A volunteer at the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana talked about her experience as a transgender person in a lecture Tuesday in Dalloway’s CafÃ© at Saint Mary’s. In the presentation, titled “On the Understanding of the Transgender Experience,” speaker Meghan Buell said while transgender individuals have always been around, this designation for people who don’t conform to traditional genders has only arisen in the last few decades. “The term ‘transgender’ is an umbrella term that has developed in [the last] 10 to 15 years and encompasses any person that is gender non-conforming,” Buell said. Buell said a lot of “closed thinking” surrounded her while she grew up. She said she knew there was something different about her from a young age, but she had difficulty finding resources to learn about her identity. Suicide and rejection are particularly big issues for the transgender community, especially when members of that community face a lack of education and resources, Buell said. “With the lack of those resources growing up and a good support group, the lack of education and the lack of an adult figure to go asks questions about it, it becomes a very heavy burden to carry around,” she said. Buell encouraged audience members to accept the transgender community and to be aware the transgender community needs help addressing several issues. “Fight for equal rights, be compassionate, ask questions, and have a little bit of empathy for the hurdles and struggles they may have,” she said. Buell also discussed her experience with gender reassignment surgery, her struggle to accept that she was transgender and the courage she needs to remain committed to what she sees as her true identity. “Being transgender is not an easy way to go through life,” Buell said. “It’s a choice.” The College’s psychology department, the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and the Cross Currents Program’s Collegiate Speakers Series co-sponsored Buell’s lecture. The Lilly Endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities through Educational Collaborations funded the event. Contact Samantha Castaneda at [email protected]
As Tuesday’s midterm elections approach, members of the Notre Dame College Democrats and College Republicans are making phone calls and knocking on doors, helping candidates for local and national offices campaign and get out the vote.Senior Mark Gianfalla, president of the College Republicans, said the group focused primarily on campaigning for Jackie Walorski (R-IN), the representative for Indiana’s 2nd district who is running for re-election, and Jeff Sanford, who is running for county prosecutor. He said the club organized rides to phone banks every Thursday over the past several months and canvassed neighborhoods in the county every weekend.“It gets you the experience of seeing how much of an effect you can have,” Gianfalla said. “That’s why we’re focusing so much on the prosecutorial race. It’s a small race, smaller office, but in the end, our group could have a huge effect on it. So are some of the county council races we’ve been working on. It’s important to see how you can make a difference.”Senior Michelle McCarthy, co-president of the College Democrats, said that, although the group does not campaign for candidates directly, several members of the club intern for Joe Bock, a professor at the Eck Center for Global Health who is running against Walorski, and some members helped county council candidate Chris Stackowicz’s campaign in the spring. McCarthy, who canvassed and made calls for the Bock campaign, said working in the field allowed her to learn about South Bend politics and the people who vote in local elections.“I’ve done some research. I’ve talked to local residents about what they want, what they don’t want, knocking on doors,” McCarthy said. “It’s a really great way to see South Bend. By actually talking to people, you figure out what they’re actually interested in and what they actually care about, which might not necessarily be the same things as a Notre Dame college student.”Senior Iris Schweier, a member of the College Democrats who interned for the Bock campaign’s financial wing in the spring and did field work this fall, said meeting voters helped prepare her for a career in the political field.“I think [I’m] getting a more firsthand experience of what politics actually is,” Schweier said. “I had some policy experience before this, with legislation and certain issues, but now I’m figuring out the people aspect of politics, which is so cool. If we’re electing these people to represent us, the people who they’re representing are so important, getting to know how they feel about issues and how they’re affected and whether or not they’re going to vote.”Sophomore Louis Bertolotti, the College Republicans’ director of political affairs, said canvassing in South Bend and Mishawaka, especially in low-income neighborhoods, helped him understand the issues important to voters.