Month: January 2021

ROTC seniors to begin assignments

first_imgThirty-nine Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets will be commissioned as officers at the Tri-Military ceremony in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Saturday. The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. and will be followed by a reception in the Pasquerilla Center. The Army will commission 12 2nd lieutenants, the Air Force, 12 and the Marine Corps, six. The Navy will commission nine ensigns.Senior Thomas Capretta, cadet battalion commander of the Army ROTC Fightin’ Irish Battalion, said the commissioning involves taking an oath and getting the rank of Second Lieutenant pinned on each cadet’s uniform. Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe will be the speaker at the ceremony. Volpe, a Notre Dame alumnus, has had a long career in Army medicine, and has received various awards for his service.After the ceremony, the students will officially be commissioned officers of the military.  “Most will have four-year commitments, but some will have longer if their training costs more,” Col. Dennis Mitchell, commanding officer of the Air Force ROTC Unit, said. “For example, three will be going to one year of pilot training and will spend at least 10 years in the Air Force after training.”The Navy also requires four years of active service, with aviators requiring up to eight years after they receive their qualification wings, Lt. William Fensterer, assistant professor of naval science, said. Fensterer said Navy cadets will go to different locations depending on their preferences. “We have some heading to Pilot Training, Surface Ships, Submarine Training, Marine Corps Basic School, one to SEAL Training and one to a Naval Medical Center,” he said. The commissioning ceremony honors every graduating cadet in the ROTC program, but each senior also has the opportunity to do a private commissioning ceremony with his or her family at the Grotto or the east door of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.“These are done mostly on Friday, with a few done on Saturday. I will be doing my private commissioning ceremony at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning at the Grotto,” said Marina Rodriguez, a senior Army cadet.While most ROTC seniors will go directly into the service after graduation, Rodriguez will delay her service a few years to enter medical school.“I am actually in a slightly different situation than most of my peers. I received an education delay authorizing me to delay my service commitment in order to allow me to attend medical school starting in the fall,” Rodriguez said. “So, unlike my peers who will begin their branch training and transition to their assigned units this year, I will be attending University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.”After finishing medical school, Rodriguez will be a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. She will have an eight-year service obligation that must be completed at the end of her residency. “As of right now, I plan to make a career out of the Army and will likely serve at least 20 years,” she said.Rodriguez said the most rewarding part of the ROTC program has been the strong friendships she built over the four years.“My classmates and fellow members of the battalion are some of the best friends I could ever hope for,” she said. “I have grown a lot during my time in ROTC.”Capretta also said the program has influenced his personal development and overall experience at Notre Dame. “ROTC has been an integral part of my college experience. The cadre and recent alumni of the Fightin’ Irish Battalion have been great mentors to me, and have influenced me more than anyone else in the past four years,” Capretta said. “The cadets in program have become some of my best friends at Notre Dame.”As cadet battalion commander of the Army ROTC Fightin’ Irish Battaltion, Capretta was responsible for training the 87 cadets currently in the battalion. In November, Capretta will head to Ft. Benning, Ga. for infantry officer training. After completing his training, he will go to Ft. Carson, Colo. for his first permanent station.“I’m not sure how long I will be in the Army. I can see a career, a four-year stint and anything in between as being possible right now,” he said.Capretta said that after his four years of ROTC training, he feels ready to enter the Army. “Speaking for my classmates, I think we all feel very well prepared for our first assignments in the real Army. The ROTC program here has done a great job of pushing us to improve ourselves,” Capretta said. “It has also given us many leadership opportunities to hone those skills that we will need as officers.”Rodriguez agreed that she feels prepared to move on to the next step. “The instructors here have done an excellent job in preparing us to enter the Army and to serve as leaders of our various units,” she said. “Joining ROTC was one of the best decisions I made during my time here at Notre Dame.”last_img read more

