Saint Mary’s campus undergoes renovation

first_img Johnson said new closed circuit cameras were added to the Angela parking lot. These cameras were requested by students several years ago to create a safer environment in the parking facility.  Regina Hall was the recipient of some new furniture. The College also repaired several sidewalks after requests from students last spring.  The College applied it, Johnson said. In addition to the cameras, card access was added to Angela Athletic Center. Johnson said several buildings were upgraded. The roofs of Moreau Hall and the Science Hall are being replaced, and other building renovations include a new air handling system installed in Holy Cross Hall to better circulate fresh air throughout the building. The radiators in Holy Cross Hall were removed as well, allowing new convection heating units to be installed in every room. “All the work benefits the students, whether it is providing a more comfortable learning or living environment, or providing a safer campus,” Johnson said.  Johnson said Lake Marian was cleaned during the summer as well. Silt was removed from the lake and will be used as filler around campus. After several severe storms during June, seven trees were removed from campus and will be replaced, Johnson said. Karen Johnson, vice president for student affairs, said most of the work was done during the summer, though students may still see some continuing into the fall. Many of the changes were made to directly benefit students, while others benefited students more indirectly and were designed to add beauty to the College. “I absolutely think these things improve the campus,” Johnson said. “Any time you make upgrades and repairs you improve the campus environment.” Students returned to the Saint Mary’s campus to find some changes. Additionally, the College changed the landscaping in several different areas on campus. Johnson said this was to remove old or overgrown plants. The Nature Trail received new markers, and foliage around the trail was trimmed.last_img read more

Commercial portrays ‘Fighting Irish’ on NBC

first_img Woodward said Chang’s story is only one of many interesting stories happening on campus.  Last week’s commercial featured the work Notre Dame has done in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake.  The commercial shows the devastation in Haiti, and then responds to the presentation of this problem by offering a solution. “Three years ago we came up with a concept — ‘what would we fight for?’” Todd Woodward, associate vice president for Marketing Communications, said. “The concept is built up around us being the ‘Fighting Irish,’ which is based on football.  A new two-minute commercial now airs on NBC during every home game, asking viewers “What would you fight for?” Researchers at Notre Dame have created new technology to aid field medical workers with diagnoses. The commercial features the research being done at Notre Dame and the faculty who are spearheading the research campaign, including Dr. Chia Chang of the College of Engineering.   “Notre Dame is full of amazing stories — incredible things our faculty and students are doing,” Woodward said. “To me it’s about why they are doing it … We want them to say this seems exactly what Notre Dame ought to be doing. It is so important that Notre Dame does this kind of work and it seems in line with their character.’” The commercial ends with Chang saying: “Fighting for innovative health care, we are the Fighting Irish.” The ad focuses on the academic work that is done at Notre Dame.  The commercial also attempts to convey why the work is being done and why such work is important to a student or faculty member doing research at Notre Dame, Woodward said. “First rate medical care is a fundamental right for every person.  Our hope is that our technology can make this a reality for everyone,” Chang said. “In the ads, we focus on what people don’t know about us,” Woodward said. “We want to bring awareness to the academic work that our students and faculty are engaged in, but look at it through a Notre Dame lens since we believe we are not like any other school, and our approach here is different.” “Football is critical to us, as is our Catholic identity, in communicating what makes Notre Dame unique.”  Woodward said University President Fr. John Jenkins’ campaign to boost Notre Dame’s reputation as a prominent research university is showcased in the advertisement.last_img read more