“We live in the Notre Dame bubble. It’s really easy to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, but there are a lot of issues out there,” Bertolotti said. “Going out, getting to meet these people and going to see the issues that matter to them really shows what it’s all about. It gives you perspective of what you’re doing it all for, and it gives you motivation to keep working hard, keep doing what you’re doing.”Bertolotti said the College Republicans will hand out literature on candidates on Election Day and continue to work with the St. Joseph County Republicans after the results come in, collecting voter information before the next election cycle.McCarthy said members of the College Democrats will be at the Bock campaign headquarters Tuesday. She said working on campaigns this election cycle helped her make connections in the St. Joseph County Democratic Party, and she said she hopes to continue to foster those relationships in the future.“Now that I have the names and the contacts of local leaders, I definitely let them know that Notre Dame College Democrats is a resource for the people of South Bend,” McCarthy said. “We have people who are very passionate about these issues, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship there, where our club members can really get involved with real politics in a real city, and hopefully we can provide some manpower to [the Democratic Party] as well.”Tags: Chris Stackowicz, College Democrats, College Republicans, Jackie Walorski, Joe Bock, Mark Gianfalla, MIchelle McCarthy, midterm elections, vote
In an effort to improve the football game day experience, student government over the summer took on a project to lower concession prices at Notre Dame Stadium for students. Student body chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst said in an email that he and student body president Bryan Ricketts collaborated with Auxiliary Services and the concession stand vendor for Notre Dame Stadium to lower the prices. “Many students viewed the old prices as designed for parents and fans. … Being on a college budget, [they] reacted by thinking, ‘These aren’t for me,’” Sehlhorst said. “The new prices are designed to make eating a snack during games more of a possibility for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”Sehlhorst said he and Ricketts submitted ideas for combos, which offer more food for less money, as well as ideas for seasonal snacks. Lowering the price of water in the stadium was their top concern, Selhorst said, as water prices are not only an affordability concern, but also a health concern. “The separate menu includes combos and reduced prices for drinks and other small snacks. The student menu is accessible in select locations near the student section with a student ID card,” he said.The student combo options included a popcorn box and souvenir soda for $5 (a savings of $5) hot dog, chips and souvenir soda for $7 (saving $5) candy, pretzel and souvenir soda for $9 (saving $3.50) and chicken tender basket and souvenir soda for $10 (saving $3.50), according to a stadium menu. Apple cider was available for $2 and trail mix and cookies were each sold for $1. The price of bottled water dropped from $2 to $1.Student government helped make the lower prices available for the first home game this year against Texas, Sehlhorst said.“Game day is a special experience for students, and it wouldn’t be the same without students, so we want to ensure everything about the game day experience welcomes all of our students,” he said.As the home game football season has come to a close, Sehlhorst said student government is submitting snack and drink price recommendations to Auxiliary Services and the concession stand vendor in order to continue improving the game day experience for students next year and in the future.Tags: concession stand prices, Notre Dame Stadium, Student government, student government in focus
Saint Mary’s Student Activities Board (SAB) decided not to reveal the Tostal performer at the annual Midnight Madness to emphasize the healthy competition between classes through games and contests in Angela Athletic Facility on Thursday night.SAB vice president and senior Colleen Burke said though SAB has traditionally revealed the Tostal performer at the conclusion of Midnight Madness, the board opted to create more suspense and excitement about the reveal this year by making the announcement over Snapchat. According to Burke, students can check Snapchat each Thursday after spring break to find out which three country musicians SAB selected for this year’s Tostal.This year’s Midnight Madness attracted an audience with a genuine interest in bonding with classmates, Burke said.“This year we really wanted to focus on having Midnight Madness be its own event,” she said. “In past years, a lot of people have come to Midnight Madness mainly just to find out about the Tostal artist, and they’re not there for the actual event itself.”Burke said the event serves as an integral part of the Saint Mary’s experience.