Chesley, Smith work to be ‘voice’ of student body

first_img Grade: A- Chesley and Smith have proven that the student body can be confident that its needs will be addressed. However, the duo still has a lot to accomplish. They have started many initiatives, which have yet to be proven successful. Considering they are competing with a short time frame and a somewhat apathetic student body, they have put forth a good effort so far. Student body president Rachael Chesley and student body vice president Laura Smith set lofty goals when they took office on April 1, and as the first semester of their term come to a close, they are on the right track. When they entered office in April, they wanted to “be a visible and involved voice for the students,” Chesley said in an interview last spring. Since they entered office, Chesley and Smith extended student center hours, defended the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s co-exchange program which allows Saint Mary’s students to eat at Notre Dame dining halls, started renovating the Le Mans Hall basement and worked for students discounts at off-campus venues as well. It is clear that Chesley and Smith have been working hard to make this year’s student government as effective and efficient as possible. In addition to the changes they are making around campus, they also changed the internal structure of the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA meetings that used to be devoted solely to giving funds to clubs and organizations now include campus issues. In order to do this, Chesley and Smith launched a Finance Committee that oversees funds so SGA can focus on other things. This has been one of the smoothest and most productive years for student government at Saint Mary’s. In the past four years, students have asked for extended Student Center hours, printers in the dorms, a new space for students to spend time and off-campus discounts. Chesley and Smith have solved or addressed all of these issues, and it is only the end of the first semester. The Student Center is now open until midnight during the week and Le Mans Hall basement will be a new place for students to relax and spend time by the end of spring break next semester. “We will reach out to [the student body], and we want [them] to reach out to us and all of SGA,” Chesley said in an interview at the beginning of their term. “We have open minds that are ready for your thoughts and ideas.” The only setback to their success so far is the same issue that has been facing student government for many years: student feedback. While this year’s SGA is far more transparent then it has been in the past, attempts at open forums and seeking suggestions has seen little response. Chesley and Smith said they want to be the “voice of Saint Mary’s” and they have done their best to push for the changes SGA has set out to do for the past many years, but they have still struggled to get students involved with their government.last_img read more

Nuclear physicists awarded grant for research

first_imgA research team of nuclear physicists headed by Notre Dame faculty members is looking to the cosmos for the answers to questions about the origins of Earth’s most influential elements. The team, comprised of researchers from several American universities, was awarded a one-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the first U.S.-based underground accelerator laboratory, enabling them to progress towards a more complete understanding of the formation of the elements. Physics professor and principal investigator Michael Wiescher said the grant money will be used to fund testing of underground sites that could serve as locations for the Dual Ion Accelerator for Nuclear Astrophysics (DIANA). The key site in question is the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, Wiescher said. “The grant basically covers the first test experiments going on right now, like the engineering studies that will allow us to stabilize the abandoned underground mines,” Wiescher said. “We also have graduate students who are measuring underground radiation and determining how feasible the site is for our purposes.” Wiescher said the goal of his nuclear astrophysics research is to understand the origin of the Earth’s elements and their formation process. The answers to these questions can help scientists  discover what happens in the center of our sun, he said.  “Nuclear astrophysics is mainly concerned with the origin of all the elements in the universe at the time the universe formed, about 30 billion years ago with the Big Bang,” Wiescher said. “The heavier elements, like uranium, gold and silver, are formed through the nuclear fusion processes that made in stars or supernova explosions,” he said. “[These explosions] need to be explored in more detail so we can determine how strong and how fast these reactions occur.” The great distance between Earth and the stars observed from Earth means the measurable energy from these nuclear reactions is minimal, Wiescher said, so the laboratory must be located underground in order to maintain the integrity of the reaction result. “Because these reactions are so weak, we need to go deep underground to be free of the cosmic radiation from the sun that alters our measurements,” he said. Wiescher said he hopes his team’s research will facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the formation of the Earth, from the visible components to the more abstract. “All of the elements in your body have been made in stars, so you are the product of several star generations,” Wiescher said. “All stars are powered by nuclear fusion reactions that create elements. The light you see when you look at the stars is released from these nuclear fusion reactions.”last_img read more

