SMC students soak up Ireland atmosphere

first_imgWhile many students began last Saturday morning crowded around a television, thousands of Notre Dame fans were already enjoying some savage craic, also known in Ireland as “great fun,” as they cheered on their football team in Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Although students and fans traveled thousands of miles to support the team in different ways, most agreed that the weekend was an unforgettable experience and a great way to start off the season. For some, the weekend provided several responsibilities as well as exciting opportunities for those traveling abroad. Senior Laura Krahe traveled with the football team as a trainer, arriving in Dublin early Thursday morning to begin preparations for the game on Saturday. Krahe said the team’s schedule was both busy and fun.   “The team arrived and we had a practice, followed by an Irish meal and Irish dancing. The next day was similar,” she said. “The team had a walkthrough in the morning followed by a bus tour of Dublin. Saturday was the game and it was a truly great and memorable experience.” Also finding time to enjoy the sights in Dublin between busy schedules were two members of Notre Dame’s band, senior Erin Brown and junior Amy Minasian. “With two big performances, the pep rally at The O2 Arena and the halftime show at the game, we had a lot to rehearse and prepare for,” Brown said. “We still did get a few hours of free time every day, though, which my friends and I used to soak up as much of the Dublin game day atmosphere as possible.” Minasian also found some downtime to sightsee between band commitments. “I hung out at the pubs with my section, where we met fans and Irish people,” she said. Some students, however, traveled on their own accord and had more time to discover Ireland with family and friends. Senior Bri Tepe traveled with her family to not only cheer on the team but to also discover her family’s Irish heritage. “There really was no better way to bring in the football season than being at the home opener in Ireland. It’s something I won’t forget and I’m very grateful I got to be a part of it,” she said. In recounts of the weekend, the enthusiasm of the Irish and Americans in Dublin seemed overwhelmingly positive. “Even the Irish men and women welcomed Notre Dame and Navy. They flew flags of both schools, had signs welcoming the teams and fans, and were more than happy to help the teams and staff with making game day a success,” Krahe said. Brown added that the fans from Ireland were enthusiastic, although a little bit mystified by American football. Favorite game day moments from students include the band’s halftime show, continuing Notre Dame traditions such as the pre-game march and push-ups in the stadium, and participating in the energy of the city. “Seeing Dublin made the spirit of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come alive even more,” Krahe said. “We were playing the game we love in the country that inspires us.”last_img read more

Professor connects Tolkien, Homer

first_imgWhile J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy may be dear to fans young and old, philosophy professor David O’Connor said Tuesday he believes the trilogy is meant to reflect on a darker side of nostalgia at the core of human nature. In the second installment of Tolkien 2012, the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 10th annual Catholic Literature Series, O’Connor offered a talk titled “Tolkien and Nostalgia,” in which he framed his approach to Tolkien’s great work as a re-imagining of some of the themes of Homer’s “Odyssey.” “I would like to approach J.R.R. as a Catholic author from the perspective of approaching him as a pagan author,” O’Connor said. “I have in mind especially ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as a modern epic, an epic in the tradition which for us has at its foundation Homer and his ‘Odyssey.’ “ For O’Connor, both Homer and Tolkien’s epics revolve around the central quest to return home. Much like Frodo’s perilous wanderings to Mordor away from the Shire, Odysseus was delayed and entrapped by a number of foes and tempters, O’Connor said. “The descent into hiding, into darkness is an enactment of a time of death, a time when Odysseus is dead to the world … it’s an inability to go home, to have no homecoming,” he said. Especially relevant to the theme of nostalgia and the detachment from home are the two caves in which Odysseus gets stranded, O’Connor said. The two caves of Polyphemus and Calypso represent the two extremes of human nature that can draw heroes away from their ultimate goal of returning home. “The problem when you’re in Polyphemus’s savage world is that you forget how to get home … you lose your mindfulness of what it means to live a human life,” he said. “In Calypso’s, you lose your mindfulness of homecoming because you are mindful of nothing but sensual ease.” Frodo’s fellowship falls into perils not unlike those Odysseus’s men faced, which sought to make them forget home. “When the travelers enter the realm of Lothlórien, they lose sense of time,” he said. “That timelessness is something they need to shake off to go on with their quest.” In Tolkien’s story, Frodo’s entourage comes in danger of falling into the elvish conception of nostalgia, a failure to move forward or progress, he said. “The elves suffer from a negative side of nostalgia,” he said. “They’re willing to live in memories, not productive or creative. We can be addicted to nostalgia as a mere participation in the past rather than a path to push forward into the future.” Nostalgia accounts for much of the internal change in Frodo over the course of his journey, O’Connor said. “Frodo cannot go home to the Shire in part because of the pain he’s reminded of,” he said. “But he can’t go home because he no longer has the heart for the condition of humanity. He’s been infected by a kind of nostalgia.” O’Connor said connections can be drawn from the Homeric theme of a return from a dark or dangerous place to Tolkien’s more modern epic. “Some would say that Homer was nostalgic, that in ‘The Odyssey,’ he insisted on a happy ending … so too ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has a happy ending,” he said. Tolkien’s happy endings take on a more imperfect or human element than many tales, O’Connor said, drawing a symbolic meaning from Frodo’s maiming injury in the final pages of the epic. “The ending isn’t all happy,” he said. “The pain that is required to get to the happiness does not disappear,” he said. “Frodo has nine fingers, they don’t grow back. … His brokenness is an emblem of the price we pay for an epic with a happy ending.”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s students vote on revised SGA constitution

