The interior of the Grotto will be closed until further notice after a small fire erupted Monday night.The Notre Dame fire department responded to a call around 6:15 p.m. and extinguished the fire within about 30 minutes, University spokesman Dennis Brown said.No one was injured. The cause of the fire was initially unknown, Brown said.The University will work with fire and engineering specialists to determine if the fire caused any significant structural damage.“You can see that there is some charring … Some of the vegetation up across the top got burned,” Brown said. “It’s not substantially different, but you can see the blackened soot.”Brown said the Grotto suffered more severe damaged when it caught fire on Sept. 23, 1985 and rocks that make up the Grotto chipped off and fell to the ground.“It was substantially larger than this one,” he said.Brown said the University does not have a time line on how long it will take to assess the shrine and make any necessary repairs. Until then, the interior of the Grotto will be barricaded off, but people will still be able to kneel outside of it and pray.
Sodexo, Saint Mary’s food service company, will host a special dinner Wednesday night in the Noble Family Dining Hall to honor the beatification of Blessed Fr. Basil Moreau. “We hold this dinner to honor Father Moreau and his educational and community values,” said Barry Bowles, general manager of Sodexo at the College. Moreau founded the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1841. Sodexo has been hosting a dinner to honor him since his beatification on Sept. 15, 2007. The first dinner was the idea of Sr. Rose Anne Schultz, former vice president of mission at the College. Bowles said the food would be reminiscent of a traditional French meal, honoring Moreau’s French heritage. Items being served include coq au vin, steak au poivre, salad, bread and cheeses. There will also be a dessert station with pastries, pies and cookies. Bowles said although there is limited space and seating, the meal has been a student favorite for years. Last year, over 250 faculty members attended the meal in addition to students. Bowles said he would like to see that number grow this year and encourages staff and faculty members to attend. Notre Dame students may attend the meal if they obtain co-exchange tickets on Wednesday. Sodexo made special food orders in order to prepare for Wednesday’s meal. They received and checked the items on Monday, Bowles said. Basic culinary preparations will be made to the food during the day today, Bowles said. Last minute preparations and cooking will occur Wednesday afternoon; the meal will be fresh on Wednesday night. “The Basil Moreau dinner is a really important meal,” Bowles said. “It is one of the student’s favorite meals, but it is important to remember what it means to the campus.” Another dinner to honor Moreau will be held during the spring semester. “Food brings people together. Students, faculty, staff, whomever,” Bowles said. The dinner will be served from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
A female Notre Dame graduate student was approached by a lone male suspect as she entered her car in the C1 (stadium) parking lot between approximately 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. Monday, according to an email sent Tuesday from the Office of Campus Safety.The email stated that the woman locked her car upon entering it, and the male attempted to enter the vehicle. The woman was able to drive safely away without further incident.“Our concern has been heightened as [Notre Dame Security Police] learned this afternoon from our partner law enforcement agencies that similar incidents … have occurred over the course of the past several weeks in the South Bend area under similar circumstances, including time of day,” the email stated.Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) regularly patrols all areas of campus. In the email, the Office of Campus Safety said any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to NDSP.
Badin Hall’s signature event, the Badin Hall Art Show, provides an opportunity to see the wide variety of talent Notre Dame students have to offer by showcasing the original artwork of students across campus.The showcase begins Thursday evening and is Badin Hall’s yearly fall event.“It’s an annual event that we do, and the artwork is on display for a week, but opening night we have a nice event with food and music,” sophomore Kelly Berger, one of the academic commissioners coordinating the show, said.Sophomore and academic commissioner Meghan Grojean said the show is a way for the dorm to feature the creative abilities of Notre Dame students.“It is a chance to view and appreciate other Notre Dame students’ artwork, and there’s a lot of talented people,” Grojean said.Berger said the show often displays talent that might otherwise have been unknown.“The focus is often on academics, so this is a good chance see a different side of people’s talents that you might not know about,” Berger said. “I know people in our dorm submitted art last year who are not necessarily art majors, but they’re really talented, and it’s really cool to see that.”Sophomore and academic commissioner Elisa Herrman, said the signature event has a different focus than other dorm events.“I don’t think anyone else has something like an art show,” Herrman said.Grojean said the show is a way for Badin Hall to incorporate the art department into a campus event involving all students.“It brings artwork out of Reilly and into the dorm setting,” Grojean said. “We have judges from the art department that come and choose three winners and then we have prizes.”Herrman said there are usually 15 to 30 submissions, and any kind of art can be submitted.“There are always a few spectacular paintings where you’re like ‘wow’,” Hermann said.Grojean said not only do students get to appreciate the art, but also the artists gain a lot form the showcase.“I love seeing all the art pieces come in and see the artists present their work,” Grojean said. “They’re so proud of it, and a lot of it is amazing, and all of it is cool.”The art show begins Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the Badin Hall social space. Attendance is free, and the showcase will continue through Nov. 20.Tags: art show, Badin, badin hall, badin hall art show, badin signature event, signature event badin
