WASHINGTON – The night before Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, then a member of the House of Representatives, was set to cast a ballot on the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he received a phone call from one of his constituents. The voice on the other end of the line was University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and he wanted to advise Donnelly on health care reform, the senator’s communications director Elizabeth Shappell said in an email Tuesday. But Hesburgh didn’t tell Donnelly, a 1977 alumnus and a 1981 graduate of the Law School, how to vote. “Fr. Ted simply told then-Congressman Donnelly to vote his conscience,” Shappell said. Donnelly cast his ballot in favor of the legislation that next day. Hundreds of thousands congregated on the National Mall on Monday to watch President Barack Obama swear his oath of office and begin a second term as America’s commander in chief. Now, as the tourists leave, those who work in and around the federal government remain to walk the halls of the White House, the floors of the House and Senate and the streets of the nation’s capital. Among them are a number of Notre Dame graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public service at the federal level. Their presence in the capital and government is one that reflects the call of a Notre Dame degree – a call to devote one’s life to serving others. Donnelly began his career on Capitol Hill in 2006 in the House of Representatives. As he builds relationships with other legislators, he said there is a certain respect associated with his Notre Dame education. “Primarily so much of what we do here is based on the relationships you have with one another,” Donnelly told The Observer in an interview. “When you work with other legislators, your word is your bond. So those are the kinds of things that when people look at you, they say, ‘Can I count on them to be great partners in this? Will they work hard to make sure it all works?’ And Notre Dame teaches you all those things.” A government undergraduate and a law school graduate at Notre Dame, Donnelly lost his first race for the House in 2004. He was successful in 2006 and began his career in Washington, a city he said he had only visited a handful of times before on school trips with his children. When Donnelly was a student at Notre Dame in 1976, Republican Sen. Dick Lugar was elected to his seat to represent Indiana. Thirty-six years later, Donnelly is succeeding Lugar, stepping into the senator’s highly contested seat as a Democrat. “The reason I ran was I thought that by doing it, I could make a difference for our country, and that’s what we’re taught at Notre Dame, is to try to make a difference,” he said. “And that’s what I try to do.” Donnelly began his term in the Senate as fiscal cliff negotiations rattled Capitol Hill. His background at Notre Dame has prompted him to again approach the country’s woes with his conscience, just as Hesburgh recommended to him years ago. “In regard to fiscal issues, part of the approach I have is that we have a moral obligation to my children, to the grandchildren we may have someday, to the younger people in this country that we should not be permitted to burden you with debt that we’ve run up,” Donnelly said. “This is a moral issue. … This is intergenerational theft if we don’t do this right.” In the whirlwind of the new term, Donnelly is finally almost done with the process of setting up his office in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. He joked that his office has always been a “way station” for Notre Dame students and graduates away from South Bend. Among them is 2007 alumna Elizabeth Shappell, who was once student body president and played flag football with Donnelly’s daughter. She now runs media communications for his office. Shappell said the student interns and other workers that enter their office from Notre Dame bring a certain level of energy and leadership. They are often required to spend hours taking calls from the senator’s constituents, answering their questions and passing their needs to his staff. “They bring not only a fantastic work ethic and a high intelligence level and the capacity to get work done in a very efficient way, but a great attitude and a high intelligence level that you know they’re in it for the right reasons,” she said. These volunteers often move farther in politics and join the ranks of others from Notre Dame in government, Donnelly said. And those ranks include some important names. Four graduates were elected to the House in November – Democrat Peter Visclosky in Indiana and Republicans Peter King in New York, Michael Kelly and Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania. 1993 graduate Rob Nabors works as White House director of legislative affairs and is Obama’s chief congressional liaison. These names, the high-profile elected officials and government members, are not the only Notre Dame names in Washington. But they are the tip of a legacy Notre Dame is paving for itself among American leadership, bringing the values of one dome to another. John Sturm has a firm handshake and a knack for storytelling. He should – he was the manager of the Notre Dame student radio stations when he was an undergraduate in 1969 and a member of the Blue Circle Honors Society, a service club comprised of student leaders across campus. Sturm has been in Washington for years and did work in government as a lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission briefly after he graduated law school at Indiana University. But he spent the majority of his career with the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), serving as its president for 16 years and lobbying Congress on behalf of the newspaper industry until he retired in 2012. He is now the associate vice president of federal and Washington relations at the University, a new position created this past summer. Sturm, a registered lobbyist, represents Notre Dame’s interests in Washington by trying to share with elected officials that the school is “so much more than Saturday afternoons.” “The great thing about working with the government, around the government, is the chance to have an affect on public policy,” Sturm