Month: January 2021

Walorski touts Hoosier roots, fiscal responsibility

first_imgAs Republican Congressional hopeful Jackie Walorski eyes Indiana’s Second District’s seat in the House of Representatives, she said she hopes to bring bipartisanship to a legislature too strongly divided across aisles. “Congress has a record low approval rating due to partisan gridlock and runaway spending that has resulted in an unproductive Congress,” Walorski said. “If I am elected, I will bring Hoosier common sense to Washington.” With the election depending on the votes of Americans without party affiliations, Walorski said in an email interview this week that her team has made a strong effort to appeal to voters who do not self-identify as Republican. “We have built an incredible grassroots team in the Second District, supported by a wide spectrum of Hoosier voters,” she said. “On the campaign trail, we continually hear from voters about their concerns with the direction our country is going. This election is not about political parties, it’s about sending an independent voice to Washington to work on bipartisan solutions to get us back on track.” Walorski said she considers the deficit and other economic issues to be of the utmost importance in this year’s election. “I will work to reduce our $16 trillion [national] debt by supporting a balanced budget amendment and reducing government spending,” she said. “The federal government must learn to live within its means, just like common sense Hoosiers.” Walorski said she will bring the same fiscal policies that helped Indiana restore its financial health while she served as a state representative from 2004 to 2011. “We did this in Indiana by working together to balance the budget, reduce wasteful spending and passing pro-business legislation,” she said. “Indiana successfully restored our AAA-bond rating, turned a deficit into a surplus and is now considered one of the best Midwest states to start a business. “I believe we can use this model in Congress to pass meaningful legislation to get our country back on track,” she said. For students at Notre Dame and across the country, Walorski said job growth and employment are the most important issues. “Many college graduates have difficulty finding a job when they graduate due to our sluggish economy,” she said. “With more jobs, college students are able to quickly enter the workforce and begin building their professional careers. It also makes it easier for students to start paying off their loans.” Indiana college students, she said, have been integral to her campaign. “I’m grateful that our campaign has received support from many local schools and universities, including Notre Dame,” she said. “Many students have volunteered to intern, make phone calls, go door-to-door and attend events for our campaign.” Engaging local politics is an important part of being an informed young voter, she said. “I think it is important for young people to engage themselves with the real issues facing our country,” she said. “All voters should learn about the platform of their local candidates and understand how their representation may affect their futures on all issues.”last_img read more

Reporter addresses climate change

first_imgJustin Gillis, an environmental reporter for The New York Times, said at a lecture in Hesburgh Library on Wednesday that he wants to awaken people to the urgency of the climate change.Gillis, one of only six American reporters covering the climate crisis full-time defined climate change as “a big, slow-moving, long-term problem.”“Scientists do not know with any great certainty what will happen if we continue on with business as usual,” Gillis said. “Scientists can tell us one thing with absolute certainty: That we are running a huge risk.”He said rising temperatures in the Arctic Circle pose a huge risk for the future, but people fail to see the urgency of the problem, and fossil fuel emissions continue to rise at an accelerating pace.“The government is not addressing the problem because they are not being pressured by the people,” Gillis said.The potential consequences of the climate crisis range from bad to worse, Gillis said. At the lower end of the spectrum, people might have to flee rising seas, he said. On the upper end, a high portion of the Earth’s wildlife might go extinct and humans might reach a point at which they can no longer grow enough food to feed themselves. According to Gillis, despite a national understanding that climate change is a pressing crisis, there is a lack of motivation to act. In addition, the climate story is not changing much, slowing the issue’s journalistic coverage, he said.“The average reporter has real trouble understanding the science and getting the basics right,” Gillis said. He said people will inevitably understand the immediacy of climate change’s consequences, but it is important to recognize this sooner than later. “I fear it will not be brilliant journalism that finally awakens people, but a sense of danger,” he said.Gillis said the best way to combat this problem is through education, and he called on college students to help.“American universities have been the world’s leader in helping change this problem,” Gillis said. “You discovered it, and now you must help find a way out of it.”The Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) is dedicated to the cause of climate change, providing money for faculty to spearhead research programs to solve complex environmental problems, according to their website. The ECI funds research grants for undergraduates interested in climate change, and it is also connected to minors in sustainability, energy studies and science, technology and values, according to their website. Gillis said it is up to the young people of today to take up the baton of climate change because the older generation has failed. “To the young people in the audience: This is not a hopeless situation,” Gillis said. “As small as you may feel and as big as this problem may seem, you can make a difference.“I find among young people a kind of clarity on the situation that is lacking in their elders.”Gillis wrote a series on climate change for The New York Times called “The Temperatures Rising,” that is now available as an e-book. He said he is beginning a new series that analyzes whether or not mankind can undo the damage on the climate and how.“It will critically vet six or eight of the major proposed sanctions on global warming,” he said.In the meantime, Gillis said climate justice, a problem rooted in the fact that those people most directly affected by climate change are not the same people damaging the environment, intrigues him and his editors.Gillis said the world’s poorest people, living in coastal places like the Philippines, are in line to be devastated by climate change, but the highest emissions come from urbanized cities.Gillis said his biggest fear is people will not start learning about climate change and understanding the risks until it is too late. “Collective action always begins with individual people,” he said.Tags: Climate changelast_img read more

