Film producer discusses mini-series

first_imgPart four of the five part documentary mini-series, titled “Women, War and Peace,” aired Tuesday on PBS. The series, which focuses on women’s roles in warfare, was produced in part by Nina Chaundry, who spoke on a panel Tuesday about the documentaries. “The creators of the series, Pamela Hogan, Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker, first met about the project in the fall of 2007,” Chaundry said. “They had each individually noticed a similar trend in reporting: a focus on the men and the guns and a dearth of stories about the women and families who are disproportionately targeted in today’s conflict zones — but seldom covered in news reports.” Chaundry said the idea for the film series was born after this conversation. “Disproportionate attention has been paid to men in conflict, and we hope that this series is the beginning of a dialogue and that more films and more reporting will look at conflict through women’s eyes,” she said. When choosing the stories to tell in the documentary, she said the producers and filmmakers wanted to give underreported stories the attention they deserve. “Deciding which conflicts to cover was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make,” she said. “We researched stories around the world, including Asia, Central America, Chechnya, Georgia, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Congo, Sudan, Guinea as well as the stories in Bosnia, Colombia and Afghanistan.” After all their research was collected, the filmmakers decided to tell the story of how war had changed in the last 20 years since the end of the Cold War, Chaundry said. “Since the end of the Cold War, it has become more dangerous to be a woman in a conflict zone than a soldier,” she said. The filmmakers wanted to make sure to demonstrate this was a global occurrence, Chaundry said. They did this by committing to covering as many regions of the world as they could. The films focused on four countries, with a final piece tying all the themes together and discussing how war has changed in a post-Cold War world. “I Came to Testify,” the first episode of the mini-series, told the story of how 16 Bosnian women testified against their rapists in international court. “We decided on Bosnia, because it was the first time that women were successful in getting rape prosecuted as a war crime, setting a major precedent in international law which is now being used globally,” Chaundry said. She said the process of finding and interviewing the women for “I Came to Testify” was a very delicate process. “Filmmaker Pamela Hogan and her associate producer Jessie Beauchaine initially reached out to the investigators and prosecutors that the women had trusted from The Hague,” Chaundry said. “When Hogan and Beauchaine first met the women, they then had to gain their trust, which was no easy task.” The women did not particularly want to talk to journalists and even suffered from headaches and other physical ills because telling their story is so traumatizing, Chaundry said. Chaundry said building relationships with these women was difficult, but a journalist’s emotions can help build trust and rapport. “As journalists we are charged with being objective storytellers, but it’s impossible to check your emotions, especially when you are covering such intimate stories,” she said. “In fact, I find it’s important to allow yourself to have the emotions. It’s essential for building trust and rapport with the people you are filming.” The second week’s episode, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” was a film already made by Abigail Disney. “We already knew that the series would include ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell,’ the story of the women who came together and brought an end to the civil war in Liberia,” Chaundry said. Week three’s episode, “Peace Unveiled,” focused on Afghanistan, where the filmmakers tell the story of female activists. “We felt obligated as Americans to tell the story of women in a conflict in which we were directly involved,” she said. Filming in Afghanistan posed some very real security problems, especially in the Kandahar region when interviewing women’s rights activist Shahida Hussein, Chaundry said. “We exercised extreme caution in that case and respected the wishes of the activist Shahida Hussein,” she said. “At one point in the filming, she asked that she be filmed by an Afghan male who could then appear to others as a male relative and would then not draw too much attention to her or her family. At another time, she wanted a woman to film with her and we even experimented filming from behind the burqa!” While there were specific threats against the activists in Afghanistan, safety was a concern almost everywhere the mini-series was filmed, Chaundry said. “Threats were already a part of the daily lives of several of the women we feature in the series and I’m not sure if the threats intensified as a result of our filming, but we were aware throughout production — and even now — that it was a possibility,” she said. “The courage these women have shown in their lives and in sharing their stories with us is a responsibility that the entire team feels and one that we take very seriously.” The fourth episode in the series, “The War We are Living,” focuses on a conflict in Colombia, which has displaced more people than any other place in the world, other than the Sudan, Chaundry said. “In Colombia, as in the rest of the world, the majority of the internally displaced people are women and their dependents,” she said. Throughout the filming process, the filmmakers wanted to make sure the women were not just portrayed as victims, Chaundry said. In many cases women are usually seen as such, and their work towards peace is undermined. “All of these women are taking personal risks, risks that jeopardize not only themselves but also their children and extended families,” she said.last_img read more

