Students looking to celebrate Earth Day will have numerous opportunities to do so on campus this year, from fashion shows to rock climbing walls.“This is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, so we wanted to make the celebration a good one,” said junior Regina McCormack, co-president of Students for Environmental Action (SEA). “The major goal is to celebrate environmentalism at Notre Dame and increase awareness about environmental responsibility.” Campus celebrations will kick off at 11 a.m. with an Earth Day Rally at Fieldhouse Mall, which includes a free climbing wall open to all students.“Bringing a portable wall to campus seemed to be the perfect way to expose the Notre Dame community to something fun and exciting,” junior Brent Kelly, treasurer of the Notre Dame Climbing Club, said. “In addition to the physical and mental challenge of rock climbing, there is also a spiritual aspect that demands a respect and admiration for nature.”He said the club chose to do this as a part of the Earth Day Rally to emphasize the majesty of the natural world and humanity’s responsibility to it.Environmental and sustainability groups from the South Bend area will also be at the rally giving out information about their work in the community, McCormack said.“My hope is that the rally will teach students a little more about real-life environmental issues and what people are doing now to cope with them,” she said. “It’s really just a fun, outdoor celebration of Earth Day.”GreeND, another environmental group working to improve energy efficiency on campus, will host the Rising Sun Green Fashion show tonight at Legends at 5:30 p.m.“The show will feature over 90 outfits made from recyclable materials or purchased from second hand stores,” McCormack said. “SEA is so excited to help out as a co-sponsor and supply student models and volunteers for the event.”She said many of the clothes that will be modeled will also be on sale following the show. Tickets for the fashion show can be purchased for $5 at the door or in the LaFortune Box Office. “We hope that these events will allow people to enjoy being in fellowship with their peers while celebrating the beauty of Earth,” McCormack said. “Earth Day is really a time for people to come together and appreciate the beauty and bounty of nature.”
Notre Dame students studying French will have a new study abroad option when the University offers a program in Africa in the spring of 2012. Dakar, the capital city of the West African nation of Senegal, will be added to the list of study abroad locations for next year’s applicants. The Office of International Studies (OIS) and the French Department worked to find a country outside of Europe with a francophone, or French-speaking, population. Senegal seemed to be a natural choice, not only linguistically, but also because of its rich history, Kathleen Opel, director of OIS, said. She said the combination of slave history and French language in the country provides for a unique and rewarding study abroad experience. “Students can improve their French and get an African perspective while living in a safe and vibrant city,” Opel said. “They can learn about the transition from colonization to a democracy.” Opel said Dakar also possesses cultural depth that pairs well with francophone and Africana studies. “I think this program could appeal to students who are interested in development and the arts,” she said. “There is a rich cultural tradition in Senegal, including dance and mask-making.” Opel also said the strong presence of Islam in the region would have an impact on students studying in Senegal, which is 90 percent Muslim. “That should prove to be an interesting dynamic,” she said. The program will be small, with only three to five students accepted. “We see this as a niche program. It is going to be relatively small with students who speak French and want an African perspective,” Opel said. Students applying to the program should demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the region, as it is very different from any of the other French language sites that are offered by OIS, she said. “It becomes very clear which students are more comfortable with a western program as opposed to one in Africa,” she said. “What the students tell us in the courses they take and their experiences will tell us if they are right for the region.” Students who study in Dakar will stay with a host family and take classes at a university with a mix of African and North American students. Students are required to take at least two semesters of French prior to studying in Dakar, and once in Senegal, there will be several requisite courses that will help acclimate students to the region, Opel said. “Depending on how students place into courses, they will have to take a French course and one in Wolof, the local language,” she said. “There is also a core course called Senegalese Culture and History.” Opel said travel will also play an integral role in the Dakar program, especially in relation to the history of slavery in the country. “Throughout the semester, there are trips such as one to Gorée Island, where slaves were kept once they were brought from different parts of Africa,” she said. In addition to their time in the capital, students will also have a special opportunity to travel to rural areas. Overall, she said the opportunities for travel, the history and the culture of Dakar will help make the program unique.