“If we were to take away Midnight Madness and not have it one year, it would just be taking away an opportunity for everyone to celebrate Saint Mary’s,” Burke said. “It’s important for all members of Saint Mary’s to be involved in the activities that go on on campus.”Sophomore Renee Reyes, who participated in the event, said this year’s activities included trivia, giveaways and a singing challenge that engaged attendees.“Everyone in the audience sang along and danced,” Reyes said. “It was so much fun to see everyone jamming out to classics.”Midnight Madness promotes community and encourages teamwork, according to Reyes.“I had a great time with my friends, and I got to bond with the rest of the sophomores,” Reyes said. “I think Midnight Madness is super important because it brings the classes together.”Burke said Midnight Madness distinguishes itself from other SAB events because it simultaneously unifies each class while strengthening overall Saint Mary’s pride.“We have a lot of events during the year that really get the entire campus together, but they don’t necessarily allow the grades to interact and play games with each other,” Burke said. “The whole purpose of it is really to get the whole school together and embrace Saint Mary’s and have a bunch of school spirit.”Senior Colleen Michael, SAB president, said Midnight Madness serves as an honored Saint Mary’s tradition that deserves to be continued.“It is one of those events when if I stop what I am doing for just a moment and look around, I realize how much I love this school and the community that makes it my home,” Michael said. “It brings everyone together, spirit is high, and the enthusiasm is contagious. The more people, the more fun it is.”Michael said Midnight Madness solidifies students’ love for the College by allowing them to interact with one another in different ways than they normally do.“It gives the classes an opportunity to work together on a common goal, it allows them to be proud of their year, and it focuses on supporting each other,” Michael said. “Students are given the opportunity to come together as a community. It is a time for spirit and a little bit of competition.”Tags: Midnight Madness, SAB, Student Activities Board, Tostal
Photo courtesy of Sierra Mayhew Sierra Mayhew, left, and Caroline Forlenza represent Notre Dame’s Fashion Club in Chicago on Sunday as the club presidents.During club meetings, members discuss questions revolving around rising trends, major events in the fashion world and fashion’s relationship with other industries.“We just finished Fashion Month, and that’s our most exciting month for meetings because we get to talk about and review all the fashion shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan,” Mayhew said.“For example, we did an opening question about Michael Kors going public: Was that a good decision for them or not? Did it hurt their luxury brand or did it help it?” Forlenza said. “So we try to get into those business-focused ideas and a lot of marketing as well.” Mayhew said the Fashion Week finale was a sign of Chicago’s potential, as well as the impressive efforts of individuals — like Long — who have helped the industry grow. “I think there’s definitely room for growth, and I think that, because it’s such a big city, it has the opportunity to be bigger fashion presence if the designers there keep working really hard,” Mayhew said.Freshman Lexi Leahy, a Chicago native, said it was exciting to see signs of fashion’s growth in the city.“I love this city, so I really want Chicago to start becoming more of a focal point for fashion,” she said. “I liked seeing the local artists a lot because they were so unique to Chicago and its characteristics. It was really cool to see these new, aspiring artists who are trying to make it doing their own thing.” Photo courtesy of Sierra Mayhew Members of the Fashion Club of Notre Dame traveled to Chicago on Sunday to attend the finale event of Chicago’s Fashion Week.Mayhew and Forlenza said they were frustrated with the lack of resources on campus for students interested pursuing careers in fashion and, as a result, founded Fashion Club of Notre Dame last fall, the start of their sophomore year.“We both are really interested in fashion, and we felt like we were at a school that did not support our career choices,” Mayhew said. “We wanted to create a place for people who are interested in a career in the fashion industry.” “We just had this idea of forming a place on campus where people could talk about their passion for the industry and also learn more about it,“ Forlenza said. “Hopefully by the time we’re out of Notre Dame, [we will] kind of create our own network of people working in the industry. In the last few years, Notre Dame has come a long way with that in general because now they offer a Career Trek to New York City in the fashion and retail industry through the Career Center.” Photo courtesy of Sierra Mayhew Winners of the avant-garde competition showcase their outfits Sunday during the finale event of Chicago’s Fashion Week. The winning design, pictured above, reflected the Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago.The event included several shows by local designers and brands, and concluded with an avant-garde competition in which designers created pieces that reflected Chicago’s history and culture. Junior Nina Michielutti said the competition was the most memorable part of the day.