Dodgeball tournament benefits ‘Pink Zone’

first_imgAfter learning about Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease at a lecture this fall, sophomore Ashley Barraza contacted Dean of Science Gregory Crawford, who biked cross-country with his wife the two previous summers to raise awareness for the disease, with an interest in giving back. During the brainstorming process, an event to benefit NPC morphed into a benefit for breast cancer and the inaugural “Dodge Stress, Fight Cancer” dodgeball tournament was born. The event took place Wednesday night at the Rolf’s Sports Recreation Center.  “Increasing breast cancer awareness and discovering ways to fight this disease is a really important cause, especially at Notre Dame,” Barraza said. “Dean Crawford really supports this initiative, so we wanted to raise awareness and help monetarily in a small way.”  Barraza and Crawford ultimately decided to support Pink Zone, a national initiative dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer awareness in women’s basketball, on campuses and in communities, according to the Notre Dame athletics website.  Barraza credited Crawford with conceiving the idea for a dodgeball tournament.  “Playing dodgeball was Dean Crawford’s idea. After seeing some students playing at Rolfs one day, he said it looked like a lot of fun,” Barraza said. “We both thought joining dodgeball with fundraising was unique and an effective way to target a wide range of students.”  Undergraduates, graduate students, MBA students, representatives from Notre Dame athletics and professors participated in the event.  “Dr. Hyde and the Knockout Genes,” a genetics study group, included a professor, a teaching assistant and undergraduate students. Sophomore Kevin Matuszewski, a member of Dr. Hyde’s team, viewed the tournament as a way to bond with his fellow group members. “We have gotten to know each other pretty well throughout the year, so this was a good way to have fun with our professor and with each other,” Matuszewski said. Matuszewski also commented on Crawford’s eager participation. “You see a darker side of Dean Crawford,” Matuszewski said. “He brought his whatever it takes attitude into a new arena.”  Zahm Hall’s team was excited to continue their dodgeball dominance while also getting the opportunity to contribute to a great cause. “Originally, we signed up because we won the interhall dodgeball championship, but the deciding factor was the cause,” junior Casey Lilek said. “Supporting others is what Zahm is all about.” While Zahm eventually lost to “Where My Money At,” a team of MBA students, Barraza said they played hard the entire tournament. Based on preliminary numbers, Barraza believes the tournament raised around $1,000, which was much higher than she expected. “I am really happy with the outcome,” Barraza said. “Everyone was really enthusiastic and competitive, and I think all the participants had a lot of fun.”last_img read more

Student hosts book drive to benefit Center for Homeless

Senior Bridget Meade looks to harness the power of the written word, fighting poverty with the power of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Meade is hosting a book drive at Saint Mary’s to create a preschool library at the South Bend Center for the Homeless. “Reading can be both enjoyable and powerful. Education is such a great way to fight poverty, and reading is one of the best ways to educate children,” she said. Meade is the founder of Mommy and Me, a literacy class at the Center. The program encourages and teaches parents to read to their children. The library will be made available to both the students in her class and other guests at the Center, she said. Meade said she was inspired to create this class because of her own love of reading. “Reading was such a huge part of my childhood that I thought it was a tragedy that some kids aren’t being read to,” she said. Reading is a beneficial activity for both children and parents living in poverty, Meade said. The Mommy and Me class will help parents learn to enjoy reading to their children. “Many parents in poverty were not read to as children, which makes it uncomfortable for them to read to their own children,” she said. The Mommy and Me class teaches parents reading to infants and toddlers is a powerful activity, benefitting a child’s cognitive development and overall life trajectory, Meade said. Some parents living at the Center are illiterate and too uncomfortable to read to their children, she said. The preschool library will provide illiterate parents picture books. Those parents can still read and interact with their children by creating stories based off the illustrations, she said, something crucial to their maturation. “Reading to preschoolers is about helping them interact and hear words that will help with their cognitive development,” Meade said. Meade said preschoolers enjoy classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes the most. “The best books to donate are the old school classics,” she said. Books will be accepted at a drop box in LeMans Hall through the end of the year, or contact Bridget Meade with questions about the book drive at [email protected] Contact Cailin Crowe at [email protected] read more