Student receives research fellowship

first_imgLike most college freshmen, senior Matt Sarna entered Notre Dame three years ago looking for direction in terms of his future career. He found it in laboratory work. “When I started freshman year, I didn’t know what career trajectory I wanted to take. I was thinking about graduate school, so I thought it would be a really good experience to get involved in research,” Sarna said. “It’s been a really cool way to do science in a hands-on way.” Taking the initiative freshman year, Sarna, a biological sciences and anthropology major, began researching in professor Joshua Shrout’s applied microbiology research lab. His work culminated when he recently won the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his research on bacteria motility. The oldest and largest biological membership organization with 40,000 members worldwide, ASM chose Sarna and Shrout’s joint application from a pool of 122 applicants. The pair will receive up to $4,000, as well as funds to travel to Denver in May to present their research. Their project sought to discover the genetic factors behind the regulation of bacterial swarm motility. “I was actually able to publish a model of bacterial growth I worked on with a graduate student last summer,” Sarna said. “Now my current project is to figure out the underlying genetic molecular mechanisms that describe our growth model.” Shrout said the bacterium he and Sarna researched is found everywhere in the environment and sometimes causes infections in human tissues such as lung, intestine and skin cells. “Among the things that we don’t understand is how it sticks to surfaces and how it knows what kind of surface its on,” Shrout said. “We use motility, how it moves around, as a way to study its behavior. [In] Matt’s project, we look at bacteria that move more [and] how bacteria know about things about surfaces.” Spending eight to 10 hours in the lab each week helped Sarna decide which career route he wanted to take. “I wanted to have a more interpersonal career, more hands on work with other people,” he said. “I still enjoy the research process, so I’ll probably pursue that in medical school as well.” Shrout has been a valuable mentor throughout Sarna’s research. “He’s a cool guy, really down to earth. He really cares about our project and that I really understand the work I’m doing,” Sarna said. “He’s all about the hands-on.” Shrout, a joint civil engineering and biology professor, said Sarna excels beyond the typical student standard in his enthusiasm and dedication. “I am so pleased and proud of Matt,” he said. “He asks a lot of questions that have allowed him to make progress really quickly from helping people in my lab to doing his own project.” Rather than attending office hours to ask questions, Shrout said Sarna stops by his office frequently to chat about the project. “He’s so competent, he really operates much more like one of my graduate student researchers,” he said. “He has challenged himself to become familiar with the literature and other work that relates to the research that he’s doing and that allows him to move forward rather than repeat work that people have already done.”last_img read more

