Hesburgh emphasized importance of lay governance

first_imgAmid the triumph and turmoil of the civil rights movement, the changes of the Second Vatican Council and the push for academic freedom for Catholic universities, the 1960s saw what Fr. Theodore Hesburgh called one of his greatest administrative achievements: placing University decision-making power in the hands of laypeople.“I would have to say that of all the accomplishments during the 35 years of my presidency at Notre Dame — improving the academics, the quality of the students, the endowment, the building program — the greatest change made during my administration was turning the University over to lay control,” Hesburgh wrote in his 2000 autobiography, “God, Country, Notre Dame.”Until 1967, Holy Cross priests made all major decisions for the University, which was valued at half a billion dollars, Hesburgh wrote. A lay advisory board existed, but it had no real power.In the summer of 1965, at a University retreat house in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, Hesburgh and several other Holy Cross leaders set out to change that.“The time had come for the priests of the Holy Cross to relinquish ownership and control of the university to a lay board of trustees who would be better equipped to oversee its future well-being,” Hesburgh wrote.A key motivating factor was the recently-concluded Second Vatican Council, which emphasized involvement of laymen and laywomen in the Church. Hesburgh even wrote his 1945 doctoral dissertation at Catholic University of America on the role of the laity in the Church.“Vatican II had said that laypeople should be given responsibility in Catholic affairs commensurate with their dedication, their competence and their intelligence,” he wrote. “Many people may not have taken that seriously, but we did. For me, it was the most natural thing in the world.”The separation of the University from a religious order would also be a step towards establishing its independence and academic freedom, Hesburgh said.“An organization as big as a Catholic university, which is totally faithful to the Church, wants to go on and be a Catholic university, needs a lot of elbow room,” he told National Public Radio’s Fresh Air in 1990. “And I thought we’d have more elbow room if we were run by lay people.”In early 1967, the process of transferring ownership of the University from the Congregation of Holy Cross to a lay board — which required Vatican approval — began. According to Hesburgh’s autobiography, Fr. Edward Heston, Holy Cross’ procurator general in Rome, put in a request for the transfer.Approval “sailed right through,” Hesburgh wrote, “which is highly unusual for the Vatican.”Hesburgh then called in Ed Stephan, a 1933 graduate and a Chicago lawyer, to legally transfer ownership and to set up a new governing structure. A continual priority, Hesburgh said, was to be “careful not to load anything in favor of the clergy.”“We all wanted Notre Dame to continue as it had before, as a premier Catholic university, and also to grow stronger academically and economically,” he said.The result was a two-tiered system of governance: a 12-member board of Fellows — six Holy Cross members and six laypeople — and a Board of Trustees, whose members could be lay or religious. The Fellows would set the number of, elect and oversee members of the Board of Trustees, allowing the laity to make decisions but maintaining the voice of the clergy.Fr. Thomas Blantz, a professor emeritus of history and a trustee emeritus, was an assistant rector on campus in the mid-1960s. He said while he was not involved in the decision to transfer control, Hesburgh was open with the Holy Cross community throughout the process.“There were very good discussions,” Blantz said. “Fr. Hesburgh was very open in his discussions with the Holy Cross. He’d bring [Stepan], and he was there to answer our questions also, at these meetings.”Over the next several decades, the new structure resulted in the input of trustees from a range of backgrounds and fields, such as law, business, media and academia, who could both act as examples for Notre Dame students and bring their expertise to the University’s decision-making, Blantz said.“One of the things a Board of Trustees does is represent the wider public at the University,” Blantz said. “We are, at Notre Dame, every University, training people for life in American society and maybe even leadership in American society. Therefore, it’s probably good to have that perspective of these leaders in American society overseeing your product and how you are doing.”The expertise of those leaders also helped Notre Dame expand financially. For example, Don Keough, the former chairman of the board of trustees who died last Tuesday, donated or raised billions of dollars for the University.“We reached out into the world and picked out some of the best leaders in the country like Don Keough, head of Coca-Cola, and he came in, and he helped us carry off a great fundraising campaign,” Hesburgh said in an interview with The Observer in 2013.One of the biggest impact of the transfer, Hesburgh wrote, was to give Notre Dame the independence it needed to expand intellectually.“I think we are more Catholic today than we were in the past — both big C and little c,” Hesburgh wrote. “One could argue with that, as many do, but I stand by that statement. It is very important that we continue to have independent Catholic universities. They are the very places that do the most of advance Catholic thought and influence in this country.“We have, and deserve to have, the respect of everyone who values academic freedom and commitment to the principles of reason seeking faith, and faith freely seeking a deeper understanding of all that faith means in our times.”Tags: board of fellows, Board of Trustees, Catholic university, Don Keough, Hesburgh, lay board, lay governancelast_img read more

