Community reacts to hunger strike

first_imgWith the conclusion of a week-long, student-led hunger strike against the University’s involvement with HEI Hotels, the administration affirmed that, after carefully looking into the alleged poor treatment of the company’s workers, it found no support for the claims and its position had not changed.The student protestors likewise said their position had not changed.The hunger strike began last Monday when students gathered in front of the Main Building wearing orange jumpsuits and holding up signs. With a total involvement of about 30 students staying at least part of the time, the strike concluded Friday afternoon with Mass in front of the main steps.Thirteen of the 30 students engaged in the hunger strike the whole week.“I think that after this week … we are more committed than ever,” junior Liz Furman said. “Our work is complete when our University upholds the morals and values that it says it upholds on its mission statement.”As the latest chapter in a debate that has stretched on for years, the hunger strike aimed at Notre Dame’s continued investment in HEI, a firm that develops many of the country’s most well-known hotels.Students called for the University to withdraw its investment with HEI due to allegations that the company practiced unethical tactics in preventing workers from unionizing.The University said this week, however, that it has considered these allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.“In accord with Notre Dame’s longstanding social investment policy, the University has investigated and closely monitored recent and ongoing claims made about HEI’s labor practices,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said in a written statement.Brown said Notre Dame remains convinced that HEI engages in fair labor practices and is an “outstanding company.”Sophomore Roman Sanchez said the students did not receive a response from the University since their hunger strike.“We sent letters everyday to the President’s Office,” he said. “But [we’ve heard] nothing from an official University spokesman.”He did say, however, that they have been in communication with Chief Investment Officer Scott Malpass, who offered to provide more information about HEI in the future.Malpass was not available for comment.Following the conclusion of the hunger strike, Sanchez said he is excited for the future.“I’m excited to see where we’ll go. I really believe in what we’re doing, and I believe that what we’re doing is all in the message of Christ,” he said.Sanchez said his complaints were not part of any personal battle with the University, so much as making sure it was being accountable to Christian message.Furman said she was encouraged by the support of the community and strangers alike throughout the week.“We received a letter from a clergy group called CLUE (Clergy and Laity Uniting for Economic Justice),” she said. “It was a third party support for us, our hunger strike and the HEI workers.”One of the biggest successes of the strike was the mere fact that they managed to raise awareness, Furman said.“Just having come out of the hunger strike, and now that there is more awareness of the issue, our campaign is not over,” she said. “[Our] campaign will not end just because the school year ends.”Although no immediate next step has been decided, Sanchez said the students will likely continue their efforts and pick up where they leave off up in the fall.last_img read more

SMC-TV goes on the air, revamps office

first_imgWith the new school year, Saint Mary’s students will see new content on channel two of their campus televisions, care of SMC-TV. “We are a station that welcomes the creativity of all of Saint Mary’s students and faculty,” said Christina Midgley general manager of SMC-TV. This fall SMC-TV was officially recognized as a club at Saint Mary’s for the first time. The club has weekly meetings to plan shows, news and events that they will cover. There are many opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to get involved with SMC-TV, Midgley said. The official unveiling of the newly re-vamped station and its new content will be October 4. “You can be a reporter, writer, graphic design artist, producer, director, technician, make-up artist, fashion coordinator, event coordinator, photographer — the list goes on and on and on,” Midgley said. “If there is a job you want, we will make a place for you at SMC-TV.” SMC-TV is a student run television station on Saint Mary’s campus. According to its website, The station was re-established in 2009. It previously broadcast content from classes on campus. This year the station has added content and commercials, as well as lengthening their shows. This also means new programs, including weekly newscasts, interviews and coverage of both athletic and academic events. Lizzie Laughman was also named the station’s production manager. “She was the star of our show, ‘That’s Hot,’ last year. The show dove into celebrity gossip and news,” Midgley said. “Lizzie was great on it and we are excited for more.” SMC-TV has also updated its equipment and how it is used. The station, located in the basement of the library, has even been working with green screen technology. “The green screen will allow us to put our hosts on a different set for their shows and make them look like they are somewhere other than our normal studio,” said Katelyn Grabarek, technical manager of SMC-TV. Grabarek is also a sports writer for The Observer.center_img Midgley said she is hoping the station can reach out to more clubs and organizations on campus to help them get their message out. “There is a way for everyone on campus to be involved in this,” Midgley said. “I want SMC-TV to be everywhere and cover everything that the students and faculty want to see.”last_img read more

