Ten days, 83 pages and one case study later, Saint Mary’s students took first place at the Indiana Certified Public Accounting Society’s (INCPAS) 2010 collegiate contest in Indianapolis earlier this month. The team was given a scenario about a struggling accounting firm and wrote a report on how to deal with the issue. The team was comprised of juniors Allison Courtney and Maggie DePaola, seniors Betsy Reed and Maureen Temchuk and faculty advisor Mary Ann Merryman, chair of the Business Administration and Economics department. The Saint Mary’s team competed against 12 others from Indiana to win the contest, which was held Nov. 19. The group had to put together a 50-page report and 30 pages of appendices in the 10-day time frame, Courtney said. Then, the top six reports were chosen to present in Indianapolis. From those six, the Saint Mary’s team took first. “It was just such a nice feeling that all our hard work paid off,” Courtney said. “It was amazing.” According to the INCPAS website, Valparaiso University placed second and the University of Southern Indiana placed third. The remaining three, Butler University, Indiana University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, were given honorable mentions. Each student on the Saint Mary’s team was awarded $1,000 for winning the competition, the website said. Merryman has taken five teams to the finals of the INCPAS contest, which began in 2000, and placed as high as third in the past. This is the first time Saint Mary’s has won the entire competition, according to the College’s press release. “Students graduate, so the one constant is a faculty member with an ongoing commitment to make sure that a college or university organizes and coaches a team to compete,” Merryman said in the release. According to Courtney, INCPAS invites every college in Indiana and Saint Mary’s has participated in the competition for several years. She said winning the competition was “surreal” for multiple reasons. “One, Saint Mary’s had never placed first in the competition before and two, we were probably the smallest school represented at the competition,” Courtney said. For next year’s competition, the Saint Mary’s team will again be comprised of two juniors and two seniors. Courtney said it is set up this way so she and DePaola will be more prepared. “I will take away the experience I have gained this year to compete again in the competition next year,” DePaola said.
This weekend, 18 Saint Mary’s students will participate in the fourth annual student-run Encounter Retreat. The event, sponsored by Campus Ministries, will be held at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. The Encounter Retreat is a once-a-year event for Saint Mary’s that focuses on students developing personal relationships with Christ. Students also learn to think about the ways they encounter Christ in their lives. The retreat involves a series of six different talks concerning different aspects of faith and relationships. Student leaders deliver all of the talks. “Students enjoy getting to know God through other people,” Campus Ministry Assistant Director Regina Wilson said. The student speeches differentiate the Encounter Retreat from other retreats. Every year, student leaders put a lot of thought and effort into their speeches. Students often apply creative techniques in their lessons including the use of music to establish and support a message. The weekend will begin with a talk on how the attendees might first come to understand themselves and will conclude on Saturday with a talk titled “Beyond the Encounter,” at which time attendees will be invited to learn how to be Christ-like to others. Throughout the weekend, attendees will also be encouraged to share personal stories of how Christ has impacted their lives. The retreat will end with a Mass at the retreat center. In the past, students have found the retreat rewarding, giving positive feedback, and Wilson said she is confident this year’s retreat will prove to have similar results. “Students come looking for something such as friendship or faith and often find it very gratifying,” Wilson said. “The goal of the retreat is that students will learn that their encounters with Christ have consequences.” The retreat also promises community-bonding events including games and various other activities. Wilson said she hopes the weekend will bring all in attendance closer not only with Christ, but also with each other.
