Saint Mary’s engages in conversation about anti-racism

first_imgIn coordination with Black History Month, members of the Saint Mary’s community discussed the importance of fighting against racism in modern society during a brown bag lunch discussion Wednesday. “Beyond White Guilt and Anger: Becoming Actively Anti-Racist,” sponsored by Student Involvement and Multicultural Services (SIMS), addressed systematic racism and inequality in terms of white privilege and guilt about the legacy of racism.  The conversation was moderated by Marc Belanger, associate professor of political science, who said white people must acknowledge how race affects them personally for this anti-racist discourse to effect change.  “It is important to me for whites to see the negative consequences of race within their own lives,” he said. “Not in the sense of reverse discrimination, but rather how white privilege has consequences for people of all races.” Belanger said racism is a system of advantages based on white privilege, but systems of privilege based on gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status also pervade society. “There are many different types of privileges,” he said. “We are complicated people that come from all different backgrounds, and all of that shapes who we are.”  Belanger also said the key to eradicating modern-day racism lies in changing the systems that propagate racism in society. “Ending racism needs to include the white population,” he said. “They are the ones who created the system and need to be active participants in breaking it down.” Although overcoming the taboos surrounding discussions of race can be challenging, this particular discussion was a necessary step in anti-racist discourse, Tamara Taylor, assistant director of SIMS, said. “I felt as though this discussion was important because we tend to be hesitant to talk about race,” Taylor said. “We are afraid to bring it up, so if people were willing to come to this discussion I was willing to put it on.” Taylor said the unique perspective of the conversation helped guide it in a productive direction. “Having this discussion from a white perspective allowed for more open talk about race,” she said. “It did not allow for whites to feel left out.” Belanger said this spirit of racial inclusion is crucial for people to be active participants in the fight against racism, but it is often overlooked in the case of the white majority. “Psychologically, racism is a damaging process to white people as well,” Belanger said. “Not to say it is comparable to the hurt caused by those targeted by racism, but it does leave many whites feeling confused and disempowered.” Belanger said whites are often afraid to be actively anti-racist because they may not know how to effectively address and act on the issue of racism. “Many times people want to change the system but just do not know how to make a society free of racism,” he said. These ideas sparked discussion within the audience, which included several faculty members, health professionals and students. Several attendees shared personal anecdotes about the effects of racism on their lives today. “Racism limits you. It puts up barriers. Even if you would like to reach beyond them, you sometimes just can’t,” Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh, a nurse in Women’s Health, said. “We can benefit from relationships with people from all different experiences, but racism limits us from really knowing and experiencing people.” Other attendees expressed the importance of having the courage to make a change and fight against racism. “We must look at ourselves and have the courage to break through the barriers,” senior Jacquitta Martin said. “It needs to be a joint effort, and barriers must be crossed on both sides.” With the discussion as a prime example, Belanger said the first step in finding a solution to end racism is simply talking about the issues. “There is only so much we can say in 50 minutes, but this is a good start and these conversations must continue to occur,” he said.last_img read more

Documentary inspires counter-slavery efforts

first_imgAfter viewing the award-winning documentary “Nefarious” at a Christian conference over winter break, freshman Dougie Barnard said he was “wrecked with tears.” Barnard said he knew he wanted to bring the film, which exposes the growing epidemic of human trafficking and sex slavery around the world, to Notre Dame so students and faculty could experience the same tremendous emotional effect it had on him. “When I saw the film over winter break, I felt like the Lord really touched my heart,” Barnard said. “I feel like [‘Nefarious’] has the potential to unify the student body to come together on an issue that’s so important and threatening today.” Cosponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, Notre Dame Christian Athletes, Student Welfare and Development, Iron Sharpens Iron, ND-8, Peace Fellowship and Four:7, “Nefarious” will be shown tonight in DeBartolo Hall. Barnard said the issues presented in “Nefarious” are particularly relevant to Notre Dame’s mission. “It relates to social justice here because [the global sex trade is] one of the most important injustices in the world today, and Notre Dame has always had a deep concern for social justice in the world,” Barnard said. Barnard first viewed “Nefarious” at the annual ONETHING Conference in Kansas City, Mo. in December. ONETHING, hosted each year by the International House of Prayer, is a four-day Christian conference that encourages young adults around the country to join together in prayer and reflection. “It was [at ONETHING] that they showed ‘Nefarious’ and had the director, Benjamin Nolot, come and speak to us before and after they showed it,” Barnard said. “There were about 15,000 people there that got to see ‘Nefarious.’” The film challenges Catholics to address an issue that is “sensitive, provoking and disturbing,” Barnard said. “It calls us to a place of prayer to come together to work to address this issue and to abolish modern-day slavery,” he said. “So it’s a reminder, and a call to take action. One of the ways we can do that is through prayer.” According to a United Nations report, human trafficking is a $32 billion per-year industry, bringing in more revenue than the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB combined. Barnard said after the conference, he received an email from a missionary he met at the ONETHING conference, asking if he would be interested in hosting a screening of “Nefarious” at Notre Dame. “I said I’d love to,” he said. “[The missionary] then put me in contact with members of the Incurable Fanatics [Screening] Tour. They work for an organization called Exodus Cry, the foundation that made this film.” Barnard said Sarah Smith, program coordinator for the Student Welfare and Development Office and Notre Dame representative for Christian Athletes, also helped bring the film to Notre Dame. “[Smith] has been coordinating with the members from Exodus Cry, and she’s been the representative from Notre Dame Christian Athletes to bring this film to campus,” Barnard said. “Nefarious” will be shown tonight at 8 p.m. in 101 DeBartolo Hall. Admission is free.last_img read more