Saint Mary’s professor earns service recognition

first_imgSaint Mary’s College announced that the Indiana Campus Compact awarded assistant professor of communication studies Terri Russ the 2014 Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for Scholarship of Engagement.Russ, one of four recipients of the award, encourages experiential learning by creating opportunities for students in her Public Communications class to interact with adults and children of the South Bend Center for the Homeless.She said the classroom is important for learning things like theory, but going outside the classroom is also very beneficial.“We need to find ways to expand theory and put it into practice, so by breaking down the classroom walls and taking the classroom out to the public, we get to do that, and I believe it has more real world value,” Russ said.Senior Allison Priede, a member of the public communications course, said Russ has made an impact both in the community and within the classroom.“This class has made a huge impact on the community by uniting two different groups that benefit from one another,” Priede said. “The students benefit by using our knowledge of communication outside the classroom and learning from a diverse group of people.“It makes us reach outside our comfort zone and challenge ourselves.”Senior Fernanda Amado is president of the organization Lend an Ear, an outgrowth of the public communications class that takes students to the Center for the Homeless. Amado said the course opens students’ eyes to the greater community.“Those who are homeless are people who have fallen on some hard times,” Amado said. “The answer isn’t to shun them, but to lend a helping hand.“I believe that Terri’s course succeeds in disproving the negative stereotype of the homeless and helps break down the ‘walls’ of preconceived notions.”Priede said Russ has inspired and helped her become the best person she can be.“One thing Professor Russ taught me was something not everyone finds in a classroom,” she said. “She taught me how to push myself and never let myself get left behind.“Professor Russ showed me that the most important things I’ll learn in college don’t always come from a textbook.”Michael Kramer, associate professor of communication studies, said Russ is an inspiration to her students and other faculty.“Anyone who can point to something out in the world and say that I’ve had an impact on that, or I’ve helped people by using communication theory and ideas, should inspire all of us who are in the field of communications,” he said.Since Russ’s arrival, Kramer said she has worked hard to try and engage with the community, and that is what the award is about, “engaging with the community and bringing ideas to help people in real situations.”Tags: award, saint mary’s, service, SMClast_img read more