said. “The most important thing is to represent the interest of your client or your employer to the best of your ability.” While he is not a politician by trade, Sturm “works the Hill” to help find grants and funding through for University research through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and other agencies. He is also active on other higher education issues and policies in student aid, tax policies related to charitable deductions to the University and other legislative debates that affect Notre Dame. “When you represent Notre Dame, it’s a marvelous opportunity to present to the elected officials what Notre Dame really stands for, the notion of doing good as well as providing a great education and great research activities and efforts.” Sturm said Hesburgh offered “a voice of moderation and good sense,” as well as an example for Notre Dame graduates who become involved in any kind of political or government work in Washington. “The old line was, ‘Fr. Hesburgh is everywhere except Notre Dame,’” he said. “That’s not a criticism. It’s just that he was very busy here in Washington and a lot of other places around the world because he was … not only Notre Dame’s president but an ambassador for the Catholic faith, for the University, and the best known cleric there was in public service.” “It’s thinking outwards instead of inwards,” he said. Condoleezza Rice never wanted to be in politics. She wanted to be a pianist. “I started my undergraduate years as a piano major but soon realized that I was good but not quite good enough for a concert career,” she told The Observer in an email interview. “I decided to change my major and wandered into a course at the University of Denver on international politics taught by Josef Korbel, who was [former Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright’s father. Through Dr. Korbel, I found my passion for the Soviet Union and my life’s work.” When she graduated from Denver in 1974, Rice traveled to Notre Dame to pursue a graduate degree. Her experience in South Bend was key to cementing her growing love of international issues, she said. “I decided to do my master’s degree at Notre Dame because the University had a very strong reputation in Soviet studies, economics and international politics,” she said. “It was the perfect combination for me.” Even for a woman who would later serve as a Secretary of State, the idea of settling in a new and unfamiliar place was daunting to Rice. “I landed very late at the airport and was frankly a little unnerved,” she said. “It was my first time away from home. Then, driving into campus, I saw the Golden Dome and, from that moment on, I knew that I was in the right place.” As a student in the 1970s, Rice came to Notre Dame as the University began to integrate women into its campus. Female graduate students at the time lived in Lewis Hall with the Sisters of the Holy Cross – the dorm doubled as a convent and a residence hall. “I also remember something rather silly,” she said. “The women’s dorms had laundry facilities in the basement. The men had their laundry picked up and done each week. At the time, I don’t remember wanting to comment on it but I certainly would have now.” Despite the challenges of integration, Rice said the University made “rapid progress” toward successful coeducation. “I’ve been particularly impressed at the extraordinary success of women’s athletics – basketball, soccer and other sports,” Rice said. “I cheer loudly for both the sons and daughters of Notre Dame.” Rice graduated from Notre Dame in 1975 and then pursued a doctoral degree from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies. She taught political science at Stanford University, and her work eventually brought her to Washington. In 1989, she became director of Soviet and East European affairs with the National Security Council, later serving in a number of advisory positions for both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush, including National Security Advisor. She became the first woman appointed as Secretary of State in 2004, and she served from January 2005 to 2009. Rice, who has returned to her teaching post at Stanford, said her Notre Dame education has continued to stay with her throughout her work in government. “The further I have progressed in my career, the more opportunity I have had to champion causes and shed light on humanitarian issues,” she said. “This sense of duty comes from numerous points in my life, one being that Notre Dame stressed the importance of religious integrity and the philanthropic spirit.” Like other Notre Dame graduates, Rice cited Hesburgh, who was University president while she was a student, as an example for her work in international affairs. Hesburgh himself championed humanitarian issues on an international level and served on numerous government committees. “Father Hesburgh encouraged us to think about those who were less fortunate,” she said. “In fact, we had a day of fasting and donated the money to good causes. This experience reminded me to think not just about high politics but about the good that can be done if we are focused not on ourselves but on those who are truly in need.” Junior Wendy Hatch is not yet a graduate of the University, but she too is in Washington right now. She is a student in the Washington Program, a semester-long experience working, studying and living in Washington D.C. The alternative study abroad program is designed for students with an interest in politics or journalism. Hatch, a political science and Chinese double major, wants to work in international politics. She stood in the crowd in front of the Capitol on Monday, watching from a distance as the president swore his oath of office. She was far from the Capitol steps, and a tree blocked her view of the nearest big-screen TV. But she, like many Notre Dame students before her, could still see something meaningful in Washington – a future. “In four years, we could be one of those people sitting in one of those chairs … next to President Obama,” Hatch said after the ceremony. “We could be senators, representatives, in Congress, in someone’s cabinet. We’re smart, we’re capable. “If we wanted that position, if we wanted to be that person, we could be.”
