Architecture School hosts Awareness Day

first_imgIn order to help gain a better understanding of the needs of the disabled, fourth-year architecture students navigated campus hallways and sidewalks in wheelchairs, crutches and blindfolds Friday as part of the School of Architecture’s third annual Accessibility Awareness Day. “Our hope is that they would walk the walk with empathy and understanding of what people with various disabilities go through in their normal life,” architecture professor William Ponko said. Ponko said the School of Architecture worked with the Office of the University Architect and Notre Dame Disability Services in order to provide these students with a hands-on approach to learning about accessibility design. After spending their mornings using their wheelchairs and other equipment, the architecture students visited Notre Dame Stadium to see its accommodations for accessibility and then spent time discussing their observations from the entire day. “Close to 50 percent of all American citizens will experience a disability within their lifetime,” Ponko said. “Accessibility is not just an afterthought or a modification to a design.” Office for Students with Disabilities program coordinator Scott Howland said Accessibility Awareness Day gives students practical experience to better accommodate for disabled individuals in future designs. “The original thought behind this was to go right to the source of who would be designing buildings in the future,” Howland said. “This is a way to get them thinking about how a person in a wheelchair might interact with certain designs.” Howland said the idea of universal design is the base for Accessibility Awareness Day. “[Architecture students] can learn to design something from its beginning to be used by everybody,” he said. Senior Gina Paietta said her day in a wheelchair and on crutches was an “eye-opening experience” to the way she sees architecture and design. “Someone entering a building in a wheelchair is not experiencing the building in the same way as someone else,” Paietta said. Architects face the challenge of designing buildings so a disabled individual can engage in a design as similarly as possible to someone without a disability, she said. Paietta said students faced difficulties finding and navigating some of the campus ramps to enter classroom buildings and accessing the Grotto. Even with the minimum standards from the American Disability Association (ADA) in place in many buildings at Notre Dame, navigating an older campus designed before accessibility consciousness was an issue was difficult, Paietta said. Student feedback was presented to the offices of the University Architect and Disability Services, she said. “I think that as the students mature and go through their fourth and fifth-year projects, they design with awareness for people with disabilities,” Ponko said. Howland said the insight he heard from students after they returned their equipment spoke to the success of the day. “It was a way for us to see how we would change things,” Paietta said. “I think everyone really did get a lot out of the project.”last_img read more

South Bend earns Municipal Excellence award

first_imgThe City of South Bend received the Gold Award for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities Friday, specifically because of its involvement in several partnerships to revitalize the area of South Bend around Notre Dame’s campus, according to a University press release. Tim Sexton, associate vice president of Student Affairs and president of the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization (NNRO), said the award recognizes more than 10 years of work by South Bend and Notre Dame. “It’s an affirmation of a lot of hard work by a lot of good people,” Sexton said. “It’s also a great recognition for the neighbors [in the Northeast Neighborhood]. It’s shows clearly we are going down the right track.” South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke received the award in Denver at the annual Congress of Cities and Exposition put on by the League, according to the press release. Marguerite Taylor, who works for Robinson Community Learning Center and lives in the Northeast Neighborhood, represented the University and the Northeast Neighborhood Council. “We are very happy that Notre Dame’s hometown has been so deservedly recognized with this award, and we’re pleased, as well, to have played a role in bringing these initiatives to reality for the well-being of our region as a whole,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said. The award recognized specific efforts between the city and its partners, including the NNRO, Innovation Park, the development and expansion of the Indiana University School of Medicine at South Bend, and plans for a new St. Joseph’s High School, according to the press release. “Each of the projects cited in the award is beneficial in its own right — supporting economic development, retail and entertainment options, health care, housing and education — and are indicative of the University’s ongoing commitment to being a positive force within our community,” Brown said. “When the public and private sectors work together for the common good, great things can and do happen.” Sexton said the cities are categorized by population size, and the winning of such an award is a significant event. “It’s a national award,” Sexton said. “Any time you are recognized nationally, you feel the prestige.” Sexton said he thinks South Bend won the award because it has strong partnerships, which includes its work with Notre Dame. “[The city won because of] focus and collaboration,” he said. “The different funding partners, the residents all coming together. It’s partnership.” Sexton said efforts to improve the Northeast Neighborhood area will continue at least into the next several years, if not beyond. Sixty homes are currently planned for construction near the Robinson Community Learning Center, as well as some rerouting on State Route 23 and plans to continue Eddy Street revitalization south. “There will be a flurry of activity over the next five years,” Sexton said. Brown said University partnership with South Bend is not something new with Innovation Park and the Eddy Street revitalizations. “There is a long history of Notre Dame and South Bend working together — the Center for the Homeless and the Robinson Community Learning Center are two well-known examples — and we certainly have every intention of continuing to collaborate in the future,” he said.last_img read more