University to host fifth annual GIS Day

first_imgWednesday, Notre Dame will host its fifth annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day, exploring the ways research at the University can benefit from the technology and resources organized by the Geospatial Analysis Laboratory (GAL).Emily Danaher | The Observer GIS is fundamentally a computer system designed to store and analyze spatial data, which allows users an increased degree of interaction with a variety of maps. The Center for Research Computing (CRC) and Environmental Change Initiative (ECI) collaborated to bring this analytical tool to Notre Dame researchers, according to the GAL website.Matthew Sisk, a postdoctoral fellow in the University’s Center for Digital Scholarship, works closely with the GIS system on a daily basis, helping students and faculty to better understand the technology.“Basically, it is computer mapping software that lets you incorporate location into existing data,” Sisk said. “Think Google Maps with a whole lot more.”With this sort of technology, eventually researchers hope to create maps that are interactive and demonstrate a change in data such as population or weather patterns over the course of time, all on one interface.“This is one of the best platforms where a GIS user can learn from another user through knowledge exchange, workshops and training,” Sisk said.As a co-organizer for the event, Sisk said he is excited about the lightning talks featured throughout the day, which will showcase the wide variety of ways researchers on campus use GIS. The day will also feature several different events, ranging from a series of workshops to quick talks about campus research and demonstrations of tools like 3-D printing and high resolution topographic data.Milan Budhathoki, another organizer and GIS specialist, currently leads a lab in Innovation Park where GIS resources are often utilized.“This day is one of the best platformd where a GIS user can learn from another user through knowledge exchange, workshop, training, etc.,” Budhathoki said. “This is a big day for professionals who are in GIS industry, and for me.”Attracting students from all disciplines, including biology, political science, peace studies and architecture majors, GIS day offers an extremely unique opportunity to learn about a relatively new technology, Budhathoki said.“I have seen that there are good numbers of ND faculty, researchers and students using GIS technology in their research and teaching to make a difference in the world,” Budhathoki said. “Application of GIS in research here on campus ranges in wide disciplines including social sciences, biological sciences, engineering, public health, etc. So this event will facilitate to bring users from diverse intelligence to a common room to share their GIS work.”Taking place all day in the Center for Digital Scholarship, GIS day provides a unique chance to interact with cutting-edge technology, Sisk said.“This is a great opportunity to learn about the types of research that this powerful tool can help with, to see how others are using it on campus and to tour the Center for Digital Scholarship and find out about the tools, technology and people that can help with research here at Notre Dame,” he said.Tags: 3-D printing, Center for Digital Scholarship, Center for Research Computing, GIS Day, Innovation Parklast_img read more

SMC, ND to host “Take Back the Night”

first_imgThe Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) at Saint Mary’s and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) at Notre Dame will hold the annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) event tonight as part of an international movement to raise awareness of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking and to provide a space for survivors’ voices. Director of BAVO Connie Adams said the event will kickoff at Lake Marian at 5:30 pm and participants will then walk to Notre Dame. There will be a prayer vigil at the Grotto, followed by a march around Notre Dame’s campus. Emily Danaher | The Observer Adams said the night will end with a speak out, which is “an opportunity for anyone impacted by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking to share their story.”“Take Back the Night is a unique event as it promotes healing, activism and awareness within one evening,” Adams said. “For individuals who have been impacted, it provides a space to see that a community visibly supports them. For individuals who don’t believe they know survivors, it provides a space to recognize the impact of these issues on our community. For those who are seeking an opportunity to speak out and demonstrate their beliefs, it provides a space for activism within our campus community.” Junior Ashley Watkins, a member of the BAVO student advisory committee, said it is important for students to partake in TBTN because it fosters a relationship of support between the different campus communities.“It is a chance for students from all three campuses to come together and express support for one another as well as raise awareness about issues regarding sexual violence,” Watkins said. “Take Back the Night is an event where students have the ability to demand change from the institutions.”Adams said the event is a collaborative event with Notre Dame, involving students and staff from both campuses in the planning process and the event itself.“The issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking impact our campus communities,” Adams said. “While there is certainly a place for education and engagement on our respective campuses, it is also important to have opportunities to unite in our Holy Cross missions.”“Although Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame are separate, there is a lot of crossover between the institutions,” Watkins said. “When talking about sexual violence within these two campuses, it is hard not to talk about the student body’s relationships with each other.”TBTN is not unique to the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame communities. It is an international movement, though it is tailored to fit the needs of individual campuses, according to Adams. “The work we do to prevent, reduce and address violence on our campuses is part of a larger, international movement,” Adams said. “The problem, as a well as the solution, is broader than our local community. What we do here matters. It has an impact, but we must recognize the work being done in other areas throughout the world, as well as, in decades past. “After all, a movement is nothing more, nothing less, than collective action. We are part of a movement.” Tags: BAVO, GRC, Take Back the Nightlast_img read more