first_imgSaint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) revised its constitution in order to create a clearer, more concise document, which was voted on by the Saint Mary’s student body at the end of last week.Results of the vote have not yet been announced. McKenna Schuster, senior and SGA president, said the document will pass if 25 percent of the Saint Mary’s student body votes on it and a two-thirds majority of those voters approve it.“As of now, voting is set to end tomorrow evening, but if we don’t have 25 percent participation we may extend the vote,” she said.Schuster said the revisions condense the original 27-page constitution to three pages and clarifies its purpose.“The original document was very long and incohesive,” Schuster said.“It was a 27-page document that had extra bylaws for organizations that were all on separate documents. … [The new constitution is] not just one giant 27-page document that tries to include everything. It is a lot less redundant and it is a lot more clear and concise, breaking down all of that extra fluff and just making it a shorter document.”Kelly Gutrich, senior and SGA vice president of internal affairs, said SGA made the decision to rewrite the constitution after revising various portions last year.“We wanted the constitution to read fluidly as an overall governing document for SGA and all student organizations,” Gutrich said. “All organizations will be following the same set of rules and criteria, everyone will abide by the same rules coming, especially in regards to elections and funding.”She said the new constitution does not include any major changes from the previous iteration.“The document reiterates a majority of the same core principles of the previous constitution,” Gutrich said. “There really are not any huge changes from the previous document, but it just makes the overall document flow in a more concise manner that is intended to be more accessible to the student body.”Sam Moorhead, senior and vice president of SGA, said if the new constitution passes, they can begin working on the bylaws, which will have a greater effect on student organizations.“As far as what affects them now, it is basically just policy changes to how elections should be run and how filling vacancies in positions should be carried out,” she said.Schuster said the new revisions changed student body president and vice president elections to only allow rising seniors to run.“It used to be juniors and seniors could run for student body resident and vice president, and one change we felt was important to make was deciding only rising seniors could run to be student body president and vice president, she said. “There was a lot of discussion just based on seniority and experience and what goes into the role.”Gutrich said passing the document requires 25 percent participation from the student body in order to represent the opinion of the student body.“The 25 percent … is an aspect included in the constitution, which ensures the student body has a voice,” she said.  “SGA works hard to be the liaison between students and administration, and with that in mind we want to hear student opinions and make sure the student body is knowledgeable of the important roles of SGA. We just really want student input on the document.”Tags: constitution, saint mary’s, sga, SMC, Student Government Associationlast_img read more