Drum majors lead marching band to excellence

first_imgAfter three short blasts to a whistle, six white-gloved hands flash through the air, transforming the organized chaos of a 380-member band practice into a harmonious swell of chromatic scales. These are the same white gloves that twirl thick, elongated batons called maces and conduct the nation’s oldest university marching band through daily practice, weekly marches and game-day performances. They belong to the drum majors, three seasoned band veterans who bridge the gap between directors and members. Senior Leo Mironovich, head drum major of the Band of the Fighting Irish, and senior assistant drum majors Betsy FitzGerald and Nicole McMillan spoke to The Observer about their journeys through high school and college band and the responsibilities and challenges of serving a group under so much public scrutiny, especially at the National Championship Game in January. “The National Championship experience was surreal,” Mironovich said. “We were absolutely ready for it; we had some of the best rehearsals of the year. We had the best morning of rehearsal pretty much in [director Dr. Kenneth] Dye’s history at Notre Dame. And we put on a fantastic halftime show. “In terms of the professional product that we put out on the field, on this big stage, we nailed it. We did really, really well.” Talking about performing to 80,000 fans in Notre Dame Stadium left the band leaders at a loss for words.  “I can’t,” FitzGerald said. “You just can’t. It’s just total sensory overload.” “It is really indescribable,” McMillan said. “It’s exhilarating; it’s a rush. … I feel very lucky to get to experience that.” The drum majors said their responsibilities demand much more than performing in the traditional spectacle of football games. “A lot of times people only see the glamorous aspects of drum majors, especially on game day,” Mironovich said. “It’s such a humbling position and such a powerless position. You’re completely reliant on the respect of the band members. “If they don’t view you as their leader, if they don’t want to work for you, the band is going to crash and burn.” The drum majors said their main role is to facilitate dialogue.  “We kind of serve as communicators between directors and the rest of the students,” FitzGerald said. “We facilitate rehearsal. We don’t run the rehearsal, we just kind of pull it all together.” Mironovich served as an assistant drum major in 2012-2013 but assumed the lead role this year. FitzGerald and McMillan joined him for the first time this season. All three endured a four-month audition process in 2012 that tested their marching, twirling and conducting skills. “It’s like waiting for your college acceptance letters,” McMillan said. Mironovich said auditioning for a second time and for the lead role was a personal journey.  “The second time around, it was extra nerve wracking because I felt a great deal more pressure,” Mironovich said. “I felt I had to show how much I had grown. … I had to prove I could take it to the next level, go to the next step to be the head drum major.” FitzGerald and McMillan said their motivation for auditioning sprung from a deep love for and commitment to the Band of the Fighting Irish. “Being able to serve our 380 best friends is such a privilege,” FitzGerald said. “Deciding to make that journey, deciding to say, ‘Yes, I want to hold myself up to a higher standard because I love band, because I love all the people I get to meet. … I want to be the one to put in all that extra time and show how much I really deeply care about these people.’” All three drum majors kicked off their marching careers in high school after learning their instruments in middle school. Mironovich, originally a trumpet player, said he switched to French horn and the mellophone, its mobile equivalent, when he joined the marching band as a sophomore. “When I was deciding colleges, I just knew music had to be a part of it,” Mironovich said. “There was just no other option. I knew for a fact that I had to do marching band. Notre Dame had such a prestigious marching band – very, very traditional. I loved it since Day One.” McMillan said her father is a musician who pushed his daughters to hone their own musical talents. “He just told each girl in our family that we had to pick a different instrument so we could form a family band,” she said. “So I picked flute because it could fit in my backpack and I thought it sounded pretty.” The three seniors said they missed playing their instruments with the band, but Mironovich said he had found his niche with the drum majors. “I found the right spot for me within the band,” he said. “I’m just so blessed to be doing what I’m doing.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at [email protected]last_img read more