Students bid to dine with campus celebrities

first_imgMore than 25 Notre Dame celebrities are on the menu tonight at Breen-Phillips Hall’s 29th annual Meal Auction, where students can place bids for a chance to dine with illustrious campus figures such as Irish football coach Brian Kelly or basketball coach Mike Brey, among others. One of the hall’s signature events, the live and silent auctions will benefit Meals on Wheels, a charity with which Breen-Phillips has had a long relationship, hall president Allison Behrndt and auction coordinator Jaclyn Winkel said. “In [Breen-Phillips], we’re always talking about community and fostering that sense in our dorm,” Winkel said. “Meals on Wheels reaches out to community members who might otherwise be forgotten, so that same sense is there.” Winkel said a wide array of prominent campus figures will participate as auction prizes, including student body president-elect and vice president-elect Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce, finance professor Carl Ackermann and psychology professor Anre Venter, as well as members of the Notre Dame men’s basketball and track and field teams. “Basically, we’ve contacted a bunch of campus celebrities and cool professors, and they agreed to have a meal with the highest bidder,” Winkel said. “People can come and bid per plate, and if you win you get to go out to dinner or have a home-cooked meal with the person.” Breen-Phillips president Allison Behrndt said bidders can expect great experiences with all the “menu items” but recommended that Irish athletic fans consider the offers from Kelly and Brey. “Coach Kelly always does a meal with the football staff, and he usually gives the people who win a bunch of issue gear and autographed items,” Behrndt said. “Brey also sets up a meal, and that’s always popular.” Winkel said the dinner with Kelly typically raises the most money of all the individual auction items. “Sometimes, people pay upwards of $100 for Kelly,” she said. “He usually takes about two or three people, and last year he gave them a tour of the locker room, too.” With far more bidders than prizes, students bid per plate so groups can share the cost of a ticket item, Winkel said, and auction participants may choose how many people they will take and where they will eat. “A few guys from the baseball team said they’d take people to Brothers [Bar and Grill], and some basketball players are doing a meal at McAlister’s [Deli],” Winkel said. “Professor Venter is taking six to eight people for a home-cooked South African dinner at his house, so there are a lot of different choices.” Behrndt said the event is a great way for students to connect with high-profile campus figures in a relaxed, personal setting. “I think the best aspect [of the auction] is giving people the opportunity to interact with people they normally wouldn’t be able to meet, like the coaches,” Behrndt said. “It’s great that students can share a more intimate meal with their professors, which they probably wouldn’t have the chance to do otherwise.” The auction committee decided to host the event in the Burger King lounge to attract more traffic from passersby and increase student awareness of the cause it supports, Winkel and Behrndt said. “We made a few changes to the menu and location basically to encourage greater audience participation and to make it more of a campus-wide event,” Behrndt said. Winkel said students are encouraged to drop by and bid spontaneously on the people that pique their interest. Gift baskets and restaurant gift cards will be offered during the silent auction in the Sorin Room of LaFortune Student Center from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The live auction will occupy the Burger King lounge in LaFortune tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

Candidate Profile: Vidal/Devine

first_imgWho are they: Student body presidential candidate Lauren Vidal brings experience to the table from her time in FUEL as a freshman and her service as student body parliamentarian during her sophomore year. A junior Management and Consulting major with a minor in public policy, Vidal hails from Miami, Fla.Devine, a Cincinnati native, studies pre-medicine and economics with a minor in Peace Studies. He chaired the department of Gender Issues in student government last year.Both studied abroad last semester — Vidal in Washington, D.C., and Devine in London.First priority: If elected, their first goal would be to work within the existing structure of student government and seek to foster a close-knit community among members of that group. Vidal said they will look for a broad array of passionate people to lead the departments and then work to get each department on board with their goals from the beginning.She said the restructured platform they composed, structured around the divisions of each department, reflects and reinforces the underlying importance of each department in student government.Top priority: The team’s biggest goal is serving their peers and the broader Notre Dame community as best they can, Devine said. He said they will do this by both serving the student body through their leadership and then providing opportunities for them to be of service to the greater South Bend area.“We really have this idea of service, and although we understand that’s a broad term, we really [prioritize] service to our peers and to our community as a whole,” Vidal said. “For our peers, we work on specific, tangible projects.”Best Idea: Devine said the two hope to continue many of the current administration’s agenda items, including a push for medical amnesty for students. He said he contacted members of the Office of Student Affairs to discuss whether “du Lac” would be up for revision during the year ahead, and he said he talked extensively with current student body president Alex Coccia about Coccia’s work toward that goal.Devine clearly did his homework on the matter and gathered the necessary information to make the platform item grounded in real possibility. He said he hopes to change the tone of that conversation to center around keeping students safe and accountable, not enabling them to behave irresponsibly.Worst Idea: Vidal said while interning in D.C., she worked with a press secretary and hopes to find someone to replicate that role in student government. She said the press secretary would be a channel of communication between the cabinet and the student body and could help coordinate media coverage of initiatives.While increased communication is generally a positive thing for any administration, in this form, it would likely remove Vidal and Devine from the student body. Face-to-face communication and a visible, personal presence on campus would better serve students’ needs.Most feasible: Their “29 for 29” initiative would pair each residence hall with an underprivileged South Bend family, linking students to the surrounding area and fostering a deeper understanding of the Notre Dame family. Both Vidal and Devine said they have worked at the South Bend Homeless Shelter and have the contacts to organize and execute this plan.Least feasible: The platform contained plans for Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) to supplement the existing SafeWalk system. The patrol would essentially consist of teams of two trained students on call to pick up students in distress on golf carts with the goal of providing other options besides walking and protecting students from inclement weather.Because the service would run only from 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., though, its hours overlap directly with SafeWalk’s current availability. A better option would be to run the service from 2:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. in order to provide 24-hour options. However, even this is not necessary because an after-hours call to SafeWalk will connect a student to NDSP, who will provide a ride to their destination.Notable quote: “One of the main things we’re pushing is continuity. … A lot of our policy initiatives are extensions of what already exists.” — DevineFun Fact: Vidal comes from a “loud, proud Cuban family” and said she loves to cook with her parents and grandparents. Devine has a twin sister at Ohio State University.Bottom line: Vidal and Devine both cited extensive, diverse friend groups at the University that they hope to draw upon for ideas and involvement if elected to office. Their plans to maximize efficiency and collaboration within the student government offices will help them to execute the wide array of initiatives outlined in their platform, but they might do so from a skewed vantage point of the student body’s actual needs if they view campus life mostly through the lenses of their friends and co-workers. Their comprehensive platform speaks to their familiarity with many aspects of student life, and their previous experience in student government makes them well-prepared to lead in the year ahead.Tags: 2014 Election, Student Body President, Student governmentlast_img read more