Professor lectures on peace-building

first_imgThe key to resolving civil and territorial conflicts lies in footwear, Peter Wallensteen, professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, said Thursday. “The outside world should wear moccasins rather than boots,” Wallensteen said in in the “Narrow Path to Peace Building” lecture. “We should approach peace building [by] walking very lightly.” Wallensteen said conflict resolutions should be based on local initiatives with an emphasis on security for and respect of local populations. “In resolving conflicts, we need to provide not just for security, which could be very repressive in nature, but also for the dignity of the inhabitants,” he said. “There must be dignity through the rule of the law. The people should not be afraid of their government.” Local involvement is important for economic development in countries where conflict has stunted economic growth, he said. “Job creation is another important factor,” Wallensteen said. “If we are going to improve employment, it will have to be based on local initiatives.” To maintain peace, Wallensteen said long-term international involvement is crucial for local populations. “Peace building takes sometime between 15 and 30 years after a war,” Wallensteen said. “Normally the international community is not willing to commit for longer than a year or two. There will then be new tests of conflict or economic problems as well,” Wallensteen said. The process of walking lightly is not an easy one, he said. “Peace building is a narrow path because it is not easy to get the results that we want,” Wallensteen said. “The problem is not just trying to stop conflicts or contain them, but to build lasting peace.” Wallensteen said in order to achieve peace, citizens must not only build, but demolish some things as well. “The world has created too many walls, and we should tear those down,” he said. “These walls are not just physical ones, but also [economic ones].”last_img read more

Conference highlights society’s perceptions of beauty

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted the Bold Beauty Conference for the fourth time Tuesday in the College’s student center, featuring student projects and presentations on society’s conceptions of beauty. Seniors Laura Glaub and JoLynn Williams coordinated this year’s event with assistance from professor Terri L. Russ. Glaub said the conference showcased a variety of perspectives on beauty. “One person is doing a poem and [another person is presenting on] how to recover from sexual assault,” Glaub said. “We tried to do more hands-on events this year. There is a poster to write about what food men and women are compared to in the lounge.” The project fair began at 11 a.m. in the student center atrium, and in the student center lounge, Barbie dolls created in Russ’s Female Beauty class this semester and in previous semesters were on display. Some of the featured Barbie Dolls were the Trophy Wife Barbie from two years ago, the Regina George Barbie, Call Me Maybe Barbie, Teenage Barbie, 16 and Pregnant Barbie, SMC Barbie and ND Barbie, PMS Barbie and more. Each Barbie had below it an explanation of its significance. Senior Anabel Castaneda said her Barbie was S&M Barbie. “My Barbie goes off of the double bind that women have to live up to,” Castaneda said. “Women are expected to be one thing and then another thing again. Women are expected to balance that.” Projects addressed topics such as the magazine Cosmopolitan, movies, phot shoppin, andsothers. Saint Mary’s senior Kate Park said the project she created with senior Katie Greenspon concerned today’s plus-size model.  “The new plus-size model is considered a size six,” Park said. “So a size six and above is considered plus-size, which we believe is absolutely ludicrous and that is why we are doing our project on that.” Junior Sara Gray said her project focused on physical attractiveness in the work place. “I’m talking about their weight, the look, and how that affects [women] when they go in for a job,” Gray said. “It’s so true that more physically attractive women get higher positions and more benefits. Seventy-fiv  percent of managers said they would rather have women work just as hard on their resume as their appearance. When you’re attractive they associate really good characteristics to you.” Senior Kelsey Smolek said she focused her project on photo manipulation and went through advertisements of both male and female models to see how photo editors changed their appearances to make them look more attractive. “[This manipulation is] sort of giving little girls and women an image that they can’t live up to,” Smolek said. “These types of images can cause bulimia, anorexia, and other issues.” Gray said her project featured photos of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Kim Kardashian and revealed the heavy editing that went into their pictures. Women are given thinnerAarmssand stomachs, and men are given bigger muscles, she said. “It’s just really disturbing to look at,” Smolek said. Junior Amanda Stukel said she dressed in outfits depicting particular stereotypes on Saint Mary’s campus and Notre Dame’s campus to see how people would react.  “A lot of people began to contradict themselves when they made comments,” Stukel said. “This definitely shows that people size you up within 10 seconds. We found that dressed up attire at Notre Dame was not as criticized as it is here on Saint Mary’s campus. It’s very much more relaxed here at Saint Mary’s.” Glaub said the purpose of the conference was to inspire students to stick up for true beauty. “There are events that teach you to fight back and be an advocate for female beauty,” Glaub said… “We’re trying to show people how to fight back.”last_img read more

