Students gathered in the Sorin Room of LaFortune Student Center on Sunday afternoon to honor the memory of Rebecca Draper Townsend, an incoming member of the Notre Dame class of 2019 who died July in a traffic accident before she arrived on campus.Between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., members of the class of 2019, as well as students from all classes, wrote messages on 4-by-4-inch squares of fabric as part of the Rebecca Townsend Tribute Quilt Project, a Welcome Weekend event sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and First Year of Studies (FYS).Junior Maggie McDevitt, a member of the student-run Orientation Steering Committee involved in planning the programming for Welcome Weekend, said the squares, when stitched together, will form two quilts – one to be presented to the Townsend family and the other to remain in Badin Hall, Townsend’s designated dorm.“It’s part of a solidarity thing, to remind [Townsend’s] family that no matter what, she’s still part of our Notre Dame family, and she’s part of the class of 2019,” McDevitt said. “We’re missing her as well.”McDevitt said there was considerable turnout from students of all classes for the event, which was originally scheduled to be held on North Quad, but which moved to LaFortune Student Center at the last minute due to rain.“We’ve had lots of people. And especially a lot of dorms have done walkovers for other freshmen to come in, so we’ve had whole dorms coming in,” she said. “And students that aren’t freshman too.”Cecilia Lucero, an academic advisor in FYS who helped come up with the idea for the tribute quilt, said the project was meant to introduce incoming freshmen to the importance of community and service at Notre Dame during their first weekend on campus.“[It’s] a nice way to bring people together, connect people and do it in remembrance of somebody that is important to people,” Lucero said. “We wanted to get students thinking about serving others and doing good and being kind.”Lucero said part of the inspiration behind the project was the number of recent deaths in the Notre Dame community, including those of University President emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, associate dean in the College of Engineering Cathy Pieronek and three students during the spring semester.“In the spring there were so many tragedies,” she said. “Some of that was still very raw. And I think anytime there is a death in the Notre Dame community it affects everybody. Because you know people who are connected in some way.”Although Townsend passed away before she was able to attend Notre Dame, Lucero said she was nonetheless a valued member of the Notre Dame community. Lucero said she hopes the quilt project will aid in the healing process of all who have been touched by Townsend’s death.“I think people have been very affected by the fact that Rebecca Townsend died this summer, and we just wanted to commemorate that in some way,” she said.Lucero said the time and effort invested by students into the quilts astonished her.“I was thinking people would just sign their names, or say what dorm they were in,” she said. “But people got really artistic and it was really cool.“I was just touched by how people really put their heart into creating something.”Tags: quilt project, Rebecca Townsend, Student death, Welcome Weekend
Six England players are in the initial 19-man squad for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team, announced today by The R&A. They are Amateur Champion Scott Gregory (image © Leaderboard Photography), Lytham Trophy winner Alfie Plant, English champion Dan Brown and fellow internationals Bradley Moore, Marco Penge and James Walker. Gregory and Plant helped England to win the world championship silver medal at last season’s Eisenhower Trophy. The final team of 10 will be announced in August and will face the United States at Los Angeles Country Club over the weekend of 9–10 September. GB&I will be bidding to retain the historic trophy after a record 16½ – 9½ victory over the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2015. Craig Watson, who will captain the GB&I Walker Cup team for the first time, said, “We have identified a strong group of players who are all in contention for a place on the team and we will be monitoring their performance and results over the coming season. “We will also pay close attention to the progress and form of players who have not been included in this current squad as they also have the opportunity to play their way into contention for the team selected to play the USA in September.” Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, who lost to Gregory in the final of The Amateur at Royal Porthcawl, is in the squad alongside Craig Howie, Sandy Scott and Connor Syme, who were all in Scotland’s winning team at the 2016 European Amateur Team Championship. They’re joined by compatriots Barry Hume and Craig Ross. Hume is a reinstated amateur following a spell in the professional ranks. Colm Campbell, the current Irish Amateur Open Champion, is joined by Paul McBride, Conor O’Rourke and R&A Foundation scholars Alex Gleeson and Stuart Grehan from Ireland. Gleeson is the Irish Amateur Close Champion, while O’Rourke triumphed in the St Andrews Links Trophy last season. Grehan and McBride were team-mates for Ireland at last year’s world championship, winning a bronze medal in the Eisenhower Trophy. Two Welshmen have been selected for the squad: David Boote and Owen Edwards. Stanford University graduate Boote excelled