Student body president Bryan Ricketts, vice president Nidia Ruelas and the Gender Issues department hosted a prayer service last evening in response to a Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime alert email the University community received early Sunday morning. The email said that a sexual assault had occurred in the late hours last Friday in a South Quad men’s residence hall.Campus Ministry director Fr. Pete McCormick led the prayer service, which took place at the Grotto, and Folk Choir led the group in the Alma Mater.Senior Erin Stoyell-Mulholland delivered a reflection, in which she pondered the intrinsic beauty of humans because “we are made in the image and likeness of God.”“It is our job to remind victims of sexual assault, as well as ourselves, of the beauty that each of us holds,” she said. “We are all called to build people up, affirm them of their beauty through our actions and our words. We need to be that hope, so that they can begin to see beauty again, begin to rebuild trust and begin to heal, because there is so much beauty in healing.“Healing can be one of the most beautiful processes, filled with God’s grace and love. It is in the recognition that God loves all His creation that He hurts when you hurt, that healing can more easily be found. We have a responsibility to manifest God’s love and hope for others.”University President Fr. John Jenkins and Ann Firth, his chief of staff, were also in attendance at the service. Ricketts said he especially appreciated the presence of the University administrators.“A sexual assault on campus is always hard, but it is especially difficult in the midst of our discussions on ‘The Hunting Ground,’” Ricketts said in an email. “The prayer services are an important first step in the healing process, and I’m thankful to those who joined us.“It was especially heartening to see Fr. Jenkins and Ann Firth in attendance, standing with our community and supporting survivors of the sexual assault.”The prayer service is the first the Ricketts-Ruelas administration has planned; the policy of planning prayer services after sexual assault crime alerts began in fall 2013 under then-student body president and vice president Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce.Ricketts said his administration hopes to promote open and honest discussion about sexual assault on campus during their term.“We are always open to carrying on dialogue about sexual assault and are committed to preparing for fall programming involving our partners in the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention and the Gender Relations Center,” he said.Ruelas reflected on Gender Issues department director Danny Funaro’s call to action that closed the service.“Danny’s call to action also stood as a firm testimony that our work in combating sexual violence is not done and that it is up to us to go beyond our comfort zones to prevent violence on campus and in our society,” she said. “As Erin in her reflection said, ‘Apathy is the antithesis of beauty.’“We are committed to combating apathy and rising together to actively stand against sexual violence.”Tags: Bryan Ricketts, GRC, Nidia Ruelas, sexual assault, sexual assault prayer service, The Hunting Ground
Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross came together Thursday evening to participate in the Take Back the Night march in support of sexual assault survivors.Senior Meredith Mackowicz, who took the lead in organizing the event, said a number of different groups on each of the three campuses were involved in the march’s success.“Holy Cross — it was their dean of students and a couple of their interns. Notre Dame — it was the [Gender Relations Center] with the director John Johnstin and a few of his interns, and then Saint Mary’s [Belles Against Violence Office], specifically the Events and Campaigns committee put on the event,” Mackowicz said.Mackowicz stressed the importance of supporting sexual assault survivors especially in universities.“College campuses like ours started this movement as a stance against the unfortunately high rates of sexual assault during the college years, raising awareness about sexual violence, domestic violence and relationship violence, assault and stalking,” Mackowicz said.Take Back the Night is more than just a march, Mackowicz said.“Tonight we march together in solidarity so that we can take back the night and reclaim our campuses,” Mackowicz said.Take Back the Night began at Saint Mary’s for Mackowicz and other participating Belles and concluded at the Grotto for a prayer vigil. The evening featured an event titled “Speak Out” in the Dahnke Ballroom where attendees listened to the stories of sexual assault survivors as well as a march across Notre Dame’s campus “to raise awareness about the issue of sexual violence that affects us all so deeply,” Mackowicz said.Due to the sensitive nature of the event, resources for emotional support were available throughout the night, she said.While the march commenced at Lake Marian on the College’s campus, the tri-campus community came together to support all those in attendance.“Our tri-campus community recognizes the importance of having a safe place for survivors to share their stories and a better government support system,” Mackowicz said. Sophomore Becca Ward, who attended the event, said the march helped highlight women’s stories.