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Sotomayor shares Supreme Court insight, advice

first_imgU.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor discussed a wide variety of issues, including court procedure and diversity, in a public conversation with NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson at Leighton Hall in DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Students and faculty from across the University attended the discussion, which was moderated by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams.Sotomayor, who  Williams described as a “dreamer of big, impossible dreams,” said the day she accepted her nomination to the Court was a profound moment in her life. When entering the room behind President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, she said she felt a sense of detachment from reality.“And at that moment, I felt like my spirit had left my body,” Sotomayor said. “I was looking at myself from up there … I couldn’t connect with my emotions and I knew, ultimately, that the reason for that was if I did, I wouldn’t be able to do what I needed to do: to give a speech. I thought that feeling would end that day, but it lasted for about a year and a half. I watched myself doing things that I would have never thought possible.” Caitlyn Jordan Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, left, converses with NBC news correspondent Anne Thompson, a member of the Notre Dame class of 1979, on Wednesday night in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.When Thompson, Notre Dame class of 1979, asked how justices reach decisions on court cases, Sotomayor said the process relies heavily on personal interaction and discussion.“A lot of the initial decision making is personal. Generally speaking, the first time we get to talk about a case is oral argument,” she said. “Through our individual questions our colleagues are understanding each other. We’re exploring the strength and weaknesses of the case through our questions.”The justices then hold a conference amongst themselves and disclose their opinions and reasoning, Sotomayor said.“So the chief [justice] will start, and his is usually the most forceful explanation. He’ll come up and say, ‘Well, this is the way that I’m voting, but I’m a little bit unsure, and this is what’s still troubling me,’” she said. “He also explains why some counterarguments don’t convince him. What happens is then we go down in descending order, around the room, in descending order of seniority. … By the end of the discussion, we all sort of know what each is thinking.”Sotomayor acknowledged that while the justices can hold conflicting opinions, the justices’ commitment to upholding the Constitution unites them.“Many of us have similar approaches to constitutional interpretation, but the fact that we have similar approaches doesn’t always mean we come to a similar result. And there is no one who is shy on the court about either expressing themselves or who has a failure of courage to vote for a position that is unexpected,” she said. “I think every justice on the Court is devoted to the Court. Each one of us cares deeply about the Court’s institutional responsibility to society. … But we also have a very deep abiding passion about the Constitution, our system of government, about our respect for the law, which leads us to believe that some things can’t be compromised.”When asked what the inclusion of women as justices brings to the Court, Sotomayor said the Court started ruling on cases that supported women’s rights.“It was only when Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the Court that we had the first case that found gender discrimination that was unacceptable, and that was the Virginia Military School case [United States v. Virginia]. Before that, the Supreme Court had almost routinely never voted in favor of a women’s issue,” she said. “A lot of people don’t remember or realize that. The court might have been a slight step ahead of the society when it came to race inequality; it was ten steps behind society when it came to gender inequality. I’m not saying that it was only the presence of women, but I am saying that the presence of women does change the conversation a little bit. … There is a difference in sensitivity in the way you address things when you have some diversity on the Court.”Sotomayor said that since her appointment to the Supreme Court she has realized the humanity of the people involved in making history.“We are ordinary human beings, with strengths, with weaknesses, with foibles, with courage, and sometimes fear. When we get disappointed in our elected officials, often it’s because we see the human side of them,” she said. “That doesn’t mean we should respect them less but that you should respect them because they’re trying to do jobs that are hard.“In my explaining to you what the process of the court is, what the process of the law is, I hope you come away with a respect for the people who are trying their best, human beings that are trying their best, to do what’s right. And that doesn’t mean that they always succeed according to your judgment, because there’s going to be court opinions that you agree with and that you disagree with. But it is a product of people trying to do what’s right. I will hope that will lead people to less disillusionment, to more respect for the court instead of less, and more respect for the people who have the opportunity to try to do the right thing.”The crowd was taken aback when Sotomayor responded “no” after Thompson asked if she felt as if she “belonged” on the Court.“I am different and yet I’m not because we’re all engaged in the same enterprise. We’re all trying to come to the right decisions together, and we’re all part of that conversation,” she said. “To that extent, I belong. But will I ever quite feel that I have their same background, their same understanding of the world that I operate on? Not really.”Sotomayor said she has learned to respond to differences as an opportunity to learn something about new institutions, people and situations.“For me, it’s very, very important not to think of differences as good or bad, but just different, and understanding what moves people to the choices they make,” she said.After her discussion with Thompson, Sotomayor responded to questions posed by Notre Dame undergraduate and law students.In answer to a question about her experience of discrimination as a successful Latino woman, Sotomayor said expectations for women of color are higher than for the average citizen. She also said discrimination can come from unexpected places, and often results from misunderstanding and miscommunication.“People don’t really understand their own prejudices,” Sotomayor said. “Most people do things that are discriminatory, or say things that are hurtful, without really knowing they’re doing it.”In the face of discrimination, Sotomayor said, people have a choice – either to retreat from a negative experience, or to try to reach a greater level of mutual understanding and respect with those who have offended them.“Those small slights, those senses of not belonging, can make you not belong if you let them,” she said. “You can belong and make friends in almost any place or setting you’re in, but sometimes you have to make the effort to bridge that gap.”Indeed, Sotomayor said making friends, particularly with people of differing opinions, is invaluable for personal growth. She said although she has found it difficult at times, she has been able to maintain friendships with other justices on the Court despite their opposing outlooks.“We disagree with each other, but we do listen,” she said. “We try to persuade each other, we try to convince each other, and often we fail.“The challenge is to make friends who don’t agree with you, who try to talk you out of your mistakes, who try to change your mind. Whether they succeed or not is irrelevant – you learn something from them.”Sotomayor said one failing of the Court as a whole is its lack of diversity – not only in terms of gender or race, but also in terms of the legal backgrounds of the justices. She said all current justices on the Court were prosecutors, and only one, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has a civil rights background.“We have areas of practice that people have never experienced: immigration law, family law,” she said. “But we’re making decisions that affect every one of those areas of the law.”The members of the Court are not the only ones who could benefit from being more well-rounded, Sotomayor said. Addressing the students present, she said college students should take advantage of opportunities to expand their learning in a variety of areas.“You should be learning about the world, and to do that you have to get out of your comfort zone and study things that you know nothing about.”In particular, Sotomayor said taking courses in religion, economics, sociology and philosophy are essential for understanding current events.“When you leave this university, you should have a working knowledge of all the things that affect the human condition,” she said.Tags: DPAC, Sonia Sotomayor, Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Courtlast_img read more