Ambassador promotes brand

first_imgJunior Rachel Greenberg complements her marketing major by working as a campus ambassador for Procter & Gamble (P&G) to promote brand loyalty and social media interest among students. As part of P&G’s “ReadyU” campaign, Greenberg said her job is more than just handing out free samples to girls in her dorm. “I’m supposed to distribute them in a way that promotes P&G but also shows students that P&G is an advocate for their college career,” she said. “It’s distributing these products for a functional benefit, obviously … but also on a deeper level, Ready-U supports the idea that … grades aren’t everything and sometimes [you] have to put the books away. “The campaign is primarily a Facebook page but also has physical components that manifest itself in marketing events on campus,” she said. The theme of the campaign is “Conquer Outside the Classroom,” Greenberg said, which emphasizes a college experience goes beyond the academic realm. “[The campaign] looks back to why we go to college in the first place, to have fun with your friends and grow as a person,” she said. “The values P&G [tries] to promote are so great for Notre Dame students specifically, who are so driven in getting good grades but also really focused on getting a well-rounded college experience.” Greenberg said she has used hall events like hall council to advertise P&G products. “I made a Pic Stitch of a few of my friends using P&G products, like a Tide to Go stick for cleaning a stain on a shirt and a friend getting ready for a party using CoverGirl mascara.” Part of Greenberg’s job is to “drive likes, comments and shares on the pictures” on social media, so she said she held a raffle to encourage students to like or comment on the pictures. “[The campaign] is not just based on advertising products but focused on building this online interactive base that’s fun and something you can do in your spare time,” she said. “It gets you to interact with the brand.” Greenberg said she reports to managers in a New York advertising agency, and she and ambassadors on other campuses are able to communicate the effectiveness of certain advertising strategies. “We’re involved in marketing strategy at the same time. You’re not just doing the dirty work,” she said. “You’re actually analyzing what works and what doesn’t work, and how to promote [products] better.” Greenberg said the campaign is primarily interested in promoting brand loyalty, which they believe will eventually drive sales.  “We show that P&G is more than just a supplier, but [also] a supporter of your college experience,” she said. Contact Catherine Owers at [email protected]last_img read more