Alumnae promote benefits of study abroad

first_imgThree Saint Mary’s alumnae took part in a panel discussion Wednesday to highlight the impact of study abroad experiences on careers. Class of 2006 alumna Molly Monceaux, manager of ideation at Just Marketing International, began the presentation by discussing her yearlong experience in Ireland and the effect it had on her career in marketing. “When I came to Saint Mary’s, I definitely wasn’t prepared to be at school on my own yet,” Monceaux said.  “So my first semester abroad was a lot of getting acclimated and meeting people, and then second semester was a blast because I was comfortable and could really enjoy the experiences much more.” When she returned, she was a completely different person from when she left for Ireland, Monceaux said “I fell into an internship with a marketing agency in Indianapolis, and [after graduation] I worked on a Chevrolet racing team. This skyrocketed my career because I made a ton of connections,” Monceaux said.  “It was an opportunity for me to use the traits I learned studying abroad.” Studying abroad teaches students to live and work independently, adapt quickly to new situations, be financially responsible, be exposed to new philosophies and to develop global-mindedness, Monceaux said. “It’s key to approach study abroad as an educational experience,” Monceaux said. “Don’t go out as a tourist, but really get into the culture because that way, you will learn a lot about yourself.” Kara Kelly, a member of the class of 1996 and director of communications for the City of South Bend, said she also studied abroad in Ireland during her time at Saint Mary’s. Kelly said she experienced a different community atmosphere while abroad. “Through study abroad, I experienced a sense of community that I never felt, even in my hometown,” Kelly said.  “I now feel a deeper connection to the larger world.” Kelly said her study abroad experience helped her realize the power of communication across cultural boundaries and the importance of sprouting from our personal, familiar worlds. Class of 1992 alumna Catherine Singleton, an attorney for Gresk and Singleton, said she came to Saint Mary’s simply to study other languages, especially Spanish. “Not all programs are the same, and you don’t need to know why you’re going abroad,” Singleton said. “For me, I think it’s important to know what I was trying to accomplish, [which was] proficiency in foreign languages. I wanted to see how I would feel speaking that language and trying to blend into that country. I believe that cultural acclimation is a skill that you can learn.” Singleton said now as an attorney she is able to speak Spanish on a regular basis with her clients.  She also currently works in a building that she helped design both interiorly and exteriorly based on inspiration from the beauty of France and the architecture of Italy. The panel concluded after students were able to ask questions about the particulars of each alumna’s experiences and careers. Freshman Emily Sullivan said she enjoyed the panel and learned many helpful tips. “I’m planning to go abroad in the spring of 2015, so this panel reassured me that going abroad is not only good for the experience but also for my future after college,” Sullivan said. Junior Emily Scanlon, who studied abroad in Rome in the fall of 2012, said the alumnae made her consider how she would use her experience in Italy to further her career goals. “I’m always thinking about my time in Rome, but I never know how to put the consequences of my experience into a context that will help me in the workforce,” Scanlon said.  “The panel made me reflect on the long term impacts that studying overseas will have and already has on me, which is great, since I know it will always be one of my favorite memories in my life.” Contact Kelly Konya at [email protected]last_img read more