Robinson Community Learning Center celebrates 15 years

first_imgJanice Chung | The Observer For the past 15 years, the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC), located in South Bend’s northeast neighborhood, has been running programs for local students in an effort to promote academic and cultural growth. This Friday, the RCLC will be celebrating this accomplishment with an event open to the public.The event is called “RCLC Moments in Time” and will feature speeches from University President Fr. John Jenkins, manager of the RCLC Jennifer Knapp Beudert and University President Emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy.Notre Dame junior and RCLC volunteer Sierra Hajdu said this event is, at its essence, a celebration of the partnership between Notre Dame and the RCLC.“It’s a place where all family members of the neighborhood can come together,” Hajdu said. “I love its breadth of multidisciplinary organizations that are all so dedicated to creating bonds between people and strengthening the community. It’s a safe-haven, an academic center, a gold mine for imagination and creativity and a place of encouragement.”Junior Marisa Olsen has been tutoring for the RCLC for three years and said the center is much more than an academic place — it is also a place of empowerment and inclusion.“I love asking the kids about their day, simply because the answer is always incredibly energetic, a bit over exaggerated and always full of lots of laughter and joy,” Olsen said. “The RCLC does a great job of giving students the academic tools they need to succeed, but also giving them a carefree and open environment to be themselves.”Olsen said Notre Dame’s relationship with the RCLC creates a stronger community network for the University and allows students to be exposed to the kind of diversity that exists in South Bend, whether it is socioeconomic status, ethnicity or academic abilities. She said Notre Dame students act as mentors and role models for the children at the center.“The diversity of individuals we are exposed to is wonderful,” Olsen said. “In addition, many of the students at the center look up to Notre Dame students and love hearing about our lives on campus. They all hope to go to Notre Dame one day, and it’s really exciting to hear how much they love the university.”Hajdu says the center provides a place for her to step back from the chaos of the school week and enjoy herself.“I think that many of the students volunteer so that they can teach children and give back … but oftentimes, they find that the people they work with in the center wind up teaching them greater life lessons,” Hajdu said. “I find that it’s too easy at ND to get lost in the school work and what is expected of you. The time I spend at the Center and volunteering for Take Ten is some of the best spent time of my weeks because it gives me a chance to pause and have really meaningful interactions with people.”The celebration Friday will include a video about the center’s history and an award ceremony for faculty and volunteers.“I am excited to hear the speakers talk about the RCLC’s journey through time, the progression it has made and what it might look like in the future,” Hajdu said. “This institution means so much to so many people, and I am eager to see the community come together to celebrate its achievements and, more importantly, the amazing people who are responsible for making the center such an incredible place.”Tags: 15th anniversary, Robinson Community Learning Center, Take Ten programlast_img read more