As juniors, Saint Mary’s students dedicate a weekend to their moms. This past weekend, Saint Mary’s seniors turned their attention to welcoming their dads to campus for father-daughter events as part of Senior Dad’s Weekend.Senior class president Lauren Osmanski and senior class vice president Tori Wilbraham worked together to plan this year’s Senior Dad’s Weekend.Senior Mary Kate McLaughlin said the weekend provided Saint Mary’s seniors with spend quality time with their dads and an opportunity to create lasting memories with fellow Belles.“It was hilarious to be able to see the girls and their dads interacting,” McLaughlin said. “It was an entirely different dynamic than Junior Mom’s Weekend.”The events began Friday in Stapleton Lounge in Le Mans Hall with a wine and cheese reception for the Belles, their dads and Saint Mary’s professors.Senior Sarah Hossfeld said she enjoyed the reception the most because it was the moment when all of the dads were able to meet one another and professors.“I never thought my dad would get to meet some of my favorite nursing professors except for at graduation,” Hossfeld said. “I was so glad that the first reception was so inviting and fun, and we also got our gift bags there with a Saint Mary’s Senior Dad’s Weekend beer mug and T-shirt.”The evening continued at O’Rourkes Public House on Eddy Street where Belles and their dads gathered to unwind together in a pub setting, Wilbraham said.On Saturday, Wilbraham and Osmanski planned Notre Dame Stadium tours beginning at noon. The Belles and their dads toured the locker room, saw the Play Like a Champion Today sign and walked on the field, Wilbraham said.“I know that was definitely my dad’s favorite part of the weekend,” Hossfeld said. “When he walked out onto the field, he said it was the most beautiful sight his eyes had ever seen. It was awesome to share that moment with him, and I know many of the other girls agreed that that was one of the coolest events of the whole weekend.”Following the stadium tours, the fathers and daughters were invited to O’Rourke’s to watch Notre Dame play Arizona State, Wilbraham said. Afterwards, a dinner and auction were held at the Hilton Garden Inn Gillespie Center.Julia Brehl “This was the first time we’ve ever planned a dinner for daughters and their dads, which was a huge success,” Wilbraham said. “We were sorry we had to shut it down when it got late because all of the girls were having so much fun dancing with their dads and enjoying the photo booth. We hope we started a new tradition with the dinner.”Wilbraham said College President Carol Ann Mooney attended the dinner, along with Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Johnson. The auction, which included prizes such as front-row graduation tickets, Notre Dame football tickets, a spring break basket and Chicago Blackhawks tickets, raised $13,000 that will go toward senior week.“We also announce our new senior class campaign, called 90 for 90,” Wilbraham said. “We are trying to get 90 percent of students to donate towards the senior class gift fund, representing the 90 million dollars the College has raised for this year’s ‘Faith Always, Action Now’ campaign.“We already have over 55 percent of the senior class participating, so that was a huge success for us.”The weekend’s events concluded on Sunday with mass at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto.McLaughlin said she was glad to see everyone having such a great time with their dads, and it was an unforgettable weekend.“I loved showing my Dad all around South Bend and taking him to our favorite places to go out as seniors,” McLaughlin said. “We had so much fun together at all of the different events. It was just a perfect weekend.”The weekend gave students an opportunity to do something they don’t often have a chance to, especially while they’re away at school.“It’s not too often we get to spend one-on-one time with our dads,” Wilbraham said. “It makes me so happy that it was such a success.”Tags: father-daughter, senior class gift, senior dads, senior dads weekend, senior weekend
At Wednesday evening’s Student Senate meeting, the members voted on several items, including nominations for the 2015-2016 executive director of the Student Union Board (SUB), the 2015-2016 Club Coordination Council (CCC) president and an amendment to the constitution of the undergraduate student body, as well as nominations for the Irish Clover Award and the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award.Junior Scott Copeland, the current executive director of SUB, nominated sophomore Louis Bertolotti as his replacement. Copeland said he gives Bertolotti his full endorsement.“Louis’s dedication and enthusiasm for the Student Union will aid him greatly in leading SUB and representing the group throughout campus,” he said.Bertolotti’s nomination was approved.Senior James McEntee presented his nomination for junior Marisa Thompson to replace him as CCC President for the 2015-2016 school year. McEntee said Thompson’s service as the division chair for the Performing Arts division convinced him of her ability.