Month: January 2021
Student government hosts annual Majors Night
The East Wing of South Dining Hall was loud, busy and full of students Monday night, but not because of the dinnertime rush. Approximately 600 students attended the seventh annual Majors Night, organized by student government’s academic affairs department and held from 6 to 8 p.m. Neal Ravindra, chair of the academic affairs committee, said information was provided about the many majors available on campus, but also about minors, research opportunities, opportunities to volunteer, internships and scholarships. “The primary purpose was to answer any questions students may have about their course of study at Notre Dame and to allow students to learn about opportunities outside the classroom — to both lessen confusion and to inform,” Ravindra said. “[I went] to check out all of the majors and minors that interest me,” he said. “I think they did a great job of displaying information and having people talk about the experience of the students in each program.” Freshman Ashley Armstrong said she knows she wants to study engineering, but she is not sure what kind. “I enjoyed the time I spent here and talked to a lot of people about engineering,” she said. “I also talked to someone from CUSE; it was very informative and I now plan to apply for funding so I can do research in London over the summer. I didn’t know Notre Dame would pay for something like that.” Ravindra said the majority of the students in attendance were freshmen. He said traditionally, not many sophomores, juniors or seniors attend the event, even though many groups were represented at the event, all of which offer valuable opportunities to upperclassmen. He also said students who already have a major can still come to learn about other academic opportunities. “It is the best and quickest way for upperclassmen to learn about adding minors or concentrations,” Ravindra said. Sophomore Michael Neuberger said he is not sure what course of study he wants to follow, and went to Majors Night to learn more about the different opportunities. “I’m unsure about what major I want. I just switched from the business school to political science, but I’m also looking at other possible Arts and Letters majors,” Neuberger said. “I officially declared as a political science major today, so I came here to grab some of the information sheets they are handing out.” Ravindra said the event is also important for various members of the Notre Dame faculty. “It allows faculty to disseminate information about their departments, meet new students and recruit students,” he said. Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) professor Tom Stapleford said Majors Night is a great way for the department to reach out to students. “Not many students know about the Program of Liberal Studies. It is a great way for us to get the word out to students and a great opportunity for them to ask questions of us,” Stapleford said. Students were asked to complete and submit a survey about their experience at the event and Ravindra said the results will be used to maintain and improve the event in the future. “The survey allows us to see what’s working and what’s not working,” Ravindra said.
NDSP investigates crime
Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is investigating the second incident of alleged forcible fondling reported on campus within 24 hours, according to an email to the student body Tuesday evening. The incident occurred early Sunday morning outside a residence hall on South Quad, police said. “The victim had recently met the suspect while walking to her residence hall from another hall on campus,” the email stated. NDSP is also investigating another incident of forcible fondling in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the department alerted students to that report via email Monday evening. The Tuesday email warned students to be aware of their surroundings and watch out for friends to reduce the risk of sexual assault. “Forcible fondling and other sexual assaults can happen to anyone,” the email stated. “College students are more likely to be assault by someone recently met than a stranger. This means the person perpetrating the assault could be part of the campus community.” The email also warned students that perpetrators may target victims after giving them drugs or during excessive consumption of alcohol. Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault is available from NDSP at ndsp.nd.edu and at the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention at http://csap.nd.edu.
Senior artist releases EP
As Notre Dame seniors balance enjoying the end of their college careers and finding a foothold in the working world, senior Dylan Walter vocalized that experience in a full-length EP titled “Tightrope,” which he released Friday. Walter, an independent hip-hop artist, has been releasing music since his freshman year at Notre Dame. “Tightrope” is the fourth full-length project released under his moniker “D. Montayne,” a name derived from Walter’s first initial and middle name. The EP has 10 songs, all of which Walter said reflect his current state in life. A finance major, Walter said he is currently applying to business jobs but hopes to eventually pursue a full-time career in music. “I came up with the name ‘Tightrope’ a couple months ago because in a lot of ways, I feel like I’m being suspended on a tightrope between the different aspects of my life,” Walter said. “The music aspect, the academic aspects, getting a job, … these lifestyles don’t really mix together very well and I have to find a balance between them.” Walter said the most difficult part of putting the EP together was coming up with the time to write, record and mix his songs. “I had a pretty busy semester, and with the football season as it was, my focus wasn’t on getting this EP done until winter break, when I did the last songs and put it together,” Walter said. “The most rewarding part was the feedback I’ve been getting so far from people who hadn’t listened to my music before, people I don’t know who tell me they really liked it.” Because he is not currently affiliated with any label, Walter said he records and mixes everything on his own with his personal equipment. “As it is right now, I’m just making