SMC Oktoberfest to feature German, fall-themed activities

first_imgOn Saturday, the Saint Mary’s Student Activities Board (SAB) will host an Oktoberfest from 5 to 8 p.m. on Library Green.SAB held an Oktoberfest once before in 2010, but has not hosted one since, according to senior SAB president Colleen Michael.“It is with inspiration from the past, combined with new ideas, that we have created this year’s Oktoberfest,” Michael said.Oktoberfest will feature German and fall-themed cuisine, pumpkin-painting, giveaways, inflatables, a DJ, a root beer garden and horse-pulled hay rides around campus, according to Michael. “It is not often that you can take a hay ride down the Avenue or feel the strong sense of community which occurs as people from various majors, dorms and academic years come together as one to enjoy an event,” Michael said.First year Meghan Murney said she looks forward to participating in the Oktoberfest activities. “I am excited to see all my friends,” Murney said. “And I really want to explore campus in a horse-drawn hay ride.”Michael said she would like to see Oktoberfest become an annual event at Saint Mary’s.“My hope is the event will become a tradition,” Michael said. “The traditional committee members have been working hard on this event and are excited to see the students’ reactions to the event.”Oktoberfest will also allow Saint Mary’s to cultivate a stronger sense of community, Michael said.“There are not many times people from different majors, academic years and friend groups can come together and act as one community, to celebrate, laugh and have fun together,” she said.This feeling of belonging comes not only from Oktoberfest, but also from other events SAB puts on, Michael said.“No matter what the event is, no matter how many people attend, the feeling of a community exists,” Michael said. “The event’s ability to bring people who do not usually hang out to be one through dancing, playing on an inflatable, creating artwork or the shared joy they experience never ceases to amaze me.”In addition to Oktoberfest, SAB will also be hosting various other events throughout October, including Sundaes on Sunday on Oct. 11, hypnotist Jim Wand on Oct. 14, Fun Friday on Oct. 16, and a Quiet Hours Tour on Oct. 29.Michael said she sees Oktoberfest and similar celebrations as a central element in creating a sense of community.“Some may see events to be an extra, something that is unnecessary or unimportant, but when it comes down to it, events like these allow a time and a place to create a stronger community,” Michael said. “And community is important.”Tags: Oktoberfest, SAB, saint mary’s, Student Activities Boardlast_img read more

Speaker examines long-term effects of Ebola outbreak

first_imgStaff, stuff, systems and space. Those are the four things Paul Farmer said are necessary in order to combat infectious pathogens in healthcare deficient areas.On Tuesday, Farmer, a physician, anthropologist, chief strategist and cofounder of Partners in Health, gave a lecture entitled, “Taking up the Challenge of Poverty: Why Accompaniment Matters” that tackled the complexities of the Ebola outbreak and accompaniment, which consists of long-term health care provision on the community-based level.“Every single one of the documented Ebola outbreaks since 1976 have the same story,” Farmer said. “They are all due to poor infection control. Even the most recent outbreak, the story is the same. They simply don’t have the staff, the stuff, the space or the systems to stop the epidemic.”Farmer said the Ebola epidemic is primarily focused in Liberia, Sierra Leon and Guinea. According to Farmer, Ebola is a type of zoonosis pathogen, meaning it is an animal pathogen that ends up in humans. He said these pathogens, which can adapt to multiple hosts, often lead to death.“Why these three countries and no others? All the neighboring countries were effected — but not a lot. Why? These countries were uniquely vulnerable because of the extraordinarily weak health systems that collapsed not only because of wars, but because of extractive institutes that did not feel the need to reinvest in health and education,” he said. “The real story is one of continued extraction, colonial rule, and then, after independence, continued extraction and eventual civil war.”In order to contain Ebola, Farmer said the worldwide response has largely been segregation, which is inefficient.“This ‘control-only’ paradigm is the one that we only advance officially, as the world, to stop Ebola. The focus was on isolation, containment, quarantine and segregating those who fall ill,” he said. “If you’re putting people put into a holding room with no proper food and water … of course they are going to perish.”According to Farmer, those infected with Ebola often do not seek medical attention, as they know that the hospital will be largely understaffed and unable to provide effective treatment. Therefore, Farmer said, family members often end up taking care of the sick.“It’s a concentric cycle of caregiving without proper accompaniment. It’s not caregiving in improper fashion — it’s that these people need accompaniment to care for the sick and help bury the dead,” he said. “This is a big problem. A ‘disease-control’ only paradigm that did not have caregiving in the middle of it was the main reason that Ebola stayed at home … it’s because people knew they would end up in horrible places [like understaffed medical centers].”“The healthcare deficiencies in these countries has led to understaffed and decaying hospitals that are unable to serve patients,” Farmer said. “That is why accompaniment matters.”It is necessary that the healthcare systems in these countries be improved and strengthened, Farmer said.“Accompaniment is not just about being a nice person; it’s about having expert mercy linked to pragmatic solidarity. This is a technical matter, but it is not enough to have a technocracy,” he said. “We need to have compassionate, merciful and just healthcare systems, and that is part of accompaniment.”Farmer also said emergency responses to epidemics never lead to health system strengthening, training, capacity building or research, which are critical to ensuring that an epidemic does not occur again.“Surely there has to be progress, and we have to get better about thinking of health system strengthening,” Farmer said. “These matters are regarded as not urgent enough [during epidemics]. But, nothing is more important then building a health system that prevents people from falling ill or dying in the first place.”Tags: Ebola, epidemic, Healthcare, povertylast_img read more