Young Democrats club advocates voting

first_imgAs the 2012 presidential election nears, students at Saint Mary’s College are gearing up to vote in both Indiana polls and via absentee ballot. Senior London Lamar, president of Young Democrats at Saint Mary’s, said she wants her College peers to realize that exercising their right to vote demonstrates appreciation to earlier generations of politically active women. “Women fought for so many years for the right to vote,” Lamar said. “It is our duty as educated women to take full advantage of the paths those women paved for us and vote in every election being held throughout the year.” As a Young Democrats member, Lamar said vocalizing her political interests enhances her Saint Mary’s experience, but she also realizes other students on campus may not share her views. She said she recognizes the group has a responsibility since there is no official Republican group on campus. “Our organization on campus knows that while expressing our own views of the Democratic party is important, we must also be a bipartisan club for those students who do not share the same views, but express interest in the election and voting,” Lamar said. Senior Young Democrats member Ambreen Ahmad said she is committed to promoting the vote across party lines on the Saint Mary’s campus. “My primary responsibility is to make the bipartisan effort about being able to vote,” Ahmad said. “Over the summer, I was able to look at how democracy has affected the U.S. and how voter turnout is still so low. By being a part of Young Democrats on campus, I am hoping girls will realize that voting is important on so many different levels.” Lamar and Ahmad said they hope to spread the word about the importance of voting through the Young Democrats’ voter registration table, which will be open through Thursday in the Student Center Lounge. The table helps students register to vote, sign up for an absentee ballot and have the organization pay for the postage when voting forms are ready to be mailed. “This is an exciting time for the students here. For most of us, this is our first time voting in a presidential election,” Lamar said. “While this is a great thing to do, Ambreen and I really want our peers to remember that elections happen more frequently for our local governments. We want people to become politically aware and remain politically aware.” Taking initiative to vote in all elections is a crucial American civic duty, Ahmad said. “As educated women, it is even more important for us to exercise our right to vote at every opportunity we have,” she said. As such, the Saint Mary’s Young Democrats’ responsibilities as representatives for the national organization do not end with the Nov. 6 election, Lamar said. “It is our responsibility to keep the laws and policies that are a result of the election in the public’s eye on campus,” she said. “This is our chance to stay active in the community and remain active. By showing what we stand for and not just saying it, the Young Democrats can achieve a greater foothold here.” The Young Democrats will hold a watch night for the first presidential debate Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. in Room 152 of Regina Hall. The club will also meet to watch election night coverage Nov. 6 from 8 to 12 p.m. in Vander Vennet in the Student Center basement.last_img read more

Syrian crisis sparks activism

first_imgIn response to Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer and fasting to promote peace in Syria, Notre Dame community leaders galvanized on-campus participation throughout the day on Saturday. Junior Matthew Caponigro, a member of the Notre Dame Peace Fellowship, explained the importance of Notre Dame’s reaction to the papal declaration for a day of peace and prayer. “It’s especially important that so many people were involved at Notre Dame because Pope Francis called for this day of prayer on the feast day of Our Lady, in whose honor our university is founded,” Caponigro said. The centrality of Saint Mary permeated the event. “Opening prayer took place beneath the outstretched arms of the gilded statue of Mary atop the golden dome, and for closing prayer we met again under the auspice of Mother Mary at the Grotto,” Caponigro said. Caponigro said the fasting portion of Saturday’s events, beginning with a morning prayer at the steps of the Main Building at 10 a.m., was a highlight for participants. “Fasting acts as a first step and leads us to solidarity, as it helps us to empathize with the 120,000 refugees in Jordan uprooted by the conflict and the millions of internally displaced persons in Syria without adequate nourishment,” he said. The Eucharistic adoration, in which participants recognized Christ’s own suffering in a display of empathy, emphasized solidarity between the participants and those in Syria. “The central message is building relationships and peace through encountering each other in this way,” Caponigro said. The fasting period followed morning prayer and lasted until 4:30 p.m., at which point participants from across the campus gathered at the Grotto to offer prayers for peace. Senior Christopher Torres, secretary for the Militia of the Immaculata, said that prayer is about more than recitation. “God gives us unique opportunities in which He offers us graces, a moment when we can ally ourselves with the suffering people in the world, and I felt that I could help participate in that saving action through prayer,” he said. As part of the Pope’s call to peace, Torres said prayer can be used to facilitate action for peace in Syria. “Hopefully, the hearts of the government officials are inspired to move toward dialogue rather than violence,” he said. “We must value the people and their lives. I hope for the consolidation of those who are struggling and facing death, and I pray that God consoles and protects them.” Caponigro said institutions on the Notre Dame campus are already participating in this call to peaceful diplomatic resolutions. “The Kroc Institute is researching the possibilities for peace in Syria,” he said. “The situation in Syria is still incredibly convoluted. That is why it is especially important to turn of prayer because the politics are so complicated – that way we can keep in mind the face of the Syrian people, and pray that any diplomatic move operates within that perspective.”last_img read more