McCormick wins in run-off

first_imgJunior Pat McCormick and sophomore Brett Rocheleau won the election for student body president and vice president after capturing 64 percent of the vote in Thursday’s runoff, Judicial Council president Marcelo Perez said. McCormick and Rocheleau defeated junior James Ward and freshman Heather Eaton in the runoff election. “It was a very normal turnout, with just a little over 3,000 students voting,” Perez said. “No more or no less than usual.” McCormick, who currently serves as the chair of the Senate Social Concerns Committee, said he looks forward to working toward a smooth transition with current student body president Catherine Soler and vice president Andrew Bell. “We want to build on the extraordinary foundation their leadership has built for student government,” he said. The ticket’s top priority is going to be trying to connect to students in all areas of their life, McCormick said. “We want to try to transform student government as a way of amplifying students’ voices and responding to issues that students care about,” he said. “It is our hope that we can build a student government that allows students to chart their own course for the future of Notre Dame.” McCormick said they hope to make student government more about students by creating a committee for constituent services. “Ultimately, moral conscience is at the core of all of our ideas,” he said. Rocheleau, who was out of town when the polls closed at 8 p.m., received the results of the election via Skype. “I’m very excited and I wish I was there,” he said. “We’re both looking forward to a great year.”  Ward and Eaton received 35.9 percent of the vote in the runoff. Eaton said the ticket was excited to have made it to this point in the election. “It’s definitely something to cross off the bucket list,” Eaton said. “I just want to thank everyone who has supported us. It’s been a great run.” Ward said he hopes to remain involved with student government despite the loss. “I’m thinking about jumping into the policy side of things,” he said. “It definitely opens up a lot of opportunities.” McCormick said he and Rocheleau are looking forward to taking office April 1. “We have high hopes for Notre Dame and the role that Notre Dame can play in higher education,” McCormick said. “We want to help students realize those hopes for our school.”last_img read more

Group prepares for last month

first_imgStudent Senate discussed pep rally improvement and student employment reform at Wednesday’s meeting, planning to make strides in these areas before the current student government’s term ends April 1. Student body vice president Andrew Bell said the current student government officers will have their closing meeting soon with Game Day Operations in order to finalize next year’s pep rallies. “We’re giving them our final thoughts on pep rallies so they can make improvements for next year,” he said. Pasquerilla East senator Julie Doherty said there was an excessive amount of waiting at the 2010 rallies. “They lasted too long and took up too much time,” Doherty said. “It’s not as fun when you’re just waiting there for a while.” Off-Campus Concerns Chair Emily LeStrange said the changes at Irish Green this year were definitely a positive step. “It’s a lot more student-friendly in terms of players getting involved,” she said. “It’s more open to communicating with students.” LeStrange said the unlimited capacity and the stage are both important features of the location. But some senators said the lack of thunderous noise at Irish Green posed a problem. “At Irish Green the stage isn’t facing [DeBartolo Performing Arts Center], it faces the street so the sound doesn’t reverberate,” Siegfried senator Kevin McDermott said. Yiting Zheng, McGlinn senator, said the indoor pep rallies solved this problem by packing many people inside and creating a higher noise level. Ideas to bring older students to next year’s rallies included guest speakers, more variety and free food and T-shirts. Student body president Catherine Soler also discussed her plan to restructure student employment, especially the Notre Dame Job Board. The job board, which can be found through a link under the Student Academic tab on insideND, lists categories of both on-campus jobs, such as in athletics and food services, and jobs in the broader Notre Dame community, such as child care and clerical positions. Soler said the current board is rarely updated and hard to navigate. The Student Employment Office, a division of the Office of Financial Aid, manages the board but does not actively seek out student employment opportunities to post, she said. “The current process is each department is sent a newsletter and if they have a job, they can contact the Student Employment Office which then puts it on job board,” Soler said. Once a position is filled, it is again the job of the department to inform the Student Employment Office to remove the position from the board. Soler said the departments do not regularly follow-up with this task, which makes the board rarely up-to-date. Some senators suggested moving the link to a more visible place. Zheng said allowing students to upload their resumes directly to the site would improve contact between applicants and potential employers. With more than 40 percent of students employed on campus, Soler said, the job board should become a more effective tool.last_img read more

