Library considers renovations

first_imgFifty years ago, in 1962 , the cornerstone of the Hesburgh Library was laid.  When the towering, 14-story structure opened in 1963, it was the largest college library in the world and a forward-looking model for research and study. But Diane Parr Walker, Edward H. Arnold university librarian, said the library is now in a transition stage. Stacks are overflowing. Upper floors lack proper study space. Changes to services and space allocation, she said, are crucial for the library to fulfill its 21st century needs. “A 19th century library really was about books, much of the 20th century was about that as well, but a 21st century library is going to be about the mix of digital and physical formats, [about having] a lot of services and creating spaces that foster and encourage intellectual activity using both digital and physical collections,” she said. Walker, who began her position as university librarian in July, served as deputy university librarian at the University of Virginia before coming to Notre Dame.  She spent the past few months getting to know campus and listening to the various concerns of faculty and students. Walker said her vision for the library is threefold: to increase physical and digital collections, expand expertise services and create more comfortable and inspiring study spaces.  “We have no intention of getting rid of the books,” Walker said. A few projects, including a library café and renovation of the first floor current periodicals area, are now in the planning stages. But the library lacks funding to launch a full-scale renovation.  “The University has a policy of not building or renovating until most of the money is in hand,” Walker said.  The library announced plans for Phase Two of the renovation in the spring of 2009, and construction on the first and second floors was targeted to begin in the summer of 2011.  Phase One, renovation of the lower level, was completed in 2002. “The planning for that renovation of the first two floors of the Hesburgh Library really got going just about the time the economy collapsed,” she said. “And so while we had donors pledging funds, in many cases they haven’t been able yet to make good on those pledges.” Faculty and staff started a petition in the summer of 2009, arguing the proposed Phase Two renovation would be insufficient and the entire library system, not just the two main floors, needed restructuring.  Those renovation plans were shelved in 2010, Walker said. She said the library is now “stepping back” to develop a program plan for the entire building, but will not begin speaking to architects again until more funding comes through. Walker said several initiatives would be completed independently of the longer-term renovation.  In time for graduation, the current periodicals area on the first floor will be renovated with new study spaces and technologies from the Office of Information Technologies (OIT). The room will have new carpeting, beanbag chairs, study booths, soft seating,  reading tables, and if funding comes through, a video wall for group presentations. “We’re going to see what we can do to enliven the space,” Walker said. “It’s a space that doesn’t seem to be particularly well-used, but it’s very, very visible.” By next fall, the library will have new listening and viewing equipment in the music and media area on the second floor. Walker said these spaces will be conducive both to individual and collaborative work. “I’m also hoping that this will help with fundraising when we can show prospective donors the kinds of things that we envision for the building,” she said. Walker discussed the possibility of a café, which could open as early as the fall of 2013 in what is currently the vending room space in the library’s concourse. “We’re talking with Food Services now about the possibility of converting the vending room space … into an actual café, so they’re thinking that they’ll begin talking with franchises that might be interested,” Walker said. “This summer, Facilities [Operations] plans to renew the pavers on the terrace in front, so we’re also talking about what might be done to change the landscaping, allow for … some outside seating there, and a doorway [where] you could get out to the terrace from a café.” Library shelving is almost entirely full, Walker said, both in the main and branch libraries. She said she is speaking with the Office of the Provost to identify a space for remote shelving close to campus.  “We can deliver things that are there as we now deliver around the campus, so that we don’t have to use all of the floor space in the library for stacks,” she said. For the future longer-term renovation, Walker said she imagines the first floor as a “hub of activity” and the second floor as more focused, housing print collections, group study rooms and expertise for music, media and art. The upper floors, Walker said, could be imagined as “oases of contemplation” that serve the needs of book-based work but are not crowded with stacks. She said the biggest challenge the library will face in becoming a 21st century library will be balancing competing needs of faculty and students.  “Students tell me that the most important thing about the libraries is space, faculty and graduate students tell me that the most important thing is collections and services. It will be important to strike the right balance,” she said.  Walker said she hopes smaller-scale projects the library is taking on now will encourage greater support of the renovation.  “I’m hoping that we can generate a lot of excitement around the idea that a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary would be to actually kick off a thorough renovation,” she said.,Fifty years ago, in 1962 , the cornerstone of the Hesburgh Library was laid.  