University initiative offers ePortfolio service

first_imgThe Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP), launched its official online site April 9, offering new resources and assistance to students interested in forming virtual portfolios. Offering new ePortfolio resources and assistance, the Notre Dame ePortfolio Engagement Program (nDEEP) held a Career ePortfolio Student Workshop Wednesday. A new initiative by the Office of Provost, nDEEP serves students, faculty, advisors, programs and college departments. According to nDEEP’s webpage, the program’s mission provides resources that would help “build a deep and broad portfolio culture and community across the campus.” nDEEP’s Interim Commissioner Alex Ambrose said the program formed to meet the University’s need for a committee that would provide technical ePortfolio assistance for students and faculty of all programs and majors. “Because different faculty and departments have their own responsibilities, they are unable to invest enough time to expand on their use of ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “Successful ePortfolio subscriptions have a support system that will help them with the skills and backing they need to implement ePortfolios into their programs or courses. That’s where nDEEP comes in. “We’re here to help them. Not only are we creating all these accounts for students and faculty, we’re having a program to help support it,” he said.   A Career ePortfolio Student Workshop held Wednesday addressed the relevance of ePortfolios for students in all undergraduate programs and colleges. They offered personal assistance for students interested in building or further developing their ePortfolios, Ambrose said. “The workshop [was] broken into three parts, “Ambrose said. “We [started] off explaining ePortfolio basics – what it is and why students should create it. We [also gave] students information on how their ePortfolio can work hand-in-hand with career services that will allow them to showcase their achievements and skills to prospective employers as students are looking for internships and jobs.” “Lastly, we [held] a hands-on workshop to show how students can create and customize their ePortfolios to make it stand out,” he said. As a more recent initiative by the University, ePortfolios were officially offered this year to all first year students, Ambrose said. With a majority of these students creating and modifying their ePortfolios, Ambrose said nDEEP hopes to see widespread use of ePortfolios among all undergraduates. “The Dean of First Years challenged the incoming freshman for this year to build their ePortfolios,” Ambrose said. “About 80 percent of the students took it on, and to us, that counts as a success because this is a tool that they can use later on in their careers. “As a researcher in the field of ePortfolios, ePortfolios should be for student engagement. It should engage and benefit the student first. If it helps improve the program or department, that is secondary.” Along with the First Year Studies, the College of Engineering use ePortfolios to help students further specify their engineering interests as well as showcase coursework and projects, freshman Rachel Wallace said. “In engineering, we have a specific ePortfolio that we use to put in our assignments and describe our experiences as we go out and explore the various fields within the engineering school at college events and major nights,” Wallace said. “These assignments force me to go out and get informed about what I want to study. Also, putting up engineering projects on this ePortfolio helps me show others what I’ve done so far in terms of engineering experience.”   Outside of academia, ePortfolios have become a medium for students to document their accomplishments during their undergraduate studies, freshman Ajani Crosley said. “It’s good because you can have everything out there at once so if people want to see what you’re like for a job interview, your ePortfolio does the talking for you,” Crosley said. “It tells employers and people who are interested in taking you into a position the things that you may not be able to fully say on the spot and gives them a fuller idea and details about who you are.” Contact Maria Do at [email protected]last_img read more