Speaker explains new papal financial structures

first_imgWhile many are aware of Pope Francis’ devotion to solving global problems, especially in regards to poverty, Joseph Zahra highlighted the pope’s sometimes overlooked commitment to amending the administrative and financial structure of the Vatican.Zahra, the vice coordinator of the Council for the Economy for the Holy See, gave his lecture, titled “Inside the Financial and Administrative Changes in the Vatican: What Pope Francis is Doing and Why,” at the Eck Visitors Center Auditorium on Wednesday. The talk was sponsored by Mendoza College of Business and was open to the public. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington D.C. and CAPP-USA National Ecclesiastical Counselor, introduced Zahra to kick off the event. Chris Collins | The Observer Joseph Zahra, the Vice Coordinator of the Council for the Economy for the Holy See, lectures on financial environment at the Vatican.Zahra began his lecture by clarifying the economic positions of Pope Francis. He said while many assume the pope promotes certain economic systems, the public’s speculations are not always true.“Pope Francis’ words are either misinterpreted or else misunderstood by many, particularly in the business community,” Zahra said.Zahra said the 1991 encyclical of Pope John Paul II, “Centesimus Annus,” emphasized the benefits of a free enterprise economy.“The business economy has many positive aspects. It is based on human freedom, human freedom that is exercised in the economic field,” Zahra said. “Free culture, free markets and free policies create a free society.”According to Zahra, the problem with the economy is the corrupt nature of mankind.“The problem really is people and culture rather than the economic system,” he said. “The monstrosity of social decay, poverty and marginalization is the result of the human abuse of the market economy.“Pope Francis says that this time of crisis is a human crisis. It is the human person that is in crisis. Man himself is in danger of being destroyed,” Zahra said.According to Zahra, solutions can be found in reformed behavior.“Us, as Catholics, are holistic beings. Our values should be reflected in our attitudes and our behaviors, wherever we are,” he said. “Our duty is to continue to insist that the human person and human dignity are not simply catch words but pillars of creating shared values and structures.”Zahra said the significance of Pope Francis’ reform in the Vatican is deeper than the structures put in place.“It is the spirit with which these structures come to life. These shared values, this attitude, is an essential element in making this change,” he said.Zahra then proceeded to explain the specifics behind the new structures instilled in the Vatican. He said the three new structures are all based on “two underlying principles”: universality and technical expertise.Universality, Zahra said, is important because it “reflects the global reach of the church.”“There are cardinals from Hong Kong to South Africa involved,” he said.Additionally, Zahra said the Vatican is so vastly complex that technical expertise is absolutely vital.“We need to introduce experts into these structures,” he said.The structures that contain these underlying principles are separate but unified in working towards the same goal — higher levels of efficiency.The Council of the Economy, which consists of 15 members — eight cardinals and bishops and seven lay experts — “has oversight over all the administrative financial structures and activities of the various industries of the Holy See, as well as the Vatican City,” Zahra said.“It is not simply a talking shop, but rather a decision making and policy making entity,” he said.The second structure created by Pope Francis is the Secretariat for the Economy, a finance and accounting department responsible for the implementation of policies set by the Council of the Economy, Zahra said.“It is like the executive arm to the Council of the Economy,” he said.The third structure put in place by Pope Francis is the the Office of the Auditor General, a structure with investigative capabilities. This structure is “the most controversial in the eyes of administrative and lay people who work in the Vatican,” Zahra said, because it is the first time the office of an auditor general has been given investigative powers. The Office of the Auditor General is led by a senior lay expert.To summarize his lecture, Zahra ran through the benefits of Pope Francis’ reforms in the Vatican.“All three structures are operating effectively and efficiently,” he said. “There is professionalism, transparency and universal standards of accounting. Control mechanisms have been put in place.”The motivation behind the reforms within the Vatican has always been the desire to conserve as much money and resources as possible for the impoverished, Zahra said.“All this is being done with the improvement of programs and higher levels of efficiency to ensure better support for the poor and marginalized,” he said.Zahra concluded the talk by addressing the leaking of confidential documents by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, both of whom are publishing books containing classified information regarding the process of Pope Francis’ Vatican reforms.Zahra noted that Pope Francis has since expressed that there will be no delay in the instillation of his Vatican reforms.“Even if these books created confusion and chaos rather than transparency, I would also say that they showed, with firmness and commitment on the part of the Holy Father, that these reforms must go on,” Zahra said.Tags: Council of the Economy, economy, Pope, Pope Francis, Vatican Citylast_img read more