“Marisa has been a great leader on the Club Coordination Council as the Performing Arts division chair, and I fully expect her to continue to do great things as the leader of the organization as a whole,” he said.The Irish Clover Award is given to two individuals (students, faculty, staff or administrators) who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Student Union. Senators voted on three nominees, awarding it to seniors Hermona Abera and Katherine Wood.Copeland nominated Abera, saying she was the quintessential SUB member.“She always brings intensely positive energy and is immensely dedicated to SUB,” he said. “Hermona absolutely embodies the spirit of Notre Dame, and her dedication to the Student Union goes above and beyond the call of duty.”Student body president Lauren Vidal nominated Wood, saying she had been an outstanding member of the Student Union for the course of the last three years.“It’s hard to count how many nights she has stayed with us in the office until the early morning hours to help our team through even the most difficult projects,” she said.The senators then voted on the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award, which is given to an outstanding member of the Notre Dame faculty. Chris Stevens, professor of management, won the award.Junior Nathan Rowicki, who nominated Stevens, said Stevens is unparalleled as a teacher.“Every class with Chris empowered us and built us up,” he said. “He challenged us to become more caring individuals and he encouraged us when we achieved success.”After the voting, there was an open discussion regarding the fate of newspaper subscriptions on campus.Senior Michael Wajda, Hall Presidents Council co-chair, also presented Resolution SS1415-15 to amend the constitution of the undergraduate student body. The amendment proposed the removal of apostrophes in “Hall President’s Council” throughout the document.Tags: nominations in senate, Notre Dame Student Senate, Senate 2015, senate meeting, student senate, student senate meeting
Now in its seventh consecutive year in Notre Dame Stadium, the 171st Commencement Ceremony will be celebrated Sunday, followed by 19 separate graduation ceremonies throughout the day.University Registrar Chuck Hurley said he encourages graduates and their guests to show up early to this year’s event, due to the attendance of Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner. “With the Vice President coming, that’s a different challenge for us than in a normal year — but on the other hand, we’ve had this happen a number of times in Notre Dame’s history,” Hurley said. “During my tenure, this has been the third time we’ve had a President or Vice President come. We have some people on our staff that have done it five times.”However, while the security measures complicate the planning, Hurley said it is an enjoyable challenge. “It’s very neat. The Secret Service protection adds a layer there that’s different than a normal year, so to speak, so getting people in and out of the facility takes a little bit longer, because the Secret Service has to check everyone through an airport security-type checkpoint,” he said. All bags will be checked, and liquids will be prohibited, amongst other items. In the past, the Secret Service has been helpful in ensuring the safety of everyone at graduation, Hurley said. “We’re spending quite a lot of time collaborating with the Secret Service,” he said. “They’ve been great to work with — they’re extremely professional.”Despite some initial controversy over the location of last year’s Commencement Ceremony, Hurley said the University plans to continue to use Notre Dame Stadium for graduation in years to come. “In the 1950s and 1960s, they had graduation in the stadium as well, for a few years, until they built the Joyce Center,” he said. “We went back in 2010 to the stadium, and that’s worked out well.”However, Hurley said the use of the stadium is heavily reliant on the weather. “When you hold an outdoor event of any kind, you’re subject to Mother Nature,” he said. “Indiana has quite an unusual weather pattern — this time of year, we’ve seen 80 degree, humid, hot days, but we’ve also seen snow. Take, for example, a few weeks ago, when we had that snowstorm on Saturday — that came out of the blue.”Since the University knows anything can happen with the weather, they have alternative measures in place, Hurley said. “We’ve got the University weather person, and we pay close attention to what he says, but we stick to the stadium the best we can,” he said. “There’s always the possibility, however, that we could move into Purcell Pavilion.”A move indoors would affect the number of guests a graduate could bring to the ceremony, according to Hurley. “We have unlimited tickets for the stadium,” he said. “Students can request as many as they wish. About two years ago, we had a young lady who was the first person in her family to graduate college and she brought 90 guests, and that was great. “But when we give students their tickets, we give them a stadium ticket, and then students also receive three severe weather tickets.”However, Hurley said in case of severe weather, alternative viewing locations will be opened around campus.“Folks will be able to go to DeBartolo Hall or Jordan Hall or Compton, or the north part of the Joyce Center, so they can watch it there,” he said. “Or, if they wanted to, they could watch it in their hotel room on an iPad, because it’s streamed.”Tags: Commencement 2016, commencement plans, severe weather plans