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Class teaches students mindfullness

first_imgSeveral Saint Mary’s students are taking Notre Dame’s Mindfulness and Meditation course to become more mindful and less stressed. Senior Kate Zurovchak said Mindfulness and Meditation focuses on being present in the moment.“Mindfulness is being present in the moment. People usually get caught up in a lot of things, like with stress or anxiety,” Zurovchak said. “We tend to just live in our thoughts and in our heads, and when we do that, the way we interpret the present moment and what’s happening in front of us is distorted.”Zurovchak said mindfulness is about honesty with oneself and recognizing both good and bad stress. “Mindfulness is not trying to push negative thoughts away, it’s just accepting them for what they are,” she said. “If you’re stressed out about something, you can recognize that you’re stressed out and instead of acting on it in a negative way, you learn how to accept that stress and not have it affect you.” Senior Jamie Moran said in an email she feels the class will help her manage her anxiety better.“I personally struggle with focusing on the present moment,” she said. “My mind can sometimes be my own worst enemy. I’m always looking for new ways to practice self-care and become more confident, and I think this class will provide me with tools on how enjoy my life more for what it is today.” Zurovchak said the class teaches students several meditation techniques in order to facilitate mindfulness. “We do a body scan where we start focusing on our toes then go all the way to our heads and it’s just an activity where we learn to be more in the present,” she said. “We usually do a two-minute meditation at the beginning of class, then learn about new ways to meditate. We are supposed to meditate 10 minutes a day and keep a log.” Moran said the class focuses its intentions on Koru Mindfulness.“Koru Mindfulness teaches us how to better manage our stress and worries through meditation,” she said. “We practice different meditations in class and reflect on our experiences with it … It takes a lot of practice, but it helps to try one of the exercises every day to bring our minds into the present moment without thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future.”Zurovchak said the class would help her become a better nursing student.“As a nursing major, I feel that mindfulness is really important when you provide care, because nursing is kind of stressful at times, and if you’re just stuck in your head, you can be prone to making mistakes and not be able to develop a really good relationship with your patients,” she said.Zurovchak said she has learned to become present in her classes, especially when experiencing anxiety.“Just by doing it for a week, I’ve learned not just to be present in meditation but in class as well. There was a period in one of my classes where I was really anxious but was able to realize that I was feeling anxiety, and normally I would probably retreat inside myself and stop being involved in the class, but I was able to overcome that and still be present in the class,” she said. “I was aware that I was worrying, but I was able to accept that worry and not have it affect me.” Zurovchak said she feels the class can help anyone better understand and cope with their anxiety.“Anxiety is something everybody has,” she said. “Anybody in any major should take the class and practice mindfulness, because anyone career path has stressors and anxiety. We can all relate to each other on some levels.”Moran said the class can especially help students manage the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of life after college.“I know many other college students are struggling to balance their busy lives,” she said. “There is so much uncertainty right now, so it’s very easy to grow anxious and worried about where we’re going or why we’re here. This class teaches you how to be more aware of your negative thoughts and bring your mind back into the present moment.” Tags: Anxiety, meditation, mindfulness, stresslast_img read more

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Professors discuss Westville Education Initiative