Panel engages with intersection of sports and African-American activism

first_imgThe Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services hosted “Sports and Activism: Fame, Controversy, and Impact” — a panel to discuss the importance role that sports have played in African-American activism — Wednesday night in LaFortune Student Center. The panel featured three speakers: Amira Rose Davis, Johns Hopkins University history Ph.D. candidate; Karin Muya, senior forward on the Notre Dame women’s soccer team; and Autry Denson, class of 1999 alum and current running backs coach for the Fighting Irish. Richard Pierce, associate professor of Africana studies and history, moderated the panel.“When we think about the history of [African-American activism in sports] it’s really easy to go to that iconic image in ‘68 at the Mexico city games with Tommie Smith and John Carlos, but in reality the history of athletic activism dates far beyond that and one of the reasons why is because sports has always had a platform,” Davis said. “Our infatuation with it is not new. It’s been there for a while, and for African-American activists, they saw it as a site where you could make a lot of gains.” Muya said players of team sports experience a restricted freedom of public speech. “If the issue doesn’t resonate with the majority of the team, it could be seen as a distraction,” she said.On the recent trend in which whole teams are mobilizing to make statements about race, Davis said the “Wyoming Black 14,” a group of University of Wyoming football players expelled for protesting racism with black armbands, “did not have power” at the time. Denson said black athletes’ have a responsibility to use their position to foster change.“I’ve played football since I was 7 years old, and so my mom taught me that I was blessed so that I could be a voice for those that don’t have a voice,” Davis said. “That’s all I knew growing up, that athletes have that responsibility. That being said, you have to also learn how to maneuver within that structure because you’ve also got to be a part of it to bring about that change.”Denson also acknowledged the constraints on this potential responsibility and said his personal roles as husband and father limit what he can do and say. He added that athletes should not be forced into the role of activist.“Just because I can run a football or she can kick a soccer ball doesn’t mean she has to fight everybody’s battles all the time, and I think that, unfairly, that is what has happened,” he said.Davis said being forced into that role can have real reprecussions.“There is a very economic risk to speaking out … I have seen people struggling with if to speak, when to speak, how to speak,” he said.Simply the presence of black athletes in prominent positions can send a powerful message, Muya said.“Serena Williams is an amazing presence for us — she’s a role model in being an incredibly successful black woman as a tennis superstar, regardless of where she is politically or if she’s involved in activism,” she said.To close, Davis said there were drawbacks as well as benefits of the power sports has as a platform for activism.“Sports has been given representational power,” he said. “We know there are many more black doctors and many more black teachers than there are black professional athletes, and yet, for many, they think that the only way they can come up is by juggling the ball or playing on the tennis court, and I think that it’s a double-edged sword because, one, it cuts other avenues out, but two, it brings this microscope to the platform, because it does have this representational power and I think it’s important to understand what that encompasses. “ … It goes beyond the field, beyond athletes. It’s about the ways people compete and mobilize around sports. People are thinking about sports as beyond the game itself. There is no denying that University sports have power, so for people trying to mobilize around issues of social justice, sports will remain a place to mobilize in.”Tags: activism, Black History Month, sportslast_img read more