University releases campus climate survey results

first_imgThe University released the results from the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Monday in an email to the student body, shedding light on the status of student perception and understanding of sexual violence on campus and related University policy.The email, sent from University President Fr. John Jenkins, included a 28-page survey report as well as the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention’s (CSAP) recommendations moving forward and a one-page results overview.The questionnaire, conducted last January and February, asked questions about sexual assault and the campus atmosphere as it pertains to sexual assault, harassment and misconduct. Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said this was the second administration of the Campus Climate Survey — the first occurred in the fall of 2012.“We do a survey every other year, and we do focus groups in the intervening years to be able to learn more information in conversations with students to compliment this overall assessment that we have of the entire student body,” she said.Lauren Weldon | The Observer According to the report, the survey, which was administered to all enrolled Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students, had a completion rate of 38 percent — 33 percent among male students and 43 percent among female students.Deputy Title IX coordinator Heather Ryan said the response rate was sufficient to draw conclusions about the campus as a whole, but she hoped to increase the number of responses for the next administration of the survey.“I think we are comfortable in that number in using the results to really evaluate our programming and our efforts,” Ryan said. “I do think, as an assessment subcommittee, we would like to get better results and response rates.”Jenkins said Friday the results reflected both encouraging changes in student perceptions and attitudes since 2012, but also unsettling numbers in terms of the current situation.“I didn’t find anything in there that jumped out or was terribly surprising,” he said. “There’s sobering news, and some good news. It seems that we’re making progress in some areas, but in others we need to do more work.”Among the more sobering numbers found in the report, six percent of female respondents and two percent of male respondents reported experiencing non-consensual intercourse (defined as “any sexual intercourse without your consent; it includes oral, anal or vaginal penetration, to any degree with any object”) while a student at Notre Dame.Additionally, 16 percent of survey respondents — 25 percent of female respondents and six percent of male respondents — reported experiencing non-consensual sexual intercourse or other forms of non-consensual sexual contact while enrolled at Notre Dame.Hoffmann Harding said these numbers reflect a national trend, but also give the administration a better idea of how many students chose to not report sexual misconduct or assault to the University.“We’re not unlike any other institution in the country in this issue nationally,” she said. “There’s under-reporting of the numbers. I’m troubled in two ways — one is the reports aren’t coming to us. Most importantly, so we can offer support, help and response. But secondly, that they’re happening at all, and that they’re happening to that degree.”The “Perceived Barriers Preventing Victims from Reporting” section of the report compiles the questions that asked students what would make them less likely to report sexual harassment, misconduct or assault. The strongest perceived barriers were a reluctance to discuss details of the incident (64 percent), fear for one’s personal reputation (61 percent) and “afraid to get in trouble for other violations of University policies” (56 percent).Jenkins said the latter barrier, which pertained mostly to parietals and underage drinking violations, reflected a misunderstanding of University policy.“There’s some reluctance to reporting because people feel they’re going to be accused of a parietals violation or some other thing, and that’s not true,” he said. “We won’t do that, because we think sexual assault is so serious.”The survey also looked at barriers to reporting for third parties or witnesses. While the strongest listed barrier to reporting was “respecting the wishes of the victim who would rather not report it,” with 72 percent of respondents listing it as a serious barrier, 59 percent of respondents also listed “would rather stay out of it” as a serious barrier.“That was one of the more discouraging results in the survey for me,” Hoffmann Harding said. “In a community where we talk about being a family, and we specifically educate on being our brother and sister’s keepers, I think we’re all called and we’re all obligated to really help our fellow students in this situation here.“ … I don’t want that to be a barrier,” she said. “I’m confused and discouraged as to why it is, and it’s a conversation that I hope the release of this information will help us really have on campus.”In addition to assessing student attitudes and personal experiences, the questionnaire also provides a general assessment of student knowledge of University policy as it relates to sexual misconduct, harassment and assault.In comparison to 2012, knowledge and understanding of consent — and who has the capacity to give it — has generally improved. The 2015 survey reported 94 percent of students said students in a current or previous dating or sexual relationship could not assume consent, compared to 84 percent in 2012. Additionally, 93 percent of 2015 respondents said a person “incapacitated by alcohol or other substances” was considered unable to give consent, compared to 88 percent of 2012 respondents.However, the responses to the following question left many administrators perplexed: “Does a person’s level of intoxication change their responsibility to obtain consent to sexual activity?”Thirty percent of the 2015 respondents said yes. University policy stipulates that a person’s level of intoxication does not lessen their burden to obtain consent for sexual activity.Jenkins cited the statistic and its relevant policies as an area in which the University needs to focus education.“The idea that intoxication diminishes one’s responsibility — we have to be clear that’s not true,” he said. “It’s not true, and it’s not going to be treated that way.”Hoffmann Harding said the responses to that question would shape how the University trains students in the immediate future.“It’s safe to say, we will incorporate that particular piece of information into every mandatory training that we have for students, now that we’ve learned that that’s a real point of difference in terms of policy awareness among the students,” she said.In conjunction with the release of the survey results, Jenkins, Hoffmann Harding, Ryan and a number of other University administrators will participate in a town hall meeting Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in DeBartolo 102.Jenkins said he hoped the town hall would continue the conversation about the survey results, and offer an opportunity to address students’ questions about the survey.“This has to be a common effort, and, if I have anything to say, it’s to urge everyone to be aware and to do what they can to eliminate sexual assault from this community,” he said. “It is so profoundly at odds with who we are and what we stand for.”Editor’s note: News Editor Katie Galioto and Managing Editor Kayla Mullen contributed to this story.Tags: campus climate questionnaire, campus climate survey, committee on sexual assault prevention, CSAP, sexual assaultlast_img read more