When the towering, 14-story structure opened in 1963, it was the largest college library in the world and a forward-looking model for research and study. But Diane Parr Walker, Edward H. Arnold university librarian, said the library is now in a transition stage. Stacks are overflowing. Upper floors lack proper study space. Changes to services and space allocation, she said, are crucial for the library to fulfill its 21st century needs. “A 19th century library really was about books, much of the 20th century was about that as well, but a 21st century library is going to be about the mix of digital and physical formats, [about having] a lot of services and creating spaces that foster and encourage intellectual activity using both digital and physical collections,” she said. Walker, who began her position as university librarian in July, served as deputy university librarian at the University of Virginia before coming to Notre Dame.  She spent the past few months getting to know campus and listening to the various concerns of faculty and students. Walker said her vision for the library is threefold: to increase physical and digital collections, expand expertise services and create more comfortable and inspiring study spaces.  “We have no intention of getting rid of the books,” Walker said. A few projects, including a library café and renovation of the first floor current periodicals area, are now in the planning stages. But the library lacks funding to launch a full-scale renovation.  “The University has a policy of not building or renovating until most of the money is in hand,” Walker said.  The library announced plans for Phase Two of the renovation in the spring of 2009, and construction on the first and second floors was targeted to begin in the summer of 2011.  Phase One, renovation of the lower level, was completed in 2002. “The planning for that renovation of the first two floors of the Hesburgh Library really got going just about the time the economy collapsed,” she said. “And so while we had donors pledging funds, in many cases they haven’t been able yet to make good on those pledges.” Faculty and staff started a petition in the summer of 2009, arguing the proposed Phase Two renovation would be insufficient and the entire library system, not just the two main floors, needed restructuring.  Those renovation plans were shelved in 2010, Walker said. She said the library is now “stepping back” to develop a program plan for the entire building, but will not begin speaking to architects again until more funding comes through. Walker said several initiatives would be completed independently of the longer-term renovation.  In time for graduation, the current periodicals area on the first floor will be renovated with new study spaces and technologies from the Office of Information Technologies (OIT). The room will have new carpeting, beanbag chairs, study booths, soft seating,  reading tables, and if funding comes through, a video wall for group presentations. “We’re going to see what we can do to enliven the space,” Walker said. “It’s a space that doesn’t seem to be particularly well-used, but it’s very, very visible.” By next fall, the library will have new listening and viewing equipment in the music and media area on the second floor. Walker said these spaces will be conducive both to individual and collaborative work. “I’m also hoping that this will help with fundraising when we can show prospective donors the kinds of things that we envision for the building,” she said. Walker discussed the possibility of a café, which could open as early as the fall of 2013 in what is currently the vending room space in the library’s concourse. “We’re talking with Food Services now about the possibility of converting the vending room space … into an actual café, so they’re thinking that they’ll begin talking with franchises that might be interested,” Walker said. “This summer, Facilities [Operations] plans to renew the pavers on the terrace in front, so we’re also talking about what might be done to change the landscaping, allow for … some outside seating there, and a doorway [where] you could get out to the terrace from a café.” Library shelving is almost entirely full, Walker said, both in the main and branch libraries. She said she is speaking with the Office of the Provost to identify a space for remote shelving close to campus.  “We can deliver things that are there as we now deliver around the campus, so that we don’t have to use all of the floor space in the library for stacks,” she said. For the future longer-term renovation, Walker said she imagines the first floor as a “hub of activity” and the second floor as more focused, housing print collections, group study rooms and expertise for music, media and art. The upper floors, Walker said, could be imagined as “oases of contemplation” that serve the needs of book-based work but are not crowded with stacks. She said the biggest challenge the library will face in becoming a 21st century library will be balancing competing needs of faculty and students.  “Students tell me that the most important thing about the libraries is space, faculty and graduate students tell me that the most important thing is collections and services. It will be important to strike the right balance,” she said.  Walker said she hopes smaller-scale projects the library is taking on now will encourage greater support of the renovation.  “I’m hoping that we can generate a lot of excitement around the idea that a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary would be to actually kick off a thorough renovation,” she said.last_img read more