Experts explore implications of Southeast Arizona Land Exchange

first_imgWendsler Nosie, former Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona, and David Smith, a lawyer who specializes in Native American litigation, spoke to law students Tuesday night about the protection of Native American sacred sites. The two experts focused on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, which traded 2,400 acres, much of it tribal land, to the Australian-British mining company Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, the largest mining company in the world. Nosie is the leader of the Occupy Oak Flat, a movement which is in opposition to the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange, and he intends to protest until the Act is repealed.Smith said Nosie is a leader not only for the Apache but also for other native tribes.“[Nosie] is taking the issue of sovereignty and the importance of protecting culture and religion, and he has shown how it should be and how it should be preserved,” Smith said.Resolution Copper plans to use a mining method called “block caving,” which involves blasting the ore body deep underground before removing the copper. Environmentalists around the world oppose the method for its ecological risks.To start the lecture, Smith provided a review of the legal history of the protection of exercise of religions and focused on its application to Native American religions.The bill was proposed 13 times and denied, Smith said. He said it was only passed when it was included as a midnight rider onto the 2015 United States National Defense Authorization Act.“So within this 550-page piece of legislature regarding defense spending, there’s this 10-page bill turning the Apache sacred site over to the Rio Tinto mining company,” he said.Nosie said he was concerned people were not fully aware of the consequences that this mining project would have on the spiritual life of Apaches and provided a brief history of the oppression of Native Americans. He said without the knowledge of the foundations of Native American history and culture, it is difficult for Americans to have informed opinions about issues such as the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange.“The sad thing that I come across in fighting is that it seems like America knows nothing about all these issues,” he said. “It’s really alarming because it goes back to what we say about the possibilities that may occur down the road if America doesn’t wake up.”The bill did not initially have any support outside of Arizona congressmen, due to the fact that the congressmen from other states recognized the lack of transparency within the bill, Nosie said.“Nobody, other than our own congressional state leaders, supported [the bill],” he said. “And so, in 13 attempts in Washington it never passed because the other congressmen from the other states felt the same: that there was no transparency and that this wasn’t a good bill, not only for the religion part, but economically, environmentally, nationally and internationally.”More information can be found at apache-stronghold.com Tags: Apache, David Smith, Occupy Oak Flat, Resolution Copper, Rio Tinto mining company, Southeast Land Exchange, Wendsler Nosielast_img read more

SMC tennis partners with Hannah & Friends for benefit

first_imgThe South Bend Racquet Club hosted local organization Hannah & Friends and the Saint Mary’s tennis team last Saturday for “Serving Up an Ace for Awareness and Compassion,” a fundraiser benefitting children and adults with special needs.Saint Mary’s junior and Hannah & Friends intern Hannah Monte said all proceeds would go to the organization, which former Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis, his wife and their daughter Hannah founded more than ten years ago. “There were about ten tennis courts set-up for the Round Robin match,” Monte said. “Players included for the South Bend Racquet club, people in the community and Hannah & Friends participants. We also had courts open for just children to play around on.”She said the College’s tennis team led warm ups for Hannah & Friends before the tennis match, and this was the first year the two organizations partnered together.Monte also said she was glad to see the College team partner with the organization.“It was great to see two communities that I’m involved in get together for a great cause,” she said.The organization’s assistant director of operations, Saint Mary’s alumna Kayle Sexton, said she came up with the idea of bringing together the organizations because she played on the College’s tennis team for four years. “This event was a great success,” Sexton said. “We were very pleased with the turnout and cannot wait to do it again next year.” Sexton said she was thrilled by the tennis team’s support and ability to lead residents in drills. Saint Mary’s College tennis player senior Margaret Faller said three residents from Hannah & Friends participated in the event.“Other residents from Hannah & Friends joined us to watch the match play, eat snacks and do crafts,” she said. Fellow College tennis player junior Kaitlyn Venters said there were tennis-themed coloring pages non-participating residents could work on while the tournament was going on.  “Before the tournament started we showed participants from Hannah & Friends how the Saint Mary’s team warms up before practicing,” Venters said. “Then we did some drills to help them practice their volleys, backhands and forehands.”Faller said she appreciated the opportunity to share her love of tennis with the residents.“My favorite part of the event was simply being able to spend time with the participants and share with them a sport I’m truly passionate about,” Faller said. “This is definitely an event we would love to be apart of again next year.”Monte said the event combined something the team loves to do with the opportunity to spread the organization’s message.“The event was a major success and definitely something we would like to do in the future,” Monte said, “Through this event we were able to truly encompass Hannah & Friend’s mission, which is creating awareness and compassion.’’According to Sexton, Hannah & Friends’ future events include a barbecue in May and a 5k Run and Fun Walk in June.  Tags: Hannah & Friends, SMC Tennislast_img read more