Student senate hears SafeBouND presentation from NDSP

first_imgIn a continuation of the campus conversation about SafeBouND, Senate welcomed Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) Capt. Tracy Skibins to their meeting Wednesday.Skibins, along with student supervisor senior Michael Pohl, spoke about some of the continuing concerns regarding the campus safety program, while also encouraging students to send feedback straight to NDSP. “We have not had a single complaint given to us yet,” Skibins said. “We want the comments so we can keep improving and changing to fit the students.” The pair also reported some recent changes, including an extension of the 2:30 a.m. closing time on Thursday through Saturday to 3 a.m.“It’s something that you guys suggested that was easy to do,” Skibins said.These recent changes also included better identification for students working with SafeBouND, including reflective vests, a mandatory NDSP ID and amber lights for the golf carts and minivan that are in operation during the week. Skibins said shamrock decorations may even be added to make the vehicles more recognizable. Other potential changes designed to decrease wait times for students were presented as works-in-progress and included reintroducing the use of golf carts during the weekends, but only along the edges of campus. Pohl added that the use of walkers would reduce waiting time no matter what.“The highest wait time [last year] was 88 minutes,” Pohl said. “We wanted to bring that number down.”Additionally, Skibins said such changes would not be implemented until later in the year, once the service is more widely known and steadily used.She also drew attention to the history of safety programs such as this on campus.“The original ‘SafeWalk’ was created 25 years ago, strictly as a walking program,” Skibins said.Originally a student’s idea, the program remained a walking service until the introduction of O’SNAP in 2014, which incorporated golf carts into the program. Skibins said O’SNAP at first was unknown and slow to take hold as a popular service, and that by looking at the original records and statistics of the first few weeks of O’SNAP, NDSP hopes to get a better sense of how the new program is taking hold in comparison.“In the past 15 days, 115 rides have been provided by SafeBouND,” Skibins said.Although she does not yet have the data on SafeBouND, Skibins said she is confident that use will pick up as the year goes on, as more efforts to promote the program are being developed.After being asked if there was any way to cater the program to people who felt unsafe as well as those interested in the program’s use as a “party shuttle,” in order to appease disgruntled students on campus, Skibins said it would not be in the spirit of the original creation of the service. “We have to remember the purpose of this program, and that it is a safety service, not as a convenience,” she said. Tags: NDSP, SafeBouND, student senate, Tracy Skibinslast_img read more

