Belles for Fitness get into shape

first_imgThe women of Saint Mary’s gained 134 new BFFs on Monday — Belles for Fitness, that is. The Belles for Fitness program, created in 2008, encourages participants to exercise 200 minutes per week over a five-week period. Bridgette Van Schoyck Clark, fitness instructor and Belles for Fitness director, said the unhealthy fitness behaviors of some students prompted her to create the program. “I started this program in 2008 because as I would spend [about] three hours per day in the Angela [Athletic Facility], I noted that one to two weeks before Spring Break the students were in there killing themselves with these ridiculous marathon workouts to lose their holiday pounds before [bikini season],” Clark said. “I decided to develop a program that would help them shed their holiday pounds safely over a [five] week period instead of two.” Clark said Belles for Fitness helps students safely shed their winter break weight by encouraging participants to form teams of two to 10 people for motivation and moral support. “Research has proved over and over that women have a greater chance of success with the support of their friends and family; thus, the teams,” she said. And the choice of a 200-minute weekly fitness goal was no accident either, Clark said. “The goal of 200 minutes comes from the recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine that we need to exercise 300 minutes per week to prevent weight gain,” Clark said. “So 300 minutes minus about 100 minutes of walking on campus to and from classes equals 200 minutes.” Clark said various types of exercise count as fitness, including cardiovascular and strength training, flexibility, fitness classes, exercise videos and sports. Teams are also encouraged to exercise and meet outside of the Angela Athletic Facility. “[Teams] come together once a week for a ‘team huddle’ to keep each other motivated,” Clark said. “[They can] share Shape Magazine ideas, recipes, new ab routines, or discuss the helpful information put together for each huddle.” Clark added she is trying to freshen up the routine with new activity offerings for participants this year. “I’m trying to change it up and keep it fresh and fun, so [teams] will be getting free passes to some of the local facilities to change up their workouts,” she said. “They can go to the ICE [Athletic Center] for a Piloxing class, Memorial [Health and Lifestyle Center] to swim in the pool, Solace [Yoga Studio] for Hot Yoga and the Kroc [Corps Community Center] for the rock climbing wall. I also have guest trainers coming in on the weekends to take the girls through some fun Belles for Fitness workouts.” Clark’s creative ideas have produced positive results for Belles for Fitness. The program’s record turnout over the past four years is 150 participants, and this year’s pace is on track with that record, with 24 teams totaling 134 students and faculty members participating so far. As a team-based initiative, Belles for Fitness helps students push themselves to work out not only on an individual level but also as integral members of a team. “In January and February, we can easily go ten days without seeing any sunshine, which makes it easy to hibernate in our nice warm dorm rooms and eat comfort food, cooped up with all the germs that run rampant through campus,” Clark said. “This program gives the girls that little extra push to get out and exercise, relieve some stress, build up their immune system, work the kinks out and exercise their most important muscle ¾their heart.” Clark has a simple message for students considering joining the initiative: “Just do it.”last_img read more