Over winter break, six students from the Notre Dame chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-ND) traveled to Sangmélima, Cameroon, to complete construction of a sanitary hand-pumped well, giving the village access to a reliable source of clean water for the first time. The completion of the well marks the culmination of over four years of fundraising, research and planning by the students in EWB-ND, whose chapter was started six years ago.Sarah Drumm, junior and co-president of EWB-ND, said a rural women’s association in Sangmélima applied to the national Engineers Without Borders organization for a group of students to help with a water project.“There are other wells in the area, but I’ve been there, and most of the water is contaminated with bacteria that are incredibly harmful,” Drumm said. “It’s very visible — people there get sick all the time from water-related diseases.”According to the EWB-ND website, this is the third time students have traveled to Sangmélima. In 2014 and 2016, students visited the village on assessment trips, allowing them “to sample local water sources to gauge need, survey potential sites for the well, interview contractors, teach hygiene and women’s health programs, and build relationships with community leaders,” the website said. All funds for the project were raised by the EWB members. Prior to the most recent two-week trip over winter break, EWB selected and hired a Cameroonian contractor to begin construction.“It was about 90 percent done when we came,” Drumm said. “… We built the pad that goes around the well and a cinder-block wall. When we left, we had assisted in that part, and the well was done. Before we had even finished with the construction, people were coming in the morning to draw water.”In addition to the implementation aspect of the trip, the students also continued their assessment mission in Sangmélima.“We did a lot of education, and we had a meeting with the community to present the well to them, to show them how to operate it, to explain why it was clean water and why it is important to drink clean water, as well as a lot of interaction with the school there,” Drumm said.“The well is actually located on the school campus of Alfred and Sarah Bilingual Academy, which has students from grade 3 to age 25, and we did hygiene programs with them to teach them the importance of hand-washing and using a latrine and drinking clean water. We also did some interviews with people in the community to figure out what other needs they have beyond this water well that [EWB-ND] can address in the future.”Junior and fellow EWB-ND co-president Claire Nauman said the club’s goal is to make sure its projects are sustainable.“Part of the way Engineers Without Borders makes sure that that happens is, they require that the community contribute at least 5 percent of the funding for whatever the project is,” she said. “In addition, you’re required to have several community members helping with the construction or somehow involved in the implementation. That’s a way that Engineers Without Borders ensures that there’s commitment on all sides.”The students did not encounter any difficulties with the residents of Sangmélima, who were enthusiastic about the project, Drumm said.“We were incredibly fortunate that the community we found was extremely welcoming and accepting of the project, which is really hard to find in a lot of development projects,” said Drumm. “Most development projects don’t last because of some kind of miscommunication between the engineers and the community that lives there. “This community understands the need. They really wanted this well, and they were so willing and eager to learn how to use and maintain it. We worked with them to set up a water committee in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the well, which is a big accomplishment. The fact that they are so willing to work with us means that we are likely to stay with them.”Nauman said the group already has plans for additional construction projects in Sangmélima.“I think our activity for how new we are definitely stands out — that we’ve actually implemented an entire project,” Nauman said. “We have big plans for the future. On this trip, we implemented a well with a hand pump. We’re hoping we can integrate in that an electrical pump in the same community. That’s part of EWB’s model—you stay with the same community for as long as there’s a need.”Tags: Cameroon, Engineers Without Borders, EWB-ND, Sangmélima
