Program educates local teens

first_imgSaint Mary’s senior Cat Cleary and junior Laura Corrigan teamed up this semester to work with high school students in South Bend through a program called “Use Your Voice.” They created the program, directed toward teens, to raise awareness about sexual harassment in schools, as well as to improve prevention methods and responsiveness to the issue. After receiving the 2011-2012 Campus Action Project grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Cleary and Corrigan said they used the funds to implement “Use Your Voice” at four high schools in the South Bend Community School Corporation through 60-minute afterschool workshops. “Our goals for this program and this semester are to start a conversation at each of these schools about sexual harassment because dialogue is a great step in the right direction,” Cleary said. “We also know this is a complex issue that needs a coordinated community response, so our goal is for students, teachers, parents and other high school staff to gain knowledge from this.” Cleary said last summer the AAUW polled 1,965 students from grades 7 to 12 about their thoughts and experiences with sexual harassment. According to the survey, 30 percent witnessed online sexual harassment and 44 percent experienced sexual harassment in person. “We know this is a complex issue that needs a coordinated community response, so our goal is for students, teachers, parents and other high school staff to gain knowledge from this,” Cleary said. Cleary and Corrigan said they learned about the Campus Action Project grant through the National Student Advisory Council. They received the grant from AAUW based on a research report they released in November about harassment in schools, specifically grades 7 through 12. Cleary was also appointed as a representative of women at universities across the United States last year, while Corrigan is one of 10 women on the National Student Advisory Council this year. Cleary and Corrigan said they want “Use Your Voice” to raise awareness about sexual harassment and make schools a safer place. “We really want teens to know that they have a safe place to report sexual harassment issues to,” Corrigan said. “Sexual harassment in schools is a preventable issue that students should not have to simply live with.”last_img read more

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Mendoza students aid local Montessori school

first_imgFour Mendoza College of Business students are applying project management skills learned at Notre Dame to a local Montessori school. Juniors Stephanie Boggs, Patrick Cotter, Barbara Smith and Devlin Lynch are using professor Corey Angst’s Project Management class to help Good Shepherd Montessori School increase enrollment. Good Shepherd develops a child’s love of learning through a unique combination of Catholic social teaching and Montessori teaching methods, according to co-founder and director of community relations Felicia Leon-Driscoll. She and her husband, co-founder Daniel W. Driscoll, established the school after studying at Notre Dame. “We’re doing what Notre Dame taught us,” Leon-Driscoll said. “We’re applying the principle of Catholic Social Teaching to our work and our lives, [taking] the preferential option for the poor and [making] the world a place where it is an easier place to be good.” Room exists for improvement and expansion from the 16 students the school had when it opened 10 years ago, Leon-Driscoll said. Good Shepherd wants to increase class size, with the immediate goal of generating enough interest to open a preschool classroom. “Our goal is to attract 20 new elementary-age students and 15 new preschoolers,” Leon- Driscoll said. “That will make a huge difference.” Through the Project Management course, students, including Boggs’ group, will apply what they learn in the classroom directly to real world experience after choosing their clients from a list of interested organizations, Angst said. “We want to send the message to the students that you can do good things, support whatever mission you want, if you generate enough revenue to be able to do those things,” Angst said. Boggs’ group plans to capitalize on Good Shepherd’s strong connection with Notre Dame to help it achieve its goals, she said. “A lot of the parents at the school are connected to the University,” Boggs said. One of those parents is Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science at Notre Dame. Wolbrecht said she chose Good Shepherd because the school embodies a number of values really important to her family. “The basic teaching philosophy of the school really emphasizes independence, exploration and love of learning,” Wolbrecht said. “What we really like about this philosophy is that it recognizes each child as unique, and lets the child work both at the pace and in the way that works best for [them].” Driscoll, who acts as head of Good Shepherd, said his school embodies the Montessori mission to stimulate children’s minds and natural intellectual creativity. “The first and foremost vision of a Montessori school is to create a world of peace,” Driscoll said. “We want to create an environment that allows a child to be self-confident, directed, motivated and to love the universe so much that it opens a new type of world.”last_img read more