Mendoza enrollment rises

first_imgIn recent years, Mendoza College of Business has dealt with a rise in its number of students, which can be partially attributed to Bloomberg Businessweek’s No. 1 ranking of Notre Dame’s undergraduate business program.    “Mendoza is committed to providing an excellent business education to all interested students,” Roger Huang, the interim dean for the Mendoza College of Business, said. This year alone, the school has hired 13 new faculty members who now make up 10 percent of the total faculty positions in the College, Huang said. The academic day was also lengthened in order to allow more class sections. The implementation of such changes is necessary to accommodate the increase of students without diminishing the caliber of the education, he said. “This summer we also added another advisor to the Undergraduate Advising Office to ensure that our students continue to receive the high level of service they’ve come to expect,” Huang said. Currently, Mendoza has open enrollment in all of its six available business programs, and students, who must choose a major their sophomore year, will likely receive their first choice. “With pre-majoring advising, the University helps students make thoughtful, intentional decisions regarding their education and future career paths,” Huang said. According to a survey that was taken by students and recruiters, the three main factors that accounted for the No. 1 ranking were an engaged and accessible set of faculty and advisors, an emphasis on ethics and an award-winning Career Center, Huang said. “Through the survey, our students are telling us they receive an excellent grounding in all business principles, not just those specific to their major, which makes them adaptable to a wide variety of job responsibilities,” Huang said.   The Career Center at Notre Dame showed an 82 percent rate of full-time employment within six months of graduation for the Class of 2011. In addition, 17 percent of the remaining students enrolled in a graduate or professional school, service program or the military. Though worries exist about increasing enrollment, Huang said that Mendoza has kept a graduating class of approximately 665 students during the last two years. “I do not agree that Mendoza is overcrowded, but our No. 1 ranking in Bloomberg Business over quality schools such as Wharton, MIT, Cornell and Virginia for the past three years has certainly brought a lot of attention,” Huang said.   Even so, the University has created more ways of getting students involved in business without necessarily majoring in the College.   “The shared goal of everyone on campus is to ensure that students are aware of all the programs the University offers, that they make the choices that are right for them, and that, no matter what majors or minors they pursue, they take advantage of every opportunity that Notre Dame has to offer,” said Marie Blakey, senior director of Communications and Marketing in the College of Arts and Letters. Another Career Center survey showed that approximately 42 percent of Arts and Letters majors choose to go directly into the business world, she said. Students can now achieve a liberal arts education while simultaneously forming and strengthening a business background. “Many students who want to pursue a primary major in Arts and Letters are also interested in becoming literate in basic economics principles,” Blakey said. The Arts and Letters program now offers a new business minor specifically for students in its college. “We joined the College of Arts and Letters in creating the Business Economics minor to address their student’s interest in adding formal training in the fundamental concepts of business in a market economy,” Huang said.   In addition, a major in international economics is now possible as of this year. Blakey said the major is aimed at students in pursuit of international careers as well as those who want to remain in the US while still globally interacting in the business world. “The major combines the study of economics with courses in languages and cultures,” Blakey said. The College of Arts and Letters also offers its students a business boot camp, a four-day seminar, now held over fall break, which provides networking opportunities and the chance to create and present case studies to business executives. “It is an immersion experience in Chicago that gives students in the College a first-hand look at business operations and marketing in action,” Blakey said. In the fall of 2013, Huang said Mendoza plans to offer introductory courses in Accounting and Finance for Arts and Letters students taking the Business Economics minor. The introduction of new courses among other changes has shaped the business focus, but it has not defined it. “What stands us apart from others is the Notre Dame business education that integrates the mind and the heart and faith with reason, and we have done so from the founding of our College,” Huang said. Students may enter the Mendoza College of Business or enroll in the College of Arts and Letters, but either way they will graduate with more than just a strong business background.last_img read more

Four more years

first_imgCHICAGO – Forward. For months, President Barack Obama has been asking voters to help him move forward to four more years in office. On Tuesday, the voters did just that. hat remained a tight race until well after the polls closed Tuesday, Obama defeated Republican opponent former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in an Electoral College battle to win a second term in office. Obama nearly swept the hotly contested battleground states to solidify his victory, carrying Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin. At Obama’s election night rally at McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday night, crowds cheered periodically throughout the night as major television news outlets predicted electoral victories in those swing states, culminating with rousing applause and joyful cheers from supporters when the first reports began projecting an overall victory for the incumbent president at 10:20 p.m. Because votes in many states had yet to be counted at the time of those projections and races in Ohio and Florida were too close to call, Romney delayed formally conceding the election at his Boston headquarters 11:55 p.m., when he delivered a formal address to supporters. When Romney began his concession speech with congratulations for Obama, the Chicago crowd erupted into cheers and began chanting, “Four more years!” almost immediately after Romney concluded his five-minute address. But the energized crowd had to wait until 12:38 p.m. for Obama, First Lady Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha to take the McCormick Place stage prior to the President’s address. With his signature rhetorical flair, Obama began his speech by thanking his fellow Americans for their perseverance in the face of significant challenges and expressed hope for the future of the country. “Tonight … you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come,” he said. Throughout the 20-minute speech, Obama relied on anecdotes of ordinary Americans’ experiences to highlight his vision for a “generous America, a compassionate America, a tolerant America” and emphasize their unique roles in shaping American democracy as a whole. “Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated,” he said. “We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And … when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight.” “These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter.” Invoking his campaign slogan – “Forward” – Obama addressed the audience, the country and the world about the reality of progress in America and the need to “move forward” as a united nation. “We will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. … Progress will come in fits and starts,” he said. The president made an appeal directly to those who voted for his opponent, calling the election a new beginning for increased communication and collaboration. “A long campaign is over,” he said. “Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you’ve made me a better president.” Freedom and responsibility extend to all Americans, regardless of individual background, to make a place for themselves in our diverse nation, Obama said. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.” As he closed his address, Obama asked the country to “sustain that hope” he campaigned on in 2008 and use it to change America’s future. “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. … We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.” After the President’s rousing conclusion and a shower of confetti on the audience, Ziwe Fumudoh, a 20-year-old junior at Northwestern, said the Election Night experience was “life-changing.” “The atmosphere tonight was absolutely electrifying,” she said. “This was my first time voting ever, so it was nice to be around people who have the same ideas about where this country should go.” Monica Yi, also a Northwestern junior and first-time voter, said the rally amplified her feelings about the President going into his second term. “I’m a huge Obama supporter, so this was amazing and one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “I thought his speech hit all the good points I wanted to hear, so I’m really psyched for the next four years, and I think we have a lot to look forward to.”last_img read more