Muslim Student Association sponsors Islam Awareness Week

first_imgThe Muslim Student Association (MSA) kicked off Islam Awareness Week on Monday by handing out hijabs on Fieldhouse Mall and teaching people how to tie them.Sara Abdel Rahim, a senior and the president of MSA, said community members were more engaged in the event this year after experiencing it in years past.“I think people loved the event last year,” she said. “Everyone is coming up and saying, ‘Hey, I still have my scarf from last year, can I grab another one? Can you teach me how to tie it a different way?’ So kind of building a foundation for the past couple of years and then having people remember it and tell people about it — it’s been really great to have people come and say, ‘I remember this from last year, and I want to do it again.’”The week — which is co-sponsored by other groups such as the Gender Relations Center, Notre Dame International and Multicultural Student Programs and Services — serves as an opportunity for non-Muslim students to learn more about Islamic culture, Abdel Rahim said.“I think it’s amazing. I wish Islam Awareness Week could be Islam Awareness Year, but we obviously don’t have funds and resources for that,” she said. “But I think, definitely, when people come up and ask me to teach them how to wear it or what does a hijab mean to [me], there’s definitely an amazing desire for the students on campus to learn about Islam and to get a better understanding of it. … Even though it is a majority-Catholic campus, if you do provide a venue and a platform for people to come and learn about it, they’ll definitely engage and do that — which is cool to see Notre Dame students doing.”The MSA’s hijab day gave Abdel Rahim a chance to explain that to her, a hijab is twofold, she said.“It’s a sense of modesty in the physical sense — so you do cover up your hair, and wear long sleeves and pants,” she said. “So you’re covering up your body so you’re not showing physical attributes of yourself, so when people get a chance to know Sara, then they can know that person for who they are and not how they look or their physical aspects such as their hair or how they dress.”Abdel Rahim said this commonly offers a greater sense of empowerment to people who wear hijabs.“But also, when you’re covered up — in a sense it’s more empowering because you get to go and engage and do all the things you want, and you’re not held back by what society’s vision of you is,” she said. “So there is a negative connotation to the headscarf, but there are so many amazing hijabis out there — people that wear headscarves — that are so empowered, and it doesn’t prevent them at all from doing the things that they love.”Islam Awareness Week is also being celebrated at Saint Mary’s, Abdel Rahim said, as Tuesday’s scheduled event is a lecture at the College.“It’s with a scholar named Michael Birkel,” she said. “He’s a professor at Earlham College and he wrote a book called ‘The Quran in Conversation.’ And he’s really cool about inter-religious dialogue because he talks about how anyone can be a guest in someone else’s religion, you just have to be willing to learn about it.”The week also features what Abdel Rahim said is “the equivalent of a homily in Catholicism,” a “Quran Halaqah,” on Wednesday.“It’s going to be a person in MSA who has the whole Quran memorized, which is cool,” she said. “We do that in Islam, we memorize stories and verses from the Quran. And he’ll be taking a couple of verses and kind of placing them in context and describing them more — kind of like what a priest does during a homily after the readings in Mass.”The week will conclude with the MSA’s Islam Awareness Week dinner Thursday — this year focusing on Islam through the ages — and a mosque tour Friday. Abdel Rahim said she and the MSA are happy for any community members to engage with Islam Awareness Week in any way.“On behalf of MSA, we’re really blessed that we have a campus that’s able to sponsor events like this and to be able to put it on,” she said. “And we do look for people to engage more over the coming weeks and to ask questions, because we don’t think there’s anything that’s a bad question.”Tags: Hijab Day, islam awareness week, Muslim Student Associationlast_img read more