Saint Mary’s alumna serves the U.S. Virgin Islands

first_imgEditor’s Note: This is the fifth story in a series featuring Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s graduates serving as members of Congress. This series, titled “Trading Golden Dome for Capitol Dome,” will run on Fridays.  As the federal government shutdown reaches its 11th day, Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) said she is concerned for the almost 700 federal employees in the territory who are being furloughed or facing reduced pay.  Christensen, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree, is one of six non-voting members of Congress. The Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa all send delegates who are asked to weigh in on issues under legislation to Congress. Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam also attended Saint Mary’s, but her office declined repeated requests from The Observer for interviews. Christensen said the current shutdown of the federal government could have a dramatic effect on the economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  “We are a community that has been facing some severe economic lows with the closing of our largest private industry, government insurance falls and the impact of the recession which generally comes a little later than [when the impact hits the] mainland but stays longer and has a great impact,” Christensen said. “This is just making a bad situation far worse for us as we try to recover from our economic issues and challenges.” Her constituents began flooding her office with phone calls immediately after the shutdown, she said. “The first complaint I began getting was from the national park in St. John,” Christensen said. “St. John is a small island and two-thirds of it is a national park, so everything in St. John depends on the national park. … The calls came from taxi drivers, small business owners whose businesses are being impacted, the wedding planners who have people coming in to get married in one of the beautiful sites … our national parks cannot utilize that venue anymore, this has been a big issue.  “I traveled on Tuesday [September 1] and the customs board of protection was there and of course TSA [Transportation Security Administration] [workers] were there, but nobody was sure when they were going to get another paycheck. That is not a good environment in which to work.” No limitations Christensen, who was the first female physician to be elected to Congress, said she treasures the time she spent at Saint Mary’s. She credits the College as one of the key factors in the development of the confidence she now uses as a member of Congress, she said.  “Going to an all-women’s college … gave me confidence and I think that it prepared me well,” Christensen said. When she first came to Saint Mary’s, Christensen said she was planning on going into medical technology, but after reading an article published by the National Negro College Fund, she said she decided to changer her career plans and become a doctor.  “When I had doubts about whether I was capable of being a doctor, my biology chair, Dr. Clarence Dinnen, was there for support and encouragement,” Christensen said. “I thought that was very important.” This positive support helped her when others expressed concern about her ability to enter a “man’s field,” she said. “I remember one time a family member of a schoolmate said to me, ‘I don’t think you should do that, that’s not a good idea, going to medical school,’” Christensen said. “I remember being really taken aback by that, but then I dismissed it. The kind of confidence I gained, the education I received and the support I had from the faculty made it something that I didn’t think twice about. After Professor Divine sat me down and said ‘I could do whatever I wanted to do,’ I never worried.” After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Christensen said she received a Doctor of Medicine in 1970 from George Washington University School of Medicine and completed her residency in 1974. Coming home The day after she finished her residency, Christensen said she came home to the U.S. Virgin Islands. “I began working in a small emergency room in 1975, and after being home and hearing some of the issues that were of concern to my community I decided to become active in the community,” Christensen said. “It is home and there were things that were happening that I thought individuals needed to be more proactive about, so I decided to involve myself in different issues like the appointment of local judges, sale of land ⎯ that was important to my community and the private industry. But, I was doing it as an organizer myself, organizing different coalitions and different groups to advocate or oppose an issue.” At the time, Christensen said maintaining a private practice in family medicine and while adapting to life as a new mother drove her to find a formal way to participate in community organizing. “At this point I had a young baby and was working, so I decided to join the Democratic Party,” Christensen said. ” I joined by running for a seat on my local territorial committee. I won and became an officer. I did that because I thought the Democratic Party would be a good vehicle for me to do some of the things I wanted to do and I wouldn’t have to be doing it by myself.” After serving for 12 years as a Democratic National Committeewoman, Christensen said she was urged to run for national office in 1994. After losing her first primary race in 1994, Christensen said she ran again in 1996 and won the Virgin Islands seat.  “I had been practicing [medicine] and [working] in politics at the same time, so it wasn’t an abrupt transition, it was more of shifting the balance,” Christensen said. “In my practice you always find that there are a lot of social and other issues that impact the health of your patients. Many times people would come in just to talk about whatever problems they were having, and so I kind of looked at it as bringing my office work from a local level to a larger, national level. I did promise my patients that I would remain active in healthcare, even if I was not their private physician anymore.” Territorial interests Christensen said being a delegate of a territory is more challenging than being a woman or being a minority in Congress.  “Territories are not states, so in many instances the Constitution does not explicitly provide territories with the same rights and privileges as it does states,” Christensen said. “Therefore, I don’t get to vote in final passage [of bills] or to even voting in committee of the whole is a matter of contention because while the Democrats feel we should vote, the Republicans don’t. So when Democrats are in the majority we vote in the committee of the whole and when they are not, we don’t.” Christensen, who currently serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, is the first delegate from a territory to sit on an exclusive committee. Due to the expansive list of policy concerns that fall in the Committee’s jurisdiction, members who serve on one of the four exclusive committees – the other three being Appropriations, Ways and Means and House Financial Services – are not allowed to serve on other House committees.  She said she the support of the Congressional Black Caucus pushed her not only to sit on the at-large committee, but also on the Subcommittee on Health.  “Just getting on those committees were a big milestone for me,” Christensen said. “I was there when we wrote the Affordable Care Act, and that is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life and feel proud to be a part of it. I consider that a major event in my life.” Now, Christensen sits on the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. She said she not only works for members of her district, but also strives to push legislation through Congress for all of the territories. “I was also on the Committee [on Energy and Commerce] when we did the American Reinvestment Act ⎯ that was very important to help us recover from recession,” Christensen said. “My presence on that helped my territory to get a significant amount of funding, as well as the other territories. As a delegate from a territory, one of my responsibilities is to look out not only for my own, but for all of the territories.” A desire to serve  Christensen said her time as a part of the larger Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and South Bend communities during this the Civil Rights Movement instilled in her a desire to serve. “After the summer where all of the riots, the bombings and all of that happened there was a change to me in Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame,” Christensen said. “We did become more socially conscious, and I think it was at that point that we started going into the South Bend community, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students together. We would go into South Bend and help kids with homework and we developed Big Brothers, Big Sisters for some of the poorer kids in town.  ” … Even though we were farther away and we were not involved in the protests or the marches, I think the Civil Rights Movement had a profound impact on us and I think it elevated our social justice awareness and efforts.” Christensen said she was also at Saint Mary’s when she found out about the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963. “I was [at Saint Mary’s] during some very important times in our nation’s history,” she said. “I am sure the dialogue and how we dealt with those issues had a lot to do with why I am here [in Congress serving others] as well.”  Christensen said she feels proud to be an alumna of Saint Mary’s.  “When I first came here [to Congress] there were four Saint Mary’s women,” Christensen said. “Imagine that a small college like ours could have four members of Congress serving at the same time. I thought that was amazing and it is to Saint Mary’s credit [as an educational institution]. Now three of us are still here.  “I do treasure the time I spent at Saint Mary’s and I do count it as being responsible in part for the successes I have achieved through my lifetime.” Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]last_img read more