first_imgEvan DaCosta | The Observer Professors share their experiences instructing courses through the Westville Education Initiative during a panel in Corbett Family Hall on Tuesday night. The program allows prison inmates to pursue a degree in higher education.The panelists began their discussion explaining their own personal reasons for wanting to teach at Westville. Each panelist explained their own beliefs regarding the Westville Education Initiative (WEI), the importance of “practicing what you preach” and making a difference in an individual inmate’s life. They each stressed the importance of recognizing that teaching at Westville was not engaging in prison reform — it was simply teaching a class to college students. The audience at the event was primarily composed of faculty members and graduate students, who were able to ask panelists questions throughout the event. Many of the questions from faculty members were about the logistics of teaching at Westville and future opportunities to teach there.One faculty audience member, who currently teaches chemistry at Westville, discussed the differences in teaching Notre Dame undergraduates and prison inmates. For him, the primary difference is the background of his students. Most of the Westville inmates enrolled in the educational initiative hold a GED rather than a conventional high school diploma. Marshall elaborated on the differences between teaching at Notre Dame and Westville, but said it is important for professors to plan their classes at Westville in the same manner they plan courses at the University. When a professor teaches in Westville, he or she is in a room full of intellectual people with varying levels of preparation, Marshall said. The difficult part, she said, is reconciling the “incredible intellectual capacity that didn’t always have the same kind of preparation, the same kind of resources, going into that [program] that our students have”. Graff discussed the logistical differences between teaching at the University and Westville, such as restricted internet access, a lack of email access and limited access to the professors. However, he said the realities of these problems were much more hard-hitting than he had expected. In adapting coursework, he ended up “jettisoning” the lecture component of his class and focusing on discussions, as inmates were “faithful readers” and very eager to discuss in class.He also discussed the challenges of teaching in a prison, as correctional officers would often interrupt class or remove inmates from the classroom for unknown reasons. Sometimes, professors would arrive at the prison after a long commute only to be told that classes had been cancelled for the day.Sayers, who teaches fiction literature and literary analysis at the prison, said that during literary workshops in class, it was very difficult for inmates to critique one another’s work, due to the proximity in which they live. “One thing that intrigued me was that they seemed just as interested in grades as Notre Dame students,” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd.Classes at Westville are held once a week, and the course schedule mostly maps on to the academic schedule of Holy Cross College, Marshall said. Many times, the door-to-door time commitment for professors involved in the program is six hours, she noted.Stephen Fallon, a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and English department, said the prison initiative offers a unique chance for instructors to engage with particularly motivated students.“I think it’s both an exciting opportunity for the students out at Westville and it’s a really exhilarating opportunity for the faculty at Notre Dame,” he said. “They’re able to do very high level teaching, with an entirely different population, who are extremely eager to have it. They weren’t expecting to be in college, and now are thrilled to have real Notre Dame professors in the classroom with them, and they don’t just express gratitude in words — they do so by working very very hard. “And I find that when I make an assignment, they’ll have read more than I asked them to read. They’ll go on and read beyond the assignment and have questions sometimes about things I haven’t read, so it keeps me on my toes, and it’s a kind of teaching where I very much look forward to my class each week.” The object of the program is to give inmates the opportunity to earn at least an Associate’s Degree, and the program is one of the only in the country to offer a Bachelor’s Degree. As such, inmates need to be serving a longer sentence (three to ten years) in order to have enough time to complete the degree. Usually, around 150 applicants apply, and the admissions rate to the program is around 20 percent, Alesha Seroczynski, the WEI director of college operations, said.Sayers said the program complements an undergraduate course, “Rethinking Crime and Justice: Explorations from the Inside-Out,” wherein students participate in a class alongside Westville inmates.