Humor Artists maintain success

first_imgThe Notre Dame Humor Artists see funny business as no laughing matter. Senior co-presidents Alec Vanthournout and Stephen Elser are gearing up for an upcoming show at Legends on Oct. 3 and one in Washington Hall on Oct. 11, and Elser said their experience alleviates their stage fright. “Our flexibility of improv helps,” Elser said. “We can do so many shows because it’s a lot of fun for us and it seems like the audience enjoys it.” Elser said he and Vanthournout are working on recruiting more members for the 30-person group. “There is a six-week training program. Each week, Meghan Brown, rectress of Lyons [Hall], runs a focus program on some particular aspect of humor,” Elser said. “[The students auditioning] then will present a show and people are invited back.” Vanthournout said the group doesn’t have much time to prepare for most of its shows. “Legends shows are known in advance, but we do a lot of shows on short notice,” he said. Vanthournout said the group performs four times per semester at Legends, which are the biggest in terms of campus audience.  They also do shows in dorms, before football games, in the library, in front of the Fisher Roof Sit and with Hannah and Friends, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for children and adults with special needs, he said. For two years now, Vanthournout said, 480 seats out of 500 in Washington Hall were filled for their shows there. “We like to check out the venue, attendance and how many games we can play, and then see how many people can be in the games based on the chemistry in the group,” Elser said. At one of the group’s Washington Hall shows, Elser said the Humor Artists performed with the a cappella group Halftime. “The crowd has an immense energy.  Being there and having a show that goes as well as it does is exciting,” he said. “We wrote a script and learned lines. Having everything come together and the audience loving it feels really rewarding.” Elser said his responsibilities as co-president include meetings with the Student Activities Office and other officers, on top of eight hours of straight improv per week, but the role isn’t necessarily work for him.   “It’s a great time to relax and just laugh,” he said. Vanthournout said he enjoys the group’s practices. “I never think, ‘Oh dang! I have to go to improv practice,’” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to it every week.” The Humor Artists earned the distinction Club of the Year last year because of its hard work, but Elser said the group only received a certificate for the honor. “We didn’t even get the concession stand [Humor Artists] was promised,” Vanthournout said. Elser said the group is still proud of the award. “We remind our audiences of it constantly,” he said. Vanthournout said the group is branching out beyond live improv by making digital shorts on YouTube under the account “HumorArtistsofND.”  Elser said the group also manages a Facebook page and a Twitter account under the handle @HA_ND. Even though students can watch Humor Artists’ skits online, Elser said he still recommends they attend the group’s shows. “If you like laughter, and general merriment, come to Humor Artists’ shows, because that’s what we provide,” he said. “I’ve never talked to anyone who said that they hated the show,” he said. “How could they?  We’re the Club of the Year.”last_img read more

