and during the renovation. “The Basilica is part of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame, and I represented Campus Ministry as we selected bids for the design, worked with the sound designers, selected bids for the installation and completed the actual renovation itself,” Barrett said. She noted that Campus Ministry relied heavily on the expertise of the staff at ND Studios in making many of the major decisions. Dan Skendzel, executive director of ND Studios, noted the need for upgraded technology in the Basilica for an improved broadcasting experience of the 10 a.m. Mass.”We often received feedback from viewers that they couldn’t hear or understand the choir, for example,” Skendzel said in an email. ”We can now address that for broadcast viewers without affecting the experience in the Basilica.”Barrett said collaboration was key to carry out the improvement work.“It was truly a joint project between our two departments,” Barrett said. Although the new speakers and microphones required “a great deal of new wiring,” Barett said, the typical viewer will not notice anything different visually.“We definitely brought in representatives from facilities design to assist us in ensuring that we maintained the integrity and beauty of the Basilica,” Barrett said.Barrett said improving the articulation and consistency of sound in the Basilica was an objective of the upgrade.“Spoken and sung words are so important in the Mass and other prayers — we want everyone to be able to understand the scripture readings, homilies, and the texts of the music from the cantor and choirs,” Barrett said. Also, the building is now better connected with the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center on campus, which houses part of ND Studios.“The Basilica has seven remote control cameras that are operated from the media center for broadcast and recording purposes,” Skendzel said. “In addition to improving the sound quality in the Basilica, the recently completed audio upgrade makes it possible to mix audio separately for broadcast and recording purposes. This was not possible with the previous system.”Barrett said the renovation allows for the widespread dissemination of services in the Basilica.“This renovation makes it possible to share our prayer in the Basilica with the wider community through a livestream or taped video, with the best quality sound we can offer,” Barrett said. Father Pete McCormick, the director of Campus Ministry, said the upgrades will improve the worship experience now and in the future.“Day in and day out, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart seeks to praise God through the proclamation of the Scriptures and Sacred Hymns,” McCormick said in an email. “The upgraded audio will support this important ministry long into the future.”Barrett said worshippers have already started noticing differences in the sound experience at the Basilica. “We were very, very grateful not only to hear the difference ourselves, but to listen to the comments of other Mass-goers who were so glad to be able to hear and understand every spoken and sung word,” Barrett said. Tags: audio, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Campus Ministry, Notre Dame Studios Several upgrades made to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus while students were away over winter break. This renovation mainly concerned new technology upgrades throughout the Basilica, Kate Barrett, Campus Ministry’s associate director of liturgy, said in an email. Barrett said the project was a collaboration between Campus Ministry and Notre Dame Studios and was funded by an endowment.