When sophomore Kalie Holdren first dyed her hair electric blue a few weeks ago, she got a lot of “strange looks.” But once in awhile, someone will ask her why she did it, and she’ll get the chance to explain. “I decided to do it all blue when I realized that I could kind of promote [The Bald and the Beautiful] and also ovarian cancer specifically, after finding out that blue was the awareness color for it.” But come Thursday, Holdren will say goodbye to her unusual hairdo in exchange for another one when she shaves her head to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Because Holdren had previously dyed her hair natural colors, she was unable to donate her hair. Instead, she decided to dye her hair blue and then shave it to raise awareness for cancer. Holdren said she was inspired because her mother is a survivor of melanoma, and her uncle and grandfather both passed away from cancer-related causes. “Cancer is kind of prevalent in my family,” she said. By dyeing and then shaving her hair, Holdren said she hopes to support and be in solidarity with individuals with cancer. “Having dyed my hair blue kind of gives me the same sense of having something different from everyone else,” she said. “Everyday I kind of have to explain why it’s blue. And then when I shave my head, I’m going to have to explain why I won’t have hair. In a way, that kind of relates to how people who have cancer [have to explain.]” Holdren has raised $400 so far and will donate the funds when she shaves her head Thursday. “A lot of people ask me if I’m nervous and to be perfectly honest, I’m not really that nervous about it,” she said. “I know that it will help people.” Contact Sarah Mervosh at [email protected]
At this week’s Student Senate, University Director of Auxiliary Services Scott Kachmarik discussed the addition of eight off-campus vendors that have agreed to accept Domer Dollars at their locations. The vendors include Let’s Spoon, Bigby Coffee, Einstein Bagels, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, Domino’s, Papa John’s and Five Guys. Looking to the future, Kachmarik said he hopes to add locations such as Target, Meijer, 7/11, Martin’s, dorm snack shacks and even cab companies, although certain items will be excluded, like alcohol and tobacco. “We are very pleased to say that as of today we have eight merchants off-campus,” Kachmarik said. “Chipotle is our hottest place. You guys seem to eat a lot of Chipotle. Five Guys originally didn’t commit, but after seeing the success of Chipotle they wanted in. I guess the consumer has spoken.” “We started looking at proximity first, the places that students will use most often. We hope it’s a convenience and that it is working for all of you. We’re going to see how it’s going for us then take it to the next step next fall when I think we’re really going to hit it big.” In order to give more power to the ID card, Kachmarik said the campus card office has been working to combine the student card office in the basement of South Dining Hall with the faculty and staff office on the second floor of Grace Hall. “As of Jan. 1 we have consolidated offices,” Kachmarik said. “We’re looking to create new office space, maybe some self-service kiosks to replace those cards lost at midnight, so that it is just a one-stop shop.” Kachmarik expressed his enthusiasm at the recent accomplishments, especially considering their extended timeline. “We’ve been hearing this request for a while and have always wanted to accommodate it,” Kachmarik said. “What led to the ability to have Domer Dollars off-campus is the organizational shift occurring in the ID card office.” Yiting Zheng, director of the department of campus technology, and Matt Mahan, technology commissioner of Fisher Hall, presented a plan for changes taking place on campus. “We talked to the OIT Help Desk and we were able to set up a system to have one to two technology commissioners for each dorm,” Zheng said. Mahan said the unpaid position provides technology help for solving simple problems like printing and connecting to the internet. “The technology liaison is trained through the OIT Help Desk,” Mahan said. “Basically their job is to give a [Freshman Orientation] presentation to their hall explaining technology on campus. That seemed to be the highlight of the system since it provided everyone with the basic information.” Zheng said this position is intended to serve as a medium between students and the OIT Help Desk. “The reason we created this position is because in the past freshmen were wary to approach an OIT help desk,” Zheng said. “They were scared or felt stupid asking for help, but now that it’s a peer, hopefully they will feel more comfortable.” Since this was the pilot year, Zheng said certain dorms, like Zahm House and Morrissey Manor, were unable to find volunteers for the position, but their goal for next year is to have at least one liaison for every dorm.