Phelps promotes ‘GameDay’

first_imgFormer Notre Dame basketball coach Richard ‘Digger’ Phelps has seen it all at Notre Dame. He recorded an NCAA-record seven wins over No. 1 teams as a head coach and guided the program to its only Final Four appearance. This weekend, he’s challenging the student body to show the enthusiasm it displayed for so much of his coaching tenure when ESPN’s “College GameDay” visits campus. Phelps currently serves as an analyst for “GameDay” and other ESPN programming. “GameDay,” which visited Notre Dame on Oct. 13 prior to the 20-13 overtime victory over Stanford in football, will broadcast from inside Purcell Pavilion on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Notre Dame is just the seventh school to earn a “GameDay” visit for each sport in one academic year. “When you’re here for four years, you have certain moments,” Phelps said. “For a student body at your 20-year reunion, it will be ‘Hey, remember Louisville week? It was snowy and cold and it was a must-win for us.’ Here we are cracking the top-25 again and looking to make a statement.” Phelps visited both dining halls Wednesday to promote the game against Louisville and ESPN’s on-campus appearance. “To have it here for our student body, it’s second to none. I just want the student body to know that we’re unique,” Phelps said. “‘GameDay’ is about the enthusiasm of the student body.  “What I want is like when we played San Francisco here and they were No. 1 and 29-0 and we had the pep rally the night before and the chant for an hour was ’29-1.’ Then with 30 seconds to go we were up by double figures. NBC made the announcement that the most-valuable player was the student body.” Phelps said the atmosphere for Saturday’s 9 p.m. tip-off begins during “GameDay.” He said it was evident Indiana fed off its student body last week prior to knocking off No. 1 Michigan. “The [players] were on the court [at GameDay] and said, ‘Wow’ when they saw the student body and how GameDay was going,” Phelps said. “I look at our student body as unique. That’s why we are Notre Dame. I’m very, very happy.” Four years ago, “GameDay” made its only other appearance at Notre Dame for a basketball game. The Irish fell to Connecticut and Notre Dame’s 45-game unbeaten streak at home was snapped. “It was a great ‘GameDay.’ Great atmosphere. A lot of things went on,” Phelps said. “We stood our own with the rest of the ‘GameDays.’ That’s what I want the students to realize – it’s your game. You’re the sixth man. You can’t let up for 40 minutes. We beat [North] Carolina here in ’87. We were down 16 in the first half. Same thing with UCLA – we were down 17.” ESPNU will broadcast the first hour of “College GameDay” on Saturday, while the second hour will be shown on ESPN. Students can enter the Joyce Center anytime between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Friday night to get into Saturday’s broadcast before the rest of the student body.last_img read more