SMC nursing professor studies diabetes

first_imgResults released this week from a Loyola University Chicago study suggest that vitamin D supplements can help decrease pain in women suffering from type-2 diabetes and depression. Mary Byrn, assistant professor of nursing at Saint Mary’s, was a member of the study’s original research team and said she has been involved in research since graduate school. “I got involved in that study as a graduate research assistant,” Byrn said. “My area of work is [obstetrics]  – labor and delivery – so since it’s women, it fit into my area.” Byrn said the study was originally looking at the impact of vitamin D supplements on moods. The subjects, women with type-2 diabetes and depression whose blood showed vitamin D deficiencies, were examined twice over the six-month supplement intake period, she said. Todd Doyle, a chemical psychology fellow at Loyola, conducted the analysis of the data Byrn and her colleagues gathered, she said. “In the original study we were really focused on depression, weight and blood pressure,” she said. “We found that the vitamin D for women with type-2 diabetes improved mood, improved depression, improved weight and also decreased pain.” Byrn said vitamin supplements could have a huge impact on daily health. She said the results of this study could significantly improve the lives of women currently suffering from the symptoms of type-2 diabetes. “People seem more willing to take a vitamin than a medication, so I think if we can find this to be an effective treatment, people will be more likely to stick to that treatment,” she said. Loyola researcher Sue Penckofer has been given a $1.49 million grant to conduct further studies into the effects of vitamin D. According to a Loyola press release, the vitamin D supplements in the study were provided in doses of 50,000 International Units (IU) per week, which averages out to about 7,000 IU per day. Compared to the normal recommendation of 600 IU a day, Byrn said this is a significant increase. “We work with an endocrinologist and a cardiologist and [50,000 IU is] something they’ll use with their patients when their patients come in with insufficient vitamin D levels,” she said. “They’ll use this 50,000 to get them up into normal levels.” Since the study will only involve women who meet the requirements, which includes having a demonstrable vitamin D deficiency, Byrn said there is little risk of incurring the negative side affects of too-high levels of vitamin D. She said Penckofer’s new study would examine the impact of different amounts of supplementary vitamin D, to validate and further the results from the previous study. “The new study is going to be randomized, so half of the people will get 50,000 IU [of vitamin D] and half of the people will get a normal vitamin D dose [of 4,200 IU],” Byrn said. “Hopefully, since there will be two groups, we’ll be able to see if it’s really the high-dose vitamin D that’s contributing to these results.” Although these studies have included only a small subset of the population, she said she believes the results may end up being applicable to people across the board. “With the next study, we’ll have more validated findings,” Byrns said. “Then our conclusions of the effects of vitamin D will be stronger, and then we will hopefully be able to get general practice physicians to start checking people’s vitamin D levels when they come in for their regular check up.” She said she sees the results of this study as providing a cost-effective treatment for a healthier population. Contact Tabitha Ricketts at [email protected]last_img read more

Lecture presses need for prison reform

first_imgMartin F. Horn, executive director of the New York State Sentencing Commission, delivered the fourth annual Human Dignity Lecture sponsored by the Institute for Church Life on Wednesday.Horn’s lecture, entitled “Prison Reform: Problematic Necessity,” explored the evolution of the modern prison system, the effects of prison on both prisoners and regular citizens and his opinions on how the American prison system could be improved.“I have visited and worked in many prisons throughout my career and have come to the conclusion that the prison, by its very nature, is a flawed institution, destructive of human dignity,” Horn said.“I would like to share with you some of my personal experiences and observations gained over a career of 40 years working with the imprisoned, the about-to-be-imprisoned and persons released from prison,” Horn said.“Imprisonment is the public imposition of involuntary physical confinement, treating lawbreakers in ways that would be legally and morally wrong to treat those who have not broken the law,” he said. “It is punishment carried out by the state in our name. And because it is, each of us should be concerned with how it is accomplished.”Horn discussed a report released by a committee of national research chaired by John Jay College President Jeremy Travis entitled “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences.” The report challenges the United States to reconsider a justice system based that has flooded prisons.“How should we respond to the mass incarceration of over two million people in our country?” Horn asked.Horn said the answer to this question requires a close look at prison populations.“Prisoners in every jurisdiction come from just a small number of communities, mostly concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods with the least resources and the most problems of health, housing and nutrition,” he said.“One cannot divorce the discussion of imprisonment from the discussion of race in our country. As a result of federal census rules and federal funding schemes, we redirect money away from communities in need to prison communities, and through discriminatory voting laws, diminish the electoral power of the most poor and disenfranchised communities.”According to Horn, however, race and socioeconomic status are just two of several issues that need be discussed.“As a civilized society, how can we explain the fact that by some estimates, over 30 percent of the persons in prisons are persons with mental illness?” he said. “How can we allow that? […] Prisons and jails are the wrong places for our mentally ill.”Horn said the American penal system has been inundated with the largest number of inmates in its history, and prisons have not been able to accommodate such a large population. For example, dormitory-style barracks have replaced traditional cells, leading to increased violence, difficulties controlling prison populations and challenges rehabilitating prisoners.Many prisoners are released without the tools to stay out of prison, Horn said.“When a man or woman leaves prison, they need three things to succeed,” Horn said. “They must remain sober; they need a place to live, and they need a job. And they need all three simultaneously.“Typically parole agencies don’t invest in providing resources to assist their charges to stay sober. … They don’t invest money in helping people on parole find and keep work. … They don’t provide any assistance in finding a place to live. Why, then, should we be surprised when [the prisoners] are returned to prison?”Because of this, Horn said prisons serve society but with a heavy cost to inmates.“Prison and punishment have important normative functions, but at a price,” he said.Horn ended his lecture by offering suggestions on how to improve American prisons, including encouraging transparency, mental health care reform, eradicating drug use from prisons and a larger focus on rehabilitation in prisons and jails.“Prisons should be places where prisoners learn that respect for the law and for others is how people in civil society behave,” Horn said. “This means that the staff must respect the law and each other as well as their charges. We must build within our prisons a culture of integrity. The goal of prisons should be to release better citizens, not better criminals.”Tags: Human Dignity Lecture, Institute for Church Life, John Jay College, Martin F. Horn, New York State Sentencing Commission, Prison Reformlast_img read more