“I think the work the faculty does teaching the college courses dovetails beautifully with the work that undergraduates do in their ‘Inside-Outside’ course,” Sayers said. “They’re two entirely separate programs but I’ve talked to several students who’ve done the course and we’ve had many of the same insights about how powerful and satisfying and challenging it is to go out to Westville on a regular basis, and how it is a really transformative experience for faculty and students alike.” Tags: Kaneb Center, prison, Westville Correctional Facility, Westville Education Initiative A panel discussion hosted by the Kaneb Center on Tuesday covered various faculty members’ experiences teaching college-level courses at the Westville Correctional Facility, a medium-level security institution southwest of South Bend.The panelists included Maria McKenna, an education and Africana studies professor, Kaneb Center fellow and English professor Kate Marshall, the William R. Kenan, Jr. professor of English Valerie Sayers and Daniel Graff, director of the Higgins Labor Program.last_img read more

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Pulitzer Prize winning reporter discusses new “age of acceleration”

first_imgThomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of six best-selling books, discussed his book “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” on Friday in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center during a lecture hosted by the Mendoza College of Business.Titled “The Big Trends Shaping the World Today: Economics, Technology and Geopolitics,” the event was part of the annual Thomas H. Quinn lecture series, named after a Notre Dame alumnus who previously served as chair of the Mendoza Business Advisory Council. A New York Times columnist who was a White House correspondent during Bill Clinton’s presidency, Friedman spent over 40 years covering international affairs. He said his book about the age of accelerations discusses the manner in which he considers the world. While sentiment in the past might have encouraged thinking inside or outside of the box, Friedman urged people to “think about the world today without a box.”This reflective thinking led to the title “Thank You for Being Late,” Friedman recalled. When waiting for guests to arrive to breakfast, he had time to ponder the world around him and ultimately came to new conclusions about it.“When you press the pause button on a computer, it stops, but when you press the pause button on a human being, it starts,” he said. “That’s when it starts to reflect, re-think and re-imagine.”Friedman discussed what he refers to as “the machine,” or the forces shaping and transforming the world today. “The machine is re-shaping five rounds [of the world]: politics, geopolitics, ethics, the workplace and community,” Friedman said.He asserted people are actually in the middle of three non-linear accelerations occurring at the same time due to three forces: the market, Mother Nature and “Moore’s Law.” “[Moore’s Law] predicts that the speed and power of microchips will double roughly every 24 months, and the price will stay roughly the same,” he said.Friedman explained his chapter on Moore’s Law is named “What the Hell Happened in 2007,” because 2007 can be understood in time as one of the greatest technological inflection points in history. Not only was the first iPhone released that year, he said, but Twitter went global, Google bought YouTube and Android, the Kindle launched and Netflix streamed its first video, to name a few.This sudden exponential increase in technology, Friedman said, created a large gap between social and physical technologies that was exacerbated with the 2008 stock market crash.Technology is advancing faster than the average human being in society, he said, and we need to consider how we can enable everyone to learn faster and govern smarter to take advantage of new technology.“The days where you could go to college for four years and think you can rely on that for 30 years is so 1950s,” Friedman said. “There are things students will learn in their first year that will be updated by their third year.”The digital divide was one of the most prominent divides in the past, Friedman said, but now people all over the world have access to technology. Nowadays, there’s the self-motivation divide, where people must learn to integrate technology to improve a world that has moved from being interconnected to “interdependent.”“[Mother Nature’s] most healthy ecosystems are all built on complex, adaptive networks and systems, where different parts work together to prove their resilience and propulsion,” he said. “My argument is that the company, the country, the university, the political party that most mirrors Mother Nature’s strategies of resilience and propulsion when the climate changes is the one that will thrive in this age of acceleration.”Tags: age of accerlation, Pulitzer Prize reporter, technology, Thomas Friedmanlast_img read more