Movie screening to honor Mandela

first_imgAs part of the University’s remembrance of the late South African president Nelson Mandela, the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will sponsor a screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, followed by a panel discussion of the film and its cultural and educational significance. The film itself is based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same name. It stars Idris Elba as Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the South African politician and Mandela’s ex-wife. The panel discussion will feature Fr. Emmanuel Katongole of the Notre Dame Kroc Institute, Thomas Hibbs of Baylor University and Thomas Allen of Allied Faith and Family, a division of the Allied Integrated Marketing company. Professor O. Carter Snead, the director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, will moderate the discussion. The screening and discussion, already sold out, is the inaugural event of the Center for Ethics and Culture’s media and culture initiative. According to a written description of the initiative put together by the Center for Ethics and Culture, “The question of how media arts (especially film and television) function and transform culture is a crucially important question that thus far has been underexplored in the social sciences. [Through the media and culture initiative] the Center for Ethics and Culture aims to engage this question in a comprehensive fashion ⎯ one that is simultaneously theoretical and practical.” The event is a special advance screening of the film, which Snead said was made possible by the Weinstein Company, the film’s distributer. “Notre Dame is a culturally significant institution,” Snead said. “Moreover, as a Catholic university, we stand for the values at the heart of this film ⎯ mercy, equality and reconciliation; [University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore] Hesburgh’s legacy for the American civil rights movement stands as further reaffirmation [of] Notre Dame’s commitment to these goods.” Snead said the Center for Ethics and Culture planned the event well before Mandela’s recent death, but his passing provides an added significance to the film. He additionally said members of the Notre Dame community are now paying more attention to the event by people at the University. “Of course the event now takes on a deeper importance,” Snead said. “This is a time when we are reflecting on Mandela’s legacy.” Snead said Mandela’s legacy is important especially at a place like Notre Dame, which prides itself on not only being a research institution but also a promoter of values such as freedom, equality and reconciliation. “[Mandela’s] commitment to non-violence and reconciliation is an important issue we want to explore and celebrate,” Snead said. Snead said he is happy the event sold out, and he said the Center for Ethics and Culture is exploring adding more screenings of the film on campus. “We’re very excited the film sold out in short order,” Snead said. “There’s a lot of interest in [another screening], and we’re certainly open to the possibility of additional screenings. We’ll just have to see what’s possible.” Snead said the Africana Studies Department and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies have joined the Center for Ethics and Culture in sponsoring the event, and the University itself added the event as an official remembrance event following Mandela’s death. Snead said the Center for Ethics and Culture chose this film in particular as the first event of the media and culture initiative because it is not only visually and audibly stimulating, but also intellectually and emotionally thought-provoking. “Our feeling was that [the first film featured in the new initiative] had to be aesthetically beautiful and normatively rich,” Snead said. “We also thought [the film] would attract a large and diverse audience.” Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]last_img read more

PEMCo performs “Into the Woods”

first_imgTags: cinderella, into the woods, little red riding hood, pasquerilla east music company, PEMCo, Washington Hall Pasquerilla East Music Company’s (PEMCo) production of “Into the Woods” will begin performances Thursday night on Washington Hall’s main stage.Actor Chris Siemann said the musical’s plot is a “mash-up” of fairy tales.“It’s Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel all thrown into the same story,” Siemann said.Auditions for the cast were held at the beginning of the semester and rehearsals began in September, for several nights a week, Siemann said.“On average, for each of us, it was maybe one to three hours a night,” he said. “Some nights I wasn’t even called, but other nights I was there for four hours.”Siemann said he plays the role of the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, as well as Cinderella’s prince.“The parts were meant to be double cast, for symbolic reasons,” he said. “The wolf interacts with Little Red Riding Hood, and that story plays out the way you think it would. Then I have to kind of quick change into the Cinderella’s Prince — without spoiling too much, he’s exactly who you think he’s going to be. The characters are similar; they have a very similar mindset of instinct, and getting what [they] want.”“Into the Woods” is a unique show because it has a large cast but no chorus, Siemann said.“There are seventeen people and they’re all unique characters, and we all have our own moment, so to speak, on the stage,” Siemann said. “It’s really cool that we get to develop these characters. When you’re in a chorus, you can still develop your character, but you don’t have as much to work with. So it’s really cool that we’re all on even playing ground.”The production is entirely student-run, which creates a unique experience for all the members of PEMCo, he said.“Everyone understands everyone else’s commitments, we’re all doing school, we all have other things that we’re involved in,” he said. “It makes you feel really proud of something, that we’re working as one unit.”Producer and senior Emma Kusters said she began preparations for the production last semester, along with fellow producer and senior Shannon Kirk.“We started last spring, when we reviewed director applications and selected a director for the show, and we picked what show we were going to do,” Kusters said. “Over the summer we were e-mailing, designing set and costumes, and then we had auditions the second week of school.“A large part of my time this summer was revamping the PEMCo website,” Kusters said. “I’ve really been trying to make the information about PEMCo more accessible, so that we can reach students who aren’t already in the PEMCo fold, so we can be pulling in new talent, so that everyone feels welcome to participate and audition in whatever capacity they can.”Kusters said the producers considered several factors in choosing PEMCo’s fall show.“Part of the consideration is always budget,” Kusters said. “We took a pretty big risk this year because usually our fall show is a smaller-scale show. Last year there were only four actors in the show, and the year before that there were seven.“This year we have a seventeen-person cast, and we actually ended up spending even more money on this show than we did on ‘Legally Blonde’ last year, which was our big show last year,” she said.The producers also looked for a show that would appeal to the student body, Kusters said.“Into the Woods’ is all these fairy tales coming together in a sort of fantastical way, in a way that’s also very relevant to the human experience and everyone here,” she said.Kusters said the show has a variety of stunts and visual effects, as well as an elaborate set.“Everyone in the cast has to pitch in to make the set; it was a really a group effort,” she said. “I think this is the best set PEMCo has had in a while.”“Into the Woods” premieres Thursday, November 6th at 7:30 p.m., in Washington Hall. Performances also running November 7th at 7:30 p.m., and November 8th at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for non-students.last_img read more