While senior year may seem far in the future for the class of 2014, many sophomores looking to rent an ideal off-campus house begin their search as early as this semester. Off-campus concerns chair Emily LeStrange said interested students should do adequate research on a property before signing a lease. “The best piece of advice I can give is to encourage new renters to talk to people they know currently rent[ing] from a certain landlord or housing agency,” LeStrange said. “They can give you honest feedback about their experiences and can point you in the right direction.” LeStrange said students often feel pressure from landlords or housing agencies to sign a lease before they have time to fully comprehend its stipulations. “You should take the time to review the agreement and ask any questions if they arise,” LeStrange said. “There will always be housing off campus, so don’t feel rushed to make an agreement.” Students should fully comprehend any financial terms of the lease, LeStrange said. She advised prospective renters to especially understand what utilities are included in the rent and how rent payment would be scheduled. “Even some minor things may be in the lease, like a policy on pets,” LeStrange said. “It’s important to really understand the agreement. Most students forget that a lease is a binding legal document, and I think it is very important to always keep that in mind.” Off-campus president Tess Fitzpatrick said safety is another key factor in choosing a house. “Some apartments and housing areas are known for robberies, and students need to know the safety aspect involved in moving off campus,” Fitzpatrick said. LeStrange suggested students read crime reports for the area if they are unsure of the neighborhood’s history. The off-campus student website, offcampus.nd.edu, includes complete crime reports filed by students in the surrounding area. “It’s important to be an informed renter,” LeStrange said. “Sometimes this means you need to gather your own information about the neighborhood you are going to live in.” LeStrange said student government would host a lease fair in the LaFortune Ballroom at the beginning of November. “We invite landlords and housing agencies to campus so that students can meet the people who have properties for rent,” LeStrange said. “Importantly though, we want them to be informed renters — they should see what is available.” Fitzpatrick said the lease fair gives students an opportunity to thoroughly examine the pros and cons of each option. “I think it will be really constructive, especially if you’re looking to get a house since you really need to start that sophomore year,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can see what’s out there, the price range and what’s convenient location-wise.” LeStrange said the student government office also has “Good Neighbor Guides” that provide general information on both renting houses and living off campus. “Specifically, the ‘Living Off Campus’ section highlights things like landlord-renter relations, renter’s insurance, social gathering information, budgeting and utilities, etc.,” LeStrange said. Despite the challenges, Fitzpatrick said off-campus living is an invaluable experience in college. “There is a lot of freedom with moving off campus,” Fitzpatrick said. “There is more responsibility, but I think it’s great for students at this age to be able to live off campus.”
Early Saturday, the class of 2015 was caught off guard by the news of the death of fellow senior Billy Meckling, who fell from the roof of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center (JACC).“This is absolutely shocking news for the Notre Dame family,” senior Jacob Lee said. “I can’t even imagine how the senior’s parents are feeling right now considering graduation is a day away. My heart goes out to all his friends and family. May he rest in peace.”Meckling, a mechanical engineering major and four-year member of the varsity fencing team, was set to receive his degree Sunday.“A student passing away is tragic under any circumstances, but this is especially unfortunate because he was a senior, and he was a day away from graduation,” Senior Yixin Huang said. “I feel so bad for his parents.”“I was incredibly saddened to hear the news,” senior Kelsey Amarosa said. “No matter what, we are the Notre Dame family, so hearing that we lost one of our fellow Domers was shocking and tragic. I can’t even imagine what his family is feeling at this time. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”Students are still trying to come to terms with the news while spending time with loved ones on campus.“I haven’t really processed the news to be honest; it’s still not registering,” Huang said.“This tragedy will absolutely put this weekend into a different perspective for me and I will embrace the time I have with my parents even more,” Amarosa said.
In response to Pope Francis’s most recent encyclical about the environment, “Laudato si’,” Saint Mary’s held a panel discussion Tuesday night. Religious studies professor Phyllis Kaminski began the conversation by explaining the encyclical’s relevance to college students. She said Pope Francis calls for a deep ecological conversion that all people of good will can achieve if they acknowledge environmental issues. “He broadens Catholic social teaching,” Kaminski said. “He draws on the lived experience of those most affected by ecological devastation: the poor.” Associate professor of biology Cassie Majetic also said the poor are the most affected by the degradation of the environment. “It’s become really apparent that these issues have disproportionate effects on the planet,” Majetic said. “There is no real debate that these things are happening.” According to Majetic, “Laudato si’” encouraged her to continue discussion of environmental issues in her curriculum. “It was fun to read and was very affirming because these are some of the things I teach in the