Administrator discusses leadership

first_imgDrew Buscareno, Assistant Vice President for University Relations, gave a lecture titled “Servant Leadership” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Mendoza College of Business Tuesday. Buscareno’s was one in a series of lectures for Mendoza’s “Ethics in Business week”.“Servant leadership” is a leadership philosophy developed by Robert Greenleaf which centers on the idea that a leader is meant to serve others and to allow full growth of the organization and its constituents.Buscareno said servant leadership can be practiced by anyone, including people in positions that are not traditionally considered leadership positions.“One of the insights I have had on servant leadership is that those who practice it can really transcend any kind of organizational hierarchy their formal position has placed on them,” Buscareno said. “Servant leaders aren’t really bound to an organizational structure.”Jodi Lo | The Observer Servant leadership allows people to become more involved with their organization as a whole and enables a greater opportunity to network ideas within as well as outside their current department, Buscareno said.“This model is absolutely a relationship-centric model,” Buscareno said. “I think there is an incredible humility combined with a fierce drive to create a better system.”One of the examples Buscareno pointed to was the leadership of Pope Francis. He said Pope Francis’ efforts to ground the mission of the Church in the reality faced by the people the Church intends to serve exemplifies the principles of servant leadership.“[The example of Pope Francis] gives us an insight on the definition of servant leadership,” he said.Buscareno said the principles of servant leadership rely on a model of “walking with, listening to, speaking truth and breaking bread.”“This [model] gives us a good framework of how we can practice servant leadership,” Buscareno said. “In the examples that I’ve brought, there is this intense focus to ‘walk with.’ The practice of servant leadership, no matter what the role we’re in, attempts to become grounded in whoever we serve.”Those who want to practice servant leadership should identify mentors in their lives who embody its principles, recognize the importance of team work and “be content to be a beginner,” Buscareno said.“There is a passion for mission among servant leaders. It is all about the mission and all about those who are part of that mission,” he said. “Service orientation can help influence our team performance. That’s the kind of savvy that often comes with leadership, when leaders see that opportunity to connect and face this barrier of ideas together.”Tags: Drew Buscareno, Ethics in Business week, Mendoza, Pope Francis, Robert Greenleaf, servant leadershiplast_img read more

Student Senate debates conflict of interest issue

first_imgIn its weekly meeting Wednesday night, the Student Senate voted to open the previously secret minutes from last week’s closed Senate meeting regarding allegations of misconduct against student body president Bryan Ricketts, a junior, which the Student Union Ethics Commission investigated.Junior Zach Waterson, president of Judicial Council and chair of the Ethics Commission, said the committee investigated Ricketts on two allegations of misconduct: infringement upon the rights and dignity of the allegation initiator — specifically, a lack of transparency with regard to appointments to the student government executive cabinet — and untimely presentation of a monetary gift to one who assisted in the campaign for student body president.In a statement after the Senate meeting, chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst, a junior, spoke to clarify the actions that led to allegations of misconduct. (Editor’s Note: Selhorst is a Viewpoint columnist for The Observer).“During the initial consideration of running for student body president, Bryan consulted with the initiator and indicated his interest that individual serve as chief of staff were he to win the election,” Sehlhorst said. “In the midst of the campaign, Bryan had concerns about the potential for the individual to lead a large staff and serve as a core member of the team.“He realized that he needed to reconsider automatically offering the position to the individual. After the election, Bryan and Nidia conducted a search process based on recommendations from current and former members of the Student Union and individual applications. They concluded this process by offering me the position.”Sehlhorst said the initiator received a $20 gift card from Ricketts after the election for his or her help with the campaign; other members of the Ricketts-Ruelas campaign staff received the same gift for their work, he said. The Ethics Commission did not find that this action was a violation, Selhorst said.At the closed meeting last week, the Ethics Commission, which can only advise Senate on how to respond to allegations of misconduct, presented four recommendations on how to proceed, Waterson said. The first two of these recommendations dealt specifically with the misconduct:“The Student Senate shall refer the Student Body President to the Student Government Advisor or an appropriate mediating administrator to hold discussion with the allegation initiator in order to improve his ability to balance personal relationships with Student Union duties and thus better serve as Student Body President.“The Student Senate shall draft a resolution to prohibit the practice of presenting gifts to individuals to reward assistance rendered during a campaign, appointment or selection which could present an ethical dilemma.”The remaining recommendations dealt with another issue that arose during the investigation: sophomore Danny Funaro is the gender issues department director as well as the historian of PrismND. According to Sehlhorst, the initiator of the complaint claimed Ricketts had known there was concern over a potential conflict of interest arising from the fact that Funaro currently holds both positions but failed to mention it to the Senate when Funaro was confirmed by the group.According to Waterson, the Ethics Committee recommended the following on this topic:“The Student Senate shall examine Section 1.3 (c) of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body and the way it encompasses the offices within the Student Union special interest organizations. This clause should be adjusted to mandate the examination of potential conflicts of interest that may arise when an individual holds both an office within the Student Union and an office within a Student Union special interest group, such as between the Department of Gender Issues and PrismND.“The Student Senate shall hold discussion with PrismND on the topic of Danny Funaro simultaneously holding the positions of Department of Gender Issues director and PrismND historian.”Due to the latter recommendation, Senate opened discussion during this week’s meeting on whether Funaro would be allowed to keep his student government position.President of PrismND Lily Crawford, a junior, said this is a conflict of interest because the two organizations Funaro represents have specific initiatives that do not coincide.“The conflict of interest lies in the fact that PrismND’s mission and the mission of student government are different and the fact that in having both positions you cannot inherently untie yourself from one when you’re acting in another,” she said.Funaro said Crawford had previously asked him to choose one position because of this perceived conflict of interests, but he did not.“I came to the conclusion that there was not a conflict of interests, due to the duties of each position not conflicting with one another, and therefore I chose not to choose between the two,” Funaro said.Selhorst said there wasn’t a conflict of interest due to the differences in the structures of PrismND and student government.“Right now, we’re talking about a pastoral mission — PrismND — and a policy mission — student government, and typically conflict of interest is considered when they’re the same and when you could be giving that benefit to another group that you’re in that you wouldn’t be giving to another group. In choosing our staff, we saw that any potential to give that benefit to PrismND was far outweighed by the prospective it provided. Danny wouldn’t be the final decision maker on items, so there wouldn’t necessarily be that risk.”Discussion specific to Funaro’s potential conflict of interest was tabled for next week.Waterson presented a resolution to avoid future concerns for conflict of interest, which the Senate passed. Resolution SS1516-07 will require nominators to make any proposed conflict of interests known to the Senate during the approval process and clarifies the purpose of the Student Union Ethics Commission.“The subcommittee feels these are both steps in the right direction toward a stronger Student Union,” Waterson said. Tags: Bryan Ricketts, ethics violation, PrismND, Student government, student programming, student senatelast_img read more