“I think this is just an event that is important for community building, kind of that awareness of people’s situations, because I know there were others here who I know, but I didn’t know their stories,” Ward said.Junior Anastasia Hite said she was excited to see how this march will impact attending females’ views their identities as women and college students.“I think it’s really neat to be a woman at Saint Mary’s and participate in an event like this because it’s kind of like taking back the power and being able to just feel safe in this space,” Hite said. “That can be kind of hard, but it’s important and just being able to do that in a group is really great.” Mackowicz said the event would not have been possible without campus-wide support from many different clubs and departments.At the end of the evening, Mackowicz said she hoped the dialogue impacted participants and encouraged them to feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics like sexual assault.“I think if I could have people walk away with one thing, is that a lot of people they know have stories, and a lot of the times people they don’t know have stories just like theirs,” she said. “I think the coolest thing about tonight is how many people got up and said, ‘This is the first time I’ve said this too,’ or ‘I never thought I’d do this, but.’ Just giving people that confidence to not just exists in a space like that, but to exist everywhere on campus.”Tags: sexual assault, survivors, Take Back the Night
This Welcome Weekend, Notre Dame’s transfer tradition is continued as 196 transfers arrive to begin their first year at the University. Among their predecessors are University President Fr. John Jenkins, University Provost Thomas Burish and Rudy.Beginning with Thursday night’s Welcome Mass and Dinner with Jenkins, a flurry of events awaits the transfers. Transfer Welcome Weekend captain Emma Mazurek said she is most excited for the “ND Traditions” event to take place Sunday before the all-class Grotto visit.“First, we’re going to have an ND traditions intro and teach them all of the fun things that make Notre Dame unique, and then we’re going to transition into more of a reflective time,” Mazurek said. “We’re going to have ambassadors come and share their reflections on what Notre Dame means to them, what the Notre Dame family means to them, what the Grotto trip means to them and the importance and significance of the Grotto at Notre Dame.”Events such as “ND Traditions” allow transfer students to make their transition into full-fledged Notre Dame students, while other events simply give students an opportunity to socialize and meet their new classmates. Socializing events include bowling at Strikes and Spares in South Bend, Broomball in the Compton Family Ice Arena and Domerfest.Lauren Donahue, program director for new student engagement, said in an email the events planned for Welcome Weekend seek to help diverse groups of students arriving on campus adjust to their community.“Transfer Welcome Weekend is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of all incoming students who are transferring to the University. As a group, their familiarity with the culture of Notre Dame varies. Additionally, the length of time these students attended another institution before coming to Notre Dame varies,” Donahue said. “ … I want all of our incoming students, including transfer students, to find a sense of connection and belonging at Notre Dame, and that starts with Welcome Weekend.”Anthony Bell, one of this year’s captains for Transfer Welcome Weekend who is now participating in his fourth Transfer Welcome Weekend, said the Welcome Weekend events challenged him to grow.“One thing that was really positive but also really put me out of my comfort zone was that [Welcome Weekend] was the first time I’d really gone somewhere where I knew absolutely nobody,” Bell said. “ … You’re really thrown out of your comfort zone just trying to meet new people who are going through the same experience as you, but you feel like you’re totally out there by yourself.”This year, 196 transfer students are enrolling at the University, 42 of whom are entering Notre Dame’s 3-2 or 4-1 engineering programs. Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment at Notre Dame, said 109 of the 174 “traditional” transfers come from Catholic institutions. He also said the average GPA achieved by transfer students at their former institution is a 3.88.Director of transfer enrollment Erin Camilleri said that while transfer students certainly have an impressive academic record, the Office of Admissions takes a holistic approach when considering transfer applicants.“We’re really looking for the students who — coming to Notre Dame — continue to have an excellent fit for Notre Dame admissions. They demonstrate that both in their high school profile as well as their college record,” Camilleri said. “ … We’re really looking for the students who will be academically successful, but we’re also looking for students who ‘get’ Notre Dame and are going to make Notre Dame a better place.”Bishop said this year the University is accepting 74 students from Holy Cross College via the Gateway Program, eight more than last year. Many Gateway students chose the program despite having been accepted to several top universities across the nation, Bishop said.“The Gateway students as a group … the majority would have gone to a top 30 university,” Bishop said. “They got in to other top 30 universities, and then picked the Notre Dame Gateway Program over that university. Their academic profile as a group when they came out of high school … would rank as a top 25 to top 30 college freshmen profile. So, those students are very good.”The average GPA of a transfer student’s first year at Notre Dame is about the same as a student who entered the University as a freshman, Bishop said.