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Professor analyzes DNC’s effects

first_imgWith both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions completed, both parties anticipate lively debates leading up to the election. Michael Kramer, political communication professor at Saint Mary’s, shared his overall thoughts on both conventions and what the public can expect as the political debates quickly approach. “At the Democratic Nation Convention (DNC), there were two speeches that really stood out to viewers,” Kramer said. “Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton both delivered enthralling speeches to the public.” While both were widely accepted, each speaker provided very different takes on President Barack Obama and the campaign, Kramer said. “Michelle’s was more aimed at the heart. It was emotional; it gave a real personal account of Barack Obama, but what she did that maybe went a bit beyond what Ann Romney did was that she connected Barack personally to his political principles,” he said. “She showed the audience how the things that he believes and the policies that he’s pursued are connected to things that he’s lived or through what his family has lived, which helps to show that he doesn’t just follow polls, but that he’s actually looking at things that he feels deeply about.” Clinton refuted the claims Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan made during his speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC), Kramer said. “He did a very effective job of it, being very specific, showing humor and being dynamic,” he said. “I think it was a very helpful speech for Obama.” Kramer said polls revealed that many viewers responded positively to Clinton’s speech. As for Obama’s speech, Kramer said he believes it was different from the speeches he has given before. “He was more grounded, not as lofty, and I think part of it was the economic conditions and knowing the job report that came out the following day was not going to be all that great,” he said. “Obama didn’t want to appear to be celebrating when a lot of people are still suffering.” While Obama’s speech at the DNC was effectively the focal point of the conference, Kramer said he thinks viewers saw actor Clint Eastwood’s speech at the RNC as somewhat of a distraction to the purpose of the Romney-Ryan ticket. As far as distractions for the Democrats, Kramer said distractions arose concerning their platforms. “Recently, there was a lot of talk about how the Democrats had taken God out of their platform and had taken out references to Jerusalem. This caused great controversy and the Republicans really criticized the Democrats for doing this,” Kramer said. “They ended up putting the references back in, but by that time there were disagreements about re-adding to the platform. These made the Democrats look like they were not united about their platform.” This was a distraction for the DNC, but because it was not connected to any of the speeches, Kramer said he is not so sure how much it actually resonated with the public. “I think the platform discussions aren’t as relevant within the conventions as they used to be, so I think most people made their judgments about the RNC and the DNC based on the primetime speakers each party had,” he said. President Obama and the Democratic Party gained more support after the DNC ended than the Republicans did after their convention, Kramer said. “I think this is partly because of the distractions that the Republicans had and also because of the strength of Clinton’s speech, which I think put the Democrats out on top,” he said. “That was a real pivot point for the Democrats. I believe the Republicans probably would have liked to have a speaker as strong as Clinton at their convention.” As debate season begins, it is likely that Romney and the Republican Party will remain behind Obama if the polls continue the way they are, Kramer said. “Romney will have to work harder to make up ground during the debates and will have to perform at a higher level than Obama,” Kramer said. For the debates, the expectations also play a role, he said. “If the expectations for Romney are low as to how he must do in the debate, then he does not have to do as well in order to be seen as having ‘won it,’” Kramer said. “If he sets the expectations very high, or if the media sets the expectations high because he needs to come up in the polls, then that makes it more difficult for Romney.” As for Obama, being ahead in the polls might make him think he does not have as much pressure on himself for the debates, a mindset Kramer said Obama should avoid. “I think the public is still going to want to hear more specifics from Romney since he did not have many in his speech at the RNC,” he said. “The next few weeks will be interesting to see if he is going to flesh some more of his positions out and then certainly at the debate because that is something the public will want to hear then. The debates are sort of a last chance for voters to hear what Romney has to say before the election gets underway.” Kramer said Obama will coast into the debates if he does not make any big mistakes. “I think that will be his focus for leading up to the debates and the debates themselves,” he said.last_img read more