Week of events supports Riley Hospital for Children

first_imgThe annual Riley Week, which supports Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon, begins Monday. The week is full of events that raise awareness about children’s healthcare and prepare for the Dance Marathon at the end of the week. Anna Bourjaily, senior and co-vice president of Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon (SMCDM) said in an email that Riley Week is one of the biggest events each year. She said the week is dedicated to promoting the cause and encouraging students to sign up for the Dance Marathon. “All of our fundraising efforts support Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital that is at the forefront of pediatric care and research, and never turns a child away because they can’t afford the care they need,” she said. “We have a series of fun events planned for the entire week that people are invited to attend and enjoy, and learn more about Dance Marathon.”Bourjaily said everyone is welcome to participate in the events and learn more about Riley Hospital. “Monday, there will be free donuts and coffee in Spes Unica, and Tuesday Pat McKillen will be hosting a concert in Haggar at 7:30 [p.m.],” Bourjaily said. “There will also be a silent auction Tuesday and Wednesday nights.”Bourjaily said Wednesday’s basketball game is dedicated to the Dance Marathon, and there will be a table set up to collect donations. “Thursday, yoga will be hosted in Regina Lounge; that is free for those registered for the Dance Marathon and $3 for those who are not,” she said. “Finally, Friday is a dinner that welcomes the families at Riley Hospital to Saint Mary’s. It is attended by all the executives and committees responsible for organizing the dance marathon.”Bourjaily said Dance Marathon is a 12-hour-long event in which everyone is constantly on their feet having a good time and raising money for a good cause. “This year, it will be held on April 1 over at Holy Cross due to construction at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “We are so excited to be working with Holy Cross this year. Last year, we raised just around $105,000, and our goal for this year is $110,000.”Bourjaily said students do not have to know how to dance in order to participate in Dance Marathon. “You don’t have to be a dancer at all to be involved with the Dance Marathon,” she said. “The focus of the event is more just standing the whole time. There is dancing, but it’s not the main focus. We play games, have performances, our families share their stories with the crowd, and much more.”Bourjaily said she got involved with SMCDM because she was interested in dancing, but she soon became inspired by the stories of the families and children at Riley Hospital. “I got involved with SMCDM my junior year after being a dancer my sophomore year,” she said. “ I was drawn in by a friend, and because I saw how popular of an event it was. Last year, I was the public and dancer relations executive, and this year I am one of the vice presidents. I got involved because I loved the SMCDM family that welcomed me at my first marathon, and I was so inspired by the stories of families who had received help at Riley.” Bourjaily said she hopes everyone participates in either the events or the Dance Marathon because the donations help the children at Riley Hospital. “Riley Hospital is an incredible place, and the kids who are treated there have more courage and optimism than you can imagine,” she said. “They truly are my heroes.”Tags: Dance Marathon, riley hospital, Riley Week, SMCDMlast_img read more

Additional spots open in select study abroad programs

first_imgAfter receiving a record number of applications last November, Notre Dame International announced it will be accepting a second round of applications to select study abroad locations, according to a press release last week.Five programs will be accepting additional students — Peking University in Bejing, Jerusalem, Norwich, Tokyo Sophia and Puebla. Of the five programs, Puebla is the only one with a language requirement.Study abroad director David Younger said that there were numerous challenges with this year’s application pool.“A lot of students applied in high numbers to very specific programs, and we couldn’t accommodate that many in those specific programs,” Younger said. “And some of our other programs … didn’t fill and we want to make sure that we can fill as many programs as we can and send as many students abroad as we can.” Joe Andrews | The Observer Notre Dame International, whose department offices are housed in the Main Building, will accept additional applicants for five programs after students applied in high numbers to certain locations.In addition, Younger said the department puts particular emphasis on filling these locations, since some of them function as exchange programs with the respective international universities.“We want to be able to send them more [students] as well and increase not only our number of students going overseas, but also the internationalization of campus coming in,” Younger said. “It’s a symbiotic relationship in that way.”The department is encouraging all applicants who were waitlisted or who missed the deadline but are still interested in studying abroad next year to apply, citing the proven benefits of traveling internationally as a major reason to consider.“It’s a very transformational experience,” Younger said. “It’s an opportunity to not only have a different style of academic learning, but to move beyond academic learning and have more of the intercultural learning — the personal development experience that students will have while they’re abroad.”Younger did acknowledge the concern many students have about going abroad, in that it may interfere with the recruiting cycle. However, he emphasized the unique opportunity students who travel internationally have of using their experience as a crux to better market themselves to employers.“Really critically analyze what you’re doing while you’re abroad,” Younger said. “If you’re just going to go through the motions of essentially being in South Bend while you’re abroad, I would encourage those students to instead ask themselves, ‘How can I make this experience the most useful to me both academically, but also on an intercultural or interpersonal level?’ That’s going to be what interviewers look for when they ask about your experience abroad.”Applications to these programs are being accepted now. Initial review will begin on Feb. 9, and applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis until all spots are filled.Tags: Beijing, Jerusalem, new study abroad locations, Norwich, puebla, study abroad, Tokyo Sophialast_img read more