Abby Davis named class of 2016 valedictorian

first_imgAbby Davis — the class of 2016 valedictorian — said during her time at Notre Dame, she has learned how to “maintain a balance” between the different aspects of her life.“Personally, I think that’s been the biggest challenge of college — just finding balance,” Davis said. “I think that’s something that took me until this year to figure out.”Davis, a native of Avon Lake, Ohio, earned a 3.99 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in her four years at Notre Dame and will graduate with a degree in political science and minors in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) and Russian. She was also a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program and a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar.The University’s selection committee invites students with GPAs above a certain cutoff to submit a valedictory address and an invocation, Davis said. From there, the committee selects students to deliver the speech in DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, where it is recorded, and submit a resume and letter of recommendation.Davis said she was shocked and excited when she found out she had been named this year’s valedictorian.“Honestly, there were a few moments where I wasn’t really breathing. It seemed very unreal,” she said. “I’m not sure it’s completely sunk in yet, but after the moment of initial not breathing, I just felt excitement and gratitude.”Davis said one of the most defining parts of her time at Notre Dame was the opportunity to form relationships with professors.“One of the things I’ve loved most about studying at Notre Dame and in small classes is just the ability to regularly go to professors’ office hours and get to know them, get to talk about things outside of class,” she said. “I feel like professors have really helped me get the most out of Notre Dame.”One class in particular, Davis said, helped change the trajectory of her academic career.“I took sophomore year, kind of on a whim, a class called ‘Post-Soviet Russian [Cinema]’ for my fine arts requirement,” she said. “I knew nothing about film, not so much about post-Soviet Russia, even less about post-Soviet Russian film.”Davis spent the summer of 2014 studying abroad in Latvia and the fall semester of the same year in Chile. Then, in the summer of 2015, she took courses and conducted research in Russia.“I just got really into it. The politics, the history — all of it was so interesting to me,” she said. “That’s actually what got me into Russian in the first place, that spur-of-the-moment decision.”The day after graduation, Davis will return to Russia as a student aid on a University-sponsored trip before moving to Washington D.C. to start her job at Avascent, a consulting firm for companies in government-driven industries.Outside the classroom, Davis served as co-chair of the University’s Code of Honor Committee and has been involved in various music ensembles and in community service at the South Bend Center for the Homeless. She was a resident of Ryan Hall.“I think joining musical ensembles helped me because it’s very much a team effort, coming together to work on something as one. It’s a huge stress reliever and, for me, helps create that balance,” she said.Davis said as a freshman, she could not have imagined being where she is today — she entered the University as a chemistry major.“I’m just thinking about how grateful I am for the whole Notre Dame experience and everyone I’ve met here — all the amazing friends, all the professors who have been such important mentors to me,” she said.Ultimately, Davis said, it seems “unreal” that she will be a Notre Dame graduate in a few days time.“I’ve met some of the most incredible people I’ve ever known here at Notre Dame, who are also incredibly hard-working, incredibly supportive — just incredibly wonderful people,” she said.“I’m making lists of people I need to stop by and say goodbye to. And you know when you have a lot of really hard goodbyes to say that you’ve had something really special.”Tags: Abby Davis, Commencement 2016, valedictorian, valedictory addresslast_img read more