Law professor emeritus dies

first_imgRobert E. Rhodes Jr., professor emeritus of legal ethics, died Nov. 25 at the age of 87, according to a University press release.Rhodes arrived at the Notre Dame Law School in 1956 and since continued “teaching and writing in the areas of administrative law, civil procedure, ethics, jurisprudence, law and theology, legal history and welfare legislation,” the press release stated. He was also a member of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural affairs.“The many of us who loved him, loved him for his character as much as for his extensive and superb scholarship,” Nell Jessup Newton, dean of the Notre Dame Law School, said in a statement. “Bob was an essential part of Notre Dame Law School for more than 50 years. Though he retired earlier this year, he remained as intellectually vigorous and engaged as ever, most recently working on final touches of a book manuscript.”Rhodes graduated from Brown University in 1947 and served in the U.S. Navy for two years before earning a law degree from Harvard, the press release stated. From 1952 to 1954, he worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, followed by two years on the Rutgers School of Law faculty. During the summers, he served as a clerk for the New Jersey Supreme Court.A wake took place at Kaniewski Funeral Home on Dec. 1 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and was followed with a funeral Mass at 3:30 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.Tags: Legal Ethics, Notre Dame Law School, Robert E. Rhodes Jr.last_img read more

Author explores use of sparkle

first_imgMary Kearney, associate professor of film, television and theatre and director of the gender studies program, explored the prevalence and impact of sparkle in pop culture Saturday, during her lecture titled, “Sparkle: Contemporary Girls Media Culture.”Kearney’s lecture, part of the Snite Musuem of Art “Saturday Scholars Series,” examined how elements such as glitter, sparkle and luminescence have become ubiquitous ingirls’ media and how this trend subsequently shapes girls’ production and consumption of media. Her book, “Girls Make Media” highlights the way more girls than ever before, produce various forms of media. Additionally, the book analyzes the presence of sparkle and glitter in media and the connection to a historical fascination with luminescence and sparkle to the ethereal and the heavenly.“Today, in comparison with other historical periods, girls’ media texts are truly luminous and spectacular,” Kearney said. “I’m interested in the visual style of said media, not only because they contribute so strongly to the overall meaning of text, but also because of their affective dimension and how they make us feel. I’m curious about how these meanings might inspire our further engagement in media culture, especially producing our own media.”Kearney said while sparkle has been present in pop culture for years in animated films and toys, sparkle has become far more prevalent in television, film and toys marketed towards young girls during the past 15 years, with notable examples including Disney films such as “Frozen” and “Brave,” and television shows such as “Hannah Montana.” Kearney said while the trend is primarily geared toward young, white girls between the ages of eight and 12, sparkle and glitter have an almost universal appeal among girls of different ages and backgrounds, and this trend encourages girls to  “sparkle up to affirm their youthful femininity.”Kearney said, “Those displays have more than just suggestive beauty. They have also signified a particular form of youthful femininity associated with visibility, publicness, wealth, and sexual maturity.”“The fashion and beauty industries have long encouraged girls to understand female attractiveness as best communicated via sparkly bodily displays, modelled by film stars and other celebrities,” she said.According to Kearney, sparkle has become synonymous with female youth and beauty, due in large part to the prevalence of glitter and glamour in celebrity culture.Kearney said there are three forms of “sparkle” in girls media culture: magical — media involving transformative beings such as witches — environmental — primarily concerned with bioluminescence and bright environments — and bodily — associated with how women use sparkle and glitter to adorn their bodies. She said the three forms of sparkle are primarily found in films such as “Cinderella” and “Frozen,” as well as television shows such as “Hannah Montana” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” These kinds of movies and TV shows exemplify in different ways the push for a vibrant, fame-centric ideal of femininity, she saidKearney said the prominence of sparkle in pop culture contributes to a post-feminist ideal, where female empowerment resides is the responsibility of the individual woman. Operating under this notion, the ideal woman is one who embraces glittery, hyper-feminine products and adornments for her personal pleasure.“The ideal post-feminist woman, therefore, is one whose femininity and agency are communicated primarily through a visibly self-disciplined and glamorously adorned body.”While the association of sparkle with a post-feminist ideal at times overemphasizes the importance of beauty and presentation for young girls, she recognized how sparkle can also be an inspiration and encouragement for young girls to create their own media while remaining fascinated by the beauty of sparkle. She said while theorists are often critical of sparkle culture, it is necessary to understand the way young women emotionally engage with sparkle in contemporary media.“With those perspectives in mind, I want to reclaim femininity, and thus sparkle, as a potentially resistant force for girls,” Kearney said. “In arguing for the potentially positive contributions of sparkle in girls’ media, I also want to encourage attention to its affect or the emotions such luminous beauty elicits.“ … I am all for sparkle if that’s what gets girls involved in creating media.”Tags: Mary Kearney, Saturday Scholar Series, Snite Museum, Sparklelast_img read more