Tags: business college, college of business, Mendoza, mendoza cap, mendoza college of business, Notre Dame In order to maintain students’ ability to pursue both business and non-business courses, the University will cap enrollment in the Mendoza College of Business to 550 students per graduating class, starting with incoming freshmen in fall 2015.Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment Donald Bishop said the policy shift was due to concerns by the Admissions office and the administrations of the Colleges that “evidence of potential growth” in the number of business major intents could shut out non-business students from business courses.Under the current policy, there is no limit to the number of students who can become business majors at any point after their sophomore year. But under the new policy, students intending to major in business must apply for “pre-approval” through the Admissions office to enroll in the business school at the end of their first years, Bishop said.Those who are not pre-approved will be able to compete for a limited number of spots after the beginning of their sophomore year. This process will be open to students who transfer from other universities, who were previously not allowed to transfer into Mendoza, he said.“The Notre Dame philosophy is we want all of our students to be as liberally educated as possible, which means some of our non-business majors taking business courses can be viewed as a strong good,” Bishop said. “To restrict those opportunities because of expected growth in business beyond traditional business class size — we think that’s a negative trade-off.”Dean of the First Year of Studies and Vice President and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Rev. Hugh Page said capping enrollment will keep business class sizes small. This way non-business students can continue to take business classes.“We’re ensuring … that we have both a way to provide educational opportunities for those who have early on identified business as their desired intent, and also sufficient seats for students at other colleges who would like to explore business or who have a supplementary business education in addition to the majors or minors that they have already declared,” Page said.Dean of Mendoza Dr. Roger Huang said the enrollment cap will also allow faculty to maintain close relationships with students, as well as preserve cross-college programs such as the Science-Business major and the Business Economics minor.“One half of our required credit hours are taken outside the business school,” Huang said. “If the business school grows to such a point that other schools are impacted, students won’t have the same choices. Even within the business school we’d like students to have not just one major.”Bishop said the increasing demand for the business school, with 1,888 students enrolled in the 2011-2012 school year, could be due to misperceived career options for the various undergraduate majors as a result of the 2008-2009 economic recession.“What we’re seeing … is this student cohort that’s a little more determined to identify more specific career path planning, and to some degree that can be channeled in a very positive way, provided that they have the sophistication and the information to look at all their choices,” Bishop said. “We think that most high school seniors don’t have the access yet to the information they need to make career choices.”To remedy this, Page said the admissions office and the First Year of Studies are working to provide more information to high school students and freshmen on the different paths to a career in business besides a business major.“We want to map our more clearly students’ relationship with the University,” Page said. “We want to make information more clear and put a greater emphasis on mentoring, to discourage decisions out of fear.”
Fausto Hernandez Trillo, professor of economics at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), addressed the causes of anemic economic growth in Mexico in a lecture Tuesday sponsored by the Kellogg Institute. The talk, entitled “The Sluggish Mexican Economy: A Tale of Two Countries?”, focused on the history of the Mexican economy over the last half century and the causes of its struggles today.From roughly 1950 to the 1970s, Mexico enjoyed a period of excellent growth with over 6 percent annual gross domestic product increases, Trillo said. After that, the 1980s became the “lost decade” and, according to Trillo, Mexico’s economy has never truly recovered or rekindled its dynamic growth since then.“The three most important factors I look at are low economic growth, persistent poverty levels and high income inequality,” Trillo said.He noted 20 percent or more of Mexico’s population is classified as extremely poor and that Mexico’s GINI index, a measure of income inequality, is around 0.5 in contrast to the USA’s 0.38. The closer the GINI index is to 1, the greater the inequality.Trillo then broke down the components of GDP into three different categories: capital accumulation, human capital accumulation and total factor productivity (TFP), a variable that measures whether productivity is increasing or decreasing.