President of Magnetrol International discusses values-driven company culture

first_imgJohn Heiser, president and chief operating officer of Magnetrol International, Inc., discussed his leadership journey and creating a values-driven organizational culture during his lecture Wednesday night in the Mendoza College of Business’ Jordan Auditorium. The talk was the second lecture of the 2017 Berges Lecture Series in Business Ethics.Heiser began his career as a maritime litigator after graduating from Tulane University’s law school. His decided that law was not the right career choice during one case where he listened to a four-hour debate on the definition of “perishable” when he was waiting to obtain a motion for his client’s case.“At that point, I had this intervention that said I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing this,” he said.Upon the realization, Heiser decided to move to the chemical production company DuPont. His career move led him to his first lesson in leadership, which was being open-minded about taking new paths.“You’ve got to be open to exploring new opportunities,” he said. “You’ve got to be open to saying, ‘You know what, this isn’t want I expected. Maybe I should try this; maybe I should try that.’”Here, Heiser realized his second lesson of leadership, which was the power of stakeholder engagement.At DuPont, Heiser was responsible for launching a product to help people affected by HIV and AIDS. Heiser described how the activist community at the time spoke against pharmaceutical companies producing the HIV and AIDS drug products due to pricing and other concerns, so he wanted to take steps to embrace this community, including by hiring several activists.“We were not only going to understand the patient community that we were dealing with, but we were going to work with the activist community and engage them in how we were going to price this product and go to market,” he said. “… This is when I first realized and learned the concept of shared value where we could do things that would maximize profit for the organization. … But we also recognized that we could actually make a different for society.”Other lessons Heiser learned during his leadership journey included the powers of perseverance, resilience and internal and external feedback.“As a leader, I would tell you there’s nothing more important than your ability to receive feedback from others and process it, and more importantly, for me, to do self-reflection,” he said.Heiser also talked about his time at Magnetrol, which is a company that manufactures radar and radar equipment to measure levels of fluid. Though the company had grown considerably from its roots in a garage, Heiser said it had lost its way by 2015 when he took over as president. He attributed this deterioration to the fact that the company rewarded employees based on years of service and attendance as opposed to merit.Heiser said he sought to fix the problem with a more values-driven approach.“We had to change the culture, and we had to start at the senior level,” he said.Today, Heiser said Magnetrol has several core values including the idea of “performance [and] no excuses,” which Heiser said means the company needs to be action-oriented, especially with the commitments it made to its stakeholders.Heiser said another core value is “everybody deserves special treatment.”“What that means is we don’t leave the human condition at the door,” he said.The final Magnetrol value, according to Heiser, is that business is a social institution, which means Magnetrol has an obligation to multiple stakeholders and that it will deliver on those obligations.Magnetrol’s culture change has not been without its struggles, Heiser explained. Under Heiser, Magnetrol implemented a “Giving Voice to Values” program, which had the lowest participation rate company-wide with the U.S. management team.“How am I going to get a culture change in the U.S. if I’ve got a management team that [has the lowest participation numbers]?” he said. “… That’s actually been one of our biggest problems is getting managers out of this command and control situation.”Tags: Berges Lecture Series, Inc., Magnetrol International, mendoza college of businesslast_img read more