Observer elects next Editor-in-Chief

first_imgThe Observer General Board elected current Associate Sports Editor Ben Padanilam as Editor-in-Chief for the 2017-2018 term Saturday.Padanilam, a junior resident of Morrissey Manor, is a major in the program of liberal studies (PLS) with minors in the Glynn Family Honors Program, business economics and philosophy, politics and economics (PPE).“Ben has done excellent work during his time at The Observer,” outgoing Editor-in-Chief Margaret Hynds said. “He has been a constant presence in the office, and brings his enthusiasm and talent into his work every day. I can’t wait to see what he does with the paper in the next year.”A native of Toledo, Ohio, Padanilam has served as Associate Sports Editor since March 2016, helping to coordinate The Observer’s sports coverage and covering both football and women’s basketball at Notre Dame. Prior to that, he served as a beat writer covering women’s soccer, swimming, women’s tennis, softball and Saint Mary’s athletics.“I am truly honored to have been given the opportunity to lead The Observer for the next year,” Padanilam said. “We have an incredible group of people on our staff, so I am really excited to play my part in learning as much as possible and looking to improve our coverage wherever we can.“This year’s Editorial Board — and really the paper as a whole — has accomplished so much this year, so I am really looking forward to helping us build off that as we continue our coverage of all the issues which affect this campus and its students,” Padanilam said.Padanilam will begin his term as Editor-in-Chief on March 5.Tags: Editor-in-Chief, New Editor, The Observerlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s withdraws option to remain in residence halls during COVID-19 campus changes, excluding select students

first_imgSaint Mary’s students will no longer be provided the option to remain in their residence halls until at least April 13, interim President Nancy Nekvasil announced in email Friday. Junior and senior nursing students in clinicals, senior student teachers, international students and a select group of Residence Assistants, Ministry Assistants and IT student employees are excluded from this change. “In the past 24 hours, circumstances have changed dramatically regarding the coronavirus pandemic,” Nekvasil said. “Consensus among public health officials is that if organizations act decisively to minimize the risk of transmission, it can greatly reduce the severity of the outbreak. It is our responsibility to help slow the spread of the virus, both at Saint Mary’s and in our greater community.”This update follows the extension of spring break to March 20, and the implementation of online coursework starting March 23 through at least April 13. In the original announcement, students were offered the choice to return home during this time or remain in the dorms. This is no longer the case.Students “who believe they have a special circumstance” are instructed to contact interim vice president for student affairs Linda Timm.“Unless you have permission to be on campus, do not visit,” Nekvasil said.Those who have filled out online forms detailing plans to return to campus for various reasons may not be accommodated, she said, unless they meet the required criteria. In response to student concerns, the College has created a list of FAQs on their website. Additional questions should be directed to the office of student affairs.Students may return to retrieve their personal belongings, the webpage states, but will not be allowed to stay the night and must be out of the dorms by noon Tuesday.“The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority,” Nekvasil said. “We will continue to assess the situation and provide further updates as they are warranted. I am confident that, as we continue to work together, we will do what is necessary in these unprecedented times.”Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Interim President Nancy Nekvasil, Linda Timm, Office of Student Affairs, residence hallslast_img read more