Professional drummer speaks on his struggle with mental illness

first_imgAs part of the “Irish State of MiND: Mental Illness Awareness Week” sponsored by Active Minds, professional drummer Mike Veny spoke on his experiences of mental illness and how to combat the stigma surrounding the subject Monday night.The stigma involves “thoughts, feelings and behavior” and affects people in diverse ways, Veny said.“Where does stigma come from? It’s a giant debate, but I want to give you two observations that I’ve had,” he said. “One, is the law of the tribe. We are tribal people by nature, even if you’re one of those people who hates people and doesn’t want to be around anyone.“You can see where stigma starts in a kindergarten classroom. The way we learn to socialize with each other is by figuring out who’s in the group and who’s not in the group.”Veny said the stigma surrounding mental illness may also come from people’s inability to understand it.“The other thing is to realize that mental health issues are confusing and frustrating,” he said. “They’re very confusing, even to people who study them.”Beginning from a young age, Veny said, he experienced mental illness, including OCD, anxiety and depression. He was expelled from school twice, self-harmed and had attempted suicide.One day, Veny said, his mother asked him what made him happy, in an effort to help him combat his mental illness. His answer? Drumming. In response, his mother enrolled him in a performing arts high school as a junior, Veny said.“So there I was amongst my fellow artists and my medication started to get reduced, I started going to the doctor less, my grades started going up,” he said. “It was really cool. And people started wanting to be my friend. Like when I started playing the drums, people wanted to be my friend. They thought I was cool. I wasn’t the weird, crazy person anymore.”One day while in class, one of Veny’s teachers started talking down to him and Veny said he expected to react in a way that would get him expelled.“But one day, in October — around this time actually — I did have this one teacher who was just nasty to me,” he said. “He spoke down to me and I got triggered and I knew that it was done. It was like ‘Here we are. This is happening. Police, suspended, expelled — something’s going to happen.’”However, he said, he decided to play the drums in a practice room instead. He said he used this method to calm down in other situations and eventually, one of his teachers asked him “a question that changed [his] life.” The teacher wanted to hire Veny to play in the teacher’s band.“That moment, the lightbulb went off in my head,” Veny said. “When I got emotional, angry, upset, depressed, anxious and did the other thing, I ended up in the hospital, with police, suspended or expelled. But when I got anxious or depressed and played the drums, people want to give me money. And it was at that point, I said ‘Oh, I think I know what my career needs to be.’”Veny said even though drumming helped him cope with his mental illness, he still carried stigma surrounding it for many years.“I realized, as I was learning about stigma online, that stigma is actually a cycle, that starts with shame, leads to silence and the silence leads to four things: sabotage, self-destructive behavior, social injustice and suicide,” he said.Veny said the key to transforming the shame of stigma is to practice self-care.“The thing that I learned is … once I started to take care of myself, I started to feel better,” he said. “So I encourage all of you to transform shame through self-care.”To break the silence around mental illness, Veny said, people should become comfortable talking about the subject. Veny said he did an experiment for one year — though he made audience members promise not to recreate it — where he introduced himself to people and told them he was mentally ill.“That year was really interesting because not a single person ran from me, no one attacked me, I actually got a lot of hugs,” he said. “I got a lot of questions. And I got a lot of friends that year. … I realized it wasn’t the subject. I was comfortable with myself, so it didn’t matter what I said.”The way to defeat the last part of stigma is to connect with others, Veny said.“How do you transform sabotage, social injustice, suicidal behavior?” he said. “How do you transform that? Connecting with others. You have to force yourself to connect with others. We live in a world that’s all about cell phones. We don’t ever sit around and do stuff and people have a harder time socializing today than ever before. It’s really important for all of us to do that.”Tags: Drumming, mental illness, Mike Venylast_img read more