music by myself,” Walter said. “I have a mobile studio that I carry around in my backpack, so there are a few places where I go to record and I just pack up the backpack with the microphones and everything.” Walter said he would describe his lyrics as thoughtful and personal, but he doesn’t see any parallels of his sound in today’s hip-hop artists. “I really don’t know of any artists out there that sound like me, which I think is good, so I don’t think people really associate me with anyone who is already out there,” he said. “I take that as evidence that I’m unique.” Earlier this year, Walter produced “Onward to Victory,” a song celebrating Notre Dame football that he released shortly before the Irish faced the University of Michigan. The song has nearly 13,000 views on Walter’s YouTube channel. He has opened for several acts at Legends, including Big Sean in April 2011 and Chris Webby in February 2012. “At that point, Big Sean was just about to release his first album, so it was cool to be able to open for him before he was a superstar,” Walter said. “We hung out for a while and talked about music for several hours, and shortly after that he became really famous. I’m hoping to get some more opening spots, maybe this spring.” Walter said he is already preparing for his next project and has several new songs written but not recorded yet. “Ideally, I’d like to put out another EP or full-length mixtape this summer, after I graduate, if I could pull that off,” Walter said. While he is still finding the balance between academics and music, Walters said he is interested in opportunities to continue his music career after leaving Notre Dame. “I don’t care if 10 people download [the EP] or 10 million, I just want those who do to listen and get a sense of what I’m going for with this project,” Walter said. “If you listen to the EP from front to back, my intention would be that people would feel that tension the title refers to.” “Tightrope” can be downloaded for free at www.dmontaynemusic.com
Reports of fraudulent calls resurface
In mid-July, students and other staff received an email from Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) warning of a man calling people affiliated with Notre Dame and impersonating various government officials in order to obtain personal financial information.A month later, reports of those calls have started coming in again, according to University spokesperson Dennis Brown.The initial email, which was sent July 17, said caller identification indicates the man’s number as that of a legitimate government agency. He then pretends to be a member of law enforcement or some other government official and asks for money or financial information, according to the email.Multiple people have described the man as speaking with a heavy accent, the email stated. NDSP urged students to not share private finances over the phone.“If you receive a suspicious call, we recommend that you clarify what agency the person is from, the name of the caller, the purpose of the call and the telephone number,” the email said. “Then look up the number for the agency yourself and call to see if someone from the agency is legitimately trying to contact you. If not, report to the police.”Both NDSP and the Roseland police department have received complaints about the caller.Tags: Dennis Brown, NDSP, Roseland
McGrath Institute for Church Life hosts creche exhibit and pilgrimage
Christmas is just around the corner in Notre Dame, and with Christmas comes buildings and residence halls decked with garland and lights. This Advent season, several buildings will be host to Nativity sets from Eastern Europe, known as “creches,” as part of McGrath Institute for Church Life’s fifth annual Creche Exhibit and Pilgrimage.The pilgrimage begins at 2 p.m. Sunday when participants will gather at the Eck Visitors Center before setting out across campus. At each of the five sites, participants will listen to a passage from Scripture, sing Christmas carols and pray a decade of the Rosary before walking to the next site. The final site is the Administration Building, where a reception with cookies and hot chocolate will be held following the end of the pilgrimage.Carolyn Pirtle, program director for the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, said the McGrath Institute has partnered with the Marian Library at the University of Dayton to display the unique creches each year.“We were fortunate to start this partnership five years ago and it’s just been really great in keeping every year different,” Pirtle said. “We bring 30 creches to campus every year and we’ve never brought the same creche because their selection is so vast. Every year has a little bit of a different theme. … This year they’re all from Eastern Europe. [It] gives a chance for people to see different artistic descriptions and experience the Nativity in a new way.”John Cavadini, director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, said the way each culture expresses the Nativity allows them to adapt the story in a unique way while maintaining its universal message of hospitality.“The infant Jesus and his family have been welcomed in all cultures, and each culture has found a way of making the baby Jesus and his family at home in their culture,” Cavadini said. “All cultures of human beings can be and are in this instance cultures of hospitality. [The Nativity] gives you the sense that this a very universal thing. It’s so universal that it binds us all together, but it doesn’t homogenize us into only one culture. You can recognize in the hospitality of another culture the call to be hospitable yourself. So, there’s a kind of universality to it that bears witness to the unity of human culture.”The setting aside of studying and other activities and instead engaging in a pilgrimage helps participants to learn about and interact with the coming of Christ, Pirtle said.“[The pilgrimage] really provides a focus for what it is we are preparing for,” Pirtle said. “We’re preparing to celebrate the Incarnation when we celebrate Christmas, the coming of Christ as a child, the coming of Christ into our hearts and of course the coming of Christ at the end of time.