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Conference to explore ethical issues with artificial intelligence

first_imgA two-day conference examining ethical issues in artificial intelligence (AI) usage will begin Wednesday evening in O’Neill Hall and continue as an all-day event Thursday in McKenna Hall.The conference, “Artificial Intelligence and Business Ethics: Friends or Foes?” is sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business and the Chase Manhattan Lecture Series, which is an endowment that aims to support ethical responsibilities of business. The conference will feature seven speakers from various business backgrounds and four panelists.Conference organizer and professor Tim Carone said the conference centers on artificial intelligence’s role in business ethics and to what extent its decision making is of a positive or negative consequence.“The idea is that artificial intelligence is software that actually makes a decision. In the past, humans always made decisions about things. Now when it comes to things like self-driving cars or drones, now software that is artificial intelligence software makes decisions that humans used to and what that means and what we’ve been seeing is that it’ll act in ways that are not anticipated or thought of at a time,” Carone said. “So that’s one of the big things — can we understand that? Can we identify when we see it and determine if it’s good or bad or ugly? The other part of it is a problem is when AI is making decisions, you can’t interrogate them. And say why did you make that decision to turn left instead of, right? And that’s a huge gap in our understanding and someone’s going to be talking about that as well at the conference.”Students and corporations alike will be attending the conference, which questions the potential bias that may arise from the use of AIs. Carone said he has asked speakers to be “edgy and provocative” with their talks.Carone said he saw a need for this first-time event upon seeing advances in AI technology that allowed for data to be interpreted by itself, particularly in critical times when objectivity was needed.“We’ve actually gotten to the point now where the software models are capable of making decisions in critical business processes and we know in the past when that’s happened that the models we create are based on our data and we know our data has problems,” Carone said. “There’s missing data, there’s biased data and therefore that bias could potentially make everything they have in the past made decisions based on the data on to be highly biased or racist decisions. And if AIs are going to be used even more in the corporation and managing these business processes, we kind of have to worry about how these things show up. It may take a long time to figure out that an AI has actually been making biased decisions.”Carone said he advises acknowledging the ethical issues that come with using such advanced technology, and discussing how to manage the risk.“So, we have to go in eyes wide open and assume we’ll have ethical issues and we need to understand how we identify, how do we manage that risk and it’s a difficult field and there hasn’t been a lot of work, and understanding how to deal with ethics issues as they arise with this kind of software-running companies,” Carone said.Carone hopes to bring awareness to Notre Dame’s campus through Mendoza College of Business and do research to learn how to address these potential problems, he said.“The goal really is can we identify some areas that Mendoza can start doing some research or identify areas of research and needs to address this, how to manage a corporation,” Carone said. “But it’s really what research can we identify and how to move forward.”Tags: artificial intelligence, conference, mendoza college of businesslast_img read more