Basilica to implement new online wedding reservation system

first_imgStarting July 1, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart will implement an online wedding reservation system, the University announced in a press release Thursday.The new online reservation form will replace the approximately 25-year-old system in which couples would call the Liturgy Office starting on the first Monday of March — commonly known as “Basilica Monday” — to reserve a wedding date for the following year. The decision to switch to the new system was made due to the increasingly widespread use of online wedding reservation systems, the release said.Now, couples will be able to book the Basilica up to two years in advance through the online system. Couples will continue to finalize their reservations with a deposit, the release said, and members from the Liturgy Office will aid couples once they have chosen their wedding dates online.Starting in 2019, the Mary, Queen of Angels Chapel in Flaherty Hall will also host Saturday weddings during June and July.“We are grateful to our local bishop, the Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, who has given us his blessing to open this additional campus chapel to summer weddings,” Fr. Pete McCormick, director of campus ministry, said in the release.The Flaherty Hall chapel will cost $750 to reserve, the release said, and prices for the Basilica and the Log Chapel will remain the same, at $1,000 and $500 respectively. Couples will also have access to a new pricing tool on the Campus Ministry website that determines the most cost-effective dates and times for an on-campus wedding location.The Basilica can be reserved by any “Notre Dame students, alumni, members of Sacred Heart Parish and current, full-time faculty or staff members who have been employed at Notre Dame for at least five years,” the release said.The online reservation form can be accessed at campusministry.nd.edu/weddings starting July 1.Tags: Basilica Monday, Campus Ministry, Flaherty Hall chapel, Liturgy Office, Log Chapel, Mary, Queen of Angels Chapel, Weddingslast_img read more

Snite Museum hires new art director

first_imgThe new director of the Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art, Joseph Becherer, began work at the University earlier this month and has since spent time becoming familiar with his staff and the museum’s collection of art.The University’s decision to hire Becherer was announced in the fall, and besides directing and working with exhibits in the Snite, one of his main tasks will be working towards the construction and design of the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, set to open in 2022.Becherer has previously done work directing and curating pieces for exhibitions and installations including the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he was the Lena Meijer professor in the history of art at Aquinas College, where he taught renaissance, baroque and contemporary art courses.Becherer said he is excited and honored to join the Snite Museum and the Notre Dame community.“For me, one of the most important things is that every great university deserves to have a great art museum,” he said. “Notre Dame deserves to have great museum and I am honored to help however I best can to deliver that great museum to this great university.”During the short two weeks he has been working for the University, Becherer said he has given a lot of thought into the direction he has envisioned for the current and new art museums of Notre Dame.“The best new museum structures, I believe, are the ones that are built from the inside out,“ he said. “It’s really a very communal experience. It starts out with the 18 people that are here on staff and extends to those faculty and our many wonderful students that engage with us regularly. So, there are a lot of people that will help us decide what that inside is going to be like and how best we can use it not just for this current generation but for future generations. … This is a museum that you want to be relevant and interesting for today but you want to also ensure is vibrant and important for tomorrow.”Becherer said his career thus far has been interesting, challenging and positive. He said experiences have prepared him for this special task and that he has fresh, exciting points of view to bring to the table and community of Notre Dame.Gina Costa, marketing and public relations program manager for the Snite Museum, said “[Becherer’s] experience with contemporary sculpture and the remarkable collection he has acquired from international artists at the highest level brings new expertise and a new vision to lead us into the next decade as we look forward to the new Raclin Museum.”Particularly exciting to Becherer is the prospect of working in a Catholic university, he said, as he was born and raised Catholic and describes a particular passion about religion in the arts.“I have always been so deeply in awe at how significant the arts have been in the history of the Catholic Church,“ Becherer said. “ … Through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and even today the visual arts have been significant to the Catholic experience. [Being at Notre Dame] adds a dimension to my work in a museum context which I find deeply moving and full of potential. So much of every large museum collection has a connection to history and traditions. For me, it’s an extremely moving and meaningful opportunity.”Having an art museum on campus is an important resource for all members of the community, Becherer said, and he encourages everyone to come and explore the museum.“I think that the most important thing is to realize that this museum is open to everybody,” he said. “ … It is a very critical and affirming resource that helps you to really understand how truly beautiful and special it is to have the arts as part of the human experience and I encourage everyone to pop in. You got ten minutes? Great. Got an afternoon? Come on in. It’s free. Just come in and see just one thing and find out what it is … appreciate that moment.“Tags: Joseph Becherer, Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, Snite Museum, Snite Museum of Artlast_img read more