SMC symposium to address incarcerated women

first_imgNext Tuesday Saint Mary’s College will shed light on an often-unheard community within South Bend: incarcerated women. The College is hosting a Symposium on Female Incarceration on Tuesday, December 3 that will highlight the work of men and women who serve the incarcerated. The symposium will take place in Vander Vannet Theater in the College Student Center, Dr. Adrienne Lyles Chockley, visiting assistant professor of justice education said. “Many of the people who are going to be presenting are individuals who came to serve ex-offenders through a very long and kind of winding life journey which I include myself in,” Chockley said. “I have an organization called social justice services that provides re-entry services for ex-offenders, and so many of the people have this very interesting life story that brought us to serve this population.” She said she hopes the all-day, non-stop event will open the floor for dialogue and discussion about the challenges faced by female ex-offenders, what it means to be a woman incarcerated, and the challenges women and their families face as they exit incarceration. “One of our most vulnerable populations in the South Bend community [is] our female ex-offenders, and so we are gathering ex-offenders, advocates, professionals [and] members of the faith community to take a look at what the challenges are and have a discussion about how we can collaboratively address those challenges,” she said. The symposium will feature 15 speakers tied to the South Bend incarcerated community and Chockley will deliver the opening and closing remarks.   “I’m excited about every single person [speaking],” Chockley said. Father David T. Link, former dean of Notre Dame Law School and newly published author, will be the keynote speaker. His new book, “Camerado, I Give You My Hand: How a Powerful Lawyer-Turned-Priest Is Changing the Lives of Men Behind Bars,” is about the value of human life and the transformative power of friendship and compassion, according to his website. Chockley said his life mission is to walk with the incarcerated, especially with those facing the death penalty or on death row, and people who are imprisoned for life. Pat Hosea, a female ex-offender who will speak to a variety of the challenges faced by incarcerated women including sexual violence, addiction and issues with children and child custody, is delivering the second keynote speech. Chockley said she transformed her life after being released from prison; she is now a small business owner and a personal friend to her. “She really speaks to both what the challenges are and real concrete ways to transcend those challenges,” Chockley said. Though incarceration is a relatively well-discussed issue in society, the unique challenges it poses to women are often overlooked, Chockley said.  Many institutions will address incarceration but from a male’s perspective and ignore female-intersected challenges involved including sexual violence, addiction, child-care, and economic concerns, she said.   Now an ex-offender going on 11 years, Hosea said she can attest and identify with theses hardships, but she has used them to shape herself into an advocate for those struggling as she did. “My story never ends because I’ve been a survivor of a lot of things,” Hosea said. With regards to her incarceration experience, she said she recalls the “horridness” of being separated from her children and how that worry weighed upon her during her imprisonment. “It was horrible.  There’s no explanation other than it’s horrible, especially if you have children.” Hosea said.  “[Fortunately] all four of my boys are doing very well. “It was hell.  Never, ever do I ever want to do it again, because if I get off try off track for one second, the enemy will try to take me out.  I’m doing well through the grace of God.” Father James Bracke, C.S.C., staff chaplain of Campus Ministry, said his experience on the other side of prison bars within prison ministry last year led him to see what he could do to help stem the flow of folks falling back into the cycle of incarceration. “I am a beginner student in this maze of re-entry, but I feel called to do something to serve these my sisters and brothers, having paid the price for their mistakes, to have a second chance,” Bracke said.  “It is what Jesus came to give all of us after our fall from grace, and faith says that redemption is real for every one of us.  700 of my brothers and sisters in Christ come back into St. Joseph County each year, and after being warehoused for years are told basically good luck from the system as they go back.   “Many said, ‘Father, I never intended to come back here but I could not find a job to support me or my family.  I had too many stressors and I went back to the street.’  The costs for food, housing, shelter, no transportation and the costs of paying for probation are there with little assistance on job creation.  People are reluctant to hire ex-offenders and the economy is still not back yet for the poor in our country.” Bracke has been in the priesthood for over 33 years, Bracke has visited parishioners in Illinois, Colorado and Indiana.  He said his longtime friend and fellow priest, Father Tom McNally, C.S.C, who is also speaking on the subject of spiritual response to the crisis of incarceration, inspired Bracke to serve those in prison Bracke aims ty embrace the symposium’s importance in drawing attention to voices unheard in the incarcerated community. “Female incarceration is somewhat underreported as to how it has an effect on community and family life,” Bracke said. “My reason for speaking at this symposium is to advocate for folks who have few if any voices to encourage and support them.  Jesus came for the folks on the margins and for those cut off from the rest of society and I feel I want to speak on behalf of them.  It’s all about service and the Lord.   “I feel called to walk the talk, and I hope that students will come to listen and grow in of this critical issue that is not addressed or on the priority list for politicians.  Come with open hearts to hear and see with new eyes.”   Contact Emilie Kefalas at [email protected]last_img read more