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Notre Dame celebrates Earth Day virtually, reflecting on sustainability progress

first_imgSerena Zacharias | The Observer The Office of Sustainability hosted a Zoom seminar Wednesday presenting on the progress the University has made in the past few years to adopt sustainable practices.Mullaney and others in the Office of Sustainability highlighted sustainability initiatives and progress Notre Dame has made in the past year in multiple categories, including energy and emissions, water, building and construction and waste.In terms of energy and emissions, the University broke ground of the hydroelectric generation facility in Seitz Park on the St. Joseph River and announced a solar facility partnership with the Indiana Michigan Power.“Once commissioned these two renewable energy projects together will supply the equivalent of approximately 15% of the University’s electrical needs purely from renewable sources,” Allison Mihalich, senior program director in the office of sustainability, said.Notre Dame has also phased out coal burning entirely and commissioned a plant which uses geothermal well fields in order to power Dunne, Flaherty and McCourtney Halls. Fourteen campus buildings now have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification with Duncan Student Center, Corbett Family Hall and O’Neill Hall receiving the honor just last week.Mihalich also noted the care Notre Dame facilities have taken with major renovations and reconstruction projects on campus, specifically mentioning McKenna Hall. Since McKenna Hall closed reconstruction, 693 pieces of furniture and fixtures have been distributed to other University departments across campus.In addition, the Grotto’s asphalt was replaced over the summer with permeable pavers and sidewalks.“Permeable surfaces are really great for the environment as they reduce the amount of stormwater runoff entering our natural waterways and allow it to naturally drain into the surface,” Mihalich said.The University also introduced a new food waste system, Grind2Energy, in the past year to reduce the amount of nonconsumable food waste on campus while providing clean energy to a local farm. Since the three systems were installed in the beginning of 2019, Mihalich said over 280 tons of food waste have been diverted from the landfill.The Office of Sustainability also mentioned progress in the food sourcing, education, research and community outreach. Prior to the cancellation of in-person classes at the University, many of the events slated to occur on Earth Day involved lectures and discussions allowing faculty members and researchers across campus to discuss sustainability work.As the first Earth Day was organized as a teach-in, Caitlin Jacobs, the associate program manager in the Office of Sustainability, said in an interview that the planning committee wanted to nod to the day’s history by structuring the events in a similar style.“We agree that calling it a teach-in wouldn’t be quite right because a teach-in kind of implies opposition to the administration and rather we conceived of it as a teach-for the planet,” Annie Gilbert Coleman, an associate professor of American Studies who was involved in planning for the day, said.While in-person events were cancelled, the Office of Sustainability worked to gather a number of digital resources for students, faculty and staff to honor the planet while staying safe.Coleman urged faculty members in a letter sent out last week to use the newly-created Take 10 for the Planet page, which Alex Hajek, program coordinator for the minor in sustainability, worked on building. The page offers resources at varying time commitments over a number of disciplinary standpoints to learn more about climate change and the environment. While Hajek said the page is still a work in progress, the website offers resources which can serve as a starting point to learn more about environmental issues.In place of an exhibit in the Rare Books and Special Collections department of the Hesburgh Library, an online exhibit was created to feature primary sources to learn more about the natural world and policies and campaigns throughout history relating to the environment. Jacobs also provided a list of suggestions of films about sustainability and the climate which can be accessed for free on Kanopy with a Notre Dame net ID and password.Coleman hopes these resources and the discussions regarding the state of the planet can help shed light on the importance of improving environmental issues, as COVID-19 has made it clear how people, the economy, consumerism and political ideologies are connected to the natural world.“The virus really is exposing environmental problems we’ve been brushing under the rug for a long time,” she said.Tags: Earth Day, Grind2Energy, Minor in Sustainability, Office of Sustainability, sustainability While many Earth Day events were canceled across the globe, the Office of Sustainability provided resources to allow Notre Dame community members to celebrate the environment indoors on the historic 50th anniversary of the holiday.In the past few years, the University has prioritized creating a comprehensive strategy to address sustainability concerns across campus after Pope Francis issued his encyclical Laudato Si in 2015, which called on people to take action against environmental degradation.“I think that gave us a new, and a kind of an enhanced call to action,” Carol Mullaney, the senior director in the office of sustainability, said during a Zoom discussion Wednesday.last_img read more