classroom,” Majetic said. “I feel called to think about my own research. It’s very hard to turn a critical eye to oneself, but I think that’s what Pope Francis is asking us to do in this document.” Senior Deirdre O’Leary said she read “Laudato si’” with curiosity from the perspective of a student, which helped her generate ways in which Saint Mary’s can improve from an ecological standpoint. She said even something as simple as providing a recycle bin in every dorm room would contribute to a stronger sense of unity on campus. “All throughout the encyclical, there’s a common theme of interconnectedness,” O’Leary said. “When we’re able to be compassionate to the person sitting next to us, that’s not unrelated to the environment.” O’Leary said students’ love for others can translate into love for creation, which makes it easier to appreciate nature. “We have, as Pope Francis said, an obligation to care for the environment,” O’Leary said. “This doesn’t have to be a mundane task. We can do it with joy. As we’re walking to class on this beautiful campus, we should appreciate God in the beauty of nature.” Director of Campus Ministry Regina Wilson said she and Majetic collaborated with English and environmental studies professor Christopher Cobb to organize the panel discussion. “We felt that this new encyclical offered the perfect incentive to gather and discuss Saint Mary’s commitment to protecting the environment,” Wilson said. “We thought it would be interesting to hear different members of the community speak about how “Laudato si’” speaks to their particular discipline and their personal life.” According to Wilson, “Laudato si’” can catalyze change in the Saint Mary’s community and beyond. “The earth is our mother and our common home,” Wilson said “Saint Mary’s students and all people should keep reflecting on this reality.”Tags: laudato si’, Pope Francis
This Saturday, as fans crowd the parking lots surrounding Legends and Notre Dame Stadium for tailgates, they may encounter some environmentally conscious companions.Immediately before the home game against Navy, dozens of students will be walking through the parking lots, distributing blue recycling bags and answering questions about recycling as part of the Office of Sustainability’s Game Day Recycling program.Linda Kurtos, Notre Dame director of sustainability, said the practice started in 2008.“At the time, there were no good opportunities to collect all of the recyclable material that was being generated by fans during tailgating, so all of it was going to the landfill,” Kurtos said. “The Office [of Sustainability] initiated the program to make recycling at home football games possible and convenient for our fans and visitors.”According to Kurtos, the Game Day Recycling program involves a lot of logistical planning, starting before the football season begins.“To make as many recycling bags available to our fans and visitors, we also have recycling bag dispensers secured to light posts throughout the Joyce, Legends and Library parking lots,” she said. “The dispensers are refurbished newspaper vending boxes that hold additional blue recycling bags that visitors can use as needed. Prior to the start of the football season, we have each of the bag dispensers cleaned and distributed throughout the tailgating parking areas where they will stay for the entire football season.”Kurtos said the sustainability efforts themselves start the day before the game, during football Friday events.For the past two years, Kurtos said, senior Max Ducey has worked as the program’s intern, in charge of recruiting and managing volunteers. Volunteers are students from University-authorized groups or clubs, which are compensated by the Office of Sustainability for the total number of hours that members work during the game.“Max and other interns and staff go around the parking lots to check to make sure that all of the bag dispensers in the parking lots are fully stocked with recycling bags,” Kurtos said. “They also put up lawn signs around the stadium to help provide additional information about recycling.”Kurtos said the Game Day Recycling team will start early on Saturday. Max Ducey will meet with student volunteers and assign them to certain areas on campus, particularly focusing on tailgate-heavy parking areas and White Field.“Each student group is asked to provide four students from 10 a.m. to noon,” Kurtos said. “On night games, we usually add an additional shift of student volunteers from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to make sure we get bags to some of the later arriving fans.“The student volunteers are not involved in any pre-, during or post-game clean up. The University hires an outside group to do the actual clean up. Instead, the student volunteers focus on increasing recycling activities during pre-game activities. The volunteers walk around the tailgating areas and pass out recycling bags and information on what can be recycled on campus. Max and the office staff spend the morning making sure that all of the tailgating areas are adequately staffed and getting the bags that they need.”Senior Charlie Ducey has volunteered in the Game Day Recycling program on behalf of the creative writing club Mustard. (Editor’s note: Charlie Ducey is a Viewpoint columnist for The Observer.)“Game Day Recycling is actually one of my favorite things to do on game day,” Charlie Ducey said. “I get to tour the whole range of tailgates for two hours, handing out bags and riding on a golf cart. So long as it isn’t raining, it’s an exceptionally pleasant experience.“Volunteering with Game Day Recycling helps me to get a feel for the amount of material that gets used during game day while also curbing the amount that goes to waste. Though helping the environment is a reward in itself, volunteering also raises funds for my club or student organization of choice.”Kurtos also said the program has added a new practice to expand sustainability efforts.