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Justice Friday looks at CAT program

first_imgSaint Mary’s students and staff gathered in the student center Friday to discuss the College Academy of Tutoring (CAT) program’s impact on Title One schools in the South Bend Community School Corporation as part of the Justice Fridays lecture series.Samira Payne, associate director of the Office of Civil and Social Engagement and director of CAT, led the discussion and prompted students with questions such as: “Did you feel like you had a teacher you could reach out to,” “Did you feel like school was a safe place for you?” and “How do you think poverty affects students?”“The CAT Program works with three particular schools in the South Bend area,” Payne said. “They’re actually primary and intermediate centers.”Title I schools have high numbers or percentages of children from low-income families, according to the U.S. Department of Education website, so they receive federal financial assistance to help the students meet state academic standards.According a worksheet given to students in attendance, 49.3 percent of students in the state of Indiana are eligible for free and reduced lunches.“Poverty is very cyclical. What is the number one way society tells you to improve your life?” Payne said. “They always say go to school, get a job so that you can improve your life, but if you are in a school, and this is your circumstance, how can you do that?“How can we task a third grader, a nine-year-old, to be doing this? They’re nine. This is not their responsibility. Our system is failing these students.”Although test scores are not the only indicator on the progress of students, Payne said those results still tell a story.“Graduation rates are lower, and that’s pretty significant,” she said. “It really impacts their experience.”Payne said volunteering with CAT gives [college] students an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone, while also building skills working with students in South Bend schools.“It’s really important that we recognize it’s not necessarily that these student aren’t smart, but that they don’t necessarily have the same set of resources, and they haven’t yet found a person, or there isn’t that person in their lives who really is helping them to grow and learn and to build on those skills,” Payne said. “And so it’s really important that we start to recognize that, and when we’re working with students, it’s not that we see it as a fault within our students but that we see it as a fault within our system and what can we do to support our students.”Payne said CAT gives students in South Bend schools an opportunity to get a glimpse at college life and speak to college students.“That gives them that really cool opportunity to ask questions and dream bigger and really open their minds to [college],” Payne said. “It’s a really cool opportunity for everyone involved.”Tags: CAT, College Academy of Tutoring, Justice Friday, South Bend Community School Corporationlast_img read more

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BridgeND sponsors education debate

first_imgStudents discussed the merits of education reform in a debate sponsored by BridgeND Tuesday night in the McNeill Room of the LaFortune Student Center. The students participating in the debate divided into two teams, one of which argued for universal public education while the other argued for school choice and increased privatization.Those in favor of increased privatization outlined a system, which sophomore and BridgeND secretary Mimi Teixeira described.Photo courtesy of BridgeND “A school takes a voucher, the voucher has a certain amount of money associated with it,” she said. With a voucher system, each student would receive a voucher with an equal monetary value, Teixera said. Freshman Liam Dalton, another participant in favor of privatization, said competition and the free market create higher quality schools. “I think there is an argument to be made for creative destruction in the area of education,” he said. “It is the same way that we built one of the world’s greatest economies. … We had to allow businesses who were not doing well, not meeting standards, to fail to a certain extent.”Teixeira said a lack of incentives has harmed the current public education system.“Do I think schools right now have any incentive to create better, more educated students?” she said. “No, they do not, especially in public schools where they have nowhere else to go. There are teachers who pass illiterate students every year.”Increased privatization would also help students with disabilities, she said. “Mentally and physically disabled kids are suspended and expelled at higher rates,” she said. “I think that part of the reason for this is that public schools do not have the resources or ability to take care of these kids.”Sophomore Geralyn Smith, a member of the team in favor of keeping and strengthening universal public education, said a more educated population would benefit the country. “It would be in the government’s best interests, if [it] wants to increase the capital of each individual,” she said. Freshman Kylie Ruscheinski, who also argued for public education, said competition is not unequivocally beneficial in an education system.“It should be a right for every child — no matter what socioeconomic class they are born into — they should have a right to an education,” she said. “Competition has a benefit, but only so far. … When schools are focused primarily on beating other schools, the students who fall through the cracks in that system are the kids with special needs and disabilities, those who are expelled.”Senior Dan Sehlhorst said there are dangers to a privatized education system. “The outcome of the privatization scheme is that the schools that produce the best economic effect will get more students and prosper, while schools that focus less on return, on investment will not prosper — which is not what an education should be,” he said. “It scares me when we think of education as another competitive sphere in the free market — in competition there are always winners and losers,” freshman Adam Wiechman said Tags: BridgeND, education reformlast_img read more