“[The pilgrimage] gives you a chance to step out of your normal life, to step out of the business and to step into something else, to step into this opportunity for prayer. And it’s not just you. You’re walking as one pilgrim among many, so it’s people that you would not necessarily see. We have people from different parishes who come from all over South Bend, we have students who come. So, it’s bringing different communities together around this central image of the incarnation and it’s allowing them to walk along side and to pray alongside people that they might not normally pray alongside.”The pilgrimage allows members of the community to symbolically engage in a journey towards God, Cavadini said.“There’s something about learning about what a religious procession is, learning about what it means to embark on a procession,” Cavadini said. “The procession is sort of symbolic of life as a journey to God. … In a sense we’re on this journey which is meditating on and thinking about a beautiful mystery from the Bible. It’s kind of like a journey to God. … You understand [the journey] better if you are doing something that embodies it, if you’re actually walking somewhere, if you’re saying prayers, if you’re seeing the mystery depicted in art and if you’re having fun.”Cavadini said the creches share an element of God’s beauty with participants, and that just having them on campus is itself beautiful.“I hope that the families get a kind of vision of beauty, of these really artistically beautiful creches which are trying to express the beauty in turn of the mystery of God’s becoming little for us,” Cavadini said. “I just kind of love the event. I feel like, having the creches even apart from the pilgrimage, it makes me feel like Notre Dame and we all as a community have made a home for the Incarnate Word. It feels like the community is graced with the Incarnation and that we’ve responded in a sense by making the baby Jesus at home here. I just love that idea.”Tags: Advent, christmas, creches, John Cavadini, McGrath Institute for Church Life, Pilgrimage, The Nativity
Notre Dame receives record-breaking research grant for disease prevention
Notre Dame recently received a record-breaking grant of $33.7 million to conduct research on the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases using a new spatial repellent product that works to reduce mosquito densities and fight diseases like malaria, dengue, Zika and chikungunya. Unitaid, an international health organization, agreed to fund the five-year project after a long and competitive proposal process. For the scientists behind the project, though, the amount of money was not of primary importance.“We like to focus on the impact of the science rather than the monetary value,” the project’s principal investigator, John Grieco, said. “The value is something the University looks at. For us, it’s more the impact we’re having on human health. When you work alongside these communities and individuals, you see the struggles that they have day-to-day. If we can see a product through to reduce disease in these communities, that’s the success for us.”Notre Dame Research, the central department that oversees infrastructure and management for student and faculty research on campus, has been particularly involved in this project due to the magnitude of the grant. “Dr. Grieco came to us right away and said, ‘This is going to be big,’” vice president of research Robert Bernhard said. “You could see in the announcement that they were looking for some pretty sophisticated project management.”Grieco and his team continued to work with Unitaid during a 19-month proposal process, one of the longest he has ever been through, he said. However, his work with spatial repellent products has spanned much longer. Grieco and Nicole Achee, a medical entomologist who serves as the scientific director of the project, have been working on developing spatial repellent products for over two decades.The process began when Achee was invited to speak about spatial repellent research at a conference in Madrid, Grieco said. Funding representatives from Unitaid were present in the audience, and when Unitaid sent out a general call for proposals, several people from the organization were already familiar with their work. Though this didn’t guarantee a grant, Grieco said it was certainly an advantage.“When we first started working with spatial repellents, people thought there was no such thing,” Grieco said. “It’s been a long process on getting recognition that they actually have a function in reducing vector-borne disease. Now, we’re trying to have the World Health Organization formally recognize the utility of spatial repellents for use against malaria and other vector-borne diseases.”In order to receive the World Health Organization’s formal recognition, Grieco and his team must conduct clinical trials and operational studies. The clinical trials, which will take place in controlled environments in Kenya and Sri Lanka, will examine the effectiveness of the spatial repellent product over a period of one to two years, Achee said. “We’re not trying to make a better product, we’re trying to make a product to help existing tools,” she said. “In some settings, it could be that the spatial repellent is the only product used, or it could be added onto existing strategies.”The product could be especially effective in places where the spread of vector-borne diseases is difficult to prevent using current methods, including refugee camps, where many people live in tents or three-walled structures.Achee said after the clinical trials, the team will conduct operational studies in displaced persons camps in Mali and Uganda to determine the effectiveness of different distribution methods for the product. “We need an understanding of how well it works in a real-world setting,” Achee said. “We’re looking at how to distribute products to achieve the greatest coverage, and how many products can be distributed over what period of time [and] to how many people.”While developing and researching their product, Grieco and his team have found some unexpected results that contribute toward their ultimate goal of reducing vector-borne diseases.“The more we study them, the harder it becomes for us to narrow down what the true effects are,” Grieco said. “Originally, we thought that mosquitoes would pick up the chemical in the air and move away from the area. But now through some of our research, we’ve found that they impact on biting, mating and many other behaviors. They’re causing a disruption in the mosquito lifestyle, which has an impact on the disease.”Bernhard said researchers at Notre Dame have a history of working with infectious, neglected tropical diseases that goes back to the 1940s.“We believe that being a force for good in the world means that we need to have some of our programs be more applied and in-the-field,” Bernhard said. “It’s part of the bigger strategy to reach out and be involved in research that has an impact.”Tags: academic research, biology research, disease prevention, research grants