“In a partnership with NDSP, Athletics and the Office of Sustainability, we now hire additional temporary parking lot staff to hand out recycling bags and trash bags to each car as it enters the Joyce lots and other busy tailgating areas,” she said. “This new practice helps ensure that we are able to get bags to even more fans and visitors as soon as they arrive on campus. In an effort to help keep the campus looking good, this is also the first year that we are passing out trash bags in addition to recycling bags. Each guest gets two recycling bags and one trash bag as they enter the parking area.”According to Kurtos, volunteers last season distributed about 3,000 blue recycling bags per game and 6,000 for the night home game, for a total of approximately 21,000 bags distributed during the entire season.With this year’s distribution of recycling bags and trash bags to incoming cars, Kurtos says the Game Day Recycling team is distributing more bags than ever, with more than 35 tons of recycling already collected during the first two home games of the season.“We are very proud of the program,” Kurtos said. “Not only has it increased recycling on campus and diverted more material from landfills, it has helped keep Notre Dame clean and beautiful during football games.”Tags: football, Game Day, game day recycling, recycling, sustainability, tailgate
Harvard Law School professor and former U.S. ambassador Mary Ann Glendon will receive the 2018 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal in the spring, according to a South Bend Tribune report.In 2009, Glendon was named as the recipient of the Laetare Medal, the report said. However, she turned the award down because President Barack Obama was the commencement speaker.According to the report, Glendon said the University’s choice to award Obama with an honorary degree disregarded a 2004 statement from U.S. bishops, which said Catholic institutions should not recognize those whose actions violate the church’s moral teachings.The Evangelium Vitae Medal has been awarded annually by the Center for Ethics and Culture since 2011. According to the Center’s website, the medal honors leaders in the pro-life movements whose actions “have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages.”“Glendon is one of the most extraordinary figures in academia and the global public square,” O. Carter Snead, director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, said in a University press release. “She personifies the goods at the heart of the Evangelium Vitae Medal. Through her work as a world-class scholar and teacher, a diplomat, a White House bioethics adviser and an official of the Holy See, she has provided a joyful, loving and unwavering witness to the dignity of all persons, born and unborn, as created in the image and likeness of God. She sets the standard for all of us who work to build a culture of life worldwide.”University President Fr. John Jenkins said Glendon exemplifies the meaning of the award.“Mary Ann Glendon is certainly among the most accomplished women in the Church today and a worthy recipient of this year’s award,” Jenkins said in the release. “I’m grateful to the Center for Ethics and Culture for recognizing Glendon for her impressive service to the Church and to life.”Tags: evangilium vitae medal, Harvard Law School, Laetare Medal, Mary Ann Glendon
Sophomore Ralph Moran has a mission: to draw people away from typical cookie-cutter gifts. For him, music has the power to be the ultimate gift.Moran’s company, “Streetlight Creations,” is a custom music platform that connects customers with artists for the purposes of creating personal songs “to address the desire for meaningful gifts among the general populous.”“Music is one of the realms of communication that is inherently human and inherently personal, except it’s still out of bounds with people who do not have a musical talent,” Moran said. Moran, along with his co-founder and fellow sophomore Nicholas Lampson, said he started Streetlight Creations to help make the gift of music a more universal option and not an idea simply restricted to those that could produce it. “The process is pretty simple,” he said. “So you come onto the website and you create a song, and then you’re taken to a forum on the website where you’re asked a series of questions. Our most typical songs are going to be romantic, I would imagine. We encourage you to give all the details you can, like little details where you met that person … so that we can pass on all that information then to the artist that best fits what you’re looking for.”Moran said that currently, all of the platform’s artists are students on campus, several of whom are already fairly successful and have numerous followers on Spotify. Student artists include senior Alexis Donn Daugherty, who sings acoustic pop, and junior Joey Warner, who specializes in EDM.“We hope to eventually recruit artists from all over the country, both hobbyists and people who are trying to break the industry, to give them a means to hone their craft while also receiving some sort of pay for doing so,” Moran said.Streetlight Creations was founded in November of 2017, Moran said. The company already has customers and recently launched its Valentine’s Day special, which includes a song and a lyric presentation for $75.“We had a sale for a guy from Texas; he was getting married and he wanted a song to commemorate the day,” Moran said. “We also had a sale for the birthday of two twins.”Moran said Streetlight Creations has provided the opportunity to bring some artists out of the woodwork who would otherwise be “closeted artists.”“Streetlight Creations is really about the artist as much as it is about the customer. Our whole value proposition is we want to be a platform where artists can grow,” he said. “Artists that join Streetlight and write for us we’re going to … enable them to create a portfolio and we’re going to help them produce music so that they can get things out there if they’re looking to take their music career further.”Moran and Lampson are no strangers to the music world. Lampson is a cellist and Moran is a member of both the Glee Club and the Undertones and plays the guitar and piano in his spare time.