Howard Hall plans to seesaw for 24 hours with Totter for Water

first_imgHoward Hall’s annual 24 hour teeter-totter event begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday and will last until 4 p.m. on Friday. Each year, the women of Howard Hall choose to donate the funds to a need somewhere around the world related to clean water access. Howard Hall residents will occupy the teeter-totter for 24 hours in 30 minute shifts, but other students and Notre Dame community members are encouraged to ride the teeter-totter with a suggested donation of $1. Planning for this event started as soon the chairs arrived to campus this fall. The co-chairs this year are junior Veronica Kalwajtys, who will ride the teeter-totter at 4 a.m. Friday morning, and sophomore Emily Eagle, who will ride the teeter-totter at 6 p.m. Thursday. Courtesy of Veronica Kalwajtys Residents of Howard Hall paint signs to prepare for Totter for Water.This year’s Totter for Water proceeds will go to a Holy Cross school in Plaisance, Haiti.“This year we picked [the school in Plaisance, Haiti] because of the Notre Dame — Holy Cross connection,” Kalwajtys said. Kalwajtys and Eagle said that the proceeds will go towards two present issues at the school in Plaisance: access to clean water and cleaner bathroom facilities. “The school there has some problems of cholera because of the lack of clean bathrooms and other sanitation facilities, so they really need that to prevent cholera. And then most of the kids don’t have access to clean water,” Kalwajtys said. Eagle said the event went to support a worthy cause.“It’s such great cause, when you think about people not having access to water,” she said.Free food will be available from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday and 9 to 10 a.m. on Friday. Students can also purchase succulents for $6 and paint the pots at the totter event, Kalwajtys and Eagle said. Donations can be made in cash, Domer Dollars and online via the Congregation for the Holy Cross website. In years past, Howard Hall has aimed to raise $3 thousand to $5 thousand through Totter for Water. This year, however, the goal is $25 thousand because of a new initiative, Tats for Totter, by Howard Hall president, junior Gracie O’Connell, who will ride the teeter-totter from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. “If Howard Hall reaches $25 thousand in donations, five out of the seven [members of] hall staff will get Howard Hall-related lip tattoos,” O’Connell said. O’Connell herself sports a “GOAT” lip tattoo because Howard Hall is the greatest of all time, she said. She also confirmed the rector of Howard Hall, Amanda Springstead, is one of such five hall staff that will get a lip tattoo if donations exceed $25 thousand. “It’s a big reach, but it’s for such an important cause,” O’Connell said. In addition to a fun event for students, and the prospect of hall staff getting lip tattoos, the overall purpose of Totter for Water is to raise awareness in the Notre Dame community of the lack of clean water in many places and to hopefully make a monetary contribution, Eagle said. Kalwajtys and Eagle also said that Father Pete McCormick, the director of Campus Ministry, will ride the teeter-totter at 8 p.m. on Thursday.Tags: charity, Charity Fundraiser, Howard Hall, totter for waterlast_img read more