Jenkins defends Laetare Medal decision

first_imgUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins defended his decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner in an interview with the Observer on Tuesday, his first comments since the University announced this year’s recipients in a press release on March 5.Olivia Mikkelsen The decision sparked a controversy — on campus and on a national scale — and has received both criticism and support from various members of the Notre Dame community.“I don’t think controversies are necessarily a bad thing if they lead us to have serious conversations, to think deeply about issues,” Jenkins said in the interview.The Laetare Medal is awarded to an American Catholic at Notre Dame’s Commencement each year in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and society. The award honors Catholics in all different fields; recent recipients include singer Aaron Neville, biologist Kenneth Miller and poet Dana Gloria.The decision to honor two Catholic politicians was not a timely one in light of the upcoming election, Jenkins said, but instead meant to recognize Biden and Boehner’s many years of service to the country as their political careers begin to wind down.“We’re not endorsing the active politicians who are going to have a campaign,” he said. “But I thought it was an opportunity to recognize people who had risen to the very highest level of political leadership. For their dedication to public service, their willingness to work with others for the common good, we recognize them with the Laetare.”Jenkins said the decision to award the medal to two members of different political parties was to avoid any perception of the University endorsing one or the other.“I said before, and I’ll say it again, this award does not endorse the particular positions of either person,” he said. “… I think it’s significant these two men, despite being of different parties disagreeing on so much, became and remain friends.”The decision was meant to address the division and animosity present in today’s political environment, Jenkins said.“I do want, with this award, to fight against the tendency that those who disagree with us are necessarily evil or worthy only of our disdain,” he said. “We can disagree — and even disagree on significant moral issues — and still find laudable qualities in those with whom we disagree.”Each year, a committee provides recommendations to Jenkins, who is free, but not required, to select an honoree from the list of suggestions. Biden and Boehner were not on this year’s list of proposed recipients, but Jenkins chose to award the medal to the two individuals after discussing the matter with the committee, he said.In response to Jenkins’ decision, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, released a statement condemning the University’s choice due to Biden’s stances on abortion and same-sex marriage. Rhoades said he is concerned honoring Biden and Boehner will provoke “scandal,” as defined in the Catholic sense.“That is a somewhat technical word in Catholic thought that means that the action creates the impression that we’re sanctioning or encouraging immoral or unjust actions,” Jenkins said. “I have the greatest respect for the bishop and want to respond by explaining our intentions, in the hope that I can counter any misperceptions leading to scandal.”Multiple groups have written letters to the editor in the Observer’s Viewpoint section voicing their dissent. More than 2,700 individuals — many Notre Dame alumni — have signed a petition professing their agreement with the bishop, urging the University to reconsider the decision.Jenkins said he wants to articulate the meaning of the award and his reasons for choosing it, a lesson he learned when the University invited Obama to speak at Notre Dame’s 2009 Commencement.“What I’ve tried to do, and will try to do, is just explain clearly what we’re doing,” he said. “People can disagree; I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, as long as it leaves to substantive, constructive discussion and not just acrimony.”A majority of the criticism is directed at Biden, which Jenkins said he is afraid reflects a one-sided partisan approach.“I’m certainly not saying that I support all the Vice President’s positions,” he said. “But I do find, in the record, that he took account of his Catholic faith, even while trying to make decisions on legislation — that’s often complex in a nation on issues on which the nation is deeply divided.”Ultimately, Jenkins said he thinks a public servant can exemplify what it means to be a Catholic leader, regardless of his or her political affiliation.“I think it’s important to evaluate, to take account both of that range of [Catholic] teachings and take account of the complex realities of our nation that is so deeply divided on these issues,” he said.Tags: Commencement, Fr. John Jenkins, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Laetare Medallast_img read more