“We both have that passion for music, but at the end of the day we’re business-minded as well, so Streetlight Creations is the perfect opportunity for us to combine the things we love and share it with other people,” Moran said.Moran, a computer science major and collaborative innovation minor, said he enjoys the thrill of being a part of a student startup. He said Streetlight Creations provides him the opportunity to marry two interests that on the surface seem like a rare combination: coding and music.“Inherently, I don’t think that I’m a stereotypical computer science major. From the very beginning, I’ve always been very creative, so what really gives me a thrill isn’t just writing code, but it’s the idea of creating something new,” he said. “That’s why I love computer science, because I can make things out of nothing. But business is a way I can do that too and also work with people that have complementary skills with mine.”Tags: Computer science, Music, start-up, Streetlight Creations, student artists
For the past five years, the Saint Mary’s Mother Pauline Society (MPS) has been hosting a student design competition for cards sent to society members as expressions of gratitude and well-wishes. While the message sent in each card is itself meaningful, the student-designed card makes it all the more special.“We want to showcase student-focused and created art for donors in the Mother Pauline Society,” Saint Mary’s director of gift planning, Valerie Sherman said. The Mother Pauline Society, named for Saint Mary’s College’s first president, is a donor society for alumna and other donors who wish to leave planned gifts to Saint Mary’s. They have several events for members, such as a special breakfast at Saint Mary’s reunions. The College works closely with them to provide support to current students. Donors have expressed that they enjoy the cards and learning about the winning students, Sherman said. “We include the picture and a small bio of the winning artist,” she said. “It includes their major and some information about them. Oftentimes, students have more than one major or a few minors, and that tends to make donors happy. We have a close-knit community of Saint Mary’s alumni and donors who like to check up on current students. It makes things more personal and encourages alumni to share their own stories.” Members of the Mother Pauline Society are also closely involved in the lives of future students, Sherman said. “A lot of donors want to set up new scholarships” Sherman said. “In many cases they were only able to attend Saint Mary’s because of their own scholarships. They want to help current and future students in the same way they were helped.” The MPS has been looking to expand the design competition in coming years. Currently, the award for first prize is $75 in gift card money, but Sherman said that may change in the future. “We want to start accepting multiple submissions as winners,” she said. “We’ll be able to give more awards and have various designs available for the next couple years.” Along with the competition, Sherman said she wants to expand the number of cards given to MPS members. “We took our example from other nonprofits,” Sherman said. “We want to send out ‘get well‘ cards or holiday cards. Currently, most of our cards go to members for their birthday or as a part of the newsletter.” The competition this year is open until March 31. The winning cards will be ordered and produced for the next year’s mailing.Last year’s winner, junior Dalanie Beach, a creative writing and studio art major, will have her design printed on the 2019 cards and shared with over 400 members of the Mother Pauline Society.With such a large audience, freshman Hannah Toepp said she is excited for a chance to design a card for donors. “I think it would be really cool to have my artwork given to a wider audience,” Toepp said. “ … Saint Mary’s is just so beautiful and there’s a lot of inspiration to be found here. We have a rich history and a lot of opportunities to explore it.”Tags: Art, design, Design Competition, Mother Pauline Society, Student Art
As Notre Dame extended the suspension of in-person classes until the end of the semester, the University has prepared options for the spring move out process and room picks for fall 2020, vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said in an email to students Tuesday.While Indiana enacted a stay-at-home order until April 7, students will be offered the opportunity to sign up for move out appointments in advance through the Home Under the Dome system. The number of appointments per day will be limited in order to follow public health guidelines, and the earliest appointments are likely to take place in late May, Hoffmann Harding said.Student Affairs, Building Services and Maintenance staff will be unplugging refrigerators, closing windows and generally making sure that students’ belongings stay safe until move out, Hoffmann Harding said in the email.For students who are unable to return to campus to retrieve their belongings, families may select an approved packing service, which would occur after the move out appointments. Students who may face a financial burden in returning to campus can find assistance at the Office of Student Enrichment, Hoffmann Harding said.Room picks for fall 2020 will occur online in the Home Under the Dome system beginning in late April. The Office of Residential Life will communicate more information regarding move out procedures and room picks in the coming weeks, Hoffmann Harding said.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Erin Hoffmann Harding, Home under the dome, move-out, room picks