Ann Curtis | The Observer ESPN prepares for College GameDay at Notre Dame on Saturday. The show, which will be broadcast from Library Quad, recaps and previews football games each weekend during the football season.In addition to being able to watch the show’s taping Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon from Library Quad, there are several other associated activities available to community members in conjunction with the visit. ESPN senior publicist Anna Negron said in an email that on Friday, there will be three events with prizes for winners, taking place from noon to 4 p.m. at the set on Library Quad. Events include the Home Depot Corn Hole Challenge, Know Your Stuff Trivia, a photo booth, Coca-Cola product sampling, Bucket Pong, Skee-Ball and Giant Jenga. College Football Live, a national radio broadcast, will broadcast live from the set at 3:30 p.m., Negron said.Notre Dame associate athletics director Monica Cundiff said while ESPN handles the details of the program, the visit is important for the campus community.“ESPN chooses the sites,” she said. “We have nothing to do with the fact that they are here. I think they pick the sites based on team’s records, how big the game is. Anyway, in just looking at this game and Michigan and Notre Dame haven’t played for a few years, it’s a huge game. It didn’t surprise us they chose to come here. We are definitely very welcome to have them.”The first live look at the pit will be at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, Cundiff said. Students will be allowed into the pit starting at 6 a.m.Cundiff said her role has been primarily to coordinate logistics. She said usual gameday traditions and procedures, including the player walk, will not be affected by the ESPN set’s presence on South Quad. She said it was an “advantage” that the game is at night since most of the set will be cleared away by 4 p.m. on the day of the game and will allow gameday procedures to continue as normal.“We’re not even going to know their footprint is out there,” Cundiff said.She underscored the unique nature of the visit from the University’s perspective.“It’s certainly something we’re not going to say ‘no’ [to],” she said. “This is national exposure for our University. We want that kind of thing to happen.”The location of the set on Library Quad directly across the street from the stadium is the same as it was in 2012. When ESPN came for a site visit to decide where the set would be located, they came with the intention of considering several campus locations for the set before deciding Library Quad was all “they wanted to see,” Cundiff said.“Just the proximity to the stadium, and then, on game day, we all know what the campus looks like on Saturdays, so it’s a great path of fans coming towards the inner part of campus or going to see different spots,” she said.Though ESPN has an increased presence for this game weekend, NBC remains Notre Dame’s broadcast partner. Cundiff said College GameDay’s visit did not present a problem to the NBC staff.“NBC is our partner,” she said. “We’re going to take care of them. NBC also understands who ESPN [is] and what GameDay is all about. It’s just as much exposure for them as it is for us. We definitely restrict ESPN on things, and that’s because of our partnership with NBC. … I think at the end of the day we’re all in it together, to make a great experience for the nationally televised audiences as well as the fans here on campus.”Cundiff lauded ESPN for its cooperation this week, noting that Notre Dame has made things a little somewhat trickier for the broadcast company.“It’s been great for me working with ESPN this week, in the sense of from their perspective we have made it a little more difficult then they typically have seen from city to city that they go to, but it’s because we follow proper protocol,” she said. “I’m not just making a decision on electric, or water, or they wanted to cut some trees … they have a cooking segment on the show. Putting them in touch with the fire chief, putting them in touch with landscape services, with our utility department. They go to a lot of other campuses and they don’t do that, where I think that’s another example of Notre Dame having pride in itself. They’re the experts in their field. We’re not going to do something that affects any department on campus negatively. It actually makes me feel good that ESPN says, ‘You guys do it right. You’re tough.’ But at the end of the day we’re in it to do it the right way.”On the whole, Cundiff expressed a hope that the publicity that comes with College GameDay’s visit will further brandish Notre Dame’s image.“It’s great national exposure. Everyone, from students, to alums, to the subway alum [Notre Dame fans who didn’t actually attend the University], we are all proud of this University,” Cundiff said. “So any national exposure in a positive light, we want to see that and embrace that. Because we know that 12-year-old kid watching the football game may have dreams of either being a student athlete or student at Notre Dame. So this is another one of those opportunities to get some good positive exposure. And if the Irish can win at the end of the day, it makes it even better.”Tags: ESPN, ESPN College GameDay, gameday, Notre Dame-Michigan Rivalry While every Notre Dame home game represents a large event, this weekend’s season opener against the University of Michigan will feature a rare visit from ESPN’s College GameDay, the ESPN program that visits the site of each weekend’s biggest matchup. It will be College GameDay’s first visit to Notre Dame since the fall of 2012. ESPN College GameDay’s first ever broadcast was from Notre Dame’s campus on Nov. 13, 1993, ahead of the Irish’s matchup that day against Florida State.