“At the end of their first year at Notre Dame, [transfers have] a very similar class performance program as the other students that came in as freshmen who are now in their age group,” he said. “So, they perform at an equal level … they don’t take the opportunity for granted.”But while transfer students perform academically at the same level as students who arrived at Notre Dame as freshmen, the transition to a new campus can be difficult. Bell, who transferred to the University following his freshman year, said arriving on campus led to mixed emotions.“It’s exciting because you know if you transferred to Notre Dame, you feel like that’s where you’re meant to be. You feel like you’re going home,” Bell said. “But it’s a little bit nerve-wracking because you’re starting over, and unlike it being the normal experience to start fresh as a first year, you’re doing it as a sophomore in college. There’s a lot of things that are new. It’s a weird transition in that way, because you’ve already done it before, and now you have to do it another time.”Mazurek said transfers’ delayed start to their Notre Dame career is tough on many.“Not everyone understands how difficult it is to be a transfer student,” Mazurek said. “You’re coming into a new school. It’s kind of like you’re starting your freshman year all over again, but you’re also a year behind with your other peers, a year behind with your extracurriculars, a year behind with making friends.”To manage the whirlwind of Welcome Weekend, Bell said he recommends students live in the moment and enjoy their first full moments as members of the Notre Dame community.“Put a [stop] on the stresses of moving in and getting yourself situated and really embrace the traditions and all the fun that Welcome Weekend has to offer,” he said. “It’s designed for you to meet people in your situation and for you to have fun; it’s a Notre Dame experience just as much as any football game you go to or any time you sing the Alma Mater.”Tags: Admissions, Transfer Admissions, transfer students, Transfer welcome weekend, Welcome Weekend
Saint Mary’s will hold its first annual National Literary Festival on Friday and Saturday. Hosted by bestselling author and alumna Adriana Trigiani (’81), the event will feature an additional 10 authors across numerous genres.A dinner and meet and greet with the authors will take place in the Noble Family Dining Hall on Friday, with Trigiani introducing each author at 6 p.m. The dinner is open to all students with a Saint Mary’s meal plan.“The authors will initially be seated at tables with their faculty/staff hosts and student hosts, but this event is very informal, so it’s expected that students will feel free to go from table to table talking to the authors,” English department chair Laura Haigwood said in an email.Saturday’s programming will begin with registration at 11:30 a.m., followed by a ticketed lunch in the Angela Athletic Facility Fieldhouse.“From 2:15 to 3:15 [p.m.], the gym will be open to anyone who wants to buy books and have them signed by the authors, whether or not they bought a ticket to the luncheon,” Haigwood said in the email. “This includes students, of course, but also the general public.”Students from the tri-campus community signed up to volunteer as hosts for the visiting authors. Their duties will include escorting their assigned authors between event locations and making them feel welcome on campus.Saint Mary’s junior Sarah Catherine Caldwell will be a student host for Trigiani and deliver an invocation before Saturday’s events begin.“I’m just excited to be around such an amazing writer … and an alumna who is successful in writing and willing to come back to Saint Mary’s and share that with the community,” Caldwell said.Other authors set for attendance include Saint Mary’s alumna Anna Monardo (’77), Julie Klam and Val Emmich, who wrote “Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel.” A full list of authors in attendance can be found on the event’s webpage.Julie Klam, author of titles including “The Stars in Our Eyes,” said she looks forward to attending the festival.“I feel like any time there is an opportunity to bring new books and authors and discussions about literature to interested people, it is a wonderful thing,” Klam said. “I’ve never been to Indiana. I’m looking forward to meeting people and seeing South Bend and possibly bumping into Mayor Pete and Chasten.”Another featured author, Susan Fales-Hill, said she is also eager to attend the event, not only for the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, but to also share her experiences with the next generation of writers.“I’m looking forward to convening with an extraordinary and diverse group of authors who are united in their love for the written word, and their firm belief in the power of story telling,” Fales-Hill said in an email. “At my stage of life, it’s also a delight and highly illuminating to interface with young people. This generation faces many challenges, most of them not of their making, as an ‘elder,’ I want to do my part to help them before I leave this earthly plane.”According to the event’s web page, proceeds from the literary festival will support future literary events at the College.Tags: Adriana Trigiani, authors, literature, national literary festival
Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series on mental health services at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Follow these links to find part one and part three.Lydia Adongo, Notre Dame Master of Laws ’20, felt her counselor didn’t understand her.She had gone to an individual counseling session at the University Counseling Center (UCC), but there she and the counselor struggled to find common ground. An international student from Africa, Adongo said she felt more comfortable speaking to mental health professionals back home.As Adongo shared what was troubling her, she sensed the counselor growing uncomfortable. Adongo felt the counselor did care about helping her but wondered why they struggled to connect. The session may have simply been too short to tell, she said.Adongo left the counseling room crying. She had to walk past the reception and waiting room where people were sitting. Embarrassed, she covered her face with her arm, rushing to a women’s restroom to calm down.“If [the counselor] understood really what I was going through, she wouldn’t let me go if I was still crying,” Adongo said. Because of this experience, Adongo never returned to the UCC.Paradoxically, minority students at colleges and universities tend to seek counseling at lower rates than white students despite reporting more feelings and behaviors associated with mental distress, like hopelessness and depression.A number of factors may stand between these students and proper mental health care. For one, they may find it harder to find care that caters to their unique needs. Second, feelings of isolation and loneliness on campus may discourage them from seeking out counseling and other forms of treatment.The UCC did not provide the demographic breakdown on students who use its services, but this phenomenon may be at play at Notre Dame, UCC director Christine Conway said.“The UCC is committed to meeting the needs and providing culturally informed services to all our students, including international students and students from under-represented groups,” Conway said in a statement to The Observer. “We understand that students from different cultural backgrounds may be less inclined to seek out counseling services and we do intentionally collaborate with different offices on campus to reach out to these student groups.” Annie Smierciak | The Observer Students at the Health and Wellness Expo in 2017. The event was sponsored by the McWell Center.Culturally informed careOne major challenge facing colleges and universities is providing culturally informed care to their students.A 2006 publication from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that conventional counseling practices are largely rooted in the Western perspective. This presents a unique challenge for higher ed institutions, which often serve diverse populations. Counselors may find it hard to relate with their students, who bring with them a broad range of values and belief systems. According to the study, clinicians ought to tailor their services to the specific needs of the groups they serve.This may be why a 2011 study from the Journal of Counseling Psychology suggests people usually prefer therapists of their own race or ethnicity. Still, the study showed race and ethnicity do not have a significant impact on the effectiveness of mental health treatment.According to the UCC’s website, three of the center’s senior counseling staff specialize in multicultural counseling. There is only one full-time counselor who specializes in counseling international students and immigrants, Weiyang Xie. Xie is also the only counselor who is able to conduct bilingual therapy — English and Chinese Mandarin.Conway said the UCC considers diversifying its staff a “high priority,” though one hampered by recruiting challenges.“We know that students would like to see their own identities represented on our staff, and we would like to attract and employ a diverse staff of counselors,” Conway said. “While this is our goal, it’s not so easy to achieve, given the supply and demand in the field of psychology right now.”Employment trends in the field of mental health professionals reflect this reality. A 2018 article from the American Psychological Association reported that of all U.S. psychologists in 2015, only 5% were Asian, 3% were black or African American and 4% were Hispanic — all lower than their percentages in the greater U.S. population.Conway said equally important to a diverse staff is regular cultural competency training.“The UCC staff actively works to understanding the needs of our diverse student body, to be sensitive to diverse cultural contexts and to increase our own awareness and understanding of our identities and worldviews and the impact that this has on our interactions with those from different cultural backgrounds,” Conway said.Conway said clinicians are continually trained to provide culturally competent care, and host regular staff development meetings and attend conferences and seminars on topics relating to diversity and inclusion.Support across campusThe University’s 2018 Inclusive Campus Student Survey found minority students at Notre Dame on average report a lower sense of belonging and higher levels of loneliness than white students.Conway said the UCC collaborates with a number of campus organizations to expand outreach to these groups. For example, it works with International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) at different events throughout the academic year to inform minority and international students about mental health resources.The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, also known as McWell, also provides resources for underserved groups, McWell director Megan Brown said in an email. McWell has worked with Multicultural Student Programs and Services, the Office of Student Enrichment, student government, Residential Life, diversity and inclusion clubs and other organizations, she said.As of the spring semester, Brown said McWell’s nonstudent staff of six included two people of color. She said the center considers diversity a priority when hiring.“Our staff values diversity of all types, not just ethnic diversity,” Brown said. “Being aware and sensitive to the needs of all students, particularly those who are underrepresented or marginalized, is something we discuss regularly.”Tags: campus climate survey, McWell, minority students, UCC, University Counseling Center