“The winner of this year’s competition was a designer who created a gown based on the Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago during Al Capone’s reign over the city’s mobs,” she said in an email. “It was unique and beautifully done, but what really set it apart from the rest was the story behind it. He really brought everyone back in time with his design that even included newspaper from the publication of the massacre. The competition was a really cool way to see how certain designers pushed their boundaries to create really dramatic designs.”Tags: Chicago, Fashion Club of Notre Dame, Fashion Week, FashionBar Members of the Fashion Club of Notre Dame traveled to Chicago on Sunday for the finale event of Chicago’s Fashion Week. The event focused on growing the fashion industry in Chicago by giving up-and-coming designers the chance to showcase their work and develop their brands. Juniors and club presidents Sierra Mayhew and Caroline Forlenza said they reached out to FashionBar, the company running the week, and were given the opportunity to speak with Tony Long, founder and CEO of the company.“We met with him just the two of us, and he taught us a lot about what he’s doing — trying to grow Chicago into a fashion capital like New York and [Los Angeles] are … and he allowed us to bring a few of our members to the finale event of the Fashion Week,” Mayhew said.
The Diversity Council of Notre Dame hosted its third-annual student government election debate in the LaFortune Ballroom on Thursday. Candidates were asked to detail their plans to promote inclusiveness at Notre Dame and demonstrate their awareness of diversity issues on campus.This year’s candidates for student body president and vice president include junior Elizabeth Boyle and sophomore Patrick McGuire; freshmen Carlston Chang and Kevin O’Leary; juniors Eduardo Luna and Haley Coleman; and juniors Mario Markho and Charlie Ortega Guifarro. (Editor’s note: Ortega Guifarro is a former Sports Writer for The Observer and Patrick McGuire is a former Scene Writer.)The Chang-O’Leary ticket was not present at the debate.Junior Kaleem Minor, vice chair of the Diversity Council, moderated the discussion and began by asking the candidates to provide a brief overview of their diversity platform.Coleman said one of her ticket’s main initiatives is to provide more diverse dining hall meals.“Concerning our diversity platform in particular, we have quite a few great ideas, but one of our most exciting ones is an initiative alongside Campus Dining,” Coleman said. “ … We would like to include authentic cultural food into the dining plan.”The team also plans on “working with diversity groups across campus” to ensure their platform represents a variety of voices, she added.“We’ve sent out over 80 club emails,” Coleman said.Markho said the Markho-Ortega ticket will work to provide more locations for constructive dialogue about diversity and inclusion on campus.“The first [plan] … is to reserve space for students who feel marginalized or who feel they have something to say, at all,” he said. “ … To have a space anywhere across campus regularly scheduled to have these types of conversations.”The pair also hopes to give diversity groups priority funding, Markho added.“One of the main points on our platform is that we want to increase club funding,” he said. “By focusing those funds on groups that concentrate on culture and inclusion, we would be putting money directly into the hands of students that would be able to affect that change on a personal level.”Boyle said she and McGuire have plans to form a student civil rights commission.“We thought it would be really unique and special if we had a student-run commission that looks at discrimination and students’ rights violations and thrusts students right into the middle of that debate,” she said.McGuire said the team will also work to revise the University’s nondiscrimination clause.“We see a lot of student groups [and] individuals on campus that aren’t protected, at the moment, by [the nondiscrimination] clause,” he said. “You know, looking into that and restructuring it is a very tangible and powerful way to give protections to more students on this campus.”Minor then asked the candidates for vice president to share their favorite Walk the Walk Week event and discuss how they plan to further the week’s mission throughout the year.Ortega Guifarro said he participated in a photography series as part of Walk the Walk Week, and said he will encourage Notre Dame to continue to showcase diverse selections of student artwork.“Art is under-appreciated, and I think it speaks to the current state of Notre Dame,” he said.Coleman said her favorite event of Walk the Walk Week was the lecture delivered by Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, saying she believes the University could benefit from more visits from prominent speakers.“I think bringing speakers into this campus is really important,” she said.McGuire said the MLK luncheon stuck with him because it gave students a unique opportunity to share their voices.“Not only did [the luncheon] have great representation … but it really was a powerful forum for students such as Alyssa [Ngo] to ask important questions without apologizing and without tailoring to the audience,” he said.Tags: diversity council, Student Body President, student body vice president, Student government elections, Walk the Walk Week