Professor discusses thesis project turned iconic Grotto fountain
While approaching the Grotto, several things might catch your eye: the imposing rocks, the hundreds of white candles or a trickling fountain on the left. This fountain may not be the most iconic part of the Grotto, but it has its own stories from seven decades of keeping watch over visitors.The fountain was made in 1943 by William Schickel, who completed the project as a thesis for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Notre Dame. The original fountain was built using concrete, stone and terrazzo, but was remade in bronze this summer during a period of general renovations for the Grotto site.The fountain’s name is uncertain, though some people call it the “Trinity Fountain,” or “Living Waters.”Fr. Austin Collins, a professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, does not call the fountain “Living Waters,” but is more inclined to agree with that imagery.“The images of water; the washing of the feet, the calming of the storm, the woman at the well, are just images of water and making a fountain,” he said, referring to the three artistic representations on the sides of the work.Regardless of the name, Collins says the fountain and the Grotto around it hold a special place in the hearts of all who visit.“It’s really been a place of pilgrimage,” he said. “Whether you’re Catholic, or whether you’re Christian, or not, you see people down there. It’s a sacred, holy place.”A letter written by Dr. Tom Dooley, an alumnus who cared for ill, impoverished children in Asia, defends Collins’s characterization. The letter, written while the author was gravely ill in Asia, is memorialized in a plaque on the site. It reads in part:“How I long for the Grotto … especially now when there must be snow everywhere and the lake is ice glass and that triangular fountain on the left is frozen solid. … Knowing prayers from here are just as good as from the Grotto doesn’t lessen my gnawing, yearning passion to be there.”Tags: fountain, Grotto, Living Waters fountain, news podcast, The Grotto, Trinity Fountain
County Dems Endorse Lawyer For County Executive Bid
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image via the Law Office of Richard J. Morrisroe.MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee has endorsed a Dunkirk City Attorney as its candidate for Chautauqua County Executive.County Chair Norman Green says 45-year-old Attorney Richard Morrisroe will take on Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel in this fall’s election.Wendel was appointed as the county’s next Executive by lawmakers during the legislature’s re-organization meeting in January after New York State Senator George Borrello left the office.Morrisroe has a general law practice with offices in Dunkirk and Buffalo. He currently lives in Dunkirk with his wife, mother-in-law and two sons. Green additional says the Democratic Committee endorsed Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson for re-election and Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano.
New York State Orders Some Business Closures In Attempt To Stop Virus
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),What about factory’s that make food. Photo: PxHereJAMESTOWN – Starting Monday at 8 p.m. gyms, movie theaters, casinos, restaurants and bars will close by order of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.The Governor’s Office says these facilities will remain closed until further notice, minus restaurants and bars being open for take out. The Governor says per a state law change, even alcohol can be order as takeout.Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and medical facilities will remain open.Cuomo recommends that only essential services and businesses stay open after 8 p.m. Most schools in the state have already closed for an undetermined amount of time, but by Wednesday, the rest of them will be closed, as well. This closure will last at least two weeks. Cuomo says that if conditions “miraculously” improve, the schools could be reopened.While this massive shutdown takes place, Cuomo encouraged families to spend time together. Local, state and county park fees are waived during this time.The capacity of hospitals will go beyond Department of Health regulations for the time being. This will allow the facilities to increase space.It is not yet decided, but the state may cancel elective surgeries across the state. Space will be needed at hospitals, Cuomo says.
FDA Warning Consumers Of Fake COVID-19 Test Kits
Photo: CDCWASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration says it’s actively and aggressively monitoring for any fake COVID-19 test kits.According to officials, at this time, there’s no authorized test to purchase for testing yourself for COVID-19 at home.“Fraudulent health claims, tests, and products can pose serious health risks,” the FDA said. “They may keep some patients from seeking care or delay necessary medical treatment.”The FDA says it will take appropriate action to protect consumers from fake tests, including issuing warning letters, seizures, or injunctions. Officials tell us they’ve already identified and issued warning letters to companies found selling and promoting fraudulent items. Additionally, the organization is stepping up enforcement at ports of entry, including International Mail Facilities, to ensure these fraudulent products that originate outside the country do not enter through borders.The FDA asks if you are aware of fraudulent COVID-19 test kits, report it to them. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)