Spanish courses connect students and local community

first_imgSpanish classes at Notre Dame do not take place exclusively in the classroom.Since 2010, the department for romance languages and literatures together with the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) has offered various community-based learning (CBL) Spanish courses, in which students participate in service in the South Bend community to complement what they learn in the classroom.“The people that [Notre Dame students] are working with in the community not only put a face to the numbers and to the stories — which is something that we’ve heard over and over again from the students — but [they] make it very real and very personal, and it gives a sense of urgency or importance to what it is they’re learning,” Rachel Parroquin, the director of Spanish CBL courses at Notre Dame, said. “It really inspires them to do something.”Parroquin said in each CBL course, a class of Notre Dame students partners with a specific organization. Students attend class meetings in a traditional classroom setting in addition to spending a minimum of 10 hours doing service with their partner organization.“That’s really where the power of the pedagogy comes in — combining the experiential with the academic content,” she said.The program has grown since the introduction of the first CBL course in 2010, Parroquin said, and various teachers in the department of romance languages and literatures have piloted classes aimed at encouraging student engagement with the community.Associate professional specialist Maria Coloma is teaching the CBL course being offered this fall, in which students are traveling to Washington High School to mentor local high school students.Sophomore Geralyn Smith, who is currently taking Coloma’s class, said relationship-building is a key component of the course.“It is about focusing on their academics and helping them with school, but we also want to foster a relationship, which is why we’re paired with them,” she said. “So it’s about helping them with school but it’s also about being kind of a mentor, someone they can look up to.”Smith said the course marks a significant departure from her other classes, which dedicate a majority of their time to academics.“With this class, we discuss real issues that are affecting the Latino community, and that’s a big change,” she said. “Because it’s not just about me academically, it’s not about me growing academically, it’s also about me growing socially and being able to play a part in and have an impact on a community that’s not my own.”Senior Zach Wiley, who is also enrolled in Coloma’s course, said the service component of the course enables students to better understand the academic content taught during class meetings.“It’s real world,” he said. “In a lot of my science classes, you have the lecture and then you have the lab, and Spanish classes are pretty much just lecture. This [course] is sort of like a lab component.”The interactive nature of CBL courses also helps students understand complex topics and improve language skills through conversation with native speakers, senior Ray’Von Jones, who has previously taken three CBL courses, said.“The thing about CBL courses is they add another dimension to what you’re learning,” Jones said. “You learn theories in class, you learn things in a more abstract way, [but] then once you’re in contact with the community it’s easier to connect the dots, and it kind of brings the theory to life.“ … I overcame a huge threshold when I started taking my first community-based class. Because it’s one thing to learn Spanish and speak it in class — it’s more scripted — but to be talking with people? It’s a lot more difficult, and it’s a quicker, more efficient way to learn a language.”Tags: CBL courses, community engagement, Community Service, Spanishlast_img read more