Ave Maria Press serves national Catholic community

first_imgAcross St. Joseph’s Lake, past Moreau Seminary and beyond Moreau Drive, there stands a flat, unassuming building adorned in brick familiar to the quads of Notre Dame. But despite its ordinary appearance, the building is home to one of America’s oldest and largest Catholic publishing houses, complete with over a century and a half worth of history. Thomas Murphy | The Observer Ave Maria Press, founded by Fr. Sorin in 1865, sits on the far north edge of campus. Once a magazine, they are now a leading publisher of Catholic books.It was Fr. Edward Sorin, Notre Dame’s founder, who established Ave Maria Press in 1865. The press has since found its way into the homes, parishes and schools of Catholics across the country.Ave Maria Press CEO and publisher Thomas Grady said Sorin founded the press in honor of Saint Mary in order to provide spiritual direction to the growing community of Catholics in America.“Fr. Sorin had apparently long dreamed of starting a Catholic press in the United States,” Grady said. “ … He wanted to showcase the best Catholic writing in the country and provide sustenance and nourishment to a largely immigrant Catholic community at the time.”Sorin began working on his dream by buying a printing press in Chicago, hauling the machinery back to Notre Dame and setting it all up in Brownson Hall. Out of these humble origins grew Ave Maria Magazine, which quickly became a popular national publication featuring Catholic history, theology, children’s stories, poetry and biographies of saints.As Notre Dame grew and Sorin took on more responsibility at the University, he turned the press over to Sister Angela Gilsepie, who had previously served as a nurse in the Civil War. By 1900, Ave Maria Magazine was the most popular Catholic magazine in America.But as time wore on and trends in Catholic readership changed, Ave Maria Magazine’s circulation declined. In 1970, after 105 years of publication, Ave Maria Magazine came to an end. The end of this era, however, became the beginning of a new one as Ave Maria Press focused its efforts on publishing books, again hoping to feature the best Catholic writing in the country.Now, 154 years after its founding, Ave Maria Press is a leader in American Catholic publishing, especially in high school textbooks, Grady said. He estimates the company has books in over 50 percent of the 1,200 Catholic high schools in the country, holding “46 percent of the Catholic high school market in terms of the number of books sold.”The nature of the publishing industry is always changing, and in recent years Ave Maria Press has expanded its business into e-books and videos. In fact, Ave Maria Press no longer physically prints books and works only as a publisher, Grady said.Through its many evolutions, Grady said Ave Maria Press has remained determined to serve and nourish the spiritual lives of Catholics.“The nature of the mission hasn’t changed,” he said. “As a ministry of Holy Cross … it’s our mission, in the words of Holy Cross, to make God known, loved and served and to operate and act as what Holy Cross calls ‘educators in the faith.’ So, our mission has been conversion of hearts, formation of Catholics and ongoing nourishment of those Catholics in the Church and in their spiritual lives.”The business of publishing demands variety and value from all market entities. Senior publicist Stephanie A. Sibal said the aim of promoting Catholic families and faith is consistent throughout the many books and products Ave Maria Press publishes.“The variety of books that we publish each season, a goal of a lot of them is to strengthen the faith of average Catholics in the pew,” Sibal said. “We’re building the Church by providing resources — whether it’s a high school textbook or a prayer book or a book on spirituality or a book on apologetics — we’re helping to build the knowledge of the Church and deepen people’s faith.”Associate publisher and director of sales and marketing Karey Circosta said employees at the Ave Maria Press take pride not only in their work’s purpose, but also in its quality.“We are a ministry, but we’re also here, we’re trying to sell lots of books that promote our ministry and at the same time making really good ones,” Circosta said. “Everybody is dedicated to that throughout the whole company.”Sibal said Ave Maria Press’ impact on the Church is what motivates her work.“I think that we’re providing a great service to the Church,” Sibal said. “One of the reasons I like working here is because I feel like I’m working for the Church and I’m helping to spread my faith.”Several of the employees at Ave Maria Press had worked at secular publishing houses before arriving at the ministry. Grady said working at the press has allowed him to join together the facets of his life in a way most others cannot.“I’ve been in publishing for 40 years this year, and this is really the first time that I’ve been able to unite my spiritual faith, my Catholic faith, with my work,” Grady said. “ … It’s nice to not have to compartmentalize your work life and your personal life.”Tags: American Catholicism, Ave Maria Press, Catholicism, congregation of holy cross, Father Sorin, Fr. Edward Sorin, publishing, Sister Angela Gilsepielast_img read more