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ND Campus Ministry to host ‘Home for the Holidays’ support group

first_imgFor many in the Notre Dame community, the holiday season is a joyful time of year and something to look forward to during the stress of finals. However, for those suffering from the recent loss of a loved one, Christmas, and all that comes with it, can sometimes bring more pain than cheer. To help those experiencing loss during the holiday season, Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry is holding a grief support group called “Home For the Holidays,” Associate director of pastoral care Tami Schmitz said.“The holidays can be particularly tough, especially if it’s the first time [someone is] celebrating without one of their family members,” she said in an email. “The purpose of the session is to remind students they are not alone and to offer some practical suggestions for facing the holidays.”Schmitz said though Campus Ministry offers a variety of grief groups throughout the year, they have never offered this specific session. “We sensed that it was something needed this year,” she said.Though this is the first year “Home for the Holidays” is being offered, Schmitz said Campus Ministry has been helping bereaved students heal for over a decade. “Our grief ministry began about 15 years ago when there was an incoming first-year student whose father was tragically killed a few days before bringing her to Notre Dame,” Schmitz said. “Jerry and Dorene Hammes, who were avid Notre Dame supporters, were friends with this family and reached out to the [Vice President] for Student Affairs at the time and generously offered to provide support for a grief support initiative. That was the catalyst that has allowed us to serve so many students over the years.”Schmitz said she hopes the session will lead to people gaining tools to make it through holiday traditions during this difficult time. “We hope those who participate will gain some ideas of how to face the holiday season without their loved one,” she said. “We know nothing we say can heal all the wounds and brokenness that death leaves behind. But we can at least be present, listen and offer support as needed.”Despite the fact that every person coping with the death of a loved one experiences grief differently, Schmitz said she hopes that those who participate can find some comfort in solidarity with the rest of the group. “The purpose of the session is to remind students they are not alone and to offer some practical suggestions for facing the holidays,” she said. “We will also have a student who lost her brother about a year ago share about the challenges and the support she has experienced these past months.  I am hoping those who come know that even though it’s an extremely difficult time, [they] will feel supported and know that they can get through it.”Though nothing can bring back the people who have died, Schmitz said there are some things that may help students to honor their loved ones who have died and cope with the loss. “Each person’s experience of grief is different so there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer,” she said. “But there are some things that may be helpful: find a way to honor your loved one at the holiday meal with a prayer, give a gift in the name of the person who died, give yourself permission to slip away and do something for you, prepare the favorite foods of your loved one and share a favorite story or memory are a few ideas.”The “Home for the Holidays” grief support group will be meeting Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in 301 of the Coleman-Morse Center. All students — undergraduate and graduate — are welcome to attend.Tags: Campus Ministry, home for the holidays, support grouplast_img read more

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University cancels study abroad, providing housing options for displaced students in the fall

first_imgThis report was updated June 9 at 12:10 p.m.With global travel restrictions still in place, Notre Dame announced the cancelation of all fall 2020 study abroad programs and provided information for housing for students Monday.“We understand how disheartening and disappointing this is to you, but please know that we are committed to your international education,” Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization and Hong Zhu, senior director of global education, said in an email.In a follow-up email from the director of residential life for housing operations, Jonathan Retartha, displaced study abroad students were informed they have three options for housing. Students can participate in a lottery to fill a bed in their home hall, choose a bed in another residence hall or live off-campus.Students who choose to select a room in another facility may choose between Baumer Hall for men, Pangborn Hall for women and Fischer Graduate Residences for men and women. Those who choose to live off-campus may still receive credit toward the residency requirement, Retartha said.The online roommate grouping tool will open June 15 in Home Under the Dome. Students who live off campus fall semester may reapply for housing to live on campus for the spring semester, Retartha said.In addition, Residential Life and Notre Dame International are interested in implementing international programming in the fall for students who were planning to study abroad.“We welcome the opportunity to discuss student interest in this concept and programming possibilities with you upon your return to campus,” Retartha said.In a Tuesday email the study abroad team informed students that all spring 2021 programs are slated to proceed as planned.According to the email, the cancelation of fall study abroad programs will result in many of these students being accommodated into spring programs. Students who are no longer interested in studying abroad are able to withdraw until Aug. 10 without financial penalty.Students studying abroad in the spring of 2021 are asked to follow the instructions from program directors to prevent non-recoverable costs.“We are still closely monitoring the health, safety and security risks around the world,” the email said. “It is our hope that the situation will continue to improve in the coming months and you will be able to have a meaningful and fulfilling experience abroad.”Tags: COVID-19, global education, International, study abroadlast_img read more