The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), which works with the community to prevent and respond to sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking at Saint Mary’s, is hosting a number of events this year to raise awareness for violence on campus. In spirit of their mission to cultivate a violence-free culture through education and advocacy, the group will be hosting a t-shirt giveaway and vigil this week for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.BAVO will be handing out t-shirts with the words “One in Four” at the entrance of Noble Family Dining Hall on Monday, Oct. 7 during dinner hours. “One in Four” comes from the statistic that represents the one in four college women who will experience violence during their college years. To address this statistic, free t-shirts dealing with this issue will be handed out to 25% of Saint Mary’s students.Senior Courtney Driscoll has been part of the BAVO since freshman year, and served as an ally for one year and on the BAVO Student Advisory Committee as a co-chair during her sophomore and senior year. She said the shirts will help students grasp the statistic visually.“We have not handed out shirts for this campaign every year, although I thought it was important to do it this year (my freshman year may have been the last time) to provide a visual for the meaning behind the shirts,” Driscoll said in an email. Driscoll said she finds through personal experience the shirts are a good method of starting conversations about the topic of sexual assault awareness.“Every time I wear my ‘one in four’ shirt from freshman year, I have many friends and people I do not even know of all ages ask me what it stands for,” Driscoll said. “This has created discussion on the topic that may be lost throughout the typical events thrown on campus. Through this activity, we hope this will create open dialogue and promote awareness for sexual assault.”On Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. BAVO will also be holding a Belles for Healing Vigil. “We hope everyone will wear their 1 in 4 shirts on this day and at the event in solidarity for survivors on campus and in the greater community,” Driscoll said.Tags: BAVO, Belles Against Violence Office, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, One in Four
As the new coronavirus strain has quickly spread beyond China across the world in the past few weeks, Notre Dame officials said in an email they have no reason to believe anyone on campus is at risk, but they provided travel advisories to students in preparation for spring break. The vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffman Harding, vice president for human resources Robert McQuade, vice president for internationalization Michael Pippenger and vice president for campus safety and University operations Mike Seamon penned the email.Notre Dame will continue its ban on University-sponsored travel to China and will also now prohibit University-sponsored travel to South Korea, advising against personal travel, the email said.If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raises its risk levels for coronavirus cases in Italy, the email said the University will plan on taking action in regards to study abroad students and University-sponsored travel there as well. In addition, Notre Dame International included an advisory for study abroad students to reconsider traveling to areas experiencing an outbreak or at high risk.With regards to spring break specifically, the email recommended against traveling to China, South Korea, Italy and Japan.Although the University does not believe anyone on campus is at risk, officials said members of the greater Notre Dame community have concerns regarding their family and friends in affected areas.“Our staff in Notre Dame International is working closely with these students to help reduce their concerns,” the email said. “Please offer support should you interact with anyone who is impacted.”The University will continue to monitor the health risk of this strain of coronavirus and provide updates if recommendations change.Tags: coronavirus, Spring Break, travel advisory