“TFP explains everything,” Trillo said as he pointed to a graph that shows TFP weakening as a percentage of GDP beginning in the 1970s and becoming worse over time.Citing projections from 1995 that Mexico should have created roughly 20 million jobs by 2014, Trillo estimated a current “job deficit” of 12.6 million jobs, which has been aggravated by potential workers leaving Mexico to immigrate to the United States. Trillo concluded that Mexico suffers tremendously from a largely informal economy characterized by tax evasion and off-the-books work.“The informal economy accounts for only 10 percent of GDP, but 70 percent of the economically active population works in it,” he said.Trillo contrasted the straggling informal economy with Mexico’s modern formal economy that employs advanced technology, relies strongly on exporting, possesses significant credit access and composes the bulk of GDP. He attributes this divide to bad policy.“Dual social policy contributes greatly to economic informality and the slow rate of growth,” Trillo said.Trillo said he believes current policy encourages workers to opt out of the formal economy due to mandatory contributions to life, disability and work risk insurance in jobs in the formal sector.“This generates resources misallocation, incentivizes informality and erodes the tax base,” Trillo said.Trillo suggested social security policies should be more universal and no longer depend on jobs in order to curb the exodus of workers from the formal economy. In order to pay for this, Trillo said the government should consider the value-added tax (VAT).“It is easier to collect, distorts labor and investment decisions less, is harder to legally avoid and is subject to less international competition than alternatives,” he said.Tags: economy, jobs, Mexico, tax
Notre Dame junior Katy Wahl and Saint Mary’s senior Mary Kate McLaughlin talk about the upcoming Irish Dance Team showcase, “We Got the Beat,” and dance team members practice for the performance during a dress rehearsal Thursday. Video by Brian LachThe Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s College Irish Dance Team will perform its annual showcase, titled “We Got the Beat,” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Washington Hall.The show, a series of dances to popular music as well as traditional Irish music, is the Irish Dance Team’s biggest fundraiser of the year, team co-president and Saint Mary’s senior Mary Kate McLaughlin said.“It helps us fund our trips to Ireland and things like that,” she said. “We just love doing our show. It’s a lot of work. We put a lot of hours into it, especially during this week, but it’s a lot of fun.”Irish dance is known for its fast footwork, rhythmic but graceful movement and traditional Irish costumes.“If anyone has ever seen Riverdance or Feet of Flames, that’s very similar to what we do,” team co-president and Notre Dame junior Katy Wahl said. “Very high intensity, more than what people would realize. It’s a real workout; it’s all with your feet. No arms — your arms have to stay by your side. It’s fun. It’s just different.”McLaughlin said while team members, which include about 60 woman and one man, have a range of experience, they have all had some training, and many have been Irish dancing for a decade or more.“We all kind of range from different dancing abilities,” she said. “There’s some of us who are really just in it for fun and for performing, and then just did it for a few years, and then there’s other girls on the team who have been doing it their whole lives, who have gone to nationals, worlds, things like that. It’s a variety of abilities on our team.”Wahl said there are a number of types of dances, both solo and team, which could use either a soft, ballet-like shoe or a hard, tap-like shoe. She said the ND/SMC team is divided into soft- and hard-shoe teams.“There are two shoes that you wear in Irish dance, soft and hard. The soft shoe is kind of like a ballet slipper, and the hard shoe is similar to a tap shoe, but it’s a lot heavier and it has a wooden bottom. The Blue team only does soft shoe, and the Gold team does both soft and hard,” Wahl said. Emily McConville | The Observer Members of the Notre Dame/Irish Dance team perform a dance from their annual showcase, “We Got the Beat,” during a dress rehearsal Thursday.McLaughlin said she prefers team dances because of the opportunity for collaboration.“I like more of the team camaraderie as opposed to solo, [which] is a lot more on your own, and you’re kind of against everyone,” she said. “When you’re on a team, it’s all people from your school that you are friends with. Teams are more fun for me.”Wahl said the benefit of solo dances is the ability to make a dance one’s own.“With solo steps, those steps are unique to each dance school, so everyone you’re dancing with is going to be doing a different step at the same time,” she said. “For me, those are really fun because it’s who can impress the judges more, who can get in their face more, whose steps are fuller and better.”McLaughlin said team members perform several times per year, including during basketball halftimes and football pep rallies. In addition, eight dancers go to the All-Ireland Irish Dance Championship every fall near Dublin, where they perform a traditional ceili dance. McLaughlin said the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s ceili team, often the only Americans at the competition, have won first place each year they competed.