SMC students describe summer study abroad experiences

first_imgAs Saint Mary’s students return to campus for the academic year, one group of Belles is returning from much further away. Every summer, the College sends students across Europe to pursue academic, personal and cultural discovery. Sophomore Taylor Murphy spent her summer in Angers, France, a university town near LeMans, the founding site of the Holy Cross Congregation. Students participating in this program enroll at Université Catholique de l’Ouest for four weeks in July, completing an intensive language and culture course, earning five French credits and taking day trips in the Loire Valley region.Murphy said she chose to study abroad through the Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership summer program with specific goals in mind.“I went abroad to learn French better and to experience the culture,” Murphy said in an email. “I learned to adapt to different situations and to express myself in a foreign language.”Murphy said she especially enjoyed spending time exploring and getting to know the city in which she was living. “I loved visiting the Chateau d’Anger because I learned more about the castle located in the middle of the city I went to school in,” she said.Murphy said she still keeps in touch with the new friends she made through the experience.“In fact, we plan on taking a trip to see each other again soon,” she said.Junior Mila Medich traveled to Rome, Italy for her study abroad experience, spending a summer term at John Cabot University.“I am so glad I studied abroad because I genuinely met some of my best friends and had the opportunity to see such significant history in person instead of just reading about it,” Medich said in an email. “I met some of the most amazing people abroad, and of course, it was nice to be able to become closer with the girls from my own school as well.” Medich traveled to roughly 14 cities while living in Europe, but said Rome was her favorite because it quickly began to feel like home.“Every weekend, our group of friends would pick somewhere to travel and we would hop on a train or plane and go to a new city or country,” Medich said. “Sometimes there were up to 11 of us traveling together at a time and we would rent an apartment for the weekend and just explore and wander around wherever we landed.”One of her favorite memories from the program, she said, was the day she and others traveled by train towards the Amalfi Coast. “We were planning to go to Positano, when one of our friends turned and told us to get off of the train now,” she said. “We got off at this really tiny town on the coast where there were no tourists, no one who spoke English, and it ended up being the most spontaneous and amazing day.”Both Medich and Murphy said everyone offered the opportunity to study abroad should take it.“It was a major check off my bucket list,” Murphy said.Tags: CWIL, European summer study abroad, France, italylast_img read more

Eight New COVID-19 Cases Reported Easter Sunday

first_imgJAMESTOWN – Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported Easter Sunday in the area.In Cattaraugus County, seven new cases were reported bringing the total to 26, with 21 active. A total of five people have recovered, officials said.One new case was reported in Chautauqua County, bringing the total there to 24 with eight active cases.A total of 13 people have recovered there. “Once identified, our department notifies the close contacts of their potential exposure to COVID-19 and they are placed under mandatory or precautionary quarantine to monitor for symptoms,” said heath officials. “If you do not personally hear from a public health nurse, you are not a close contact of an individual who has been confirmed to have COVID-19.” Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Today Is National Family Day

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pexels Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – It’s like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, and every similar day combined, today is National Family Day.National Day Calendar says the National Center on Addiction created the day back in 2001.The organization’s interest comes from research showing teens who eat meals with their families, are less likely to abuse substances. They’re also healthier, and they do better in school.Of course, not everyone has children and not all children have parents in their lives. So, whatever your biological or chosen family looks like, Monday is a time to honor those you love.Take a family photo and share it using #NationalFamilyDay.last_img read more