Alumni sign petition opposing Laetare Medal decision

first_imgThe announcement of the 2016 Laetare Medal recipients, Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner, came with no lack of controversy in the Notre Dame community, and one of the strongest responses came in the form of a national petition opposing Biden as a candidate for the medal.Allison Gower, the campaign manager of the national petition against the Laetare Medal decision, said the petition was a result of Notre Dame alumni and Catholics expressing their disapproval of Biden as an appropriate candidate. The petition was created by Sycamore Trust, an alumni organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Catholic identity of the University of Notre Dame.“These people are angered because they feel Biden goes against many Catholic principals and beliefs the award should uphold,” Gower said in an email. “For example, Biden does not support pro-life policies and is for same-sex marriage. The petition declares, ‘We should seek to honor those who act to protect human life and dignity, from conception to natural death, who respect true marriage and the family,’ which they feel Biden does not.”Bill Dempsey, the creator of the petition and member of Sycamore Trust, said the group rarely proposes petitions, but that this was a particularly egregious case that he felt the group needed to combine their voices of protest and share their reasons.“This action is even more objectionable than was the honoring of President Obama, who is not Catholic and whose opposition to the Church, so far as it was known at the time, was limited to abortion,” Dempsey said in an email. “Vice President Biden’s opposition is broad. He is the highest-ranking Catholic pro-choice politician who also supports same-sex marriage, public funding of embryonic stem cell research and the Obamacare contraception mandate that Notre Dame is fighting in court. [Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades] is plainly right in condemning Notre Dame’s action as scandalous.”Dempsey said the decision to award Biden the medal shows that Notre Dame does not take seriously the Church teachings that Biden rejects.“Notre Dame’s action will confirm in their error Catholics who share Biden’s dissenting views and arm dissenting Catholic politicians in their opposition to Church position,” Dempsey said. “Besides, what I find incomprehensible is that [University President Fr. John Jenkins] would take this action knowing full well that it would once again open a breach with Notre Dame’s bishop and once again bring strife into an occasion that should be one of unalloyed celebration for graduating seniors and their families.”Gower said the original goal of the petition was 1,000 signatures. However, as of April 6 the petition has over 2,400 signatures that range from members of the Notre Dame community to people in foreign countries.Dempsey said Sycamore Trust did not propose rescinding the award because they thought it would be futile.“What we hope is that the fellows and trustees will take appropriate action to insure against a repetition and to repair relations with Bishop Rhoades,” Dempsey said.Tags: Commencement, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Laetare Medal, petitionlast_img read more