Ackermann delivers ‘Last Lecture’

first_imgFor students, making service work a high priority can be difficult if cultivating a promising career takes precendence, but professor of finance Carl Ackermann thinks it doesn’t have to be.Ackermann delivered the first talk of this year’s student government-sponsored Last Lecture series Tuesday night in the Coleman-Morse Center lounge. He spoke on his personal growth and service, reflected on his career and encouraged students to put themselves in uncomfortable situations.“The single experience where I learned the most in my life was refereeing soccer games in an ethnically-focused league in Boston,” he said. “In that league, I had to … communicate with the players who often didn’t speak English, often in very heated situations.“So I’ve actually been sworn at in dozens of languages. If you place yourself in unfamiliar situations, … you will mature much faster as a person.“ Amy Ackermann | The Observer Professor of finance Carl Ackermann talks with students following his speech on Tuesday evening in the Last Lecture series.Ackermann said doing service work and appreciating the little things in life go hand-in-hand. He challenged students to maintain their commitments to serving others.“One of the things that I admire most about Notre Dame students is the extraordinary amount of service that all of [them] do … two hours, here and there, fitting it in when possible,” he said. “No matter how tired you are, do the make the extra effort to make at least one person smile every day. You will bring so much joy to others and happiness that will return to you.”Ackermann also encouraged students to learn about nutrition and personal finance, as serving others begins with being able to care for oneself.“By gaining command of your personal finances, you’ll actually be able to use your financial resources to service projects as well,” he said.Ackermann walked into the lecture wearing a horse-head hat. He later explained the decision as a way to engage the audience.“I always try to do something to lighten the mood at the beginning of a talk, so that people will feel like it’s going to be more fun and be more enthusiastic about it,” he said.Ackermann told The Observer he put a lot of thought into crafting his lecture and making it appeal specifically to Notre Dame students.“I think you’ve got three pieces — you talk about how wonderful Notre Dame students are and what you can learn from people individually,” he said. “Then I think they want to hear some suggestions about the future, mostly [about] career[s]. … And then, for me, I think that the defining part of my life, and for so many of the students here, is service, and you have to address that.”Ackermann emphasized the role of service among students as valuable to both their short-term and long-term life goals.“Trying to figure out how you can make the most of that element, I think right now, it takes the form of direct service, but as you acquire professional skills and acumen, you can do a lot more by embracing a leadership or policy role,” he said. “I think [students’] personal desire to do service, as strong as it is now, will only grow as they get older and have more resources and freedom.”The Last Lecture series invites professors to deliver the talk they would give if it were the last in their career, not their actual last lecture. Still, Ackermann, a 2001, 2002 and 2009 Last Lecture veteran, said he plays it cautiously.“When I used to schedule a Last Lecture, I would make sure I had class the next day to make sure it wasn’t the last one.”Tags: Ackermann, finance, Last Lecture, service, Student governmentlast_img read more

‘Life without preconceived expectations’