University Office of Sustainability to promote community garden

first_imgOn the corner of Ivy and Douglas Roads, across the street from Warren Golf Course, a lush plot of land tended by the Notre Dame community grows steadily, unbeknownst to many members of the Notre Dame community. This plot of land is home to the University’s campus garden, which is separated into two portions — a community and student section — both of which allow gardeners to grow a variety of organic plants and produce, Allison Mihalich, the senior program director in the Office of Sustainability said.To decide the future operation plans for the student section of the garden, the Office of Sustainability will hold a “Student Garden Kick-Off” meeting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the McNeill Room in LaFortune Student Center.The Notre Dame community and student garden was initially established in 2010 at White Field and was relocated to Ivy Road in 2017 to allow for more expansion and to create a more secure and convenient location for gardeners.Sophomore Daphne Saloomey worked on a sustainability project fall semester investigating Notre Dame’s campus garden and creating a proposal to restore and revamp the garden, which included spreading awareness of the existence of the land and encouraging students to care for the garden.“We discovered that essentially the biggest barrier to the garden is the fact that no one knows about it and because no one knows about it, there’s no one maintaining it,” Saloomey said.Saloomey said these gardens encourage a community to come together by allowing anyone, regardless of level of experience, to attend to the plants.“Students would be able to have fresh produce for themselves while meeting people who have the same interests and values as them, whether that be sustainability or gardening or just being one with nature,” she said.While the Office of Sustainability wants students to have access to the fresh, free produce, Mihalich said it also plans to have a share shelf for produce to be exchanged between community and student gardeners. In addition, she said it is planning food rescue runs to homeless shelters to donate leftover produce.“The garden is important to Notre Dame because it promotes a connectedness to food, and it provides a space for people to learn,” Mihalich said.Sophomore Daniel Rottenborn, an intern in the Office of Sustainability, said the garden even contains a honey bee colony a Notre Dame community member installed over the summer.“I think that’s just one example of how community engagement helps the garden go in directions it otherwise might not if it was only run by the administration or by students,” he said.Becoming involved in the garden is free, Mihalich said, and seeds, plants, tools, gloves and an organic compost are provided to students. She said the Office’s primary goal this year is to engage undergraduate and graduate students who will remain at Notre Dame over the summer to start planting to have produce ready for students who return in August because peak harvesting season begins in July and August and runs through October.The student garden will also serve another purpose unrelated to planting and gardening.“We feel at the Office of Sustainability that there is a real opportunity for students to bridge the gap between the Notre Dame bubble and the South Bend community, and this garden might be one way for them to do that,” Rottenborn said.From creating yoga day to an open mic night, Rottenborn said the Office of Sustainability hopes to use the garden for community outreach to send a sustainability-based message to the student body.“The garden is meant to be a common human resource,” Rottenborn said. “Everybody who wants to get involved should be able to get something positive out of it, and right now with [the meeting], we’re trying to get the word out and get the garden in the position we want it to be.”Tags: Community, Office of Sustainability, student garden, sustainabilitylast_img read more