As the cold rolled in two weeks ago, pipe bursts flooded areas all around Notre Dame’s campus.First was the third floor of the Duncan Student Center. On Jan. 31, at approximately 2:50 p.m., a sprinkler main erupted, causing damage to floors one and two. All inside the building were required to evacuate. The damage was quickly cleaned up, and the center was reopened the next morning.Next was the Main Building. On Feb. 1 at 12:30 p.m., a sprinkler head broke near the elevators on the first floor. The first floor lobby area and the elevators were closed for maintenance for the remainder of the weekend.Later that day, the Fitzpatrick and Cushing Halls of Engineering met a similar fate. A water leak in Fitzpatrick was reported about 7:30 p.m., according to an email from University spokesperson Dennis Brown. Both Fitzpatrick and Cushing were evacuated for safety reasons but were reopened the next day.Paul Kempf, senior director of utilities and maintenance, said such incidents were not unique to Notre Dame, but tend to be commonplace in extremely cold weather.“With nearly 11 million gross square feet of facilities, there is a lot of exposure, problem areas typically being building entries, areas that are more exposed to cold temperatures or places where leakage of cold air freezes fire protection sprinklers, heating water or potable water,“ Kempf said in an email.Kempf said these weak areas were made particularly vulnerable by the plummeting temperatures, which neared all-time lows.“With extreme temperatures last week, most of campus facilities have never seen such temperatures, so weak spots never before stressed were revealed,“ he said.Pipe bursts and other leaks caused by cold weather are not typically harmful to people but can often cause property damage, Kempf said.“Damage is frequently a function of volume of water, leak location and value of the impacted areas,” he said. “A vestibule leak that essentially runs outside at grade is minimal versus a leak in a high rise or a special space.”Though all four buildings were reopened relatively soon, additional cosmetic work may be needed to repair walls and floors damaged by floods.“Depending on the extent of water damages and the resulting damage, [cleaning] may range from simply gathering the water to more extensive cleaning, dehumidification, and removal of damaged finishes,“ he said. “This work is performed either by ND staff or a third party contractor that specializes in restoration services.”The University has been active in addressing pipe bursts and has taken precautionary measures to prevent future damage, Kempf said.“We evaluate every freeze that happens and address air leakage, piping that may have been installed in areas more prone to freezing, or ping that needs freeze protection,“ he said. “This past week we had staff ‘round-the-clock responding to cold calls, keeping heating systems operating and inspecting areas is concern.“Tags: pipe burst, Polar Vortex, Utilities and Maintenance
Comedian Ali Wong will perform her new “Milk and Money” show in downtown South Bend as part of IDEA Week, the University announced in a press release Thursday. Wong joins numerous other artists who have already been announced as part of IDEA Week, including comedian Jim Gaffigan, magician Michael Carbonaro and country music artists Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw. “Part of innovation is breaking down the walls that divide life into narrow categories so we have more opportunities for creative and serendipitous connections,” IDEA Week event coordinator Nick Swisher said in the release. “IDEA Week aims to unite all of these dimensions and model the energy that they can generate together.”Wong will perform at Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend on April 11. Cell phones will be banned from Wong’s performance, the release said. Ticket prices will range from $45 to $95 and will go on sale March 8 at the Morris Box Office either by phone at 800-537-6415 or online at www.morriscenter.org. Tags: Ali Wong, Comedy, Idea Week, IDEA week 2019, Morris Performing Arts Center
For many Catholics and Christians, the final day before Lent is a time to eat as much food as possible in preparation for the fasting of Ash Wednesday. For the McGrath Institute for Church Life, however, it is the time to kick off a new lecture series, “‘Chronicles of Narnia’: A Spiritual Journey from Lent to Easter.”The first two lectures will be delivered Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the Eck Visitors Center Auditorium. A one-credit course is being taught concurrently in order to offer students a chance to read C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” and engage in deeper conversations about the themes of the novels. Although the course is not open to the general public, everyone is permitted to attend the lectures and join the spiritual journey.Theology professor Leonard DeLorenzo — who is teaching the corresponding course — said the lecture series will provide an opportunity for people to connect and reflect.“Our idea here was to allow people to get together and take something of a literary pilgrimage during the liturgical season [of Lent],” he said. “People are invited to read along, and we bring in speakers who can draw out the theological themes [and offer] some spiritual reflection on the works that we are reading.”Theology professor David Fagerberg will be delivering the first lecture in the series, which will offer an overview of the “Chronicles,” and how Lewis came to write them. Following Fagerberg’s talk, DeLorenzo will present the second lecture focusing on the “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the first novel in the series.DeLorenzo said he wants his lecture to convey the importance of being truly engaged in the story.“I have read the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ many times … but it was in the experience of reading these stories to my 5-year-old that I came to a deeper appreciation of the real treasure here, which is to be actually engaged in the story,” he said.He explained the goal of reading the texts should not be analysis, but rather immersion.