first_imgCaitlyn Jordan Eva Feder Kittay, distinguished professor of philosophy at Stony Brook University in New York, addressed the Saint Mary’s community in the Student Center’s Rice Commons Wednesday evening with a lecture titled, “Normalcy and a Good Life: Problems, Prospects, and Possibilities in the Life of People with Severe Cognitive Disabilities.” The presentation was part of the College’s annual McMahon Aquinas lecture and speaker series, which values the qualities of sincere questioning and truth wherever it can be found, assistant professor of philosophy Michael Waddell said.Waddell is also the endowed Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in philosophy, which selects the annual lecturer related to the thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas.Kittay is the first lecturer in the series who is an alumnae of a woman’s college, Sarah Lawrence College, Waddell said.“I do think there is an enormous value in a women’s college,” Kittay said. “By the end of a couple years, we are able to think without all the craziness that goes on in co-ed situations.”Her work has encompassed the ideas of feminist philosophy and history, and she has authored numerous books in her field, Waddell said. Her contributions have earned her nationwide recognition as a distinguished philosopher and professor.Kittay’s lecture stemmed from her most recent work study in the area of disability, normalcy and the idea of the good life.“An op-ed in the ‘Washington Post’ wrote, ‘having a child with a severe disability makes every parent a philosopher,’” Kittay said. “What if you are already a philosopher and are raising a child with multiple and severe disabilities, including severe cognitive disabilities? You become a humbler philosopher.”Kittay referred to her lecture as a story and an argument from the perspective of a parent who has experienced first-hand, life as a parent raising a disabled child.Many who watch from the sidelines see a disabled child, and they see a family condemned to struggle, Kittay said.  Her goal was to convey how these families and these children can experience a good life without the element of supposed “normalcy.”“Severely cognitively disabled individuals process their world and experiences atypically,” Kittay said. “[They] experience a range of human possibilities only partially available to or not salient for others. [They] have a greater degree of dependence on the care of others.”Kittay posed the question to her audience as to if these people with disabilities could live a good life. She quoted Aristotle in saying, “The activity of the divinity which surpasses all others in bliss must be a contemplative activity … happiness is coextensive with study.”“The philosophers, of course, have much to say about the good life,” Kittay said. “A more contemporary view is held by Martha Nussbaum. What’s normal for ‘a truly human life’ include play, closeness to the animal world, must include the ability to be autonomous and to act rationally and reasonably. These are presumed to be at the core of conception of moral personhood.”Kittay quoted Socrates’s famous statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” before addressing how she applied this philosophy during the birth of her daughter.“By the time I had given birth to my daughter, and yet once I became her parent, there was no question in my mind that her life was worth living,” Kittay said. “I would love her as the child of mine she is. This was foundational, the love of reason. The capacity to act rationally [was] not at the center of a life of meaning and value.“How can one argue that moral worth [is] predicated on the ability to reason,” she said. “One can argue life itself is of estimable value.”In speaking about her daughter, Kittay emphasized she did not want her daughter to merely live but to have a life worth living.“This conception of a good life may mean they do not have a life worth living,” Kittay said. “We need not engage in disputes if the aim is to see a good life, nor do I want to speak of a minimally acceptable life. A good life should be much more than minimally acceptable.”Severe cognitive behavioral problems can often cause high levels of pain, which may make life harder to endure. In the case of autistic children, this may make ordinary sensory experiences intolerable, such as physical affection, Kittay said.“As I read and hear from parents with children with severe cognitive disabilities, it’s like being part of a special club,” Kittay said. “Even in the midst of pain, there’s a terror we will lose this child. Many of us has come to appreciate a life without preconceived expectations.”Love, joy and the gift of just being able to ‘be’ encompass the idea of the good life for these children and families, Kittay said.“It’s not easy being not normal,” Kittay said. “Normal is such a benign word. The term is deceptively descriptive. When used against an individual, it can feel like a blunder.“Why does the news that your child is not normal send such a shock,” Kittay said. “The worst fear is that the impairment will affect the child’s thinking. We want health for our children. How will this child grow into an adult who will be valued, not merely as a pitiful charity case?”Kittay said she experienced a great amount of anxiety for her daughter in that she knew she would not live a normal life and always be very vulnerable to the world around her. Though her daughter, Sesha, is now grown, some concerns remain strong for her wellbeing and safety, Kittay said.“She will not be able to have an intellectual life,” Kittay said. “[There’s] her extreme vulnerability to harming herself [and] her vulnerability as someone’s victim.”Kittay also has concerns about what important and “normal” desires of her daughter’s will remain unfulfilled, including romantic love and the desire for young children.“Does this mean that a good life is impossible in the absence of the normal,” Kittay said. “In our own development as parents, the two concepts seemed inseparable in the early years, prying apart ‘a good life’ from the ‘normal life.’”According to Kittay, acceptance in our society is directly linked to self-worth, and therefore affects the desire for normalcy.“We require the affirmation of community that what we are is valuable. We are in danger when we are held in contempt,” she said. “Yet, as much as each of us desires normalcy, we cheerily say, ‘we are not normal,’ and take a certain pride. Claiming normalcy is admitting to a lack of distinctiveness, a banality. We desire to be recognized as individuals.”There are two senses of normal which include an objective judgement of reality and a subjective judgement of value, Kittay said.“It remains puzzling why we should ever desire what is most common,” Kittay said. “So, why should we desire what is a judgement of reality? What deviates from the norm, maybe either a variation or an anomaly, but they need not be pathologies. It’s far more puzzling why anomalies are considered as desirable.”Tags: aquinas lecture, edna and george mcmahon aquinas chair in philosophy, eva feder kittay, kittay, mcmahon aquinas lecture, michael waddell, normalcy, normalcy and a good life, st. thomas acquinas lecture, stony brook universitylast_img read more