In a Monday email sent to the Notre Dame community, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced the creation of a task force on diversity, equity and inclusion and said the Columbus murals featured in Main building will finally be covered after the initial decision came over a year ago.In light of the months of protests fighting for racial equality in the U.S. and requests from the student body, Jenkins said the University has been reviewing its efforts towards diversity, equality and exclusion on campus.“Important conversations and concrete initiatives are underway in various areas of the University,” Jenkins said.These initiatives include conversations between student leaders and senior administrators about improving campus policing, mental health resources and cultural competency in first year Moreau class modules, in addition to the creation of a student diversity center, funding for student clubs and diversity training for upperclassmen, graduate students and faculty.The student and administrative leaders are also discussing the possibility of creating additional curricular offerings related to diversity and inclusion.“Our provost, Marie Lynn Miranda, has met with faculty from underrepresented minority groups and is formulating plans for recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and deepening conversations about race and diversity,” Jenkins said.Jenkins also said the University is working on making antiracism a part of the core curriculum education while looking to improve the experience of minority students on campus.He and several other administrators in admissions and elsewhere are working to enhance the diversity of the University through its student body and management positions.In addition to these efforts and in request by the chairman of the board of trustees Jack Brennan, the University will establish the Trustee Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The task force will, “examine the campus climate, hear from various constituencies, review University initiatives and offer recommendations,” Jenkins said.National Basketball Association President of League Operations Byron O. Spruell will chair the task force.“I hope the task force will help us identify initiatives that have been successful and those that have not achieved their goals, point out blind spots or gaps in our efforts and indicate how we might improve,” Jenkins said. “Their report will, I believe, inform our plans for the next decade for making Notre Dame more fully the diverse, equitable and inclusive community our Catholic mission calls us to be.”Jenkins also announced the installation of removable coverings over the Columbus murals, featured in the Main Building and subject to much controversy, will occur in September. A temporary display about the murals will be installed soon after.“We are planning a larger exhibition about the early history of the University to include the story of the murals, which will be assembled once undergraduate admissions moves to McKenna Hall from the Main Building next year,” Jenkins said.Reproductions of the images will be part of this exhibit to be viewed in historical context.Jenkins initially announced in January 2019 the murals would be covered. The original murals will be displayed on special occasion, and faculty may request access to them for course work and research purposes.With the upcoming election season, Jenkins urged the Notre Dame community to remain civil in political debates.“Here is a rule of thumb: If a statement is designed not to persuade an opponent but to demean or intimidate him or her, don’t say it,” Jenkins said. “Its effect will not advance the debate but create toxic divisions that in the end will be most toxic to us.”Tags: Columbus murals, Fr. John Jenkins, Task Force on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Trustee task force
The new Great White Way headed production is a re-imagined reboot of the 1973 musical, which played 103 performances on Broadway. Starring Karin Wolfe as Gigi and Daniel Massey as Gaston, the production earned a Tony Award for Best Original Score. Gigi features the memorable tunes “Thank Heaven For Little Girls,” “I Remember It Well,” “The Night They Invented Champagne,” “It’s a Bore,” and more. View Comments Broadway-bound Gigi will initially be performed in concert form at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre May 16-18. As previously reported, the show is scheduled to open at the Kennedy Center in January 2015 and is eyeing a transfer to the Main Stem later next year. A re-imagined new production of the 1973 musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe, Gigi has been adapted by playwright and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Heidi Thomas, with Eric D. Shaeffer on board to direct. According to the 5th avenue announcement Josh Bergasse (Smash) is set to choreograph and the Seattle performances will be cast locally. Set during the turn of the 20th century, Gigi tells the story of a free-spirited teenage girl living in Paris who is groomed (in the custom of her family) to serve as a companion to a bored, wealthy playboy until the pair realize they have fallen in love. The musical is based on Colette’s classic novella, the 1951 play by Anita Loos and the 1958 movie musical of the same name. The big screen adaptation of Gigi garnered a then-record-setting nine Oscars, including Best Picture.