for GB&I against the Continent of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy and made significant contributions to the winning European teams in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy and the Arnold Palmer Cup. The GB&I squad: David Boote (Walton Heath, Surrey) Daniel Brown (Masham, Yorkshire) Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint, County Down) Owen Edwards (Llanwern, Newport) Alex Gleeson (Castle, Dublin) Scott Gregory (Corthampton, Hampshire) Stuart Grehan (Tullamore, County Offaly) Craig Howie (Peebles, Borders) Barry Hume (Haggs Castle, Glasgow) Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten, Argyll & Bute) Paul McBride (The Island, Dublin) Bradley Moore (Kedleston Park, Derbyshire) Conor O’Rourke (Naas, County Kildare) Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood, Sussex) Alfie Plant (Sundridge Park, Kent) Craig Ross (Kirkhill, Lanarkshire) Sandy Scott (Nairn, Nairnshire) Connor Syme (Drumoig, Fife) James Walker (Oaks, Yorkshire) 23 Jan 2017 Six England players in GB&I Walker Cup squad
US Marines returned to Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Saturday, where American troops faced heated fighting until NATO’s combat mission ended in 2014, as embattled Afghan security forces struggle to beat back the resurgent Taliban.The deployment of some 300 Marines to the poppy-growing southern province came one day after the militants announced the launch of their “spring offensive”, and as the Trump administration seeks to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan.Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson attended a handover ceremony marking the return of the prestigious force, the first Marines in Afghanistan since 2014, an AFP photographer said.Part of a regular troop rotation announced in January under the Obama administration, they will arrive in stages, eventually numbering some 300 who will take part in NATO’s train, assist and advise mission.Helmand for years was the centrepiece of the US and British military intervention in Afghanistan—only for it to slip deeper into a quagmire of instability.“In those days Afghan security forces were tiny and just got started,” Brigadier General Roger Turner told AFP. “With the leadership in place now they… are poised to do much better.”The Taliban effectively control or contest 10 of Helmand’s 14 districts, blighted by a huge opium harvest that helps fund the insurgency.Around 30,000 people fled fighting in the province in 2016, mostly seeking refuge in provincial capital Lashkar Gah, with the city at times practically besieged.The US has some 8,400 troops in Afghanistan with about another 5,000 from NATO allies, mostly taking part in the training mission.Pentagon chief Jim Mattis warned of “another tough year” in Afghanistan when he visited Kabul this week as part of the Trump administration’s review of Afghan policy. Nicholson has called for a few thousand more troops to help break the “stalemate”.Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, a retired Afghan general based in Kabul, was optimistic.“If the Afghan forces and the US Marines jointly fight the phenomenon of the terrorism in southern Helmand, we will have tangible results,” he told AFP.But former Marine James Clark, who served twice in Helmand and now writes for military website Task & Purpose, called the deployment “half-measures”.“What lasting gains can our small military presence accomplish in Afghanistan that we couldn’t achieve during the height of the troop surge?” he told AFP.‘Butcher of Kabul’ returnsThe Helmand ceremony came as one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, ex-prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, returned to public life Saturday after more than 20 years in exile.Hekmatyar, white-bearded and clad in his trademark black turban, called on the Taliban to lay down their weapons and join a “caravan of peace” as he spoke at a rally in Laghman province.Known widely as the “Butcher of Kabul”, Hekmatyar is chiefly remembered for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s, in which he stands accused of killing thousands of people in the capital Kabul. He is set to return there on Sunday.His comeback following a landmark peace agreement with President Ashraf Ghani in September has been hugely controversial in Afghanistan, sparking revulsion from human rights groups and residents of the capital.Afghanistan has seen intensified Taliban attacks across the country, leaving Afghan forces—already beset by killings, desertions, and vacuums in leadership and morale—stretched on multiple fronts and facing soaring casualties.Last week the Taliban delivered a stinging blow as militants dressed in Afghan army uniforms slaughtered at least 135 young recruits at a northern base, according to official figures—though multiple sources say the death toll is much higher.The Marines were among the first US forces sent to Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.Several thousand were deployed in Helmand, the deadliest province for US and British forces, where they engaged in bitter combat with the Taliban insurgency.The US is also targeting Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, earlier this month dropping its largest non-nuclear bomb on the jihadist group’s hideouts.Two US troops were killed Wednesday while fighting IS militants near the blast-site in eastern Nangarhar province in an incident potentially involving friendly fire, the Pentagon has said, adding an investigation has been launched.