Students discuss involvement with South Bend Catholic Worker House

first_imgJunior Lucie Ly first volunteered at the South Bend Catholic Worker as a Notre Dame Vision mentor the summer after her freshman year. She enjoyed the service so much she made it a part of her routine the following year, and decided to stay at the women’s house over her sophomore year spring break.“Basically, I cooked meals with them, I ate with them, whenever they went to the store I went to the store with them — I just did chores, just normal, everyday things but with this community of people,” Ly said.Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933 on the conviction that every person has the same human dignity, giving them the right to respect and love. This belief drove Ly’s desire to live in community for a week.“I didn’t do that so much to volunteer as to really live with the women and experience what they experience on a daily basis because I saw a lot of ‘us versus them.’ Like they came in and saw these volunteers trying to be good people doing service and they kind of felt isolated from the Notre Dame students,” Ly said. “I didn’t want them to feel like I was trying to pity them or do charity work for them. I wanted them to see me as trying to be equals with them.”According to an article in “Today‘s Catholic,” the South Bend Catholic Worker encompasses a men’s house and a women’s house, each of which houses 10 residents, and Our Lady of the Road, a drop-in center that includes laundry and shower facilities, a chapel and a dining area serving well over 100 people breakfast every weekend. Junior Sam Ufuah spends every Saturday morning at the drop-in center cooking and serving breakfast alongside the homeless, some of whom are volunteers themselves.“A lot of them actually come from Hope Ministries, which is another community focused on helping people who are disadvantaged get opportunities for jobs and homes,” Ufuah said. “Some of them are volunteers themselves. They go to different shelters and help out despite not having homes, which is just incredible.”The men’s and women’s houses eat dinner together every night of the week, sharing duties and spending time in community. Notre Dame professor Margaret Pfeil, who co-founded the South Bend Catholic Worker in 2003 with former professor Michael Baxter, is an integral member of that community, Ly said.“She lives in the house next to the men’s house, and sometimes she has guests stay at her house as well, she lives with her husband,” Ly said. “Whenever she doesn’t have conferences or meetings, she tries her best to be eating with the guests. She knows all her guests very intimately, she goes to the drop often and works there, she’s just a very active member. She’s not just up there on the administrative level taking care of everything — she’s actually involved in the work.”That work includes helping the residents find jobs, but never with the impression that this is their last chance, Ly said.“[Pfeil] is a great resource,” Ly said. “She’ll be a good recommender for them for certain jobs and she really encourages them to find work and get them on their feet, but the Catholic Worker is there as a support for as long as they need it.” Both Ly and Ufuah said the South Bend Catholic Worker truly embodies the vision of the larger organization.“It’s really neat because not just volunteers come — people just come to have dinner, it’s a community and these people are friends,“ Ly said. “When I first started working there it was hard for me to distinguish who was a staff member and who was a guest because they all lived very similarly.” Ufuah said he was inspired by a quote from Dorothy Day in the backroom at Our Lady of the Road while volunteering his sophomore year.“She said something like, sharing yourself with the poor is love because there comes a point where you and that category is blurred and there’s no longer a category, it’s just you and your brother, you and your sister,” Ufuah said. “I really took that to heart because we tend to categorize people based on whatever attributes, but underneath all that is just humanity, it’s just man and I think being there has helped me develop that in my heart.”Tags: Catholic Worker House, Dorothy Day, Margaret Pfeil, Our Lady of the Road, Peter Maurinlast_img read more