Black Catholic History Month seeks to promote cultural awareness at Notre Dame

first_imgDuring the month of November, American Catholics will observe Black Catholic History Month. Notre Dame will also participate in this commemoration. Deacon Mel Tardy, who is a member of the committee planning the events at Notre Dame, said the event was established by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, which is a gathering of African American priests, deacons, bishops and seminarians, because many individuals felt like the experience of African American Catholics was being overlooked.“The Clergy Caucus selected November as Black Catholic History Month because the stories of African American Catholics were not being told and how the Church relates to African Americans in particular was not being addressed,” he said. “They felt that some attention to the history would be good.”At Notre Dame, the month will be celebrated in a variety of ways, including Masses, a panel discussion titled “Is Black Lives Matter a Pro-Life Issue?” and a closing ceremony with Bishop Fernand Cheri of New Orleans. The kickoff event for the month was a Mass this past Sunday in Dunne Hall. The goal of these events is to educate Notre Dame students, faculty and staff about African American Catholicism.Eric Styles, the rector of Carroll Hall and member of the organizing committee, said he hopes the month will dispel stereotypes of what it means to be Catholic in the United States.“A lot of assumptions are made about what Catholicism is and that usually translates in the United States to being white American and that’s not always the case,” he said. “So, [a goal is] making students more aware of that, making faculty and staff more aware of that and celebrating the diversity that is already in the Catholic Church.”Tardy spoke of his desire for the month to demonstrate the unique aspects of African American Catholicism.“I would like to see that more people would be aware of Black Catholic History Month and why it’s significant, that people would understand that there are some unique gifts and forms of expressions that come out of the African American experience that are viable for the Catholic liturgy and for Catholic religious thought and imagination,” he said.The goal of these events throughout the month is to open a dialogue for further change at the University level. Organizers said they hope this dialogue will take root in classes being taught about African American Catholic theology and influence how community members view certain social justice issues that affect African Americans and in creating an inclusive community within the liturgy at Notre Dame for more than just November.Becky Ruvalcaba, Campus Ministry’s assistant director of multicultural ministries and chair of the committee that planned the events of Black Catholic History month at Notre Dame, said in an email her goal for the month is to present a genuine view of the Catholic Church.“We desire that the celebration not just be for a month. That as we grow in love and understanding of the world church in and through the Black Catholic community; that we, as part of that universal church, come to represent it here at the University of Notre Dame authentically in our liturgical celebrations, in social teaching, and in Christian living,” she said. “In the end, my vision is to work and live in a truly authentic representation of God’s Church: where all of his children … stand hand in hand worshiping and praying as one.”Tags: African American community, Black Catholic History Month, Campus Ministry, Catholicism, Diversitylast_img read more

Campus Engagement Task Force discusses next steps

first_imgFrom Nov. 1 through Nov. 16, Notre Dame’s Campus Engagement Task Force hosted a series of listening sessions to gather the community’s input on the sexual abuse crisis facing the Catholic Church. The task force also collected anonymous responses through a feedback form through Nov. 16.Jennifer Mason McAward, co-chair of the task force and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, said the group was convened to gather thoughts and consider future actions in relation to the crisis.“We had two facilitators who handled each session so there was continuity in leadership and at each session we asked three general questions,” Mason McAward said. “The first was what people’s reflections were on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The second question was how Notre Dame might respond educationally, administratively and pastorally. And then the third question related to how Notre Dame might proceed in terms of research and scholarship.”Fr. Gerry Olinger, the vice president of mission engagement and church affairs and the other co-chair of the task force, said during listening sessions, members of the community expressed a consistent frustration with the Catholic Church’s handling of the sex abuse scandals.“Certainly we heard the frustration, the anger that exists on campus and I think throughout a couple pieces: one was certainly about the abuse that happened and certainly real concern for the victims of sexual abuse,” Olinger said. “But we also began to hear as well, the same anger, frustration, expressed around the leaders of the Church who either perpetrated that abuse and or failed to act in the face of that abuse. A very clear desire from campus was the church to take strong action moving forward.”Community members addressed their concerns and recommendations to both the University and the Catholic Church as a whole, Olinger said.“I think both the responses and certainly the recommendations were directed both at the Church and at Notre Dame,” he said. “I think we’re, again, really in the midst of absorbing all of that, processing all of the responses to both the reactions as well as to the recommendations, but I think we did see both.”When asked what recommendations community members had for Notre Dame, Olinger said the task force was processing the responses from the listening sessions and anonymous online feedback forms which community members could complete.“I think at this point, we’re processing all the feedback and as a task force, really kind of thinking about how we want to formulate specific recommendations,” Olinger said. “So I think that’s really the work that’s happening right now and that will be forthcoming.”At each listening session, the task force had two discussion facilitators and two recorders, who took notes on the conversations.“The week of Thanksgiving … the task force really was immersed in reviewing all the data that was provided through the listening sessions and the online forms summarizing those [responses],” Olinger said. “We asked everyone to submit a summary by [Nov. 26] and then on Tuesday, we met with the task force as a whole, really to begin processing through both the processes from campus and recommendations.”The task force is working under a tight schedule, Mason McAward said, with a goal of formulating its recommendations for the University by the beginning of next semester in January.“I think the most important thing that we can communicate at this point is our profound gratitude to everybody who took the time to provide feedback,” she said. “It was a really powerful and profound thing for our task force to be trusted with the thoughts and feedback that we received and we feel so fortunate to have had so much thoughtful feedback.”Tags: Campus Engagement Task Force, Notre Dame Statement, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, sexual abuse, Sexual abuse scandallast_img read more