Members enjoy benefits of Minnesota Club

first_imgAnnie Plachta, a sophomore and co-vice president of the Minnesota Club at Notre Dame, has a hard time deciding what her favorite thing is about her home state. She can start, however, with the strong Minnesota presence on campus at Notre Dame. The Minnesota Club is one of only four state clubs on campus and has roughly 250 to 300 members. “The club puts on a lot of really great events,” Plachta said. “We work with the Minnesota Alumni Club every August to put together the freshman send-off, so pretty much everyone that attends that is already in the club.” This year’s freshman class from Minnesota is the largest in history. 81 freshmen came to campus this August from the state. “We just put on fun events, and try to have an event every month or so,” Plachta said. The club puts on the annual “Flannel Formal” in the early spring semester every year, collaborating with the Texas Club to host the event. Other events planned include a Minnesota Night at the Compton Family Ice Arena, in which the club will attend a hockey game. “The club is all about spreading ‘Minnesota Nice,’” Plachta said. “During finals week we organize goody bags for our members. We fill the bags with Frappuccino coupons and candy bars, for example, and deliver them door to door.” The club hosted an event last Thursday called the Northern Lights 5K run. Runners were given glow sticks and completed the run completely in the dark. The proceeds went to orphanages and promoted education for children in Africa, a cause advocated by another club officer. “We had about 50 people come out, which was great considering it was the first year we have had the event,” Plachta said. “We are hoping it will grow over the next few years.” Another perk of being a part of the Minnesota Club includes a strong connection to the Minnesota Alumni Club. The alumni and campus clubs “have a really good connection,” Palchta said. “They provide a bus home for fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring breaks, and they also sponsor tailgates for us. Anyone is allowed to come,” she said. In addition to connecting to students during their four years here, the Minnesota Alumni Club also provides a unique opportunity to members through the Go IRISH program. This program is designed to help members connect with jobs and internships. Members submit an application to one source and their application circulates to various offices around the Twin Cities area. “The program is a great resource for our members,” Plachta said. “The best part of the club is meeting other Minnesotans. We have a special bond and love putting on events that make Minnesotans feel almost like they are back home.” As for club membership, Plachta said that it is open to anyone who wants to join as well as anyone who wants to celebrate their love for Minnesota. “You don’t necessarily have to be from Minnesota,” she said.last_img read more

FYS hosts quilt tribute for Rebecca Townsend

first_imgStudents 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 Weekendlast_img read more