“It’s great to be able to be able to go over there and represent both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, and it was even better to bring back the gold now four times in a row for our team,” she said. “That was really amazing. It’s definitely a nerve-racking experience being there with all the other teams that were all from Ireland or England.”This weekend’s performance will include contemporary music by artists such as Taylor Swift in addition to traditional numbers and the dance that won the ceili team its first-place prize in Ireland. McLaughlin said team members choreograph many of the dances themselves.“That’s a lot of the fun part too,” McLaughlin said. “Everyone gets to be creative and come up with their own dance.”McLaughlin, who started Irish dancing at the age of four, said she intends to become certified to teach dancing after college.“It’s fun — just performing in general, big events like [the showcase], that’s what I have the most fun doing,” she said. “But knowing that you put so much work into something, and then seeing the final product and getting to perform in front of an audience and all these people, it’s really rewarding.”Tags: Irish dance, Katy Wahl, Mary Kate McLaughlin
Angela Rivas, of the think tank Fundación Ideas Para la Paz (FIP), lectured Tuesday at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on the role of business in Colombia’s peace process.In the Kellogg Institute-sponsored lecture titled “When Peacebuilding is Your Business: Strategies for Peace and Peacebuilding in Colombia,” Rivas examined the peace process in Colombia as the conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continues.Rivas said the damage caused by ongoing violence in Colombia is widespread and rampant.“More than 10 percent of the population has been directly affected by armed conflict,” Rivas said.Rivas said since peace talks between the government and FARC became public in 2012, and delegates from both sides have reached tentative agreements on issues as diverse as rural development, participation in politics and drug trafficking. Talks like this offer some hope of ending the bloodshed and destruction, and business can play a crucial part in this process, Rivas said.“A very diverse group of people, activities and firms including big multinational corporations and small family ventures can lend support,” she said.Rivas said firms’ interactions with the conflict range from perpetuating it to lessening its impact and even stopping violence.“However, the majority of businesses are in the middle, simplifying dealing with the conflict,” she said.Rivas said that the social costs of Colombia’s predicament are far-reaching.“There is a large lack of job options,” she said “Unemployment is rampant.”Businesses can hire those whose livelihoods have been decimated by the violence and even former guerrilla fighters to remedy this, Rivas said. Other social programs undertaken by businesses include training unskilled workers and investing in low-income communities.“What we have found is that there are two primary reasons that companies engage in these initiatives,” Rivas said. “The cost of the conflict is quite expensive, and there is moral or ethical dimension.”Business should also address human rights concerns as a priority, especially in the areas of security and risk assessments, she said.“If we can’t have basic conditions of human rights, how can we hope to have peace?” Rivas said.She said the growth of public-private partnerships is an encouraging prospect, but the efforts of businesses and the government need to be sustained and comprehensive.“There is no development if there no peace, and there is no peace if there is no development,” Rivas said.Tags: Colombia, Contra, guerrilla, peace building
The Notre Dame African Students Association (ASA) will host its third annual midwestern conference, “This Is New Africa,” from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9.The goal of the conference is to educate students at Notre Dame and other universities about African culture and the issues facing the continent, ASA president Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu said.“There are a lot of different perceptions people have of Africa, and [we want] to show that we’ve progressed into being a bigger, better place and try to dispel a few of the misconceptions there might be out there in Africa as a whole,” she said.Nwaogwugwu said the conference, which will include participants from the University of Michigan and Purdue University, will consist of a mixer Feb. 7 in LaFortune Student Center, a basketball game on the morning of Feb. 8 and a keynote speaker that afternoon.Nwaogwugwu said the speaker, who has not yet been confirmed, will be someone who studies or works with African concerns.“Every year we select somebody who is currently working in the African diaspora to come in and discuss with us based on our theme,” she said.On the evening of Feb. 8, there will be a showcase of African-themed music, dance performances and poetry readings in Stepan Center. Nwaogwugwu said the showcase will include Dance Africa, Troop ND, First Class Steppers and several individual performers.“People can just come together, dance, have fun, listen to a bunch of African music,” she said.The conference will conclude with a prayer service in the Coleman-Morse chapel and a brunch in the lounge, Nwaogwugwu said.