Knights of Columbus host dinner to benefit refugees

first_imgThe Notre Dame Knights of Columbus council hosted a dinner to benefit Christian refugees Saturday night, highlighted by the keynote address from Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds on the role of Islam in the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.As the West looks at ongoing developments in the Islamic world, the gravity of Christian persecution is not to be underestimated, Reynolds said.“It seems that genocide is not too strong of a word,” he said.It is crucial, Reynolds said, to understand why these atrocities against Christians are happening in areas where Muslims constitute the majority. “Much of the Christian persecution is taking place in the Islamic world, and it’s not taking place in just one area of the Islamic world,” Reynolds said.Reynolds said it is important to recognize the threat of Islamophobia while also acknowledging the widespread persecution of Christians — not just in one specific place in the Islamic world, but across the world from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia.“We have an issue that we need to address very clearly and soberly, not in way that invites Islamophobia or Islam-bashing,” he said.In order to explain the current situation, Reynolds discussed important theological concepts involved, saying the complex web of political, economic and other causes that contribute to Christian persecution went beyond the scope of the talk. Therefore, Reynolds said it is vital to understand what Islam says in theory and then address the practical reality.Reynolds said Americans often have a faulty understanding of the Islamic word “sharia,” because it is typically used as if it were a concrete set of laws or specific system. Rather, Reynolds said sharia is a fundamental principle behind the Islamic faith that God has a plan for everything.“Sharia is the divine will for individual humans and for human societies,” Reynolds said.Underneath the concept of sharia, Reynolds said Islam holds three basic tenets: that Islam is a natural religion, that it has comprehensive scope and that is the only true religion.By natural religion, Reynolds said he means Muslims believe Islam is in harmony with human nature and that all humans are born Muslim.“Many converts will say ‘I never converted to Islam, I reverted to Islam,’” he said.Reynolds said the nature of Islam and its many teachings is surprisingly vast for many Christians because it covers nearly every facet of human endeavors, from daily life to broader topics such as politics and science.“Islam will not only teach you how to pray, it will teach you how to dress, how to eat, how to run an economy, how to run affairs of state,” he said.Reynolds said he risks stating the obvious when he claims Muslims believe Islam is the true religion, but it is important to understand how strong and absolute their faith is. In contrast, Reynolds said when he asks his undergraduate theology classes whether or not they believe in Catholicism, many say yes, but add self-conscious explanations that there is truth and good in other religions.“Muslims don’t have this sort of uncomfortable attitude as regards to the truth of their religion,” he said.Under sharia, Reynolds said Jews and Christian are supposed to be offered certain protections and granted a special status as “people of the book,” in contrast to polytheists and atheists.“Because they have been included in the divine book or scripture of revelation that God has spoken to their prophets, they’re close enough to Islam that they can be tolerated in an Islamic state,” Reynolds said.However, Reynolds said this religious tolerance is quite limited, especially in regards to public expressions of faith that are not in accordance with Islam.“Jews and Christians can be tolerated. They have freedom to worship, they can go their churches and their synagogues, they can do their own marriages, they can do their own divorces all of that — but they can’t sow the seeds of discord,” he said.In reality, Reynolds said the implications and consequences of sharia can lead to fundamentalism and ultimately persecution, referencing groups like Boko Haram and ISIS that derive their ideologies from a specific reading of Islam.“The phenomenon that we’re dealing with, with global jihad or Islamism, is exclusively Sunni and never Shi’ite,” Reynolds said.Reynolds said Sunni Islam places a strong emphasis on defending the faith, which is often used as justification to ban public statements or anything considered offensive to Islam. For example, he said it is a capital offense to insult Islam in Pakistan. However, Reynolds said the religious devotion in Islam has positive aspects that Christians should embrace.“This piety often is sort of beautiful. It’s people who love God and find meaning in their religious life,” he said. “They’re obedient to God, maybe in different ways than Catholics. They’re deeply devoted to prayer. Their example of prayer and fasting can be inspiring.”Reynolds concluded his talk by suggesting ways in which Christians in the West can help the persecuted. He encouraged people to donate to organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, that support refugees. However, Reynolds said it is important that organizations helping the persecuted in the Middle East do not exclusively help Christians.On a personal level, Reynolds said Christians should to get know Muslims, pray for them and love them, in addition to contributing to the new evangelization and focusing on getting young adults more involved in the life of the Church.Tags: Christian refugees, Islam, Knights of Columbus, Muslim, Refugeeslast_img read more