Saint Mary’s elects Nelson-Allen ticket as its next student government leaders

first_imgJuniors Terra Nelson and Olivia Allen were elected Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president for the 2019-2020 term after an election held Thursday. The ticket’s election over juniors Emma Schmidt and Andrea Ruiz-Montoya was announced Friday afternoon via an email to the student body.Nelson, the incoming Student Government Association (SGA) president, said she was pleased with the execution of the work she and Allen, her vice president, put into their campaign, noting that one of their goals was to interact with as many students as possible before the election.“I think you reach more people when you’re meeting and conversing with them and sharing your ideas,” she said. “In the budget, we wanted to have money set aside for our pop-up events. They were useful and beneficial to our campaign because instead of spending $80 on color posters … we’re going to … plant ourselves everywhere around the school and try to reach people.”Though the pair spent less money on posters, Allen said their signage did have an impact on the outcome of the election.“A lot of people really backed us,” she said. “People enjoyed seeing our poster that had 10 things we wanted to accomplish on it. I walked to get The Observer after the endorsement in the dining hall, and there were two girls in front of our poster. One was talking to her friend and said, ‘This is why I voted for them. Look at these ideas.’ That was really cool to see that even people we’re not friends with or people we didn’t get the chance to talk to were still like, ‘I love their ideas,’ or ‘I voted for them not because they’re my friends or I think they’re cute,’ but because they genuinely like our ideas.”Allen said she also enjoyed being able to directly engage with problems that matter to the student body in the College’s first presidential debate.“We actually really enjoyed the debate,” she said. “While that was never done before, it was really helpful to put us on the spot and hear the questions that the student body has submitted about what they want to see and what they want to have done at Saint Mary’s, and we were able to say this is exactly what we want to do and not just read off our platform.”The ticket said they ran on the notion of tenacity and tradition. Nelson said upholding the traditions of the College does not equate to promoting a community of division.“In no way do we think tradition means we’re going to be exclusive, and we don’t want certain members to be a part of our community,” Nelson said. “It was like, ‘Let’s uphold the tradition of the women that founded this College and the amazing alumnae that have come from this College. Let’s stay true to that; let’s work towards being better.’ … I think that was really interesting, balancing tradition and being progressive. You can do both. You can look and the College and say, ‘This place is amazing. We want to make it better, and part of making it better is being more progressive and maybe giving some push back to things that have been the norm.’”Allen said the pair is already looking forward to putting their platform points into action.“Right after we won on Friday, we looked at each other and said, ‘When are we going to start going to meetings? Let’s do this thing,’” Allen said.One of the ticket’s priorities, Nelson said, is restructuring first-year orientation. This plan includes improving the state of the College’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), which is currently leaderless.“We will begin in April, and hopefully we can make some little tweaks, and a big tweak to the College in hiring a BAVO director, or interim, or even just an advisor, someone to be with those women,” Nelson said. “[We are also set on] starting the all-hall Masses, so that when the first years are here, it’s part of the routine. Trying to open up Regina, so that at the beginning of the year, that is open. … We want to work to start as soon as possible.”Both Nelson and Allen said they understand there is more to being in charge than having the positions of president and vice president.“We understand that this isn’t just a title. It really is work, and that’s where that tenacity comes in,” Nelson said. “We want to work hard, and we want to get it done. We both have such get-it-done personalities, I don’t want to just sit around.”Nelson said she and Allen are grateful to be able to serve a community for which they care deeply.“Women that don’t even know us that well or maybe have only seen us in the dining hall or read our platform supporting us and standing behind us and showing kindness is just the most beautiful thing, and reminds me of why I attend this college and why I am so humbled to be able to represent a student body that is beautiful, unique, diverse and different,” Nelson said.Tags: sga elections, sga student government elections, Student Body President, Student Government Associationlast_img read more

Cushwa-Leighton Library to celebrate National Library Week

first_imgRead all about it — National Library Week is April 7-13, and the Cushwa-Leighton Library is ready to celebrate. The week seeks to spotlight the contributions librarians make to students and lifelong learners everywhere.Ula Gaha, a reference and instruction librarian, said this year’s National Library Week theme is “Libraries = Strong Communities.”“National Library Week is a celebration that highlights the valuable role librarians and library workers play in strengthening our communities,” Gaha said. “Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) chooses a different theme.”While Gaha said National Library Week spreads much awareness about the usefulness of libraries, it is geared more towards public libraries than academic libraries like Cushwa-Leighton.“I think it’s great that the American Library Association does this, but academic libraries are so different from public libraries,” she said. “I think the ALA during National Library Week really focuses on the work that public libraries do and the services that they offer to the larger community.”In honor of the theme, Gaha said the library’s social media is focused on Cushwa-Leighton’s own community, particularly new library director Joseph Thomas.While the library fosters its own small community, Gaha said the library is also important to the greater Saint Mary’s community.“The library is the heart of everything on Saint Mary’s campus, and the librarians seek to foster student success,” she said.The library is a quiet place on campus where all kinds of students can come together to get their work done, Gaha said.“The library is a meeting place for all kinds of people across campus,” she said. “We like to be able to support people doing their work.”Sophomore Chido Moyo said she often either studies or just relaxes in the library.“The library is my go-to place,” she said. “It’s a great place to lounge — there’s a lot of leisure books to sit and read, and there are plenty of couches.”Gaha said the main part of her job as librarian is teaching students how to effectively utilize all the resources the library has to offer.“The biggest part of my job is to perform library instruction where I go into classrooms and teach students how to find the resources they need for whatever they’re working on and how to use the tools on our website as well as in our catalogue,” Gaha said. “I often find myself giving advice on how to perform the research as well as writing advice.”Gaha said a lot of what the librarians do is answer any and all of students’ general research questions.“A huge part of what we do is make ourselves available for general questions,” she said. “My area of expertise is in gender and women’s studies, sociology and social work, but I can help any student get started with their research.”The most exciting part of coming into work each day, Gaha said, is helping Saint Mary’s students with their interesting research topics and questions.“I end up learning a whole bunch of stuff because whatever students are researching, I’m helping them find the resources for it,” she said.Tags: Community, librarians, Library, National Library Week, Readinglast_img read more