Legends of Notre Dame to host 2,000 fans on home football game days

first_imgLegends general manager Rich Jacobs has a game day prediction: 2,000.That is, he expects about 2,000 people to pass through the doors of Legends of Notre Dame this Saturday, a relatively light crowd due to this weekend being Labor Day weekend. Next weekend, for the Georgia football game, he expects about 3,500 guests, not counting the 500 who normally stop in for the game watch and tailgate.Since 2003, Legends has been providing food and an alternate place to watch football games for fans from all over. Some may remember Legends as the former Senior Bar — a seniors-only, student run but University-backed bar known for good times, but not necessarily its profitability. In 2003, the University reimagined the space as a restaurant and expanded the building to add a nightclub.Jacobs said visiting Lengends is a trip down memory lane for many alumni. They are usually able to visualize everything when they are told the raised area of seating in the dining room used to be the stage, Jacobs said.“It puts a context to the memories,” he said.On an average football Saturday, Legends will serve around 3,000 guests in the sit-down restaurant, Jacobs said. They typically use 25 cases of French fries on game day alone — the same amount they use in an entire week otherwise. The high volume of food needed, along with the fact that most guests want a quicker, less extravagant meal on their way to the game, caused Jacobs and executive chef Josh Maron to streamline the game day menu.“We’ve got a limited menu that we run for football,” Maron said. “We’ve got some really popular specials and some new and exciting items.”Some popular items include classic tailgate entrees and all of the burger varieties Legends offers — ranging from a peanut butter burger to a classic cheddar cheeseburger. Additionally, the restaurant will be continuing some of its most popular August specials into September, Maron said.For fans who come to Notre Dame hoping to experience the famous atmosphere, Jacobs said, Legends is a great place to do so. Visitors can watch the game on one of the 23 flat screen TVs throughout the restaurant or on the 144-inch screen in the club side of the building — where Legends holds an indoor tailgate and game watch fans can attend for $15, Jacobs said.“We call it the backfield. There will be burgers, brats [and] pulled pork for people that come in right before and just want to grab tailgate-style food but don’t want to sit down,” he said. “We offer local drafts, craft cocktails in the shadow of the stadium — a full menu for people who don’t have the tailgate setup. We always say it’s the best place to watch the game if you don’t have a ticket.”Fans can also walk to the outdoor area to hear cheers from Notre Dame Stadium roar and watch the jets fly over, Jacobs said.“You’re not in the stadium but you get to see [the game] in HDTV,” he said. “It’s almost like you’re in the stadium. We’re as close as you can get.”Last year, Legends introduced a tailgate catering program, through which tailgaters can place orders and have the restaurant prepare their pre-game celebration food.“Now, not only do we service the guests in the restaurant, we go to the parking lots too,” Jacobs said.After games, Legends usually hosts a post-game tailgate in the club half of the building, where traditional tailgate food is served. True to their tagline of “always a party, never a cover,” the event is free for anyone, Jacobs said. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to midnight on game days, and later for night games.Over the years, Jacobs has managed restaurants in eight different states and many cities, but said game days at Notre Dame are unlike any he has ever experienced before. He recalled a particularly moving experience with a 90-year-old lifelong Notre Dame fan named Eleanor, whose family surprised her with tickets to her first Notre Dame football game.“Her reaction on Facebook went viral on the internet. We offered her breakfast at Legends featuring her favorite blueberry pancakes,” Jacobs said. “Reggie Brooks — a Notre Dame football legend — joined us and signed a football for her. Even though the Irish lost that day, her family expressed their gratitude for her priceless experience.”Jacobs considers it an honor to serve guests in the shadows of the historic Notre Dame Stadium, he said.“If I may reference a quote from former coach Lou Holtz, ‘Those who have experienced Notre Dame, no explanation is necessary. Those who have not, no explanation is sufficient,’” he said.  “Coach Holtz was referencing the hospitality and truly unique experience that Notre Dame offers to countless numbers of alumni and guests each year.”Tags: Football Friday Feature, game day experience, Legends of Notre Dame, tailgatinglast_img read more