“[You should] allow yourself to be drawn in and surprised. Children do that most naturally. … They don’t ask about the author’s intention [like] we adults do,” DeLorenzo said. “For us adults, there’s something really refreshing [about] allowing ourselves to be led by children into a story like this. [My lecture] is about engaging this particular story, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ in that [childlike] way.”Fagerberg echoed the importance of reading a story that was intended for children as an adult.“I was pulling material together, and Lewis says in one place that, ‘[The ‘Chronicles’] would be a bad story if it was only read by children, and a bad story if it was not read more than once,’ so I think that we are trying to bring people back to reading the ‘Chronicles’ again,” he said.Fagerberg said the importance of reading these stories during the Lenten season — as the Christlike qualities of the story’s hero, Aslan — can offer a deeper reflection on one’s image of God.“There is an exchange between Aslan and Lucy in the second chronicle … and he says, ‘Each year you grow older, you will find me bigger,’” he said. “Aslan is Christ, and as you grow older, you find Christ bigger. Most of us are stuck with a very small and childish picture of God … and that’s what [we] want to talk about … and give an opportunity to do: to encounter face-to-face the mystery of Aslan.”Recorded versions of the lectures will be available online. A full schedule of the lecture series is also available on the McGrath Institute’s website.Tags: Lent, McGrath Institute for Church Life, spirituality, The Chronicles of Narnia
Observer File Photo Kris Ganeff, pictured, is an associate coach for Notre Dame softball.Though it’s rare for a recruit to be barred from admission for academic reasons, it’s not unheard of, Brooks said.“I’ve known girls who’ve gotten their scholarship dropped from a university and basically had to drop their verbal commitment because they were not going to be eligible to get into that university,” she said.Brooks said she was not worried about admission after she committed and applied only to Notre Dame.“There was no doubt in my mind — I mean, they have your transcript, they’re in communication with Compliance and Admissions,” she said.Director of admissions, operations and management Brian Lohr said the Office of Undergraduate Admissions also clears all prospective athletes for recruitment. The office receives forms from coaches detailing information about each recruit’s high school, their intended major, current GPA, class rank and test scores, he said.“They will also identify the athlete’s ability and will give us a blurb on how this student-athlete would potentially impact their team,” he said.Lohr said the primary role of his team is to evaluate the student holistically.“As far as their athletic talent, we rely strictly on the coaches to make that determination,” Lohr said.After reviewing this information, coaches are told whether or not the office recommends the student for admission.“We might say, ‘The student-athlete is tentatively approved for recruitment, but we’ll need additional information in a certain area,’ ‘Not approved for recruitment,’ or ‘Totally approved for recruitment,’” Lohr said.After being cleared for recruitment, the student will undergo the same standard admissions process for all undergraduate applicants, Lohr said. He said Admissions relies on the Athletics Compliance Office to confirm the students’ athletics records are authentic.“When they put forward an athlete for us to evaluate, we’re making an assumption that they’ve looked at this person from a professional judgment standpoint and said they’re a student-athlete that they want to admit,” he said.The Athletics Compliance Office declined a request for comment.Tags: admissions scandal series, athletics, Athletics Compliance Office, college cheating scandal, recruitment, student-athletes Eight universities are thought to have participated in March’s college admissions scandal and now face investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. According to federal prosecutors, William “Rick” Singer, the man behind the scam, bribed college coaches and other officials to illegally secure admission for his clients’ children. Singer pled guilty to racketeering, among other charges, in mid-March.It appears Notre Dame was never a target for Singer — according to a column from the Los Angeles Times, he refused to bribe athletics officials at the University because he believed its standards for recruitment and admissions to be too strict. Prospective student-athletes at Notre Dame must “meet academic thresholds and have authentic athletic records,” the column said. At Notre Dame, the Athletics Compliance Office is the primary body responsible for monitoring athletics recruitment. The office works to ensure athletes, coaches and other athletics staff follow guidelines put forth by the NCAA, the organization that governs athletics for most colleges and universities. In addition to general regulations for college athletics, these rules outline each part of the recruitment process, including when students may be recruited and how recruiters can communicate with prospective athletes and their coaches.Associate softball coach Kris Ganeff said the office supervises athlete and coach activity throughout recruitment. The office often enforces coach compliance by checking travel records and other documents, she said.“They check our phone logs — they know we’re following the rules. … Any time you make a contact or an evaluation, that’s put into a system,” she said. The Athletics Compliance Office also verifies prospective athletes’ records meet NCAA and University standards, she said.“What kind of school are they in, where are they at, class rankings, where does their school rank — all those things matter,” she said. Students who fail to meet the University’s academic standards are either turned down or, if already recruited, asked to drop their verbal commitments, Ganeff said.“We’ve only had to [do] that a couple times, where, you know what, they weren’t just making the grade, and we had to make a switch,” she said. “But the kids knew that upfront.”Senior pitcher Cait Brooks said after athletes commit, coaches will monitor their recruits’ academic performances closely.