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‘Explore the Bend’ helps Saint Mary’s students connect outside of campus

first_imgSaint Mary’s students will now be able to attend a new program called “Explore the Bend” that involves getting off campus and visiting the city of South Bend. The club met for the first time at St. Patrick’s County Park on Sunday for the group’s first acitivity — a hike.Assistant director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement Kris Choinacky lived in South Bend all of her life and has always wanted to share her love for this town with students.“The goal of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement is to explore, connect and serve the community,” Choinacky said.St. Patrick’s County Park is located off Auten Road down Laurel Road. The county park was originally owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the 1800s. They kept the land as a farm to produce food for the College until the ’70s when they sold it to the city to become a county park. While it is now open to the public as a place to hike, canoe and even kayak, the history still remains.“The foundation these women [laid] should empower us to continue to be leaders ourselves,” Choinacky said.When students first arrived for the hike, they were greeted by a ranger who told them about the history of the farm and where they could explore on the property. After the introductions, students walked the perimeter of the park.Unique features of the park include a tiki hut made completely out of branches, cabins for rent and a view of a bald eagle nest. First year Courtney Simmons said the actual walk itself was relatively easy, and she enjoyed the sites and greenery. Simmons is looking for new clubs to join as a first year and was excited to join this program.“I’m a huge outdoors person, and it’s very peaceful to get away from campus and spend time with other girls,” Simmons said.Simmons also said she learned something new from the whole experience and plans on attending more “Explore the Bend” events in the future.The event was particularly conducive to adhering to COVID-19 regulations, as people could physical distance while getting to know each other, the town surrounding the College and the College’s history.During the hike, senior Vianney Acosta said she was reminded of the first time she explored South Bend on an informal trip. She said she not only enjoyed the time to connect more with the community outside of campus, but she also liked that she got to learn more about Saint Mary’s.Acosta and senior Tyler Davis came on the trip together hoping to get away from the stress of academics.“I’m feeling pretty stressed because I’m taking 18 credits this semester,” Davis said. “This was a nice change of pace.”Tags: Explore the Bend, South Bend, St. Joseph County Parklast_img read more

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COVID: Facebook Launches New Tools To Track Virus Spread

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: PixabayJAMESTOWN – Facebook is joining the fight against Coronavirus.The social media platform is working with researchers to use its data to slow the pandemic.Facebook will use its tools to help predict where COVID-19 will appear next.The platform is able to analyze collected data on population movement and connectedness. This can bring insight into the effectiveness of lockdown measures.Facebook is careful to say the tools do not violate personal privacy. Rather, the data shows patterns at a city or county level that can be useful to public health.Google unveiled a similar offering to fight the pandemic last week.last_img read more

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Governor Says Phase Four Reopening Expected To Start Tomorrow

first_imgJAMESTOWN – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says Western New York is expected to begin phase four of reopening tomorrow.The Governor made the announcement during a COVID-19 press conference update in New York City.Under the plan, low-risk indoor and outdoor activities can reopen as well as media production.However, some services like gyms, shopping malls, and movie theatres will not open under immediately under the phase. The Western New York region, includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties.Related | Local Officials Vow To Fight For Reopening Of Gyms, Malls Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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