Keough Hall implements dorm-wide events, improves community

first_img“Brothers. Scholars. Champions.” is the motto that unites the men of Keough Hall — whether it be through section sports, bringing kangaroos to campus, or attending mass together.Located on West Quad since 1996, the men of Keough Hall — also known as the “Roos”, after their kangaroo mascot — seek to create an inclusive and strong community among their 277 residents.“My favorite thing about Keough Hall is the section culture, because it is a really big dorm but there’s that 35-40 guys who you’re super close with. You do everything together. You get meals with them, you play sections sports together and the section culture is a really great way to make a big dorm feel like a small community,” Hammad Choudhury, sophomore and a vice president-elect for Keough Hall, said.Some sections in Keough compete against each other in section sports such as football in the fall and basketball in the winter and spring, catch up with each other at section dinners on Sunday nights and hang out in their section lounges — all of which is part of the community they have built.“It’s [section lounges] not the best place to do work, but it’s a good place to sort of wind down and talk to your friends. It’s always central in the section so if someone’s just walking through, it’s easy to have a conversation,” Nick Schleith, junior and current hall president, said.“I came from a school that had big dorms without a lot of culture,so coming into Keough with the dorm masses and the distinct section cultures was a big change but a welcome one,” Chris Torsell, sophomore and a transfer student, said. “[Keough’s dorm culture] really varies from section to section. I’ve only had half a semester to figure it out … I think it’s just a lot of guys who like to have fun, who don’t care much about privacy. Everyone goes into everyone’s rooms without knocking, which I appreciate. It’s a good culture.”Next year’s hall president, sophomore Dylan Fritz, attributes a large part of this success to Keough’s history of strong rectors. Keough has a new rector this year, Deacon Brogan Ryan, who became the rector of Keough Hall this year after serving as assistant rector last year.“Deacon Brogan has done a great job with that [the transition] … That really helps the dorm as well as having someone that is there for you,” Fritz said.“He loves the community and I think we all know that too … It really feels like the same Keough that it was last year, and it’s all credit to him, I think. He gets to know all of the freshmen and continues to develop relationships with all of the Keough guys that lived in the hall last year,” Schleith said.This year, Keough’s hall government has implemented new programming that focused more on dorm-wide interactions rather than just section-wide interactions. For instance, Schleith said they have started Keough Thursdays, hoping to engage more residents by hosting things like video game tournaments or a game watch for the first Thursday night football game of the year. Keough also organized a multicultural potluck.“The guys from the dorm came together and cooked foods that they traditionally grew up with and then the whole dorm came together to eat it. I think we had about 100 guys at that,” Choudhury said.Fritz wants to expand on these efforts next year. One of his ideas is a Keough mentorship program that would pair underclassmen with an upperclassmen mentor for career and academic advice.“That way they have a familiar face, someone that’s a friend. It’s not just some random person on campus there for them,” Fritz said.One campus-wide event that Keough hosts annually is the Keough Chariot race. Featuring handmade chariots and live kangaroos, the event typically draws around 300 people. The money raised at the event goes towards a Holy Cross mission in Kitete,Tanzania. Keough also sometimes sends a resident to the site.This year, Keough is also reviving Aussie Fest for campus.“We’re starting an event that used to happen about six or seven years ago called Aussie Fest. It was just a huge cookout that we used to do with O’Neill,” Schleith said.It will be held this year in the area between the Keough and O’Neill courtyards on Saturday. The event will have yard games as well as a petting zoo including a kangaroo, a yak and a tortoise. The animals come from an exotic animal petting zoo in Ohio, Schleith said.“Since we weren’t able to have the petting zoo with the kangaroos in the fall for the original chariot race because it got rained out, we’re going to bring it back for this event,” Schleith said.Schleith said that while their location on West Quad can sometimes make them feel separated from the larger campus community, they still “have a lot of special traditions and really great community within the dorm that separates us from a lot of other halls.”Or as Torsell puts it, “Go Roos.”Tags: brotherhood, dorm features, dorm life, Keough Halllast_img read more