“There’s going to be praise and worship, and it’ll be a good culmination of the weekend,” she said.In the 21 days leading up to the conference, ASA co-vice president Rosie Olang said she is posting information about African culture and current events on the conference’s Facebook page: Annual ASA Weekend — This Is New Africa 2015.“Everything from fashion,to politics, to football and current events,” she said. “The more stories you hear, the easier it is not to form a single narrative about a place.”Nwaogwugwu said ASA, which meets twice a month and hosts several events throughout the year, provides a place for students who are African or who are interested in Africa to come together and learn about the continent.“Our goal is to get a group of people that are like-minded, have some sort of interest in Africa,” she said. “… A lot of us are from Nigeria, and we have people from Tanzania, other countries like that. We come together, and we discourse about Africa. We want to enlighten campus more about – whether it’s positive or negative – things about Africa, because I think it’s a place that a lot of people don’t know about.”Nwaogwugwu said the conference is open to anyone who wants to learn more about Africa.“It’s, one, knowing that we’re a club, because I don’t know if a lot of people know about our club,” she said. “Two, if you have any interest in Africa, we would love for you to come, and if you don’t know much about it, we’d love for you to come and learn.“… Since we have such a broad group, people can share from personal experiences and from things that they’ve learned and get the discussion going about Africa as a whole.”Nwaogwugwu said students can register for the conference online. Registration costs $20 and includes all events and a t-shirt.Tags: African Students Association, ASA weekend, Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu, midwestern converence, Rosie Olang, This Is new Africa
Tags: sexual assault Wei Lin | The Observer Ruelas began the prayer service by talking about the various ways students could get involved on campus to raise awareness on sexual awareness. She suggested GreenDot training, a program run by an organization that aims to implement strategies of violence prevention in certain communities.“Get involved, sign up,” Ruelas said. “What’s important for you to carry on from today is that the conversation does not end here. It is up to us to make sure that we end sexual violence on this campus.”Rose Walsh, a senior and resident assistant (RA) in Lyons Hall, gave a reflection and talked about her freshman residents’ disbelief at the sudden influx of sexual assault allegations. Walsh said her residents asked her the question, “Does that actually happen here?”“I was horribly embarrassed that during their first week of class here at Notre Dame, they’d already received three notifications that this new home we’re trying to bring them into and create still has a serious problem keeping students safe,” Walsh said.Walsh said the emails stood as proof that Notre Dame had yet to overcome its history of violence and that she could not help but worry that the freshmen in her hall, its newest residents, would become afraid of a place that she loved.“Have we tolerated or even created an environment that causes our newest students, our youngest brothers and sisters, to be afraid of Saturday nights?” Walsh said. “While prayer and reflection and awareness are so important, absolutely nothing will guarantee the future safety of the students of Our Lady’s University besides a sincere and relentless effort by each and every student, and classmate and roommate to step in, to speak up and to respect one another.”Pierce Witmer, a sophomore and member of Men Against Sexual Violence (MASV), displayed his worry that the recurrence of the sexual allegation email has caused some people to view it as spam from NDSP. Witmer then delivered a statistic from the U.S. Department of Justice that states 1 in 4 women on college campuses would be affected by sexual assault during their college years.“When we think about the entire Notre Dame community as our brothers and sisters, even one case in our entire student body is far too many,” Witmer said.Witmer said Notre Dame’s impressive image is an amalgamation of each member’s collective efforts and participation in the community but that sexual violence threatens Notre Dame’s ability to work in faith, justice and integrity.“Sexual violence and other forms of power-based violence have no base on the Notre Dame community,” Witmer said. “We all have the power to step up and take action as a united community.”The prayer service ended with attendees singing the ‘Alma Mater’ and lighting a candle in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault. In the closing of her reflection, Walsh referred back to the question her freshmen asked her pertaining to if sexual assault was actually a reality at Notre Dame.“One day we will be able to answer confidently it absolutely does not,” she said. Last night, student body president Bryan Ricketts and vice president Nidia Ruelas led a prayer service at the Grotto due to the recent recurring appearance of crime alert emails in every Notre Dame student’s inbox. This past weekend, Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) sent two out emails reporting three separate allegations of sexual misconduct.