Rape from 1981 reported to Notre Dame Security Police

first_imgA rape that allegedly occurred on campus in 1981 was reported to the University, according to Thursday’s Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime log.The alleged rape occurred in a Notre Dame residence hall between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 1981, according to the report. It is currently under Title IX review.Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from NDSP and from the Title IX office.Tags: NDSP, NDSP crime log, rape, sexual assaultlast_img read more

SMC students attend international SALT Summit

first_imgOver the summer, Saint Mary’s juniors Anne Maguire and Chiara Smorada traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the SALT (Summit Adventure Leadership Training) Summit, an event which sought to gather 150 student ambassadors from around the country in order to enhance their advocacy and leadership skills. The Summit, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), focused on various social issues, including anti-human trafficking, climate change awareness, migration and refugee reform and global hunger. Smorada said in an email that CRS built the Summit around the mission statement, “I am the Cause. I am the Solution.”“Sometimes, when I hear about suffering around the world I feel powerless and frustrated — there are moments when I feel very isolated and insignificant in society,” she said.  Maguire said this mission statement is akin to a call to action. “[The statement] calls us all to hold ourselves accountable for the problems we have created as humans and, at the same time, recognizes how we need to start taking the steps to fix the problems that we’ve caused in order to live in a better world,” she said. The summit largely consisted of lectures from international Catholic Relief Services employees, as well as presentations from students, Maguire said. “Some students shared the projects that they’re involved in on their own campuses and the campaigning that they do,” she said. “[At the Summit] we can share ideas and collectively move forward in the best way that we can [in order to] find ways to address social justice issues on our own campuses.”The Summit energized Smorada’s desire to start mobilizing events at the College, she said. “To me, more than anything, the Summit was an energizer and eye-opener,” she said. “As I learned more about the work CRS does both overseas and domestically, I felt a desire to mobilize on Saint Mary’s campus. Hearing about other college and university chapters also gave me some event ideas.”Maguire said her group got the chance to come together with a few of the staff members who work under U.S. senators from Indiana Todd Young and Joe Donnelly and U.S. representative Jackie Walorski. Maguire said they even had the opportunity to meet with Donnelly for a few moments. “The highlight for me was being on Capitol Hill,” she said. “We met … Donnelly in person, but he was on the move so we only got to talk briefly. I just remember him saying to us, ‘you’re doing God’s work, keep it up.’ So he seemed very supportive and his office was very supportive. In general, all of the offices were very supportive.”Maguire said that she advises those doing advocacy work in congressional offices have “a clear and concise ask” as to efficiently direct the meeting so that they can effectively get their message across. “At our specific congressional meetings, we were talking about increasing funding for international development plans and humanitarian aid so that people — wherever they’re living — can feel safe and comfortable living there,” she said. “For the 2019 fiscal budget, there’s a certain amount of money that’s been proposed that would go to humanitarian and development programs to help communities around the world that are low-income and struggling in some way. Essentially, funding these programs would help improve their living situations now, but also work on sustainable solutions so that people can grow in their own communities and empower themselves to create sustainable livelihoods for the future.” The most surprising thing about these congressional meetings, Maguire said, was that everyone, regardless of political ideology, found some kind of common ground. “We spoke to political offices on both sides of the political spectrum — Republican and Democratic offices — and with our proposal, we were not sure before our meetings what the outcome would be,” she said. “I was really struck by the fact that, on both sides, we were able to reach some common ground on the issue of respecting the dignity of human beings and trying to uphold that through any kind of support. I was reminded that we can’t make assumptions about people who are different from us because we can still reach common ground despite their position in politics. We should be open to hearing another person’s perspective, despite our differences.” Smorada said these congressional meetings challenged her preconceived notions on reaching out to national, state  and local representatives. “Hearing both his support and encouragement from his staffers made me feel less hesitant to reach out to my representatives in the future. Now I know they want to hear from us,” she said. Maguire said students who feel passionately about social justice issues should let their heart guide them. “Start where you are, start with your own passions,” she said. “Everyone is different — everyone has different interests, everyone has different passions. If you’re starting where your heart is, you can go really far. We need people who think differently, who act differently, who see the world in different ways.”Tags: catholic relief services, CRS, SALT Summitlast_img read more