Speaker explores Catholic stance on climate change

first_imgCarolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), spoke of the need for responsibility and action in regards to climate change during her keynote address at the Notre Dame Climate Investing Conference on Wednesday. The conference, which began on Tuesday, focused on carbon energy reduction and opportunities for investing in environmentally-friendly technology.Woo’s lecture was largely concentrated on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical and how businesses have to react in order to align with the Vatican’s stance on climate change. She said people should feel the need to view and care for the Earth as “our common home.”“We are expected to praise God with our own life. To return thanks and return blessings. To acknowledge what we have received from this garden,” Woo said.Woo said the goal of her work at CRS, a non-profit organization, has been to provide for the poor and suffering throughout the world. As a result, Woo said she has seen the effect climate change has on the poor.Woo pointed in particular to the effects of one poor rainfall season in Ethiopia, which threatened the nation’s food supply. An estimated 40 million people will face food insecurity because of this drought, she said.The poor of the world, those who are most dependent on living off the land, will be most affected by climate change, Woo said. For this reason, she said she believes the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor to be “the same phenomenon.”Woo also discussed the role of business in the struggle against climate change. She contested the idea that the pope is against business, instead arguing that he is opposed only to the abuses and exploitation by businesses.“The pope is against idolatry, which is putting profits ahead of people,” Woo said.Woo said she has seen first-hand the effect of this idolatry during her time at CRS, recalling a trip to an Ethiopian flower farm that serviced big box stores in places like the United States.On this farm, the terrible working conditions and the lack of regulations on the air concentration caused workers to develop cancer at an extremely high rate, according to Woo. These types of “unethical predatory practices” by businesses sacrifice the health of the workers for the sake of profits, she said.However, Woo said business and greater environmental consciousness are not mutually exclusive. Business can still be “a noble vocation” if companies can make a conscious effort to create positive environmental change, she said.Woo pointed out the falsity of the common belief that energy use and economic growth are correlated by considering Germany’s recent economic growth without a similar increase in energy consumption. Woo said she believes this will provide an example to businesses, proving that companies can be both climate smart and business smart.Woo said the fight for climate change activists will not always be easy and help may not come from the government or other expected sources.“We don’t have permission to give up,” she said. “We just have to try different ways.”Woo closed by asking people to stop writing off climate change as a problem they can do nothing about.“There is a problem, and it is my problem,” Woo said. “And yes, there is something I can do about it.”Tags: Carolyn Woo, catholic relief services, Climate change, climate investing conference, CRSlast_img read more