University distributes largest portion of endowment to student financial aid

first_imgCorrection: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Notre Dame’s endowment amounted to $429 million. That amount is the spending distribution from the endowment. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: Endowment, financial aid, investment Notre Dame’s spending distribution from its endowment amounted to $426 million for the 2019 fiscal year, with nearly one-third of the total going to student financial aid, according to an Oct. 15 press release from the University.For the 2019-2020 academic year, Notre Dame will distribute more than $154 million in need-based aid for undergraduate students. This amount of grant aid has more than doubled since 2009, the release said.According to the release, almost half of undergraduate Notre Dame students receive financial aid from the University endowment pool, with the median grant amount for first-year students with demonstrated financial need currently at $42,600. This grant aid does not require repayment.While the pool began with a value of $13.1 billion, the endowment pool returned 7.2% for the 2019 fiscal year, so the year will close with a value of $13.8 billion.Over the past 20 years, Notre Dame has ranked among the highest institutional investors, according to the release, earning an annualized endowment pool return of 10%. In addition to the high annualized return, a 60/40 index blend of stocks and bonds returned 5.5%, also over the past 20 years.Notre Dame’s actively managed investment program, headed by Scott Malpass, created value-added compared to the 60/40 index blend of $8.3 billion for the 20 years. Over the same time, spending distributions in support of the University’s mission grew at an annualized rate of 9.5%, amounting to $4.6 billion, the press release said.Malpass, vice president and chief investment officer, said in the release Notre Dame works carefully to distribute the money in the endowment in a manner that effectively utilizes University benefactor gifts.“We are committed to outstanding stewardship of our donors’ generosity with prudent investment and spending policies,” Malpass said in the release. “The growth of the endowment provides ever-increasing resources for financial aid, and also for the great work being done by our students and faculty around the world.”last_img read more

University places restrictions on travel to Level 3 coronavirus areas

first_imgIn preparation for spring break, any student, faculty or staff member who chooses to travel to China, South Korea, Italy or Iran — which have been placed at a Level 3 travel advisory warning because of COVID-19 — may not return to campus until they have self-isolated for 14 days and received proof of medical clearance from a physician, said Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, in an email to the campus community.Cristina Interiano | The Observer Any visitors or residents from a country which has been designated a Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must also self-isolate for 14 days and obtain medical clearance, the email said.In addition, the University has cancelled its 2020 summer programs in China and Italy. Other study abroad programs will continue, provided that travel advisories for the countries in question remain below Level 3.The 106 Notre Dame students who’ve returned to the U.S. from Italy will work with Notre Dame International and their relevant academic deans to discuss individual academic plans. While Browne said some of the students will return to Notre Dame, some may stay home but still have the option to return if their academic plan allows.The Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Response Policy Committee have worked together to monitor coronavirus developments and orchestrate responses as the situation changes.“Words cannot adequately express the appreciation we have for the many people who worked tirelessly to execute on the decision to suspend the programs and bring our students back,” Browne said in the email.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Paul Browne, travel advisorylast_img read more

Aladdin’s Donald Jones Jr. on Dancing His Way from NOLA to Agrabah

first_imgYou’ve been waiting, and now we’re ready to unveil a hot new Gotta Dance! This time, is highlighting Aladdin’s Donald Jones Jr., who is a knockout in the crowd-pleasing new Disney musical. Jones started dancing as a child at church, and he still lets loose in his living room now and then. Click through the gallery to see more of this muscular hoofer! Watch the video to get the story behind Jones’ life-changing audition! About the Photographer Matthew Murphy is a New York City-based photographer specializing in theater and dance. His work appears regularly in the Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times and additional credits include Bravo TV, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, Dance Magazine, The Financial Times and The New York Post. He is a former member of American Ballet Theatre. For more information visit Additional Credits: Hair and Makeup: Alex Michaels; Styling: David Withrow; Production Assistant: Nessie Nankivell; Photo Post-Production: Kat Hennessey View Commentscenter_img Related Shows Aladdin from $57.50last_img read more

Hot Shot! A Glorious First Preview for On Your Feet!

first_img Related Shows View Comments On Your Feet! On Your Feet!, the bio musical about the rise of music-making duo Gloria and Emilio Estefan, began performances at the Marquis Theatre on October 5. We have to admit, the rhythm did get us as we conga-ed to snap this shot of the stars taking their first bow. The high-energy musical officially opens on the Great White Way on November 5. The Estefans were over the moon that their show is (yes!) on its feet, and they were also super excited that their daughter, Emily Marie Consuelo, surprised them. See below for the sweet family shot. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 20, 2017last_img read more

Get Inside the ‘Circle of Life’ with The Lion King’s Immersive Video

first_img from $75.00 View Comments Star Files The Lion King First, we bounced around the classroom in School of Rock’s 360° video, and now we’re going on an emotional journey from the stage of Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. The Lion King recently filmed its iconic opening number “Circle of Life,” marking the first time the virtual reality technology has been used inside a Great White Way theater. chatted with Tshidi Manye, the record-breaking musical’s longtime Rafiki, to find out her reaction to the super cool new video.”It blew my mind!” Manye told us. “I got so emotional when I saw it; I couldn’t believe it. It’s a different kind of joy [than doing the show]. It is breathtaking. It made me tear up when I started thinking how lucky we were to be part of this. It’s fabulous that the show has been on Broadway for so long—we just celebrated our 18-year anniverary—and it has sold billions. Now to be a part of this! Can you imagine? I mean my grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to see this.”To experience The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” from the actors’ point of view, click below. Tshidi Manye Related Showslast_img read more