Professor promotes the importance of sleep

first_imgSleep deprivation is an epidemic across college campuses and its pernicious effects often go unnoticed, according to Jessica Payne, Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair in Psychology.Payne delivered a talk titled “The Neuroscience of Being Your Best Self” in Jordan Hall on Wednesday and focused on the importance of sleep.“I’ve spent years and years working with students and now over 10 years working with corporations and it’s very clear to me, you are truly going to be at your best — and that means best in terms of grades, best in terms of athletic performance, best in terms of creativity — you really need three fundamental cognitive functions in order to do that,” Payne said.According to Payne, these three factors are good sleep, moderate stress and positive emotions. Payne said these cognitive functions are all interrelated and and often declines and deprivations in one will lead to damaging consequences for the other two.“The good news is that for any one of those areas you decide to get better and really improve, you’ll see improvements in the other ones as well,” Payne said.Quantity and quality of sleep are often the most lacking components of optimal brain function for college students, Payne said, because of bad habits like all-night cramming sessions or simply underestimating how much sleep is necessary and healthy. Payne said as much as college students might wish they could somehow live without sleeping at all, sleep remains an integral and essential aspect life for not only humans, but also for animals.“There is no known way to replace or effectively simulate sleep,” Payne said.Therefore, Payne said, it is vital to maximize the effectiveness of sleep and encourage students to take stock of their own sleeping habits and work to improve on them.Payne said the mean amount of sleep needed is approximately eight hours, but follows the a normal or bell curve distribution meaning the amount of sleep needed varies somewhat per person. However, Payne, said the vast majority of people will fall in seven to nine hour range.“Regardless of the specific amount that you … need to be at your best, you really need to go ahead and get that because if you don’t, you might as well be drunk — but you’re going to be having a lot less fun,” Payne said.Often the reason behind people neglecting to get proper sleep, Payne said, is a mistaken belief that sleep is a relatively useless inactive state“Most people think sleep is a dormant state; most people think sleep is a time where the brain is just switched off, [where] it’s powered down like a computer, it’s shut down like a car, it’s resting, maybe it’s rejuvenating but it’s not doing anything,” Payne said.Payne said this widespread fallacy lingers despite contradicting well-established science.“Your brain when you’re asleep is highly active, intensely active,” Payne said.According to Payne, some regions of the brain including the hippocampus, the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex are, in fact, more active during sleep than wakefulness. These regions are associated with memory and learning, making them especially important for college students, Payne said.“We can test for memory in two ways: for specific details and to remember the gist,” Payne said.Payne said studies have shown that both kinds of memory are dramatically impacted by how many hours the subjects of the test had slept.Moving on to the other two factors influencing brain function, Payne said, moderate stress is beneficial for the cognition. This is described by the Yerkes-Dodson Law, which shows an absence of stress results in apathy, boredom and tiredness, while a surplus of stress is debilitating, Payne said. However, college students are much more likely to be over-stressed than suffering from a lack of stress, so they should focus on stress reduction methods such as getting adequate sleep, exercise, social support and relaxation training, which includes yoga and meditation, Payne said. According to Payne, relaxation training and meditation in particular can lead to profound and positive changes in the brain.“When we talk about building neural real estate, I’m not saying you have to go to Tibet and become a monk for 20 years,” Payne said. “I’m saying look at this eight-week experiment where people had no idea what meditation even was and for eight weeks, [then] they meditate for 20 minutes a day and, all of a sudden, at the end of eight weeks, they see all these changes I’m talking about.”Payne said creating a positive emotional state is also vital for college students, and she recommends many of the same methods for reducing stress, but also emphasizes emotion regulation strategies. These techniques range from simply recognizing and labelling emotions to reappraising negative situations and training yourself to present to the moment, Payne said. Tags: neuroscience, sleep, sleep deprivationlast_img read more

Notre Dame hosts annual Energy Week

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Anne Pillai South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, left and Carmel, Indiana, mayor James Brainard speak at an event about designing smart cities during last year’s Energy Week. This year’s Energy Week started Monday.Anne Berges Pillai, education and outreach associate program director at ND Energy and one of the organizers of Energy Week, said one of the week’s major goals is to spread knowledge about energy and related issues to students and parts of campus who may not otherwise be exposed to the topic.“We definitely want to get as many people engaged as we can,” she said. “This year especially, we have a lot of topics that are related a lot to policy to try and engage parts of campus that maybe haven’t really thought about energy that much before.”In keeping with this goal, the events constituting Energy Week will engage a diverse number of energy related topics. For instance, there will be a lecture delivered by a guest speaker from Kodiak, Alaska, one of only five places in the United States which uses nearly 100 percent renewable electricity. There will also be a guest speaker from Puerto Rico, as well as a showing of a documentary on Hurricane Maria. Both events are meant to examine the power situation on the island.It’s important to be informed about energy and how it works, especially considering that many important energy decisions take place on a local, rather than federal level, Pillai said. This issue was at the center of a talk hosted during last year’s Energy Week between South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Mayor James Brainard from Carmel, Ind.Breanna Belz, a junior on the student energy board, said Energy Week programming has a wide focus. “Of course we have a lot of people from the College of Science and Engineering who deliver lots of technical talks about different forms of energy, but then we also have a lot of people from the College of Business that are big names and that a lot of our students know who talk more on the policy side and the business side,” Belz said. “Like how can these different methods of energy generation succeed? It’s not all about the science, a lot of it is implementation, politics, companies and money.”While many of the events and topics will be especially relevant to students studying energy, sustainability, business and economics, energy is a topic that affects everyone and one that everyone should be informed about, Pillai explained.“We have been reaching out and trying to convince everyone that they can play a role, either as an intelligent citizen who knows about the issues or by doing what they can in their own home,” she said. “It’s a personal responsibility thing, it doesn’t matter what your major is.”Tags: Energy Week, sustainability, Sustainable energy This week marks the beginning of the 12th ND Energy Week, a series of talks and events meant to raise awareness about energy and sustainability across campus.These events will include lectures from both Notre Dame professors and guest speakers, tours of power facilities and documentaries and interactive talks about what it’s like to work in the energy sector. All events are designed to inform students from all majors about different kinds of energy as well as the business and policies that surround energy and sustainability. last_img read more