University announces change in contraceptives policy

first_imgIn a letter emailed to University employees Wednesday, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced further changes to the policies regarding access to contraceptives via University health insurance plans to take place within the year.“I write to announce steps based on Catholic principles that nevertheless provide access to some of the coverage that members of our community seek,” Jenkins said in the e-mail.The new system will involve abandoning a third party, government-funded plan used by the school to provide contraception as dictated by a federal regulation, as this plan covers abortifacients.However, so as not to “burden” those who use contraception but rely on the University for health insurance, the school will cover some contraceptives in its insurance policies. The change follows a court ruling exempting Notre Dame from the aforementioned regulation.“I have reached the conclusion that it is best that the University stop the government-funded provision of the range of drugs and services through our third party administrator,” Jenkins said. “Instead, the University will provide coverage in the University’s own insurance plans for simple contraceptives (i.e., drugs designed to prevent conception) … The University’s insurance plans (as opposed to the government-funded program) have never covered, and will not cover, abortion-inducing drugs.”University plans will also pay for “natural family planning options,” the letter said. To further keep in line with the Church’s teaching, the University will not cover “sterilization procedures for the purpose of preventing conception.” Community members who sign up for health benefits through the University will receive a statement on Catholicism’s teachings regarding contraception.The policy change for employees will be implemented July 1, 2018 for employees and in August 2018 for students.Jenkins explained that in recent years the University had joined a lawsuit against a Federal mandate requiring the school to provide various “contraceptive drugs and services.” The mandate differed from previous regulations in that it did not exempt certain religious institutions, namely universities and hospitals. Jenkins said the school joined the suit to protect its identity and values.“The University of Notre Dame joined other plaintiffs in challenging this mandate to protect its ability to act in accord with its religious mission,” Jenkins said.After a lengthy legal battle in which a court initially ruled against the school, the suit was resolved “favorably” for the University in October 2017, Jenkins said. In the time period between the two rulings, the school had provided the contraceptive services in question through the government funded program. Jenkins initially proposed continuing this arrangement“When I delivered my Faculty Address in November, I thought it best, having established our right to decide, to allow the government-funded provision of these drugs and services to continue so that our employees could have access without University funding or immediate and direct involvement in their provision,” Jenkins said.However, Jenkins noted that abortifacients covered by the plan are “gravely objectionable” from the perspective of Catholic social teaching.This consideration ultimately led him to reconsider his earlier decisionHe acknowledged that health care coverage is a thorny issue for a Catholic University with 17,000 people, including employees, students, and family members of the two groups, rely on the University for health insurance, according to the letter. Balancing consideration for non-Catholic community members with the University’s Catholic mission is difficult, Jenkins said.“That tension is particularly pronounced in the area of health care, where the University recognizes its responsibility, grounded in its Catholic mission, to provide health insurance to employees, their families and many students, and most of those covered have no financially feasible alternative but to rely on the University for such coverage,” he said.Tags: contraceptives, Fr. John Jenkins, Health Insurancelast_img read more

Graduate to pursue career as naval pilot

first_imgAs the only Saint Mary’s graduating member of Notre Dame’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), senior Kayla Savage will continue the College’s legacy of service through her long-term goal of becoming a naval pilot. Savage said in an email that after graduation she will pursue an education at a naval school in California.“I will have the opportunity of spending 12 to 18 months at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California earning my master’s degree in regional and security studies [for the Western Hemisphere],” she said. “Following my education, I will spend two years as a student naval aviator in Pensacola, Florida, and, God willing, will be winged as a Navy pilot. As a pilot, I’ll be spending at least eight more years in the Navy.”Savage said she will miss the encouragement and spirituality that both the College and ROTC provided during her four years. “During my hunt for colleges, I prioritized an environment that would encourage my spiritual and intellectual growth,” she said. “Saint Mary’s has absolutely been an amazing place for these goals, and ROTC has only helped. Between school and my ROTC events, spirituality has been at the center of everything I do. We are given countless options and opportunities to speak with religious leaders, and we are encouraged to find some sort of spiritual center to ground ourselves in. I have learned to maintain that while pushing myself intellectually. It’s been so difficult, but so rewarding.”Savage said she has always wanted to be part of an institution that challenged her to be better. “When picturing what kind of career and life I’d like to have, I’ve always thought I wanted something that constantly challenged me to be better and to do better, not just for my own sake but also for others,” she said. “I wanted to help make our world a better and safer place. The Navy seemed, to me, the best way to accomplish the type of lifestyle I was looking for … of course, the opportunity to travel and see the world was also a little enticing.”During her time at Saint Mary’s, Savage said the hardest part was balancing the time commitments the College and ROTC required of her.“I think time management was the most difficult balance for me between ROTC and college,” she said. “Depending on the job you hold in ROTC that semester, it can be almost like a full-time job on top of school. Especially as a [Saint Mary’s student], I had to organize myself to block out extra time to drive over to ND for all the ROTC events. But, once I finally learned clear and consistent organization, I learned that there is so much more you can accomplish in a day.”Savage said her time at Saint Mary’s and in ROTC has taught her many life skills that will benefit her after graduation. “I’ve learned selflessness, diligence, cooperation, understanding, patience, prioritization and the importance of supportive and healthy relationships,” she said. Success is persistence in the face of adversity, Savage said. “To me, success is never giving up,” she said. “Sometimes it requires a little creativity and a lot of resilience, but success is when you just don’t give up in the fight for something better.”Savage also said her responses do not reflect the views of the Naval ROTC or of the larger Navy. Tags: Navy, pilot, ROTClast_img read more