PEMCo, FTT perform ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

first_imgIn conjunction with Notre Dame’s Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo), the department of film, television and theatre is staging a production of “Little Shop of Horrors” this week. The show will be performed Nov. 18 through Nov. 22 in the Patricia George Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC).A dark comedy based on the 1960 film of the same name, the musical “The Little Shop of Horrors” has had several Broadway and off-Broadway runs. Courtesy of department of Film, Television and Theatre Juniors Maggie Moran (left) and Quint Mediate prepare for their upcoming performance of “The Little Shop of Horrors.”“I think the show is wildly campy, but it also has a lot of heart,” junior Quint Mediate said. “I think it’s a ‘be careful what you wish for’ story, and it explores the lengths that people will go through for the people that they love.”Mediate plays the lead role of Seymour Krelborn, whom he describes as a “geeky flower shop attendant” who develops a “crossbreed, man-eating plant called the Audrey II,” after his secret crush Audrey, who is portrayed by junior Maggie Moran.“Audrey is such a wonderful character to play, because she is sweet and lovable and purely herself,” Moran said. “Her story is a heartbreaking because she has lived a tough life and feels that she doesn’t deserve love and happiness. But throughout the show, she is pushed on a journey of discovery of self-worth.“What I enjoy most about Audrey is her selflessness and belief in goodness in the world despite her hardship,” she said. “We have a lot to learn from her and the way she fearlessly opens her heart to the world.”Mediate said production began with a particularly enjoyable audition process.“[It] was really fun,” Mediate said. “Maggie and I were called back for Audrey and Seymour, and during the callback number we unexpectedly decided to kiss at the end of the song. The director really liked it, and here we are.”That audition process, according to Mediate, was followed up by a rehearsal and production period that required a lot of effort and dedication from all involved.“The rehearsal process has been pretty grueling,” Mediate said. “The cast is pretty small — only about ten people — so the show relies heavily on a small number of people. It is actually one of the most tiring shows I have been a part of. But it is incredibly rewarding.”Both Mediate and Moran said “Little Shop of Horrors” will be a particularly memorable production and encouraged students to attend.“The show is unique because of the technical elements,” Mediate said, “A guest director by the name of R.J. Haddy was brought in to design all of the plants at the various stages of their growth. R.J. is an incredible special effects designer; he was actually a finalist on season two of [television channel] Syfy’s reality show ‘Face Off.’ These technical elements make the show worthwhile to come see on stage. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”Moran said the comedic elements of the show complement its deeper message.“This show is unique because it is full of absurdity and yet very real,” she said. “The characters and plot are laughably extreme and very entertaining, but at the same time, the themes underneath are so true and relevant to real life. I think that this is the greatest achievement of this show. I hope that our audiences see this and love it as much as we do.”Tickets for the show are $9 for students and can be purchased from performingarts.nd.eduTags: DPAC, FTT, Little Shop of Horrors, PEMColast_img read more

Mental illness awareness week begins at SMC

first_imgSupport a Belle, Love a Belle (SABLAB) kicks off Monday at Saint Mary’s, beginning a week of events dedicated to educating students about and offering support for mental illnesses.The Student Government Association Committee of Social Concerns chair Emma Lewis said this week centered around the idea of students helping their fellow classmates face the challenges that come with being diagnosed with a mental illness.“It’s about overcoming the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness,” Lewis said.SABLAB week will open up with a student-led panel of “Brave Belles.” Students participating in the panel will speak about their experiences with mental illness.On Wednesday, the Committee of Social Concerns will host “Positivi-tea,” where students can enjoy tea, cookies and snacks with their peers.Friday is “Playtime with Puppies,” with therapy dogs from The Humane Society coming to Library Green. There will also be a stress relief gift basket raffle at 5 p.m. in the SMC Student Center atrium. Students who attended all events will receive tickets in order to be entered to win, and all proceeds from the raffle will go to the To Write Love On Her Arms Foundation.Saturday is World Suicide Prevention Day and the Le Mans bell tower on campus will be lit up green in support of suicide prevention efforts.The week will conclude Sunday evening with “Sundaes on Sunday.” Students are invited to grab an ice cream sundae from 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m in Vander Vennet Theater.Dakota Hartz, a member of the Committee of Social Concerns, said she is excited for the week’s events as it is important to raise awareness about mental illness, especially with its prevalence among college students.“When you are suffering from a mental illness, talking to someone who understand you is so important,” Hartz said. “This week is about getting support from those who understand, rather than being simply told that it’s okay.”Lewis said she is confident that this week will help the Saint Mary’s community grow stronger together.“We hope that during this week, we’ll be able to increase awareness about how these illnesses impact our community and how everyone can be a part of breaking down the stigmas and stereotypes that make living with these illnesses so much more difficult,” Lewis said.Lewis said she is happy that these events provide opportunities for students to ask questions and generate conversations about the mental illnesses that are affecting their fellow classmates.“I genuinely hope that this week can, even in some small way, positively impact the lives of students,” Lewis said.Tags: Committee of Social Concerns, SABLAB, saint mary’s, support a belle love a bellelast_img read more