Today Is National Patriot Day

first_imgSarah Villegas / U.S. Navy JAMESTOWN – Today marks a solemn day to remember those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Former President George W. Bush declared the first “Patriot Day” just before September 11, 2002. That was a year after the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four planes, two of them crashed into both World Trade Center towers in New York, causing them to collapse.Another crashed into the pentagon while a fourth went down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers struggled with hijackers. On Patriot Day, you can honor their memories by volunteering, spreading kindness, and participating in remembrance vigils.Chautauqua County officials will be holding a remembrance ceremony today at noon at the County Courthouse. Viewers can watch that streamed live on the County Government’s Facebook page. 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

Chautauqua County’s Director Emergency Services Is Retiring Next Month

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) WNY News Now File Image.MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County’s Director Emergency Services is retiring at the end of February.Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel announced on Friday that Director John Griffith will retire from his position effective March 1.Deputy Fire Coordinator Noel Guttman will take over following’s Griffith retirement.“It has been an honor to work with the first responders of Chautauqua County,” said Griffith in a statement. “I look forward to working with the new director to help him transition into the office.” Griffith first began his career with the county in April 2012 as a Deputy Fire Coordinator with the Office of Emergency Services.In October 2017, he was promoted to the position of Director.Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Griffith worked with the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to ensure resources were moved into Chautauqua County so first responders, law enforcement, health care workers, and others had proper and sufficient quantities of Personal Protective Equipment.“Throughout his eight years of service, John has worked tirelessly to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Chautauqua County,” said Wendel. “His leadership has been especially critical during the current COVID-19 Pandemic where he has worked closely with a magnitude of agencies to prevent and contain the virus.”“I thank John for his outstanding accomplishments in improving our county’s emergency preparedness and response, and his endless contributions in making Chautauqua County a safer place,” furthered Wendel. “I wish him all the best in retirement.”In addition to his job with the county, Guttman has been a member of the Mayville Fire Department since 1991.In his current role as Deputy Fire Coordinator, he led the County’s Technical Rescue Team and Chautauqua Area Search Team (CAST).Pictured, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel (left) welcomes Noel Guttman as the County’s next Emergency Services Director. Submitted image.Guttman has also served in various law enforcement roles. He previously served as a part-time deputy sheriff with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, police officer with the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, and part-time police officer with the Westfield Police Department.Most recently, Guttman worked as a police officer with the Chautauqua Institution Police, where he was responsible for police patrol and event security within the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution.“I look forward to working in this position and continuing to serve Chautauqua County,” said Guttman.last_img read more

I Can’t Sing! For Now! X Factor Musical Delays Previews

first_img View Comments The West End’s new musical comedy and fictional X Factor spoof I Can’t Sing! has delayed previews due to technical issues. Previously scheduled to begin performances at the London Palladium February 27, the show, starring Olivier Award winner Nigel Harman, Cynthia Erivo and Alan Morrisey, will now start on March 1. Opening night remains set for March 26. Along with Harman, Ervio and Morrisey, the show will also star Ashley Knight, Victoria Elliot, Simon Bailey and Billy Carter.center_img Directed by Sean Foley, I Can’t Sing! features music by Steve Brown and a book and additional lyrics by British comic Harry Hill. The production tells the story of Chenice (Erivo), who lives in an ITV blackspot because her grandad’s iron lung interferes with the signal in her caravan—she’s the only girl in the world who has never heard of The X Factor. When she accidentally stumbles into an audition with her talking dog, she starts a journey to both stardom and love. I Can’t Sing! goes beyond the microphone and under the judges’ desk to reveal the (not necessarily accurate) story of heartache and laughter that keeps millions tuning in every week.last_img read more

Holler Tickets Now On Sale

first_img Related Shows View Comments Written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Kenny Leon, the non-biographical story of Holler If Ya Hear Me focuses on two childhood friends living in a poverty-stricken Midwestern industrial city, struggling to realize their dreams. The production will feature songs from throughout the late rap icon’s career, including “California Love,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Me Against the World” and, of course, the title song. Tickets are now available for Holler If Ya Hear Me, the new musical inspired by the work of Tupac Shakur. Starring Tony winner Tonya Pinkins and award-winning slam poet Saul Williams, the show will begin previews on June 2 at Broadway’s Palace Theatre, with opening night set for for June 19. Holler If Ya Hear Me The cast also features Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, Tony nominee John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone and Dyllon Burnside. Show Closed This production ended its run on July 20, 2014last_img read more