ARK-ND provides therapy for kids

first_imgEvery Sunday night, Rolfs Aquatic Center fills up with student volunteers who gather with kids from the community for an hour of swim lessons and pool games. The weekly meetings function as a fun activity for the kids who attend, but they also aim to offer distraction — the club aims to help children suffering from serious medical conditions, senior and co-president of Aquatic Relief for Kids at Notre Dame (ARK-ND) Ann Iverson said.ARK-ND coordinates with local hospitals to aid pediatric cancer and diabetic patients through aquatic therapy, providing a safe environment for the young patients to have fun for an evening. ARK-ND was founded by a member of the Notre Dame women’s water polo team who suffered from cancer as a child and participated in a similar program when she was young. She founded ARK-ND to give pediatric cancer patients in their maintenance phase of treatment an opportunity to play games, connect and swim, senior and co-president Caroline Murtagh said in an email.Both Iverson and Murtagh have been involved in ARK-ND since their freshman years, and as a result, have built relationships with some of the patients who have been coming to meetings for years.“It is such a joy to work with these families … I have loved watching the kids grow,” Murtagh said.  “One girl was afraid to put her face in the water for months, so she spent every lesson doggy paddling in a bubble. Then, one day, she told me that she had a secret — she said that she learned to swim. All of a sudden, she was putting her face in the water, swimming without a bubble and jumping off the side of the pool.”Iverson also recalled kids who were afraid of the pool a few years back who have since grown up and now thoroughly enjoy swimming and playing in the water.Iverson said ARK-ND not only functions as a healthy distraction for the children, but the activities also aid the parents of the children.“I think [ARK-ND] is a good community for the kids and for their parents because they are able to be around other people who have experienced similar situations; that includes kids who have had cancer and also their siblings who can meet other kids who have siblings with cancer,” Iverson said.Murtagh said a father of a pediatric cancer patient wrote a letter about ARK-ND this year and gave it to her to show his sincere appreciation. “In the letter, he talked about how much his family had been struggling through his daughter’s cancer, but ARK provided just a short time each week where he could see his kids smile and laugh,” Murtagh said.  “Although our club is small and we play only a tiny role in these families’ lives, moments like this mean everything.”Iverson said the club welcomes any student who can swim and is interested in volunteering to join.“It’s nice because it’s pretty low commitment, but you can tell the kids love it,” Iverson said.  “It’s a good way to start out your week on a Sunday night, if you’re stressed about homework and tests — it’s a nice break.”Iverson also discussed the benefit of engaging in community service as a Notre Dame student.“Even though this occurs on campus, it’s people from the broader South Bend community we meet. … Getting to know them and hearing what’s going on in their makes me feel more connected to the community, which is important,” Iverson said.Tags: acquatic relief for kids, ark-nd, cancerlast_img read more