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Monthslong Search For Missing 14-Year-Old Continues In Jamestown

first_imgJAMESTOWN – Police in Jamestown are continuing to search for a missing 14-year-old who likely ran away from home earlier this year.Jamestown Police in a media release on Tuesday afternoon say Gianna Coleman has been missing since February 13 of this year.Coleman, police say, has been reported missing multiple times over the past several years including last October.She has reportedly been in contact with her family on a daily basis via social media and is believed to be in the Jamestown area. Anyone who may know the whereabouts of the missing teen is asked to contact the Jamestown Police at (716) 483-7537, leave an anonymous tip at 483-TIPS (8477) or via the Tips 411 App.Failed to fetch Error: URL to the PDF file must be on exactly the same domain as the current web page. Click here for more info 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),Y’all better check into the wayfair a candle her cabinet went for 20,000 for gianna colemanlast_img read more

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Tony-Nominated Playwright Leslie Lee Dies at 83

first_img The First Breeze of Summer was revived in 2008 off-Broadway by the Signature Theater Company, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. “He captured African-American life with all its frailties and all its power,” Santiago-Hudson told the Times of Lee, “Leslie wasn’t only poetic; he was authentic.” Lee is probably best known for his Tony-nominated play and self-acknowledged autobiographical work, The First Breeze of Summer, which played at Broadway’s Palace Theater. The play tells the story of a black family in Pennsylvania whose ambitious younger son is emotionally unhinged when he learns past secrets of his highly respected grandmother. Tony-nominated playwright Leslie Lee, who spent the majority of his years writing plays to better the African-American experience with the Negro Ensemble Company, died of congestive heart failure on January 20 in Manhattan, the New York Times reports. He was 83 years old. The Tony nominee’s other works, which were mostly produced off-Broadway or on regional stages include Black Eagles, Ground People, Blues in a Broken Tongue, The War Party, The Book of Lambert, Colored People’s Time and a collaboration with Bye Bye Birdie creators Charles Strouse and Lee Adams to create an updated version of Golden Boy. Lee is survived by a brother and three sisters: Elbert, Evelyn Lee Collins, Grace Lee Wall and Alma Lee Coston. Lee switched mid-career from wanting to be a doctor to studying playwriting at Villanova, taking on fellow legendary playwright David Rabe as a roommate. Upon graduation, he won various Audelco awards, given to black theater artists and productions. “One can be black and also many other things,” Lee said in a 1975 interview, “I want to expand the thinking of blacks about themselves.” View Commentslast_img read more

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Weekend Poll Top Three: Scandal! Turns Out Broadway Fans Are Gladiators

first_imgIn honor of Presidents’ Day, which as predicted we spent binge-watching House of Cards, sleeping late and ordering Seamless (we’re so over the Great White Way being literally blanketed in the white stuff), we wanted to know in the Weekend Poll: Which series about presidential politics do you want to see jump from your TV screen to the Broadway stage? The results are in and they’re Scandalous! 2. The West Wing—28% The West Wing is a natural Broadway fit: its creator, Aaron Sorkin, has a well-known affection for musical theater. The Tony-winning musical 1776 was even the inspiriation for the names of President Bartlet and Josh Lyman! Now that Sorkin’s dropped out of Houdini, surely he can find the time to bring all those West Wing stars and Great White Way alums such as Martin Sheen, Richard Schiff and Allison Janney back to the Big Apple? 3. House of Cards—11% Possibly the first time Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, has ever lost a vote. However to paraphrase one of the series’ most famous lines, in regards to Tony winner Spacey and Golden Globe winner Robin Wright, we love you more than sharks love blood. And we’d love to see you both take a great big bite out of the Great White Way. View Comments 1. Scandal—30% It was a Scandalously close call, but the Gladiators won through! Fans want to see fabulous fixer Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, and President Fitz, played by Tony Goldwyn, heat up Broadway. This is a smart choice, as there’s a built-in love triangle just waiting to be exploited eight shows a week. Both Washington and Goldwyn are Main Stem vets, as is Norm Lewis, who plays Pope’s ex-fiancée. Paging all producers!last_img read more

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